STATEMENT OF BELIEFS
“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
— John 17:23
These statements begin with the highest historical Christian essentials and move towards our common aspirations to be well-connected in Christ.
GOD: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
We believe in and we surrender our lives to the one God who made the heavens and earth and who breathed life into humanity. We worship and praise the Father who spoke the world into existence. We worship and praise Jesus, the Son, who died upon the cross to redeem us from sin. We worship and praise the Holy Spirit who is the seal of our salvation.
1. Our devotion, total commitment and ultimate loyalties are to the Father, who is over all and in all and through all; to Jesus the Son, who has been declared both Lord and Christ; and to the Holy Spirit, who lives in us and empowers us to overcome the workings of the sinful nature (Acts 2:22-36, Romans 8:12-28).
2. The cornerstone of our faith is our belief in Jesus Christ. Everything we hold dear in our faith originates from his words and his way of life (John 3:16, John 12:47-48, Hebrews 12:2, 1 John 2:5-6).
3. Our eternal purpose is to know God and to glorify him as God and let our life shine so others will see God (Matthew 5:14-15, Ephesians 3:19-20).
GOSPEL: the work of God
The culminating event of the Christian faith occurred between the time of the Passover and Pentecost at the end of the Gospels through early Acts. The suffering, testimony under accusation, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the perfect Lamb of God is the substance of our faith. What the first twenty chapters of Exodus are to the Jews as God rescued and brought them to Sinai to hear the law is very much what the events in Jerusalem were for disciples. Many were eyewitnesses to events of the atonement, the risen Jesus as “both Lord and Christ,” and heard the promise that was for everyone, even “those who are far off”.
4. Our salvation totally depends on the work of God and nothing of our own merit. That work of God is one of mercy and grace. His work redeems those who believe His Gospel message and receive His gift through baptism into Christ for spiritual rebirth (Romans 2:7, Acts 2:22-38, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:4-5, Colossians 2:11-14).
5. Our earthly mission involves every member’s participation in bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to all parts of the world. As we go about this mission, our testimony must be consistent with a Christ-like life of doing good, bringing about healing as well as supporting and encouraging other Christians and churches around the world (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 10:37-38, Colossians 3:1-6).
6. Our motivation to love God, love each other and love the lost is prompted by God’s love for us, demonstrated in its greatest form by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on a cross for our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:14-21, 1 John 3:16, Luke 10:27).
THE INDIVIDUAL: the surrender of God’s children
As disciples of the Jesus, we surrender our lives to his Lordship. We rejoice in our adoption as God’s children and each accept the call to be holy and follow the example of Jesus.
7. Our discipleship to Christ involves an understanding of and a commitment to his terms of surrender to His Lordship, a daily decision to deny self and persevere (Luke 9:23ff; 14:33, Romans 2:7, Hebrews 10:32-39).
8. Our conversion begins by a belief in Jesus as God’s Son, and in his death and resurrection from the dead. Next comes an unmistakable repentance of sin, embracing discipleship, a confession of “Jesus is Lord”, and leads to the miracle of rebirth with our immersion in water for the forgiveness of our sins and the promise that God will give us the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 20:31, Luke 14:25-33, Acts 2:38-41, Romans 10:9, Titus 3:3-5).
9. Our holiness in daily living is a command from God. We are called to be set apart from the world and the ways of the world (sanctified) and live as saints of God (Ephesians 1:1, Ephesians 2:1-4, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, 1 John 2:15-17).
10. We are committed to remembering the poor by demonstrating compassion to those who suffer by regularly doing whatever we can to lessen their burdens (Galatians 2:10).
COMMUNITY: sharing in fellowship and strengthening
As members of the body we are bonded from our immersion in water that united us with Christ’s death and brought with it the promise of absolute forgiveness, the Holy Spirit and a new life; our hope of heaven and the gift of eternal life; the church body and our devotion to being members of the family of God. Moreover, we believe this will lead to congregations that glorify God, full of healthy disciples and growing in both spirit and number.
11. Membership in each congregation constitutes baptized disciples (1Cor 12:12-13), men and women who have pledged to live their lives as saints of God in the holiness He requires. Our members agree to strive to be devoted to the body life of the church. This includes making whole-hearted efforts, for example, to attend each [applicable] meeting of the body and to pursue joyful and growing “one another” relationships (Romans 12:10, Hebrews 3:12,13; 10:24-25). Fellowship is not limited to the local congregation (Rom 12:5, 1Cor 7:17, 10:32, 14:33, 16:1; 1Thess 2:14; 2 Thess 1:4); the Hampton Roads Church works cooperatively with like minded churches (1Cor 11:16) throughout the International Churches of Christ.
12. The Lord’s Supper is a regular community action of sharing in the presence of Christ as a sacred event, breaking the bread and drinking the fruit of the vine (1 Corinthians 10:17-34).
13. Giving towards God is a fragrant offering and a sign of our thankfulness. Since everything we enjoy in life is a gift from God, we cheerfully and sacrificially contribute of our finances to the church in order to see the ministry of Jesus advance throughout our communities and around the world (1 Corinthians 9:7-14, Philippians 4:14-19).
RELEVANCE: vital applications in light of the times
We possess understood convictions that serve us in the present times much in the same way as consensus resolutions of Acts 15 helped preserve the unity for that time. Addressing some of the particular issues facing our gathering of churches amidst culture tensions requires both biblical reflection and courage.
14. We stand by women having a ministry role in the teaching and training of other women. We believe that any congregation has the right to financially support these women in the ministry. We also recognize their value and influence in the lives of men in the church (1 Corinthians 9:5, Titus 2:3-4, Acts 18:24-26, Romans 16:1-15).
15. The romantic and marriage relationships of Christians are to be pursued with only those who “belong to the Lord” as defined by Scriptures (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, 1 Corinthians 7:39).
16. The decision-making responsibilities of established congregations belong to the individual congregation. We are also resolved to pursue and maintain our congregation’s links with other congregations and individual Christians—soliciting, giving and receiving input and godly influence from those outside our local congregation (1 Peter 5:5).
17. Our communication within the church and outside of our brotherhood should always be genuine, respectful and never antagonistic (1 Peter 2:17).