BELIEFS: COMMITTED TO THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
In the early church, creeds, or statements of belief, were used to unify the church around the foundations of the Christian faith. For many churches, though, statements of faith have been used as instruments of division. At Together Church, we embrace the expression, “In the essentials we must have unity; in the non-essentials we must have liberty; in all things we must have love.” While some beliefs are non-negotiable (Ephesians 4:4-6), others are not central to the Christian faith and should allow room for differences of belief (Romans 14: 1, 4, 22).
We believe in the one true God, who eternally exists as one essence and three distinct persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Each person of the trinity is fully, equally and eternally God, yet there is one God. Each person has precisely the same nature and attributes and is worthy of precisely the same worship, honor and praise. The entire Christian faith is bound together with the confession of God’s Trinitarian nature (Matt. 28:18-20).
We believe in God the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth. We believe in the Son, God from God, eternally begotten but not made, who in history assumed to Himself a human nature for the sake of our salvation (John 1:14; Heb. 1:3). He is fully God and fully man. Through Him, all things came into being and were created. He was before all things, and in Him, all things hold together by the word of His power (Col.1:15-20). Christ, the Son, suffered, died, was buried, resurrected, ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father until He returns for the final judgment and consummation of the Kingdom. We believe in the Holy Spirit who eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son and is sent by the Father and Son to give new life (John 15:26-27). The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth and dwells within the regenerate (Eph. 1:13- 14). The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son who, in turn, came to glorify the Father. He will lead the Church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored and worshiped as God, the third Person of the Trinity.
The triune God, Father, Son and Spirit, is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible. As the immortal and eternal Creator, He sovereignly rules over all of His creation (Ps. 24:1).
The Bible is God’s written word to all people. Written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Since God inspired it, the Bible is truth without mixture of error and is completely relevant to our daily lives.
We believe that God has made Himself known to His creation. He has revealed Himself to us in His Son, the incarnate Word (Heb.1:1-2), in Scripture, the inspired Word (2 Tim. 3:16), and in creation (Ps. 8; Rom. 1:20)
We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the perfect revelation of who God is. Jesus Christ is the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), “the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3) and a perfect reflection of God the Father (John 5:19).
We believe the Scriptures, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God and are therefore without error in their original writings. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and free from error. The Scripture is sufficient for all that God requires for us to believe and do and is therefore 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 (Is. 40:6-8). As God’s people hear, believe and obey the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel (Rom. 10:14-17).
We believe God created all things for His glory, from nothing, and governs all things at all times in all places.
God created the whole world from nothing (Gen. 1:1-2; Ps. 24:1). God’s creative work is the overflow of the love present within the Trinitarian fellowship. Creation, according to the design of God, was good (Gen. 1:3-31).
God doesn’t let the world exist, He makes the world exist. He upholds the universe by the word of His power, and He holds the world together in Himself (Col. 1:17).
We believe all humanity is created in the image of God and therefore possesses intrinsic dignity and worth.
God made humanity—male and female—in His own image (Gen. 1:27-30). Set apart as His image bearers, every human being is sacred. All men and all women, bearing the image of God, are meant to represent God in His creation (1 Cor. 10:31). God declares the created order to be very good, distinguishing men and women as His agents to care for, manage and govern over it. They enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church and civic life. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union in the covenant of marriage that establishes the only God-ordained pattern of sexual relations for men and women. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways.
We believe sin has fractured all things, leaving the world in desperate need of salvation.
Through the temptation of Satan, humanity transgressed the command of God and fell from their original holiness and righteousness (Gen. 3). Now the entire human race inherits a corrupt nature that is opposed to God and His law (Rom. 3:9-20). Therefore, all humans are under condemnation. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to the mind, will, body and affections. Unregenerate humanity lives under the dominion of sin and Satan (Eph. 2:1-3). He is at enmity with God, hostile toward and hateful of God.
We believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
We believe that, due to universal death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again (John 3:5-8); that salvation is only by grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ; and that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ through faith are declared righteous by God and become children of God (Heb.10:19-25).
We believe the Scriptures teach that regeneration, or the new birth, is that act of God by which the Holy Spirit imparts a new nature and a new spiritual life, not before possessed, and the person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus (Gal. 2:20). The mind is given a holy disposition and a new desire to serve God, the dominion of sin is broken, and the heart is transformed from a love of sin and self to a love of holiness and God.
We believe that the Church consists of all who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation, and is sent into the world to shine forth the glory of God.
God, by His Word and Spirit, creates the Church, calling sinful humanity into the fellowship of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:12-31). By the same Word and Spirit, He guides and preserves that newly redeemed humanity. The Church is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The ministry of the Church is an extension of the ministry of Jesus in the power of the Spirit.
The ultimate mission of the Church is to bring glory to God by making disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). The Church is called to make disciples through worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the ordinances, fellowship, the exercise of our gifts and talents and the proclamation of the gospel both in our community and throughout the world.
We believe there are two ordinances of the Church. One is baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the other is Communion. In accordance with the pattern we see displayed in Scripture, we believe post conversion baptism is an essential part of becoming a member of a local congregation.
We believe that Jesus Christ is returning to the world in the future to judge the living and the dead.
The consummation of all things includes the future, physical, visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the glorification of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In the consummation, Satan, with his hosts and all those outside Christ, are finally separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal punishment (Rev. 20:7-15), but the righteous, in glorious bodies, will live and reign with Him forever, serving Him and giving Him unending praise and glory. Then the eager expectation of creation will be fulfilled, and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God, who makes all things new (Rev. 21:1-5).
We believe that God is actively reconciling and will one day fully restore all creation back to Himself.
The gospel is the historical narrative of the triune God orchestrating the reconciliation and redemption of a broken creation and fallen creatures from Satan, sin and its effects to the Father and each other through the life, death, resurrection and future return of the substitutionary Son by the power of the Spirit for God’s glory and the Church’s joy.
Our distinctives are different from our doctrines. Doctrines are what we believe are essential to the Christian faith. Distinctives are where we land on specific theological issues that are not essential to being a Christian. There is room for disagreement around our distinctive, while maintaining shared unity and fellowship around the doctrines. We do not expect everyone at Together Church to embrace all aspects of these distinctives, but these convictions do shape how Together Church is led.
We regularly practice the ordinances of baptism and communion in our weekend gatherings.
We believe there are two ordinances of the Church. One is baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the other is Communion. Water baptism is only intended for those who, through repentance and faith have received the gift of salvation in Christ through the new birth of the Holy Spirit. In obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself and the world, believers are baptized by water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual and symbolic demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. It signifies that a former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts the release from the mastery of Satan, sin and death. We believe baptism by immersion most clearly represents that reality (Rom. 6:1-14). For more on this distinctive, consider attending one of our Baptism classes, held several times throughout the year.
As with water baptism, the Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of His blood on our behalf and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s death. As we come to the table with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.
We believe God has and continues to establish His kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven.
When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” He is summarizing what the world most needs and what has now arrived in the world because of Jesus. The mission of God from the very beginning has been about the rule and reign of God in heaven coming to earth. That has begun through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the Father. The good news for the world is that Jesus is king and all who repent and trust in Him are welcomed as citizens into his kingdom. A kingdom that both is and is to come.
We believe men and women play distinct and equally valuable roles in the church.
Men and women are absolutely equal in essence, dignity and value but are distinct by divine design. As part of God’s good created order, men and women are to have different yet complementary roles and responsibilities in the home and church. As it relates to the church, men and women are both expected to lead; however, the office of elder is reserved for qualified men (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1).
God is active and present in both pain and redemption.
The salvation of humanity is fundamentally the work of God. Before the foundation of the world, God elected His people, setting His affection and grace upon them (Rom. 8:29-30). In love God predestined His people for adoption (Eph. 1:4-6). Faith is a gift of grace that is given by the mercy and pleasure of God, so that no one may boast. Apart from the intervention of God, humanity cannot choose of his own accord to worship God and pursue righteousness (Rom. 3; Eph. 2:1-3). God’s sovereignty in salvation is comprehensive: from first to last, all of salvation is the work of God. Likewise, God is also at work behind the suffering his people experience. Patterned after what Scripture teaches us about Jesus’ suffering on the cross (Heb 12:2,1 Peter 2:19-24), those who follow Jesus endure suffering in this life with the same courage and hope (Col 1:24, James 1:2-4). While we know God does not delight in our pain, we believe he is present with us in it and has a purpose for it. We desire to be a people who model the righteous sufferer pictured in the words of Job, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
We believe the Holy Spirit works through and moves among followers of Jesus.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit that we see on display in the New Testament are still active within the life of the church. These gifts did not end with the close of the New Testament or the death of the last apostle (1 Cor. 12:1-11).