WHAT WE BELIEVE
Statement of Faith
THE WORD OF GOD
We believe that the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) is the Word of God, fully inspired by Him and without error in the original manuscripts. The Scriptures contain the complete revelation of His will and plan for salvation. They are intended to teach, guide, correct, and nourish the believer, and are the final, divine authority for all matters of Christian faith and life.
We believe in one living and true God, creator of all things, perfect in every way, without beginning or end, and eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and that these are equal in every divine attribute and perfection.
We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. We believe in His sinless life, miracles, and teachings. We believe in His substitutionary and atoning death on the cross, His bodily resurrection from the dead, His ascension into heaven where He is now exalted at the right hand of God and intercedes for His people as our High Priest, and His personal visible return to earth as promised in the Scriptures.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, regenerates the believer into new life in Christ at the moment of salvation, sanctifies the believer in Christlikeness, and seals the believer unto the day of redemption. We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ, and that He guides, instructs and empowers them for godly living and service.
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that through Adam’s sin man fell, and thereby incurred physical, spiritual, and eternal death. As a result, all human beings are born with a sin nature and are under the just condemnation of God. Because of sin man is alienated and separated from God and unable to remedy his lost condition.
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received through personal faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. We believe that those who repent and forsake sin and trust Jesus Christ as Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit, become new creatures in Christ, are freed from condemnation, and receive eternal life as God’s children.
We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances to be observed by the church. We believe that water baptism is an outward expression and a celebration of a person’s new life in Christ. We believe that the biblical pattern for baptism is by immersion in water in the name of the triune God. We believe that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ for the remembrance of His death and for the proclamation of His death until He comes again.
We believe in the universal church, which is a living, spiritual body of Christ made up of all persons who have been regenerated and baptized by the Holy Spirit through saving faith in Jesus Christ, of which Christ is the head. We believe in the establishment of local churches as the pattern of the New Testament clearly defines. We believe in the autonomy of each local church under the headship of Christ to decide and govern its own affairs. We believe that God has given the local church the primary task of taking the good news of Jesus Christ to the world and helping believers grow and glorify the Lord.
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body and in the final judgment: of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord, and of the unbeliever to everlasting conscious punishment and suffering.
MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY
We believe that ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word `spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. We do not affirm, support or advocate two people of the same sex getting married and thus would not allow for a same sex marriage to be performed on our church premises and/or by one of our pastor’s. We affirm that the Bible teaches that a person’s gender is determined by God through his grace and beautiful creative design in the womb before birth.
Note: This Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of Sheridan Bible Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our pastor board is Sheridan Bible Church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
Within our commitment to the foundational truths of historical, orthodox Christianity, we at SBC have certain Biblical Distinctives that may set us apart from other churches. These distinctive's, or doctrines, may set us apart in teaching, although hopefully not in spirit, from some of our other brothers and sisters in the Universal Body of Christ.
The Authority of God’s Word
Because the Bible is the very word of God, it is our authority, as individuals and as His church. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. It speaks to every issue of life for God’s people (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The Bible is both inspired and without error in its original copy or manuscript (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:15,16) and authoritative for us today in all areas of life (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; 1 Corinthians 2:13, 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; I Peter 2:2).
It is the responsibility of every true believer to carefully ascertain the true intent and meaning of Scripture (Acts 17:11), recognizing that proper applications are binding on all generations. The truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it (Matthew 5:18; 22:31; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16; Hebrews 4:12).
The leadership of MVC will seek to honor and obey the Word of God to their greatest ability regardless of popularity or culture (Acts 20:27; Colossians 1:28; 1 Peter 2:9-10)
God, the Author of Salvation
Because of the lost condition of unbelieving humanity, God must be the author of our salvation from start to finish (Ephesians 2:1-10, John 6:44). We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace (unearned favor) on the basis of Jesus’ shed blood, with which we were bought from the penalty and power of sin.
God alone provided an acceptable sacrifice for man’s rebellion or sin in Jesus’ crucifixion, death and resurrection (Isaiah 53:6; 59:2; 64:6; Hebrews 9:27; I Peter 3:18; 2:24; Acts 4:12; John 14:6; I Corinthians 15).
Because of the lost, rebellious, darkened condition of man’s heart (Romans 3:10-11, 2 Corinthians 4:4), no man would seek God or believe had it not been for God’s gracious working and drawing of man to Himself (Ephesians 2:4-10; John 6:35-40, 44; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6).
True salvation will be evidenced in an individual’s life over time through a process of increased bearing of fruit – change in world view, thought, and lifestyle, “Like Father like Son” (Matthew 7:21-23; John 10:25-29; Romans 6; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22-23; James 2:14-26; 1 John 1:9; 2:3-4; 1 John 3:5-10; 5:11,12).
Because salvation is wholly of God, man cannot lose salvation. The true believer is eternally secure (John 6:37-40, 44; 1 Peter 1:2-5; Ephesians 1:4,5, 11; 2:4-10; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 15:2; Titus 3:5; 1 John 2:19, 5:11-13).
