If anyone wishes to follow after me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.
Jesus Christ, Mark 8:34
Our beliefs are those found at the heart of historic Christianity, held in common with the Christian church throughout the world and throughout all ages, articulated in the the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. These doctrinal summaries represent a compilation of what believers in the first centuries knew from written and oral testimony, collected and canonized in the Bible, and distilled into the essentials of the Christian faith. They represent centuries of work, challenge, testing, and critique, culminating in their adoption by the great, ecumenical councils of the early Church. We believe they faithfully represent the truth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Under the broad umbrella of catholic Christianity, we trace our spiritual heritage through Europe and the Protestant Reformation in the persons of Martin Luther and especially John Calvin. This means that we hold the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, inspired through the Holy Spirit of God, containing all that any people in any age need to know for their salvation. It means we stress the sovereignty of God over all things, including all creation, human history, and our salvation in Jesus Christ. We stress the holiness of God, his justice, his gracious loving-kindness, and our calling to magnify him in all that we do and say. We stress the need for faith in Jesus Christ, the need for each Christian to grow in the knowledge of God, and the central importance of life in the local church family. We stress the life of prayer in the Holy Spirit, and the calling of each Christian to love just as Christ loved us. We are a thankful group, free in Christ to serve the God who loves us, the God we love and worship.
The confessions of our church were written in the time of Reformation, including a summary of our thoughts on the Christian faith (the Belgic Confession), a text for teaching new Christians the basics of Christian faith (the Heidelberg Catechism), and a series of statements on the nature of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (the Canons of Dort). These documents place and keep us in the mainstream of Protestant Christianity.
We are a diverse congregation. We come to Christ from many backgrounds, and we gather each week from varied life situations and at different stages in our walk with him. It is our commitment to humbly accept each other, to encourage one another, to be patient and tolerant and forgiving of each other, and to use our gifts and talents for the good of the community to the glory of God.
What unites us is the belief that our comfort in life and in death is that we belong to Jesus Christ, our faithful savior. We believe that as we grow to appreciate the depth of our sin and misery apart from him, as we learn how we are set free from our sin and misery through him, so thanksgiving and joy in him will fill our lives and our church. This joy finds expression in our love for God and each other. We love God because he first loved us and saved us through Jesus Christ his Son; we love each other as Christ loved us and gave his life for us. Thus, we strive to be a community united in the freedom, joy, and love of Christ.
We believe that the chief end of humanity is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. We strive thus to offer our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, our spiritual act of worship. This requires a commitment to a life of prayer centered in the Word of God as we seek to understand the will of God and become like Jesus Christ our Lord in true righteousness. The Ten Commandments give us the perfect standard of righteousness, summarized by Moses and our Lord in the two great commandments to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
We understand this is a profoundly challenging process that continues throughout all of life. In the words of our Lord, "If anyone would be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23) The cross, as an instrument of execution, speaks of our commitment to do whatever God wishes, however difficult, whenever and wherever he chooses, for whomever he wishes, to his glory alone. This sacrifice is learned and tested throughout every aspect of our lives, and requires dedication, patience, endurance, truth, and grace.
We believe our church is designed by Christ to foster this process. We are led by a council of elders and deacons, chosen from and by the congregation, who govern the church and guard our faith. They watch over our life and mission, giving guidance and support, and leading the church in prayer and the study of Scripture. Our pastor is our chief teaching elder, called by the congregation and accountable to the council. We in turn find mutual support and accountability from area churches, from our denomination, and ultimately from the church of Christ throughout the world and throughout history.