Many great churches believe in the Bible as God’s infallible Word. Of those that do, there are many differing doctrinal beliefs. This is due to different approaches to interpreting the same Bible. While we won’t always agree on the 'distintvices" (things not vital to salvation) of the faith, it is vital that evangelical, Bible-believing churches agree on the 'essentials' of the faith (things vital to salvation).
Essentials (things vital to salvation)
Essential #1 – "The Authority of Scripture"
We believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. The Bible is the written Word of God, without error and of infallible and divine authority in all matters of faith and life. (2 Tim 3:16, 2 Pet 1:20-21)
Essential #2 – "God; His Nature and Attributes"
We believe in the triune nature of God. God is a Trinity consisting of one substance and three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We believe in the sovereignty of God. He owns and controls all things according to His will. (Eph 1:11, 3:11). We believe that God basic nature is love and justice. (Matthew 28:19, 2 Cor 13:14)
Essential #3 – "Creation"
We believe that God created the universe out of nothing. God alone has existed from eternity past and in His wisdom decided to create the universe using nothing but his very words. (Gen 1:1, Heb 11:3, Is 44:24)
Essential #4 – "Man; State of Sin, State of Grace"
We believe that man was created by God in a perfect place called Eden. He did not evolve, but rather was created by God. He was created with dignity in that he was made in God’s image. (Gen 1:27) We believe in the fall of man. The voluntary sin of Adam resulted in man’s total depravity. Thus, all men are sinners and are not able to please God on their own merit. (Rom 3:23, 3:9-19, 7:21-25)
Essential #5 – "The Person and Work of Christ"
We believe in the centrality of Jesus Christ. We believe that He was born of the Virgin Mary, begotten by God himself and both truly human and truly divine. He, a sinless man died on the cross as a substitute for all those who would believe and follow Him. His death unlocks our redemption. He was resurrected on the third day showing his victory over death, Satan and hell. His resurrection is the first-fruit and the promise of our resurrection. (1 Cor 15:54-57)
Essential #6 – "The Path of Salvation"
We believe that the path of salvation only goes through Jesus and Him alone (John 14:6). There is no other way to become saved. One must repent of sin and turn to Christ through faith. We believe that God applies salvation to us through the Holy Spirit. We believe that we are justified by grace and that we are sanctified by grace. (John 14:6; Eph 2:8-9, Acts 2:38)
Essential #7 – "The Church"
The church is the body of Christ of which Christians ought to belong to on a local level. It is the community of faith which serves as the chief sphere of God’s activity in the world. It is made up of all God’s people of all times who have put their faith in Christ regardless of church affiliation or denominational association. (Heb 10:22-25)
Essential #8 – "The Last Things"
We believe that Jesus Christ will return to earth, visibly and bodily, at a time when He is not expected, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. (Acts 1:11)
Distinctives (Things not vital to salvation)
Distinctive #1 – "Reformed Theology" (also Predestination vs. Free Will)
Distinctive #2 – "Covenant Theology"
Distinctive #3 - "Infant Baptism"
* Note: All of these 'distinctives', and more are gone into greater detail in Pastor Mike's Adult Inquirer's class. It is usually offered in the Fall and the Spring.
Other infomation that might be useful
For God’s Plan of Salvation, click here: THE GOOD NEWS
- For the Westminster Standards, click here: WCF
- For the Book of Church Order, click here: BCO
- If you are looking for the PCA’s position about a specific topic, please visit the PCA Historical Center’s collection of PCA Position Papers here: PCA POSITION PAPERS
- A good summary of what the PCA believes can be found in the Preface to the Book of Church Order: