An undistinguished German Lutheran theologian of the early seventeenth century, Rupertus Meldenius wrote this, to which my husband, Benjamin and I adhere in our daily lives and how we approach our ministry here in Oaxaca: “in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.” We believe that theologically, he strikes the right balance.
We consider the essential doctrines to be the following:
- HUMAN BEINGS ARE ALL MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. All human life, whether inside the mother’s womb or outside the mother’s womb, possesses God-given dignity, worth and personhood (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 139:13; Jeremiah 1:5).
- MARRIAGE. Marriage was created by God and is a holy and divinely established covenant between one (genetically male) man and one (genetically female) woman to be a representation of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His church. Marriage is the bond that joins one man and one woman in an exclusive union, as described in Scripture. We believe that God created sexual intimacy to be enjoyed exclusively between one man and one woman who are married to one another (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 15:19, 19:4; Mark 10:7; Rom. 1:21-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-20; Eph. 5:31; Heb. 13:4; 1 John 1:9).
- THE UNITY OF THE GODHEAD. There is one God (Deut. 6:4) who eternally exists in three co-equal persons: Father (Eph. 4:6), Son (Jn. 10:30-33), and the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17).
- SIN. Adam and Eve were created perfect, yet through the temptation of Satan, freely distrusted and disobeyed God, and as a result, transmitted sin and death (physical, spiritual and eternal) upon the entire human race (Gen. 3; 6:5; 3:9-23; 5:12).
- JESUS CHRIST. Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity, the Eternal Word manifested in the flesh (Jn. 1:1-14), true God (Dan. 7:13-14) and true man (Lk. 2), having two distinct natures co-joined in one Person (Phil. 2:5-11). Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary (Gal. 4:4), lived a sinless life (2 Cor. 5:21), died on the cross as a substitutionary atonement for our sins (1 Pet. 2:21-25), arose bodily on the third day (Ac. 2:32), ascended to heaven to be at the right hand of God as Intercessor and Advocate (Heb. 7:24-25), and will soon return bodily to judge the living and the dead, and will reign victorious forever and ever (Rev. 22:12, 13).
- SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH. Salvation is a free gift of God that comes only by God’s grace (Rom. 9:16) through faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9) in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, apart from all good works (Tit. 3:5-6). Thereby, being regenerated and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Tit. 3:7), justified once and for all (Rom. 3:23-26), and redeemed as a child of God (Rom. 8:14), the believer has the assurance of eternal security in Christ (Rom. 8:26-39).
- AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE. The Holy Scriptures (sixty-six books) are inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16), infallible (Jn. 10:35), and inerrant in the original texts (2 Pet. 1:20-21), and that they alone are the supreme and final authority which is sufficient for faith and practice (Ps. 19:7-11).
- SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. Just as Christ physically came into the world and departed (Ac. 1:9-10), so shall He return in physical form (Matt. 24:30) to rule and reign for all eternity (Rev. 22). There will be the resurrection of the saved (Col. 3:3-4) and the conscious and eternal damnation of the lost in hell (Rev. 20:11-15). *points 3-8 wording taken from Stand Strong Ministries, with a few minor changes
We believe that those who are united by faith in Christ are thereby united to one another in the church. We call this union the communion of the saints. It is a mysterious thing of which we do not yet experience the fullness. We know that with deep longing, Jesus prayed for our unity (John 17:20-23).
We acknowledge that since the time of the New Testament, there has been a diversity of beliefs and practices among Christians still apparent to this day, many of which create tensions. In love, we desire to extend liberty to each person to hold fast to their own conscience to pursue what Christ has commanded (Romans 14:5), and we appreciate the same extended liberty.
We consider ourselves “non-denominational” and happily work with others who also hold to the essentials of faith as stated above, believing these are sufficient to unite us.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. – Romans 15:5-7 (ESV)