What We Believe

Doctrinal Statements

 

GOD

God is the creator and ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.

 

Supporting Scripture: Gen. 1:1, 26, 27; 3:22; Ps. 90:2; Matt. 28:19; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Cor. 13:14

 

JESUS

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all men by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to heaven’s glory and will return again to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

 

Supporting Scripture: Matt. 1:22-23; Isa. 9:6; John 1:1-5; John 14:10-30; Heb. 4:14-15; Rom. 1:3-4; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Tim. 6:14-15; Titus 2:13

THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every believer from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. The Christian seeks to live under His control daily.

 

Supporting Scripture: 2 Cor. 3:17; John 16:7-13, 14:16, 17; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:12, 3:16; Eph. 1:13; Gal. 5:25; Eph. 5:1

 

THE BIBLE

The Bible is God’s word to all men. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without any mixture of error.

 

Supporting Scripture: 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; 2 Tim. 1:13; Ps. 119:105; Ps. 119:160; Ps. 12:6; Prov. 30:5

 

MAN

Man is made in the spiritual image of God, to be like him in character. He is the supreme object of God’s creation. Although man has tremendous potential for good, he is marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin.” This attitude separates man from God.

 

Supporting Scripture Gen. 1:27; Ps. 8:3-6; Isa 53:6a; Rom. 3:23; Isa. 59:1, 2

 

ETERNITY

Man was created to exist forever. He will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is hell. To be eternally in union with him is eternal life. Heaven and hell are places of eternal existence.

 

Supporting Scripture: John 3:16; John 2:25; John 5:11-13; Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:15; Matt. 25:31-46

SALVATION

Salvation is a gift from God to man. Man can never make up for his sin by self-improvement or good works – only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can man be saved from sin’s penalty. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.

 

Supporting Scripture: Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8, 9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Gal. 3:26; Rom. 5:1

 

ETERNAL SECURITY

Because God gives man eternal life through Jesus Christ, the believer is secure in salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian.

 

Supporting Scripture: John 10:29; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 7:25; 10:10, 14; 1 Pet. 1:3-5

Distinctives

ABORTION

Because we believe that all human beings are image-bearers of God, it affirms the unique value of all human life. Mindful of the sixth commandment—"You shall not murder"—we condemn the destruction of any human being at any stage of its development from the point of conception to the point of death.

 

Bent Tree calls believers to show Christian compassion and to offer support to those experiencing unwanted pregnancies as well as to those who have undergone abortions. Further, it calls believers to speak out against the atrocity of abortion, to promote action and legislation that reflect the teaching of Scripture regarding the sanctity of human life, and to reject all violence against those who perpetrate abortion.

 

Supporting Scripture: Ps. 100:3; Isa. 44:24; Isa. 64:8; Jer. 1:5; Galatians 1:15; Eph. 1:3-4; Luke 1:41, 44; Luke 2:6-7; Exod. 20:1, 13; Deut. 30:19; Exod. 21:22-25; Deut. 24:16; Exod. 4:11; Isa. 45:9-11; 1 Cor. 1:27; P. 127:3; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Eph. 1:7; Isa. 43:25

BAPTISM

Baptism by immersion symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and is your public declaration that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Baptism does not save you but shows the world that you have already been saved. And while baptism is not required for salvation, it is a biblical command and demonstrates your love and obedience to Christ.

 

Supporting Scripture: Col. 2:12; Acts 2:41; Eph. 2: 8-9; Matt. 28:19-20

COMMUNION

Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is an ordinance given to all believers by Jesus Christ to remember his sacrifice for us and to symbolize the new covenant. The elements of bread and wine or juice are symbols of Christ’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is not a means of salvation. Rather, it is a testament of a believer’s faith in the atoning work of the cross.

 

Supporting Scripture: Matt. 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19,20;1 Cor. 11:23-29

OUR NEED FOR REPENTANCE

The Gospel invitation begins with repentance. The first step in becoming a Christian is changing your mind about Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you too will perish.” Repentance is a major Biblical teaching of both the Old and New Testaments. All the prophets teach it and the New Testament contains that the words “repent” and “repentance” 55 times. The entire message of Jesus is summed up in these words: “Repent and believe the good news”. When Jesus sent the 12 apostles out, they preached “that people should repent” (Mark 6:12). Our Lord also declared, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). When Luke recorded his version of the Great Commission, he tells us that Jesus ordered that “repentance and forgiveness of sins be preached in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem”.

Supporting Scripture: Matthew 3:8; 4:17; 21:32; Luke 5:31; 17:3; 24:46-48; Acts 3:19; 5:31, 11:8; 20:21; Romans 2:4-5

SEXUALITY & SEXUAL IDENTITY

We affirm God's design for the two sexes – male and female – and believe that each is a glorious gift from God. Our sexuality is meant to be offered back to Him. For some, this means joining in a one-man, one-woman marriage – for procreation, union, and mutual delight. For others, this means celibacy which allows for undivided devotion to Christ. Sexual expression is designed for a marital relationship. Homosexual lust and behavior are among the sexual sins that are outside God's created intent and desire for us.

 

We are deeply concerned about the hearts and souls of those who identify themselves with various labels, such as gay, lesbian, transgender, among others. We want those men and women to know that God loves them with an everlasting love. Through salvation and the work of the Holy Spirit, God can empower them to live according to His design and standards for sexuality. He offers the grace to accept their true identity – not as gay, lesbian, or transgender– but as His sons and daughters, embracing their biological reality as male or female.

Supporting Scripture: Gen 1:27-28; 2:18-24; 1 Cor 1:27; 6:9-10; 11:3-5; 11:14-15; 14:34-35; Matthew 5:28; 19:4-6 1 Peter 3:7; 4:3; Romans 1:24-27; Leviticus 18:22; Hebrews 13:4: Exodus 20:14

THE ROLE OF MEN & WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Bent Tree Church desires to be a place that embodies a beautiful complementarian vision of ministry so that both sexes, young and old, will flourish. We believe in the God-given roles of men and women in the church called complementarianism. Men and women are absolutely equal in essence, dignity, and value. At the same time, they are complementary by divine design. Men and women correspond to one another. We believe that, in every sphere of life, male and female image bearers flourish in partnership. Where complementarity is lacking or absent, both genders suffer. The beauty of complementarity is seen in a robust congregational life.

 

We believe that Scripture intends for both men and women to be equally involved and engaged in ministry and society. Being equally involved in ministry does not entail being interchangeably involved. We believe the Bible reserves the office of elder/pastor specifically for qualified men. By overseeing the ministries and teaching of the local church, and by caring and praying for its members, elders practice sacrificial male headship. Apart from the role of pastor/elder, we believe the Bible explicitly encourages and assumes that women will be involved in the ministry of the church.

 

Supporting Scripture: Gen. 1:27-28; Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6; Gen. 2:18-25; 1 Cor. 11:2-16, 14:33-35; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 1 Pet. 3:1-7

 

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