We seek to maintain the dictum: “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” As such, to stay focused on our Mission and Core Identity as a Christ-centered church, we recognize the distinction between Essential Beliefs, Core Values, and Debatable Matters of faith (see figure below).
Our beliefs are based on Christian doctrines held throughout church history since antiquity. These ancient beliefs are common to most Christians. Our beliefs also stand in solidarity with the historic character and trajectory of our local church. This statement of faith is not intended to be an exhaustive description of all Christian doctrines, but a comprehensive overview of our essential beliefs and core values.
1. The Doctrine of the Bible
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God written by human authors under the supernatural direction of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is an essential library of divinely inspired books that bear witness to the centrality and lordship of Christ. We do not devalue Scripture by interpreting it as a textbook, legal contract, or self-help manual. Instead, Scripture serves as the timeless spiritual guide to encourage and correct our lives of faith as we seek to follow Christ in our love for God and others.
2. The Doctrine of God
We believe in one loving God who has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Though God cannot be fully comprehended by anyone but Himself, He has revealed Himself both generally through the natural world and specially through the Bible and Jesus Christ. We are blessed to live in one of the most obvious examples of God’s general revelation – the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
3. The Doctrine of Humanity
We believe that all people on earth, regardless of sex, race, age, or origin are made in the image of God and have been given inherent dignity. God has mandated for human beings to fill the earth with His glory. God gave human beings the responsibility to care and the capacity to create for the common good of all. As such, creation is not just a historical event, but continues even today. Through prideful rebellion (what we call sin), human beings are separated from God, self, and one another. All people are indeed in need of salvation in Christ.
4. The Doctrine of Salvation
God saves! We believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ, and not through personal human effort. The Good News is that Jesus is Lord. As the only mediator between God and humankind, Christ offers righteousness and justification to all who profess faith in him. Salvation is brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit.
5. The Doctrine of the Church
We believe the church is the current fellowship of Christ. The church exists to make disciples of Christ in all nations (the Great Commission) in order that we may be faithful in our love for God and neighbor (the Great Commandments). All humans are important to God, and the church is called to proclaim this to the world. We believe this includes men and women serving in all areas of Christian service. As we anticipate the return of Christ, the church shall be the salt and light of the earth, bearing witness to the world of the loving God.
Click here to read the entire identity document.