The Eastside Summary of Beliefs serves as a synopsis of our Christian doctrine, our church creed, and a functional catechism.
The ten foundational truths of the summary are intended to serve as the backbone for our adult as well as kid’s ministries – it makes our doctrine accessible and repeatable for everyone. The longer outline version is formatted to read and function as a kind of catechism for the training of the next generation of believers as well as an apologetic explanation of our beliefs.
If you want to know more about our doctrinal foundation and theological positions please explore the "beliefs" pages at our mother church, The Village Church, as well as the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and the Lausanne Covenant.
EASTSIDE SUMMARY OF BELIEFS
Our Ten Foundational Truths
God’s Word is true
God is triune
God is always good
God is always in charge
God made everyone and everything
God loves people
Everyone needs Jesus
Jesus saves his people
God hears his people
God’s people follow Jesus
WE BELIEVE THAT GOD’S WORD IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE.
Is God’s word true? Yes.
What does it mean that God’s Word is absolutely true? The Bible is trustworthy. We believe the Scriptures, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, are alone the Word of God, written by men as divinely inspired, and are therefore without error in their original writings. The Scripture is sufficient and useful for all that God requires for us to believe and do. It is the standard of what is true about God, us, and the world. Therefore its commands are to be obeyed, its story believed, and its promises trusted. It will never pass away.
How does God reveal himself? God is revealed through the Scriptures, His Son Jesus Christ, and through His creation. The Scriptures are a written revelation of who God is and always has been and will be. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the perfect revelation of who God is. In nature, God reveals His existence as well as elements of His divine attributes.
How do we use God’s word? God’s word is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. We use God’s word to learn God’s story and learn who God is. We use God’s word as a guide to know how to live and what to believe about ourselves. We use God’s word to remember and learn God’s promises.
What is the gospel? The gospel is the good news of God’s action to address the helpless and broken nature of mankind through the rescuing work of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. It is the making of all things new through the power of God as accomplished through the crucified sacrifice of Jesus Christ on behalf of mankind. Because of Christ’s work, our Heavenly Father has orchestrated the great adoption of sinners into his household to do the good works prepared in advance for them to accomplish. The gospel is the foundation of all that we do individually and institutionally as Christ’s body, His church. It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
WE BELIEVE GOD IS ETERNALLY TRIUNE
Who is God? God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – each of whom is fully God and worthy of devotion and worship, yet there is one God.
What does it mean that God is eternally triune? God reveals Himself to us in complete unity and perfect divine community eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
Who is God the Father? God the Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is simultaneously everywhere and outside of time. He is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving. He is truly Father to all those who become His adopted children through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His affections and interactions with all mankind.
Who is God the Son? God the Son is Jesus Christ who eternally exists with the Father, assumed human nature and was incarnated in human form for the sake of our salvation. He is both fully God and fully man. Through Him, all things came into being and were created. He was before all things, and in Him, all things hold together by the word of His power. He suffered, died on a cross, was buried, resurrected, ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father until He returns for the final judgment and consummation of the Kingdom.
Who is God the Holy Spirit? God the Holy Spirit is He who eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son and is sent by the Father and Son to give new life. The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth and dwells within the regenerate. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son who, in turn, came to glorify the Father. He will lead the Church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word.
WE BELIEVE GOD IS ALWAYS PERFECTLY GOOD.
Who is the only one who is always good? God.
What does it mean that God is always perfectly good? God is always perfect, just, and right and everything He does is flawless. God never makes mistakes. God is never cruel or purposeless. He is both just and merciful. His will and His decisions are perfect. He makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and for the glory of His Name.
Can God be trusted? God is a promise maker and a promise keeper so if He says He’ll do it, you can trust that He will. God is kind and benevolent. He is never cruel or malicious. He forgets no one and nothing and His divine purposes cannot be thwarted. You can trust God.
What is God’s nature? God is a omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent spirit. Though mankind is created in God’s image, God is not restricted to a human body or human limitations. God is all knowing. God is present everywhere at once. God is outside of time. God has all power. God always does what is best.
