God exists and has revealed Himself to mankind. We believe that our conscience and actions must be directed by and submitted to God’s truth. This truth comes to us in many ways but has particularly been given in the form of the special and unique revelation of the Bible. This affirmation is a summary of those truths revealed in the Scriptures about His nature, character, work, and the promises of He has made. It is also a statement of what we believe are essential for the understanding and defense of the gospel, for instruction in godly living, for the order of the New Testament Church, and for sharing the gospel in our daily lives. This document is a foundational guide for all instruction, teaching, and preaching at Metro Life Church.
THE WORD OF GOD
We believe that the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. In it is found the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of mankind through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible is the only essential and infallible record of God’s self-disclosure. (Matthew 5:18; John 10:35; 17:17; 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21.)
We believe that one true God exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that these, being one God, are equal in deity, power, and glory. We believe the Trinity is without division of nature, essence, or being (1 John 5:7; Matthew 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 13:14). The Father is of none, neither begotten; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son (John 15:26; Galatians 4:6). Each person of this Triune executes distinct but harmonious functions in the work of creation, history, providence, and redemption.
GOD THE FATHER
We believe in God the Father, an everlasting, infinite, perfect personal being who is the sover¬eign and rightful ruler of all that exists. The Father is perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. God created all things and upholds, directs, disposes, and governs all creatures, actions, and things by His wise and holy providence according to His infallible foreknowledge and the immutable counsel of His own will. God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of all natural and spiritual means yet is free to work without, above, and against them at His pleasure. He does this to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and grace. He is sufficient in Himself, not standing in need of any creature that He has made. He conducts Himself with steadfast mercy towards humanity. He draws men to Himself through His Son, forgiving the sin and delivering from death those who come to Him through Christ for salvation. The Father hears and answers prayer according to His wisdom, love, and providence. He will carry out all things in their proper time and order that they would consummate in Jesus Christ to reveal the supremacy of His name and purposes, especially including the power of His love. (Job 22:2-3; 34:10; Psalm 137; Isaiah 33:10-11; Daniel 3:27; Hosea 1:7; 2:21-22; Luke 10:21-22; Matthew 4:4; 23:7; John 3:16; 6:27; Acts 17:24-28; 31,44; Col. 1:16-17; Revelation 1:4-6; Romans 1:7; 4:17-21; 1 Timothy 1:1-2; 2:3, 6; 1 Peter 1:3.)
GOD THE SON
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten eternal Son, and the im¬age of the invisible God. He took upon Himself our nature, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and manifested in a body of flesh. He lived a sinless life, performed many signs and wonders, and taught the words of eternal life. He offered Himself as a substitutionary atoning sacrifice for sinners. He was physically crucified, suffered, bled, died, and was buried. By His death in our place, He revealed His divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and secured for us eternal redemption, making a way for life everlasting (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:26-38; Romans 9:3; John 1:1-18; 8:46-47; 20:28, 30-31; 2 Corinthians 3:21; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7). Salvation is found in and through Christ and Him alone. It is only because of His shed blood that we may approach the throne of grace and receive pardon for our sins from the Father. He was raised from the dead on the third day and appeared to His disciples in His resurrected body. He later ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father and is perpetually interceding for the saints. He awaits the time when the Father will send Him personally back to earth to a final resurrection of His people to judge His creation and usher in the final portion of redemptive history. He is due from angels, men, and every other creature whatever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them. At His appearing, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. (Acts 1:11; 1 Corinthians 13:1-28; Hebrews 7:23; 7:28; 1 Peter 2:21-23; Matthew 20:28; Romans 3:6-8; 6:7, 10; 8:34; 1 Timothy 3:16; Revelation 3:12-14.)
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is fully God, eternally one with the Father and Son. The primary ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit also convicts unbelievers of their need for Christ and imparts spiritual life through regeneration (the new birth). The Spirit indwells, sanctifies, leads, illumines, and graciously empowers for godly living and service all that come to faith in Christ. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ baptizes believers in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit fills, empowers, and anoints believers for ministry and witness. (Matthew 3:11; John 1:12-13; 3:1-15; 15:26-27; 16:7-15; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14, 5:18.)
