We believe God wrote the Bible through men without error. The Old and New Testaments, in their entirety, constitute the written Word of God and are perfect and without error in the original manuscripts. They were written by men, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and are therefore fully authoritative and guide all matters of Christian life, practice, and doctrine. They are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded, changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation, or worldly wisdom. We believe that every story in the Bible is ultimately about the good news of God’s redemption of mankind and points directly to the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that all believers are called to study the Bible and apply it to their lives (Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Who God Is:
There is one God: infinite, eternal, almighty and perfect in holiness, truth and love. In the unity of the Godhead, there are three Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit, co-existent, co-equal and co-eternal. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, yet each is truly Deity. One God— Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is the foundation of Christian faith and life (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-6; Isaiah 46:9-10; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Genesis 1:26; Psalm 45:6-7; Psalm 110:1; Matthew 3:13-17; Matthew 28:17-20; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
The God of the bible is the Creator of heaven and earth. By His word and for His glory, He freely and supernaturally created the world out of nothing. Through the same word, He daily sustains all His creatures. He rules over all and, together with the Son and the Spirit, is totally sovereign, infinitely good, and perfectly holy. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and, in His unfathomable grace, gave His Son, Jesus Christ, for mankind’s redemption (John 3:16). He made all things for the praise of His glory and intends for man, in particular, to live in fellowship with Himself.
Who The Father Is:
The Father is the first person of the trinity, and, along with the Son & Holy Spirit made man—male and female—in His own image, as the crown of creation so that man might glorify Him through enjoying fellowship with Him. Tempted by Satan, man rebelled against God, and in turn fractured all of creation. Being separated from his Maker yet responsible to Him, he became subject to God’s wrath, inwardly depraved and evil, utterly incapable of returning to God, and in desperate need of a Savior. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to his mind, will and affections. Before man is a new creation he lives under the slavery of sin and Satan. He is at war with God, hostile toward God and hateful of God. Fallen, sinful people, whatever their character or attainments, are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ alone (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23; 5:8, 12-21; 7:18; Ephesians 2:1-3; Genesis 2:15-17; Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12; 6:23; James 1:14-15).
What Jesus Did:
Jesus Christ is the second person of the trinity, is truly God, and is God’s only begotten son. He became human, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, and made His life among us, living a full life without sin. While here, he taught the scriptures, preaching the Gospel frequently out of Old Testament texts, and performed many miracles. His perfect life and death on the cross provide the only atonement that satisfies the righteous requirements of God for the sinner. The death of Jesus Christ fully and finally paid for our sin, and was redemptive, substitutionary (died in our place), totally effective, and complete.
By His death in our place, He revealed the divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having redeemed us from sin, on the third day, He resurrected and, for a period of 40 days, appeared to over 500 witnesses, performing many convincing proofs of His resurrection. He ascended into heaven where, at God’s right hand, He intercedes for His people and rules as Lord over all, awaiting His return. He is the Head of His body and the Church and should be adored, loved, served and obeyed by all (Matthew 1:20; Luke 2:52; John 1:1-4, 14; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-3; John 1:29; 10:1-18; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18; Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-53; John 1:20-21:25; 1 Corinthians 15:12-34; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 9:28; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 1:7).
What the Holy Spirit is Doing:
The Holy Spirit is the personal, divine third member of the Godhead. He convicts the world of sin and its consequences; He brings repentance and faith to the believer; He indwells the believer with the radical life of Jesus Christ; He gives gifts to every believer for mutual service within the body of Christ; He unites each believer in the Body of Christ and seals them in that relationship; He bears the fruit of Christian character in the lives of every believer; He guides, instructs, and empowers the believer for godly living and service. He is worshiped with the Father and the Son.
Jesus Christ is the Gospel. The good news is revealed in His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. All of us without exception are broken people because of sin, but God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to experience the broken world in the weakness of full humanity, to live an obedient life to redeem our disobedience, to die a sacrificial death to atone for our sins, and to rise from the dead to conquer the death our sin deserves. This is good news because now, thanks to Jesus, we can be forgiven and free and reconciled to God the Father. Christ’s death is the heart of the gospel. His resurrection is the power of the gospel, and His ascension is the glory of the gospel.
