The word gospel sounds appropriately religious, something you’d expect moral people to talk about. But it is a surprising word, for it didn’t begin as spiritual jargon. It simply meant “good news,” like your waiter telling you dessert is on the house or your doctor saying your blood tests came back clean. What’s surprising about this good news, however, is that it begins by telling everyone—spiritual and secular, moralist and materialist—very bad news about ourselves. And we’ll never understand how good the good news is until we’ve heard the bad news.
Next: God »
The Bible never argues for God’s existence; it simply assumes him. “In the beginning,” the book opens, “God” (Genesis 1.1). Everything he has made testifies to his reality. From the majestic heights of the Himalayan Mountains to the yawning depths of the Grand Canyon, from the distant galaxies that we are just now discovering to the intricate code stored in our DNA, the universe displays the glory of God (Psalm 19.1). And it’s not just the material world. Consider those things that you cannot see, like love or friendship or justice or time or music or beauty. Where did they come from? Personal qualities like joy and sorrow derive from a person, and creative attributes like artistry and design testify to a creator. That person, that creator, is God.
Next: Us »
This God created all there is, and he created humans to govern the universe under him (Genesis 1.26). We were the capstone of his creative work, the only ones that bore his image. And so he gave us the gift of human companionship so that together we might reflect his glory by caring for his good creation and especially for one another (Genesis 2.18). But one need not look far to see that we have missed the mark. We don’t rule anything very well. Our relationships are broken and our government is gridlocked. Our work is meaningless and our environment is polluted. We use one another to get ahead and abuse those who get in our way. The powerful are rewarded with more power, and the marginalized are pushed further away. Care for God’s creation? Especially for one another? In every possible way we have missed our destiny. There’s a word in the Bible for that: it’s called sin (1 John 3.4). And it’s very bad news.
Next: Fig Leaves »
Early on we all realize that the world is broken, but at some point we realize, like the comic-strip character Pogo, that “we have met the enemy and he is us.” In other words, we don’t enter the world pristine only to be corrupted by everything around us. We enter a broken world, bringing our own brokenness with us. So what do we do? Our instincts tell us to make it up, reverse course, atone for our mistakes. We’re right to assume that our sin deserves punishment and demands atonement. But we’re wrong to think that we can do it ourselves. We end up just like Adam and Eve, nervously sewing fig leaves together to cover our nakedness, to hide who we truly are (Genesis 3.7). But can such things really make up for what we’ve done wrong? If we apologize after an angry outburst, does it erase the things we said? If a doctor settles a malpractice suit, does it undo the months and years of damage inflicted?
Next: Filthy Rags »
And it’s not just the horizontal, human-to-human restitution that falls short. How do we make it up to God for disobeying his word and corrupting his world? Shall we give money to charity? Read the Bible every day? Serve in an AIDS colony? Keep the sacraments? Become a pastor? Deny ourselves pleasure? Go to church every Sunday? When will it ever be enough to atone for what we’ve done? God’s answer: never. “The wages of sin,” he says, “is death” (Romans 6.23). And since we’ve transgressed an eternal God, the punishment deserved must itself be eternal. No wonder God calls our righteous deeds “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64.6). We simply cannot do enough. It would take hell to make up for what we’ve done. No matter how outwardly moral we might appear, God says that none of us is righteous, “not even one” (Romans 3.10). But…
Next: Jesus »
But there is One who lived the righteous life we have failed to live. His name is Jesus. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, who from all eternity enjoyed perfect communion with and delight in the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 1.1). At creation he was there, standing alongside his Father as a master craftsman (Proverbs 8.30). Nothing that was made was made without him (John 1.3). And yet this great One impoverished himself on behalf of the spiritually poor (2 Corinthians 8.9). He left the splendor of heaven to become a baby, taking on our humanity so that he might sympathize fully with us (Hebrews 4.15) and live the life we have failed to live (Romans 5.18–19).
