A modern parable: A tourist in the Australian outback came up on a cattle station. He saw thousands of cattle, but no fences. He walks up to a man working the cattle and asks, “I don’t see any fences. How do you keep the cattle from wandering off?” The answer: “Out here, there’s nothing but dry dessert for miles. We just dig a well at the center of the station and the cattle stay where the water is.”
In some Christian circles, beliefs are more life fences, determining who is in and who is out. At LoveFirst Coast, our beliefs are at the center of what we do. It’s where we find life. We don’t insist that everyone agrees. But we do hold these beliefs as a guide for how we do life together. They have proven to be a wonderful source of life.
We believe in One God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 28:16-20, II Corinthians 13:14) God made all things good. God’s good creation was corrupted by sin but God has acted throughout history redeeming all things to himself. Ultimately, God’s good creation will be restored. We affirm we can accomplish nothing apart from God, who is making all things new. (Genesis 1:26-31, Genesis 3, The Gospels, Romans 8, Revelation 21:1-5).
We boldly declare Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and acknowledge Him Lord of all and Head of the Church. (II Peter 3:18, Acts 2:36) We believe Jesus is fully human and fully God. We believe forgiveness and reconciliation with God are only possible through faith in him. God’s redeeming work flows from Jesus’ life, sacrificial death on the cross, and resurrection. (John 14:6) We affirm that Jesus shows us who God is and what people can be like. (John 14:7) As Jesus has invited us to follow him, he has invited us into God’s work of reconciling all things to himself. Jesus is making all things new! (Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:8)
We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the authority for Christian faith and life. We believe that God speaks through the scripture to reveal to us who he is, who we are, and his desire for us, for the people of the world, and all of creation. (Luke 24:27, 2 Peter 1:20-21, II Tim 3:16-17) From this, we understand we are commanded to love God, to love each person, (Mark 12:29-31) and to live and work as stewards (managers) of this world (Ephesians 2:8-10). We long and pray to see God’s will being done here as it is in heaven. (Revelation 21:1-5)
We believe the good news of the gospel. We believe that in Jesus Christ, God has come near to us full of grace and truth. We believe Jesus paid the penalty for our sins with his death on the cross. We believe that he was resurrected from the dead reversing the curse of sin. We believe he is inviting us to reorient our lives toward Him in faith and obedience, bringing us into a relationship with God and giving us responsibility in God’s Kingdom. (John 1:1-17, Mark 1:15, Ephesians 2:1-10) God has given us a new identity (Ephesians 2:1-9), adopted us into his family (John 1:12), declared us his people (I Peter 2:9-10) and given us work to do as his representatives (Luke 24:45-49, James 2:18). We believe the good news of the gospel is to be proclaimed to all people! (Acts 1:8) We believe we’ve been sent into this mission, too. (John 20:21)
With Christians down through the ages, we affirm the Apostles’ Creed, which states.
“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy *catholic Church; the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”
* In this context, the word catholic refers to the universal nature of Jesus Christ’s church.