Below is a succinct list of statements that we believe and hold to at The Well Church. Our Basic Beliefs represent the most simple and foundational beliefs of Christian orthodoxy. They capture the basic contours of Christian theology, and anyone pursuing membership and baptism at The Well must agree with these beliefs.
At the center of Christian faith and practice stands the belief that God has spoken to the world in the person and work of Jesus Christ, which is accurately and authoritatively revealed in the Christian Bible (“the Bible,” “Scripture” or “the Scriptures”). The Bible is the inspired, inerrant and sufficient Word of God and is thus the ultimate authority for life, faith and practice. Though the various theological statements of The Well Church reflect succinct summaries of biblical boundaries, it is the Bible itself to which we are in ultimate submission.
*For a more complete and thorough statement of faith, feel free to e-mail us - firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Scriptures are true, authoritative and sufficient. (Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
2. There is only one true God, Creator of heaven and earth, who eternally exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-6; Isaiah 46:9-10; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Genesis 1:26; Psalm 45:6-7; Psalm 110:1; Matthew 3:13-17; Matthew 28:17-20; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
3. All things exist for the glory of God. (Psalm 148:1-14; Proverbs 16:4; Isaiah 61:3; Romans 11:33-36; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Ephesians 1:3-14)
4. All humanity, Christ excluded, is sinful by both birth and action. (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23; 5:8, 12-21; 7:18; Ephesians 2:1-3)
5. The deserved penalty for sin is physical and spiritual death. (Genesis 2:15-17; Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12; 6:23; James 1:14-15)
6. Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, was born of a virgin and is both fully God and fully human. (Matthew 1:20; Luke 2:52; John 1:1-4, 14; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-3)
7. Jesus Christ died as the sacrificial substitute to pay the penalty for sin. (John 1:29; 10:1-18; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18)
8. Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and will one day physically return. (Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-53; John 1:20-21:25; 1 Corinthians 15:12-34; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 9:28; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 1:7)
9. There will be a future physical resurrection of the dead. Only those who turn from sin and to Jesus in faith and repentance will be raised to eternal reward. Those who do not turn from sin and to Jesus will be raised to eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15)
10. Only through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and repentance from sin can one be reconciled to God and experience true life and joy. (John 3:18, 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:21-26; 1 Timothy 2:5-6)
Our Theological Distinctives mark our convictions on areas that are debated even among Bible-believing, gospel-centered churches. Though agreement with each of these distinctives isn't necessary for membership, we will preach, teach and counsel on the basis of them.
We hold the gospel to be the central truth and life-giving force for all of life—salvation and sanctification alike, individually and corporately, inside the church as we gather to celebrate it and outside the church as we scatter to proclaim it. In general, the gospel is the message of the Bible that God is redeeming His fallen creation through the coming of His kingdom in the person and work of Jesus Christ. In particular, the gospel is the message that we are saved from our sins by sheer, free grace through faith in the finished work of Christ, not through our efforts and works. The Well believes that this gospel message of hope for the world and grace for the sinner is not merely a body of truth, but the very power of God which grows, changes, and shapes everything with which it has contact—hearts and identities, relationships, practices in every area of public and private life, and whole societies. So the gospel is “central,” first, because it is not merely one department of belief, but it is a power that affects every area of life when its implications are felt and thought out. But secondly, the gospel is “central” because it is neither legalism on the one hand nor relativism on the other. It is common to think the gospel is a message mainly to be shared with non-believers to bring them salvation, after which they grow through following Biblical principles. But at The Well we believe the gospel is a message for believers also—that believing, understanding, rejoicing in and applying the gospel more deeply is the main way believers overcome flaws and problems and grow into Christ-likeness. The gospel is not the ABC’s of Christianity that we eventually graduate past as we mature. Rather, it’s the A-Z of Christianity that we must continually grow more and more into. Since sinful behavior is rooted in idols of the heart (alternative “salvations”), it’s deeper knowledge of and experience of God’s grace in Christ that leads to change as we regularly repent and believe in the gospel. We know that long-term life change also requires formative rhythms of individual and communal prayer, teaching, and worship, but without a gospel-changed and continually changing heart, church practices will only produce empty religion. The gospel changes us from the inside out, freeing us from both self-righteousness and self-condemnation, enabling us to then welcome other people and extend to them the mercy that we have been extended, including to those who don’t share our beliefs. Bringing the gospel to bear on daily life is therefore the essence of what we do in preaching, pastoral care, counseling, and education. The gospel alone has the power to change, and it can change anyone (it’s changed us!). Therefore, as a body we take great joy and eagerly look to celebrate testimonies of its powerful work. (Mark 1:1; Luke 24:46–47; John 3:16–18; Acts 20:32; Romans 1:16–17; 1 Corinthians 1:18–25; 2:2; 15:1–4; 2 Corinthians 4:1–6; Galatians 1:6–9; 2:14-16; 3:1-6; Ephesians 1:7–10; Colossians 1:5-6, 15–20; 2 Timothy 1:8–14; 2 Peter 3:11–13; Jude 1:3–4)
2. DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY
We enthusiastically embrace the total sovereignty of God, including His grace in saving sinners. God is sovereign over all things such that there is no aspect of reality outside of His ultimate control. Though God’s rule extends to all things, it is particularly His sovereignty over the work of salvation that is a theological distinctive. We affirm God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, not on the basis of foreseen faith but unconditionally, according to His sovereign good pleasure and will. We believe through the work of the Holy Spirit, God will draw the elect to faith in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, graciously and effectually overcoming their stubborn resistance to the gospel so they will believe most assuredly and willingly. We also believe that these, the elect of God whom he gave to the Son, will persevere in repentance, faith, and obedience, and be kept secure in their salvation by grace through faith. We believe that God’s sovereignty in this salvation neither diminishes the responsibility of people to believe in Christ, nor marginalizes the necessity and power of prayer and evangelism, but rather reinforces and establishes them as the ordained means by which God accomplishes His ordained ends. (John 1:12–13; 6:37–44; 10:25–30; Acts 13:48; 16:30–31; Romans 3:1–4:25; 8:1–17, 31–39; 9:1–23; 10:8–10; Ephesians 1:4–5; 2:8–10; Philippians 2:12–13; Titus 3:3–7; 1 John 1:7,9)
3. SPIRIT-ENABLED MINISTRY
We recognize and rest upon the necessity of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit for all of life and ministry. We believe the Holy Spirit, as the 3rd person in the Trinity, is alive and active in regeneration, empowerment and ongoing filling for the purpose of God’s glory in this world. His presence accompanies and activates the Word of God in our lives as He gives life, reveals truth, sanctifies, empowers, guides, ministers, and builds up the church in unity. We believe all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still available today, but not one of them in particular is required to give evidence of the Holy Spirit indwelling a believer. The Spirit permanently indwells, graciously sanctifies, lovingly leads, and empowers all who are brought to faith in Christ from the moment of salvation so they might have assurance, enjoy communion with God, and live in progressive obedience to the inerrant Scriptures. Although there are different understandings of the nature and function of these gifts, we recognize they are divine provisions central to spiritual growth and effective ministry and are to be eagerly desired, faithfully developed, and lovingly exercised according to orderly biblical guidelines for the edification of the church and spread of the gospel. (Matthew 3:11; 12:28; Luke 4:1,14; 5:17; 10:21; John 1:12–13; 3:1–15, 34; 14:12; 15:26–27; 16:7–15; Acts 2:14–21; 4:29–30; 10:38; Romans 8:9; 12:3–8; 1 Corinthians 12:7–13; 12:28–31; 14:1–33; 2 Corinthians 1:21–22; Galatians 3:1–5; Ephesians 1:13–14; 5:18 *See our Acts sermon series for messages related to specific passages about Pentecost, speaking in tongues, healing, and miracles as well as the series ending message, “The Holy Spirit” from August 2020.)
4. COMPLEMENTARIAN EQUALITY
We are deeply committed to the fundamental spiritual and moral equality as well as the distinct complementarity of men and women. Both men and women are together created in the divine image and are therefore equal before God as persons, possessing the same moral dignity and value, and having equal access to God through faith in Christ. Men and women are together the recipients of spiritual gifts designed to empower them for ministry in the local church and beyond. Therefore both men and women are to be encouraged, equipped, and empowered to utilize their gifting in ministry, in service to the body of Christ, and through teaching in ways that are consistent with the Word of God. Both husbands and wives are responsible to God for spiritual nurture and vitality in the home, but God has given to the man primary responsibility to lead his wife and family in accordance with the servant-leadership and sacrificial love characterized by Jesus Christ. This principle of male spiritual authority extends to the spiritual leadership of the church (elders) as well, but should not be confused with, nor give any hint of, domineering control or dismissive chauvinism. Rather it is to be the loving, tender, and nurturing care of a godly man who is himself under the kind and gentle authority of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the elders of our church are male and are to use the authority granted under the headship of Jesus Christ to provide spiritual oversight of the church. (Genesis 1:26–27; 2:18; Acts 18:24–26; 1 Corinthians 11:2–16; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:22–33; Colossians 3:18–19; 1 Timothy 2:11–15; 3:1–7; Titus 2:3–5; 1 Peter 3:1–7. *See also the Crafted Sermon Series from August 2019 for both the equality and distinction in God’s good design of men and women)
5. MISSIONAL ECCLESIOLOGY
The Well Church embraces a missionary understanding of the local church and its role as the primary means by which God chooses to establish His kingdom on earth. The church has a clear biblical mandate to look beyond its own community to the neighborhood, the nation, and the world as a whole. Thus, mission is not an optional program in the church but rather an essential element in the identity of the church. We are called to make Christ known through the gospel and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring His lordship to bear on every dimension of life. The primary way we fulfill this mission is through the equipping of the saints for ministry in our local church and seeking to make Jesus known in our local communities. Our aim is that Jesus Christ would be more fully formed in each person through the ministry of The Well Church and that God would empower us to share His good news in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and families, sharing in and celebrating His redemptive work together. We are therefore committed to planting (and helping others plant) new churches, while also working for a renewal of gospel vitality in all the congregations of our city. We also believe we are responsible neither to retreat from our culture nor to conform to it, but with humility, through the Spirit and the truth of the gospel, to engage it boldly as we seek its transformation and submission to the lordship of Christ. (Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 10:5–25; 28:18–20; Luke 4:18–19; 24:46–47; Acts 28:31; Romans 10:14–15; 2 Corinthians 10:4–5; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 3:10; 4:11–16; 2 Timothy 4:1–5; Hebrews 10:23–25; 1 Peter 2:4–5, 9–10)
6. CHRISTIAN HEDONISM: God’s glory and our joy
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. A particular aspect of the gospel that we feel called to emphasize in our preaching and teaching is the truth that loving (treasuring) him supremely is not optional but essential as the response to His grace. The good news of the gospel is that we get Him. God is the gospel, and His worth being recognized is inseparably linked to our delight in His goodness. Therefore God is not after our begrudging submission, but rather the affections of our heart. His commands and designs are always for our good, never to rob us of life and joy but instead to lead us more fully into them. (Psalm 16:11; 37:4; 147:10-11; Isaiah 55:1-3; Matthew 13:44; John 15:11; Philippians 3:8)