There is one true and living God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each member of the trinity share the divine attributes as they infinitely know, love, and glorify one another in unity and holiness. Immortal and eternal, God perfectly and exhaustively knows everything from the beginning to the end and works all things for his redemptive purposes and glory1
God the Father: Head among the persons of the trinity, God the Father is the grand architect and wise designer of creation, redemption and consummation. He sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation. As the giver of every good and perfect gift, he exercises his care and compassion by disciplining, correcting and loving his adopted children.2
God the Son: The second person of the trinity, the eternal Son of God, is the creator and sustainer of all things, both visible and invisible. He added human nature to his divine nature and became a man, the Lord Jesus Christ; conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God to humankind and redeem sinful people. As Lord and Christ Jesus accomplished salvation through his sinless life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. The Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, he fulfills the ministry as Intercessor, Mediator and Advocate.
God the Holy Spirit: The third person of the trinity, God the Holy Spirit was sent by God the Father and God the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. As the Spirit of Life, he gives people faith to be born again in Jesus. Likewise, he baptizes all believers into the body of Christ, indwells them and seals them unto the day of redemption. As the Spirit of truth, he works sanctification in believers by teaching them about Jesus and empowering them to live for Jesus.
Revelation & Scripture
God has graciously shown his existence and power in creation and has supremely revealed himself in the person of his Son, the incarnate Word. God is a speaking God who by his Spirit has graciously made himself known through human words in the Bible, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is without error in the original writings and must not be added to, superseded, or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation, or worldly wisdom.
The bible is complete in its revelation of God’s will for salvation, sufficient for all that he requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority. All believers are exhorted to study the Scriptures and diligently apply them to their lives. God’s Word guides Christian life, practice, and doctrine. Every doctrinal formulation, whether of creed, confession, or theology must be put to the test of the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture.
The Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. As God’s people hear, believe, and do the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel.
God created human beings, male and female, in his own image, therefore all people from every culture, race, and social status have dignity, value and worth.
Adam and Eve, our first parents, belonged to the created order that God himself declared to be very good. They lived in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker and served as stewards to care for, manage, ##and govern creation. As part of God’s design, Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord.
Adam, made in the image of God, distorted that image and forfeited his original blessedness—for himself and all his offspring after him—by choosing to sin against God. As a result, all human beings are hostile to and alienated from God yet responsible to him, and subject to his divine wrath.
Humankind’s depravity is radical and pervasive, extending to every aspect of our being (e.g., physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) and bringing us under the dominion of darkness. Fallen, sinful people no matter their character or accomplishments are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ.
The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; the only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.4
From all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose them. God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and that he will one day glorify them—all to the praise of his glorious grace. In love God commands and implores all people to turn from sin and rebellion and believe in Jesus, having set his saving grace on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer.5
The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ and his kingdom come to earth. The message of the gospel declares that Jesus, who is God, came in fulfillment of the scriptures to be the King and Savior of the world. Jesus lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary death for our sins, and rose from the grave on the third day that the power of God might be revealed. It is through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection that we receive salvation, are reconciled to God and given eternal life.
The truth of the gospel is exclusive (one can be saved by no other means), biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), historical (if the saving events did not happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses to the risen Lord Jesus), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved).
Redemption & Salvation
According to the plan of God to adopt us into His family, the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption. By his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative, substitute and mediator. He did this so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As our representative, Jesus lived a perfect sinless life for us. As our substitute, Jesus canceled our record of sin on the cross, satisfied the wrath of God and made reconciliation with God possible. By his resurrection Christ Jesus was vindicated by his Father, broke the bondage of sin, defeated the power of death, conquered Satan and all demonic forces and brought everlasting life to all his people. As our mediator, Jesus who ascended to heaven, sits on his heavenly throne interceding for us in prayer and preparing a place for us to be with him.6
Salvation is a free gift of God that is not earned but rather given by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. God the Father ordains the plan of salvation, God the Son accomplishes the work of salvation, and God the Spirit applies salvation in the life of a believer by making them born again.7
Empowerment of the Holy Spirit
Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and is present with and in believers. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, and in him they are baptized into union with the Lord Jesus Christ. By the Spirit’s agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, adopted into God’s family and receive spiritual gifts. The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of the promised inheritance of eternal life, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, liberates and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
The Holy Spirit empowers our sanctification and seeks to produce his fruit in us as our minds are renewed and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality, as we are led by the Spirit we grow in the knowledge of the Lord and obedience to Him. Under His guidance, we freely keep his commandments and endeavor to live in the world such that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.