We believe that God created all things visible and invisible for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness. He created every molecule and galaxy. He created each species of life separately and finished His work by creating Adam from the dust and Eve from Adam. We believe that the universe has its beginning and end in God’s will. The universe is in no sense independent of Him and creation does not reflect a prior deficiency, but its forma¬tion and maintenance represent a continuing exertion of His creative power and ability. Both Adam and Eve were created equally in the image of God without sin. He endued them with knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, having God’s natural law of conscience written in their hearts and the power to fulfill that law. They lived with the possibility of transgressing since they were left to the liberty of their own will. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man and woman in His own image and therefore every person of every race pos¬sesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. (Genesis 1; 2:7; Ecclesiastes 7:24; 12:7; Job 26:13; 33:4; Psalm 24:1-2; 33:5-6; 104:24; Isaiah 55:10-11; Jeremiah 10:12; Matthew 10:28; John 1:1-3; Acts 7:24; Romans 1:20; 2:14-15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Hebrews 1:2; 11:3; Revelation 4:11.)
CONDITION OF MAN/WOMAN
God made man in His own image; male and female He created them, as the crown of creation, that man might have communion with Him. Tempted by Satan, man rebelled against God. They thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God. Being estranged from their Maker, yet responsible to Him, they became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and, apart from a special work of grace, utterly incapable of returning to God.
This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to the mind, will, and affections. Unregenerate man lives under the dominion of sin and Satan. Since this original corruption, we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good. We are thus wholly inclined to all evil and from this disposition proceeds all actual sin. For this reason, we believe all human beings are born with a sinful nature. This corruption of nature, during this life, remains in those that are saved and although it is through Christ, pardoned and mortified, it is never completely overcome until our glorification. (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:16-17; 3:3; 3:6-8, 11, 13, 23; 6:3; 8:21; Job 13:4; 14:4; Psalm 31:3; Ecclesiastes 7:27; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 13:17; Acts 17:26; Romans 3:10-18, 23; 3:6, 12, 13-19; 7:18; 8:7; 11:32; 1 Corinthians 13:21-22, 43, 49; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21; Titus 1:13; James 1:14-13; 1 John 1:8,10; Romans 7:3, 8, 14, 17-18, 23; Galatians 3:17.)
Jesus Christ is the gospel. The Good News is revealed in His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Christ's crucifixion is the heart of the gospel; His resurrection is the power of the gospel; and His ascension is the glory of the gospel. Christ's death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases His holy wrath. It also demonstrates His mysterious love and reveals His amazing grace. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. There is no other name by which men must be saved. At the heart of all sound doctrine is the cross of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God because of what He has accomplished. (Luke 2:10,11; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; 1 Corinthians 2:2, 15: 1-4; Acts 8: 32-35; John 20:30; 17:2,3; 1 Timothy 1:15; 2:16; Luke 24:45-47; Romans 1:1-4; 3:21-26; 5:15-21; 6:1-4; Acts 1:6-11; 1 John 2:2; 3:9,10; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 John 14:6)
Salvation is a mystery. While acknowledging our finite and incomplete understanding of God’s ways, we believe that God, by His providence and eternal counsel, effectually calls some persons to life and salvation before the foundation of the world. Whomever He calls, He will justify and keep by His power through faith to salvation (Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:2-4; 2:4-5, 8-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2). His choice was of Himself, for His own pleasure and glory, and not with regard to, or with reference to, any foreseen works of faith or deeds in the creature as His motive. His choice prevails and triumphs over human resistance to bring His own to saving faith (John 17:6, 7, 19; 11:31-32; Ephesians 1:4; Romans 8:32-33; 11:3-6; Titus 3:4-7; Revelation 3:9). Justification occurs by and through Christ and because of His work on the cross and is apprehended through faith. No man is justified in the sight of God partly by Christ and partly by works (Romans 3:20, 28, 30; 8:33; Galatians 3:4). Salvation is the gracious purpose of God according to which He justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness and grace, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. (Matthew 22:14; John 6:44; 14:6; Romans 8:2, 30; 9:11; 11:7; Ephesians 1:4-12, 17-19; 2:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Titus 3:4-3; Acts 26:18; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26; Philippians 2:13.)
We further believe that the work of Christ on the cross for sin warrants and impels a universal offering of the gospel to all persons, so that to every person it may be truly said, “God gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Those whom God calls will hear His voice and follow Him. Whoever comes by the drawing of God through the invoking of the Holy Spirit Jesus Christ will not cast out. (Matthew 28:19; John 3:16; 4:14; 6:37; 10:27; Colossians 1:23; Acts 1:8; Revelation 22:17.)