Why is there suffering if God is always good? As limited human beings we cannot see all that God sees and thus cannot always definitively answer why someone suffers, but we can always trust in God’s attributes and promises. God is good and will never perpetrate evil. Therefore, suffering is always either allowed by God in a broken world of sin, both because of man’s agency and a broken world reeling from sin’s consequences, a just punishment, or discipline from a God who loves his children enough to sanctify them through the orchestration of difficult circumstances.
WE BELIEVE GOD IS ALWAYS COMPLETELY IN CHARGE.
Who is in charge? God.
What does it mean that God is always completely in charge? God is our sovereign King. He rules soley, justly, mercifully, rightly, entirely, and perfectly and no one can wrestle control away from God.
What is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is the reign and rule of God. It is both coming in the culmination of history and has already come in the life, death and resurrection of our king, Jesus Christ.
Do people have free will to make their own choices? God lets people decide many things, but it is impossible to surprise God or force God to do anything.
WE BELIEVE GOD WONDERFULLY MADE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING
Who made everyone and everything? God.
What does it mean that God wonderfully made everyone and everything? Nothing exists that was not made by God who artfully designs and sustains everything even in the midst of sin’s adverse impact. Even what has been mangled in creation as a result of sin – specifically disease, distress, perpetrated evil, and decay – is loved and governed by God as He is intimately involved in the forms, functions, forces, and lifespans of everything that exists, working all things together to accomplish his purposes.
Where did everyone and everything come from? God made everything and everyone from nothing and, in the beginning, He made it all good. Adam and Eve were literal human beings created by God and commanded by God to enjoy creation, be married to one another, and obey God. While we do not know the age of the earth, we do know that it was not created outside of God’s intimately involved creativity; all life that exists was designed by God. All of creation testifies to God’s existence, His power, and His perfect qualities.
Is humanity different from the rest of creation? Every human being was made in the image of God and therefore is endowed with inherent dignity and value. Mankind functions as God’s representatives on earth, a reminder to each other of the sentient and powerful God who made us to steward His purposes for creation. Every human being, regardless of beliefs, age, race, ability, gender, behavior, social status, or geography is inherently valuable. From the moment of conception until death every human being has inherent dignity and should be treated as such.
What is mankind’s role in creation? God made mankind His stewards over creation. The command to subdue creation implies the role of custodian and administrator, to both oversee and use creation to support human life and to responsibly protect it and see to its flourishing.
WE BELIEVE GOD DEARLY LOVES PEOPLE.
Does God love you? Yes.
What does it mean that God dearly loves people? God is compassionate and genuinely cares about the condition and circumstances of humanity. God has shown how He is kind, how he desires a relationship with humanity, how He is committed to never forsaking humanity, and how He is willing to sacrifice His own Son for the redemption of humanity.
Why are people valuable? All people are made in the image of God and therefore have equal value in every regard with no partiality. God does not see people the way people see each other. God sees the hearts of mankind and does not have a spectrum of love based on superficial qualifications. People have value because God values them.
How do we know that God loves people? We know God loves people because God declares it in His Word and demonstrates it in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.
If God loves people, why are not all people saved? It is God’s sovereign choice who He draws to Himself and it is gracious of Him to save even one person. We do not get to know why God chooses whom He does, but we know and see in His grace and hear from Him in His word His merciful and forgiving Spirit to save those who trust in His promises and His Son Jesus Christ.
WE BELIEVE EVERYONE DESPERATELY NEEDS JESUS.
Who needs Jesus? Everyone.
What does it mean that everyone desperately needs Jesus? We are helpless to save ourselves and all of us are born sinful and in need of a savior. There is no hope for salvation or eternal life outside the saving work of Jesus Christ which is ours through faith in Him, instilled by the Holy Spirit in those drawn by the Father. All have fallen short of the glory of God. The commands of God are not and cannot be perfectly followed by any mere human being and the penalty for sin is eternal separation from God, outside the intervening work of someone perfect and divine, we are hopeless. That divine intervention came in the substitutionary death on the cross of the perfect Jesus Christ whom all humanity desperately needs.
