Theological Beliefs

What We Believe

We believe in God our creator who is one God in three distinct and equally divine persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is loving, holy, faithful, just and good, sustaining his creation and providing our every breath: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3). “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). 

 

We believe in the divine inspiration and authority of the Bible. As the trustworthy, reliable, and sufficient word of God, the Bible stands apart from all other books. It speaks the truth with purity and grace as it addresses all of life’s deepest questions.   “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

 

We believe that God has revealed himself to humanity through the written word of the Bible, through Jesus Christ, and through His creation. God, therefore, desires to be known: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever” (Deut. 29:29).

 

We believe in the goodness of God’s creation —of all that is seen and unseen, including the natural and moral laws as well as the foundational provisions for society such as work, marriage, family, rest, and stewardship. All of God’s creation is “very good” including humanity made in his image. Thus true spirituality is not an attempt to escape our flesh and blood existence but to live faithfully within it: “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31). “For when Gentiles who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they show that the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness” (Romans 2:14,15).

 

We believe in the reality of sin. Sin is not merely being “not perfect,” nor is it a matter of breaking arbitrary man-made rules. Rather, sin is our determination to live life apart from the true God, to reject his authority over us and to seek rather than to find meaning for ourselves. All of humanity has fallen into sin. All sin, from our small acts of personal selfishness to broader systemic injustice, can be traced to our rejection of God: “They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:3).

 

We believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus is more than a good moral teacher. He is God himself, the Son, who took to himself a human nature. Jesus, therefore, is fully God and fully man, yet one Christ, and he has identified with our humanity in every way except for acquiescing to the temptation to sin. Jesus announced God’s kingdom rule, freed the oppressed, confronted religious hypocrites, and welcomed sinners. He was crucified, died, and was buried. Yet he rose again on the third day, appeared to his followers, and ascended to heaven where he sits as king at the right hand of God the Father: Whoever has seen me has see the Father” (John 14:9.) “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness”  (Psalm 45:6).

 

We believe in God’s free gift of eternal life. We believe that God graciously accepts as his children all who turn to Christ in faith. Jesus lived a sinless life and yet died on the cross in the place of sinners. When we are connected to him through faith, his righteousness counts as ours; his death counts as an atoning sacrifice on our behalf; and his resurrection guarantees our future resurrection unto life. This salvation cannot be earned by any moral or religious effort but is a free gift received by faith: “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Psalm 32: 1).

 

We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to renew the hearts of people estranged from God; to transform their thoughts and actions; and to equip them for mission. God’s people, then, become the church–the bride of Christ–and are called to live as His holy people: regularly gathering for worship, giving generously, maintaining purity, loving their neighbors, seeking peace and justice, stewarding the earth, and waiting eagerly for the day when Jesus Christ will renew all things: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13). “As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy” (I Peter 1:15,16).

 

We believe in the kingdom of God, both now and not yet. Jesus announced the inauguration of the kingdom when He began His public ministry, thereby suggesting that we, His followers, are to live as kingdom people right here on earth. This is “the now.” Then, before Jesus ascended to the Father, He promised to return again and renew all things. When He comes He will judge the world and renew the earth to free it, completely, from every trace of pain, injustice, and death.  Believers will be with him forever in everlasting joy and wholeness. This is the “not yet” that we eagerly anticipate. “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

 


Adapted from the statement of faith of New City Fellowship of Lancaster (PCA). www.newcitylancaster.org

A more detailed statement of our beliefs can be found in the historic document known as the Westminster Confession which is our denomination’s official summary of faith.  Our denomination has also created a document entitled: The Essentials. Both of these documents can be found on the EPC website, www.epc.org.