Beliefs

The Essentials

ELDER’S VIEWS

Below are short position papers expressing the Summit Elder’s views on various topics. 

OUR BELIEFS

The Bible tells us that God speaks to us in many ways (through nature [Romans 1:19-20], people [I Thessalonians 5:11; I Corinthians 14:3], His Spirit [Galatians 4:6, 5:16, 18; Acts 11:19-20], the Bible [I Timothy3:16]). However, we believe that scripture teaches that all truth must be measured by the unchanging truth revealed in the Bible – His holy words. (John 17:17; Psalm 119:160) The Bible is the source and standard by which all beliefs and experiences must be measured. Below are 1) The Essentials of “What we Believe” and 2) FAQs of “What We Believe”.

We are a church who believes in the Reformed Doctrines of Faith and Grace and we hold to the Westminister Confession of Faith. In addition or in explanation of this, below are the essentials we believe.

THE ESSENTIALS

GOD

God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities often referred to as the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God. Gen 1:1,26,27; 3:22 / Ps 90:2 / Matt 28:19 I Pet 1:2

JESUS CHRIST

Jesus is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father and the Spirit. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin 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 and will someday return to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Matt 1:22-23 / Is 9:6 / John 1, 14 / Ti 2:1 / Heb 4:14-15 / I Cor 15:3-4

THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He lives in a believer from the moment of salvation and gives them a spiritual gift(s). He provides the believer with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, conviction of their righteousness in Christ, and guidance in doing right. As believers, we are to live under His control every day. II Cor 3:17 / John 16:7-13; 14:16-17 / Acts 1:8 / Eph 1:13 / I Cor 2:12; 3:16 / Gal 5:25

THE BIBLE

The Bible is God’s Living Word to us. Human authors, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, wrote it for us. It is the story and revelation of the gospel – God’s eternal plan of restoration through Jesus Christ for all of creation specifically his ultimate creation – man. It the follower of Christ’s only standard for truth, life, and knowledge of God. God and not man inspired the Bible. Therefore, it is the truth without any mixture of error. II Tim 3:16 / II Pet 1:20-21 /II Tim 1:13 Prov 30:5/Ps 12:6; 119

HUMAN BEINGS

People are made in the image of God, to be like Him in character revealing His glory. 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 keeps us from pursuing the things of God. Jesus Christ provided for our sin through His sinless life, his sin bearing death, and his life giving resurrection. Gen 1:27 / Ps 8:3-6 / Is 53:6a / Rom 3:23 / Is 59:1-2

SALVATION

Salvation is God’s work and God’s gift to man through the person and complete work of Jesus Christ. We can never make up for our sin by good works or self-improvement. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into His life by a faith surrender. Rom 3:23, 6:23 /Eph 2:8-9 /John 14:6; 1:12 /Ti 3:5/Rom 10:9-10

BAPTISM

We practice baptism by immersion under water with the belief that baptism is a symbol of our new life in Christ. (Ie. Thief on the cross received salvation without baptism.) However, it is an important act of obedience that was a command of Jesus. These beliefs are spelled out with biblical foundation on pages 4 and 5 of this book. Mk 1:9 / Matt 3:16/ Matt 28:19

ETERNAL SECURITY IN CHRIST

Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true follower of Christ is secure in that saving relationship for eternity. We are made right with God by Jesus and we are kept right with God by Jesus. Salvation is given, kept and completed by God’s grace and power. Jn 10:27-29; 5:24; 6:47 / Eph 2:8-9 / Heb 7:25 /Acts 16:31 /Rom 5:1, 10 / II Cor 5:17-21 / I Jn 3:14, 5:11-14

THE CHURCH

There are two types of churches in the Bible. The church universal is the church to which all followers of Christ belong. This is the bride of Christ that He will return to claim as His own. The second type of church mentioned in the Bible is the local church. Christ is the recognized head of our church – not any person, group, or religious organization. While recognizing the value of associating and cooperating with other groups of Christians, we believe every local church should be self- governing and independent from any denominational control. Col 1:18/Eph 1:23; 4:12, 15; 5:23, 25/Rom 12:5/I Cor 12:27/Rev 21:2

PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER

Every believer has direct access to God through prayer and the Bible. The Bible also teaches that every Christian is called to “full time” Christian ministry, 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. I Pet 2:5, 9 / Rev 1:6; / Ex 19:6 / Matt 6:6

GIVING, TITHING, AND THE CARE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH

We are not commanded to tithe in the New Covenant but there are some important truths we must know about giving and the tithe.

  1. The tithe was instituted before Moses (Genesis 14:20) and is not part of the law
  2. 10% is not a magic legalistic number but it seems to be the point at which God’s economy works in the local body and there would be more than enough to live out the gospel in the body, the community around us, and the world.
  3. Under the New Covenant, Jesus’ requires all of you, but allows us to give as His Spirit leads us.
  4. God longs for us to be cheerful givers who give out of the overflow of His gospel’s work in us. II Cor 8:3-5; 9:6-8; Prov 3:9; Mal 3:8, Deut 8:18

ETERNITY

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. Jn 3:16, 14:17/Eph 1:3-14/Rom 6:23; 8:17-18/Rev 20:15

FAQ’S ON WHAT WE BELIEVE

What is the Summit’s view on spiritual gifts?

We believe that the Bible teaches that all the gifts of the Spirit are still in play. Many teach that the miraculous gifts have ceased. This view called “Cessationism” is based on I Corinthians 13:8-12. This is the only place in the Bible that supports this claim. The key verse is “when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” The “perfect” cannot be the Bible because these gifts were still in play during the apostolic age when the scripture was complete or had come. If the “perfect” is the church then we are in big trouble because the church is not perfect. The church is being perfected in Christ. It is not perfect now. If it is Jesus, this makes sense in the context of chapter 13 especially verse 12. We are not now fully known. That is a requirement for those gifts listed to cease. We will be fully known in heaven when we come face to face. This is to come when the perfect comes – Christ Jesus. We also believe that the Bible teaches that we do not receive all the gifts. (I Corinthians 12:27-30) The Holy Spirit of God gives His gifts based on His will for God’s glory and our good. (I Corinthians 12:4-11)

What is the Summit’s view on baptism of the Holy Spirit and tongues?

We believe that the Bible teaches that we receive the fullness of the Spirit of God upon salvation. That is, we are baptized into the Spirit upon salvation. The word baptized in the Greek language of the Bible means to cover or completely submerge. This is what the Spirit does to us as we are saved through Christ by God. (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13—14) Many in the church teach that tongues are a sign of the Holy Spirit in a believer. Besides the verses above from Romans and Ephesians that refute this, I Corinthians also teaches us that not every believer will receive tongues as a gift. (I Corinthians 12:30, 14:5) 3. What is the Summit’s view on alcohol? There are three views that the Christian church upholds. The first is prohibition, which holds that all drinking is a sin. However, according to these passages God gave drink to us and Jesus even drank alcohol: Psalm 104:14-15; John 2:1-11; Matthew 11:19. The second view is Abstention, which advocates that drinking is not sinful but that Christians should not drink so that we do not cause others to stumble. According to Matthew 11:19, Jesus was not concerned about being a stumbling block in the middle of a drunk and perverse society. The last view is Moderation, which advocates that drinking is not a sin and Christian conscience must guide each person. Scripture most firmly and solidly supports this view. (Matt. 26:29, Num. 28:14, Ecclesiastes 9:7, Psalm 104:14-15, Deut. 14:26, Romans 14:1-15:2, Timothy 3:3, John 2:1-11, Matthew 11:19) There is a more comprehensive writing on this topic under “Doctrinal Writings”.

What is the Summit’s view on predestination and election?

There are open handed issues (we can disagree in love based on biblical reasons) and closed handed issues (these we must agree on for biblical reasons). This is an open handed issue for membership. As elders, we believe that God is the author of salvation (John 6:44, 65) and has to be because our sin so mars the soul of man that we cannot choose God. (Romans 3:9-18) Predestination is God’s ultimate choice before time began of who would be justified through Jesus Christ. We believe the Bible teaches that the term election refers specifically to one aspect of divine predestination: God’s choosing of certain individuals to be saved. The term election has a positive connotation, referring to a benevolent predestination that results in the salvation of those who are elect. (Ephesians 1:4-12; Romans 8:29-30, Romans 9) What about man’s “free will” and verses like John 3:16? 1) If man cannot pursue God or the things of God because of his utter sinful condition (Ephesians 2:1-2, Romans 3:9-18) then, there is no free will in man but to choose sin. God in his divine mercy had to chose us or none would be saved. Why did he only choose some? That is a question better asked this way? Why did God choose any? In His justice, He would have been right and just to send all away from His presence forever. 2) What about John 3:16 and other verses that say “all” and “any” who believe. First, God does desire all to come to repentance. However, this is impossible. Second, the bible also teaches that the Jews believed they were the only ones who would be saved. These verses written in the context of the day was Gods way of saying to the Jews, salvation is going to be given to “all peoples” – all nations and races. He was not saying every person or all people would be saved.

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