Doctrinal Statements about “What We Believe” generally serve to distinguish between one church devoted to following Jesus to other churches who are also devoted to following Jesus. The truth is that this approach to following Jesus does not make sense in light of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me…. “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. (John 17:21-23, NLT)
ONE IN CHRIST
Every church–indeed, every person–that claims to follow Jesus should share this passion of our Lord and Savior. After all, He prayed this prayer just before He endured the horrors of the cross. The fact that we are all in different places in our understandings is more of an appreciation for the freedom we have in Christ, living in a free society. From almost 2,000 years of Christian history we know that those differences melt away under persecution and hardship.
As the apostle Paul said, in the same spirit, “For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2, NLT). Later, to the church of Christ in Philipi, Paul would emphatically state his life’s goal: “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ” (Philippians 3:8-9, NLT).
This is the approach we have chosen for the Shoreline church of Christ. We are ready to share the Good News with people who want to know Christ but don’t want to get all wrapped up in “religion.”
God’s story is a story of love and redemption as told to us in the Bible, the very breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The height of God’s story of love and redemption is revealed in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 3:16) who made this exclusive claim: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6-7). The Bible reveals God’s nature through stories and teachings that point to Jesus (John 5:39-40). As a church of Christ we gather together to lift Him up (John 12:31-33), to obey His command to love God and others (Matthew 22:35-40) and to grow in understanding His Word so that we may share His story with everyone (Matthew 28:18-20). Based upon God’s word as understood through Jesus Christ we believe the following core doctrines or teachings.
The Bible is an amazing collection of 66 books written by about 40 authors, in three different languages, on three different continents, over approximately 1600 years. We believe the Bible to be from God and without error and able to authoritatively correct us when we are wrong and teach us to do what is right (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
There is one true God, eternally existing in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. These are equal and are one God. God created the world out of nothing and by His power He sustains all He has created (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19-20; Colossians 1:15-20).
Jesus was miraculously born of the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35) and became flesh and blood (John 1:1-16; 29-34) without ceasing to be God. He lived a sinless life and performed many miracles to confirm His divinity. He died on the cross as a perfect sacrifice, paying the debt for our sins (Mark 10:45). On the third day after His death He arose from the dead showing His victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). He appeared to His disciples and then ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God serving as our mediator.
The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son. He makes people aware of their need for Christ (John 16:8-11). He indwells and empowers the believer (1 John 4:13; Galatians. 5:16-26). His presence in our life is a seal and guarantee that we are God’s children (2 Corinthians 1: 21-22). The Holy Spirit gives believers spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7-11; Romans 12:4-8) to be used to help others and to point the world to Christ.
Salvation is a free gift of God. The death of Christ on the cross is the only sufficient payment for our sins. All have sinned, but all can be saved. This salvation is available for any who put their trust in Christ as Savior (Romans 3:23, 6:23; John 3:16). Those trusting Christ should repent of sin, confess their faith, and be baptized (Romans 10:9; Acts 2:38).
Baptism is an outward demonstration of an inward decision to follow Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior, spiritually joining Him in in His physical death, burial and resurrection through baptism (Romans 6:3-11; 1 Peter 3:21).
Jesus established the Lord’s Supper shortly before His death. On the evening before the crucifixion while sharing Passover with his disciples, “Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and gave thanks, and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it all of you. This is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:26-28). Do this in remembrance of me (Luke 22:19).
The Lord’s Supper is a time to remember the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. During this memorial remembrance, the bread symbolizes the body of Christ and the wine symbolizes the blood of Christ. When believers take the elements in an act of worship, gathering in His name, Christ ‘s presence is among them and felt (Matthew 18:19-20). Shoreline Church of Christ invites all who believe in Jesus to participate in receiving communion.
The church is the Body of Christ on earth, empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue the task of reaching the lost and discipling the saved, helping them become fully devoted followers of Christ (Ephesians 4: 1-16).
Christ will one day return and judge all people (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Believers will be welcomed into God’s presence in Heaven. Unbelievers will be in Hell, separated from God’s presence.
Marriage and Sexuality
We believe that the Bible defines “marriage” as one man, one woman for life (Mark 10:6-9). We further believe that intimate sexual activity is a sacred gift of God and intended to be celebrated only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4).
Grace and Mercy
At Shoreline we sincerely try to follow the Bible and its teachings. However, our ability to logically figure everything out is not the basis for our acceptability before God. Our salvation is based on what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. What we must be right about is the fact that we cannot be right about everything and are therefore completely dependent on God’s graciousness and mercy.