Jesus Christ is the pivotal person that sets Christianity apart from other religions. Christians are followers of Jesus who still to this day base their religious beliefs and practices on His teachings. However, we also believe that God gave us the entire Bible to be studied and applied to our daily lives. It is the pathway to knowledge about - and a personal relationship with - God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
But what are the basic teachings Christians should discern from the Bible? How do we take all of the stories of the Bible; the teachings of Moses, the prophets, and Jesus, the Apostles advice for daily living, and the warnings of end times, and reduce them down to a minimum about what we believe? In other words, what is our doctrine?
While the finer distinctions may vary from one Christian church to another, the Elders at Henderson Hills offer the following six points to summarize our doctrinal beliefs:
The Bible is the most amazing, timeless, captivating, and important book ever written.
- The Bible is God's written Word, and it is good for teaching, correcting, guiding, and changing us (2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12-14, Matthew 22:29-32).
- The Bible is the only real authority to teach us about God and to teach us how to live well, serving as our roadmap for life (Psalms 1:1-3, Joshua 1:6-9, John 17:17, Matthew 4:4).
- When we read the Bible and apply its teaching to our lives, we grow as Christians and change to be more like Jesus. This is true for each person and for the church as a whole (Matthew 7:24-27, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:1-2).
God is more important than anyone else. He gives us meaning and purpose to our lives. We can know God and have a relationship with Him.
- There is one God who has always existed in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:26, Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 28:19, James 2:19).
- God the Father made the universe. He is the perfect Father: He never makes a mistake, He always does what is right, and He is filled with love, sweetness, and compassion. He is all powerful, He sees everything, and He knows everything: past, present, and future (1 John 1:5, 1 John 2:13, 1 John 4:7-9, Acts 17:24-26, Psalm 102:25-27, Isaiah 46:9-10, Psalm 139:4, Psalm 139:7-10, 1 John 3:20, Psalm 34:8, Luke 15:11-32, Deuteronomy 32:4).
- God the Son is Jesus Christ our Lord. He has always existed, and when He came to live on Earth, He was (and is) both 100 percent God and 100 percent man. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to take away our sins, and then He came back to life (Hebrews 13:8, John 1:1-4, 14, Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 2:9, Luke 1:26-35, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, 1 Corinthians 15:12-17, Mark 16:6, Mark 5:35-41).
- God the Holy Spirit works in people's hearts to convict, convince, and comfort us, and to make us more like Jesus. The Holy Spirit still works miracles in people's lives as He always has, works within the hearts of Christians to help make us morally pure, and gives Christians spiritual gifts to build up the church (Acts 5:3-4, Romans 8:16, 1 John 4:13, John 16:8, 1 Corinthians 12:11, Ephesians 1:13-14, Galatians 5:16-25).
The Spiritual World
The Spiritual World is not something we can see, but it is just as real as the physical world. God, angels, Satan, and demons are all real beings, and Heaven and Hell are real places (2 Corinthians 4:18, Ephesians 6:12, Acts 17:24-25, Colossians 1:16, Nehemiah 9:6, John 14:2-3, Mark 9:47).
- Angels are spiritual beings who serve God and who help people. We are never to worship angels or pray to them (Psalm 103:20-21, Hebrews 1:13-14, Colossians 2:18).
- Demons (or devils) are evil spiritual beings who are led by Satan. They are enemies of God, and try to destroy people. We should try to avoid any influence demons might have upon us, and getting closer to God is the only way to resist them (Revelation 12:9, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, 1 John 3:7-8, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5: 8-9).
Salvation is how we come to know God and gain eternal life with Him.
- Because Adam disobeyed God and because we all do, we cannot have a close, personal relationship with God unless we are born again spiritually. Jesus made this new birth possible by dying on the cross and coming back to life (Romans 5:12, 3:23, John 3:5-7, Luke 24:1-8, Philippians 2:8, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
- Only God can save us. In other words, only God can restore our relationship with Him, a relationship that was broken because of our disobedience. As a part of this new, sweet, personal relationship with God, God also gives us Heaven as our home forever so we do not have to live in Hell (John 14:6, Acts 4:10-12, Romans 6:23, John 14:2-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
- We are saved only by the free gift of God through faith in Jesus, and we cannot be saved through our own natural goodness or through any good things we can do (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- When we are saved by God's grace, we become new spiritual persons. The goodness of Jesus is placed upon and within us, so that we are completely loved and accepted by God and adopted into His family forever (Romans 5: 8-9, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:27-28, 1 John 4:7-13, John 1:12).
- Since we, as Christians, are new spiritual persons, God expects our lives to show we are part of His family and living right in our daily lives. God empowers us so that we can be free from the chains of sin, (that is, from being addicted to disobedience). Even though we will still wrestle with sin to some degree, we will continue to become more like Jesus. We will never be completely perfect and sinless until we finally stand in the presence of the Lord (Romans 12:1-2, 1 Peter 1:14-16, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 John 4:4, Galatians 5:16, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7, Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 13:9-12).
The Church is not a building; it is God's people.
- People are the best thing God ever created (Genesis 1:26-27, Psalms 8:3-6).
- God made people into two genders: male and female (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 5:1-2).
- People are made up of three parts: a body, a soul (including a mind, emotions, and a will), and a spirit. Each part affects the other parts (1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 4:12).
- Christians belong to God's universal Church, which is made up of every believer around the world and throughout all time (Hebrews 12:22-23).
- The purpose of the Church is to glorify God by continuing the work Jesus did while He was on the Earth (Ephesians 1:11-12, Colossians 3:16).
- Part of the reason God designed the local church is so Christians can gather together to worship and praise God, practice baptism and the Lords Supper, and love each other (Romans 6:1-4, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:34-35).
- There are two offices in the church: Elder and Deacon. However, every member of the church is a minister of God. We all have the privilege, responsibility, and resources to further God's work by touching people's lives in various ways (1 Timothy 3:1-13, 1 Corinthians 12: 3-27, Romans 12:3-8).
- Christians (by what we think, say, and do) are to let non-Christians know about Jesus, whether they live next door or across the world (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8).
The earth will not exist in its current form forever. Big changes are coming.
- Everybody lives forever after they die. Christians will go to Heaven to live forever with God, and non-Christians will go to Hell to live forever separated from God( Matthew 25:31-46, Revelations 20:11-15).
- Jesus now sits on a throne in Heaven beside God the Father. Although no one knows when, one day Jesus will return to the earth in justice, truth, power, and glory.