What is sin and what are its effects? Sin is the fracturing of everything in existence originally through the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, and in an ongoing and inherent reality in all humanity. The curse of sin has affected all of existence creating a pervasive brokenness everywhere that won’t be completely repaired until Christ comes back to make all things new.
Can I trust my heart? We should not lean on our own understanding but rather trust in the Lord our God. Because we are sinful even our own desires, inclinations, and instincts can be wrong. This is why God so graciously gave us the instruction, wisdom, and promises of His word.
WE BELIEVE JESUS GRACIOUSLY SAVES HIS PEOPLE.
Who saves people? Jesus.
What does it mean that Jesus graciously saves his people? Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, and in Jesus Christ alone. Jesus is our only hope for salvation and that salvation is not contingent on our behavior or desires but solely God’s mercy which is utterly undeserved which is most clearly displayed in the suffering and death of Christ on the cross. There, Christ, who was innocent in every way, took the punishment we deserved that those who believe in Him might have eternal life through no merit of their own.
Is Jesus the only way to be saved? Yes. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one can come to the Father except through Him.
How is someone saved and will they stay saved? God chooses those whom he will save by his own divine work, will, and choice. What God has done cannot be undone. Because God is gracious He has drawn some toward Himself to believe in His Son Jesus Christ and His power to save us from the power of sin. This results in repentance in the heart of the believer, grief over sin, and grace driven effort in following God.
Will God come back for his people? Christ has told us that he will return to judge humanity and to usher His people to a perfect new heaven and a perfect new earth. While we do not know when this will happen, the call on God’s people is to always be ready and we believe all Christians should live lives faithful to God’s commands and eagerly await His return which could come at any time.
WE BELIEVE GOD TIRELESSLY HEARS HIS PEOPLE.
Does God hear his people? Yes.
What does it mean that God tirelessly hears His people? God is attentive and responsive and He never tires of our prayers regardless of our persistence.
How do we pray? Prayer does not require special methods or special words since God hears everything we say and think. Jesus would often pray alone, but He would also pray with others. When He taught His disciples to pray He instructed them to pray: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Does God forgive us? God gives believers a repentant heart that seeks forgiveness of sin from God and from each other. God is merciful to forgive the sin of those repentant people whose faith is in Christ.
Why do we pray? God has commanded us to pray because He wants to talk with His people. In Scripture God commands us to pray to be in relationship with Him by praising Him, confessing our sins, giving thanks, and interceding for others. We also make our requests to God in prayer, because though He rules over everything, in a mysterious way God uses prayer to change things. Through prayer, God changes both His people and the world.
Is God active in our lives? God is active in every major and minute detail of existence at all times.
WE BELIEVE GOD’S PEOPLE JOYFULLY FOLLOW JESUS.
Who do God’s people follow? Jesus.
What does it mean that God’s people joyfully follow Jesus? It is joy to the believer to obey the commands and instructions of God as laid out in His Word and demonstrated in Christ’s life. To follow Jesus is to love one God, love all people, and make disciples everywhere.
What is a person’s purpose? The purpose of mankind is to love one God, glorifying and enjoying Him in and above all things. God’s people have good works from God that have been prepared in advance for them to complete, to love all people including themselves, and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What is the church and how does it love all people? God created the church to be His ministers of reconciliation in a broken and lost world as well as to demonstrate His love to the world by loving each other and their neighbors with godly impartiality, sharing and living out the gospel as they help others follow Jesus.
Can I be a Christian and not completely obey Jesus? Those who follow Jesus will repent fluently and they will experience profound grace and forgiveness for each other and from God since they will not be perfect, but they should not ever knowingly reject the commands and instructions of God unrepentantly and still claim to be following Christ.