WHAT WE BELIEVE
These teachings are less central than the core doctrines of historical Christian orthodoxy. They represent areas where believers firmly committed to the core doctrines listed above might still come to different conclusions. These distinctives are not worth dividing over. Rather, they are helpful in understanding our theological identity within the Body of Christ. While we do not require those who attend Hope Tri-Cities to agree wholeheartedly with these distinctives, we do expect our leaders to support them.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
We believe that baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2, others) is a work of grace that is distinct from conversion, though it may happen simultaneously with conversion. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a singular, empowering event in which believers experience the person of the Holy Spirit, who already indwells them (Gal. 4:6), being released in greater power and influence in every aspect of their being for the purpose of greater service and impact for the kingdom of God. The experience is accompanied by the presence of supernatural spiritual gifts such as those listed in 1 Cor. 12. Those gifts may be manifested immediately or later on, and no one individual gift is the singular evidence of Spirit baptism. While baptism in the Holy Spirit is a one-time experience, scripture also directs believers to continue being filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), suggesting that Christians should consistently and intentionally ask God to release the full impact of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work in their life. For a more thorough conversation on this issue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate your desire to speak with a pastor on this topic.
Expanded Treatment Of Core Doctrines
The Word of God
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. The Bible, including all the books of the Old Testament and New Testament, is Holy Scripture and the inspired true word of God. It is fully authoritative and our only absolutely trustworthy guide for life and faith.
II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20,21; Mark 13:31; John 8:31,32; John 20:31
We believe that there is one true, good, and living God who is of one substance, power, and eternal purpose yet eternally existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Trinity is without division of nature, essence, or being (I John 5:7; Matthew 3:16-17; II Corinthians 13:14). The Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son (John 15:26; Galatians 4:6). The persons of the Trinity are equal in every divine perfection. They execute distinct but harmonious functions in the work of creation, history, providence, and redemption. God the Trinity possesses all life, glory, goodness, and blessedness in and of Himself.
Genesis 1:1,26; John 1:1,3; 4:24; 5:26; Matthew 28:19; Acts 7:2; Romans 1:19,20; 9:5; Ephesians 4:5,6; Colossians 2:9
God the Father
We believe in God the Father, an everlasting, infinite, perfect personal being who is the sovereign and rightful ruler of all that exists. The Father is perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. God created all things and upholds, directs, disposes, and governs all creatures, actions, and things by His wise and holy providence according to his infallible foreknowledge and the immutable counsel of His own will. God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of all natural and spiritual means yet is free to work without, above, and against them at His pleasure. He does this to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and grace. He is sufficient in Himself, not standing in need of any creature that He has made. He conducts Himself with steadfast mercy towards humanity. He draws men to Himself through His Son, forgiving the sin and delivering from death those who come to Him through Christ for salvation. The Father hears and answers prayer according to His wisdom, love, and providence. He will carry out all things in their proper time and order that they would consummate in Jesus Christ to reveal the supremacy of His name and purposes especially including the power of His love.
Job 22:2-3; 34:10; Psalm 139; Isaiah 55:10-11; Daniel 3:27; Hosea 1:7; 2:21-22; Luke 10:21-22; Matthew 4:4; 23:9; John 3:16; 6:27; Acts 17:24-28; 31,44; Colossians 1:16-17; Revelation 1:4-6; Romans 1:7; 4:19-21; I Timothy 1:1,2; 2:5,6; I Peter 1:3
God the Son
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten eternal Son, very God of very God, and the image of the invisible God. He took upon Himself our nature; being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and manifested in a body of flesh. He lived a sinless life, performed many signs and wonders, and taught the words of eternal life. He offered Himself as a penal substitutionary atoning sacrifice for sinners. He was physically crucified, suffered, bled, died and was buried. By the blood of His cross, He secured for us eternal redemption and made a way for life everlasting (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; Romans 9:5; John 1:1-18; 8:46-47; 20:28, 30-31; II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7). Salvation is found in and through Christ and Him alone. It is only because of His shed blood that we may approach the throne of grace and receive pardon for our sins from the Father. He was raised from the dead on the third day and appeared to His disciples in His resurrected body. He later ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father and is perpetually interceding for the saints. He awaits the time when the Father will send Him personally back to earth to a final resurrection of His people and judge His creation to usher in the final portion of redemptive history. He is due from angels, men, and every other creature whatever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them. At His appearing, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.
