This We Believe
Those affiliated with Gateway Church accept the whole Bible as being Divinely inspired and the New Testament as their rule of faith and practice. Because of this acceptance we believe the following scriptural teachings.
We accept the Holy Scriptures in their original form as the Divinely inspired revelation of the mind and will of God because:
- They declare themselves to be inspired of God. (II Timothy 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 22:19)
- The Lord Jesus Christ accepted them as Divinely inspired. (Matthew 5:17, 18; 24:35)
- To those who accept them as inspired and act upon them they prove themselves to be inspired. (Romans 10:8-13)
We believe in one God, existing eternally in three persons, identified as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and referred to as the Holy Trinity. We understand the words "trinity" and "persons," when used of God, as expressions of our understanding of what the scriptures teach regarding the being of God. We understand the triune God as one being in three persons. (Hebrews 1:1-8; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Acts 5:3, 4; Matthew 3:16, 17; Hebrews 9:14)
We accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God the Father, conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. We believe that He was crucified, buried, raised from the dead the third day, that He ascended to Heaven, and is today at the right hand of the Father as our intercessor. (John 3:16; Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:26-31)
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person in the Holy Trinity; that He proceeds from the Father, and the Son, and is of one substance, majesty, glory and power with them. We accept him as the Executive of the Holy Trinity during this age and we understand that the church owes its existence, its life, its growth and ministry to His presence in the earth. (Matthew 3:16; John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:8-11; Acts 1:8; 2:4; 13:2-4; Galatians 5:21-23; Ephesians 4:30; I Thessalonians 4:8)
We believe that God created men and women in His own image and placed them as supreme over this earthly creation. The scriptures teach: Humanity was created male and female.
- That man and woman were equal in intelligence, opportunity and responsibility.
- That they were created in a state of untried innocence.
- That at the moment of creation, humanity became a living soul possessed of a human spirit and dwelling in a self-propagating physical body.
- That the first man and woman were historical persons, who through disobedience fell into sin.
- That as a result of their fall, their posterity was born in a fallen state and became the objects of God’s redemptive plan.
- That as redeemable those of the human race who accept God’s plan of redemption will experience eternal life.
(Genesis 1:26-29; 2:7, 15-23; 3:1-7; I Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 3:23, 24; 5:12; 6:23; I Corinthians 15:22)
We believe that Satan or the Devil is a personal powerful spiritual being in the world today. We understand his origin, existence and activities as follows:
- That he was originally a created angelic being of great beauty and power.
- That he exercised unusual authority in the presence of God.
- That he rebelled against God and as a result of this transgression was cast down.
- That other angelic beings that followed Satan were cast down at the same time with him.
- That Satan, by his temptation and influence, brought about the fall of the human race.
- That presently he seeks to destroy the faith of every follower of Christ.
- That those spirits which fell with him are now under his control and are possessing, afflicting and tormenting human beings.
- That every truly born again believer has been given mastery over Satan and his hosts of evil spirits through the power of the name of Jesus Christ.
- That though a Christ-follower may be oppressed and otherwise attacked and afflicted by evil spirits, he/she cannot be possessed by one.
(Matthew 16:17-20; 25:41; Luke 4:32; 9:42; 10:18, 19; Genesis 3:14, 15; Acts 10:38; I John 4:3, 4; 5:18; Isaiah 14:12-19; Ezekiel 28: 11-17)
We believe that sin is any lack of conformity in a free moral agent to the character, nature, and will of God; whether it be in act, disposition, state, thought or will. Our understanding of sin is as follows:
- It came into existence in heaven as a result of Satan’s rebellion.
- It entered the human family through the fall of Adam.
- That as a result of Adam’s fall, sin and spiritual death passed upon all his posterity.
- That repentance of sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are required of all who would be cleansed from it.
