Bridgeway Community Church will adhere to the following basic statement of Christian doctrine. We agree that doctrinal beliefs beyond this statement, though important, will not serve as tests of fellowship within this body.
We believe in one living, true, and holy God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each of whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity and the characteristics of personality. God is the creator and preserver of all things, infinite in being and perfection. By his sovereign power, he continues to sustain his creation. By his providence, he is operating throughout history to fulfill his redemptive purposes.
We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man. He is the eternal second person of the Trinity who is united forever with a true human nature by a miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to God the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all people by dying on the cross as their substitute, thus satisfying divine justice and securing salvation for all who would trust in him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though now glorified, in which he lived and died. He ascended into heaven where he intercedes for his people and rules as Lord of all creation. He will come again to earth, personally and visibly to consummate his sovereign rule and the eternal plan of God.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply to humanity the saving work of Christ. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, and in him, they are baptized into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. At the point of salvation, he indwells every believer to become the source of their assurance, strength, and wisdom, and he uniquely endows each believer with gifts for the building up of the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the truths of Scripture. His power and control are appropriated by faith, making believers able to lead lives of Christ-like character and to bear fruit to the glory of the Father.
The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, composed of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament. We believe that Scripture in its entirety originated with God who inspired it through his chosen human instruments. Scripture thus speaks with the authority of God and at the same time reflects the backgrounds, styles, and vocabularies of the human authors. We hold that the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts and, when correctly interpreted, are trustworthy and fully truthful in all they teach. They are the unique, full, and final authority on all matters of faith and practice; there are no other writings similarly inspired by God. Proper interpretation requires applying the normal rules of grammar, and taking into account the literary context, historical-cultural setting, and the literary genre of each passage to be studied.
We believe that people (male and female) were created in the image of God in order to bring honor and glory to him. Through rebellion against the Creator, humans fell from their sinless state into a condition of sin, death, and alienation from God. Thus, they are unable to please God. The entire race is born into this state of sin and death, sinful both by nature and by choice, and, apart from God’s grace, incapable of entering a relationship with God. Thus, all stand in need of God’s saving grace.
Men and women enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and both are called to move beyond self-indulgence to an active self-giving engagement with family, church and civic life. In marriage, husbands and wives enter into a one-flesh union, which serves ultimately as a type for the relationship between Christ and his church, and establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations. In God’s wise purposes, husband and wives are not simply interchangeable,: they complement each other in mutually enriching ways, such that when each fulfills his or her own God-given role the glory of God’s own image is reflected in their marriage.
Salvation is wholly the work of God’s free grace, not the result, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness. God offers salvation to people on the basis of Jesus’ death on the cross in payment for sin. Jesus triumphed over death in his resurrection and now occupies his position of exaltation at God’s right hand. To obtain salvation a person must repent of sin, trust in Jesus alone as Savior, and acknowledge the risen Christ as Lord of his or her life (Romans 10:9-10; John 1:12; 3:16). This expresses the core of the Christian faith: what is called the Gospel (Good News). Belief in the Gospel is required for a person to be a Christian.
The Church is a spiritual fellowship, created by the Spirit and the Word of God, with the risen Christ as its Lord. There is one true universal Church comprised of all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scripture commands believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of baptism and communion as the ordinances established by Jesus Christ, fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world. Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the universal church. Its members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the one ultimate purpose of glorifying God.
The church serves as a sign of God’s future new world when its members live for the services of one another and their neighbors, rather than for self-focus. The church is the corporate dwelling of God’s Spirit, and the continuing witness to God in the world.
Death seals each person’s everlasting destiny. All people will experience a resurrection of the body and God’s judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Unbelievers will be separated from God unto everlasting condemnation for their own rejection of God. Believers will be received into everlasting communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life.
FAITH AND PRACTICE
Scripture correctly interpreted is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. We recognize that the church cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where Scripture is silent or unclear. We expect each individual to seek to be obedient to the Spirit’s guidance in those areas, for we believe that each Christian is ultimately responsible to and will be held accountable by the Lord himself.
BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordained by the Lord Jesus himself. The former is an outward symbol of the inner reality of entrance into the new covenant community, the latter a symbol of ongoing covenant renewal and a means of spiritual nurture and growth. Together they are simultaneously God’s pledge to us, divinely ordained means of grace, our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and anticipation of His return, and of the consummation of all things.
DOCTRINE ON WHICH WE AGREE TO DISAGREE
For those doctrines not explicitly outlined above, we allow freedom of belief and the freedom to disagree. However, in keeping with Jesus’ desire for his disciples and the pervasive teaching of the New Testament, we greatly prize unity in the Church and insist that members do not vigorously promote doctrines not listed above such that they cause dissension and divisions within the body.