According to Random House Dictionary.com (v 1.1), the word "core" is defined as:
1. the central part of a fleshy fruit, containing the seeds
2. the central, innermost, or most essential part of anything
We use the term "core beliefs" to express the beliefs that we, as a church, are united around. To use the fruit metaphor, these beliefs contain the seeds of what will then become many other beliefs and practices of the church. There is a saying from church history which we find explains our position well:
"In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity."
As a church, we have determined what our "core" or "essential" beliefs are so that we can hold onto unity as a local church expression and so that we can embrace liberty in issues that aren't as "essential." This means that among the people of the church (including staff and leadership) there will be a welcomed variety of beliefs on what we hold as "non-core" or "non-essential" beliefs and doctrines, such as:
Whether someone has a view of the end times that is a millennial or a pre-millennialist or whether someone believes in a pre-tribulational rapture or post-tribulational rapture. We will hold as a core essential that Jesus is going to return one day.
Whether someone holds the belief that the universe was created in 6 literal days or that it was created in 6 billion years. We will hold as a core essential that God created everything.
Holding differing viewpoints on non-core doctrines should not degrade or cause dissension. When we teach about non-core issues, we will commonly address a variety of theological perspectives, as we desire to respect and honor the diversity of beliefs among us.
About the Bible
We believe that the entire Bible is fully inspired by God, that it is entirely trustworthy and is our guide for truth, faith and life. We hold a high view of the Scriptures and its authority in our lives.
2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12, 13; Psalm 19:7-11, 119:105
We believe that there is one God who is the loving Creator of all that exists, both seen and unseen. God is eternal and completely good, knowing all things, having all power and majesty. We believe God exists eternally in perfect co-equal community as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 6:4; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:8, 2 Corinthians 13:14
We believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and mysteriously and wonderfully is God in the flesh. He is the perfect reflection of God's heart, character, beauty and love for people. He lived a sinless life and offered Himself as the only perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross. Through faith in Jesus we have been forgiven and brought into a right relationship with God. Jesus bodily rose again from the dead, ascended to heaven and one day will return to judge the world and bring an end to injustice as He restores all things to God's original intent.
Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:14, 8:40,58, 11:33; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 5:8-10; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:8
About the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit, sent from God to live in all who put faith in Jesus, teaches, comforts, convicts and empowers us, giving each person diverse gifts for serving in the church and serving others in the world on the mission of God. We believe that it is through the Holy Spirit that we have the power to change and develop a holy life and Jesus-like character.
John 16:8-11; Acts 1:8-9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; I Corinthians 12:12-14; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18
We believe that all people are created with dignity and great value in the image of God and that people were created to live in a thriving relationship with God. However, through our sin (failing to live by God's guidelines and moral standards), we break our intended relationship with God and we experience the sad consequences of that broken relationship, both spiritually and socially. However, because of God's love for us, He sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue us from those consequences, which is the "good news" (the gospel). Our broken relationship with God is restored through Jesus' death on the cross, a perfect act of redemption for each of us. We receive the free gift of forgiveness and are spiritually reborn through repenting (changing our mind and heart) of our sin and placing faith in Jesus alone.
Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 3:22-26, 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-7
About the Church
We believe that the church is comprised of any person, anywhere in the world who puts faith in Jesus. The church itself is people who are empowered by God's Spirit to be part of the mission of God here on earth. The church is one global community, but has smaller, local expressions, such as our church community. Each local church expression has a unique personality and we see beauty in that diversity. We believe that the church does not exist for itself, but exists as a community of worshipers who are here to serve others, as Jesus told us to be His light, love, compassion, kindness and hope to the world around us.
Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8, 2:1-47; Ephesians 1:22-23, 4::11-13; 5:25-30; 1 Corinthians 12:27
About the Afterlife and End Times
We do believe that life continues after physical death and there is a heaven and a hell. We do believe that Jesus will one day return and bring justice and judgment to all things. There are so many metaphors and so much ancient apocalyptic language used in the Scriptures about these mysterious topics, and we approach them with great humility and wonder.
Daniel 12: 2; Matthew 24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:1-25; 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; Revelation 20-22