What we believe is ultimately grounded in the narrative of Scripture. It is a true story about a Creator and His creation, a rebellion, a redemptive love, a Divine Incarnation of the Creator, a Kingdom, a Gospel, a rescue, a new humanity, a mission, a church, a Divine judgment, and a new heavens and new earth.
But in order to give you a more specific idea as to what we hold as core we offer you this statement of core beliefs to summarize what we teach as a church. Our theology is not innovative - anyone familiar with historic Christian doctrine will find that these statements fall in the center of orthodox biblical theology. We want our core beliefs to be centered in Christ and His message as found in and supported by the clearest passages of Scripture.
We try not to be dogmatic about matters on which "Bible-based believers" have long held divergent views. More obscure doctrine or teachings with less support are left for us to continually engage in biblically informed, gracious and honest, on going conversation. Therefore we adhere to the historic principle of the following: In essential beliefs - we have unity. In non-essential beliefs - we have liberty. In all things - we show love. Please read through the OCC Core beliefs and feel free explore the Scripture references.
About The Bible
We believe that God divinely inspired human authors to write the sixty-six books of the Bible. He communicated through these writers the values, principles, and ideals, which please Him and are in our best interests. Because God is infallible, we believe the Bible is entirely trustworthy and is our guide for truth, faith, reality and life. In it God reveals His character to us, increases our faith, clarifies our view of the world and humanity, and directs our lives. We hold a very high view of the Scriptures and its authority in our lives. We believe that all of Scripture, both the Old Testament and New Testament, tell us of God’s story of redemption, reconciliation and restoration of all creation in and through Jesus the Christ, as well as our role in His redemptive work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Hebrews 4:12-13; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12-13; Psalm 19:7-11, 119:105)
About The Trinity
We believe that there is one God who is the loving Creator of all that exists, both seen and unseen. God is eternal and completely good, knowing all things, having all power and majesty. We believe God exists eternally in perfect co-equal community as three separate persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This doctrine is called the Trinity and though we cannot fully comprehend His nature, we believe that we can know each person of the Trinity in a personal way. Throughout human history He has expressed His desire to be our God and to have a personal, eternal relationship with us. We believe that God loves us and wants what is best for us.
(Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 6:4; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:8, 2 Corinthians 13:14)
We believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and mysteriously and wonderfully is God in the flesh. He is the perfect reflection of God’s heart, character, beauty and love for people; He is what God looks like. Therefore, He is revealed in Scripture as fully God and fully man, Son of Man and Son of God, who inaugurated and proclaimed the full availability and tangible presence of the Kingdom of God through what He called “the Gospel” (good news). He lived a sinless life, performed many miracles and gave direction to His followers. Jesus voluntarily offered Himself as the only perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross, thereby paying the penalty for the offenses of humanity against God. His death satisfied the demands of God’s holy justice, while demonstrating God’s unconditional love, unfailing mercy and abounding grace. He died and was buried. However, as prophesied throughout the Old Testament, He rose from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit three days later, breaking the chains of the reign of sin and death. He appeared to over 500 people during a period of 40 days before ascending to Heaven. He sits at the right hand of the Father as Lord and King where He serves as Mediator between God and humanity. We believe that the Lord Jesus will come again to earth in power and glory to judge the world and bring an end to injustice as He brings into completion the redemption and restoration of all of creation to God’s original intent.
(Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:14, 8:40,58, 11:33; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 17:21; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 3:21-26; 5:6-21; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:13-17, 2:9; Hebrews 1:8, 4:14-16; Revelation 21-22)
About The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit, sent from God to live within, among and between all who put faith in Jesus. He teaches, comforts, convicts, and empowers us, giving each person diverse gifts for serving in the church and serving others in the world as He leads us to join God in His mission. We believe that it is through the Holy Spirit that we have the power to change and develop a holy and righteous Gospel-centered Kingdom-shaped life that loves God, loves people, and follows Jesus. We believe He enables us to make the Kingdom of God more tangible to the world.
(Genesis 1:1-3; John 16:8-11; Acts 1:8-9; 2 Corinthians 3:6, 17; I Corinthians 12:12-14; Romans 8:5-17, 14:16-17; Galatians 5:16-17, 22-24; Ephesians 3:14-21, 5:18; Hebrews 13:20-21)
About Humanity & Sin
We believe that all people are created with dignity and great value in the image of God and that people were created to live in a thriving relationship with God. However, through our sin (failing to live God’s commanded way of life and moral standards as revealed in the Old Testament), we break our intended relationship with God and experience the tragic consequences of that broken relationship, both spiritually and socially. We all fail to please God and are open to Satan's deception. Our failure to please God, unless a relationship is re-established with Him, results in condemnation under God's judgment and would cause us to spend eternity in hell. There is nothing we can do on our own to re-establish our relationship with God.
