“Doctrine” usually describes a system of beliefs which are taken as true and authoritative for how one lives. We recognize that many people understand doctrine to be a troublesome topic. Yet all of us follow and live by some "code" whether we call it doctrine or not. Most of us just haven't written it out. And this "way of life" guided by our beliefs impacts every decision and everything we do. By stating what you believe, no matter what you believe, your statements will inherently contain the standards which guide your worldview and how live out your beliefs.
At the Meetinghouse we believe that our doctrinal statements are essential to helping us love God and love others as we know him through belief and faith in his son, Jesus Christ. Our doctrine informs us of the “way, the truth, and the life” revealed to us in Jesus through the Word of God. Our doctrinal statements are not a philosophy for life and practice. They are more than a philosophy. We hope our theological statements are embodied in every believer as a way of being, a way of doing and a way of life.Jesus states that he is the vine and our lives lived in and through Him are the resulting fruit. Life in Christ brings glory to the Father, by the transforming work of Holy Spirit in our lives, resulting in God’s work being accomplished by those in Christ.
For our purposes our doctrine is an attempt to organize and understand the story of God and his gracious, redemptive work on our behalf as revealed in Scripture. This story comes to a climax in the person of Jesus (his life, death, and physical resurrection) the Church which emerged thereafter, and its expectation of Jesus' return. We rely on theologians who have gone before us to help us in this endeavor but we have also attempted to integrate the eternal truths of God into life today. The statements below summarize our theological convictions in a way that we hope are understandable and comprehensive so that you can know what guides and directs our church. The Meetinghouse’s understanding of Christian truth, ultimately incarnated in the person of Jesus, is expressed in the following statement of faith.
The God head │We believe that God is one being who exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1). Each person (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) exists eternally and is equal to the whole being of God (2). God is the creator of all things (3), having no beginning or end and sustains and orchestrates his creation by his counsel, providence, and sovereignty (4). God is holy (5), merciful, kind and just in all his ways (6).
The Person and Work of Jesus Christ │We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and of virgin birth, becoming truly human and truly divine (7). We believe that Jesus was without sin in his life (8) yet he was wounded and crushed for our sins and died on our behalf for our sins (9). Jesus thus vicariously bore the penalty of death as our substitute (10). We believe in Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead (11), his ascension to the right hand of the Father and his promise to physically return to this world (12).
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit │We believe in God the Holy Spirit who exists eternally with the Father and Son (13). The Holy Spirit has revealed the truth of God in and through his Word (14). The inspired Word teaches, convicts, corrects, guides, and nourishes the Church (15).The Bible is the inspired Word and thereby reveals to us the eternal truths of God’s character and will, which is entirely free of error in its original autographs.
(13) Genesis 1:2, 26; Job 33:4 (14) John 15:26; 2 Peter 1:19-21 (15) Jeremiah 23:29; 2 Timothy 3:16; John 16:8
We believe that the Holy Spirit imparts to us a saving knowledge of Christ’s death and regenerates us giving spiritual life in place of spiritual death (16). The Holy Spirit also empowers us toward a life of obedience and spiritual growth (17). This growth is reflected in a love for the biblical Word, a hunger for righteousness (18), love for one’s neighbor and the spread of the gospel to the glory of God (19).
(16) John 6:63; 15:26, 16:7-11; John 3:3-8; Romans 8:2; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3 (17) John 3:3-8; Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 3:6-18 (18) Psalm 119:11, 18, 24, 27-28, 31-32; Matthew 5:6, 20-26; (19) Mark 12:28-31; Galatians 5:13-14; Romans 13:8.
Human Depravity │ We believe that all people have worth and dignity because all people are made in God’s image (20). As such, people were created to know and love God but this image is now marred by sin and is corrupted inherently and preferentially. Our minds, wills and bodies are fully affected by sin. We are in rebellion against God, his truth, and his Word. We are thereby alienated from him and under his judgment (21).
Salvation │ We believe that salvation is the gift of God given to men and women (22) through faith in Christ alone (23). By the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross, God’s wrath and judgment came fully upon Jesus. Through faith in the Lord Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection one is made right with God and credited with the righteousness of Christ (24).
Eternal Security and Believer’s Assurance │ We believe that those who have truly come to faith and who are truly saved are kept by God’s power and are thus eternally secure in Christ (25). As the love and work of the Father was revealed through the life of the Son, so will the love and work of the Father be embodied and made known by those who belong and remain in Christ (26).
(25) John 6: 37-40; 10:27-30; 13:10; 15:3; 1 Peter 1:3-5 (26) John 4:34; 6:28-29; 15:1-11
Gifts of the Spirit │ We believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at conversion. It is the initiatory placing of the believer into the body of Christ signified by the washing away of sin and the conferral of the Holy Spirit (27). The Holy Spirit has bestowed gifts freely to the church and has gifted every Christian in some capacity for ministry (28). Certain spiritual gifts are not essential as evidence for the presence of the Holy Spirit nor are they an indication of a deeper spiritual experience (29)
We believe that God, in his omnipotence, will at times choose to heal the sick, according to his sovereign and providential rule of nature, apart from normal human medical practice. What is required of the believer is no more than a simple faith (30)
(27) Acts 2:38; 22:16 (28) 1 Corinthians 12:7-13 (29) Ephesians 1:13; 4:30 (30) Matthew 9:28-30; James 5:13-16
Satan and demons │We believe in the real existence of Satan and demons. He is the adversary of God and His people and attempts to oppose the will of God (31). However, those in Christ, by faith, are empowered to resist Satan and are able to overcome his schemes (32).
(31) Genesis 3:1-6; Zechariah 3:1-5; Luke 22:31; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:10 (32) Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 22:32; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9
We believe that the kingdom of God was inaugurated at Jesus’ first coming and will be consummated at his second coming (33). At that time, Satan will be punished (34) and all humanity will be resurrected on that last day ― those in Christ to a resurrection of life and those without Christ to a resurrection separated from Christ, that is, a resurrection to eternal punishment (35).
(33) Revelation 19:20-21; 20:10, 14-15; 21:4 (34) Matthew 25:34-40; Jude 6 (35) 1 John 5:10-12; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46
The Church │We believe the Church is the spiritual body of Christ, with Jesus Christ as its head (36). We believe that the church consists of those who have been made right with God, that is, true believers for all time, saved by Christ’s atoning death both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The church joins together for the purpose of worshipping God, called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (37) so that the character of God is formed and manifest within the body. The church is called to make known to the lost the love of God through word and deed (38). Our church recognizes the observance of the sacraments of baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper. We recognize no spiritual distinction or social preference of persons of differing national origins, race, or economic status.
(36) Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:19b-23 (37) Mark 12:29-31 (38) Romans 15:17-21; 1 John 3:16-18
We hold this church to be independent and autonomous; free from any interference by external ecclesiastical or political authority. We believe the church and state have different functions and must be separate to fulfill their respective duties free from the dictation or patronage of the other.