What We Believe
Theologically, We Are Committed To:
We believe the gospel is the Good News of what God has graciously accomplished for sinners through the sinless life, sacrificial death, and bodily resurrection of His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, namely our forgiveness from sin and complete justification before God; this gospel is also the foundation for our confidence in the ultimate triumph of God’s kingdom and the consummation of His purpose for all creation in the new heavens and new earth.
This gospel is centred in Christ, is the foundation for the life of the Church, and is our only hope for eternal life; this gospel is not proclaimed if Christ’s penal substitutionary death and bodily resurrection are not central to our message.
This Gospel is not only the means by which people are saved, but also the truth and power by which people are sanctified; it is the truth of the Gospel that enables us to genuinely and joyfully do what is pleasing to God and to grow in progressive conformity to the image of Christ.
The salvation offered in this gospel message is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; no ordinance, ritual, work, or any other activity on the part of mankind is required in order to be saved.
(Mark 1:1; Luke 24:46-47; John 3:16-18; Romans 1:16-17; Romans 1:18-25; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 2:2; 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; 9:13; Galatians 1:6-9; Ephesians 1: 7-10; Colossians 1: 19-20; 2 Timothy 1:8-14; 2 Peter 3: 11-13; Jude 3-4; Revelation 21-22)
God’s Sovereignty in Salvation
We affirm that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, according to His sovereign good pleasure and will.
We believe that through the work of the Holy Spirit, God draws unbelievers to faith in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, graciously and effectually overcoming their stubborn resistance to the gospel so that they will most assuredly and willingly believe.
We also believe that these whom He gave to the Son, will persevere in belief and godly behavior and be kept secure in their salvation by grace through faith.
We believe that God’s sovereignty in this salvation neither diminishes the responsibility of people to believe in Christ nor marginalizes the necessity and power of prayer and evangelism, but rather reinforces and establishes them as the ordained means by which God accomplishes His redemptive purpose in the world.
(John 1:12-13; 6:37-44; 10:25-30; Acts 13:48; 16:30-31; Romans 3-4; 8:1-17,31-39; 9:1-23; 10:8-10; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:8-10; Philippians 2:12-13; Titus 3:3-7; 1 John 1:7,9)
Holy Spirit Empowered Ministry
The Holy Spirit, whose primary ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, is fully God, equal with the Father and Son. He also convicts unbelievers of their sin and their need for Christ and imparts spiritual life through regeneration (the new birth).
The Spirit permanently indwells, graciously sanctifies, lovingly leads, and empowers all who are brought to faith in Christ so that they might live in obedience to the inerrant Scriptures.
The model for our reliance upon the Spirit and our experience of His indwelling and empowering presence is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who was filled with the Spirit and entirely dependent upon His power for the performance of miracles, the preaching of the kingdom of God, and all other dimensions of His earthly ministry.
The Holy Spirit who indwelled and empowered Christ, in like manner, indwells and empowers us with spiritual gifts He has bestowed for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. All of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still available today, but not one of them, in particular, is required to give evidence of the baptism or filling of the Spirit. The gifts are divine provisions central to spiritual growth and effective ministry and are to be eagerly desired, faithfully developed, and lovingly exercised according to biblical guidelines.
(Matthew 3:11; 12:28; Luke 4:1, 14; 5:17; 10:21; John 1:12-13; 3:1-15, 34; 14:12; 15:26-27; 16:7-15; Acts 2:14-21; 4:29-30;10:38; Romans 8:9; 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-13; 12:28-31; 14:1-33; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Galatians 3:1-5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 5:18)
The kingdom of God is any place or person where the rule and reign of Jesus Christ is expressed and experienced. We believe Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God in His bodily ministry on the earth and continues to establish it by His Spirit through His body, the church, today.
We live in between the inauguration and consummation of Jesus’ Kingdom. Presently, the Church serves as a foretaste of the future reality when all will come under Christ as Head. As the Church submits to and serves Christ today, the world gets to see and experience a preview of the future under the full rule and reign of Jesus Christ.
