STATEMENT OF FAITH

A living Christian faith must be continually evaluated. This statement of faith is not to be regarded as complete or infallible. It is the purpose of this statement to communicate in clear terms the Christian teachings we believe. Scripture references found at the end of each paragraph, while not exhaustive, give more detailed statements concerning these truths.

1. God

We believe there is one true, 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. In the beginning, God created the world and all that is in it out of nothing. God manifests and demonstrates power, wisdom, and goodness as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of the universe. God is just, yet loves us and offers us forgiveness. God operates throughout history to fulfill redemptive purposes.

Genesis 1:1; Exodus 15:11-14; Exodus 20:1-6; Psalm 19:1-3; Matthew 6:9-10; John 14:6-13; 1 Corinthians 8:5- 6; Hebrews 11:6.

2. Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human. He was united with true human nature by divine conception and virgin birth. Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all by dying on the cross, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all. He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father where He is the Mediator between God and humanity. He will come again to the earth, personally and visibly, to fulfill God’s eternal plan and conclude human history.

Isaiah 53; Matthew 1:18-23; Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:1-6; Luke 1:35; Luke 24:46-47; John 1:1-18; John 11:25-27; John 14:7-11; John 20:1-20; Acts 2:22-24; Romans 3:23-26; Romans 5:8-21; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:1-3; Hebrews 4:14-15; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 2:21-25; Revelation 1:13-17; Revelation 5:11-14.

3. The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity and was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply to humanity the saving work of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit awakens in us an awareness of our sin and our need for the Savior. At the point of salvation, the Holy Spirit permanently lives inside every believer and becomes the source of comfort, strength, wisdom, and assurance of salvation. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the scripture. This power and control are governed by faith, making it possible for the believer to lead a life of Christ-like character and to bring glory to God the Father. The Holy Spirit also gives every believer at least one spiritual gift for the building up of the body of Christ.

Genesis 1:2; Psalm 139:7-10; Joel 2:28-29; Matthew 28:19-20; John 4:24; John 14:16-17, 26; John 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 4:31; Romans 8:9-11, 14-16, 26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 1:13-14.

4. The Bible

The basis of our belief is the Bible, composed of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe the Scripture originated with God and was written and recorded by those divinely inspired by God. The Bible thus speaks with the authority of God and reflects the backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, and vocabularies of the human authors. The message of the Bible is God’s instructions for living, and shows us the way to salvation through Jesus Christ. The Bible is the unique, full, and final authority on all matters of faith and practice.

Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Psalm 19:7-10; Psalm 119:105; Isaiah 40:8; Luke 24:44-46; Romans 15:4; Romans 16:25- 26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

5. Salvation

The central purpose of Scripture is to call all people into fellowship with God. Originally created to have fellowship with God, humans defied God and chose to go their own way. They were separated from God and suffered the corruption of their nature. Sin entered the world early in human history. All individuals since that time have suffered and are in need of God’s saving grace. Our inability to reestablish our relationship with God through our own power leaves us dependent on God’s mercy. Our relationship is reestablished when we make a commitment to accept Jesus as God’s Son and our Savior and Lord.

The salvation of humanity is wholly the work of God’s free grace, not the result, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness. Every individual must personally make a faith decision to accept Jesus Christ as Savior for salvation. When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any individual, He will continue performing it until the day of its full consummation.

Practically speaking, this acceptance is demonstrated through both a private and public commitment. We demonstrate our commitment privately by faith (believing that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died for our sins, and that he overcame death through His resurrection) and repentance (turning back to God and depending upon Him to provide loving and wise oversight of our lives). At the same time, we publicly express our commitment by demonstrating our acceptance of God’s salvation through submitting ourselves in Christian baptism.

John 3:3-21; Romans 1:16-17; Romans 3:23-24; Romans 6:22-23; Romans 8:1-3; Romans 8:28-30, 38-39; Romans 10:9-13; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Colossians 3:10-17; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 1:5-9; Revelation 3:20.

6. Eternal Security

Human beings were created to exist forever. Each person will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally united with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life.

God gives each human being free will to choose his or her destiny. God fully desires that all people come to Him and share in the fulfilled promise of eternal life in Heaven. For those who genuinely choose Him, God gives eternal life through Jesus Christ.

A person who genuinely accepts salvation through Jesus Christ cannot lose his or her salvation. The true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security.

John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17-18; Revelation 20:15;
1 Cor. 2:7-9; John 10:29; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25, 10:10, 14; 1 Peter 1:3-5.

