At Burke Community Church, we accept and hold as the essentials of our faith those areas of doctrinal teaching on which there has been general agreement among all true Christians.
Because of the unique and open nature of a community church, we desire to allow for freedom of belief on other doctrinal matters, provided that any interpretation is based upon the Bible alone and that no interpretation shall become an issue which hinders the ministry to which God has called us. The following represents what we believe to be the essentials of our faith. Among the members of this church body, there should be total agreement on these essentials.
God has revealed Himself to be the living and true God. There is one God who is the Creator and Preserver of all things. He is one, existing eternally in the three Persons of the Trinity-- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--who are of one essence and co-equal (Deut. 6:4-5; Matt. 28:19- 20; 2 Cor. 13:14; Rev. 1:4-5).
- A) GOD THE FATHER: God the Father works all things according to His own purpose (Acts 17:24-28). He is sovereign over all (Ex. 15:18; Ps. 97:1-5; Is. 6:1). His creative purpose and redemptive plan cannot be thwarted (Gen. 50:20; Prov.19:21; John 6:44; Acts 2:23).
- B) GOD THE SON: Jesus Christ is God (Jn. 8:58, 20:28), the eternally pre-existent Son and living Word (John 1:1), who became incarnate through His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and His virgin birth (Matt. 1:18-24; Lk. 2:26-38). He is perfect Deity and true humanity united in one person (Phil. 2:5-11). Both natures are whole, perfect, and distinct. He was tempted in all ways, yet lived a sinless life (Heb. 4:15). He was obedient to God the Father, even unto death (Phil. 2:8). He voluntarily atoned for sinners by dying on the cross as their substitute and shedding His blood for the forgiveness of their sins (Rom. 3:22-26). He thus revealed the divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God (Rom. 8:1-4). On the third day in the tomb, He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died (Lk. 24:31, 36; Phil. 3:21; Heb. 7:16, 24). He ascended bodily into heaven (Acts 1:6-11) and sits at the right hand of God the Father (Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3), where He, the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), continually makes intercession for believers (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). He will come again to complete His saving work and to complete God’s redemptive purpose (Jn. 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:16-18; Phil. 1:6).
- C) GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit reveals and glorifies Christ (Jn. 16:7-15) and applies the saving work of Christ to men (Eph. 1:17-18; Jn. 3:5-8; Rom. 8:14; 2 Cor. 3:18). He convicts the world of sin, truth, righteousness, and judgment (Jn. 16:8). He draws sinners to Christ (Jn. 6:44), imparts new life to them (Jn. 3:5-8), continually indwells them (Gal. 4:6-7) from the moment of spiritual birth in order to conform them ultimately to the image and likeness of Christ (2 Cor. 3:17-18), and seals them until the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13-14). His fullness, power, and control are appropriated in the believer’s life by faith (Eph. 2:8, 9). The Holy Spirit alone administers spiritual gifts to the Church for the common good of all believers (1 Cor. 12:7).
The basis of our beliefs is the Bible, God’s written Word, which includes and is limited to the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. It was uniquely, verbally, and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, and it was written free from error in the original manuscripts. It is the supreme and final authority in all matters on which it speaks. It is the only infallible rule in faith and practice. All doctrinal statements must be measured against the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 119; Jn. 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:15- 17).
People were created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27) to know, glorify, worship, and enjoy Him forever. Tempted by Satan, mankind willfully disobeyed God and sinned (2 Cor. 11:3, 14). Thus, people were alienated from their perfect Creator and plunged into a state of sin and separation from God (Rom. 3:9-20, 5:12-19). That historic fall brought all people under the sentence of eternal condemnation and death (Rom. 5:16, 18). Man’s nature is corrupt (Titus 1:15), and he is thus, apart from the grace of God through faith, totally unable to please God (Rom. 8:8), have fellowship with Him, or even enter into His presence (Ps. 5:4; Prov. 28:9; Is. 1:15). Everyone is in need of salvation (Rom. 6:23) through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ as full payment for his sin and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Sin is disobeying God and attempting to live and to meet our needs independently of Him (Rom. 3:10-26, 5:12-19; 1 Jn. 1:8-10).
