What We Believe
Our Statement of Faith:
- In essential beliefs — we have unity.
- “There is one Body and one Spirit...there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all...” Eph. 4:4-6
- In non-essential beliefs — we have liberty.
- "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters... Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls... So then each of us will give an account of himself to God... So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” Romans 14:1; 14:4; 14:12; 14:22
- In all our beliefs — we show charity.
- “...If I hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but also the very secrets of God, and if I have the faith that can move mountains — but have no love, I amount to nothing at all.” 1 Cor. 13:2 (Ph)
THE ESSENTIALS WE BELIEVE:
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.
Genesis 1:1,2, 26, 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14
ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus is the Word of God incarnate. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Matthew 1:22, 23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5; 14:9-30; Hebrews 1:1-4, 4:14,15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-9; Romans 1:1-4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:14,15; Titus 2:13; Matt. 24:30-51; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Heb. 9:28
ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians, we seek to live under His control daily.
2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-15, 14:16,17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12-14, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13-14; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:17-18
Salvation is God’s free gift to us but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as payment in full for the penalty of sin and God’s offer of forgiveness through Him can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his or her life by faith.
Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:4-7; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:17-21.
ABOUT THE BIBLE
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error.
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; Psalm 119:105,160, 12:6; Proverbs 30:5
About Human Beings
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin”. This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life.Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1-2
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
What We Practice
Beliefs are not worth much unless they are translated into actions. Based on what the Bible teaches, we feel very strongly about the following seven practices:
1. Bible as our Sole Authority
“The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us to do what is right.” 2 Tim. 3:15
Since God’s Word is the only completely reliable and truthful authority, we accept the Bible as our manual for living. Our first question when faced with a decision is “What does the Bible say?” We practice daily Bible reading, Bible study, and Bible memorization. The Bible is the basis for all we believe.
2. Priesthood of Every Believer
“Christ loves us, and by His death He has freed us from our sins and made us a kingdom of priests to serve God...” Rev. 1:6(GN) “You are...the King’s priests...God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God.” 1 Pet. 2:9 (GN)
The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to “full time” Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation. We practice the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member to find a place of service and ministry. Every believer has direct access to God through prayer and Bible reading.
“A tithe of everything you produce belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” Lev. 26:30
At SouthGate we practice tithing for the support of Christ’s body, the church, as God commands. We recognize that giving 10% of our income is the Biblical standard of giving.
We observe The Lord’s Supper on a regular basis (normally on the 1st Sunday of each month) as He commanded us to (1 Cor. 11:23-29). This is an ongoing reminder to us of Christ’s love and what he did for us through His death and resurrection. Communion is an opportunity to look introspectively at ourselves and deal with unresolved issues that may hinder our relationship with the Lord (1 Cor. 11:28-29). It’s also a time to look forward to when He will come again in power to rule and rein forever (1 Cor. 11:26).
5. Baptism by Immersion
“For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ...” Col. 2:12 (GN)
6. Spirit-Led Living
Jesus said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; but apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
We believe the only way possible to live the Christian life is by God’s power within us. So we seek to practice a daily dependence on God’s Spirit to enable us to do what is right. (Phil. 2:13; Gal. 5:16-17; Col. 1:9-10)
7. Telling Others About Christ
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15
It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Good News with those with whom God brings us into contact. We practice personal sharing about Christ and inviting friends and others to church. Matt. 24:14; 28:18-20; Ps. 96:3; Rev. 14:6-7