We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New testaments to be the verbally inspired word of God, the final authority for faith and life, infallible and God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21; Matt. 5:18; John 16:12, 13).
We believe in one triune God, eternally existing in three persons–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–coeternal in being, coeternal in nature, coequal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections (Deut. 6:4; 2 Cor. 13:14).
The Person and Work of Christ
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man (John 1:1, 2, 14; Luke 1:35). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Rom. 3:24; 1 Peter 2:24; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:3-5). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of representative, intercessor, and advocate (Acts 1:9, 10; Heb. 7:25, 9:24; Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2).
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead and a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and that He is the supernatural agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling them and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8-11; 2 Cor. 3:6; 1 Cor 12:12-14; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 5:18).
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that through Adam’s sin, the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Man has a radical propensity to sin, and of himself is utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Gen. 1:26, 27; Rom. 3:22, 23, 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3, 12). We also believe that humanity is created in the image of God (imago dei), and thus has intrinsic value. This is seen in the reality of Jesus Christ’s incarnation, becoming a man, and his willingness to die for humanity.
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Eph. 2:8-10; John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).
Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers
We believe that all the redeemed are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1, 38, 39; 1 Cor. 1:4-8; 1 Pet. 1:5). We believe it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s word, which clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Rom. 13:13, 14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15). We believe that the saved person is in the process of being conformed to the image of Christ, and will bear fruit in their life before they die.
The Ministry and Spiritual Gifts
We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowing of spiritual gifts. It is, however, the believer’s responsibility to attempt to develop their sovereignly given spiritual gift(s). The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at conversion and is the placing of the believer into the Body of Christ. We also believe that particular spiritual gift(s) are neither essential (proving the presence of the Holy Spirit), nor an indication of a deep spiritual experience (1 Cor. 12:7, 11, 13; Eph. 4:7-8). We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accordance with His own will, for the sick and afflicted (John 15:7; 1 John 5:14, 15). We believe it is the privilege and responsibility of every believer to minister according to the gift(s) and grace of God given to him (Rom. 12:1-8; 2 Cor. 13; 1 Pet. 4:10-11).
We believe that the church, which is the body and espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons of this present age (Eph. 1:22, 23, 5:25-27; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor 11:2). We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament scriptures (Acts 14:27, 18:22, 20:17, 1 Tim. 3:1-3; Titus 1:5-11). We believe in the autonomy of the local churches, that they are to be free of any external authority and control (Acts 13:1-4, 15:19-31, 20:28; Rom. 16:1, 4; 1 Cor. 3:9, 16, 5:4-7, 13; 1 Pet. 5:1-4). We recognize believers’ baptisms and the Lord’s Supper as scriptural means of testimony for the church in this age (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 2:41, 42, 18:8; 2 Cor. 11:23-26).
The Second Advent of Christ
We believe in the “blessed hope,” the personal, imminent, coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones. (I Thes. 1:10, 4:13-18, 5:9; Zech. 14:4-11; Rev. 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:1-6).
Serving the World
In 2015, we began asking the question, What does it mean to be the people of God in our time and place in history? This led us to adopt some specific practices found in Scripture that turn our lives both toward the grace of God that has come to us in Jesus and toward the world He loves.
The Imago Dei Community Practices:
Hear & Obey the Word & Spirit – Receiving the grace of Jesus as He speaks to us through His Word and Spirit – leading us into holy listening, dependent trust and obedient faith.
Celebration – Celebrating Jesus through the grace of communal worship and the submission of holy rest – cultivating an experience of gratitude and intimacy with God.
Vocation – Participating with Jesus in daily mission through the grace of living out our holy calling as a community and as individuals – leading us to an awareness of our spiritual gifts and the divine opportunities in our daily work.
Hospitality – Experiencing the grace of Jesus by welcoming Him into our lives through the face of the stranger – making space for inclusive meals, acts of compassion and sharing the grace and knowledge of Christ with others.
Generosity – Encountering Jesus through the grace of joining him in selfless service and revolutionary sacrifice – teaching us that our time, our energy and our resources have been given to us to bless the world.
The book of Acts portrays the result of Jesus’ life and ministry in the actions of His followers and their new community, the church. Filled with the promised Holy Spirit of God, this community began to represent Jesus’ kingship and kingdom to the world. Living by Kingdom Values based on their intimate knowledge of Christ, the church was able to live out a love and unity unheard of in the wider world.
Although the values held by the early church manifest differently according to specific times and culture, their general applications are not bound by history or geography. The following four core values attempt to summarize Kingdom priorities that will always yield new life and blessing to people who purpose to live in and through them.
Truth & Meaning
Before truth can be about facts, it must first be about a Person. In declaring Himself the truth, Jesus echoes the insistence in Hebrew Scriptures that truth and meaning are intimately connected to each other in the nature of God and His purpose in creation. But Jesus does not simply echo this great scriptural theme—He makes Himself its culmination. In a few plainspoken words, Jesus takes the long story of how God revealed His nature and purpose to the people of Israel and declares Himself its key.
