We believe in the right and responsibility of each believer to interpret scripture as led by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). While not all will share the same interpretation; nevertheless, there are basic Christian beliefs and practices to lift up. Only God knows what is in our hearts and judges rightly. We believe that God loves us, wants to forgive us and offer us new life (Isaiah 62:5, 1 John 1:9).
God, the Bible, and the Human Condition
We believe that God, our heavenly Father; Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior; and the Holy Spirit are one( Matthew 3:16-17, John 1:1-5, 14, 18; Philippians 2:5-11). We believe that God created the heavens, the earth, and each one of us to live in relationship with God (Psalm 33:6, 9; Acts 17:28). God communicates or speaks to us through the Bible, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and through others. “Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16). Scripture is the story of God’s love and redemption. Through Scripture, God gave us commands and laws, in part, so that we would live together in peace and harmony. However, due to the lifelong struggle with our sinful nature, we alone are not capable of living in peace with God, and thus unable to remain faithful to God’s law, and therefore, condemned to eternal separation from God, through death (Psalm 51: 1-4. Galatians 5:19-25).
Christ Saves Us
God sent His one and only son, Christ Jesus, so that with a genuine heart, and belief in Christ, we may once again experience the relationship with God that God wants us to have (John 1:14). Christ Jesus lived a sinless life of faith, trust in and obedience to God. He performed numerous miracles, which manifest His power, glory, authority and compassion. Christ willingly laid down His life, was crucified and died. God accepted the atoning sacrifice of Christ as payment in full for our sin, by physically raising Christ from the dead. The resurrection of Christ is the foundation of Christianity (Romans 3:23-26). What God wants more than anything else is our hearts -- He wants us. Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Followers of Christ receive God's grace, mercy and forgiveness.
We believe that we are justified, made right with God through faith in Christ Jesus. This faith does not stop us from continuing to sin, but it does sanctify us, separate us from the ultimate consequence of sin, which is death. We are to turn away from sin toward a more Christ-like life. By the grace of God, we are given new life, new freedom, not on the basis of what we have done, but on the basis of what Christ has done (Romans 5:8-9). Nevertheless, as Christians, we are called not only to fulfill the commands of God, which are Holy, as Christ did, but to be fruitful, to do good works, to be generous, to share and bear each other’s troubles, to love God and to love one another (Galatians 6:2, Matthew 22: 37-38). As a body of believers we welcome all who inquire about God along with those already committed to Christ. We believe that one of the principal roles of the church is Transformation -- Transforming lives through faith in the risen Christ: Discipleship, discipline & development We practice discipleship in following Christ, with trust and obedience, when we help people who are far from God to take steps toward Christ, through worship and as we share the gospel with others. Discipline includes how we think, how we live, nurturing our prayer life and study, and our personal stewardship and generosity. Development includes the on-going process of growing in relationship to God through Christ and growing God’s Kingdom.
Worship and the Lord’s Supper
We gather together in fellowship on Sunday to worship and praise God; to demonstrate our love, generosity and faith, to sing and to share the gospel, inviting others to also follow Christ. On the first Sunday of the month we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, in remembrance of how Christ died for us, with the breaking of bread representing His broken body and drinking from the cup, the spilling of His blood (Matthew 26:26-28). We believe that the invitation to the Lord’s Supper comes from Christ and that each one of us may partake on the basis of his or her own conscience. As a Christian, we believe that worship is more than what we do once a week on Sunday. It should be the way we live our life, as a God honoring life.
When we accept Christ, in our heart, as our Lord, we are transformed. Our old life of selfishness begins to fade away and a new life of ever increasing selflessness begins (John 3:5-8). All believers receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who deepens our communication with God and helps us to live a more Christ-like life. Through Believers Baptism, a public demonstration of our faith in Christ, we not only make evident our obedience to the command of Christ, but model our death to sin through immersion into water, and our cleansing and resurrection to new life in Christ as we are lifted up out of the water (Romans 6:3-4). Once we are baptized we enhance our spiritual growth and maturity by connecting to one another in a local church.
We believe that God owns everything (Psalm 24:1, Deuteronomy 10:4, 1 Chronicles 29:11): For a period of time, our role is that of a steward or manager of what God has entrusted to our care, and we are accountable to God for that management. We are to be generous and mindful of others in our actions and behavior; to give a fair share of our time, talent, energy, tithes and offerings in service to the body of Christ, that is, the church (1 Peter 4:10). We seek to glorify God in all that we do, as faithful and trustworthy stewards. As a congregation we have been blessed by God. Part of our response to that blessing is a commitment to tithe our rental and endowment income in support of various MISSION causes, recognizing that true giving expects nothing in return. We also view the fostering of God-honoring activity in the “House of Prayer for All People,” that God entrusted to our care, as a part of our mission and outreach, and a way to connect to the larger body of Christ and our community.
Baptist Tradition and Affiliation
As Baptists, we believe in the “priesthood of all believers,” that no one stands between God and us, but Christ alone. We believe in congregational autonomy, subscribing to no rigid hierarchical structure, which provides a great deal of freedom and responsibility. Baptists also enjoy fellowship and sharing a meal with one another. We join with the American Baptist Churches USA, principally in support of various missionary causes, believing that together we may have a greater impact. We are also a founding member of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association, which is now a division of ABCOPAD (American Baptist Churches of PA and Delaware).
Finally, as we seek to trust and obey, to rejoice everyday, to pray unceasingly, to repent of our sins promptly and to forgive others, to encourage one another, and in everything express gratitude and thanks –– may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.