Human salvation is wholly a work of God's free grace and is not the work, in whole or in part, of human merit or goodness or religious ceremony (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7). We believe Jesus died upon the cross as a sinless substitute for sinners of all ages and times (Rom. 3:21- 28, 5:17-19; Jn. 3:16). Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin (Heb. 9:22). Therefore, His death perfectly satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases His holy wrath (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:20-22). All who receive, by faith, the resurrected Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are spiritually born into permanent relationship with God by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). Thus, God imputes His righteousness to those who put their faith solely in the substitutionary death of Christ for their salvation (Rom. 4:11, 22-24). As a result of this faith, the redeemed sinner receives eternal life and is now freed from the penalty (Rom. 8:1) and power (1 Cor. 15:50; 1 Pet. 4:11) of sin. Redemption does not, however, promise that we will escape the earthly consequences of past, present, or future sinful acts (Heb. 12:6, 10; Deut. 8:5; Ps. 94:10). Neither is one’s station in life, physical circumstances, financial status, etc., necessarily indicative of the state of one’s heart before or after salvation. God may grant physical health and material prosperity to some, but this is because of His specific grace alone in accordance with His sovereign purpose and plan (Phil. 4:10-13).
Eternal life is a relationship that begins at the moment of salvation and continues forever. Eternal life is knowing the one true and living God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jn. 17:3; 1 Jn. 5:11-13). The great end, which Christianity sets before us, is the joy of eternal life in the knowledge and presence of the eternal God (1 Cor. 2:9; Phil. 3:30-21). Whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him (Jn. 3:36; Rom. 8:6-8). When the Holy Spirit indwells the new believer at the moment of salvation, He imparts this eternal life to the believer (1 Cor. 1:21-22). Although all die physically, God will ultimately resurrect all believers in glorified bodies that are incorruptible, without sin, decay, illness, pain, or death—finally perfected for eternal life (1 Cor. 15:35-57; Rev. 21:3-4).
Assurance of Salvation
Since human salvation is wholly a work of God’s grace and is not the work, in whole or in part, of human merit or goodness or religious ceremony, salvation rests securely with God. All who are born again of the Spirit can be assured of their salvation from the very moment at which they trust Christ as their Savior and Lord. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39). This assurance is not based upon any kind of human merit or feelings, but on the promise of God and the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the believer through His Word. Further, when a person is born of the Spirit of God, he is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). He now desires to please God. This new inclination, the intent of the heart, is called repentance and is evidence of a changed life (Jn. 10:25-30; Rom. 5:1-5, 8:1, 28-39; 1 Jn. 2:19, 5:13). Therefore, the three-fold witness of salvation—the witness of Scripture, the witness of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the witness of a changed life—is God’s assurance that the believer is a child of God.
From the moment of salvation, every believer is being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18; 5:17). This process is called sanctification. God's promise is that He is faithful to complete this process that He began in us (Phil. 1:6). God created us in Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do so that people will see our good works and praise our Father in Heaven (Eph. 2:10). The Holy Spirit is the active agent in fulfilling these good works (John 15:5); the responsibility of the believer is to obey (1 Sam. 15:22). Unrighteousness, such as sexual immorality, greed, adultery, homosexuality, or drunkenness is not acceptable in the holy life God desires for His followers. However, through repentance, obedience to the Word of God, and empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to grow in holiness and actively participate in the life of the church, becoming more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
Jesus Christ will come again to the earth—personally, visibly, and bodily—to consummate history and fulfill the eternal plan of God the Father. No man knows the day and time of Jesus’ return, but the fact of His return is certain. The Scriptures declare that when Jesus returns to the earth in glory, every eye will behold Him, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Christians are to be about the Father’s business and are to maintain an attitude of expectancy (Acts 1:11; Heb. 9:28; Mk. 8:38; 2 Thess. 1:10; Rev. 1:7; Jn. 5:28-29; Rom. 8:17-21).
There will be a day when everyone who has lived must stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27). Christians—all who confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord—have already been judged at the cross and have passed from death to life, from condemnation to salvation (Rom. 8:1). Their names will be in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 3:5, 13:8, 20:12, 21:27), and they will be ushered into God’s presence forever. Their works, however, will be judged and each Christian will receive what is due him for the things done while in the body (Matt. 5:12, 10:41-42, 16:27; Eph. 6:8; Col. 3:24). Non-believers—anyone whose name is not found written in the Book of Life—will be thrown into the lake of fire, which is the second death, being punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and the majesty of His power (Heb.10:27; 2 Pet. 2:4, 9, 3:7).
Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, His Body (Eph. 2:19-22, 4:11-13). The Church is not
a building or an institution; rather it is composed of all people who have received salvation.
Christ’s people are to assemble together regularly to devote themselves to worship, teaching,
fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer (Acts 2:42). The Lord Jesus Christ commanded His
Church to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and to disciple men of every nation,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all He
has commanded. The church is to reflect the love of Christ through its service to others
Two ordinances have been entrusted to the Church: baptism and communion. They are not,
however, to be regarded as means of salvation.