Statement of Faith

 

Prior to the launch of this new ministry, the Southwest Church of Christ elders and the NWSD Director developed a statement of faith that accurately represents their convictions and serves to guide the theological perspective of the program.   The statement addresses primary Christian doctrines as well as some contemporary concerns that require clarity and forthrightness in our current cultural context.   All are welcome to study in the school of discipleship, but students, partners, and supporters should understand that the Southwest elders and all teachers and mentors in the program are in agreement with the doctrinal point of view expressed below. 

 

Fundamental Christian Doctrines

We believe in One God, the Father almighty, the creator of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.  There is one God who exists eternally in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [Matt. 28:19; Gen 1:1; John 10:30; 2 Cor. 13:14]

We believe that Jesus Christ is the sinless and only Son of God, who for the sake of our salvation, humbled Himself and was born of the virgin Mary so that He could die on the cross for the sins of the world and be raised from the dead on the third day.   Having redeemed us and made possible our adoption as sons, Christ now reigns at the Father’s right hand in glory, interceding for the saints and awaiting His triumphant return. [John 3:16; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 7:25; 9:27-28]

We believe in the Holy Spirit whose present mission is to convict the world of sin, personally indwell every Christian, and create unity among believers.  He seals us for the day of redemption, empowers and equips for ministry in the body of Christ, pours God’s love into our hearts, intercedes for us in prayer according to God’s will, and transforms us into the image of Christ in holiness. [John 16:8; Rom. 5:5; 8:26-27; I Cor. 6:19-20; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 4:30]

We believe Holy Scripture is the inspired Word of God and as such is truthful in every way and without error.  Scripture is the highest authority for the belief and practice of the people of God and is sufficient, clear, and understandable for those who approach it with a humble and prayerful heart. [Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119:160; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21]

We believe that all have sinned and consequently are alienated from God and under His just wrath and in need of salvation.  Not only has our sin alienated us from God, but it has negatively impacted every area of human life, including relationships, systems, and thought patterns.  [Rom. 3:23; 5:12-21; Eph. 2:1-3]

We believe salvation is attained solely by the grace of God.  It is a free gift obtained by all who have saving faith in Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead.  Apart from Christ there is no salvation. [John 14:6; Rom. 5:1-11; Eph. 2:4-10; Acts 4:12; Titus 3:3-7]

We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the good and evil, and a judgment day.  Those in Christ receive salvation in the presence of God in His eternal kingdom; those outside of Christ receive eternal punishment apart from the presence of God in hell. [Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Cor. 5:10]

We believe in the Holy universal Church, which is the body of Christ.  The Church is a royal priesthood purchased by His blood and precious to Him.  The local congregation is a visible manifestation of the universal Church, of which Christ is the head.  There is no salvation outside Christ and His Church.  [Eph. 1:22; Rev. 5:9-10; I Peter 2:9-10; I Cor. 1:2; 11:18]

We believe Christ entrusted the Church with two holy ordinances, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which serve physically to communicate deep truths of the faith.  [Matt. 26:26-29; 28:19]

  • Baptism is by immersion and administered upon personal confession of faith and repentance, for the forgiveness of sins.  The baptized enjoy all the benefits of being in Christ, including membership in the universal Church and the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  [Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:1-4; I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:11-14]

  • The Lord’s Supper is a profound commemoration and proclamation of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ until He returns.  It is partaken of on the Lord’s Day and signifies the Christian’s fellowship with Christ and His body. [Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11:17-34]

We believe the indwelling Holy Spirit works to produce holiness of speech and life in every genuine disciple.  When believers yield to His work, they will grow in sanctification and exhibit visible fruits of righteousness, obedience, and service. [Gal. 5:22-23; Rom. 8:13-14; I Cor. 3:16-17]

 

 

Contemporary Concerns

We believe that all people are equally created in the image of God and have the same inherent value and worth as individuals.  Human life is a precious gift and must be protected and honored from the womb to natural death.  Racism and other ideologies and practices that devalue individuals and human life are sinful and contrary to the gospel. [Gen. 1:26-27; Gal. 3:28; Psalm 139:13-16;  James 2:1-13]

We believe God has ordained government for the general good of humanity and uses it to accomplish His will.  Consequently, it deserves our obedience in matters pertaining to its legitimate realm of authority.  The Christian’s greatest loyalty and deepest devotion, however, is to Christ as King and to the Church as His body.  When government oversteps its authority or commands something contrary to God’s Word, Christians must obey God.  At the same time, we are called to follow our Lord’s example in being people of peace in a culture of war.  [Rom. 13:1-12; I Pet. 2:13-17, 21-23; Acts 5:29]

We believe that men and women are made equally in the image of God, share a common dignity and worth in Christ, and together have been given the creation mandate to exercise dominion over, and care for, the earth.  Scripture teaches men and women have complementary, but not identical, roles to play in the body of Christ and in the home.  God calls and expects men to humbly exercise primary leadership in the Church, and if married, to lovingly lead their wives and families.  Women are called to defer to godly male leadership in the Church.  Wives are called to submit to their husbands’ loving leadership in marriage.  Women have important and essential ministries in the body of Christ, yet Scripture teaches that some roles of leadership and some ministries of the Church are reserved exclusively for men. [Gen. 1:26-28; I Tim. 2:8-15; I Pet. 3:1-7; Eph. 5:22-33; I Cor. 14:33-37]

We believe the term marriage has only one meaning: the covenant relationship between one man and one woman for life.  All sexual behaviors outside the covenant of biblical marriage are sinful and contrary to the will of God.  This includes, for example, all homosexual practice, pornography, incest, polygamy, polyamory, and promiscuity.   [Gen. 2:18-25; Lev. 18:22;  Matt. 15:19; Rom. 1:26-27; I Cor. 6:9-10; Eph. 5:3-5; Heb 13:4]

We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female, in conformity with their biological sex. These two distinct complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God and people must accept, not try to change, their gender. [Gen. 1:26-27; Deut. 22:5; Eph. 5:32]

 

December 19, 2020