In Essentials: Unity.
In Non-Essentials: Liberty.
In All Things: Charity.
We don't despair in what we see because we know that the battle for our souls has been won. We trust Christ, our savior, to continue to change us and use us for his loving purposes.
Growing to love one another by developing relationships that are graceful and truthful.
Safely face the darkest truths about ourselves confident in his grace that we might change.
Truthfully uphold the loving values and principles God gives in the Bible without doing so self-righteously.
OUTWARD AND RELEVANT
Resisting the temptation to serve only ourselves by maintaining a purposely outward focus as we seek to apply and communicate God's grace and truth in an honest, relevant, and practical manner.
OUR GOALS FOR BELIEVERS
Our goal is to help believers discover joy, freedom, power and motivation in the love and grace of Christ, so they may be freed to love God and others. Our desire is not merely to prop people up with good news so they will feel better about themselves and have a more comfortable and peaceful life. Rather, it is to see lives radically impacted by the astounding power of the gospel for the glory of God and the spread of his Kingdom.
OUR MESSAGE, THE GOSPEL
Forgiven and accepted by God through the work of Jesus Christ, we believe the gospel penetrates our lives with real and applicable change. The timeless hope is the gospel's power to transform big sinners like each one of us. It's not about being nicer or trying harder; but a new life, new worship, and a new community
THE GOSPEL CHANGES EVERYTHING
The gospel is indeed the very hope for unbelievers to find everlasting life. Yet it is also the hope for believers to grow and change. Finding our worth through performance will only lead us to become proud, judgmental, or self-loathing and get discouraged. The gospel hope gives us a new self-image. The gospel leads us away from legalism or moralism and calls us to repentance and gospel transformation is the key to obedient living. Thus, we believe the gospel is the greatest need of believers as well. The gospel is our source of hope and spiritual growth. By our union with Jesus and what he has done for us, and not what we do for him, we are empowered to live the Christian life. Many discipleship approaches emphasize that obedience leads to deeper relationship with Christ. Our focus is that deeper relationship with Christ leads us to respond with greater obedience. The center is Christ, not the person. This perspective drives our ministry.
OUR HOPE TO REACH OUT BEYOND OURSELVES
If we really believe the gospel then “we are a church not here to denounce the community, but to serve, challenge and love it. We are a church not just for ourselves, but for our friends and neighbors who don't go to church.” - Tim Keller
JOY AND PEACE IN THE STORM
If what we believe is true at a theological level, it should have an impact on our life in the most practical ways. This should surface in our personalities as joy and peace, strength yet kindness. Christians often talk about joy as if it was something formal, alien, polite, even sour. We believe that Christian joy should truly be "joyful." If we are truly freed by grace, we are free to take ourselves a little less seriously and lighten up and have a good time. We can live in confident hope in the midst of chaotic storms, be bold when fearful, confident under pressure - and experience real joy instead of dry formalism. Drink deeply from life and "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).
THE GOSPEL IS FOR BELIEVERS ALSO
If we were to ask what is your greatest need as a believer, or less directly, what is the greatest need for Christians today, what would you say? We get all kinds of answers, but they are really all very similar in a sense. The answers tend to focus on what we need to do: discipline, obedience, commitment, study, better self-esteem, political activism, helping the poor and needy, being filled with the Spirit, etc. Rather distinctive to our ministry, however, is a perspective and intense commitment to the gospel and God's grace being the greatest need for believers. For most Christians that is a bit alien. The gospel is seen as something needed to come to Christ but something else is needed to grow in Christ. That's the milk; what is needed is meat. Few Christians have been helped to understand how the gospel and our union with Christ empowers and motivates us to live the Christian life. While many other discipleship approaches today emphasize that obedience leads to deeper relationship with Christ, our emphasis is that deeper relationship with Christ leads to obedience. We see this on a church level as a whole, and on an individual level also. As a church, God calls us to worship, fellowship, evangelism, teaching, missions, and mercy. But we believe what will enable us in impassion us, in all these areas is the gospel. As our church family more deeply understands and applies who Christ is and what he has done for us, our worship will soar, our fellowship will grow stronger, our service will become energized, etc. We want to have a Christ centered, rather than person centered, perspective driving our ministry as a church. So, what does it mean to view the Christian life through the gospel? For us it looks something like this: the gospel enables us to grow in the father's transforming love; Grow in the father's character; And grow in the father's business. Grace (the gospel) is the gate through which we enter the beautiful meadow of God’s heaven when we first come to faith in Jesus Christ, yet grace continues to be our source of constant nourishment as believers - i.e. the same gospel that lets us enter, is also the stream of grace that runs through the meadow giving us life!
