Confession of Faith
The below Confession of Faith is a reflection of the truths revealed throughout the Bible. It is not meant to be used in place of God’s Word, but like creeds and declarations of the past, is a guide to help clarify our core beliefs as a church and a tool to equip the saints for the work of ministry, and building up of the body of Christ.¹ To give further understanding to the twelve foundational sections below, and further display how God’s truths revealed in His Word apply to all aspects of our lives, we have included a number of Position Papers with Applications that explain our beliefs about societal institutions and cultural issues. As the elders of the church continue to address the needs of the body and address the evolving views of our culture, we will publish additional Position Papers and Applications and include them here under the relevant sections below.
1 Ephesians 4:12
The Triune God
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect both in His love and in His holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, He perfectly and exhaustively knows the end from the beginning. He sustains all things and sovereignly rules over everything, even evil, providentially bringing about His eternal good purposes to redeem a people for Himself and restore His fallen creation, to the praise of His glorious grace.²
In response to His revelation of Himself, the people of Fellowship worship and adore the only true God with reverence and thanksgiving.
² Gen. 1:26, 50:20; Deut 32:4; Ps 104:27; Matt 3:16-17; Col 1:17
We believe that God has graciously disclosed His existence and power in the created order, and has supremely revealed Himself to fallen human beings in the person of His Son, the incarnate Word. Moreover, God has, by His Spirit, graciously disclosed Himself through men in human words. We believe He has inspired the words preserved in the Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which both record and reveal His saving work in the world. These writings alone constitute the verbally “God-breathed” Word of God, which is infallible, authoritative, inerrant, utterly without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of His will for salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks. We believe the entirety of Scripture centers about the person and work of Jesus Christ, and therefore no portion is properly understood until it leads to Him. 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 live by the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the Gospel.³
Because the Bible is God’s very revelation, at Fellowship, we embrace it as authoritative for all matters in our church and seek to understand and apply it to every aspect of life.
³ Jer. 1:9; Jn 14:6; Rom 10:17; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:21, 3:15b-16
We believe that God created the entire universe out of nothing. The original creation, initiated by the Father, accomplished by the Son and completed by the Spirit, was very good, accomplishing God’s purpose to glorify Himself. About His creation, we believe He is both transcendent (independent of) and immanent (involved in). He is the creator of every living thing “after its kind” and is the driving force in the development of organisms through His intelligent design. His crowning achievement is the creation of human beings. We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in His image. Adam and Eve belonged to that created order that God Himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s agents to care for, manage, and govern the creation, as well as living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to important ministry in every arena of human affairs. 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. Ultimately, marriage serves as a picture 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 and reflect both His created order and the loving relationship between Christ and the church.4
Since God created the universe and everything in it, the people of Fellowship owe all that we are and have to Him and therefore should continually worship and praise Him for His greatness and provision.
4 Gen 1:2, 1:26-27, 2:7, 2:24; Jn 1:3; Acts 2:17-18; 1 Cor 11:3, 12:7; Gal 3:27-28; Eph 5:22-24; 1 Tim 2:11-15, 3:2; Heb 11:3
We believe that man, made in the image of God, distorted that image and forfeited his original sinless condition—for himself and all his descendants—by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation. As a result, all human beings are born alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (e.g., physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually), subject to the power of the devil and condemned finally and irrevocably to death apart from God’s gracious intervention. 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 by grace.5
At Fellowship we teach the truth about our sinfulness to show our guilt before God and dependence upon His undeserved grace as our sole source of acceptance before Him and our strength for the daily battle against our flesh.
5 Gen 3:6-7; Rom 3:23, 5:12, 5:18-19, 6:23; 2 Cor 4:3-4, 5:17-19; Eph 2:1-3, 2:8-9
We believe that 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 without any merit in them or anything done by them. We believe that 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 repent and believe in the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. Utter folly to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is Christological, centering on the cross and resurrection. The Gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if His death and resurrection are not central to that proclamation. This good news is Biblical (Christ’s death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to God), 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 of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received and believed, individual persons are saved).6
Everything we teach and do at Fellowship must be rooted in this Gospel message so that it may be faithfully shared by our people at home and across the world.
6 Mar 1:15, Luk 24:25-27; Rom 1:16, 5:1, 8:30; 1 Cor 1:20-31, 15:3-4; Eph 1:3-6, 2:8-9
The Redemption of Christ
We believe that, moved by love and in obedience to His Father, the eternal Son became human: the Word became flesh, fully God and fully human being, one Person in two natures. The man Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel, was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary. He perfectly obeyed His heavenly Father, lived a sinless life, performed miraculous signs, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven. As the mediatorial King, He is seated at the right hand of God the Father, exercising in heaven and on earth all of God’s sovereignty, and is our High Priest and Righteous Advocate. We believe that by His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute. He did this so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God: on the cross He canceled sin, satisfied the wrath of God, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe. By His resurrection Christ Jesus was vindicated by His Father, broke the power of death and defeated Satan who once had power over it, and brought everlasting life to all His people; by His ascension He has been forever exalted as Lord and has prepared a place for us to be with Him. We believe that salvation is found in no one else but Jesus, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. Because God chose the lowly things of this world, the despised things, the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, no human being can ever boast before Him—Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.7
At Fellowship, Jesus Christ and Him crucified and resurrected is at the very center of our proclamation and worship.