The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power for Christian life, witness and service. He imparts his supernatural gifts for the edification of the Body and for various works of ministry in the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the first century church are available today and should be earnestly desired and practiced. The work of the Holy Spirit through believers is vital for the mission of God.
The Kingdom of God
Those who have been saved by the grace of God enter into the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of new covenant relationship with God. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to our city for the glory of God. As citizens of God’s kingdom, Christians are to love our neighbors as ourselves and do good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of individuals rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God.
The universal church is not a religious institution but rather the community of all Christians throughout history, and is comprised of local churches; thus each “local church” is, in fact, the church and the household of God. As the head of the church, Jesus leads and rules his body. As the bridegroom of his church, Jesus loves and cherishes his bride. As the Chief Shepherd of his church, Jesus cares for and protects the flock of God.
God’s mission to spread his glory through all the earth and reconcile all things to himself is accomplished through his church - worshipping him in spirit and truth and faithfully serving as his ambassadors to the unbelieving world. He makes his appeal through us when the gospel is preached, disciples are made, and new churches are planted. Ultimately, God’s mission through his Church is to make disciples of Jesus who make disciples.
The church is a people, sinners made saints who have been adopted as God’s children and live together in unity, love and community as family, the household of God. God’s people are devoted to the teaching of God’s word, fellowship with each other, practicing the sacraments, prayer and mission. Jesus established human leadership within the church whom the Bible calls elders and deacons. Elders are the pastors of the church who minister the word of God and oversee and care for the people. Deacons are servants who help the elders and serve the greater body. All leaders are to meet biblical qualifications and set an example in love, humility and followership of Jesus. As an extension of God’s created order, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role of the office of elder is given to qualified men and is grounded in
creation, fall, and redemption and must not be changed by appeals to culture.
Every Christian is part of the body of Christ and is expected to participate in the life of the body by being a member of a local church. Members of the local church build up the body of Christ by loving each other and contributing to the kingdom of God on earth.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He gives to all people life and breath and all things. All that we have and all that we are, we owe to Him because all things belong to him and we belong to him.
As our creator, God made humankind to live and serve as stewards to care for, manage, ##and govern creation under his dominion. Because of the fall, our stewardship became distorted and broken. We were rescued by Christ by a great act of infinite generosity. Jesus Christ laid aside his wealth in glory and became poor in order to redeem us. He gave himself for us. He bought us. He is the example and model for generosity and stewardship. It is because of his great generosity to us, we can be generous in return. As redeemed stewards we can now willingly, sacrificially, cheerfully and generously invest the God-given time, talent and treasure entrusted to us for God’s glory and the expansion of his kingdom.
Baptism & Communion
There are two ordained sacraments given by the Lord Jesus himself: baptism and communion.
After conversion, baptism happens once in a believers life. Our practice of baptism is full immersion of a professing believer in water. Baptism symbolizes the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior. As the believer goes into the water it represents death to sin and the burial of the old life. As the believer comes out of the water it represents new life in Christ and the freedom to walk in newness of life.8
Communion is an ongoing practice throughout the believers life. As with water baptism, communion - or the Lord’s Supper - is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of his blood on our behalf. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper with an attitude of faith and self- examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ,, and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.
These sacraments are simultaneously a reminder of God’s grace to Christians and a Christian’s public declaration of union with Christ in his life, death and resurrection. They are done in obedience to nourish and sustain our faith as we anticipate Jesus’ return and the consummation of all things.
Along with all creation, the Bride of Christ eagerly awaits the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus and the complete consummation of his kingdom on earth. The consummation includes: the resurrection of the dead and the translation of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and Christ’s renewal of creation, including establishing a new heaven, a new earth and a new Jerusalem.
Satan, demons, and all those who do not trust in Christ for salvation will be finally separated from the benevolent presence of God - enduring eternal conscious punishment - but the righteous, in glorious resurrected bodies, shall live and reign with him forever. On that day, because of the obedience, suffering and triumph of Christ, the Church will be presented pure and spotless, free and rid of all the effects of sin.
Afterward God will dwell with this people, face to face, where they will enjoy the presence of God forever, serving him and giving him unending praise and glory.
1 Adapted from the Gospel Coalition’s confessional statement
2 Adapted from the book Father, Son, and Spirit by Bruce Ware
3 Adapted from the Gospel Coalition’s confessional statement and the Cityview Church (York, PA) statement of faith
4 Adapted from the Gospel Coalition’s confessional statement and the Cityview Church (York, PA) statement of faith
5 Adapted from the Gospel Coalition’s confessional statement
6 Adapted from the Gospel Coalition’s confessional statement
7 Adapted from the Cityview Church (York, PA) statement of faith
8 Adapted from the Southern Baptist ‘Basic Beliefs’ document