WHY HAVE A STATEMENT OF FAITH?
From the time of the early church to the present, Christians have laid out concise and definitive statements of doctrinal belief. These Statements of Faith, grounded in and guided by Scripture, have served to teach, unify, and guard the church. This present Statement of Faith affirms our belief in historic, biblical Christianity and, while serving this local church particularly, unites us with all those who affirm the truths of the historic, biblical faith. Members of CrossWay gladly affirm these truths, believe, and seek to live in accordance with them.
We believe in one, and only one, true God, eternally existing in three equally divine persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This God is infinitely perfect in all his attributes and is the Creator of all things and is therefore alone worthy to receive man’s highest worship, his full allegiance, and his whole-hearted love. God sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal purpose to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation, to the praise of his own glorious grace. While the three persons of the God-head are equal in every divine perfection, they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation and redemption.
We believe that God is the originating author of the words preserved in the Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which are both record and means of his saving work in the world. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over everything to which it speaks. We admit that both our finiteness and our sinfulness preclude the possibility of knowing God’s truth perfectly, but we affirm that, enlightened by the Spirit of God, we can know God’s revealed truth truly. The Bible is 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. As God’s people hear, believe and obey the Word, they are nurtured in their faith and equipped as disciples of Christ and as witnesses to the transforming power of the gospel.
Man’s Creation and Fallen Condition
We believe that God created man—male and female—in his own image. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s stewards to care for and govern creation, living in holy and happy fellowship with their Maker. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only right pattern for sexual relations for human beings. Thus, marriage is a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. In marriage, God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption.
We believe that Adam, by disobeying God and falling into sin through Satan’s temptation, forfeited his original blessedness, both for himself and all his descendents. As a result, all human beings are born into sin, alienated from God, radically corrupted in every aspect of their being (physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, socially and spiritually), personally opposed to God, and therefore, condemned finally and irrevocably to death—apart from God’s own gracious intervention. The one great and universal need of all human beings is to be reconciled to God, under whose just judgment we stand; the only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and bring us back into life-giving relationship with himself.
God’s Gracious Provision: The Gospel of Jesus Christ
We believe that from eternity past God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation. We believe that God will perfectly accomplish this purpose through the incarnation, sinless life, substitutionary death, resurrection, and victorious return of Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus Christ, being fully God from all eternity, became flesh, being born of the virgin Mary, and thus became fully human without relinquishing his full deity in the least. He lived a sinless life thus perfectly fulfilling, as a human, all the requirements of God’s law. He then voluntarily offered his life on the Cross in our place. Christ bore in our place the punishment due us for our sins. This is the heart of the gospel. By dying on the Cross for our sins Christ satisfied God’s justice and reconciled to God all those who believe. In his resurrection Christ was vindicated by the Father, broke the power of death and defeated Satan who once had power over us in death, and brought eternal life to all his people. We believe that this salvation from death into life is found in no place but Jesus Christ.
Man’s Response to the Gospel: Repentance and Faith
We believe man’s fall into sin rendered him spiritually dead and therefore completely unable to initiate any reconciliation with God and completely unable to contribute anything to his own salvation. However, God graciously initiates by regenerating human hearts enabling man to respond to God’s call to salvation with repentance and faith. In repentance we turn away from both our sin and any confidence we might have in our own goodness and in faith we entrust ourselves completely to Jesus Christ and what he has done on our behalf.
The Free Gift of God: Justification
We believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone and that when God’s grace is met by faith a person is justified—that is, his sins have been imputed to Christ and he is therefore completely forgiven, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to him and he is thereby declared righteous and fully accepted by God. This justification simultaneously puts on glorious display the perfect justice and the great love of God.
The Christian Life: Empowered by the Spirit
We believe that at the point of conversion the Holy Spirit “baptizes” believers into union with Christ and that he indwells them as a pledge of their promised inheritance. While all genuine believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, the New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit subsequent to conversion which the believer is encouraged to pursue. The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power, acting in the believer to encourage, guide, and ultimately effect growth in Christ-likeness and Christian witness. We believe this sanctification is a progressive work that begins at conversion and, though it is carried out by the presence and power of the Spirit, it is a work with which the individual believer cooperates especially by means of engagement in active obedience, prayer, meditation on Scripture, worship, and true fellowship with other believers. Those who have been saved delight in the blessings of the New Covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation of heart that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to come. Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Though indwelling sin remains, actual growth in holiness is the norm for the Christian life.
We also believe the Holy Spirit is active in the church corporately. He empowers the church for witness and service and imparts his supernatural gifts for the edification of the Body and for various works of ministry in the world. The gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the New Testament church are available today, are vital for the mission of the church, and are to be earnestly desired and practiced.
The Christian Hope: Glorification
We believe all believers are exhorted to persevere in their faith to the end. Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence to persevere is based on the sure promise of God to preserve to the end those who truly belong to him. When Christ comes again there will be a radical and complete transformation into perfect Christ-likeness of all believers.
God’s New People: The Church
We believe the Church is made up of all those who have by faith received the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. This universal church is manifested in local gatherings of believers of which Christ is the only Head. We believe that every one who is part of the universal church should be part of a local church. The church is the corporate dwelling place of God’s Spirit and the ongoing witness to Christ in the world. We believe the church should neither hide from the world nor blend in with the world but should be distinctively engaged in the world as both “salt” and “light”. The church is distinguished by her faithful gospel preaching, her faithful worship of God, her faithful observance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, her faithful engagement in Christ’s mission, her faithful obedience, and above all, by her love for God and by her members’ love for one another.
Baptism and The Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local church, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that baptism is the immersion of the believer in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This water baptism is a visual sign of a person’s union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. It signifies that one’s former way of life has been put to death, that one is released from the mastery of sin, and that one has entered into a new life of obedience and faith. The Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have trusted Christ for salvation and is to be observed regularly throughout the Christian life as a commemoration and proclamation of Christ’s death and as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of that death. In the observance of the Lord’s Supper we anticipate Christ’s return, we are strengthened in our faith, and we also signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.
The World to Come
We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ when he will exercise his role as perfectly righteous Judge and fully establish his perfect kingdom forever. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all people. For those who have not been justified there will be judgment and the eternal punishment of hell. For those who are justified there will be eternal joy in the presence of God in the new heaven and the new earth. All sin will be purged away and its wretched effects forever banished. On that day the eager longing of all creation will be realized and the whole earth will proclaim the glory of God who makes all things new.