(Genesis 3:1-7; Ezekiel 28:15; Isaiah 14:12-17; Romans 3:23; 5:12-19; 10:8-13; Acts 17:30; I Corinthians 15:22; Galatians 3:22)
The scriptures teach that repentance is a complete turning away from sin and a turning to God in submission and faith. We believe that a Godly sorrow brings about repentance but that sorrow in itself is not necessarily repentance. (Acts 26:18-20; 11:18; 17:30; II Corinthians 7:10)
The scriptures teach that regeneration is the impartation of a Divine new nature into the heart of every repentant believer, thus causing him to become a new creature in Christ. (John 1:12, 13; 3:3, 5, 6; II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1-5; Titus 3:5-7; I Peter 1:23; I John 5:1)
Reconciliation is the bringing together of God and man on the grounds of Christ’s redemptive work. This reconciliation brings the believer into a state of fellowship and communion with God. (II Corinthians 5:18-21; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:21; I John 1:3; *Romans 5:11)
*The word "atonement" in the Authorized Version of Romans 5:11 should be translated "reconciliation."
The scriptures teach that redemption is that act of God whereby through the death of His Son He paid the price that His own holiness demanded for the release of fallen humanity. (Luke 1:68; Romans 3:23, 24; I Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:18, 19; Revelation 5:9, 10)
Justification is that act of God’s free grace whereby He absolves the sinner of all the guilt of his past transgressions and from the condemnation of the depravity into which he was born. This free pardon and forgiveness of all past sins is granted on the sole grounds of repentance and saving faith in Christ. The justified person stands positionally sanctified in the sight of God through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, and upon this basis he/she enters into peace with God. (Romans 3:25, 26; 5:1, 9; 8:30; Galatians 3:24)
The scriptures teach that the mode of water baptism practiced by the apostles was single, total immersion in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Since our Lord commanded it, we believe it should be observed. It is to be understood as an act of faith and testimony subsequent to regeneration and as an outward sign of the inward spiritual work brought about in our hearts through the new birth. (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 39; 10:48; 22:16; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27)
Sins of Christ-Followers
God has made provisions whereby every follower of Christ through the power of the indwelling Spirit may live victoriously over sin. However, due to failure to walk in the Spirit, Christ-followers often fail and commit sin. Under such circumstances the Christ-follower is to immediately confess his/her sin to God and to turn to the Holy Spirit for help and guidance. (Romans 6:1, 2; I John 1:6; 2:2)
Holiness and Sanctification
God demands holiness in the heart and life of all those who are his children by faith and regeneration. God is holy in himself and so the obligation to be holy rests upon all of the members of His family. (Psalm 22:3; I Peter 1:15, 16; II Corinthians 7:1; I Thessalonians 4:7)
Sanctification is represented in the following three aspects in the New Testament:
Positional sanctification is that state of holiness that results from the initial imputation of Christ’s righteousness. It is the new holy standing of the regenerated person before God, which standing is based upon the imputed holiness of Christ to all who believe. (Hebrews 10:10; I Corinthians 1:30; 6:11; II Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 4:24; I Thessalonians 3:13; I Peter 1:2)
While positional sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing before God at the moment of regeneration, experiential sanctification has to do with the spiritual quality of the believer’s daily life thereafter. Since the attainment of experiential sanctification is possible only through the power and leadership of the indwelling Spirit, it is subsequent to regeneration and to positional sanctification. It is the work of the Holy Spirit enabling the believer to live outwardly what the Holy Spirit has made him to be inwardly. It is experienced progressively as a believer walks in the light and in the Spirit. (I John 1:7; Romans 8:13; 12:1) Experiential sanctification is attained through the following:
- Yieldedness to God. (Romans 6:17-22; 12:1)
- Recognizing freedom from the power of sin. (Romans 6:11-13; 8:2-4; I John 2:1, 2)
- Growth in the knowledge of the Word of God. (Philippians 3:12-16; Ephesians 4:12-15)
Ultimate sanctification relates to the believer’s final perfection in glory. This completeness in holiness will take place at the time when the church is presented faultless before the presence of the glory of God, free from every spot and wrinkle. (I Thessalonians 5:23; Ephesians 5:27; Colossians 1:22; Philippians 3:20, 21; Jude v.24)
The Agents and Means of Sanctification
The agents and means of the believer’s sanctification are emphasized in the Holy Scriptures as follows:
From God’s Side
- God the Father. (I Thessalonians 5:23, 24; Philippians 2:12, 13)
- God the Son. (Hebrews 2:11; 10:10; Ephesians 5:25-27)
