What We Believe


Below are the points of our official statement of faith, but we recognize that it can be hard to know what things like this mean or how they actually impact the way people live, not to mention that some of these and similar ideas have been misused in Christianity to hurt and control people. So for each point we've added explanations and clarifications about what these ideas mean to us and how we interpret them based on the Bible and Jesus' teachings.


The Bible

We believe the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the standard and basis of authority for the teaching and life of the church in every age. We believe the Bible was fully inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible sets the standard for the rest of the following doctrines

— What this means to us

We use the word “inspired” as a very deliberate choice. It seems clear to us that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the result of combined efforts between the human authors and the Holy Spirit who led them. We do not believe that the Bible as a whole was dictated to humans, though there are many instances in which the words of God to specific people are recorded verbatim — for instance in Micah 6 where the section starts, “Listen to what Yahweh says…” But we believe that the whole Bible was inspired: in other words, it was composed under the direction of the Holy Spirit as the authors wrote, edited, compiled, and arranged the different parts of scripture to create a comprehensive story that leads us to know our creator, Yahweh.

God

We believe there is but one God. He has existed for all of eternity in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each of whom possesses all the attributes of deity. He is the Creator and King over the entire universe. He is a personal Being who is actively involved in and loves His Creation. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He is the standard of truth and wisdom, justice and righteousness, love and goodness.

— What this means to us

While we believe that God is all-powerful and is the rightful ruler of all of his creation, that idea can be confusing and painful in light of the brokenness of the world, so there are some important clarifications that need to be made. First, God’s omnipotence (being all-powerful) shouldn't be understood to mean that he can do anything (eg: "can He make a rock so big He can't lift it?"), but rather that he can do anything that’s logically possible. That might seem like a trivial distinction but it has very important implications for other doctrines. Possibly the most important implication is on the question of whether or not God can stop human evil. We believe that God created humans with complete free will, which means that people make real choices that are not predetermined by God. So since God created humans to be truly free and have real choices, God can't control people or make them “be good,” or they wouldn't actually have free will. Instead, God relies on humans to carry out his purposes in the world — in the same way a business owner relies on their employees to carry out their business strategies. This is why it’s so important that we respond to God’s call — so that we can bring goodness and life to the world as God has always intended.

Humanity

God created humans in His own image, and humans — as they were originally created — were innocent in God’s sight. But people chose to sin by disobeying God, and therefore were alienated from their Creator and came under divine condemnation. Thus all human beings are born with a corrupted, fallen nature, and are dependent upon the initiative and intervention of God and His grace in order to know and please Him.

— What this means to us

The “image of God” language used in the creation account of the Bible speaks to the purpose of humanity. In Genesis 1, where we see humans, male and female alike, created in the image of God, we see that we are meant to be God’s representatives in creation. Our task is to rule over the land and over every living creature in order to carry on God’s work in bringing goodness and life into the world. The Bible also talks about the glorious nature that humans have. Despite humanity’s rebellion against God's good plan for the world and the fact that we all inherit that rebellious nature, each human also still carries the image of God — both his glory and his purpose to bring goodness and life to the world.

Jesus Christ

The eternal Logos, the “second Person” of the Godhead. Out of love for fallen and sinful humans, Jesus Christ came into the world to reconcile sinners to Himself. He is God in the flesh, both true God and true man. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and voluntarily suffered and died as our substitute to pay the penalty for our sins, thus satisfying God’s justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He bodily ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man, makes intercession for His own. He will return to earth personally, visibly and bodily to judge all men and establish His kingdom.

— What this means to us

We believe Jesus is one of the persons of Yahweh (God), and that he became human. He is the fulfillment of all the promises that God made to humanity. He is the only human who has ever stayed completely faithful to Yahweh’s calling and purpose for humans — to rule the world in his image and on his behalf, bringing life and goodness to the world. Driven by compassion for the poor and the oppressed, Jesus confronted the corrupt and abusive nature of the powerful, both human leaders (especially the religious elite) and spiritual powers. Jesus’s refusal to use his power for his own benefit resulted in his execution. There are a number of good and valid theories about how exactly it all works philosophically, but all of Christianity agrees that Jesus’s death and subsequent resurrection set humans free from sin and death and gave them the ability to be reconciled to Yahweh.

Salvation

People are freed from the penalty for their sins not as a result — in whole or in part — of their own works, goodness or religious ceremony, but by the undeserved favor of God alone. God pardons, reconciles and declares righteous all who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation.

— What this means to us

While some tend to think about salvation as primarily a personal, spiritual matter that only affects what happens after a person dies, we believe the Bible is much more holistic. Jesus’s life and teachings seem to indicate that salvation is for whole individuals: body, emotions, spirit, and all. The Bible is also clear that salvation is not only for a specific collection of individuals, it's for entire communities, all of humanity, and even the whole world itself. Furthermore, we believe salvation is not some distant future event, it’s something that began long ago and continues to grow. We also believe that it’s important to understand that while salvation is the work of God, humans (as God’s representatives) have been given the honor and responsibility to bring about and live in God’s salvation and are not merely passive recipients or bystanders.