Next: Jesus Died »
And then he died. Not just any kind of death, but death by execution (Philippians 2.8). He was treated as a criminal, even though he was the only One who had never broken the law—human or divine. And it wasn’t just that people condemned him to die; the Bible solemnly states that it was the will of the Lord to crush him (Isaiah 53.10). How could this be? Why would the Father pour out his fury on Jesus? And why would Jesus accept this bitter cup? Because this is the only way that guilty people like us could be forgiven. Our sin had filled God’s great cup of wrath, judgment for eternity. But he poured it out of Christ so there would be nothing left for us (Romans 3.21–26).
Next: Jesus Lives »
But he did not stay dead. On that first Easter morning Jesus rose from the dead, emerged from the grave, and was declared to be the Lord over all (Romans 1.4). You see, he died for sin, yes, but not for his own sin. He died for the sin of broken people like you and me. And when God raised him from the dead, it was the incontrovertible proof that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, the One who would reverse the curse on humanity, the Lord of heaven and earth (Isaiah 53.11–12). That’s why there is no tombstone in Israel that marks Jesus’ grave. He is unlike anyone who has ever lived, for he lived entirely under the will and word of God. And he died in a way unlike anyone else, for he died as the completely innocent One on behalf of the guilty. And he is the only One who rose from the dead, never to die again.
Next: And So Shall We »
And So Shall We
Through Jesus’ resurrection, the promise of new life is open to people like us (John 3.3). As Christians we are not more righteous, more moral, more perfect than anyone else. In fact, we admit that it was our sin that put Jesus on the cross. That’s how bad we are. But here’s the good news: Jesus lived the life we have failed to live, so we are no longer clothed in our filthy rags but in the righteous robes that Jesus earned. Jesus died on our behalf, so we no longer fear that God will pour out his anger on us. Jesus absorbed it all. And since Jesus was raised to new life, so too shall we. This life is not all there is. One day all things will be made new, and we shall worship God forever.
Next: And So Can You »
And So Can You
This promise of the gospel is for sinners like you. God calls you to turn from your way, whether it is characterized by extreme sin, extreme morality, or something in between. Admit your brokenness and run to Jesus. You will find that, though you are far more sinful that you dare admit, in Jesus you are far more loved than you ever dreamed possible.
Next: Our Beliefs »
The center of what we believe is the gospel. All Christians agree on the gospel, but all Christians believe more than the gospel. Our church has adopted a confession of faith that summarizes what we believe the Scripture teaches about a wide array of topics. Like spokes on a wheel these beliefs emanate from the gospel, and they conform to it like the body of a car to its engine. Over the years we've had four different confessions of faith. Here is our current statement, adopted by our congregation in 2013.
Next: Our Confession of Faith »
Our Confession of Faith
Article 1: The Triune God
We believe that there is one and only one living and true God, Who eternally exists in three equally divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and He rules all things in holiness, wisdom, and love to bring about His eternal good purposes to redeem a people for Himself and restore His fallen creation, to the praise of His glorious grace.
Article 2: Revelation
We believe that this God has graciously disclosed His existence in the created order, and has supremely revealed Himself in His Son, the incarnate Word. Moreover, He has revealed Himself in human words, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God. The Scripture is without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of His will to us, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks. As we hear, believe, and do the Word, we are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel.
Article 3: Creation of Humanity
We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in His own image. Men and women equally bear the image of God, but are not simply interchangeable. God designed marriage to be an exclusive, lifelong covenant relationship between one man and one woman in which the husband reflects the self-sacrificing love of Christ for His church and the wife reflects the loving submission of the church to Christ. Any sexual activity outside of this relationship is forbidden by our Creator. In the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God.
Article 4: The Fall
We believe that Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden distorted the image of God in humanity and forfeited his original blessedness for himself and all his progeny. As a result, all human beings are alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being, and condemned finally and irrevocably to death. The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to God, under Whose just and holy wrath we stand. The only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of God, Who alone can rescue us and restore us to Himself.