“Moralism... can ultimately only create awareness of sin and guilt or manufactured virtues built on willpower. A ministry which leads to genuine sanctification and growth, on the other hand, avoids moralism, first by making clear the deep root of sin-problems in the flesh so that the congregation is not battling these in the dark, and then by showing that every victory over the flesh is won by faith in Christ, laying hold of union with him in death and resurrection and relying on his Spirit for the power over sin. Ministries which attack only the surface of sin and fail to ground spiritual growth in the believer’s union with Christ produce either self- righteousness or despair, and both these conditions are detrimental to the spiritual life.”
- Richard Lovelace.
A PHILOSOPHY OF MERCY TO OTHERS
Our ministries of mercy should be motivated by our understanding of God's grace and the gospel which results in adoration and gratitude to God and the desire to serve our Father through serving and loving others. Christ’s mercy for us was not based upon worthiness - our mercy to others should also not be based upon worthiness. Our outpouring of generosity to others should be based on the undeserving mercy and grace that we received. Mercy is an opportunity of being the hands and feet of Jesus through deeds, compassion, and support for others. Humility is a core principle in what we do. We are not doing this for attention, recognition, to make ourselves feel better, to look better in God's eyes. It is not about us, it is about him. “We love because he first loved us.” He was amazingly generous so to us, so we choose generosity to others. Scripture calls us to care for the vulnerable, marginalized, poor, widows, immigrants and orphans. Jesus talked about this repeatedly. Every human being is created in and bears the image of God and deserves human dignity. We strive to help provide that dignity. “Faith without works is dead.” Patrick Lafferty
OUR BASIC BELIEFS
We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God (inspiration). We believe it is without error in its original writings (inerrant,) that it is the complete revelation of God's will for our Salvation, and that it is our Supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and life (infallible and authoritative) 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21.
We believe there is only one true God; in that it is in him alone who we must worship and serve, and that he alone is worthy of our lives and trust. We believe that God is eternal, infinitely perfect, all- powerful, all-knowing, and holy separate from humanity and morally perfect. We believe this one God exists and works in three persons: Father , Son and Holy Spirit (Trinity). We believe he owns and controls all things according to his will (Ephesians 1:11; 3:11; Acts 4:24-27).
We believe that God alone has existed from eternity past and, in his wisdom, decided to create the universe using nothing which had pre-existed (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3; Isaiah 44:24).
We believe that human beings were created by God in his own likeness (image) in order to have an intimate relationship with him (fellowship) and to bring him glory. Therefore, we believe humanity has tremendous dignity and value (Genesis 1:26; Colossians 3:17). We believe, however, that humanity broke that fellowship through rebellion and disobedience (sin), and thereby became spiritually dead, separated from God, under his condemnation, completely unable to please him or earn a restored relationship (salvation) Romans 3: 9-19; 8:7, 8. We believe that we all are sinners and totally unable to save ourselves from God's displeasure, except by his mercy.
