MISSION & BELIEFS
Jesus calls us first to love and follow him in relationship. Corporately, love for Christ involves gathering together to worship Jesus, while individually, love for Christ involves walking in a daily relationship with God — graciously made possible by Jesus. Love for Christ is not something we do for God but something we do in response to what God has done for us in the person and work of Jesus.
Love the Church
Jesus calls us to love one another as we love ourselves, beginning with loving other followers of Jesus, aka the church. Corporately, love for the church involves being in a small group. Individually, love for the church involves praying for, serving, and encouraging one another as well as tangible day-to-day activities like meeting for coffee, having one another in our homes for meals, letting our kids play together, laughing and — when needed — crying together. Its being in it for the long haul because we are family by faith in Jesus.
Love Charlestown (& Beyond)
Jesus calls us to live on mission in the places where we live, work, serve, and play. Corporately, love for Charlestown involves serving regularly in Charlestown, staying active and involved in the community we call home. Individually, we love Charlestown by sharing our lives and our faith graciously and authentically with others. Finally, we believe the call to live on mission will extend beyond Charlestown to greater Boston, New England, and beyond as we pray, give, and send.
THE BIBLE: GOD WROTE A BOOK
We believe the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, to be the verbally inspired word of God, the final authority for faith and life. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because it was inspired by God, the Bible is truth without any mixture of error and is trustworthy as a manual for living and the basis for belief. (2 Timothy 3:15-17. See also Psalm 119:105; Isaiah 40:8; Romans 15:4; Hebrews 4:12)
GOD, THE TRINITY: THREE IN ONE, ONE IN THREE
We believe in only one living and true God, eternally existent in three persons. The members of the Trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – are co-eternal in being and in nature, co-equal in power and glory, having the same attributes and perfections yet distinct functions. (Deuteronomy 6:4. See also Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2)
GOD, THE FATHER: GOD OF US
We believe God the Father is the first person of the Trinity in authority. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, ever present, unchanging, completely worthy of our trust, and perfectly holy. He reigns with love and care over the universe according to his purpose and for his glory. God is Father of all people creatively, but the spiritual Father of only those who have been adopted into his family through faith in his Son. (Romans 8:15-16. See also Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Isaiah 64:8; Malachi 3:6; John 1:12; 3:16; Acts 17:28; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 John 5:7)
GOD, THE SON, JESUS CHRIST: GOD WITH US
We believe God the Son, Jesus Christ, is completely human and completely God. He became human without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary to reveal God and redeem sinful people. After a perfectly sinless life, Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through his death on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice.
Our right standing with God is made sure by his literal, physical, and victorious resurrection from the dead. We believe Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, is now seated at God’s right hand, and is coming again to judge the living and the dead. (Philippians 2:5-11. See also Isaiah 7:14; 53; Luke 1:35; John 1:1–2, 14; Romans 8:34; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 Peter 1:3–5)
HUMANITY: GOD’S IMAGE BEARERS
We believe people are made in the image of God and are the supreme object of his creation. Men and women were created to have fellowship with God but became separated in that relationship through sinful disobedience. As a result, people cannot attain a right relationship with God through their own efforts. Because people are created in God’s image, every human personality is uniquely created, possesses dignity, and – regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, socio-economics, religion, sexual preference, or “usefulness” to society – is worthy of respect and Christian love. (Genesis 1:26-30; 2:7, 18-22; 3. See also Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 3:23-24; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; Ephesians 2)
GOD, THE SPIRIT: GOD IN US
We believe God the Holy Spirit, co-equal with the Father and Son yet glorifying them always, is present in the world to make people aware of a need for Jesus Christ. He is the Supernatural Agent in making people alive in Christ, baptizing believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and empowering. His presence assures of a believer’s relationship with God. He guides them in life and understanding spiritual truth. He convicts people of sin, God's righteousness, and coming judgment. He comforts, gives spiritual gifts, and makes believers more like Christ. (John 16:7–14. See also Joel 2:28-29; John 15:26; Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 2:13)
SALVATION: THE WAY BACK TO GOD
We believe salvation is the free gift of the Father brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Son who died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. We believe all people are spiritually dead and in need of the Holy Spirit to be made alive. They must turn to Christ, who is the only way of salvation, in faith and repentance in order to be saved. Salvation is a gift from the Trinitarian God, not earned through self-improvement, good works, good intentions, or belief in other gods. We believe the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are forever secure in their salvation in Christ. Salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. (John 3:16. See also Isaiah 53:5-6; Matthew 27:22-28:6; John 10:10; 14:6; Romans 3:23; 5:8; 6:23; 10:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Ephesians 2:8–10)
THE CHURCH: THE BODY AND BRIDE
We believe the Church, the body and bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all who have been made new in Christ across all ages and locations. We believe planting and strengthening local churches is clearly taught and defined in the Bible. Existing under the authority of Jesus Christ, local churches are free of any external control. We recognize baptism and communion as the means of testimony for the Church. Believer’s baptism by immersion symbolizes the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior; death to sin and the old life; and resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ. Communion, the Lord’s Supper, is a symbolic act of obedience in which Christians, through eating the bread and drinking the fruit of the vine, memorialize Christ’s death and anticipate his return. (1 Corinthians 12:1-31. See also Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26; Ephesians 5:25-32; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
THE END OF ALL THINGS
We believe people are created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. Eternal separation from God is Hell. Eternal union with him is Heaven. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. Ultimately, God, in his time and way, will bring the world to its appropriate “end,” its full restoration. According to his promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly to earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge people. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell. Those who trusted Christ, in resurrected and glorified bodies, will receive their reward and dwell forever with God in a new Heaven and new earth. (Philippians 3:20-21. See also Isaiah 2:4; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 17:22-37; John 3:16; Romans 8:17-18; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; Revelation 20:1-22:13)
IN ESSENTIALS, UNITY; IN NON-ESSENTIALS, LIBERTY; IN ALL THINGS, CHARITY
We believe this list is not exhaustive, covering all areas of right belief and right practice. In these essential matters of faith in Christ, we show unity. In non-essential matters of faith in Christ, we show liberty. In all other things, towards Christians and pre-Christians, we show the charity of God, demonstrated at the cross of Christ. (Ephesians 4:1-6. See also John 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27; 13)