7. The Church

There is one true universal church, known as the “Body of Christ” in scripture, composed of all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior. The Scripture commands believers to regularly gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, and fellowship. Baptism and communion are observed as the ordinances established by Jesus Christ. Service to the body of Christ and outreach to the world are accomplished through the development and use of gifts and talents.

The local expression of the church is realized wherever God’s people meet in obedience to this command. Members are to work together in love and unity under the watch, care, and guidance of the appropriate leadership, with the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ.

Matthew 16:15-19; Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 14:22-26; Acts 2:41-42, 47; Acts 9:31; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 4:11-12; Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Peter 5:1-3.

8. Faith, Practice, and Differences in Interpretation

Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. Sin City Church leaves room for honest differences of opinion as to biblical interpretation on those doctrines which are not essential to salvation. Sin City Church recognizes that it cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where Scripture is silent or does not provide clear direction. Each believer is to be led in those areas by the Lord, to whom he or she is ultimately responsible.

We believe that God has given every believer unique gifts, talents, and resources. As a matter of faith and practice it should be the goal of every believer to follow Christ fully, manage these gifts wisely, and joyfully use them in ministry.

Romans 1:8-12, 17; Romans 3:21-26; Romans 14:19-23, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:22-26; Ephesians 1:15-18; Hebrews 10:22-25; Hebrews 11; James 1:2-6; James 2:14-18, 24-26.

9. Men, Women and Biblical Equality

Sin City Church is an Egalitarian Church. This is our statement borrowed with permission by Christians for Biblical Equality.

The Bible teaches the full equality of men and women in Creation and in Redemption (Gen 1:26–28, 2:23, 5:1–2; I Cor 11:11–12; Gal 3:13, 28, 5:1).

The Bible teaches that God has revealed Himself in the totality of Scripture, the authoritative Word of God (Matt 5:18; John 10:35; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20–21). We believe that Scripture is to be interpreted holistically and thematically. We also recognize the necessity of making a distinction between inspiration and interpretation: inspiration relates to the divine impulse and control whereby the whole canonical Scripture is the Word of God; interpretation relates to the human activity whereby we seek to apprehend revealed truth in harmony with the totality of Scripture and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. To be truly biblical, Christians must continually examine their faith and practice under the searchlight of Scripture.

Biblical Truths Creation

A. The Bible teaches that both man and woman were created in God’s image, had a direct relationship with God, and shared jointly the responsibilities of bearing and rearing children and having dominion over the created order (Gen 1:26–28).

B. The Bible teaches that woman and man were created for full and equal partnership. The word “helper” (ezer) used to designate woman in Genesis 2:18 refers to God in most instances of Old Testament usage (e.g. I Sam 7:12; Ps 121:1–2). Consequently the word conveys no implication whatsoever of female subordination or inferiority.

C. The Bible teaches that the forming of woman from man demonstrates the fundamental unity and equality of human beings (Gen 2:21–23). In Genesis 2:18, 20 the word “suitable” (kenegdo) denotes equality and adequacy.

D. The Bible teaches that man and woman were co-participants in the Fall: Adam was no less culpable than Eve (Gen 3:6; Rom 5:12–21; I Cor 15:21–22).

E. The Bible teaches that the rulership of Adam over Eve resulted from the Fall and was therefore not a part of the original created order. Genesis 3:16 is a prediction of the effects of the Fall rather than a prescription of God’s ideal order.

Redemption

F. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ came to redeem women as well as men. Through faith in Christ we all become children of God, one in Christ, and heirs to the blessings of salvation without reference to racial, social, or gender distinctives (John 1:12–13; Rom 8:14–17; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 3:26–28).

Community

G. The Bible teaches that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came on men and women alike. Without distinction, the Holy Spirit indwells women and men, and sovereignly distributes gifts without preference as to gender (Acts 2:1–21; 1 Cor 12:7, 11, 14:31).

H. The Bible teaches that both women and men are called to develop their spiritual gifts and to use them as stewards of the grace of God (1 Peter 4:10–11). Both men and women are divinely gifted and empowered to minister to the whole Body of Christ, under His authority (Acts 1:14, 18:26, 21:9; Rom 16:1–7, 12–13, 15; Phil 4:2–3; Col 4:15; see also Mark 15:40–41, 16:1–7; Luke 8:1–3; John 20:17–18; compare also Old Testament examples: Judges 4:4–14, 5:7; 2 Chron 34:22–28; Prov 31:30–31; Micah 6:4).

