What we believe

LET’S BE HONEST

For us, to be a follower of Jesus requires humility.  We’re trying to be a church that grows in unity in matters that matter to faith – behaves charitably toward each other over matters that don’t matter – and loves all people in Jesus’ name.

Everything you’re about to read comes straight from the pages of the Bible.  We’re doing our best to use non-religious language, so that it makes sense to us and to you.


THE HEART OF THE MATTER  

God didn’t reveal Himself to us in a detailed list of “doctrines to believe.”  He reveals Himself to us through the true story of His love for a “good creation,” a “frustrated creation,” and a “renewed creation.” He invites us to take our rightful place in His story.

So here’s a summary of what we believe, and how we believe:

WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON  

God created a “good creation,” suited to His purposes.  Humans started well, but our ancestors were tricked into joining a rebellion against God – they “sinned,” tried to take over the world and run it without God.  We don’t have the wisdom and power to run things on our own, and so the rebellion brought serious trouble, damage and frustration to God’s good creation.  We experience it in a big way in human history, and in a very personal way in our own lives – the good and the bad that we do to ourselves and to others, the good and the bad that they do to us.  We experience it in the frustration of our efforts to make the world a better place – who knew that the greatest technological advances in known history might lead us to the brink of catastrophic destruction?!  Who would have guessed that with all we have learned about how to live together in peace, the previous century was the bloodiest of all time?  Something’s seriously wrong!

God continues to love His damaged creation and everyone living in it, and He has intervened all through human history to help us find our way back to Him, so we can enter a renewed creation in a new kind of life.  He did this especially through the ancient Israelite people (the Old Testament), and most importantly, to all nations through Jesus Christ (the New Testament).  Today God continues to reach out to people through His Holy Spirit, who lives in all followers of Jesus Christ.

 

WHERE IT’S ALL GOING  

During the time of the first rebellion long ago God made a promise that He would set things right again.  Through the ages since then, He has made it clear that a time is coming when He will intervene once again to raise the dead, to remove all evil, repair all brokenness, destroy death, heal all injustice and misery – restoring the creation to the good He made it to be – and He will come to live visibly among humans again.

That’s so hopeful and joyful – and it has huge implications for how we live every day.


THE HEART OF OUR FAITH

is that God came here in Jesus Christ:  Jesus lived among us, but we were so blinded by darkness that we didn’t get it, and we crucified Him.  But God raised Jesus from the dead and raised Him on high as “the Lord,” to rule with the Father.

God continues to show up here in the Holy Spirit, poured out on all kinds of people.  He is creating a renewed humanity from all nations – that’s “the church.”

Jesus Christ is returning one day to make the whole world right again and to fulfill all of God’s promises to us.

Everyone who wants to be part of the new creation is welcome.

Here’s how to come in:  change sides, be baptized, live your life in relationship with in the new community of the Spirit.  That’s what “faith” is all about.


The teaching that guides this church is built on this Good News story – it’s well within the scope of ancient Christian faith.  Some of the other details are listed below.  The core beliefs that unite our leaders and members are:

 

WHO GOD IS  

We believe in one God, and we believe that He reveals Himself as One who lives in the eternal relationship of Father, Son, and Spirit.  We believe that the Father is God who made everything and rules from the unseen world around us.  Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Saviour of the world, who came here to our world and returned to rule with the Father in the unseen world.  We believe the Holy Spirit is God’s renewing Presence in the here and now.  We believe He comes to live in every Christian when we’re baptized, and that He gives us everything we need to live out God’s purposes in our lives.

WHAT THE BIBLE IS  

We believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word, the source of our story, our beliefs, and the way we live.  Through it God expresses His ultimate and final authority on all matters of faith and life.  

 

SIN  

We believe God’s good world fell into rebellion against Him – because of that every person has been turned away from God and toward trying to make life work without Him. This brokenness creates an alienation in human hearts against God, other humans, and the rest of His creation that can’t be healed by any craft we possess – so God has taken the initiative to help us. (That’s what the Bible calls “grace.”)

 

SALVATION  

We believe that salvation reconciliation with God and other people, rescue from all the deadly effects of sin, and restoring to the permanent life God made us for – is a gift, coming through allegiance to Christ.

