Our beliefs are based on the historic tradition of Christian faith.
Our beliefs provide an overview of the beliefs of TNL Church. They are central thoughts of historic Christian doctrine. TNL is not dogmatic on matters of belief which Christians come to different conclusions. Instead our core beliefs are centered on the “non-negotiables” of the Christian faith. When Scripture is less clear and where Christians may disagree, we encourage individuals to prayerfully examine their perspective, seek wise counsel from trusted leaders, and come with humility to the authority of Scripture.
Publicly confessing beliefs is a fundamental practice of followers of Christ. History teaches us that it was the practice of the early church to have new believers confess their faith in the form of a creed before they were baptized. The Apostles Creed, as it is known today, very likely came from the Apostles or their students as a confession of belief for new followers of Christ. Below is the earliest recorded form of the creed:
The Apostles Creed
I believe in God almighty
And in Christ Jesus, his only son, our Lord
Who was born of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary
Who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried
And the third day rose from the dead
Who ascended into heaven
And sits on the right hand of the Father
From where he will come to judge the living and the dead
And in the Holy Spirit
The holy church
The remission of sins
The resurrection of flesh
The life everlasting
Just like the early church, TNL has taken what we believe Scripture clearly teaches about the Christian faith and condensed our beliefs into clear, single statements. Our purpose is not to recite our beliefs like we would recite a creed. Rather, our hope is to be a community that is unified in our beliefs regarding what the Bible teaches about doctrine.
We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, complete as the revelation of God’s will for salvation, and the supreme and final authority in all matters to which they speak.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Peter 1:20-21
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Our Belief about the Bible
The 66 books of the Bible are the authoritative Word of God. The Bible was written by humans who were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21 tells us that the prophecy of the Bible “never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit superintended the writers of scripture so that they wrote what the Spirit wanted them to, conveying the truth the Spirit wanted revealed. The writers wrote with their own interests, styles and ability, but the documents they wrote are inspired by God.
One God – Father, Son & Spirit
We believe in one God, Creator and Sustainer of all things, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; that they are equal in every divine perfection, and that they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence and redemption.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”
2 Corinthians 13:14
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
God the Father
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. He concerns himself mercifully in the affairs of men and women, hears and answers prayer, and saves from sin and death all who come to him through Jesus Christ.
”Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Our Belief about God
There is one God who exists in three distinct persons coequally and coeternally. This is a mystery but it is not contrary to reason. For thousands of years, the primary distinction between the nation of Israel and other nations was their practice of monotheism. Deuteronomy 6:4 says that God is one.
The three persons of God as one, or the Trinity, are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is the first person of the Trinity. 1 Corinthians 8:6 tells us “there is but one God, the Father.” It is the Father who sustains life on earth to the point that he feeds the birds (Matthew 6:26). The Son, Jesus Christ, is the second person of the Trinity. John 1:1 tells us that the Word was with God and was God. Since “the Word” is another title for Jesus we can see from this verse that Jesus Christ is with God. But he is also said to be God. The members of the Trinity are distinct as persons, but united as God. John 1:2 says that Jesus was with God in the beginning. This points to the eternal nature of the persons of the Trinity because by definition, nothing can come before the beginning. Finally, the Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity. In Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus tells his disciples to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is no distinction made between the three. In 1 Corinthians 13:14 Paul closes the book with a benediction that mentions all three persons of the Trinity coequally.
We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Son, and has precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He is not only true God, but true Man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. We believe in his sinless life, his death on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, his bodily resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven, his priestly intercession on behalf of his people, and his personal, visible, return from heaven.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Our Belief about Jesus
Jesus is the Word (Logos), the Son of God and second person of the Trinity, who became a man to reveal the Father to humanity and save the world from sin. The incarnation refers to the becoming flesh that was spoken of in John 1:14. Before becoming incarnate, Jesus was preexistent with the Father. He proclaimed that God was his Father and he made himself equal with God (John 5:18). Jesus told the crowd in John 8:58 that “before Abraham was, I am!” In this statement he related God’s eternal existence as his own and identified with the name of God in the Old Testament (Yahweh- “I am who I am”).
We believe in the Holy Spirit, in his work of regeneration of lost people, and sanctification and preservation of followers of Christ. His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and implement Christ’s work of redeeming lost people and empowering followers of Christ for godly living and service.
“…be filled with the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:17
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Our Belief about the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity. He is the personal replacement of Jesus Christ’s physical presence on earth. Before returning to heaven Jesus promised to send the Spirit and told the disciples that the Spirit’s presence among them would be even better than his own (John 16:7).
We believe humanity was created, male and female, in the image of God and free from sin; yet they fell into sin. We believe all persons are sinners by nature and choice and are spiritually dead and lost. We also believe that the Holy Spirit regenerates those who repent of sin and trust Jesus Christ as Savior.
“The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.”
Our Belief about Humanity and Sin
God created the universe and it was good (Genesis 1:31). Creation was a purposeful act of God’s free will. He created ex nihilo, out of nothing. God is the source of everything that was created. The Bible teaches that God specially created the first two human beings, Adam and Eve (Genesis 2). Humans were created in God’s image which means that humans possess the ability to rule and have dominion (Genesis 2). God’s image also distinguishes humans from other parts of creation because, like God, we are personal, intelligent, and moral/spiritual.
We believe in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This salvation is based upon the sovereign grace of God, was purchased by Christ on the cross, and is received through faith apart from any human merit, works or ritual. We believe salvation results in righteous living, good works and proper social concern.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.
“That if you declare 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 profess your faith and are saved.”
Our Belief about Salvation
Salvation takes place when a sinner believes that the gospel message is true, repents from their sinful ways, and trusts in God’s grace. We believe their hearts are converted and regenerated.
We believe that the one, holy, universal Church is the body of Christ and is composed of local communities of followers of Christ. The task of the Church in this world is to be God’s redeemed community by proclaiming the gospel of God’s redemptive love through our Lord Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth by word and deed, by embodying His love in worship of God, by equipping God’s people, and by caring for all of God’s creation and actively seeking the good of everyone, especially the poor and needy.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
1 Corinthians 12:27-28
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
Our Belief about the Church
The Church is the body of Christ. The primary responsibility of the church is to glorify God by carrying out the mission Jesus Christ gave to his disciples: Evangelize people outside of a relationship with him and equip those in a relationship with him. Because each partner of the church is an equal part of the body each has an equal responsibility to see that both pieces of the mission are carried out.
A second responsibility of the church is to be a blessing to the nations. Certainly Israel, as Abraham’s descendants, was commanded to be a blessing to the nations (Genesis 12), but we as the church are also to be a blessing. When Jesus began his ministry he spoke in the Nazareth synagogue and declared that his prime directive was “to preach good news to the poor…proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). The church is still responsible for the poor, prisoners, the blind, and the oppressed both in this country and around the world.
We believe in the personal and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the saved and lost, and the eternal existence of all people in either heaven or hell.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
1 Peter 4:5
“But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
Our Belief about Eternity
Christ will one day return at the end of our present age and when he comes, the dead will be resurrected and the world will be judged.