We recognize that there are some CORE issues of Christianity and some PERIPHERAL issues. An example of a CORE issue would be the resurrection of Jesus. The only opinion taught is that there was a physical resurrection of Jesus. An example of a PERIPHERAL issue would be how you should dress on Sunday. It is an issue about which there is room for more than one opinion. Whether to sing older hymns or newer choruses is a PERIPHERAL issue while the fact that we only come to God through Jesus is a CORE issue.
IN CORE ISSUES – WE HAVE UNITY
“There is one body and one spirit…there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all.” Ephesians 4:4
IN PERIPHERAL ISSUES – WE HAVE LIBERTY
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls…so then each of us will give an account of himself to God…so whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” Romans 14:1, 4, 12, 22
IN ALL OUR BELIEFS – WE SHOW LOVE
“If I hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but also the very secrets of God, and if I have the faith that can move mountains but have no love, I amount to nothing at all.” 1 Corinthians 13:2
A HEALTHY CHURCH…
At New Garden we are confident enough in the truth of the gospel that we don’t get nervous if someone doesn’t believe even on a core issue. Although we will never allow alternative teaching on core issues, we do believe in giving people time to realize the truth.
ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS…
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has the tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin”. This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life. Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1,2
Salvation is God’s free gift to us but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sins by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith. Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1
The sacraments are specific practices Christ himself gives to Christians for their sake. The sacraments are signs and seals because the Holy Spirit uses them to identify us with Christ and the salvation Christ accomplished for us. These physical, visible, and touchable signs and seals represent the spiritual reality of our union to Christ and the salvation he provides.It is easy to think of the sacraments as things we do as a pledge of obedience to God or a sign that we’re giving our life to him. Sacraments are not things we do for God but are ordinary ways the Holy Spirit applies the benefits of salvation. In addition, it is only by faith that a person receives these benefits. While not the means of salvation itself, the sacraments serve to really and truly nourish and sustain a Christian’s faith. In baptism, we unite ourselves with the three major events of the Gospel – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Baptism does not itself wash away a person’s sins but rather is a sign of the salvation in Christ applied to the believer by the Holy Spirit through faith. The Lord's Supper is a meal that we share together every Sunday. All are welcome to the table. During this meal, we celebrate and remember Christ’s work on the cross – the ultimate sacrifice made on our behalf for the forgiveness of our sins. Although Jesus is not physically present in the Lord’s Supper, he is spiritually present; and by eating bread and drinking wine as Christ commanded the disciples, the Holy Spirit brings us into fellowship and communion with Christ who is our salvation. The sacraments are not just for the individual to be taken in secret but are to be visible to everyone and taken together as the body of Christ. The sacraments are precious ceremonies of the covenant of grace that God uses to bind us to himself and nourish us until we can enjoy fellowship and communion with him in heaven.Matthew 28:19; Romans 6:4; Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:29
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17-18; Revelation 20:15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9
If you would like an expanded version of the list, you can find it here.