What We Believe
THE HOLY BIBLE
Consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament, the Bible is alone and entirely the Word of God. The Scriptures are the God-breathed revelation of God Himself and is therefore wholly true in everything that it claims and are thus without error in their original manuscripts. They were written by human authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and serve as the unique, ﬁnal, and full authority on all matters of faith and practice and serve as the supreme guide for testing what is right and true in all cases. While one’s limited abilities, traditional biases, personal sin, and cultural assumptions may often obscure the meaning of the Biblical texts, the work of the Holy Spirit can guide one into a right understanding and application of its intended meaning (Num. 23:19; Ps. 18:30, 19:7, 119:18, 119:96; Prov. 30:5; Is. 40:8; Matt. 22:29, 24:35; Mk. 13:31; Jn.11:51, 14:26, 16:13-17, 20:31; Acts 20:32;1 Cor. 2:13, 14:37; 1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 6:18; 1 Pet. 1:10-11; 2 Pet. 1: 20-21, 3:16).
FINAL AUTHORITY FOR MATTERS OF BELIEF AND CONDUCT
The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with ﬁnal authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of [the organization]’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our [minister/executive committee/board of directors/congregation] is [the organization]’s ﬁnal interpretive authority on the Bible’s application.
There is but one living and true God who is Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of all things. This sovereign and all-glorious God, having in and of Himself all perfections and being infnite in them all, exists eternally in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. To Him, all people owe supreme worship manifested in love, respect, trust, and obedience to Him as the rightful ruler of life (Deut. 6:4; Ps. 115:3, 138:5, 145:3; Jer. 10:10; Dan. 4:25; Matt. 16:16, 28:1819; Mk. 12:29; Jn. 1:3, 1:14; Acts 5:3-4; Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 10:31; Eph. 4:30; Col. 1:16-17, 2:9; 1 Tim. 1:17).
Each member of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are one God and exist without any division in nature, essence or being and are equal in all measures of the divine perfections. These three execute distinct but harmonious oﬃces in the work of creation and redemption and are worthy of the same conﬁdence, obedience, and worship (Gen. 1:1, 26; Matt. 3:16-17, 28:19; Jn. 1:1-3, 4:24; Rom. 1:19, 20; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:5-6).
GOD THE FATHER
God the Father exists as a personal, loving being who graciously and mercifully concerns himself with the a airs of humans. For His glory and by His word, He created the world out of nothing and continues to uphold, sustain, and govern all things in order to magnify His glory and to bring about His good, pleasing, and perfect will. He is all-powerful, all-loving, and all-wise and is perfect in each of the divine perfections. He hears and answers prayer and saves from sin and death all those who come to Him through Christ Jesus. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, yet He remains fatherly in His attitude toward all men (Gen. 45:5-7; Is. 40:26, 41:21-23; Ps. 33:10- 11; Prov. 16:9, 33, 19:21; Lam. 3:3738; Am. 3:6; Matt. 23:9; Lk. 10:21-22; Jn. 3:16, 6:27; Rom. 1:7, 11:36-12:2; 1 Tim. 1:1-2, 2:5-6; 1 Pet. 1:3; Rev. 1:6).
Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten son, born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life in his existence as fully God and fully man incarnate. During his life, he taught and worked many wonders and signs of God’s kingdom on this earth as recorded in the four Gospels. He was cruciﬁed and buried as a substitutionary, atoning sacriﬁce for the sins of mankind and was raised from the dead bodily on the third day. Following his resurrection, He ascended to the Father’s right hand where He is the head of the church and intercedes on behalf of the saints. He eternally exists as the divinely appointed mediator between God and man and perfectly fulﬁlls and upholds the oﬃce of Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church. At the end of the age, he will return to this earth personally, bodily, and visibly (Is. 53:10-12; Matt. 1:18-25, 16:16-27, 20:28, 28:6; Lk. 1:2638; Jn. 1:1, 14, 18, 10:30, 17:3, 20:28, 30-31; Acts 1:9-11, 20:28; Rom. 5:6-8, 6:9-10, 8:34, 9:5; 1 Cor. 8:6, 15:3-8; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:4; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:15-20; 1 Tim. 2:5, 3:16; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:1-3, 4:15, 7:25, 9:28; 1 Pet. 2:21-23; Rev. 12:10).
The Holy Spirit is God, possesses all the divine attributes, and proceeds from the Father and the Son in order to bring glory to the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit’s role is to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He indwells all believers, baptizes and seals them at the moment of salvation, and regenerates, sanctiﬁes, and empowers all who believe in Jesus. In empowering those to live a Christ-like life, he uniquely endows each believer with gifts for the building up of the body, guides believers in understanding and applying the Scriptures, and is an abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide (Jn. 14:16-17, 26, 15:26-27, 16:9-14; Rom. 8:9, 14-17; 1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19; Gal. 5:22-26; Eph. 1:13-14).