(Genesis 1:26-3:24; Romans 3:23, 5:12-17; Ephesians 2:1-5; Galatians 3:10-11)
About The Gospel
The word "gospel" is the greek word "evangelion," from which we get the word evangelism. It literally means a pronouncement of "good news." We believe that the Gospel is most simply summed up in the life, death, fulfillment, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. We believe this is why each of the first four books of the New Testament are called "Gospel." In life-giving detail, we believe the Gospel is the pronouncement that Jesus lived, died and resurrected according to the Hebrew Scriptures (what many call the "Old Testament") and as revealed in the New Testament Scriptures. And in His life, death, resurrection and ascension, Jesus Christ fulfills Israel’s story according to the Hebrew Scriptures, and becomes the only hope for the world as the King and Lord of all. This means that God’s Kingdom has come and will fully come at the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, according to the Scriptures. This Kingdom was inaugurated by Jesus in His ministry, and the legitimacy and power of this Kingdom was affirmed by his eventual (thorned) crowning (redemptive) death and (new creation-birthing and restorative) resurrection. Therefore God’s victorious rule, righteousness and love is available to any and all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Redeeming, Reconciling and Restoring King. In Him alone forgiveness of sins is found and in Him alone eternal life lived in the presence of Holy God is found. For Christ-followers, this life lived in the presence of God can begin now. Therefore all power and victory found in Jesus Christ is available to all who trust Him for His glory and our good. We believe this is good news. This is Gospel.
(Isaiah 9:6-7; 1 Corinthians 15:1-6, 20-28; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:16-19, 11:20; Colossians 1:3-8)
About Salvation by Grace Through Faith
Since God is faithful and His love for us is great, He sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue us from those consequences and make us citizens of His Kingdom, which is the “good news” (the gospel). Our broken relationship with God is restored through Jesus’ death on the cross, a perfect act of redemption for each of us. In Jesus Christ, God has begun His work of redeeming and restoring all of humanity and creation, making all things new. Jesus declared that no one comes to the Father except through Him. We receive the free gift of forgiveness by grace through faith, meaning that we cannot earn salvation or through our own works make ourselves righteous before holy God. In Jesus Christ, God has done for us what we can never do for ourselves. We believe that the bible teaches that saving faith compels us to repent (changing our mind and heart) of our sin and be buried with Christ in baptism by immersion.
(Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12-13; 14:1-6; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 3:22-26, 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-7, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Acts 3:18-26; Acts 2:36-38; Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 3:26-27; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 3:21-22)
About the Lord’s Supper or Communion
As we gather around the Lord’s Table each week we bring all of who we are to God in gratitude and we receive God’s gracious gift of Christ’s presence. We are formed by the presence and reign of Christ and we extend this Kingdom hospitality out into the world. We believe in the weekly sharing of communion as a demonstration of our faith in Christ. As this ordinance brings us to the sacrifice of Christ's body and the shedding of His blood on our behalf, it is a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ's death. As we partake of the Lord's Supper with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls, and signifies our unity with Christ’s Church. It is in this practice we acknowledge both our need and common belonging, which becomes our training for life in the world; the same kind of welcome extended to us by Christ becomes the same kind of welcome we extend to others. If we understand the Lord’s Supper this way, our personal tables become an extension of the Lord's table; our lunch tables become extensions of the Lord's table; our cubicles become extensions of the Lord's table--because we remember that we are to be as welcoming to the person who cleans our trash as to the person who writes our checks. The Lord’s Supper is our ongoing rehearsal in the gospel story.
(Matthew 26:26-30; Luke 22:13-30; 1 Corinthians 11:17-26; Acts 20:7)
About The Mission of God
We believe that the Mission of God is the mission to glorify Himself. God does so in this world by redeeming sinful humans and, in the future, fully restoring sin-corrupted creation. God the Father is the Author of this mission. God the Son is the incarnation of this mission in the person of Jesus Christ and accomplishes redemption. God the Spirit applies redemption to the hearts of men and women. We believe that God’s mission has the Church, which becomes the instrument of His mission of Gospel redemption and restoration, finding power and guidance to engage this mission through the Spirit. Mission comes from God, through the church and to the world where God's redemptive work results in people of every tribe, language and nation responding in lifelong worship and enjoyment of God. Ultimately the mission of God will encompass all of creation when God creates a new heaven and new earth. Therefore, we believe that the mission of God is not merely an activity or program to be arranged into our lives, but rather becomes what our lives are to be arranged by. We seek to be joined with God in His mission as everyday people who live in everyday places who demonstrate His Gospel in everyday ways, making His Kingdom tangible and His mission known. And since Scripture reveals the nature of God and His redemptive plan and purpose, we believe that a proper understanding of God’s mission is found only in what Scripture reveals.
(Genesis 12:1-4; John 1:1-5, 10-14; 17:18; 20:21; Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
About the Church
We believe that God’s mission has a church and the mission of God remains the church’s organizing principle. As the sent people of God, loved, redeemed and cared for by Him in grace, we have been entrusted with His mission and called to participate in the world as He does. We believe that the church does not exist for itself, but exists as a Gospel-centered community of worshippers sent as everyday people in everyday places to offer tangible expressions of love, grace and compassion to a fallen world, as we proclaim the Gospel and make His Kingdom known in everyday ways. The church is comprised of any person, anywhere in the world who puts faith in Jesus. The church is one global community of people, but has smaller, local expressions, such as our church community. Each local church expression has a unique personality and we see beauty in that diversity. In order for God’s people to live as ones “sent” by God, or live missionally, His missional church must be directed by God’s revealed Word in Scripture, both individually and communally.
(Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:3-8, 2:1-47, 4:32-35; Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:11-16; 5:25-30; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Galatians 5:13-14)
About the Afterlife and End Times
We do believe that life continues after physical death and that there is a literal heaven and a literal hell. We do believe that Jesus will one day physically return and bring complete justice, restoration and judgment to all of creation. There are so many metaphors and so much ancient apocalyptic language used in the Scriptures about these mysterious topics, and we approach them with great humility and wonder.
(Matthew 24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:1-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20-22)