The foundation of our belief is Holy Scripture. Our historic theological perspective is rooted in Wesleyan/Armenian theology. Specifically, our theological understanding of the Christian faith and life is informed by the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Articles of Religion of The Methodist Episcopal Church, the Confession of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, John Wesley’s General Rules, his 52 standard sermons and his explanatory notes on the Old and New Testament. For the full version of our Belief Statements with scriptural references please click here.
I. Church: We believe the Christian Church is the community of all true believers under the Lordship of Jesus Christ where the Word of God is preached, and the sacraments are duly administered so that all people can experience the saving love of God. Our values are defined by the Word of God and not cultural beliefs.
II. Bible: We believe the Holy Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the revealed Word of God and is completely trustworthy as an infallible guide to salvation and the life of faith.
III. Triune God: We believe in the One, Eternal, Sovereign God, creator of the universe and the source of everything that exists. He reveals Himself to us as the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons, but inseparable, eternally one in essence and power.
IV. Jesus: We believe that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son. In Him, God is incarnate, taking on human form, perfectly uniting the divine and human nature. He is 100% God and 100% human.
V. Holy Spirit: We believe the Holy Spirit proceeds from and is one in being, majesty and glory with the Father and the Son. Upon the ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was sent to humanity to convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment and to empower us for ministry to the world.
VI. Free Will and Original Sin: We believe that when God told Adam not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil He gave humanity the freedom to choose between God’s will for our lives or our own. From the moment Adam and Eve made the choice not to trust God by eating the forbidden fruit, humanity has been broken. Without being born again in Jesus Christ, we cannot see the Kingdom of God.
VII. Reconciliation Through Christ: We believe God’s eternal desire to dwell and be in relationship with humanity did not change with Adam and Eve’s selfish choice. From the moment God called out to them in the Garden of Eden, He has been in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. In Christ Jesus, He freely offered Himself on the cross as the perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world revealing His perfect love for humanity. No other satisfaction is required for our salvation. It is a free gift offered to all people, exclusively based on the merit of Jesus, through which we are accounted righteous before God, but it is a gift that must be accepted. We can do nothing to deserve this gift and we can never make up for our sin by way of self-improvement or good works. In faith, we accept this gift by repenting of our sin and submitting our life and will to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. At that moment, eternal life begins as we are born again into the new life in Christ.
VIII. The Grace of God: We believe the grace of God manifests itself in four distinct ways: Prevenient, Justifying, Sanctifying and Glorifying. We are saved by God’s grace, and we continue to be saved by His grace each new day by the cleansing and renewing power of the Holy Spirit as we walk in faith and obedience.
IX. Works Subsequent to Salvation: James in his epistle to the whole church stated that “faith without works is dead.” We know that there are no works we can perform to earn the gift of God’s Saving Grace, but we believe the works James has described as necessary are those that naturally follow our justification by faith. They are an act of gratitude for what God has done in us and for us. Given time and opportunity, we believe all Christians will reveal the evidence of their true and living faith through their good works. Just as a tree is known by its fruit, so too is a vibrant faith known by the pleasing and acceptable works that bless God, our neighbors and the world.
X. Predestination, Assurance and Enduring Salvation: We do not believe that God has predestined some individuals to salvation and others to damnation. In the Gospel of John Jesus states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” God predestined that in Jesus the gift of salvation is offered to all and is received through faith as we choose to believe in Jesus and surrender our will and life. Upon receiving the gift, we are given assurance of our salvation as the Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit that we are not only saved but saved to the utmost. It is available to all, and it is a gift that God will never take away from us, but it never forfeits our free will and choice. Just as we turned from our path of self-will and sin to surrender to God, we can walk away from God, depart from His grace, return to our selfish path and fall back into the power of sin. But, even then, by the grace of God, we can turn back to God and be renewed in righteousness.
XI. Eternity and Judgment: People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life in Heaven. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
XII. Sacraments: We believe that Jesus ordained two sacraments, baptism and holy communion, as means of grace through which God works in us, quickening, strengthening and confirming our faith in Him. They are our outward participation in the inward work of Christ in our lives.
XIII. Baptism: Jesus made clear that Holy Baptism is the mark of Christian discipleship, so we believe it is the sacrament of initiation into the Christian Church. While it is not required for salvation, given time and opportunity, it is expected that all who surrender their life to Christ will submit to the waters of baptism by either sprinkling, pouring or immersion. It is the outward sign of an inward commitment that signifies entrance into the household of faith, symbolizes repentance and inner cleansing from sin, and represents our new birth in Christ. Because we believe in the Prevenient Grace of God which is at work in our lives before we even know Him, we believe infants are acceptable subjects for Christian baptism, assuming they will be nurtured in the faith and led to a personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as they profess their own faith and confirm their baptism. As we believe God is the primary actor in baptism and that the work He accomplishes cannot be negated, we do not believe that those who are being confirmed or those who have walked away from Christ and returned need to be rebaptized. They simply need to remember their baptism and claim or reclaim God’s gifts for their lives. That remembrance can be symbolized by sprinkling, pouring or immersion.
XIV. Holy Communion: We believe Holy Communion is a means of grace open to all who love Jesus, repent of their sins, and seek to live in harmony with their neighbors. While it is meant to be received in a manner worthy of the Lord, the status of the one who receives is between them and God. We invite all, regardless of age or membership status, to accept their place at the table which Jesus has set for them. We do not believe that the bread and juice substantively change into the body and blood of Christ. We believe the elements are the means of grace by which we encounter the real and tangible presence of the Lord at His table.
XV. The Priesthood of All Believers and Ordination of Ministers:
We believe every follower of Christ is called to ministry to proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. A follower of Jesus is a minister of the Gospel. It is out of the body of God’s chosen people that God has always called people to specific vocational servant ministry roles. That call is accompanied by gifts of the Spirit to aid in the fulfillment of ministry, and the authority of Jesus Christ to be His leaders in the church to a broken and hurting world. We believe the Church acknowledges this call, authority and gifting by ordaining both men and women to the offices of Deacon and Elder.