What We Believe
We believe “that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10.9-10
WE BELIEVE IN THE ONE TRUE GOD who is perfect, infinite, and eternal in His being, in His holiness, love, knowledge, wisdom and power. He is Creator of the universe and sovereign over all, yet everywhere present in all of creation. He is revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one. (Genesis 1.1; Exodus 15.11; Psalms 8.1-6, 19.1-4, 139.7-10; Matthew 28.19; John 4.23-24, 5.26, 10.30)
WE BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST who is the second person of the Triune God, the eternal Word and only Begotten Son; that without any change in his divine person, he became man by miracle of the virgin birth. He gave himself in substitutionary death upon the cross, bearing the sin of the world, and suffering its full penalty in our stead; that he arose from the grave in a glorified body; he ascended into heaven where he is our high priest and advocate. (Job 19.25; Matthew 1.18-25; John 1.1, 14; 3.16; Romans 5.18-19; I Corinthians 15.3-7; Galatians 4.4-5; Philippians 2.6-10; Hebrews 4.14-16; I John 2.1-2)
WE BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT who is the third person of the Trinity, and the divine agent in nature, revelation and redemption; that his ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment; that he regenerates, indwells, baptizes, seals, and anoints all who become children of God through Christ; that he further empowers, guides, teaches, sanctifies, and fills believers who daily surrender to him. (John 3.3-6; 14.16-17, 26; 16:7-14; Romans 8.9, 11, 16; I Corinthians 3.16-17, 12.13; II Corinthians 3.18; 5.17; Galatians 5.16, 22-25; Ephesians 1.13-14)
WE BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURE accepting fully the writings of the Old and New Testaments as the very Word of God, verbally inspired in all parts and therefore wholly without error as originally given of God, the only infallible and authoritative rule of faith, life, and conduct. (Psalm 119.105, 133, 160; Proverbs 30.5a; II Timothy 3.16-17; II Peter 1.19-21)
WE BELIEVE THAT ALL PEOPLE ARE BY NATURE AND BY CHOICE SINFUL AND THEREFORE LOST AND ALIENATED BY GOD; that Adam and Eve were the direct creation of God, made in his image and likeness; that by personal disobedience to the revealed will of God, they became sinful creatures, the parents of a fallen race; that all people within themselves have no possible means of achieving salvation and are under the righteous judgment and wrath of God. (Genesis 1.27, 3.6; Psalm 51.5; Isaiah 53.6; 64.6; Jeremiah 17.9; Romans 3.23; 5.12; Ephesians 2.1-3)
WE BELIEVE IN SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH; that salvation is the free gift of God, neither merited nor secured by any virtue or work of mankind, but received only by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and that the redeemed shall never perish. (John 1.12; 10.28-29; Romans 8.1, 10.9-10; Ephesians 2.8-9; Philippians 1.6; Titus 3.5)
WE BELIEVE IN THE EXISTENCE OF SATAN, a created angelic being who through pride and wicked ambition rebelled against God, thus becoming totally depraved, the great adversary of God and his people, leader of all evil angels, the deceiver and ruler of this present world: that his final doom is certain; that we are able to resist and overcome him only in the armor of God, by the blood of the Lamb and through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 14.12-15; Ephesians 6.12-17; I Peter 5.8; I John 3.8; Revelation 12.9-11; 20.10)
WE BELIEVE IN THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST; that his coming is imminent and personal; that he will pour out the righteous judgments of God upon the unbelieving world; and that he will establish his glorious kingdom over all the nations for a thousand years. (I Thessalonians 4.13-18; Hebrews 10.37; James 5.8; Jude 14,15; Revelation 19.11-16; 20.4-7)
WE BELIEVE IN FUTURE LIFE, BODILY RESURRECTION, AND ETERNAL JUDGMENT; that the souls and spirits of the saved at death go immediately to be with Jesus Christ in Heaven, while the unsaved at death descend immediately into Hades where they are kept under punishment until the final day of judgment, at which time their bodies shall be raised from the grave, thereupon they shall be judged and cast into Hell, the place of final and everlasting punishment. (Job 19.25-27; Luke 16.19-23; I Corinthians 4.5; 15.12-58; II Corinthians 5.8-10; Revelation 20.11-15)