Acts 1:11; I Corinthians 15:1-28; Hebrews 7:25; 9:28; I Peter 2:21-23; Matthew 20:28; Romans 5:6-8; 6:9, 10; 8:34; I Timothy 3:16; Revelation 5:12-14
God the Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit, eternally one with the Father and Son, who convicts and convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8). Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. The Holy Spirit is the divine agent by whom believers are born into the Kingdom of God. As our abiding helper, the Spirit effectually calls, sanctifies, empowers, baptizes, indwells, guides, teaches, and equips all believers for service and witness. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit guides, governs, and protects the child of God from spiritual defeat and oppression (Ephesians 6:11-18). He enables believers to live in union with Christ and God the Father.
John 14:16,17,26; 15:26-27; John 16:9-14; I Corinthians 12:13; I Corinthians 2:10-11; 3:16; 6:19; II Corinthians 3: 6; Galatians 5:22-26; Titus 3:5; Romans 8:9,12-13; Ephesians 6:11-18
We believe that God created all things visible and invisible for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness. He created every molecule and galaxy. He created each species of life separately and finished His work by creating Adam from the dust and Eve from Adam. We believe that the universe has its beginning and end in God’s will. The universe is in no sense independent of Him and creation does not reflect a prior deficiency but its forma- tion and maintenance represent a continuing exertion of His creative power and ability. Both Adam and Eve were created equally in the image of God without sin. He endued them with knowledge, righteousness, and holiness having God’s natural law of conscience written in their hearts and the power to fulfill that law. They lived with the possibility of transgressing since they were left to the liberty of their own will. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man and woman in His own image and therefore every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Genesis 1; 2:7; Ecclesiastes 7:29; 12:7; Job 26:13; 33:4; Psalm 24:1-2; 33:5-6; 104:24; Isaiah 55:10-11; Jeremiah 10:12; Matthew 10:28; John 1:1-3; Acts 17:24; Romans 1:20; 2:14-15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Hebrews 1:2; 11:3; Revelation 4:11
Condition of Man and Woman
Adam and Eve received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which allowed them, while they kept it, to remain joyfully whole in their communion with God and have dominion over the earth and all living things. Adam and Eve, being influenced and seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned in eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death which is separation from God. God permitted their sin, having allowed it to His own ultimate mercy and glory. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God and so became dead in sin and wholly corrupted in all their parts and faculties of soul, spirit, and body. As they were the root of all mankind, the guilt, death, and corrupted nature caused by this sin was imputed and conveyed to all their posterity descending from generation to generation. Since this original corruption, we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good. We are thus wholly inclined to all evil and from this disposition proceeds all actual sin. For this reason, we believe all human beings are born with a sinful nature. This corruption of nature, during this life, remains in those that are saved; and although it is, through Christ, pardoned and mortified, it is never completely overcome until our glorification.
Genesis 1:27-28; 2:16-17; 3:6-8, 11,13,23; 5:3; 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; 15:4; Psalm 51:5; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:19; Acts 17:26; Romans 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12, 15-19; 7:18; 8:7; 11:32; I Corinthians 15:21-22, 45, 49; II Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21; Titus 1:15; James 1:14-15; 1 John 1:8,10; Romans 7:5,8, 14, 17-18, 23, 25; Galatians 5:17
Salvation is a mystery. While acknowledging our finite and incomplete understanding of God’s ways, in faith we believe that God is not willing that any should perish but desires that all mankind should repent of their sin (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4), be forgiven and experience salvation through faith in His Son (Ephesians 2:8-9). In a paradox that is difficult to resolve, God predestines that some persons will freely choose to receive God’s gracious salvation (Ephesians 1:4-5; Romans 10:9).
Justification occurs by and through Christ and because of His work on the cross and is apprehended through faith. No man is justified in the sight of God partly by Christ and partly by works (Romans 3:20,28,30; 8:33; Galatians 5:4). Salvation is the gracious purpose of God according to which He justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness and grace, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable.
