Listed below are some of the key beliefs and reflect the way that we at Cross Plains Christian Church understand Scripture (aka the Bible, God's Word).
God the Father
God is the creator and sustainer of the universe (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3). God is the one Father over all of his creation (Malachi 2:10; Matthew 23:9, I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6) and he has compassion on all of his children (Psalm 103:13). God the Father provides for his children, had no ends to his love and provision, and welcomes us into his family in spite of our sins (Luke 11:2-4; John 14:6; Luke 15:20). There is only one God over all of the universe and that God the Father established a plan for the salvation of his children. God sent his only son into the world so that all people may be a part of his Kingdom through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah. The one God of the universe exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17; John 14:9-10), which is often referred to as the Trinity. Trinity is not a word found in the Bible but it is still an appropriate way to describe the nature of God. The concept of God as the three persons of the Trinity is not a simple one, but one that is complex and the most accurate representation of the God of the Bible.
God’s plan for the salvation on mankind could only be completed by the work of the Messiah, who is Jesus Christ the only Son of the living God (John 3; 14:6; 20:24-31). God sent Jesus Christ into this world because of his great love for us so that we might be saved (Isaiah 53; Romans 5:8). Jesus is the unique Son of God who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, shed his blood on the cross for the sins of the world, was resurrected from the dead, and now reigns in Heaven with God and will come again! Jesus physically lived on this earth and was both fully human and fully divine. The stories about Jesus’ life from the Gospels (the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are true and he performed many miracles just as the Bible states. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but he came into the world because of the great love that he has for all mankind and he does not want anyone to perish. However, the only way to fix the broken relationship between man and God caused by sin is through faith in Christ. He is the only way to the Father.
Towards the end of Jesus earthly ministry he was explaining to his apostles that he had to leave them to go and prepare a place for them, but that he would send a helper to be with them while he was away. That promised helper is God the Holy Spirit who descended in the form of a dove at Jesus baptism, and was given on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 at the beginning of the church. The Holy Spirit is a guide and counselor given to God’s people. God promised that the Holy Spirit would dwell within his followers. Christians are able to grow in spiritual maturity through the word of God by the Holy Spirit that dwells within them (Romans 8:26-27; John 14:15-26). The same Holy Spirit that is recorded in the Bible exists today within each Christian (Acts 2:38; Ephesians 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 1:14).
The Bible is God’s inspired word and is the final authority for all matters of faith. God chose to reveal himself to us through the Bible and therefore it is trustworthy (Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35; Romans 15:4; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The Church is the body and bride of Christ, was established on the day of Pentecost, and consists of Christians everywhere. There is only one Church, which is comprised of the people of God. Christ will return to the world to take his bride into the presence of the Father in Heaven (Matthew 16:13-16; Acts 2:14-47). The Church is a living being comprised of the individual Christians from all nations and all generations. Each member of the church is called to function with the community of believers. The Holy Spirit gives specific spiritual gifts to Christians that help them to further the mission of the Church. Not all Christians are gifted in the same manner, but all Christians are gifted for work within the Kingdom of God. The Church is a multifaceted living organism that does not function properly if all members are not actively serving (Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12).
Jesus established the practice and significance of Communion (The Lord's Supper, Eucharist) in the event that Christians often refer to as the Last Supper (Luke 22:7-30). Jesus commands his disciples to participate in communion in remembrance of him. Jesus command to remember him is much greater than taking a few moments as in individual sitting in silence and thinking about Jesus sacrifice for mankind. The New Testament shows that that the early church was in the practice of observing the Lord’s Supper together when they met on the first day of the week, if not more often than that. In light of this, it is our practice to serve communion every Sunday (Acts 2:42-47; 20-:7-12). There are two main images that we can focus on during communion. There is the image of the altar and the image of the table. If we focus only on the image of an altar, we will think only about the horrible death and suffering that Jesus endured. If we focus only on the table, we get a sense of joy and peace and fellowship that we can only get through a meal shared with Jesus. I think that the best way is to balance our thinking and behavior between the images of an altar and a table. If you go through the Bible and focus on the meals that people ate and the ones that Jesus talked about (Luke is a good place to start) you will quickly see that it is a time of celebration. Our time spent around the Lord’s Table is a celebration. Christians celebrate their relationship with Christ through communion. Many Christians do a better job of focusing on the image of the altar than they do the image of the table. Both are equally important to a proper understanding of the Lord’s Supper.
Want to know more? The topics listed above are a great starting point, but far from exhaustive. Please contact Joel or Jeff if you would like to explore our beliefs further. We love a good debate, but would much rather focus on the essentials of our faith and how together we can point people to Jesus.