The Apostle Paul says it this way: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
Christ’s death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases His holy wrath. It also demonstrates His mysterious love and reveals His amazing grace. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). There is no other name by which men must be saved (Acts 4:12). At the heart of all sound doctrine is the cross of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God because of what He has accomplished. Therefore, we want all that takes place in our hearts, churches and ministries to proceed from and be related to the gospel.
At Shepherd’s Way Church, this means preaching the Gospel in every text on Sunday mornings, living out the Gospel in our everyday lives, doing life together through advancing the Gospel by living missionally and sending our people out to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Our Response to the Gospel
The proper response to the Gospel is faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, a faith that is naturally accompanied by repentance from sin. Biblical repentance is characterized by a changed life, and saving faith is evidenced by kingdom service or works. While neither repentance nor works save, unless a person is willing to deny himself, pick up his cross and follow Christ, he cannot become His disciple (Luke 9:23). This response to the Gospel is rooted and grounded in the free gift of grace God extends to us through his son. This Gospel of grace is to be sincerely preached to all men in all nations.
Our Inheritance through the Gospel
Salvation, the free gift of God, is provided by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Anyone turning from sin in repentance and looking to Christ and His substitutionary death receives the gift of eternal life and is declared righteous by God as a free gift. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him (2 Corinthians 5:21). He is justified and fully accepted by God. Through Christ’s atonement for sin, an individual is reconciled to God as Father and becomes His child. The believer is forgiven the debt of his sin and via the miracle of regeneration, liberated from the law of sin and death into the freedom of God’s Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the active agent in our sanctification and seeks to produce His fruit in us as our minds are renewed and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality as we are led by the Spirit, we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping His commandments and endeavoring to so live in the world that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. All believers are urged to persevere in the faith, knowing they will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word and deed. The spiritual disciplines, especially Bible study, prayer, worship and confession, are a vital means of grace in this regard. Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence to persevere is based in the sure promise of God to preserve His people until the end, which is most certain (Romans 8:30).
God, by His Word and Spirit, creates the Church, calling sinful men out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ’s body. By the same Word and Spirit, He guides and preserves that new redeemed humanity. The Church is not a religious institution or denomination. Rather, the Church is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve Him by faithfully doing His will on earth. This involves a commitment to see the Gospel preached and churches planted in the entire world for a testimony. The ultimate mission of the Church is to glorify God, and the means by which this is accomplished is the making of disciples through the preaching and advancing of the Gospel. When God transforms human nature, this becomes the chief means of society’s transformation. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women are added to a local church in which they devote themselves to teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper and prayer (Acts 2:42-47).
All members of the Church are to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context, they are called to walk out the New Covenant as the people of God and demonstrate the reality of the kingdom of God. The ascended Christ has given gift ministries to the Church (including evangelists, pastors and teachers) for the equipping of Christ’s body so that it might mature and grow. Through the gift ministries, all members of the Church are to be nurtured and equipped for the work of the ministry. In the context of the local church, God’s people receive pastoral care and leadership and the opportunity to employ their God-given gifts in His service in relation to one another and to the world (1Cor. 12-14).
Ordinances of the Church:
Water baptism is only intended for the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work and become His disciple. Therefore, in obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the church, oneself and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual and symbolic demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. It signifies that his former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts a person’s release from the mastery of sin.
As with water baptism, the Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of His blood on our behalf, and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as 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 signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.
The Completion: All Things Made New:
The completion of all things includes the future, physical, visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the translation of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In this culmination, Satan, with his hosts and all those outside Christ, is finally separated from the compassionate presence of God, enduring eternal punishment; – but the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with Him forever, serving Him and giving Him unending praise and glory. Then shall the eager expectation of creation be fulfilled, and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God, who makes all things new.