Statement of Faith Essentials
Site admins and course instructors are required to affirm these points to make use of the Gospel Paths platform.
One Triune God
There is one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. God defines love, is supremely holy, and sovereignly rules over all that is. He is the creator of all, and all things exist for his glory.
The Authority of the Bible
God has most fully and clearly revealed himself and his plan to us in the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. These alone hold ultimate authority as the Word of God. They are without error of any sort in the original writings, complete and sufficient for salvation and godly living. Therefore, the Bible is to be believed, obeyed and trusted in all it says, and to be the foundation and point of reference for all we do and teach.
Created in God’s Image
God created all human beings, male and female, in his own image. They were created from dust, directly made to be human and not through any evolutionary process. Being made in God’s image carries with it incredible value, making the abuse or murder of another human a heinous sin—whether the person be pre-born, elderly, or anything in between, and regardless of disability. God has tasked humans to care for and govern creation while living in holy fellowship with him.
Male and Female with Distinct Roles
God has made men and women different, designed to complement each other. This is first-and-foremost expressed in the one-flesh (i.e. intimate and sexual) union of marriage between one man and one woman, with the husband leading, loving and providing for his wife, and the wife respecting and submitting to her husband. Secondly, while all are called to serve Christ in manifold ways, the office of pastor, elder, or bishop is reserved to qualified men.
All positions and practices which diverge from the simple and straightforward meaning of the above paragraph—including the traditional definitions of all terms—are sinful and to be repented of (eg. sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, transgenderism, most forms of feminism, etc.).
Human Sinfulness and Our Supreme Need
Adam, the first man, forfeited his original blessedness—for himself and all his progeny—by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation. As a result, all human beings sin. We are, moreover, alienated from God and condemned to eternal death—apart from God’s gracious intervention. Our supreme need is, therefore, to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; our only hope is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.
God’s Plan and the Elect
From all eternity God graciously chose a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation. God likewise planned, promised, prophesied and determined the means of this salvation from before creation.
The Good News of Jesus
The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. In love and obedience to his Father, the eternal Son became human: fully God and fully human being, one Person in two natures. He is the promised Messiah of Israel, was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. He perfectly obeyed his heavenly Father, lived a sinless life, and performed miraculous signs. Jesus was crucified to bear the punishment of our sins, arose bodily from the dead on the third day to defeat death, and ascended into heaven to be exalted as Lord over all. Salvation from sin and from eternal condemnation is found in no one else.
Salvation in Christ
God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and will one day glorify them—all to the praise of his glorious grace. There is no condemnation for those “in Christ.” Rather, they now possess the perfect righteousness of Christ which has been imputed to them.
God commands, implores and invites all people to repent and believe the gospel. All who respond in faith are saved.
The Holy Spirit’s Works
The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and brings new life to spiritually dead sinners. In him, all believers are baptized into union with Jesus. Through him, they grow to be more Christ-like. The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of our promised inheritance, even as he guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers through holy fruit and spiritual gifts for service.
Good Works as Evidence of the New Birth
Believers in Jesus are inwardly transformed to possess the desire to glorify, trust, and obey God. Good works, therefore, naturally follow and constitute indispensable evidence of genuine salvation.
The New Covenant—Instructed By, But Not Under the Law
The law of Moses was given to instruct us in holiness and show us our inability to live righteous lives and earn God’s favor on our own. For this reason, God has always indicated the need for a new covenant. Jesus has established this New Covenant in his blood with the Church—a covenant whose obligations have been fully fulfilled by Jesus and whose laws are written on our hearts and not in an external code. Thus, while the Old Covenant law continues to instruct us in a variety of ways, it is no longer the code of legal obligations under which either Jewish or Gentile believers must live.
The Eternal People of God
Believers in Jesus are adopted into God’s family and enter the kingdom of God. This universal church is manifest in local churches of which Christ is the only head. Furthermore, Christ Jesus is our peace, reconciling all believers to one another through the cross, by which he put to death our hostility. The church is the corporate dwelling place of God’s Spirit, and the continuing witness of God in the world. God does not have any other eternal people of God to whom he provides salvation by another means or for whom he counts salvation outside of faith in Christ.
The Symbols of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are commanded by Jesus. The former is connected with entrance into the New Covenant community, the latter with ongoing covenant renewal. Together they testify to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and anticipate his return and the consummation of all things. Neither carry any inherent saving qualities in and of themselves. Rather, they serve as a proclamation of the gospel and its benefits to believers.
The Centrality of the Local Church in the Life of the Christian
The local church holds a central role in the practice of the Christian faith. It is primarily through the local church that God’s people are to fulfill the Great Commission, administer baptism and the Lord’s Supper, dispense truth, minister to one another with their gifts, engage in corporate worship, live in covenant under Christ’s commands, and discipline one another through formal and informal means.
The Gospel Call to Suffering, Not Prosperity in this Age
In light of God’s plan, believers are called to share in suffering for the sake of proclaiming the gospel and living holy lives. We are also instructed to give generously in order to love others, especially those in God’s family. Finally, God has not promised believers perpetual material prosperity and abundance in this world, but only in the world to come.
The Return of Jesus and Consummation of History
Jesus will return personally, gloriously, and bodily, with his holy angels at which time he will exercise his role as final Judge and bring his kingdom to consummation. All believers and unbelievers who have died will be raised bodily—unbelievers to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in Hell and genuine believers to eternal blessedness in the presence of God and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness.