What Is A Doctrinal Statement
The late A.W. Tozer wrote: “What we believe about God is the most important thing about us.”
First of all, what do we mean by “Our Statement of Faith?” Some churches call it their “Doctrinal Statement.” It’s really the same thing. The Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology, by Millard Erickson, defines doctrine as “a belief or teaching regarding theological schemes . . .” Our faith is founded not only on personal experience but also on a message – the story of Jesus Christ. Doctrines explain this story and its message in a clear and understandable way.
It is usually short and concise
It is always very carefully worded
- It is a summarization
- In some older church traditions it was memorized and recited
- In the past it was often called a creed or confession
Why Is It So Important to a Church?
Some ask, “But why is doctrine so important? Why do we need a doctrinal statement, anyway?”
There are several very important reasons:
- It becomes our common “touchstone” for what we believe
- It creates unity in our own body
- It will become necessary for membership at Cornerstone
- It lets guests, visitors and other churches know what we believe
- It is necessary to include in our church by-laws
- It becomes the standard by which to refute heresy and false teaching
What If We Disagree?
Finally, does every Christian agree on all doctrines? Obviously not. Frankly, the history of division within the Christian church over the centuries shows that not all Christians interpret passages of the Bible the same. Well meaning, knowledgeable, and godly persons have debated the meaning of many Scripture passages.
That is why, at Cornerstone, we are committed to the following key principles:
In essential beliefs — we maintain unity.
In non-essential beliefs — we allow diversity.
In all our beliefs — we display love.
Cornerstone’s Doctrinal Statement of Faith
The following is the Statement of Faith taken directly from our church bylaws:
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.
2 The Bible
We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.
3 The Human Condition
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.
4 Jesus Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus-Israel’s promised Messiah-was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.
5 The Work of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only grounds for salvation.
6 The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
7 The Church
We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.
8 Christian Living
We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.
9 Christ’s Return
We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.
10 Response and Eternal Destiny
We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.