WHAT WE BELIEVE
Our utmost hope in posting a Statement of Faith for New Hope Fellowship is not to cause division, but instead to gather what we know and understand the Bible presents as what each believer needs to come under the authority of when we call Jesus Christ "Lord" over our lives and call ourselves Christian under Him.
God the Father: We believe in one God, who made and has dominion over all things. (1st Corinthians 8:6) He exists in the form of three equally divine Persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:3-14) He purposed for man to have the ability to make choices for themselves (free will) and He desires that they would use that choice to choose to love Him, but He does not and will not force any person’s decisions. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Revelation 3:20) When sin was chosen by the first man, Adam, God set about a plan that would provide salvation for man’s fallen state in the form of His Son, Jesus. (Romans, 6:23; Ephesians 1:20-22)
Jesus, the Son: We believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and is fully God and fully man. (John 1:1, Colossians 2:9) That He is the Messiah that was foretold, and that he was indeed born of a virgin. (Luke 1 & 2) We believe that Jesus lived a sinless life and that His death on the cross atoned for our sins by substituting His perfect blood for ours that is sin-soaked. (1 John 2:1-2) His death and resurrection on the third day provides the opportunity for the salvation of mankind should each person make the choice of accepting it. (1 Peter 1:3)
The Holy Spirit: We believe that the Holy Spirit is the comforter that Jesus promised to mankind before His ascension into Heaven after His resurrection. (Acts 1:6, Romans 8:11) The Holy Spirit is the voice of God into the spirit of man, a comforter to the hurts of man, a perfecter of Jesus’ salvation as it is to be lived out by man, a power against temptation, an encourager against fear, and uniter between brothers and sisters in Christ that bridges gaps of language, sickness, short-sightedness, or lack of wisdom. (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), The Holy Spirit is God’s workings in and through the lives of His believers, the Church.
The Bible: We believe that the Bible is God’s spoken Word to mankind and through mankind through His divine inspiration. (2 Timothy 3:16) The Bible is without error in it’s original writings. The Bible should be treated as authoritative and complete on all issues that affect mankind and should not be changed, edited, or abridged for the purpose of supporting one’s position. Instead, we should commit ourselves to the process of submitting our wills, our positions, our beliefs to mirror that of the Bible.
The Church: We believe that “The Church” is defined as all those who have been justified by God’s grace (believers) through faith alone in Jesus Christ and are united by the Holy Spirit into comprising the body of Christ, of which Jesus himself is the head. (Ephesians 5:22-32, Colossians 1:18-20) We do not currently have any plans of offering or creating “membership” in the local church of New Hope Fellowship, as we believe that if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, that makes you a member of God’s family and therefore a member of the CHURCH (big C), regardless of what local church (little C) you attend. As such, we are not meant to be a collection or club put on display for the world to see and admire our perceived perfection... we come to church and invest in the church so that we can equip the believers to be His hand and feet to the hurting, the lost, the poor, and the powerless. We gather together so that we can go out encouraged, empowered, and equipped to do His work according to His will for as many as will receive Him.
Salvation: We believe that salvation is only possible through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. What He has asked in return is that we:
- Repent. (Ask Forgiveness) This mean to turn away from our sins. To refuse to be a part of them any longer and to fight against the desires or urges for them to be a part of us any longer. Repenting also means to ask for forgiveness directly from Jesus, who has promised to forgive us if we just ask. (Acts 3:19)
- Believe. (Faith) This is openly confessing that Jesus existed as both God and man, that He willingly gave His life so that we could be redeemed, and that we are placing the control of our lives (our will) over for Him to lead and guide us. (Ephesians 2:8)
- Obey. (Works) From that moment forward, our lives should be a reflection or embodiment of what He designed for us to be, as laid out in God’s Word to us, the Bible. We cannot be saved by our works, but a life that has been saved cannot exist without the fruit of that miracle coming through in our lives. (James 2:14-16)
The Mission: We believe that every aspect of our lives should bear in mind the Great Commission that Jesus left for His church in Matthew 28: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Whether it’s the “Go”, the “Teach”, or the “Observing (obeying)”, every area of our lives should be reflective of that mission.
Baptism and Communion: There are only two ordinances that Jesus laid out for His disciples: Baptism and Communion.
- Baptism: We also follow Jesus’ example of baptism as an adult and baptized by emersion, by His choice (Matthew 3:13-17). While we do not perform the baptisms of babies or anyone who isn’t personally accountable for their own decision, we do perform Baby Dedications and are blessed and honored at every opportunity to be a part of celebrating a new life!
- Communion: We observe communion on a monthly basis and at times of special significance. Communion is a time of remembrance of the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf and a recognizing of our sinful nature that made His sacrifice necessary. As such, we ask that only believers take part in communion in keeping with the Biblical outline for doing so. (1 Corinthians 11:29)
Purpose over Preference: If you want to manage or control something, you do things according to your own personal preferences that you’ve grown to love. You accomplish it with tried and true strategies and industrial precision. But if you want to minister into the lives of the hurting, the lost, the poor, and the powerless? You sacrifice and you love others (Romans 12:1). You give up your personal preferences in exchange for placing every gift, every resource, ever ounce of love and welcome to those who are in need of hearing and receiving God’s invitation to return to Him, His Grace, and know His love on a personal level. Whether it’s the music, the messages, the appearances, or the lack of appearance... we believe that our efforts and our decisions should always reflect our purpose, not our preferences.
The Berean Discipline: We believe that the closer you can be in action and deed to what is said in God’s Word, the closer you are to what God intended, and that's what we need to be striving for in our individual lives as well as corporately for the church. We have committed to doing all that we do, saying all that we say, and believing what we believe based entirely on what the Bible instructs us to do. But in the moments where that is not entirely clear, we have committed to following the example of the Berean church’s example when Paul was presented to them for the first time (Acts 17). They weighed Paul’s words directly against The Word of God. Our plans, our deeds, our words, cannot contradict Scripture. So we apply the Berean Discipline to all that we do and strive to be. If ever there is or appears to be a contradiction, we side with what the Bible says empirically on the matter.