"In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity (i.e. love)."
- Saint Augustine (354-430 A.D.)
Our beliefs reflect the central thoughts of historic Christian doctrine. We are not dogmatic on matters of belief that Bible-based Christians come to different conclusions. Instead our core beliefs are centered on the essentials of the Christian faith (or what C.S. Lewis referred to as "Mere Christianity").
At the same time we believe that non-essentials bear great importance theologically, spiritually, relationally, and ethically. Thus, we seek to grow together as we explore these issues in mutual respect and understanding. Where Scripture is less clear, we encourage individuals to prayerfully examine their perspectives with the appropriate use of Scripture.
The essentials of the Christian faith (or what C.S. Lewis referred to as "Mere Christianity") is summarized in the Apostles Creed and the following theological constructs:
The Bible is God's true story about who he is, what he has done, what he is doing, and what he will do. It was given by God to human writers and so reflects their culture and language, background and style yet bears the stamp of divine authority on all matters to which it speaks.
There is one God who exists as three persons living in perfect community - Father, Son, and Spirit. God created everything and sustains everything. He is holy and just, loving and patient, full of mercy and grace.
Jesus Christ was completely human and completely divine. He lived a perfect life in place of our imperfect lives; died, as our substitute, the death that we deserved to die because of our brokenness; and physically rose from the dead. He offers us life to the full by the promise of his own resurrection. He then ascended into heaven and today, is our representative, intercessor, and advocate with God the Father.
We experience the presence of God in our relationship with God the Spirit, who reveals our brokenness, leads us to Christ, and applies Christ's work of redemption to our lives. The Holy Spirit reveals truth and guides our lives, individually and collectively.
We are connected to God in only one way - by accepting the offer of reconciliation that God freely gives to us through Christ's life, death, and resurrection. God treats us as if we were Christ, because he treated Christ as if he were us. God's gift of grace makes us his adopted sons and daughters. There is nothing we can do to deserve it - it is all a gift of God, and our responsibility is to respond by simply receiving it. God then begins the process of transforming our hearts and minds from the inside out, so that we increasingly reflect the character of Christ.
We become a part of the body of Christ, or the church, when we enter into a relationship with Christ. The church is universal, but is always expressed locally. The church is the visible and local demonstration of the new community that Christ came to create. The main responsibility of the church is to connect people outside of relationship with Christ by sharing God's love and grace, helping those who respond to become people who follow Christ with their whole lives.
In his own time and in his own way, God will bring this world as we know it to an end. According to his promise, Christ will return personally and visibly to judge the living and the dead, and to begin the new era of God's universal reign which will last forever.
Grace Ann Arbor is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America (RCA), the oldest denomination in America, committed to church planting and revitalization around the world.