- God the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 6:11; II Thessalonians 2:13; I Peter 1:2)
- The Word of God. (John 15:3; 17:17; Hebrews 4:12)
- The Blood of Christ. (Hebrews 10:29; 12:13; Ephesians 1:7)
From Humanity’s Side
- By faith in the redemptive sanctifying work of Christ. (Acts 26:18)
- By accepting God’s promises by faith. (II Peter 1:4)
- Through careful study of the scriptures. (Ephesians 5:26)
- By earnestly following after peace and purity. (Hebrews 12:14)
- By striving to understand the purpose of Divine chastening. (Hebrews 12:10, 11)
- By an action of the will to separate oneself from things that are incompatible with Christian character and the nature of God. (II Corinthians 6:17; 7:1; Romans 6:19-22)
THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The New Testament teaches that every believer at the moment of regeneration is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17; 20:22; Romans 8:9-16; I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19,20; II Corinthians 1:22; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 3:14-19). The person of the Holy Spirit Himself is God’s "gift" to every Christ-follower at the moment of the New Birth (Acts 2:38; 10:45) and His indwelling creates the new nature within the believer and produces true sanctification and the development of spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22, 23; Ephesians 5:9; John 5:2-16). The progressive works of the Holy Spirit in the spirit, soul and mind of the believer are as follows:
- Inner conviction by the Holy Spirit. (John 16:8; Acts 2:37)
- Indwelling of the Spirit bringing about spiritual rebirth or regeneration. (John 3:5, 6; Galatians 4:4-6; Romans 8:14-16)
- Baptism of the regenerated believer into the body of Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:13)
- Experiential sanctification and spiritual fruit-bearing through the indwelling Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 6:11; II Thessalonians 2:13; I Peter 1:2)
THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
The scriptures teach that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is that enduement with power that results from the Holy Spirit coming upon the believer after regeneration. It is promised to all believers. (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5-8; 2:38, 39; 5:32). We can distinguish indwelling of the Spirit and baptism in the Spirit by noting the experience of the apostles recorded in John 20:19-23 when the Lord Jesus breathed the Spirit into them and then noting their baptism in the Spirit as He came upon them in Acts 2:1-4. This profound experience is therefore distinct from, in addition to, and subsequent to regeneration or the new birth.
COMMON EVIDENCE OF THE INITIAL BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
The New Testament scriptures do not dogmatically assert that speaking with other tongues is the only initial evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, however, the following points must be observed.
- It was the initial sign on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:4)
- It was the initial sign when Gentile believers received the experience. (Acts 10:46)
- It was the initial sign when the former converts of John received the experience. (Acts 19:6)
- It is the confirmation of the promise of Jesus in Mark 16:17.
- The Apostle Paul indicated that it was one of the most meaningful Charismatic enablements. (I Corinthians Chapters 12, 13, 14)
- It is the most suitable of the nine Charismatic Gifts as an initial evidence of the Baptism in the Spirit. (Acts 2:4, 7, 8)
- Though there is no indication that the Apostle Paul spoke with tongues when he received the fullness of the Spirit, yet his own writings indicate that he looked upon this Charismatic enablement as one of the most valuable in his life. (Acts 9:17,18; I Corinthians 14:2, 18)
The Fruit of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is distinct from his Charismatic enablements or gifts, although there are nine of each. (Galatians 5:22,23; I Corinthians 12:7-11) The fruit of the Spirit is the outward manifestation of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the new nature. Charismatic Gifts are supernatural provisions in the mind and heart of the born again person enabling him to minister and to contribute properly, fully and spiritually to the outreach, nurture and direction of the church. The fruit of the Spirit is more important in the life of the believer than are the Charismatic Gifts, because they are the manifestation of the true character of God, whereas the Charismatic Gifts are an impartation of wisdom, knowledge and power from God. (John 15:1-9; Romans 6:20-22; 7:4; Ephesians 5:9)
The scriptures teach that during the entire church age Christ-followers may seek and experience the operation of the ninefold manifestation of the Holy Spirit known as Charismatic enablements or spiritual gifts. In I Corinthians 12, 13, and 14, they are referred to as "graces" or "enablements," as the Greek word for gifts does not appear in any of these three chapters. The scriptures indicate the following points regarding these Charismatic enablements.
- They are operated and directed solely by the Holy Spirit when and where He deems fit. (I Corinthians 12:11)
- Since they are spontaneous Charismatic enablements operated by the Holy Spirit they are never the personal possession of any believer. (I Corinthians 12:30, 31)
- Their operation through a believer is not to be taken as an indication that the person has reached some new degree of spiritual perfection. (I Corinthians 13:1-3)
- Christians in all stages of spiritual development are encouraged to follow after, and desire spiritual gifts. (I Corinthians 12:31; 14:1)
- Their very names indicate their purpose in the life of the believer, in his ministry among the lost, his ministry to other believers, and his personal prayer ministry.
- Their operation both privately and publicly must always conform to the Scriptural order outlined in I Corinthians 12, 13, and 14.
- Believers should earnestly seek and look forward to being divinely enabled to meet the spiritual challenges that may confront them, and to being used of the Holy Spirit in the manifestation of these Charismatic enablements. (I Corinthians 12:31; 13:1-13; 14:1-40)
We believe that through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ divine provision was made for the physical, mental and spiritual healing of the believer. (Exodus 15:26; Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:17; I Peter 2:24) Divine healing, by its very title, indicates that it operates according to the sovereign will of God. Believers therefore are to minister to the sick in one or more of the following ways, and to leave the time, manner and means of healing to God alone.
- Through prayer and the laying on of hands. (Mark 16:18)
- Through the prayer of faith and anointing with oil. (James 5:14-16)
- Through Charismatic enablements of healing in action. (Acts 3:1-11; 28:8, 9; I Corinthians 12:9)
- Through spiritual counsel and guidance. (Galatians 6:1, 2; Hebrews 12:12, 13)
We believe that every follower of Christ should participate in Holy Communion, which consists of the partaking of the elements of bread and wine. By participating in this holy ordinance we are:
- Expressing our remembrance of the Lord’s death until He comes.
- Expressing our faith in the new covenant which was brought about through His shed blood.
- Expressing our participation by faith in the body of Jesus Christ.
- Expressing our spiritual communion with Christ and with all those who make up His spiritual body.
- Declaring our faith in His Second Coming.
(Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:14-20; I Corinthians 10-16, 17; 11:23-29)
The word "church" comes from the Greek word "Ekklesia," which means "a called out company." This refers to those who have been out of the world through regeneration and brought into vital living spiritual union with Jesus Christ. Through the Spirit, the church a self-perpetuating spiritual organism, is comprised of all those who have been regenerated since the church began. (Ephesians 1:18-23, 4:16; Romans 8:30; Acts 15:14-18; I Peter 2:9)
The following scriptural facts indicate that the church is distinct from Old Testament Israel.
- During His ministry, our Lord declared the church to be yet future. (Matthew 16:18)
- Saving faith in a crucified risen Christ brings about regeneration and membership in His body. Therefore the church could not have existed prior to His death. (Galatians 3:23-25)
- The church could not have existed until the blood that purchased it had been shed. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
- The church could not live until Christ arose to give it resurrection life. (Romans 6:4, 5; Colossians 3:1-3)
- The church could not exist as His body until He had ascended to Heaven to be the head over all things. (Ephesians 1:20-23)
- The church could not exist and perpetuate itself except through the various ministries brought into existence through the resurrection of Christ. (Ephesians 4:7-12)
- These various ministries could not have carried out their functions until they were endued with power on the day of Pentecost. (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:4)
We believe the essential components of stewardship life for a Christ follower are solidly based in Scripture! Therefore, we believe tithing and giving is not random, occasional, or emotional. Rather, tithing and giving is systematic, disciplined and planned.
Tithing and giving for the Christ follower is deeply personal.
- Widows supported the ministry of Jesus Christ. (Luke 8:2-3)
- Christ followers faithful in a little will be trusted with more. (Luke 16:10)
- Christ followers who are taught the Scripture should support those who teach. (Galatians 6:6)
Tithing and giving, as with all of life for the Christ follower, is an act of worship because God owns everything. Giving is a way of saying "I love you" to Him.
- Jacob used his tithe to worship, because he knew nothing was his and everything belonged to God. (Genesis 28:16-22)
- Giving is for the glory of God alone. (I Corinthians 10:31)
- Giving is an expression of thanksgiving. (II Corinthians 9:12)
Tithing and giving enables the Christ follower to put God first in life.
- Giving the first fruits of the increase honors the Lord and promises blessings in return. (Proverbs 3:9-10)
- Giving the first fruits of the increase is an act of reverence to God. (Deuteronomy 14:22-23)
- Giving in a systematic way, each week, is the path of obedience for every Christ follower. (I Corinthians 16:2)
Tithing and giving is a test of our willingness to trust in God.
- The widow provided food for the man of God out of depleted resources. (I Kings 17:7-16)
- Our hope is in God alone, and not in our resources. (I Timothy 6:17-19)
- God responds to our generosity in kind. (Luke 6:38)
Tithing and giving helps develop Christian character, enabling the Christ follower to steward God’s resources faithfully, model joyful generosity, give intentionally and with Spirit-inspired, thoughtful purpose, and to influence others toward Him.
- Everything belongs to God. (Psalm 24:1-2)
- God created everything and owns it. (Psalms 50:10-12)
- Everything is God’s and we take care of it on earth. (I Chronicles 29:14-18)
- Generous giving is a trait of the righteous. (Psalm 37:21)
- God loves a hilarious giver. (II Corinthians 9:7)
- God blesses those who give eagerly. (II Corinthians 8:10-12)
- Integrity in giving is non-negotiable. (Acts 5:1-10)
- Generous giving encourages others to be generous as well. (II Corinthians 9:1-2)
- Generous giving will cause others to praise God. (II Corinthians 9:13)
- Generous giving to the needy builds a rich treasure in Heaven. (I Timothy 6:18-19)
Tithing and giving helps liberate the Christ follower from bondage to possessions, selfishness and materialism.
- Inordinate love of money is the root of evil. (I Timothy 6:6-10)
- Obsession with wealth and things distorts life. (James 5:1-6)
- The Kingdom of God must be first in the heart of the Christ follower. (Matthew 6:19-34)
- Favor with God is not obtained through riches. (Luke 12:16-21)
- Money should be another means to serve God. (Matthew 6:24)
- Generosity in the name of the Lord will be rewarded. (Matthew 10:42)
- It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
Tithing and giving is the biblical plan to provide resources for the church to do ministry, within and without, and into all the world.
- The Christ follower who gives through "the storehouse" will be blessed. (Malachi 3:6-12)
- The church must be wise and prudent in its administration of God’s resources. (Acts 6:1-7)
THE RETURN OF CHRIST FOR HIS CHURCH
We believe that according to the holy scriptures our Lord will return for His church prior to the great tribulation. At that time He will resurrect those who have died in Him and together with believers who are alive when He returns, they will be caught up together to meet Him. We believe that this is the imminent and blessed hope of the church. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; I Corinthians 15:51-55)
THE GREAT TRIBULATION
We believe that the closing days of this age will witness a period of unprecedented tribulation on this earth. (Matthew 24:21-31) We believe that during this time regathered Israel will accept Jesus Christ as her true Messiah.
THE MILLENNIAL REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST
We believe in the literal return of our Lord Jesus Christ to the earth together with His saints. At this time He will judge the nations and institute a reign of righteousness that will last for a thousand years. The scriptures indicate that this has been the expectation of all true believers of all ages up to the present time. (Psalm 72:8, 11; Psalm 96:10-13; Isaiah 11:1-16; 24:23; Matthew 24:29, 30; Jude 1:14,15; Revelation 19:11; 20:6)
THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH
The scriptures teach that as believers we should look for a new heaven and a new earth, in which righteousness shall dwell and over which God shall reign with His people forever. (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1; 22:5)
PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED
We believe in the everlasting punishment of the wicked. (Matthew 13:49, 50; 25:46, Luke 16:23, 24; Romans 6:23; II Thessalonians 1:8, 9; Revelation 14:11; 20:6-15, 21:8)