Below are summaries of our pastor’s core beliefs.  We hope that this gives you an indication of our faith in God and our devotion to his kingdom.  If you would like more information on any of these belief statements, feel free to contact Pastor Patrick at pastor@westoak.org.

What we believe about...

Yahweh, the Creator of the Universe who revealed himself to the people of Israel, is the one and only true God.  He rules supreme over all creation.  He is perfect, holy, and righteous in all his ways.  He always has existed and always will be.  The integrity of his nature demands justice and yet extends mercy.  There is nothing beyond his knowledge, presence, or power.  In his wisdom, he relates to us as Father.

Jesus, the incarnate Messiah, is the fullness of all that is divine and human.  Amidst his divinity, he experienced every form of temptation and hardship but was without fault, yet he was crucified on the cross for our transgressions.  Amidst his humanity, he demonstrated divine power to perform miracles culminating with his resurrection from the dead.  He ascended to the right hand of the Father and awaits his triumphant return.  Salvation is found in no one other than Jesus.  In his wisdom, he relates to the Father as a Son as an example for us to follow.

The Spirit of God continues to reside in our hearts as believers to convict of sin, to guide our lives, and to draw others to the saving surrender of faith. His power unifies the church, equips believers for service, and extends the Gospel into the world. In his wisdom, he relates to us as spiritual beings and secures our salvation as the Holy Spirit of God.

Thus, God is one, yet is made up of three unique persons: Father, Son, and Spirit through which he relates to us a personable, human and spiritual beings.

 

Prayer is our means to communicate with God through which we relate to him about our lives and he reveals himself to us.  Through following Christ’s example and priority of prayer, we do not change God, but we are changed ourselves.  Our prayers should be fervent, humble, in accordance with God’s will and with faith in the Lord.  We should praise God for who he is, confess who we are as sinners, thank God for his blessings, and intercede for the welfare of others through prayer.

The Bible is God’s word to humanity through which he reveals himself, the way to salvation, and his will for his people.  This book, although penned by human authors, is written by the power of God and is timeless in its application and trustworthy as the foundation of our lives.  The Scripture is fulfilled in Jesus and should govern the true path for our lives through hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating upon it daily.  Applying its truths in our lives enables us to live victoriously over temptation and the devil’s attacks on us.

God created all human beings.  Therefore, our worth is found in accepting and pursuing his purpose for us.  He created us with an awareness of responsibility and with a conscience to differentiate right from wrong.  God created us as a reflection of his Trinitarian nature (body, soul, and spirit).  Through properly relating to God, we experience the fullness of life.  Through properly relating to others, we can share the fullness of life that we have in the Lord.

Sin is the violation and rebellion of the holy nature of God.  Sin first entered the world through the choice to eat from the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.  Yet, each person has made a personal choice to embrace sin.  The consequence of our sin is that it separates us from being able to relate to our Creator, enslaves us into activities that lead to destruction, and ultimately causes spiritual death and separation from God for eternity.  Left to our own demise, we are not able to overcome sin but through the acceptance of God’s grace in Christ, we can be restored to fellowship with God and the assurance of eternal life.

Since sin entered into the world, evil, suffering, and death continue to invade the lives of believers and unbelievers.  God allows Satan to cause these disturbances, but uses them to further our development into the image of Christ.  Through prayerful introspection, the believer can determine whether suffering is a result of personal choice that should be confessed and surrendered to the Lord or the depravity of the world that should be endured and persevered by God’s power.

God did not leave us in our sinful state.  Out of his great love for us, he provided a means for all to come to the acceptance of Christ and the blessings of the abundant life.  Salvation can only be found through the surrender of one’s life to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Through this covenant, we become God’s people and he commits himself to us as our God.  Were it not for the freely given and unmerited favor of God, all hope of salvation would be lost.  Salvation begins a life-long journey to be conformed to the personhood and nature of God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work in us as God’s people.

