Beliefs that we regard as foundational to our shared faith in Jesus
God is the creator and ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co equal and are one God.
2. Jesus Christ
Jesus is the Son of God. He is co equal with the Father. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born to Mary when she was a virgin – fully God and fully human. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross. He arose from the dead on the third day to demonstrate His power over sin and death, and ascended to heaven’s glory. Without the resurrection our faith is meaningless. Jesus will return again visibly to earth at the end of this age to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
3. Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is co equal with the Father and the Son. He is present in the world to make people aware of their need for Jesus, convincing them of their sinfulness and leading them to faith in Him. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides each Christian with spiritual gifts and the power necessary to for living, understanding spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer at least one spiritual gift for the benefit of the church. As Christians we seek to live under His control.
4. The Bible
The Bible is God’s word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth and without error, and is the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
5. Human Beings
People are made in the image of God to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called ‘sin’. This attitude separates people from God and brings us under his just condemnation.
There is nothing we can do as humans to make ourselves acceptable to God. In order to rescue us from our separation from God, Jesus Christ died on the cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. However, only by trusting in Jesus as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved.
God has appointed a final day of accounting when Jesus will judge every person according to their response to his redeeming work in the cross. Those judged unrightous will exist separated from God by sin in hell. Those judged righteous through forgiveness and salvation will be eternally in union with God in heaven. Heaven and hell are real places.
Further principles and practices we feel strongly about
1. Autonomy of each local church
Christ is the head of the church. We feel it is important that the local church be self governing, yet interdependent with other churches and our denomination.
2. Baptism by Immersion
Baptism is a command of the risen Jesus to all those who follow him. It is a public declaration of a personal faith in Him as Lord and Saviour. We practice baptism by immersion which is the New Testament pattern. Immersion symbolises the believer’s identification with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. It also illustrates the person’s resolve to walk with God in newness of life.
The celebration of Communion is a command of Jesus. It remembers with gratitude to God the death of Jesus for our sins, and expresses our fellowship with him and one another. We celebrate it regularly at church services and other meetings as appropriate.
4. Priesthood of every believer
The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to ‘full time’ ministry, regardless of their vocation. First and foremost we are Christians. In our congregation we practice the truth that every member is a minister who needs to find a place of service and ministry using their God given spiritual gift(s).
5. Telling others about Christ
It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Good news with those God brings us into contact with.
6. Total giving
Everything we possess belongs to the Lord. The Old Testament principle of tithing provides us with an insight for giving to God’s work. In the New Testament this is developed further as we are encouraged to give generously, joyfully, and in the light of God’s incredible gift to us in Jesus. These principles guide our giving. The more we earn, the more we give realising that all of our resources are a gift from God.
7. Liberty of Conscience and Unity in the Body of Christ
The above statements constitute the framework of Bayside’s beliefs. Within this framework there are many other issues, biblical and otherwise, about which faithful Christians have differing opinions. Every believer has the Holy Spirit to lead them into discovery of God’s truth within the clearly revealed boundaries of Scripture. This freedom is to be respected within the community of faith. Even more important however is the protection of the unity of the church, and it is expected that Partners will cherish and protect the community founded on our central beliefs, and avoid causing divisions.