CREATION & PROVIDENCE
God created the universe out of nothing by the power of His spoken Word for the purpose of displaying His eternal power and glory in order to bring glory to Him. The eternal God decrees or permits all things to come to pass and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures
and events so as to maximize the glory due His name. His providential control of the world does not in any way make Him the author or approver of sin nor does it destroy the responsibility of moral beings who were created for the eternal joy of his possession (Gen. 1; Deut. 26:18; Prov. 16:33; Is. 35:10, 43:7, 46:9-11; Matt. 25:23; Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; James 1:13-15; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 5:9, 7: 9-10).
God created Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from his side, and they form the foundation for all mankind. Men and women were both created in the image of God as the supreme object of His creation and were created for a loving relationship with God in order to bring glory to Him. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God in creation. One man and one woman were united in marriage and appointed with diﬀerent, yet complementary, roles as a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. The reality that all of humanity is created in the image of God means that every person, regardless of race or social status possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love (Gen. 1:26-27, 2:1-7, 3:1-7, 16-19, 19:6:5, 12:8-21; Jer. 17:9; Jn. 5:24; Rom. 1:18-23, 3:9-23, 5:12-19, 6:21, 23, 7:13, 8:6-7, 9:22; Eph. 2:1- 3; 2 Thes. 1:9; James 1:14-15; 1 Jn. 3:14; Rev. 21:8).
Both men and women were originally created without sin for relationship with God; however, through the deception of Satan, man choose to believe lies and willfully rebelled against God and His Word by choosing to take what was forbidden and thus declared their independence from, distrust for, and disobedience towards God. Through this willful act of sin, man fell from his sinless state and as a result the human creation was forever marred by physical, spiritual, and eternal death and the entire creation was likewise subject to futility, including sickness, decay, calamity, and loss. Adam’s fall became the fall of all his posterity in such a way that the corruption, guilt, death, and condemnation belong rightly to every person in the human race and they now inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin and evil. Man is born corrupt by nature, marred by an attitude and posture of disobedience to God known as sin, enslaved by choice to this sin, and morally unable to worship God rightly, and therefore under his just condemnation (Gen. 3:1-7; Ps. 1:1-6; Rom. 3:9-23, 6:12-23; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 2:4-9; Col. 3:5-6; Heb. 12:3-4).
In the fullness of time, God, by his sovereign choice and his love for mankind, sent Jesus to bring people back into right fellowship with God and proper worship of Him. Through coming to the earth as a man, living a perfect life, dying in man’s place, and being raised to new life, Christ absorbed our punishment, appeased the wrath of God against us, and removed the condemnation of the law against us. Through his substitutionary, atoning death, Jesus took upon Him- self the payment for all those who would trust in Him thereafter, and all those who were saved prior to His death. Through the cross men of every tribe, tongue, and nation can be
justiﬁed to God through his gracious and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ (Ex. 36:25-26; John 1:13-16, 3:3-16, 5-8; Acts 10:43, 13:39; Rom. 3:24-26, 4:23-25, 5:1-21, 8:1; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:1-9; Phil. 3:79; Col. 2:13-14, 3:13; Titus 3:5-6; 1 Jn. 2:12, 5:1).
REPENTANCE AND FAITH
This gift of salvation is wholly a work of God’s grace and is not the result of man’s works. Regeneration, the act of coming to life in Christ, is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit who gives life to those dead in sin enlightening their minds spiritually and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. However, the receipt of salvation, and the resulting forgiveness of sin, is personally predicated upon
and appropriated by repentance and faith. Faith is belief, on God’s authority, in whatever is revealed in His word concerning Christ and accepting and resting upon Him alone for salvation. This faith results in genuine repentance which is evidenced when a person, being convicted by the Holy Spirit of the manifold evil of his sin, detects and forsakes it, humbling himself, endeavoring to walk with the Lord as a result of Godly sorrow. The result is a righteousness that comes by grace alone through faith alone (Prov. 28:13; Matt. 3:8-10; Mk. 1:15; Jn. 3:16, 36, 5:24, 6:40, 44, 65; Acts 2:37-38, 11:18, 13:38-39, 17:30, 20:21; Rom. 2:4-5, 3:21-28, 4:1-5, 4:1725, 8:1, 10:3-4, 14, 17; 2 Cor. 5:21, 7:10- 11; Phil. 1:29, 3:9; Eph. 2:8-10; Heb. 11:6; James 2:1426).