Article 5: The Plan of God
We believe that from all eternity God determined to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation to the praise of His glorious grace. To this end He chose them before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him. In love God commands all people to repent and believe, having set His saving love on those He has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer.
Article 6: The Gospel
We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, Who lived the life we failed to live, died the death we deserved to die, and rose again to give us new life in Him. All who turn from their sin and believe Christ are saved.
Article 7: The Redemption of Christ
We believe that, moved by love and in obedience to His Father, the eternal Son became fully human without ceasing to be fully divine. For us and for our salvation, Jesus came down from heaven, became incarnate of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. On the cross He canceled sin, satisfied God’s anger, and reconciled to God all who believe in Him. He arose bodily from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, thus proving His innocence, breaking the power of death, and bringing everlasting life to all His people. He ascended into heaven, where He sits on the right hand of the Father to rule as King over all God’s creation and to serve God’s people as their High Priest and Advocate. He shall come again to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom shall have no end.
Article 8: The Justification of Sinners
We believe that Christ, by His obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified. By His perfect obedience He satisfied the just demands of God on our behalf. By His sacrificial death, He bore in our place the punishment due us for our sins, thus satisfying God’s justice on our behalf. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. We believe that a zeal for personal and public obedience flows from this free justification.
Article 9: The Power of the Holy Spirit
We believe that this salvation is applied to His people by the Holy Spirit, Who gives life to spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith. In Him they are baptized into union with the Lord Jesus and adopted into God’s family. The Spirit gives believers gifts to build up the body of Christ, to bring the gospel to the lost, and to magnify the glory of God. The Holy Spirit is Himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, seals, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
Article 10: The Kingdom of God
We believe that God rules as King over His creation. His kingdom is present since He rules everywhere at all times, but it is not yet fully realized, since fallen humanity still rejects His authority. But at redemption believers enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant. Since Christ calls us to be salt and light in the world, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it. Rather, we are to do good to the city and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Through our witness God plunders Satan’s dark kingdom, and regenerates and renovates the lives of individuals rescued through repentance and faith.
Article 11: God’s New People
We believe that Jesus brings peace between alienated peoples through the gospel, creating in Himself one new humanity—the church. This universal church is manifest in local churches where the gospel is put on display by the power of the Spirit. A true church is marked by her gospel message, her sacred ordinances, her discipline, her great mission, and, above all, by her love for God and by her members’ love for one another and for the world.
Article 12: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Lord Jesus ordained baptism and the Lord’s Supper for the assurance of His people. We believe that baptism is for believers, serving as a visible sign of our participation with Jesus in His death and resurrection, an entrance into the new covenant community, and a pledge of future obedience to the Lordship of Christ. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is an ongoing covenant renewal for the people of God in which we affirm our unity as the redeemed, commemorate the covenant of redemption, and enjoy the presence of the Redeemer.
Article 13: The Restoration of All Things
We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with His holy angels, when He will exercise His role as final Judge, and His kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal, conscious punishment in hell and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of God. The church will be presented faultless before God by the redemptive work of Christ, all sin will be purged and its wretched effects will forever be banished. God will be all in all and His people will be enthralled by the immediacy of His ineffable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of His glorious grace.
This statement is adapted from The Gospel Coalition Confessional Statement.
Next: Skeptical? »
We understand if you don’t see things the way we do. To be sure, many of us asked the very same questions about the gospel that you are asking. If we can serve you by talking through your questions, we’re here for you. We can’t promise that we can answer every question, but we can point you to the Scriptures and help you understand the message of Christianity.
That’s why we offer Christianity Explored, a seven-week course that introduces Jesus through the gospel of Mark. It’s a safe space for those who do not consider themselves Christians to ask questions, engage in conversation, and investigate the claims of Christ for themselves. Take a look at our Upcoming Events for dates and times.
And of course if those dates don’t work for you, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d be glad to share a cup of coffee and talk about the gospel with you.