Faith Expressed As Doctrine

Faith Expressed As Doctrine

  1. God as Creator: We believe God is the Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos, whose crea-tive work provides the basis for order, beauty, purpose, and rationality. God is holy and eternal; He is loving, almighty, and all-wise. He reveals Himself and His will to His creation. He illuminates humankind through rational understanding, experience, and direct revelation. He speaks through the Scriptures. We believe that in redeeming humanity, God is bringing the universe into a glorious expression of His purpose. In joy of this hope we offer Him honor and praise.
  2. God’s Revelation in Christ: We believe that the word of God spoken into every heart was supremely manifest in Jesus Christ, who in His virgin birth and sinless life was true God and perfect man. Christ is the Word. He is the Light that exposes our sin and brings us into the righteousness of God. He is the Redeemer through whose atoning death and resurrection we receive the forgiveness of God. He is Lord and to Him we give our obedience. Christ is the first and last word of divine wisdom by which God is drawing His creation into a new covenant of peace.
  3. God’s Revelation by the Spirit: We believe God is the source of truth, that there are no spiritual insights or principles independent of His revelation. God’s Spirit teaches us through the Scriptures and through the creation. He convicts and instructs conscience, testifies to salvation through Christ, and gives wisdom and power for holy living. The Spirit gives discernment concerning the purposes of God through natural and social history. The Spirit enlightens reason and quickens human creativity that we might share in the work of the Creator.
  4. God’s Revelation in the Scriptures: We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God. They are the divinely authorized record of the doctrines that we as Christians are bound to accept, and of the moral principles that are to regulate our lives and actions. By their own declaration, the Scriptures are able to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15 NIV). Interpreted by the Holy Spirit, they are an unfailing source of truth. We believe the Spirit will not lead persons or groups contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures.
  5. Human Redemption: We believe that God created the human being, male and female, in His own image; but that when Adam and Eve fell from a state of holy obedience, the human race lost a perfect relationship to God, and self instead of the Creator became the center of life. Through the blood of Christ our Savior we may be recovered from the fall and made right (justified) before God. To those who put their faith in Christ, God offers forgiveness of sins, regeneration of affections and actions, and final glorification of the resurrected body.
  6. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit: We believe Christ’s baptism to be the inward receiving of the promised Holy Spirit, whereby the believer is immersed in Jesus’ power, purity, and wisdom. This baptism is the essential Christian baptism: an experience of cleansing from sin that supplants old covenant rituals. The sanctification that is initiated with this experience is a continuing work of the Holy Spirit in which we are instructed into righteous living and perfected in love. Thus sanctification is the work of God’s grace by which our affections are purified and exalted to a supreme love of God.
  7. The Church: We believe the Church is composed of persons who, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, have been born into His Kingdom and baptized with the Holy Spirit into the one Body. These persons agree together to follow Jesus as Lord. This Church is spiritual in nature, universal in scope, holy in character, and redemptive in purpose. Its head is Jesus Christ, who serves immediately as priest and ministers directly as teacher and prophet. The Church exists visibly in local meetings for worship and in groupings of these churches as they are united in common expressions of faith and action.
  8. God’s Kingdom: We believe the Church is called to demonstrate in this life the righteous character of Christ’s present and coming Kingdom. The Kingdom is present now to the extent that the people of God hear His voice and obey it. The coming Kingdom will be initiated by the second appearing of Jesus Christ (as foretold by the prophets) and by the resurrection of the dead. The world will then be judged righteously by Jesus Christ and there will come everlasting punishment for the finally unrepentant wicked and everlasting blessedness for the righteous. At that time the world will be freed from the grip of evil and satanic power, and Christ will reign over a restored universe.
  9. The Spiritual Experience:  We believe that we may experience Christ directly and immediately without the necessity of priestly or ceremonial intervention and that this experience is available to every person. The spiritual life is nourished by the Holy Spirit, who teaches and guides us both individually and corporately according to His commandments. For Friends the supper of the Lord is an inward feeding on Christ by faith in response to His broken body and shed blood.
  10. Worship: Worship is the adoring response of heart and mind to the Spirit of God. The meeting for worship brings a personal and corporate renewal, an edification and communion of believers, and a witness of the Gospel to the unconverted. We recognize the value of silence to center our thoughts upon God. We believe the Spirit speaks to worshipers through persons He has prepared and selected, whose message may be given in various modes by men or women, children or adults. We believe God calls some persons to a special preaching ministry, which the church should respectfully receive. Friends observe the first day of the week for corporate worship and for rest.