We believe that Jesus Christ is truly God (Romans 9:5) and that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a Virgin, becoming also truly human (“Luke 2:1-40). We believe he did this in order to represent both God and humanity as a mediator and to become the bridge that restores our relationship to God. Because of his humanity and his sufferings, and being tempted in every way like we are yet without sinning, he is also able to be compassionate and sympathetic toward us (Hebrews 4: 14-16). We believe that Jesus is the only savior and way back to God (I Timothy 2:5); that he suffered, died on the cross, and took the full punishment of our sins as our substitute and sacrifice (Romans 3:25a), and thereby redeemed us (bought us back) and reconciled our broken relationship with God (Romans 5:10). We believe Jesus physically and truly came back to life after three days (resurrection); Matthew 28, demonstrating his deity and power, and the effectiveness of his sacrifice. We believe that he ascended into heaven in the sight of his disciples and now reigns with God the Father (Luke 24:50-53). We believe he is now our advocate continually standing up for us (Romans 8:34).
GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION
We believe in the gospel, the good news: that, through Jesus and his sacrifice, sinners (like we all are), can have an intimate, loving relationship with God again, and one day live with him forever. We believe God's plan and provision to send Jesus to redeem us was purely out of his love and by grace alone (doing good for those who deserve the opposite). We believe that only faith, trusting in who Jesus is an what he did, is the means to receiving the gift of salvation; and that nothing we do by the way of good deeds or religious exercise can earn it. We believe faith is the gift of God and the work of the Holy Spirit; and that it is accompanied by our admitting we are great sinners in need of a great savior (repentance). We believe the results of salvation by grace through faith alone: that total forgiveness of our sins past, present and future, the complete removal of guilt in God's sight, acceptance and approval by God, the crediting of Jesus’ obedience to our record, our adoption into God's family as his daughters and sons (with all its rights and privileges), the power to become more and more like Jesus through our lifetime, and the guarantee of being united with him at our death in order to live with him forever (John 3:16; Romans 3:22-24; Ephesians 2:1,4,5,8-10). We believe that salvation is by grace alone as he sovereignly chooses those he will save. His salvation is based on his grace, not on any human individual merit, or foreseen faith.
We believe Jesus promises to personally and visibly return again one day and bring all things to their completion and culmination. We believe there will be a final judgment by God, where he will take his own to be with him forever and will deliver all others to be separated from him forever (I Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 20:11-15).
We believe in the invisible church: that we are one with all God’s people, everywhere, throughout history. We also believe in the visible church: where God's people in particular places and at particular times in history expressed their unity by visibly committing themselves to mutual encouragement and accountability. We believe these local churches are the ordinary means through which God spreads the gospel and helps his people grow in love and faith. We believe the church uses the Bible, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (visible signs of invisible grace), and prayer to accomplish this. We believe that God is gracious and faithful to his people not simply as individuals, but as families in successive generations according to his covenant promises.
LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells God's people and gives us strength and wisdom to trust Christ and follow him and that all aspects of our lives are to be lived to the glory of God under the leadership of Jesus Christ - not by legalistic effort, but by living under grace in response to the gospel. - David DesForge
OUR VALUES FURTHER EXPLAINED
Reformed means that we trace our roots to Protestant Reformation, when John Calvin and others led the movement to reform the Church according to Scripture. It also means that we believe in the sovereignty of God, and that the highest good is His glory. This historical and theological heritage is often expressed in the solas of the Reformation: God’s grace alone is the only way to be reconciled to Him; our faith alone is the only means of receiving God’s grace; Christ alone is the ground of God’s saving grace; Scripture alone as the only infallible authority for belief; and God’s glory alone as the ultimate purpose for our lives.
Finally, to be Reformed is to be confessional. We have one confessional standard: the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. While it is subordinate to God’s Word, it helps us maintain and defend the gospel as the Bible declares it. We affirm the value and use of creeds and other confessions that are biblical and orthodox. Our “Essentials of the Faith” statement is a summary affirmation of Christianity (Evangelical Presbyterian Church).
To be evangelical is to believe that Jesus is God the Son who became flesh and lived among us and died for us. Through Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God has been inaugurated, thereby freeing people from the guilt and power of sin through personal faith and repentance. This good news of God’s love needs to be shared (ideally in relationships) with those who are alienated from God. This salvation is found in no one else. As Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Me” John 14:6 (Evangelical Presbyterian Church).