The consummation of the Kingdom will be fulfilled when Jesus returns.
(Mark 1:15: Luke 17:20-21; Ephesians 1:10; 22-23; Revelation 20-21)
Ecclesiologically, We Are Committed To:
The church has a clear biblical mandate to look beyond its own faith community to the neighbourhood, the nation, and the world as a whole; thus mission is not a program in the church but an essential identity of the Church. The Church is the missionary people of God sent into all of life to accomplish His purposes.
We are called to make Christ known through the gospel and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring His lordship to bear on every dimension of life. The primary way we fulfill this mission is by making disciples who make disciples leading to the starting and establishing of Gospel-Centered communities of faith on mission. Our aim is that Jesus Christ would be more fully formed in each person through the ministry of those faith communities God enables us to plant at home and around the world.
We also believe we are responsible neither to retreat from our culture nor to conform to it, but with humility, through the Spirit and the truth of the gospel, to engage it boldly as we seek its transformation and submission to the lordship of Christ.
(Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 10:5-25; 28:18-20; Luke 4:18-19; 24:46-47; Acts 28:31; Romans 10:14-15; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 3:10; 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Hebrews 10:23-25; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10)
The Church is not a building, an event or an institution. The Church is the people of God saved by the power of God for the purposes of God in this world.
Jesus commanded us to make disciples who make disciples. Part of that work is baptizing His followers into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This means we are to establish them in their new identity. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation – they have a new identity. Our new identity as disciples of Jesus is Family, Servants and Missionaries.
Bridge Church in all its expressions, establishes disciples of Jesus in their new Trinitarian Identity. Our doing comes out of our being. Therefore as the family of God, we love others like brothers and sisters. As servants of our King, we serve others as Jesus served us. And as empowered missionaries, we are sent by the Spirit to be witnesses of Jesus in word and deed.
(Matthew 20: 25-28; 25:31-46; 28:16-20; John 1:12-14; 13:1-17; 20:21-22; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:14-17; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Ephesians 1:3-10; 2:10; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:9-12; 1 John 3:1; 4:7-12)
Missional Faith Communities – Bridge Community
We believe a Gospel community on mission (missional faith community) is the primary structure for making disciples.
Disciples of Jesus increasingly submit to Him in all of life (worship), are being changed by Him (new identity), obey Him and teach others to do the same (multiplication). Discipleship is the process of bringing all of life under the lordship and empowering presence of Jesus Christ.
In order to accomplish the mission of making disciples we must create environments where life on life, life in community and life on mission can occur. Life on life allows for visibility and accessibility. We see each other’s lives in the everyday stuff so that people know what it looks like to follow Jesus in all of life, and we can assess whether people are growing in discipleship. Life in community ensures that a disciple looks more like Jesus. One-on-one discipleship will lead to a disciple looking like the one who discipled them. Community discipleship will lead to disciples looking more like Jesus as He works through His body. And Life on Mission both reveals areas of life that need gospel-led repentance and faith, and equips people to make disciples who make disciples.
Bridge Church covenant partners agree together that a faith community on mission together is the best structure and environment for disciple-making.
(Matthew 4:19; 28:16-20; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:11-16; Colossians 1:28; Acts 2:42-47)
In order to lead Jesus followers to see all of life as mission, we equip them to engage in everyday rhythms with gospel intentionality – doing what they would normally do differently in light of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.
Everyday rhythms are activities that people engage in as part of everyday living. These rhythms of life are not the result of sinful rebellion (like relational discord, suffering and death), but they have been affected by sin. We show the world what it looks like to worship God in all of life by living out these rhythms in submission to Jesus Christ.
These everyday rhythms are Eat, Listen, Story, Bless, Celebrate, and ReCreate (Work, Play, and Rest).
Ordered Equality in Shared Ministry
Both men and women are together created in the divine image and are therefore equal before God as persons, possessing the same moral dignity and value, and having equal access to God through faith in Christ.
