What We Believe
At South Peoria we believe in the Bible as the primary revelation from God, but also understand that there is some diversity in what Jesus-loving Christians believe about the Bible. To that end, we consider Christian beliefs to fall into one of two categories:
Closed hand beliefs:
These are primary beliefs essential to being a Christian and the beliefs around which South Peoria is united. These beliefs can be found below.
Open hand beliefs:
These are secondary beliefs that Christians are free to debate, but should not lead to division. Some examples include: old earth vs. new earth creation, end times, expressions of spiritual gifts, Arminianism vs. Calvinism, homeschool vs. public school, worship style, etc
The Bible is the highest doctrinal authority for South Peoria.
The following biblical beliefs serve as our closed hand beliefs:
Trinity: God Is
We believe there is only one true God who eternally exists as a Trinity of equally divine persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity thinks, acts, feels, speaks, and relates, because each is a person and not an impersonal force. Each member of the Trinity is equally God, sharing all the divine attributes. Because love and community flow from the Trinity to us through the Holy Spirit, we seek to live in loving community with God and others.
Revelation: God Speaks
We believe that God reveals Himself to everyone everywhere through general revelation. We believe it is only by special revelation that anyone comes to a saving knowledge of God. We believe God has supremely revealed Himself through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and His incarnate Word. We believe that all of the divinely Holy Spirit-inspired, inerrant, authoritative, sixty-six canonical books of the Bible reveal to us Jesus Christ. Because God is a loving Father who speaks, we seek to hear from Him and test everything by the Word of God.
Creation: God Makes
We believe that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing and lovingly prepared them as a home in which we can worship and enjoy Him. Everything in creation and history is dependent upon God and is only good when functioning according to his intentions. God, the author and subject of history, will bring history to an end and create a new heaven and a new earth. Because God is our Creator, we worship Him alone and enjoy His creation gladly.
Image: God Loves
We believe that, in love, God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, as male and female, equal in dignity, value, and worth in order to mirror and reflect God as an act of worship and obedience. We believe that human beings, as God’s sole image bearers, are under God and over lower creation, not to be pulled up like gods or pushed down like animals. We believe that human life begins at conception and that an unborn baby is an image-bearer of God. We believe that God created marriage solely for one man and one woman, and created sex only for married couples. Because God created human life and marriage, we value the sanctity of life and godly marriage.
Fall: God Judges
We believe that God created this world in a perfect state. In Eden, Satan tempted Eve to mistrust God’s word, and she was deceived. The sin committed by Adam, also called “original sin,” has been imputed to all human beings except Jesus Christ. All human beings are sinners both by nature and by choice. All fallen people are sinners by nature, children of wrath, and destined to death. Because we are sinners in need of a Savior and a new nature, we trust in Jesus Christ alone for new and eternal life and believe in the reality of spiritual warfare with Satan and demons.
Covenant: God Pursues
We believe that God makes and keeps His covenant promises. God’s covenants reveal His loving grace and mercy, because although people deserve nothing but condemnation, God gives gracious, covenantal salvation. Because God has welcomed us into eternal covenant relationship, we seek to live in a gracious loving relationship with Him and others.
Incarnation: God Comes
We believe that the eternal Son of God and second person of the Trinity became flesh, adding humanity to his divinity, and entered into human history as the God-Man, Jesus Christ. Jesus alone is one person with two natures, fully God and fully man. Jesus Christ is the Word, or Logos, of God because He is the personal, eternally existing Creator of the universe, distinct from yet equal with the Father and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem to redeem sinful man as the only mediator between God and man. We believe that Jesus Christ, during the Incarnation, laid aside the continual exercise of His divine attributes and lived His sinless life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because He is both our Savior and example, we deeply love Jesus Christ and seek to live with and like Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Cross: God Dies
We believe that Jesus Christ lived a perfectly righteous and sinless life and died in the place of sinners, fully absorbing the wrath of God, paying the just penalty for their sins, and reconciling them to God. As our substitute, on the cross Jesus Christ suffered and died in our place to forgive us, love us, cleanse us, and embrace us as the punishment for our sins was diverted from us to Jesus. Because Jesus died for our sins, we seek to humbly confess our sins to Jesus Christ and one another, put sin to death in our life, forgive one another, and happily invite others to do the same.
Resurrection: God Saves
We believe that Jesus Christ, after dying on the cross, arose bodily from the grave on the third day, appearing to many witnesses and proving that He was physically alive. Through faith we are united with the risen Christ, raised with Christ, and granted the same Holy Spirit power that raised Christ. The benefits of Jesus’ resurrection include the forgiveness of sins, justification, sanctification, and ultimately glorification. We believe that justification through the work of Jesus Christ is possible by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. His righteousness is imparted to us at the time of saving faith, simultaneous with our justification, and brings us new life by the Holy Spirit who regenerates us with a new nature and begins sanctifying us to become increasingly more like Jesus. Because Jesus is alive forever, we confidently trust that one day we will likewise rise from our grave to live together as God’s people with Him forever.
Church: God Sends
We believe that the local church is a community of regenerated believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord, and that the universal church is comprised of all God’s people in all times and places. In obedience to Scripture, Christians organize under qualified leadership, gather regularly for preaching and worship, observe the sacraments of baptism and communion, are unified by the Spirit in love, are corrected for holiness, and scatter to fulfill the great commandment and the great commission as missionaries to the world. Because we are members of God’s universal church, we partner with other Christian local churches and ministries for Kingdom ministry and are devoted to building up our local church family.
Worship: God Transforms
We believe that human beings, made in the image of God the Trinity (who is Himself a worshiping community), are unceasing worshipers created to continually outpour all they are, all they do, and all they can ever become to God. Worship includes praise, proclamation, service, participation, sacrifice, and submission. We believe that the corporate worship of a local church is to be God-centered. We believe that the corporate church worship should include Bible preaching, the sacraments, prayer, Scripture reading, financial giving, singing, and music. Because we are worshippers, we embrace all of life, including our corporate church gatherings, as an opportunity to passionately worship God in practical ways.
Stewardship: God Gives
We believe that Christians are to be stewards who gladly acknowledge that they belong to the Lord, that everything they have belongs to the Lord, and that everything ultimately belongs to the Lord. He uses obedience in tithing (10%) to build our faith and trust in Him, and giving above tithe to develop a generous life. Because God has been generous to us, we seek to love and serve others as generous and wise stewards for God.
Kingdom: God Reigns
We believe that God created humans with a spirit and body tightly joined together. Death is not normal or natural, but rather an enemy, the consequence of sin. Death is the tearing apart of these two intertwined parts and the cessation of life on this earth. The body goes to the grave and the spirit goes to face judgment before God. Upon Jesus’ second coming, there will be a bodily resurrection for everyone, to either eternal salvation or condemnation. The time between Jesus’ resurrection and our resurrection is a lengthy ministry season of love, grace, and mercy as news of the gospel goes forth, inviting sinners to repent of sin and enjoy the present and future salvation of Jesus Christ. Because our eternal home is in the Kingdom of God, as we journey home our mission is to joyfully invite others to join us in Christ.