Let’s unpack this a little:

  • God overcame the ultimate sin – He knew that darkness had corrupted and blinded humans so badly that we would kill Him if He came close to us.  But coming close to us and letting us crucify Him was the only path that could open our eyes to who He really is – the only path that would set us free.  So He forgave humans for crucifying Christ. There is nothing worse that we could do.  He forgives all sin done by everyone for all time.  He can forgive anything.
  • God overcame the ultimate power of death, by raising Jesus. So He overcomes all power everywhere that is in rebellion against Him.  There is no worse evil that others can do to us. He can defeat it all.
  • God overcame humanity’s ultimate rejection and the humiliation of crucifixion, by exalting Jesus Christ as Lord of all.  There is no worse injustice that humans can commit.  God can set everything to right.
  • God overcame the world’s evil power over human lives by pouring out the Holy Spirit on Jesus Christ.  Jesus pours the Holy Spirit on us, so that we can learn to live renewed and free now, preparing for the new creation coming.
  • God overcomes our deepest fear, hostility, and guilt:  in Jesus Christ He has done everything possible to show us that He loves us and wants us to share the new creation with Him and each other. On His side, every wall is down. In the Holy Spirit we experience His love and kindness.  We no longer have to be hostile to God nor afraid of God:  He will help us trust Him and obey Him.
  • God overcomes all the walls humans have put up between each other, too.  Because Jesus’ death covers all sin, that includes the things others have done to us, too.  This is the heart of our ability to forgive and make peace with other people.  In Jesus Christ we are more than “united”:  we’re made one in Him.  So we’re a “new community” created by His forgiveness, resurrection, and Spirit living in us.  We no longer have to be hostile to each other:  He will teach us to love each other the way He loves us.

In Jesus’ cross and resurrection, we did our worst – and God did His best.

 

WE “BELIEVE” AND “CHANGE OUR ALLEGIANCE” …

when we verbally agree to what Christ has done by declaring that “Jesus is Lord,” and we receive salvation in the initiation of baptism.   We hold on to it in a life of daily obedience to God in relationship with the “new humanity.”


THE CHURCH   

To prepare for the new heavens and new earth God creates the renewed humanity, the church:  He calls us out of our allegiance to a broken humanity, trying to run the world without Him and failing, and into the fellowship of His renewed people. The church is the visible expression of God’s new creation breaking into our world now.

It’s not a religious institution or denomination.  Worldwide, it is one spiritual community made up of all committed followers of Jesus Christ.  Locally, it shows up in communities of Christ-following people sharing renewed life together by His Spirit. God creates these communities of people to show everyone how beautiful He is and how worthwhile it is to live with Him – we serve Him, one another and our neighbours with His wisdom and power.


TO SUMMARIZE  

The Good News of Jesus Christ’s victory over all evil is our “Exodus” out of the lost and broken world, and into the new heavens and new earth – it’s the best thing that can ever happen to a person.  “All of Him for all of us”:  it’s God’s complete and final offer to us.

To reject or disregard this Good News is to hold on to the old unjust, broken, darkened world that is going be destroyed when God makes the new heavens and new earth.  That choice leads to permanent exclusion from the new creation – and that’s the worst thing that can ever happen to a person.

God doesn’t want that for anybody:  He is going to great lengths to reach as many people as possible.


OUR OWN HISTORY  

The South Burnaby Church of Christ grows from God’s original Jesus-movement that started 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, in real time and space.  It started here in Burnaby in the late 1950’s.

Our congregation shares many of the values of the Stone-Campbell Movement – click here for more details about that.  It began in the late 18th century in Europe and North America as a grassroots unity movement seeking to be Christians as they were in the first-century.  We are a network of local congregations, independent, with no denominational organization.  So you can expect some variety in how different local churches express their grasp of the teaching and practice of ancient Christian faith.  This … is us.

Together on our faith-journey toward the day God renews everything, we want to know God, grow in our relationship with Him, and do whatever He wants.  Because He is always loving and good, what He wants will always be loving and good.  Everyone who wants to follow Jesus Christ with us is welcome.

It’s the best news, beyond imagination! Want to know more? Come and see!

OUR LOGO represents the heart of the matter:  God sent Jesus Christ here to this world – we crucified Him, but God raised Him from the dead.  He opened the door for our complete reconciliation, and He pours out the Holy Spirit on all followers of Jesus.  The Spirit, God’s renewing Presence in us, demonstrates Jesus’ self-giving love through us to a darkened world.  The day is coming when all symbols will be fulfilled in the New Creation, when Jesus returns.  It’s going to be a great day!  God invites us all to join Him there!