We believe the Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts as God wills to His children. These gifts are designed to testify to the presence of the Kingdom and are distributed to equip the saints for worship and ministry to build up the body of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11; Ephesians 4:11-12) and minister powerfully in the community as sent ones. The miracles and revelatory gifts dispensed to the apostles and prophets of the early church are active today. The use of spiritual gifts is for the purpose of edification within the body that it would be built up in Christ (1 Corinthians 14:12). We believe that God uses these spiritual gifts to display His glory and anointing in individual saints for the work of His ministry established in the timeless message of the Bible (Acts 2:1-4).
The Church consists of all who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation and is the spiritual body of Christ. This includes all the redeemed of the ages, believers from among all peoples from every tribe, tongue, and nation. The primary purpose of the Church is to worship God and glorify Him by building up believers and effectively reaching the world with the gospel of Christ. We believe that Christ is the King, the High Priest, and a Holy Prophet of the church (Acts 3:22-23; Hebrews 4:14; 8:1). God ordained the ministry of the local church to include taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world and thereby accomplish His redemptive purposes among all peoples. The local congregation is a gathering of believers who are associated by the New Covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Spirit; observe the ordinances of Christ; are governed by His laws; and exercise the gifts, rights, and privileges within them by the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 16:15-19; Acts 2:41-42, 47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:17-32; I Corinthians 3:16; 7:17; 9:13- 14; 12:1-31; Colossians 1:18; I Timothy 3:1-15; 4:14; Titus 1:5-9;I Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.
Baptism and The Lord’s Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of outward obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior; death to sin; burial of the old life; and resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to a believer’s faith in an ultimate bodily resurrection to eternal life with Christ in His Kingdom.
The Lord’s Supper is an act of worship and obedience whereby believers, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are significant expressions of salvation, worship, and submission to God for the believer.
Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35- 39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12
Evangelism and Missions
The call and holy privilege of every child of God and of all churches of Jesus Christ is to go and make disciples of the nations (Matthew 9:37-38). God creates transformed lives evidenced by purity, holiness, and growth in Christ-like character by means of new birth. The Holy Spirit imputes the love of Christ into the hearts of believers, thus transforming their love toward others, for His Name’s sake. This results in children of God who actively seek to take the Gospel to sinners and who share in carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 10:13-15; 2 Timothy 4:5). The highest purpose for evangelism and missions is that the name of Jesus Christ and the glory of His kingdom be taken to the ends of the earth until He returns. Every believer is called to be a disciple who makes disciples.
Matthew 24:14; Romans 1:5; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 22:17
Heaven and Hell
We believe that Heaven is a real place of eternal blessedness prepared by God for those who have been saved by grace through the shed blood of Christ. We believe that Hell is a real place of eternal suffering for those whose names are not written in the book of life. There is no intermediate state in which the unsaved can atone for his own sins.
John 14:1-6; Revelation 7:13-17; 20:11-15; 21:22-27; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Luke 16:19-31
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal felicity of the righteous, and the eternal punishment of the unredeemed.
Matthew 16:27; Mark 14:62; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; Philippians 3:20; I Thessalonians 4:15; II Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13; I Corinthians 15: II Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15
Women in Ministry
We believe that God’s calling and gifting to pastoral ministry is not limited by gender. We observe in scripture that God has seen fit to use women in key leadership roles in the history of His people in the Old Testament, in the community of followers of Jesus during His earthly ministry, and in the ministry of Paul and others in the book of Acts. We are aware of the biblical passages (1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2 most notably) which would seem to prohibit women from teaching men or functioning as pastors. However, we understand those instructions to be linked to some identifiable cultural realities in the churches to which Paul wrote and in the prevailing historical context, neither of which continue to exist today. For a more complete presentation of the exegetical work from which our conclusions are derived, please email email@example.com
We believe Scripture speaks very directly to the appropriate expression of human sexuality. God designed sex to be shared exclusively between a man and woman who are united in the covenant of marriage. All other expressions of sexuality stand outside of God’s declared will, including premarital sex, extramarital sex, and homosexual sex. All human persons, regardless of marital status, sexual preference or sexual orientation are created in the image of God and derive their primary value from that truth. As such, all persons should be loved unconditionally, welcomed enthusiastically and served without hesitation. We call all persons to align all areas of their life to God’s will as expressed in the Bible. For a more thorough conversation on this issue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate your desire to speak with a pastor on this topic.