The Fruit of Salvation
While our good works don’t save us, they are the necessary fruit that accompany genuine salvation. The reality of a person’s salvation will be shown through the progressive transformation of their lives into greater likeness to Jesus (Galatians 5:16-25, 1 John 2:3-4).
Because God saves us apart from any works (Titus 3:5), and because of the promises in scripture regarding God’s character, we believe that once a person is truly born again, he is eternally secure (John 10:26-30, Romans 8:29-39).
Because of the inward transformation of the Spirit, commonly known as being “born again”, believers practice as a direction of their lives obedience to God’s Word (Ezekiel 11:19-20, Jeremiah 31:31-34; Titus 1:16, 1 John 2:3-4; 3:9-10).
The Local Church
God’s design is that every believer be a part of a local church as the primary environment for experiencing biblical community and carrying out the mission He has given to us.
The local church is a family of families (1 Corinthians 12:20-26; Ephesians 2:19, 4:11-14; 1 Timothy 3:5; Titus 2:1-8; Hebrews 10:23-24).
The vehicle for reaching the world with the gospel as shown in scripture is through the multiplication of local churches. (Matthew 16:13-18, 28:18-20; Acts 1:8, 2:41-43, 8:1-3, 11:22-26; 13:1-3; 14:21-28, 15:2-4, 22-36, 18:22, 20:17, 28, 32; 21:18-19; Philippians 1:27; 2:12-16).
We believe in the autonomy of each local church under the headship of Christ to decide and govern its own affairs.
Leadership in the Church
God’s design is that each local church be led by a plurality of biblically qualified men who shepherd and care for the church as undershepherds to Jesus.
These men are to be biblically qualified (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9).
The pattern of scripture is a plurality of pastoral leadership (Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5).
The terms overseer, elder, pastor, and shepherd are used interchangeably in scripture and all refer to the same office / role (Acts 20:17, 28, 1 Peter 5:1-4).
The pastors are accountable to God for their shepherding care (Hebrews 13:17) and the church is called to voluntarily come underneath their shepherding authority (1 Thess. 5:12-13, Hebrews 13:17).
Spiritual Gifts in the Church
Every Christian is uniquely gifted by God for the ministry He has entrusted to them in accomplishing the mission of the church. These gifts are given to glorify God and to build up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7).
Every Christian is uniquely equipped by God to serve and edify others in order to build up the Body of Christ. (Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12-14; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
While we do not believe that the supernatural gifts have ceased, we do believe their prominence in the New Testament was due to the unique role they played in authenticating the gospel message being handed down by the apostles (2 Corinthians 12:12, Hebrews 2:3-4). We believe that much of the focus and confusion around “sign” oriented gifts (such as speaking in tongues) is based upon a wrong view that spiritual gifts are for performance, when in reality they exist for service (1 Peter 4:10-11). With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity and authority of one’’s message. Confirming sign gifts are no longer necessary to validate one’s message (1 Corinthians 13:8-12).
There is no such thing as “second blessing” or “baptism of the Spirit” subsequent to salvation. There is only one baptism of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13). The Baptism of the Spirit takes place at salvation, where the Christian is indwelt (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19), sealed (Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30), and adopted as God’s child (Romans 8:9-18; Ephesians 1:5). Then subsequent to being born again or saved, there is a daily commitment to be filled, empowered, and yielded to the Spirit’s control (Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16, 17; Romans 12:1,2).
Church Discipline and Restoration
The church is to bring loving discipline upon its members who are walking in unrepentant sin for the sake of restoring the individual and protecting the church.
The Scriptures teach that the Body is to be committed to one another in love. It instructs how we are to pursue a brother or sister trapped in sin against God or another. (Matthew 18:15-20, Hebrews 3:12,13, Galatians 6:1)
The purpose of the discipline process is to restore the repentant professing believer and to maintain the purity of the church body, not to punish or to exclude that person (Gal. 6:1-2, Matt. 18:15, 1 Cor. 5:1-13, 2 Cor. 2:5-13, Heb. 12:4-13, 1 Cor. 5:1-8)
Complimentary Design of Men and Women
God created men and women and equal image-bearers of God, yet with differing but complementary roles that are to be celebrated. Because of the sinfulness of mankind, God’s design has been perverted throughout history. The church should be a place where the wonder of His design is put on display. God’s design is articulated in the second chapter of Genesis, before the fall. This passage is used to support all other references to the roles of men and women in the family and in the church, indicating that these roles were not cultural.
God has created men and women wonderfully different as complements, of equal value, and with differing functions for the good of all mankind. (Genesis 2:7-25; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-23; 1 Timothy 2:9-15; Galatians 3:23-29; 1 Peter 3:1-6).
This distinct and complementary design is seen fundamentally in the marriage relationship where the husband is called to sacrificial leadership as head of the home; as the wife is voluntarily called to follow her husband’s leadership (Genesis 2:7-25; 3:1-19; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; 14:34-35; Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18-19; Titus 2:4-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7)
God’s perfect design is to be modeled also in the Church Body dynamic. Some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 1 Timothy 2:11-15).