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the “third Person of the Godhead. He has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ, to convict men and women of their sins, and to impart new life to all who place their faith in Christ. He indwells believers from the moment of spiritual birth, seals them until the day of redemption, allots spiritual gifts to them for ministry, and empowers them to live a life pleasing to God.

— What this means to us

The Holy Spirit seems to often be the most confusing and misunderstood person of the triune God, Yahweh. While it goes into great detail about the nature of Jesus, the Nicene creed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed) simply says “[We believe] in the Holy Spirit.” Maybe it’s appropriate that Jesus compared the nature of the Holy Spirit to wind — it blows wherever it wills and we don’t know where it comes from or where it’s going. There can be some very strong opinions in different traditions in Christianity about the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives and community of believers. At 2.42 we’re pretty open to a lot of things in this area, but underlying it all, we agree with what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 concerning spiritual matters, that "Love never fails." Various kinds of outworkings of the Holy Spirit come and go when they're needed, "but the greatest of these is love.”

Assurance

All who are truly born again of the Spirit can be assured of eternal life. This assurance is based upon the finished work of Christ, who completely paid for their sins and upon the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who is the deposit guaranteeing their inheritance. We also hold that the mark of a true believer is that though they may waver, yet they will hold firmly to their confidence in Christ till the end.

— What this means to us

We firmly believe that God is faithful and will not abandon those who want to be faithful to him even if there exists a continual pattern of failure. So we can be confident in our salvation and rest in Jesus’s love. Jesus also specifically said that not everyone who claims to follow him will actually have salvation; instead, it's only those who live and act in accord with God’s purposes to bring life and goodness to the world. It may seem paradoxical, but the intended balance seems to be this: if you’re worried about whether you’re doing good enough to please God, don’t worry, God loves you and is holding on tighter than you know. But those who are unquestioningly confident in their ability to secure their place in God’s kingdom will likely find themselves outside of it.

Resurrection of the Dead

Life does not end at physical death. There will be a resurrection — spiritual and physical — of all mankind. Followers of Jesus Christ look forward to everlasting fellowship in the presence of God, glorified bodies, and becoming conformed to the likeness of Christ. Unbelievers will be resurrected and spend eternity in conscious separation from the Lord and His glory

— What this means to us

What happens to a person upon death is one of the more popular topics to debate among Christianity, and while there are hundreds of books written about the subject, the Bible is strangely quiet, meaning that much of what is taught is speculation. What can be said for certain is that humans were created by God to have eternal physical life and God is committed to that end. Humans, through selfishness and rebellion against God’s goodness, have brought about death, but God’s faithfulness will win out in the end in the form of physical resurrection for every human. Jesus, after his execution, was the first human to attain this resurrection, and all other humans will receive it as well after Jesus returns and reconnects the kingdom of Heaven with Earth. Those who desire to live under the goodness of Jesus’s rule will have it and those who don’t want it won’t be forced to.

The Church

All true believers make up the church worldwide and should assemble together in local churches for worship, prayer, fellowship and teaching to become conformed to the image of Christ and to become equipped to carry out the "Great Commission" that Christ gave His followers in Matthew 28:19-20.

— What this means to us

Who constitutes “true believers” is another topic which has divided followers of Jesus going back to the very beginning of our religion. At 2.42 we believe that those who constitute “true believers” are defined more by their faithfulness to Jesus and his work than the details of their preferred theological stance in all but the most basic issues (such as the Nicene Creed). With this in our mind, we seek unity with all those who are committed to Jesus as king and to living with the love, compassion, grace, and selflessness that he demonstrated.

Baptism & The Lord's Supper

Jesus Christ has instructed those who believe in Him to be baptized in water as a symbol of their new birth in Christ. Baptism is only for those who have personally believed in Christ. The Lord also instituted the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of His substitutionary death and resurrection. Neither baptism nor the Lord’s Supper have any merit in helping a person obtain eternal life.

— What this means to us

We see baptism as a symbol and ceremony celebrating new life and commitment to Jesus as our king. We see it as something analogous to a wedding ceremony. A wedding ceremony does not make two people married (think of all the wedding ceremonies acted out in movies!) nor does it grow the couple’s relationship. But it is a wonderful celebration of something new that had its roots in the wills of two people long before the ceremony took place. While our understanding of baptism is that this ceremony should follow a person’s commitment to Jesus, we also understand that the majority of those who claim the name of Jesus follow different baptism traditions, and we consider these to still be brothers and sisters in the same faith. We view the Lord’s supper in a similar way - that we may have different practices or theology, but we don’t consider a different view on these things to be a mark of faithfulness to Jesus.