We believe that by complete and perfect obedience to God and by His suffering and His death, Jesus Christ obtained forgiveness of sins and the gift of His righteousness for all who trusted in God prior to the cross and all who trusted in Christ thereafter. Through living a perfect life and dying in our place, the just for the unjust, Christ absorbed and became sin and succumbed to our due punishment thereby satisfying the wrath of God against us. (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; Romans 3:23-26; 3:6, 9, 18-19; 8:1, 34; 14:9; 1 Corinthians 13:3; 2 Corinthians 9:14, 21; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; 2:3-6; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 1:10.)
Human beings are accountable for their response to the forgiveness, pardon, and reconciliation offered to them in the Lord Jesus Christ. When an individual trusts in Him, the person is justi¬fied by God and adopted into His family. God’s will for believers is that they exhibit transformed lives evidenced by purity, holiness, and growth in Christ-like character. He desires that they each participate, according to their spiritual gifts, in the task of effectively sharing the Gospel message of salvation with those, near and far, which have yet to believe in Jesus. (1 John 4:7; Isaiah 8:20; 2 Timothy 3:13-17; Romans 9:12-16; Ephesians 1; Philippians 2:13.)
We believe that those who are redeemed and come to saving faith will never lose their salva¬tion but will remain in Him. Believers may fall into sin through neglect, spiritual weakness, and temptation, whereby they grieve the Holy Spirit, degrade their graces and joys, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves. Even so, they will be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, sanctified by His spirit, and will never fall away from the state of grace but will endure to the end. They will never fall fully and completely because God, by His grace, preserves them. The intercession of Christ for those God has called is efficacious unto eternity. (Philippians 1:6; John 10:28-29; 17:11, 24; Psalms 32:3-3; 31:8, 10, 12; 89:31-33; Isaiah 63:17; Jeremiah 31:3; 2 Peter 1:10; 1 John 3:9; Matthew 7:22-23; Mark 6:32; 16:14; 1 Peter 1:3, 9; 2 Timothy 2:18-19; Hebrews 10:10, 14; Hebrews 13:20-21; Hebrews 6:17-18; 7:23; 9:12-13; Romans 3:2, 3; 8:33-39; 1 Corinthians 11:32; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 2:3; 3:14, 18-19, 21, 24. Revelation 2:4.)
We believe the Holy Spirit empowers spiritual gifts as God wills to His children. These gifts are designed to testify to the presence of the God’s Kingdom and distributed to equip the saints for worship and ministry to build up the body of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11; Ephesians 4:11-12). The miracles and revelatory gifts dispensed to the apostles and prophets of the early church are active today. The use of spiritual gifts is for the purpose of edification within the Church that it would be built up in Christ (1 Corinthians 14:12). We believe that God uses these spiritual gifts to display His glory and anointing in individual saints for the work of His ministry estab¬lished in the timeless message of the Bible (Acts 2:1-4).
In addition to effecting regeneration and sanctification, the Holy Spirit also empowers believers for Christian witness and service. While the Holy Spirit at conversion indwells all genuine believers, the New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit in the life of a believer. The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power for Christian life and witness, and believers should seek this filling as a regular and recognizable blessing for the Christian life.
The Holy Spirit also imparts His supernatural gifts for the edification of the Body of Christ and for various works of ministry in the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the Church of the first century are available today, are vital for the mission of the Church, and are to be earnestly desired and practiced.
We believe that the ministry of the Spirit in signs and wonders continues to be as broad, tangible, and powerful among believers today as it was in the early church. We also believe that all the biblical gifts of the Spirit continue to be distributed by the Spirit today; that these gifts are divine provisions central to spiritual growth and effective ministry; and that these gifts are to be eagerly desired, faithfully developed, and lovingly exercised according to biblical guidelines. (John 14:12; Acts 2:14-21; 4:29-30; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 12:28-31; 14:1-33; Galatians 3:1-5.)
We believe that the Church is the Bride of Christ and is comprised of all believers in every age. The Church is also God's primary instrument through which He is fulfilling His redemptive purposes in the earth. We believe that God has called the Church to preach the gospel to all nations, and especially to remember the poor and to minister to their needs through sacrificial giving and practical service. We also affirm the priesthood of all believers and the importance of every Christian being joined with and actively involved in a local community of the saints. (Isaiah 58:6-12; 61:1; Matthew 16:17-19; 28:18-20; Luke 4:18; 21:1-4; Acts 2:17-18, 42; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 3:14-21; 4:11-16; 1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 10:23-25; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10.)
