What We Believe
We try to be simple and biblical in everything that we do here at Faith. We don’t claim to have any special knowledge or insight into doctrine. After all, 2000 years ago the apostle spoke about the message “once for all entrusted to the saints.” Apparently the major doctrinal issues were resolved by then! In seeking a passage that describes the “non-negotiable” essential doctrines, we found I John 4 which is a primer for detecting false teachers. “Dear friends, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The text identifies six non-negotiable truths that are the foundation of “sound doctrine.”
God is mentioned in six of the first seven verses of this context. Verse two mentions God, Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God. We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in these three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
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The Incarnation of Christ
Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God… - I John 4:2.
Acknowledging that Jesus is God in the flesh is a non-negotiable truth. Every true believer must believe that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Our membership statement is: “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and my Lord and Savior.” We believe that mankind “fell” because of sin and that the Son, Jesus Christ, was sent to redeem us. Jesus was fully human and fully God.
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Conversion to Jesus
They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.” I John 4:5 but, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me - John 10:27.
There are two categories of people: the world —those who do not accept Jesus as their savior, and believers — those who have trusted in Jesus and are seeking to obey His commands. Salvation is a gift of God’s grace; no works or merit on our part can ever accomplish what Jesus did on the cross. Those who have accepted Christ are living the “eternal life” (I John 1:2). We are called to live in the security of the Love of God as brothers and sisters of Jesus, not in fear of judgment (John 3:1-3, Hebrews 10:19-27).
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The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
…the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world - I John 4:4.
The Holy Spirit is our teacher, counselor and guide. He is placed in the heart of every obedient believer as a gift of God. Orthodox teaching includes instruction about this Person who dwells in our hearts, providing comfort, conviction and inspiration to serve Jesus. The Holy Spirit manifests Himself in our lives as we display the character of Jesus and the power to overcome sin.
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The Authority of Scripture
We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the spirit of falsehood - I John 4:6.
We understand that the apostle was using the word “we” editorially to refer to himself and the other apostles, the human authors of New Testament Scripture. We may disagree about the meaning of Scripture, or its application, but the authority of Scripture is not negotiable. No human opinion comes close to the power and authority of God’s inspired Word. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” Hebrews 4:12.
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” II Timothy 3:16-17.
When dealing with passages where sincere, honest, godly men and women disagree about the meaning and application of a passage, we will endeavor to fairly represent all sides, while not hesitating to clearly state which position we hold. It is quite possible that two different Bible teachers at Faith Christian Community will take opposing positions regarding a Bible passage, while upholding its inspiration and accepting one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
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John uses seven verses to describe the doctrinal foundations of the faith, and fourteen verses to emphasize the importance of love. It is possible for us to be completely orthodox in the doctrinal content of our teaching and still be false teachers, if we aren’t practicing love! “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal…the greatest of these is love,” I Corinthians 13:1,13. In other words, to espouse the teaching of Christ without the love of Christ is heresy! “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk,” I Timothy 1:5-6.
Some groups deal with truth as though all truths were equal in importance and impact; as though truth were like dominoes—knock one over and they all fall down! This is legalism—dependence upon our correctness doctrinally or morally-works-for salvation. Jesus taught that truths are not all equal. He told the Pharisees that they had “left undone the weightier matters” of truth and justice. Jesus dealt with truth like a target. A target has a “bull’s-eye” and rings that grow larger as you proceed outward from center. The “bull’s-eye” of Christian teaching is the identity of Jesus and His death, burial and resurrection. The indwelling of God’s Spirit, the authority of Scripture, and the necessity of love are “inner ring” issues. Many other issues are matters of truth. Our desire and intent should be to believe and practice the truth in every area of our lives, tempered with the fact that our relationship with God is not based on our accuracy, either morally or doctrinally.
“But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast,” Ephesians 2:4-9.
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