7 Is 42:1; Luk 1:27-35; Jn 1:1, 14:2-6, 17:2; Act 3:22; Rom 5:19, 6:9; 1 Cor 1:24, 15:3-4; 2 Cor 1:24, 15:3-4; 2 Cor 5:18; Eph 1:22; Phil 2:6-11; Col 1:20, 2:13; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 5:5-6; 1 Pet 1:19-20; 1 Jn 2:1
The Justification of Sinners
We believe that Christ, by His obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified by their faith in Him. By His sacrifice, He bore in our stead the punishment due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf. By His perfect obedience He satisfied the just demands of God’s righteousness on our behalf, since by faith alone that perfect obedience is credited to all who trust in Christ alone for their acceptance with God. Inasmuch as Christ was given by the Father for us, and His obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.8
The Power of the Holy Spirit
We believe that our salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to His people by the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father and the Son at Pentecost, 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. In Him, they are baptized into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer at conversion, and never departs from the church, nor from the feeblest of saints, but is ever-present to testify of Jesus Christ. By the Spirit’s agency, believers have been adopted into God’s family, and are positionally renewed and sanctified while He grows them in grace daily in this life toward those ends; through His power, they participate in the divine nature, receive His sovereignly distributed gifts, and He grants them the desire to follow and obey Christ. As believers yield their will to His, His fruit begins to grow in them for the world to see. The Holy Spirit is Himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, convicts, equips, revives, comforts, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service. We believe that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the church of the first century are available today, manifested as God sovereignly determines, and are to be pursued and practiced in an orderly manner. The gifts are essential to the mission of the Church in the world today.9
At Fellowship, we will strive to walk in the power of the Spirit, and not in our flesh, welcoming His power and guidance as we seek His will for our church.
9 Jn 3:5-8, 14:15-17, 16:5-11; Rom 5:1-5, 8:9-11; 1 Cor 2:10-16, 2:12-14; Gal 3:1-6, 5:16-26; Eph 1:11-14; 1 Thess 5:10-20; Titus 3:4-7; 2 Pet 1:3-4
The Kingdom of God
We believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed. The good works that believers walk in, accomplished by faith, constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. 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. Recognizing whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized until Christ’s return to the earth, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world as first fruits of the eventual redemption of all creation. Although Satan is allowed by God to be the current ruler of this world, 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 that is a reminder to Satan and a hope to the world that the full realization of God’s Kingdom on the earth is coming in Jesus Christ.10
At Fellowship, we will make disciples by God’s grace in the dark places of our city, state, and world, embracing the reality that there will always be dark places until the Son of Righteousness rises upon His return.
10 Matt 5:13-16, 16:17-19; Mk 1:14-15, 12:28-34; Luk 17:20-21, 22:28-30; Jn 3:1-3; Act 1:6-8; Rom 8:18-25; 1 Cor 5:3-5; Gal 5:16-26, 6:9-10; Eph 2:18-22; Col 1:13-14; 2 Tim 4:18; 2 Thess 2:9-12; Heb 10:32-39
Statement: A Biblical View of Race
We believe that all of God’s new covenant people make up one universal church on the earth that is the true bride of Jesus Christ. This universal church is manifest in local churches of which Christ is the only Head; thus each “local church” is, in fact, the church, the household of God, the assembly of the living God, and the pillar and foundation of the truth. The church is the body of Christ and therefore is His primary instrument to continue His ministry on the earth, even in its imperfection. The church is distinguished by her Gospel message, her sacred ordinances, her discipline, her great mission, and, above all, by her love for God, and by her members’ love for one another and the world. And although Christ has called and gifted certain leaders to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry, every Christ-follower is called to be a minister of the Gospel to the world around them. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, God’s grace has given His church everything they need to live the life of His perfect kingdom on the earth. Even still, God’s people still war with their flesh to realize this hope on a moment-by-moment basis that will not cease to be a struggle until they see Him face-to-face. Crucially, this Gospel we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may properly be overlooked. Christ Jesus is our peace: He has not only brought about peace with God but also peace between alienated peoples. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both Jew and Gentile to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. The church serves as a sign of God’s future new world when its members live for the service of one another and their neighbors rather than for self-focus. The church is the corporate dwelling place of God’s Spirit and the continuing witness to God in the world.11
At Fellowship, we will seek to be the fullest expression of God’s future new world by His grace in how we love not only one another but also anyone who wishes to join our family and walk with Jesus.
11 Jn. 10:1-30, 13:34-35; Rom. 7:7-25; 1Cor. 15:3-19; Eph. 1:3-14, 2:8-22, 4:4-16; 1Jn. 2:1-6
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordained by the Lord Jesus Himself for all who have faith in His saving work. Baptism celebrates our participation in the new covenant community, with our immersion into the baptismal waters serving as an outer sign of our inner renewal and identification with the death and resurrection of our Lord. The Lord’s Supper marks our ongoing participation in the new covenant community, provides a tangible reminder of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and, by our faith in His completed saving work, provides spiritual nourishment for our souls. Together, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are a means of grace and our partaking of them signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body, proclaim our submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ and the anticipation of His return and the consummation of all things.11
The Restoration of All Things
We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with His holy angels when He will exercise His role as final Judge, and His kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as our Lord Himself taught, and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of Him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness which will be eternally free from its current cursed state. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering, and triumph of Christ, all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all, and His people will be enthralled by the immediacy of His ineffable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of His glorious grace.13
At Fellowship, we look with eager anticipation for the restoration of all things and will be a people that live with that end in mind.
13 Matt. 24:3-51, 25:31-46; Eph. 1:5-6; 1Thess. 4:13-5:11; Rev. 6, 20:7-15, Rev. 21