God by His Word and Spirit created the Church, calling sinful men out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ's Body. By the same Word and Spirit, He guides and preserves that new, redeemed humanity. The Church is not a religious institution or denomination. Rather, the Church universal is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve Him by faithfully doing His will in the earth. This involves a commitment to see the Gospel preached and churches planted in the entire world for a testimony. The ultimate mission of the Church is the making of disciples through the preaching of the gospel. When God transforms human nature, this then becomes the chief means of society's transformation. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women are added to a local church in which they devote themselves to teaching, fellowship, and the Lord's Supper and prayer.
All members of the Church universal are to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context they are called to walk out their salvation as the people of God and demonstrate the reality of the Kingdom of God. The ascended Christ has given gift ministries to the Church (including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) for the equipping of Christ's Body that it might mature and grow. Through the gift ministries, all members of the Church are to be nurtured and equipped for the work of ministry. Women play a vital complementary role in the life of the Church and can occupy various leadership positions but in keeping with God's created design, they are not permitted "to teach or to have authority over a man" (1 Tim. 2:11-12). In the context of the local church, God's people receive pastoral care and leadership and the opportunity to employ their God-given gifts in His service in relation to one another and to the world.
BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that water baptism and the Lord's Supper are the two ordinances of the Church to be observed until the time of Christ's return. They are not a means of salvation but are sacramental channels of God's sanctifying grace and blessing to the faithful in Christ Jesus. Only those who have personally and consciously placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are qualified to receive the sacraments. (Matthew 26:26-29; Romans 6:3 -11).
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of outward obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior; death to sin; burial of the old life; and resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to a believer’s faith in an ultimate bodily resurrection to eternal life with Christ in His Kingdom.
The Lord’s Supper is an act of worship and obedience whereby believers, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are significant expressions of salvation, worship, and submission to God for the believer. (Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:33- 39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-3; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.)
EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS
The call and holy privilege of every child of God and of all churches of Jesus Christ is to go and make disciples of the nations (Matthew 9:37-38). God creates transformed lives evidenced by purity, holiness, and growth in Christ-like character by means of new birth. The Holy Spirit imparts the love of Christ into the hearts of believers, thus transforming their love toward others, for His Name’s sake. This results in children of God who actively seek to take the gospel to sinners and who share in carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 10:13-13; 2 Timothy 4:3). The highest purpose for evangelism and missions is that the name of Jesus Christ and the glory of His kingdom be taken to the ends of the earth until He returns (Matthew 24:14; Romans 1:3; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 22:17.)
We believe God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, transgenderism and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. (Genesis 2:24; Genesis 19:5, 13; Genesis 26:8-9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4).
We believe that the term marriage has only one; legitimate meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God, which joins one man and one woman in a single, covenantal union, as delineated by Scripture. Because we believe in this biblical definition, marriage ceremonies performed in any facility owned, leased, or rented by Metro Life Church will only be those ceremonies sanctioned by God, joining one man with one woman as that gender was determined at birth. (Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5: 22-23.)
HEAVEN AND HELL
We believe that heaven is a real place of eternal blessedness prepared by God for those who have been saved by grace through the shed blood of Christ. We believe that hell is a real place of eternal suffering for those whose names are not written in God’s Book of Life. There is no intermedi¬ate state in which the unsaved can atone for their own sins. (John 14:1-6; Revelation 7:13-17; 20:11-13; 21:22-27; 2 Corinthians 3:1-10; Luke 16:19-31.)
We believe that Satan, originally a great and good angel, rebelled against God, taking a multitude of angels with him. He was cast out of God's presence and is at work with his demonic hosts to establish his counter-kingdom of darkness and evil on the earth. Satan was judged and defeated at the cross of Christ and will, at the end of the age, be cast forever into the lake of fire which has been prepared for him and his angels. (Matthew 12:25-29; 25:41; John 12:31; 16:11; Ephesians 6:10-20; Col. 2:15; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7-9; 20:10.)
We believe that the Kingdom of God came in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, that it continues to expand by the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Church, and that it will be consummated in the glorious, visible, and triumphant appearing of Christ when He returns to the earth as King. We believe that after Christ returns, He will bring about the ultimate defeat of Satan, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and the eternal blessing of the righteous. At that time, the Kingdom of God will be completely fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth, in which righteousness dwells and in which He will be worshipped forever. (1Corinthians 15:20-28; 50-58; Philippians 3 20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12; Revelation 19:1-21).