"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."
A.W. Tozer

What are the essentials of the Christian faith? That is, what are the beliefs a person must hold in the sight of God to be a true Christian? This is not an easy question to answer. Many try to follow the model of great Christian thinkers, such as C.S. Lewis, who tried to define “mere Christianity”–Christianity at its core, with only the essential doctrines. The Christianity that distinguishes true Christians from followers of other religions, sects and cults.

At the same time, we live in a highly polarized world, where various denominations and groups condemn as “false teachers” anyone who does not agree with their doctrinal system, down to the smallest detail. Most fair-minded believers see the foolishness of this, but the question still remains: What, of the numerous teachings of Scripture, are the doctrines one must believe in order to be a genuine follower of Christ?

To be perfectly honest at the outset, we don’t think that the universal Church will ever come to full agreement on this side of eternity, even on an issue like essential doctrines. This calls for a much needed dose of humility when approaching such a subject. And yet, because of the eternal consequences of these matters, for good or for ill, it cannot be avoided without even great peril.

And so, something as simple as stating clearly what we believe as essential doctrines is a frightening task. What could be worse than to condemn, as a false Christian, someone who is washed by the blood of Jesus simply because you have too many “essential” doctrines? Or, equally terrifying would be to take part in the deception of a person who is still separated from God in their sin by affirming them as a born-again brother or sister in Christ when they really are not–believing in a false God, false Jesus, or false gospel.

All this has been said as an introduction to our “beliefs” section because, in stating our core beliefs, we are attempting to define what we believe to be essential to the Christian faith. Or in other words, what one must believe in order to be a born-again Christian. It is important to us to make clear from the outset how difficult a task this really is–separating the “important” from the “essential.” Our sincere prayer is that the reader will graciously understand that there are many doctrines that will not appear here, but that are still held by us to be true and very important–but not essential.

An additional problem that we face in this arena is that Christians cover a huge spectrum of cultures, intellect, learning and background. Because of this, we recognize that there are many differences in articulating or understanding the same truths. Therefore, this statement of belief in no way even attempts to provide a definitive way of stating these doctrines. It must also be recognized that Christians are meant to grow in wisdom and understanding, as we are on a living journey with God through Christ. Therefore, even in the lives of those who hold to these doctrines, their understanding and clarity of these truths will grow as they continue to walk with God.

Yet, for all the dangers and difficulties in defining essential doctrines, it is a task that must be done. A fellowship that does not know what it believes is in danger of not truly knowing Christ. If someone were to describe the “Jesus” they believe in as (and this illustration is meant to be illustrative, not irreverent) a 16 year old Swedish woman, then that “Jesus” would have no relationship with the Jesus of the Christian faith. Essential beliefs about God, salvation and the Christian life are defined by their doctrines. Without these, the labels and names are meaningless. Only the Jesus proclaimed in the Bible can truly save.

So now we come to how we have chosen these as our essential doctrines as a fellowship. First, we have done so based on the teachings of the Christian Scriptures. Second, we see which of these teachings, if rejected, the Bible tells us will result in a person being disqualified for salvation. Thirdly, we have done so by identifying underlying beliefs that, if not believed, make nonsense of Christianity altogether (for example, that God exists).

We ask for your prayerful consideration of these things. They are shared not in order to foster debate or controversy, but in order to openly and honestly declare the faith we have in Christ. We are enormously grateful to our spiritual forefathers who worked very hard in the past to formulate clear and concise creeds, simply stating the Christian faith. And if at any point we have erred, we ask the Father to make these things clear and lead us into all truth, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

We believe in God the Father Almighty.

That He created all things, visible and invisible.
That He is just and good.

We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, our Lord.

That He is God the Son, not created but begotten.
That He is the promised Messiah (Christ).
That He was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, Mary.
That, as a perfect man and yet fully God:
Was crucified for us, under Pontius Pilate, bearing on Himself the wrath of God for the sins of mankind.
That He suffered, died and was buried.
That on the third day He rose from the dead, according to the Scriptures.
That He showed Himself, risen and alive, to many witnesses.
That He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.
That He will come again, with glory.
That He will judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit.

That He, with the Father and the Son, are worshiped and glorified as God.
That He, the Holy Spirit, indwells believers in Jesus Christ.

We believe in the holy, universal, Christian Church and the fellowship of the saints.

We believe in the forgiveness of sins by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.

We believe in the Resurrection of the body.

We believe in everlasting life.