Notes: First, God is called “He” because of the limits of the English language. God is not a human male. Second, you’ll also notice many similarities to the statement of faith for the Vineyard Christian Fellowship and phrases from the Lausanne Covenant. We have no desire to be original. Third, not all guest writers will necessarily agree with this statement of faith. Their writings, however, compliment the vision of The Alternative Mainstream.
Of God and the Holy Trinity
WE BELIEVE that there is one living and true God, infinite and perfect, the eternal ruler and sustainer of the universe. God is the fountain of all existence and is unchangeable, perfect in holiness, wisdom, goodness, justice, power and love. God has all life, glory, goodness and blessedness in and of Himself; and is all-sufficient in and of Himself, not needing any of the creatures He has made. God exists from all eternity as one being in three persons of one substance, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory.
WE BELIEVE that God’s kingdom lasts forever. God is omnipresent (He is everywhere) and omniscient (He knows everything). Nevertheless, God is distinct from His own creation. He upholds and governs all that exists, including Heaven, the angels and the material universe. God made everything good.
Of Satan and his kingdom
WE BELIEVE that a mighty angel who eventually became known as Satan rallied a rebellion in Heaven in an attempt to usurp God. God cast Satan and his angels (whom we call demons) onto the Earth, where they established an evil counterfeit kingdom, where intimidation, duplicity, hatred, malice, selfish ambition, discord and rage are the norm. While Satan and his minions are powerful, their strength pales when compared with God’s. Their doomed kingdom is being dispatched as Christ’s kingdom spreads and will be utterly destroyed when Christ comes again.
WE BELIEVE that God created humanity male and female in His own image, to glorify God, to enjoy God in a loving, eternal relationship, and to serve as God’s delegate in stewarding the Earth. Humanity is the zenith of God’s creation. Satan successfully tempted our first parents and they rebelled against God, bringing sin, sickness and the judgment of death onto the Earth. All of creation now suffers the consequences of this original sin: Instead of being born in a state of innocence prone to good and destined for eternal life, human beings are now born in a state sin, prone to evil and destined for death; instead of living in the freedom of God’s grace, we now live captive to Satan’s kingdom.
WE BELIEVE that God, in His infinite mercy and kindness, did not neglect his rule over the Earth. Instead, he continued to uphold the Earth while He began a process that would bring creation back into a proper relationship with Himself. In order to bring redemption, God established covenants that revealed His grace. God established a covenant with Abraham, who, through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob, would be the forefather of the people of Israel. This nation became enslaved in Egypt but was then freed by God through a covenant with Moses. God gave Moses His law. That law convicts human beings of their sin and shows God’s righteousness. It shows how we can come only to Christ for our salvation.
God wanted to rule Israel directly. The nation was not meant to have a king. However, God did establish a monarchy upon the nation’s request. The first king was known as Saul, but he disobeyed God and the rule of Israel was not passed through his line. Instead, David became king and God covenanted with him, promising that his descendant would restore God’s reign as the Messiah.
WE BELIEVE that God sent His only Son, Jesus, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, fully God and fully human in one person, into the world as the fulfillment of His own covenants with Israel. Jesus was God’s Messiah, or anointed one, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to launch God’s kingdom reign on the Earth. He overpowered Satan by resisting temptation, casting out demons, healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching the good news of the kingdom’s arrival, and bringing compassion and salvation to the lost. He formed a community that would become known as The Church, which would serve as the instrument of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross, meeting the justice required of the law so that His followers would experience God’s mercy. He rose again on the third day in victory over death. Christ disarmed Satan, fulfilled God’s covenants with Israel’s forefathers, and now stands as the eternal King, bringing about salvation throughout the Earth until He comes again.
After Jesus ascended into heaven, God poured out the Holy Spirit onto His church, baptizing its people and releasing His gifts for the purpose of ministry. The Spirit sanctifies us as we yield to Him, brings us into intimacy with God, functions as a deposit guaranteeing our salvation; brings about a life leading to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self control; and grants us His varied gifts for serving others. We believe in the present-day ministry of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of all the gifts as they are described in the Bible. The Spirit indwells every believer and functions as our abiding Helper, Teacher, Guide, and Advocate.
WE BELIEVE that the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments were written by human authors and inspired by the Holy Spirit. We affirm their truthfulness and authority. They are the only infallible rule of faith and of practice.
WE BELIEVE in the one holy, universal Church, which is known as both the Body and Bride of Christ, headed by Christ Himself. The Holy Spirit regenerates all who repent of their sins and confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The Church functions as the agent of God’s invading Kingdom, bringing people to Christ through the preaching of the Gospel, the performance of His deeds, and the display of His compassion and love. The church is meant to reach out to and advocate the cause of the desperate and needy and promulgates the sound stewardship of God’s Earth. Furthermore, the Church is God’s agent in bringing people into deeper, more profound intimacy with Him.
The church has celebrated two ordinances, sometimes described as sacraments, throughout its history. The sacrament of baptism signifies our death to our former life and our resurrection in Christ. Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper, recalls the all-important day when Christ shed his blood on the cross. The eating of the bread and the drinking of the fruit of the vine illuminates our union with his death to sin. All believers are welcome to participate in both ceremonies.
The End Times
WE BELIEVE that God’s kingdom reign was inaugurated in the ministry of Christ and that it continues in the current-day ministry of the Holy Spirit through God’s Body and Bride, the Church. This reign will be consummated in the physical, visible, and victorious return of Christ, when He will establish His kingdom rule forever. There will be a general resurrection of the dead, both the saved and the lost. Those that are saved will be resurrected into life and those that are lost will be resurrected into eternal alienation from God. There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth, in which God’s love and righteousness dwells forever. God will “wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).