Those regenerated and justiﬁed by the death of Jesus are also sanctiﬁed by God’s Word and the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Sanctiﬁcation is the process of transformation into the image and likeness of Jesus through joyful obedience to all of Christ’s commands which results in the regular and repeated production of the fruits of the Spirit. This process of sanctiﬁcation, which all saints seek to obtain, is progressive in one’s life through the supply of divine strength. While this process remains imperfect and incomplete in this life, it is evidence of the reality of conversion and will result in a continual war with sin in order to realize the full stature of maturity in Christ to the glory of God (Ps. 1:1-3, 119:11; Matt. 6:11-12, 7:19-27; Mk. 13:22; Jn. 10:27-30, 14:13, 17:17-19; Rom. 12:1-2, 15:16; 1 Cor. 1:30, 6:11; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 5:22-23, 6:7-10; Eph. 1:4, 1:18-19, 5:3-6; Phil: 1:9-11, 2:12-13, 3:12- 16; Col. 1:9-10, 3:17; 1 Thes. 4:3, 5:23; 2 Thes. 1:11, 2:13; 1 Tim. 6:6-10; Heb. 2:11, 6:1, 7:1, 10:10, 12:1- 2, 10, 13:5; 1 Pet. 2:12; 2 Pet. 1:3-11; 1 Jn. 2:3-6, 2:29, 3:16-18; Rev. 21:8).
Those truly redeemed by Jesus, are eternally secure and thus cannot lose their salvation. Though they may fall, through neglect or temptation, into sin, and in so doing, impair their graces and comforts, interrupt the joy of their fellowship with God, bring reproach on the church, and incur temporal judgment and discipline from God the Father, they shall be renewed
again unto repentance and can never ﬁnally fall away from the state of grace by the power of God (Jer. 32:40; Matt. 13:20-21; Jn. 6:66-69, 8:31; Rom. 8:28-39; Phil. 1:6; Heb. 13:5; 1 Jn. 2:2728, 3:9, 5:12, 18).
The Church is one universal body comprised of all those who place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. The universal Church and its expression in autonomous, local congregations who covenant together for the purpose of worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, promotion of love and unity, service to the body, and outreach to the world. Whenever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to these commands, there is the local expression of the church, which serves as a city set on a hill intent on glorifying the Lord by being a pillar of truth in a truth-denying world. The church serves as the living, spiritual body of which the Lord Jesus is the all-supplying, all-sustaining, all-supreme, and all authoritative head and to which he appointed elders to lead, deacons to serve, and all regenerated persons to minister. The church exists for the glory of God by magnifying Him in the world (Ps. 67; Matt. 5:14-16, 28:19; Lk. 22:19; Jn. 4:7, 10:16; Acts 1:8, 2:42-47, 6:1-6, 20:1728; Rom. 3:22; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 1:22, 2:19-22, 3:6-10, 4:11-16, 5:19-23; Col. 1:18, 3:16; 1 Tim. 3:112; Titus 1:5-9; Heb. 3:13, 10:24-25; 1 Pet. 5:1-3).
The Lord instituted two speciﬁc ordinances to the church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The act of baptism is obligatory on every believer and is an act by which those who have repented to display their union with Christ in his death and resurrection and their forgiveness of sins by being immersed in water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This symbol of fellowship with Christ and with his church is a prerequisite for membership in this church. In a similar fashion, the Lord’s Supper is a symbol instituted by the Lord Jesus to commemorate his death and to serve as a pledge and renewal of our communion with Him and with each other. Through remembrance of Christ, one is reminded to wait in hopeful expectation for His return, proclaim His death until he comes, and feed on Christ rather than the world in the meantime. This Supper is to be observed regularly by the church until Jesus returns (Matt. 26:26-29, 28:18-20; Lk. 22:19-20; Jn. 3:23, 6:53-57; Acts 2:38, 8:36-39; Rom. 2:28-29, 4:16, 6:2-5; 1 Cor. 10:16-17, 11:23-31, 12:13; Gal. 3:7, 3:26-27; Col. 2:11-12; Heb. 10:22; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 Jn. 2:15-17).
The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked, to be reserved for the ﬁnal judgment. The bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised. The Lord Jesus will one day return personally and visibly to the earth to establish His kingdom and judge the living and the dead: the wicked shall go into everlasting and conscious punishment, the righteous, into everlasting life. In so doing, those redeemed by the death of Jesus will forever bring glory to Him and enjoy His presence
(Ps. 16:11; Dan. 12:2; Matt. 3:12, 25:23, 16:27, 25:31-46; Mk. 9:43-48, 13:26-27, 14:61-62; Lk. 23:23; Jn. 5:28-29, 14:3; Acts 1:9-11, 17:31; Rom. 2:6-11; 1 Cor. 4:5, 13:12, 15:12-28, 51-57; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thes. 4:15, 5:2-3; 2 Thes. 1:7-10; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13; Jude 24-25; Rev. 5:11-14, 14:11, 20:4-6, 11-15, 21:1-8).
SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. (Ps. 139.)
STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary sexes together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1:2627). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Cor. 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb. 13:4).
We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, or use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matt. 15:18- 20; 1 Cor. 6:9-10).
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of City Hope Community Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to City Hope members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by City Hope Community Church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality (Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22).
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:911).
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of City Hope Community Church.