What We Believe

We hold the faith which is common to all the believers (Titus 1:4, Jude 3):

  • The Bible is the complete divine revelation inspired word by word by God through the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21, 2 Tim. 3:16).
  • God is uniquely one, yet triune—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (1 Tim. 2:5a, Matt. 28:19).
  • The Son of God, even God Himself, was incarnated to be a man by the name of Jesus Christ (John 1:1, John 1:14).
  • Christ died on the cross for our sins, shedding His blood for our redemption (1 Pet. 2:24, Eph. 1:7a).
  • Christ resurrected from among the dead on the third day (1 Cor. 15:4).
  • Christ ascended to the right hand of God to be Lord of all (Acts 1:9, Acts 2:33, Acts 2:36).
  • Whenever any person repents to God and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, he is regenerated (born again) and becomes a living member of the one Body of Christ (Acts 20:21, John 3:3, Eph. 1:22-23, Rom. 12:5).
  • Christ is coming again to receive His believers to Himself (1 Thes. 2:19).

 

A Brief Note on the Common Faith

Within Christianity today, there is an abundance of opinions on the Christian faith and how it should be practiced, and these different interpretations can be a source of conflict and division. If you and I disagree on how someone should be baptized, should that disrupt our fellowship? If two believers have divergent views on the necessity of women wearing a head covering, should they be divided on the basis of those views? According to Christian history, the answer has often been, “Yes!”, but according to the New Testament, it should not be so!

In Titus 1:4, the apostle Paul greets Titus as a “genuine child according to the common faith.” What is this “common faith,” and why is it important to Christians?

The word faith is used in two ways in the New Testament, objectively and subjectively. Perhaps more familiar is the subjective, or experiential, use of the word; in this sense, faith refers to the act of believing. Objectively, the faith refers to the truths Christians believe in regarding Christ and His redemptive work, or, the object of a Christian’s belief.

Thus, Titus is a child of God “according to the common faith,” that is, because of his faith (the act of his believing) in the common faith (the facts concerning Christ’s person and work). A quick search on the internet for “statement of faith” turns up a variety of groups who profess the same common faith, including these basic elements:

  • A belief in the Bible as the Word of God
  • A belief in the unique triune God, who is both one and three—Father, Son, and Spirit
  • A belief in the person of Christ, who is both God and man
  • A belief in Christ’s work, that is, the steps He passed through in order to accomplish salvation for fallen man, including incarnation (through virgin birth), sinless human living, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension
  • A belief that all mankind has sinned and must repent to God and believe in Christ for forgiveness of sins and to become a child of God and a member of the church, the Body of Christ

It is vitally important for Christian believers to be conversant in these elements of the Christian faith. First, we should know what it is that we believe, both for the sake of our own appreciation of and relationship with God, and for the sake of presenting our beliefs (the gospel!) to others. Second, we may encounter persons or groups who profess to be Christians; if we are equipped with a knowledge of the common faith, we have the proper tools with which to evaluate their beliefs and determine if they are, indeed, genuine Christians. For example, those who deny Christ’s deity or who add another volume to the Bible are not Christians and need not be received as such.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the common faith is the basis for our fellowship together as believers. If someone holds these basic tenets of the Christian faith but differs from you in lesser matters of Christian practice, can you justifiably refuse to fellowship with him? At the beginning of Romans 14, the apostle Paul writes, “Now him who is weak in faith receive.” Juxtapose this phrase with the end of verse 3: “…for God has received him.” The renowned 20th century expositor, Witness Lee, wrote in the study notes of the New Testament Recovery Version (an excellent study Bible—get a free copy from Bibles for America), “The basis on which we receive the believers is that God has received them. God receives people according to His Son. When a person receives God’s Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as his Savior, God receives that person immediately….We should receive people in the same way and should not be more narrow than God. Regardless of how much they differ from us in doctrinal concepts or religious practices, we must receive them. When we receive people according to God and not according to doctrine or practice, we demonstrate and maintain the oneness of the Body of Christ.”

We hope that all believers can be equipped with a fundamental grasp of the basic elements of the common Christian faith. We also hope that this knowledge will deepen our appreciation for and experience of our Savior and our salvation. And finally, we hope that the application of a working knowledge of the faith will lead to more fellowship among believers from different groups—a true demonstration of the oneness of the Body of Christ.

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