Beliefs

Briarcliff Church
Statement of Basic Beliefs

 

THE TRINITY
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one God in three equally divine Persons.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Deuteronomy 6:4

There is one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect both in his love and in his holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, he perfectly and exhaustively knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation to the praise of his glorious grace.

(Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Isaiah 40:26; Matthew 10:29-30; Colossians 1:16-17; Job 37:6-13; Psalm 147:15-18; Mark 4:39-41; Psalm 33:10-11; Amos 3:6; Lamentations 3:37-38; Proverbs 21:1; Proverbs 16:33)

 

REVELATION
In God’s perfect grace and wisdom he has revealed his existence and power through his Son, his Spirit, his creation and his word found in The Bible.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
Psalms 19:7

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness
2 Timothy 3:16

God has graciously disclosed his existence and power in the created order, and has supremely revealed himself to fallen human beings in the person of his Son, the incarnate Word. Moreover, this God is a speaking God who by his Spirit has graciously disclosed himself in human words: we believe that God has inspired the words preserved in the Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which are both record and means of his saving work in the world. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks. We confess that both our finitude and our sinfulness preclude the possibility of knowing God’s truth exhaustively, but we affirm that, enlightened by the Spirit of God, we can know God’s revealed truth truly. The Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. As God’s people hear, believe, and do the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Psalm 12:6; Psalm 119; Matthew 24:35; Matthew 22:29; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21)

CREATION OF HUMANITY
We are created in the image of God for his glory.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Genesis 1:26

“For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
Isaiah 48:9-11

We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in his own image. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God himself declared to be very good, serving as God's agents to care for, manage, and govern creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with God. Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called and purposed to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church. In God's wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. 

(Genesis 1-3; Ephesians 5:15-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7; Ephesians 4:25-32; Colossians 3:18-4:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)

THE FALL
The supreme need of off human beings is to be reconciled to God.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:4-5

We believe that Adam, made in the image of God, distorted that image and forfeited his original blessedness—for himself and humanity to follow—by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation. As a result, all human beings are alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (e.g., physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually) and condemned finally and irrevocably to death—apart from God’s own gracious intervention. This alienation has not been limited to the realm of humanity, but has perverted creation itself. The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath we stand. The only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.

(Romans 5:1-19; Romans 1:18-3:20; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:21; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:7-8; Romans 8:20)

THE PLAN OF GOD
God has made amazing promises that only God can deliver.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.         Ephesians 1:7-10

We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose them. We believe that God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and that he will one day glorify them—all to the praise of his glorious grace. In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer. And it may truly be said, that all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

(Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:3-14; Isaiah 46:9-10; Romans 9:11-18; John 10:25-29; John 3:16;1 John 2:2;1 Timothy 2:4;1 Timothy 2:6)

THE GOSPEL
The gospel is the good news of the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4

We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. Foolishness to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is centered on the cross and resurrection: the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ – in his perfect and liberating life, death and resurrection – is not proclaimed. This good news is biblical truth (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theologically sound, saving grace (Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to God), historically accurate (if the saving events did not happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved).

(1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Romans 1:15-17; Ephesians 2:3-6; Mark 1:14-15)

THE REDEMPTION OF CHRIST
Jesus Christ has given to us what we could never achieve for ourselves.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.                                                                             1 Peter 2:24

We believe that, moved by love for and in obedience to his Father, the eternal Son became human: the Word became flesh, fully God and fully human being, one Person in two natures. The man Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel, was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. He perfectly obeyed his heavenly Father, lived a sinless life, performed miraculous signs, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven. As our mediator and King, he is seated at the right hand of God the Father, exercising in heaven and on earth all of God’s will. We believe that by his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute. He did this so that in him we might become the righteousness of God: on the cross he canceled sin, propitiated God, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe. By his resurrection Christ Jesus was vindicated by his Father, broke the power of death and defeated Satan who once had power over it, and brought everlasting life to all his people; by his ascension he has been forever exalted as Lord and has prepared a place for us to be with him. We believe that salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. Because God chose the lowly things of this world, the despised things, the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, no human being can ever boast before him—Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.

(Isaiah 53; Romans 3:21-26; John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:24;Revelation 5)

THE JUSTIFICATION OF SINNERS
Life with God is a gift through Jesus Christ.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Corinthians 5:21

We believe that Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified. By his sacrifice, he bore in our stead the punishment due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf. By his perfect obedience he satisfied the just demands of God on our behalf, since by faith alone that perfect obedience is credited to all who trust in Christ alone for their acceptance with God. Inasmuch as Christ was given by the Father for us, and his obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. We believe that a zeal for personal and public obedience flows from this free justification.

(Romans 4:3-8; Romans 3:26; Galatians 2:16-17; Titus 3:5-7; Philippians 3:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:1; Psalm 51)

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe, grow and glorify God by the power of God the Holy Spirit.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:14-17

We believe that the Holy Spirit applies salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, to his people. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and is present with and in believers. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, baptizing them into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. By the Spirit’s agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive his sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

(Galatians 3:5; Galatians 5:16-18; Ephesians 5:18-21; Ephesians 1:11-14; 1 Corinthians 12-14; John 16:4-15; Romans 12; Joel 2:28-32; Numbers 11:29)

THE KINGDOM OF GOD
As Jesus is now, we will be also together with him – joined in unending joy.

Those whom he justified he also glorified                                Romans 8:30

We believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed. Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to others: community, nation and world for the glory of the living God. Recognizing whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s love in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith in the lives of individuals rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God.

(Isaiah 58:6-14; Mark 1:15; Matthew 18; Luke 17:20-22; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 4:19-21; Revelation 12:10)

 

GOD’S NEW COVENANT PEOPLE
The church is God’s instrument of hope and reconciliation for a broken world.

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
1 John 3:11

This universal church is manifest in local churches of which Christ is the only Head; thus each “local church” is, in fact, the church, and the household of God. The church is the body of Christ, and he has pledged himself to her forever. The church is distinguished by the gospel message, sacred ordinances, discipline, great mission, and, above all, by love for God and by members’ love for one another and for the world. Crucially, this gospel we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may properly be overlooked. Christ Jesus is our peace: he has not only brought about peace with God, but also peace between alienated peoples. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity, thus making peace, reconciling his people to himself through the cross. The church serves as a sign of God’s future new world when its members live for the service of one another and their neighbors, rather than for self-focus. The church is the the continuing witness to God in the world.

(Isaiah 56:1-8; Isaiah 54:1-3; Galatians 3-4; 1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 2:11-22; Ephesians 4:1-16; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Peter 2:4-12; 1 John 3:11-24)

BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
Elements of grace representing God’s redemptive promises and finished work.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
Matthew 28:19-20

We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordained by the Lord Jesus himself. Baptism is connected with entrance into the new covenant community. The Lord’s Supper is connected with ongoing covenant renewal. Together they are simultaneously God’s pledge to us, divinely ordained means of grace, our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and anticipations of his return and of the consummation of all things.

(Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Peter 3:21-22; Colossians 2:11-15; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-23; 1 Corinthians 11:23-27)

THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS
The realization of eternity with Jesus Christ will bring all pain and joy into the perfect clarity of glory

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
Revelation 21:5-6

We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as Jesus himself taught, and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering and triumph of Christ, all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all and his people will be enthralled by the immediacy of his ineffable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace.

(Isaiah 65:17-25; Isaiah 66:18-24; Revelation 21; Romans 8:18-25; Matthew 10:28; 2 Peter 2:4-22; Hebrews 10:26-31)