WHAT WE BELIEVE
God is the Creator and Ruler of the Universe
He has eternally existed in the three persons: the Father, the Son; and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God. (Genesis 1:1,26,27; 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14)
Human Beings are made in the Spiritual Image of God, to be Like Him in Character
People are the supreme object of God’s creation. We were made to know and love God and to reflect His perfect nature of love. We were made to be holy just as He is holy, and everything that is not holy will be destroyed. (Genesis 1:27; 5:1; Psalm 8:3-6; James 3:9; 1 Peter 1:15,16; 2 Peter 3:11)
All Human Beings Have Sinned
Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin.” This attitude separates us from God and causes many problems in life. Sin is both doing the things we are commanded not to do and the ignoring of the things that God has called us to be doing. Sin is a rebellion against God and his commands and desires for our lives. (Isaiah 53:6a; 59:1,2; Romans 3:23; 4:12,13; 1 Peter 4:10-12)
God Continues His Ministry of Reconciliation through the Church and the Exercising of Spiritual Gifts
We are the new Body of Christ, commissioned to be remade in the image of Christ and to duplicate His ministries. Having our character shaped in the image of Christ and being able to participate in God’s work are accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. (1 Corinthians 12:12,27; 2 Corinthians 5:18,19; Ephesians 4:12,13; 1 Peter 4:10-12)
How We Put Our Beliefs into Practice
No matter what you say you believe, it means very little if it is not translated into actions and lifestyles. Based on what the Bible tells us, we believe the church should practice the following.
The Bible is our Sole Authority and Guide. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
Since God’s Word is the only completely reliable and truthful authority, we accept the Bible as our manual for living. Our first question when faced with a decision is “What does the Bible say?” We encourage the practice of daily Bible reading, Bible study, and Bible memorization. The Bible is the basis for all we believe.
Spirit-led Living (Romans 8:5-7)
We believe the only way possible to live the Christian life that pleases God, is by God’s power within us. Through daily Bible study and prayer, we seek to practice a day-to-day dependence on God’s spirit to enable us to do what is right.
The Work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4)
All of the spiritual gifts are available for all ages. However, God is sovereign and the Spirit bestows gifts on whom he will (1 Corinthians 12:11) While the “sign” gifts (tongues, healing, interpretations, miracles, etc.) may be possible today, they must be used according to the principles laid down in scripture and under the oversight of the elders (Acts 20:38) of each local body of believers.
“Priesthood” of all Believers (1 Peter 2:9)
The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to “full-time” Christian service and ministry, regardless of their vocation. We practice the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member to find a place of service and ministry. Every Christian has direct access to God through prayer and Bible study through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Taking Communion Weekly (Acts 2:42; 20:7)
Based upon scripture we believe that the New Testament church participated in the Lord’s Supper every week on the first day of the week. We model this approach of remembering the Lord’s sacrificial death for us every week.
Tithing of Income (Malachi 3:10)
At Gateway we encourage all the members to practice tithing for the support of Christ’s Body, the church. We see this as both a good spiritual and financial practice We recognize tithing as giving 10% of our income as the Bible standard for where to begin in your giving to God. We see this not as a requirement, but as a guideline for financial faith in God.
Authority of the Elders (Hebrews 13:17)
Christ is the head of our church but God’s Word has established the elders of the church as the final earthly authority for His church. Some of the scriptures to consider in understanding God’s plan for the elders and church government are Acts 14:23 (the setting aside and committing to God of the elders); 1 Peter 5:1-5 (the elders serving out of desire and being the example for the flock); Acts 15:1-6 (settling of the controversy among the believers); and Acts 20:17-32 (the guarding of the flock) to cite a few. From these scriptures, we see the elders are both to govern and guard as men set aside and committed to the Lord.
In the role of governing, they are to consider the issues before the church and make decisions for the body.
In guarding the flock, they are to protect the body from false doctrine and teaching. False doctrine is any action, behavior, or conversation that contradicts God’s word. In Acts 20:30; the elders are warned that such activity can even come from within the body.
As given in Hebrews 13:17, each member is to submit to the elders’ authority. According to Acts 16:4, once the elders have made a decision concerning the body, the believers are instructed to obey. Hebrews further instructs that the elders are accountable to each other and to God.
We believe that the Bible is the inspired words of God, written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. We believe that it is the source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because God inspired the Bible it is the truth without mixture of error. (Matthew 7:24-29; Mark 13:31; Psalm 119:89,105,160; Psalm 12:6; Isaiah 40:8; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:20,21; 2Timothy 1:13; Proverbs 30:5)
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is Co-Equal with God and Jesus. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians, we seek to live under His control daily. (2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13; 14:16,17; Acts 1:8, 2:38; 2 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13, 5:18; Galatians 5:25)
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jesus was born of a virgin through God’s miraculous work and lived a sinless human life. He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven and will return again someday to earth to receive his disciples and be recognized as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Matthew 1:22,23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5, 14:10-13; Hebrews 4:14,15: 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 1:3,4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:14, 15; Titus 2:13)
Salvation is God's free gift to us, but we must accept it. We can’t make up for our sin by self-improvement doing good works, or being “religious”. It is only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-oriented life and turn to Jesus in faith, we are saved. (Acts 2:37-39; Romans 5:1; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 14:6; 1:12; Titus 3:5: Galatians 3:26)
The Autonomy of each Local Church (Colossians 1:18) - Christ is the recognized head of our church, not any person, group, or religious organization. While recognizing the value of associating and cooperating with other groups of Christians, we believe every local church should be self-governing.
Baptism by Immersion (Colossians 2:12) - We practice baptism by immersion underwater, as the word itself meant at the time of the writing of the Bible – the way Jesus was baptized, the historical way the early church practiced, and the way the Bible commands.
It is the God-directed responsibility of every Christian to share the Good News of God’s salvation with those God has given us a relationship with. We practice personal sharing about Christ and encourage members to actively invite their friends, family, and others into spiritual discussions and to attend church. (Matthew 28:18-20)