Men and women are together the recipients of spiritual gifts designed to empower them for ministry in the local church or faith communities and beyond. God’s intent for the church is for both men and women to be encouraged and equipped to minister and serve in accordance with the gifts He has given them.
In the home, both husbands and wives are responsible to God for spiritual nurture and vitality, but God has given to the man primary responsibility to lead his wife and family in accordance with the servant leadership and sacrificial love modelled by Jesus Christ.
The APEST Leaders (overseers) of the church have been granted authority under the headship of Jesus Christ to provide oversight, set an example of what is normative for the church and serve the church through prayer and equipping.
(Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18; Acts 18:24-26; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 3:1-7; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7)
Missiologically, We Are Committed To:
Every team of leaders and cultural context is different. God grants each faith community and expression a unique combination of capacity, calling and gifting that suits the context to which He sends them, for the work He calls them to do there. Just like every family member has things in common while expressing their commonalities in unique ways, Bridge Church expects to see our common convictions and language expressed with great diversity. Some expressions will look like a house church movement, while others may have a very strong Sunday gathering to supplement the work of mission through missional communities.
Distinctively, We Are Committed to Baptist Identity and Practice
Baptists share many beliefs in common with other Christians including belief in one God, the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ, and the significance of His crucifixion and resurrection for salvation. With other Christian churches, they know that hope for the individual, the nation, and the world is found in Jesus Christ and in a personal relationship with Him. Baptists emerged historically out of a desire to follow New Testament teaching as they understood it. The following beliefs have come to be known as Baptist Distinctives:
The Lordship of Jesus Christ
The Bible teaches that Jesus is Lord of both the church and the individual. We believe that it is only through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death, burial and resurrection that a person can know salvation or eternal life with God in heaven – there aren’t many paths to God, only one. But belief in God means that what a Christian says is also evident in his/her action- every area in the believer’s life and the life of the church is to be subject to the Lord. God is the Supreme Authority.
The Authority of the Scriptures
The Bible teaches that the scriptures are inspired by God. They are the only perfect, supreme, infallible and sufficient standard of faith and practice.
The Priesthood of the Believer
The Bible teaches that all believers share as equals in the church, and, in turn, have a priestly role toward each other. Every member is called to be a minister. Differences in education, wealth, gender and so on do not disqualify a person from service or from serving God through ministry to others.
Inherent in the worth of each person is also the ability of the soul to have direct access to God through Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that no group has the right to force others to believe or worship as it does. God has given all people freedom of choice and as such Baptists have championed the cause of religious liberty.
Regenerate Covenant Partnership
To become a Christian requires a personal acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as both Saviour and Lord. You cannot say Christ has saved you from judgment unless you also allow him to control your life as Lord. This act of faith and believer’s baptism must precede covenant partnership in the local church.
The Bible teaches that believer’s baptism following one’s belief in Jesus death and resurrection as the only atoning sacrifice for sin and hope for eternal life. Believer’s baptism is normally conducted by immersion and is one of the first significant acts through which the believer proclaims personal faith in Christ and is initiated into church life and ministry.
The Bible teaches that the Lord’s Supper or Communion is a time of commemorating and remembering Christ’s death. Matthew 26:26-30.
Local Church Autonomy
We believe that government in a local church is controlled by the principles of the priesthood of believers, the Lordship of Christ, the authority of the Scriptures, and the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, present in the lives of covenant partners, leads them corporately to discover and obey His mind and will. As a result, it is important that each church verify each potential covenant partner’s profession of faith to make sure that their claim is valid. Each church is competent under Christ to look after its own affairs and has freedom from coercion by other bodies. From their beginning, however, Baptists have consistently recognized the importance of cooperation with churches of “like faith and order.”
The Separation of Church and State
The Bible teaches champions the right to freedom in spiritual matters under the lordship of Jesus Christ. There must exist a separation between the church and civil governments. There should not be a church-controlled state, nor a state-controlled church. God has given legitimate roles to both, but neither is to encroach upon the rights or obligations of the other. They are, however, under obligation to recognize and reinforce each other as each seeks to fulfil its divine function.