Though the number of Christian churches and denominations might lead you to believe that Christianity is a hopelessly confused and argumentative faith, it really isn’t.
For the past two-thousand years, the vast majority of Christian believers have agreed on the core of their faith. And while there have been legitimate disagreements and differences of opinion within the Christian community, there’s far more that unites us than divides.
As a community which longs to embody Jesus’ prayer for the unity of his people, we at Rock Chapel give priority to those teachings that have been believed everywhere, always, and by all Christians.
One of the most succinct statements of faith ever written has roots that reach back to the second century – less than one-hundred years after Jesus walked the earth. It’s been called The Apostles’ Creed for generations and though it wasn’t actually written by the apostles, it does sum up their teaching as recorded in the New Testament.
Because of its wide acceptance and simplicity, it serves as great way to quickly summarize what we believe about God and his work in the world.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
We believe there is one God, the creator, keeper, and ruler of everything that exists or will exist, both things visible and invisible (Genesis 1:1, Deuteronomy 6:4, Psalm 86:10).
We believe that God is eternal (Psalm 90:2), everywhere (Psalm 139:7-12, Acts 17:24-25), and perfect in power (Matthew 19:26, Jeremiah 32:15-17), knowledge (Isaiah 40:28, Romans 11:33), goodness (Psalm 25:8, Psalm 86:5), holiness (Psalm 105:3, Isaiah 43:14-15), justice (Isaiah 45:21, Zephaniah 3:5), and most of all, love – for God is love (Psalm 31:21-24, John 3:16, 1 John 4:7-9).
We believe that, though God is one in essence or being, he exists as a trinity of three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – in an eternal, mutually-loving relationship (Genesis 1:26-27, John 1:1-18, John 10:30, John 15:10, Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Peter 1:1, Ephesians 4:30).
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
We believe that a little over two-thousand years ago, God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, entered into our world by being born of a young Jewish virgin named Mary (John 1:14-18, Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:26-33).
We believe that Jesus was the fulfillment of all of God’s promises and that he was both the promised Messiah (or King) and the redeemer of all mankind (2 Corinthians 1:20-22, John 18:37, Acts 2:29-36, Acts 17:24-31).
We believe that Jesus lived a perfect life (Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22), conducted a ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing (Matthew 4:23-25), and was put to death by the leading religious and political authorities of his day (John 19:1-16, Matthew 27:26).
On the third day he rose again;
We believe that, three days after his death, Jesus was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18). In doing so, he defeated death and brought immortality to light (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 1 Corinthians 15:55-56, 1 Peter 3:18, 2 Timothy 1:10)
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe that, forty days after his resurrection, Jesus ascended to the right hand of God the Father to reign as King of creation (Acts 1:6-11, 1 Corinthians 15:25-28, Acts 7:55-56).
We believe that Jesus will return at the consummation of history to judge all people who have ever lived (Matthew 25:31-46, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, John 14:1-4).
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
We believe that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is actively at work in the world, testifying to the truth (John 15:26, Romans 8:16), convicting of sin (John 16:7-11), and drawing people to God (John 6:44).
We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells believers (John 14:17, 2 Timothy 1:14), assuring them of salvation (John 3:5-6, 1 John 4:13, Romans 5:5, Romans 8:14-16) and empowering them to live holy lives (1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Romans 8:4).
We believe that the Holy Spirit produces moral fruit in believers (Galatians 5:22-23) and gifts all believers with the ability to minister in a variety of ways (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
the holy, universal Church,
the communion of saints,
We believe that God has one people. He established his people as the nation of Israel through the Old Testament patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 17:1-8, Genesis 26:1-5, Genesis 28:10-15, Exodus 19:5). In Jesus, the true nature of Israel was revealed and all people were given the opportunity to be grafted into the one people of God – the Church (Romans 2:28-29, Romans 11:11-24, Ephesians 2:11-22).
We believe that the Church is made up of all who have genuinely put their faith in Jesus, no matter their status, gender, race, or where they live or worship (Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:12-20, Colossians 3:11).
the forgiveness of sins,
We believe that because of our rebellion through selfishness and sin, we have separated ourselves from God (Isaiah 59:2, Romans 3:23). But in his mercy, God has provided the forgiveness of our sins through the sacrificial death of his son, Jesus (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Matthew 26:27-28, 1 John 1:8-9).
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
We believe that at Jesus’ second coming, all people will be raised from the dead (Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29, Acts 24:15). After the final judgment, God will usher his people into his presence for eternity and will finally separate himself from all those who continued rebelling against him in Hell (Matthew 25:31-46, Revelation 20:11-15, Revelation 22:1-7).