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Life Church’s core beliefs describe our theological positions on key aspects of faith. Centered in Jesus and His message, ours is a biblical theology rather than a theology that is speculative, subjective, or merely rooted in tradition. These beliefs are derived directly from Scripture (both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible).
The sole basis of our belief is the Bible—the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe Scripture in its entirety originated with God and He revealed it to chosen authors. Scripture speaks with the authority of God while simultaneously reflecting the backgrounds, styles, and vocabularies of these human authors. We hold that the Scriptures, in their original manuscripts, are infallible and inerrant; they are the unique, full, and final authority on all matters of faith and practice. There are no other writings similarly inspired by God.
We believe there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three equal persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the beginning, God demonstrated His power, wisdom, and goodness by creating the world and everything in it. Through His divine power and providence, God continues to sustain His creation, operating within history to fulfill His redemptive purposes.
The central purpose of God’s revelation in Scripture is to call people into fellowship with Him. Originally created to be in relationship with God, humans defied Him by going their own independent way, resulting in alienation from Him and the innate inability to please God. This fall took place at the beginning of human history; since then all people have suffered these consequences and are in need of the saving grace of God.
The salvation of humanity is completely a work of God’s free grace; it is not in any way the result of human works or goodness. Each person can receive salvation by repentance and faith. God’s Word assures individuals that He will continue His saving work in them forever.
Jesus Christ, the eternal second person of the Trinity, was fully united with a human nature by a miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived in perfect obedience to the Father, voluntarily paid the price for the sins of all people by dying on the cross as their substitute, and satisfied divine justice, bringing salvation to all who trust in Him alone. After His physical death, Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father as the only intercessor between God and humans. He promises to return to earth, personally and visibly, to fulfill history and the eternal plan of God.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
People in a saving relationship with Jesus are to live in holiness and obedience as they submit to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit applies Jesus saving work by enlightening the minds of sinners to their need to be saved. He renews and indwells each believer upon salvation, becoming their source of assurance, strength, wisdom, and gifting for building up the church. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Bible. Appropriated by faith, His power and control empower believers to lead a life of Jesus-like character and bear fruit for the Father’s glory.
Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. All humanity will experience a bodily resurrection and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Having rejected God, unbelievers will suffer eternal condemnation apart from Him. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life.
All who acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord are united with Him as members of His body, the one true church. Scripture commands believers to gather for worship, prayer, fellowship, and the teaching of the Word; to observe Baptism and Communion as established by Jesus; to offer service to the body through development and use of talents and gifts and outreach to the world. The local expression of the church is wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command. Cared for and led by Pastors/Elders and leaders, church members are to work together in love and unity for the ultimate purpose of glorifying Jesus.
FAITH AND PRACTICE
In all matters of faith and practice, Scripture is the final authority. In matters where Scripture is silent, believers should conscientiously seek to be led by God because it is to Him alone he or she is ultimately responsible.
BAPTISM AND COMMUNION
Life Church observes two biblical sacraments rooted in the actions and teachings of Jesus: Baptism and Communion. These sacraments represent both the individual, inward commitment to a personal relationship with Jesus and the corporate, outward sign of being connected to a local community of Jesus followers—the local church.
ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE, FORETHOUGHT, AND REFLECTION
If the purpose of Baptism is to publicly identify a believer in Jesus Christ, you may well be asking yourself, “What was the significance of my Baptism as a baby?” In the New Testament, we find parents bringing their children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told His disciples to welcome them. But He did not baptize them, and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them. Baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation.
If you were baptized as a child, it was the intent of your parents that you would one day be a follower of Christ. Your Baptism as an adult can be viewed as the fulfillment of your parents’ wishes. It in no way repudiates the Baptism you received as a child.
While recognizing the right for other churches to practice infant Baptism if it conforms to their theology, Life Church understands Scripture to teach that only professing believers qualify for Baptism.
- Baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Jesus, fulfilled by individuals who have submitted themselves to His sovereignty.
- Baptism symbolizes the spiritual cleansing through divine forgiveness and the newness of life believers experience by virtue of their identification with Jesus in His death and resurrection.
- Baptism provides an opportunity for believers to make a formal profession of their faith before the church.
Although the old covenant practice of infant circumcision is sometimes given as a rationale for infant Baptism, the biblical definition of the functions of circumcision and Baptism shows that those two institutions fulfilled different purposes in their respective covenants. The equation is never made in the Bible between the circumcision of male infants in the old covenant, and the Baptism of born-again believers, much less of infants, in the new covenant. However, Life Church encourages Jesus following parents to present their children for the ceremony of dedication, whereby God’s blessing is formally invoked upon the children, and the parents publicly commit themselves to raise the children in accordance with the teachings of Scripture.
Proverbs 20:25 issues a significant caution against the danger of making a vow before adequate knowledge, forethought, and reflection have been given. In an effort to prevent young people from making a premature commitment they may not fully understand, a minimum age of 7-8 years has been established.
Baptism recognizes and celebrates the redemptive life change that is continually occurring within our church. Life Church encourages new believers and believers who have not yet participated in adult Baptism to be baptized by immersion. The Pastors’ position is that Baptism by immersion paints the truest picture of dying to sin and arising to Christ and new life.
THE BIBLICAL FOUNDATION FOR BAPTISM
Jesus’ final recorded words to His followers before His ascension to heaven express the importance He placed on Baptism. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands His followers, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Baptism does not provide salvation for an individual, but rather serves to identify the individual publicly as a follower of Jesus. In passages such as Acts 2:41, 8:12, and 10:47–48, the act of Baptism follows an individual’s decision to trust in Jesus alone for salvation. The New Testament records the Baptisms of adult believers only. In Romans 6:1–11, the apostle Paul describes the immersion of Baptism as a means through which the believer identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Going under the water represents Christ’s death—and a believer’s death to sin; coming out of the water illustrates His resurrection and the believer’s new life in Christ.
Baptism is an act of obedience to Jesus that follows an individual’s acceptance of salvation by God’s grace alone.Baptism isn’t a prerequisite for salvation; however, if an inner commitment to trust Jesus alone for salvation has been made, then the outward symbol of that commitment—Baptism—should follow, as is modeled throughout the New Testament in the lives of those choosing to follow Jesus.
WHEN CAN I BE BAPTIZED?
Baptisms take place quarterly at Life Church following Sunday services. Check online or in announcement slides and brochures to see when the next Baptism is scheduled.
THE BIBLICAL FOUNDATION FOR COMMUNION
Jesus’ Last Supper, the Passover meal He shared with His disciples on the night before He was crucified, is the biblical foundation for the Communion meal celebrated in His honor by Christians all over the world today. With His twelve friends gathered around Him for the traditional Jewish Passover meal, Jesus “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:19–20).
WHO CAN TAKE COMMUNION?
Communion is “the believer’s meal,” a sacrament intended for Jesus’ followers, by which they acknowledge and remember His work on the cross—the ultimate sacrifice made on our behalf for the forgiveness of the sins of humankind.
- Life Church extends an “open” Communion table, meaning the invitation to receive Communion during a LC service is open to any follower of Jesus, regardless of membership, denominational affiliation, or spiritual tradition.
- Those investigating Christianity who have not yet made a commitment of faith through Jesus are encouraged to simply let the Communion plate pass by, using that portion of the service to pray and invite God’s activity into their investigation of faith.
WHEN IS COMMUNION CELEBRATED?
Communion is celebrated during select weekend services at each Life Church throughout the year, usually every other month.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]