I. The Bible teaches that, in the New Testament economy, women as well as men exercise the prophetic, priestly and royal functions (Acts 2:17–18, 21:9; 1 Cor 11:5; 1 Peter 2:9–10; Rev 1:6, 5:10). Therefore, the few isolated texts that appear to restrict the full redemptive freedom of women must not be interpreted simplistically and in contradiction to the rest of Scripture, but their interpretation must take into account their relation to the broader teaching of Scripture and their total context (1 Cor 11:2–16, 14:33–36; 1 Tim 2:9–15).

J. The Bible defines the function of leadership as the empowerment of others for service rather than as the exercise of power over them (Matt 20:25–28, 23:8; Mark 10:42–45; John 13:13–17; Gal 5:13; 1 Peter 5:2–3).

Family

K. The Bible teaches that husbands and wives are heirs together of the grace of life and that they are bound together in a relationship of mutual submission and responsibility (1 Cor 7:3–5; Eph 5:21; 1 Peter 3:1–7; Gen 21:12). The husband’s function as “head” (kephale) is to be understood as self-giving love and service within this relationship of mutual submission (Eph 5:21–33; Col 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7).

L. The Bible teaches that both mothers and fathers are to exercise leadership in the nurture, training, discipline and teaching of their children (Ex 20:12; Lev 19:3; Deut 6:6–9, 21:18–21, 27:16; Prov 1:8, 6:20; Eph 6:1–4; Col 3:20; 2 Tim 1:5; see also Luke 2:51).

Application Community

M. In the church, spiritual gifts of women and men are to be recognized, developed, and used in serving and teaching ministries at all levels of involvement: as small group leaders, counselors, facilitators, administrators, ushers, communion servers, and board members, and in pastoral care, teaching, preaching, and worship.

In so doing, the church will honor God as the source of spiritual gifts. The church will also fulfill God’s mandate of stewardship without the appalling loss to God’s kingdom that results when half of the church’s members are excluded from positions of responsibility.

N. In the church, public recognition is to be given to both women and men who exercise ministries of service and leadership.

In so doing, the church will model the unity and harmony that should characterize the community of believers. In a world fractured by discrimination and segregation, the church will dissociate itself from worldly or pagan devices designed to make women feel inferior for being female. It will help prevent their departure from the church or their rejection of the Christian faith.

Family

O. In the Christian home, husband and wife are to defer to each other in seeking to fulfill each other’s preferences, desires, and aspirations. Neither spouse is to seek to dominate the other but each is to act as servant of the other, in humility considering the other as better than oneself. In case of decisional deadlock they should seek resolution through biblical methods of conflict resolution rather than by one spouse imposing a decision upon the other.

In so doing, husband and wife will help the Christian home stand against improper use of power and authority by spouses and will protect the home from wife and child abuse that sometimes tragically follows a hierarchical interpretation of the husband’s “headship.”

P. In the Christian home, spouses are to learn to share the responsibilities of leadership on the basis of gifts, expertise, and availability, with due regard for the partner most affected by the decision under consideration.

In so doing, spouses will learn to respect their competencies and their complementarity. This will prevent one spouse from becoming the perennial loser, often forced to practice ingratiating or deceitful manipulation to protect self-esteem. By establishing their marriage on a partnership basis, the couple will protect it from joining the tide of dead or broken marriages resulting from marital inequities.

Q. In the Christian home, couples who share a lifestyle characterized by the freedom they find in Christ will do so without experiencing feelings of guilt or resorting to hypocrisy. They are freed to emerge from an unbiblical “traditionalism” and can rejoice in their mutual accountability in Christ.

In so doing, they will openly express their obedience to Scripture, will model an example for other couples in quest of freedom in Christ, and will stand against patterns of domination and inequality sometimes imposed upon church and family.

We believe that biblical equality as reflected in this document is true to Scripture.

We stand united in our conviction that the Bible, in its totality, is the liberating Word that provides the most effective way for women and men to exercise their gifts distributed by the Holy Spirit and thus to serve God.

Gilbert Bilezikian, W. Ward Gasque, Stanley N. Gundry, Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, Catherine Clark Kroeger, Jo Anne Lyon, Roger Nicole

CHRISTIANS FOR BIBLICAL EQUALITY
122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 218, Mpls, MN 55404-2451

Phone: (612) 872-6898 Fax: (612) 872-6891

E-mail: cbe@cbeinternational.org www.cbeinternational.org

© 1989, Christians for Biblical Equality. Permission to reproduce the statement in its entirety can be obtained from the national office of CBE.