WE BELIEVE IN THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS; that every born-again person has direct access to God without the need of a human priest because Christ is our great high priest; that the believer has the right and responsibility to personally study the Scriptures and to pray. (John 14.6; I Timothy 2.5; II Timothy 2.15; Hebrews 4.16; I Peter 2.1,5,9)
WE BELIEVE IN THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST. He alone is head of the Church which is his body into which all true believers are immediately baptized (placed) by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2.36; I Corinthians 12.12-13; II Corinthians 5.15; Galatians 2.20; Ephesians 1.20-23; 4.11-15; Philippians 2.9-11)
WE BELIEVE IN THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH; that a New Testament church is a local assembly of born-again, baptized believers united in organization to meet for worship of God, prayer, fellowship, teaching, a united testimony, and to actively engage in carrying out the Great Commission. (Matthew 28.19-20; Acts 2.41-42; Hebrews 10.24-25)
WE BELIEVE THAT THE CHURCH HAS BEEN GIVEN SPIRITUAL GIFTS to fulfill its God-ordained mission of edification and evangelism. These include gifted persons who are given for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry and spiritual gifts which each member of the body of Christ received from the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation. We do believe that God can perform miracles today and that he can and does heal. Scripture indicates that several of the sign gifts were foundational to the church and to authenticate the ministry of the Apostles. (Romans 12.4-8; I Corinthians 1.22-23; 12.1-11; 13.8; II Corinthians 12.12; Ephesians 4.11-12)
WE BELIEVE THAT THE ONLY ORDINANCES GIVEN TO THE LOCAL CHURCH ARE BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER; that Baptism is by immersion of believers, thus portraying the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; that the Lord’s Supper is the partaking of the bread and cup by the believer as a continuing memorial of the broken body and shed blood of Christ. (Matthew 26.26-30; 28.19-20; Acts 2.41-42; 8.37-38; I Corinthians 11.23-34)
WE BELIEVE IN THE INDEPENDENCE AND AUTONOMY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH. Each New Testament church is free to govern itself without ecclesiastical interference, and should cooperate with other New Testament churches as the Holy Spirit leads; that it is responsible to follow the pattern of the New Testament church and is directly accountable to God. (Acts 13.1-3; 15.22-23; I Thessalonians 5.12-14; I Timothy 3.1-13; Titus 1.5-9).
The Official Statement of Doctrinal Beliefs does not exhaust the full extent of our beliefs. While we accept and follow the teachings of the Bible as our final authority in all matters (as set forth herein), for the purposes of the faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and disciplinary practices of South Church, the Official Board, representing the congregational membership, is our final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application at South Church in all matters.
WE BELIEVE IN GOD’S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE, GENDER AND SEXUALITY. We believe that God directly created Adam and Eve, the historical parents of the human race, distinct from the rest of creation in their bearing of God’s image and their stewardship over creation. Their union as man and woman models God’s design for marriage and perpetually stands as God’s loving and righteous will for all sexual intimacy. The Genesis account, confirmed throughout the rest of Scripture, also teaches that humankind is differentiated into two sexes (genders), male and female. (Gen. 1:26-27; Gen. 2:18-25; Ex. 20:14, 17, Ex. 22:19; Lev. 18: 22-23, 20:13, 15-16; Deut. 22:5; Matt 15:18-20; Matt. 19:4-6, 9; Rom. 1:18-31; I Cor. 6:9-10, 15-20; I Tim. 1:8-11; Jude 7).
WE BELIEVE IN THE DIGNITY OF EVERY HUMAN BEING. We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of South Church. However, preaching, teaching, and practicing God’s Truth as revealed in Scripture is not hateful or harassing of any person, but rather an act of sincere love.
Source: South Church Constitution and by-laws (updated 4/22/18)