The journey to salvation is initiated by God.  God has predestined a way for all men to be saved through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  Those who choose to accept this predetermined means of atonement are elected to the family of God and the blessings of being a part of the Christian community of faith.  Those who reject the true way of life offered by Christ bring judgment upon themselves and are subject to the consequence of their sin.

Next to our personal relationship with God, our family should be of greatest importance to us.  The family was the very first institution God created.  God uses both marriage and parenting as ways of expressing his love to us.  He models for us how to relate to the members of our family and calls us to demonstrate the same sacrificial love to one another in the home.  God designed the marriage covenant to be the lifelong union between one man and one woman.  He has entrusted fathers and mothers with the responsibility of raising children with an awareness of God in accordance with his principles, and ultimately to a recognition of the need of Jesus as Savior and Lord.

God’s people have a moral obligation to be involved citizens in society.  God not only related to the people of the Bible on an individual basis, but he also governed Israel as a holistic nation.  As believers, we should pray for our leaders and vote in accordance with biblical principles.  We should support our nation to the degree that it aligns with God’s supreme rule.    In order to protect the religious rites of all people, Christians should maintain a staunch support for the freedom of religion and the separation of the church and the state.

Jesus established his church on the foundation of faith in him.  Each believer needs the affiliation of other Christians for encouragement, accountability, and fellowship.  The church provides the opportunity for corporate worship, Bible study, prayer, and service beyond what can ever be accomplished alone.  Each local church, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, functions independently of any other church, association, or convention.  All decisions and actions are determined by the local church body through a democratic process of governance.

Jesus established his church on the foundation of faith in him.  Each believer needs the affiliation of other Christians for encouragement, accountability, and fellowship.  The church provides the opportunity for corporate worship, Bible study, prayer, and service beyond what can ever be accomplished alone.  Each local church, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, functions independently of any other church, association, or convention.  All decisions and actions are determined by the local church body through a democratic process of governance.

The universal Church of God’s people shares a unifying oneness as the family of God.  Minor differences may abound between local churches in belief and practice, but the centrality of Christ and salvation in him alone bonds all of God’s people.  Nonetheless, each child of God is a priest with direct access to the throne of God in prayer without any intermediary other than Christ.

Christ commanded that all of his people participate in the two ordinances of baptism and communion.  Baptism serves as symbol of the inward transformation of a person upon the surrender to Christ as Savior and Lord.  Believer’s baptism follows a personal acceptance of Christ and is a requirement for membership in the local church.  Through immersion, newness of life and cleansing is symbolized. 

Communion, is the celebration of Jesus’ Passover meal with his disciples just prior to his crucifixion.  This reflective reenactment is an ongoing reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus body (bread) and blood (juice).  The Lord’s Supper should be limited to believers in Christ, regardless of their local church affiliation, who have prayerfully evaluated the purity of their lives and surrendered their hearts to the Lord.

Both individually and collectively, we grow through the disciplines of worship and discipleship.  In worship we experience God’s presence with us, express our praise to him, and surrender our lives to his lordship.  In discipleship we understand his truth, mature as believers, and conform to the image of Christ.  The development of these disciplines is a lifelong journey of faith and is vital to our ability to impact the lives of others for the Kingdom of God.

Out of the disciplines of worship and discipleship a burden for reaching others is born.  Missions is the effort to reach people through meeting basic human needs and building relationships with the ultimate goal of sharing the gospel message.  Evangelism is the sharing of our faith with others and guiding them to a relationship of trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord.  As with other Christian disciplines, missions and evangelism should be an ongoing part of the individual and corporate lifestyle of the believer and the church.

Jesus has promised his imminent return to take all believers with him into his eternal kingdom.  No one, other than the Father knows the exact time of his return, so we must always be ready.  At his return, all humans will take on immortality, unbelievers will be condemned to Hell, Satan will be ultimately defeated, believers will be judged by their actions, and God’s people will be rewarded with the fullness of Heaven.  Believers must persevere under persecution and actively share their faith until the triumphant return of Jesus Christ.