In Christ’s love relationship with the Father and the Spirit, God’s Triune, relational nature is demonstrated. In Christ’s march to the cross, God’s passionate purpose to include humanity in His eternal communion is made manifest. United, these two lessons provide context for beginning to grasp what it means to call the Bible God’s revealed truth—that Scripture not only grants reliable historical knowledge about how God acts in the daily world, it grants unique theological knowledge about what God is like and why He acts at all.
Imago Dei Community shares a commitment to hold Jesus Christ as the sole key to understanding truth and meaning. Unless they are united, truth will be empty and meaning blind. Since the Bible alone accurately represents the person, work and heritage of Jesus, Imago Dei treats it as God’s ultimate tool for directing the church to know Christ and be transformed into His image. Truth is a baggy word these days. But for truth to be truth at Imago Dei, it must serve nothing less than the holistic meaning found in the Triune God’s active love for the world.
Worship and Beauty
Made in God’s image, people are most human when they too delight to give and beautify. As people salvaged by Christ from selfish waste and adopted into a family of thankful makers, Imago Dei Community recognizes that all things true and beautiful and good find their completion only when they are offered to the Giver in worship.
Instead of compartmentalizing life, then, Imago Dei strives to integrate all of human experience into expressions of worship. Whether dedicating a novel, a song, or a newborn child, the community recognizes that the powers of creativity and beauty find source and destination in God. In joy, God gives these powers that He might receive their fruits back with joy—because only through such exchange may His children join in His eternal delight. For this reason, Imago Dei values the arts and their expressions of beauty as vital to a life of holistic worship.
God—as Father, Son and Holy Spirit—exists in eternal community. Imago Dei seeks to participate in that community through corporate worship and consistent fellowship, following Jesus’ great command to love both God and neighbor. And because the gospel is ultimately about humanity being restored to God’s community, only through practicing community will individuals grow fully in the grace and knowledge to be found in Jesus. Furthermore, it is through community that a fragmented world can best witness the power of the gospel and the nature of God’s work.
As a culture of confession, transformation, friendship, forgiveness, justice, power, and love springs up in the lives of normal people, those who don’t know Christ will be compelled to ask what is happening. And the answer to their questions? It’s that the Spirit of God is abiding in Christ’s people at Imago Dei as a temple, transforming every person together into the image of a communal God whose nature overflows to the world with faith, hope, and love.
Christ calls His followers to journey with Him into a diverse world and then to embrace it in equally diverse ways. Imago Dei Community, following Christ, is committed to befriending each other and a broken world through acts of compassion and service. Compelled by love to live out and proclaim the gospel of Jesus, the church conspires to engage culture with hope on all fronts, to advocate for the defenseless, to seek justice for the downtrodden, to lift up the downcast, to embody the fearless love of the risen Christ.
Hardly above frailty and brokenness, Imago Dei celebrates the God who calls His people to start walking with Him through that frailty and brokenness. Hardly beyond pain and even hypocrisy, Imago Dei practices turning the difficulties of the journey into sources of fellowship, joy, healing, and worship. Together, transparent in weakness and strengthened by hope, the church aims to mature in its identity as the image of God to the world. It is through this walk and worship—messy as they can be—that Imago Dei Community strives to fulfill its mission to love as God loves, proclaiming the whole Gospel to the whole person to the whole world.
Imago Dei’s position papers are available upon request. Please email email@example.com to request a copy.
Throughout the history of the Christian Church, Baptism has been one of the most universally accepted practices, almost always understood as being connected with the beginning of the Christian life. It is a symbol of our being united with Christ in his death and resurrection, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” Rom 6:3, Rom 6:5, Col 2:12
“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” – Romans 6:4
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Cor. 5:17
Baptism doesn’t make you a believer – it is a declaration that through faith, you have already been united with Christ. Baptism does not “save” you, only your faith in Christ does that. Baptism is similar to wedding ring – it is an outward symbol of the commitment you make in your heart.
Why should I be baptized?
Jesus Commanded Baptism – Jesus regarded the act of baptism to be so significant that he commissioned His Church to go all over the world baptizing disciples who believe the gospel message. “Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations,” He said, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19
Jesus Modeled Baptism – “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” Mark 1:9
Why Be Baptized by Immersion?
It appears Jesus was baptized by immersion, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.” Matthew 3:16 The symbol of death and resurrection fits going down into the water and coming up.
Who should be baptized?
Every person who has believed in Christ. “Those who accepted His message were baptized” Acts 2:41
“Simon himself believed and was baptized” Acts 8:13
“But when they believed… they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12
At Imago Dei Community, we wait until our kids are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism. If you have a child that is expressing an interest in baptism, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Covenant Community is the place within Imago Dei where believers express their unity in Jesus and live out their faith together. More than formal church membership, covenant community is the outward expression of the inward reality that if you are in Christ, you belong to His people. We express this relationship to each other by uniting our hearts in worship, serving each other and the world, practicing our faith together in ways that build up the body of Christ and prophetically bearing witness against the false beliefs and false gods of our culture.