Our Beliefs

Committed to reaching our community with The Hope of the nations

FAQ

While it is hard to get to know a congregation through a website, we hope the following questions and answers will give you a sense of who we are at Bethel. Most of all, we hope you hear in our answers to these questions, a love for Christ and our confidence that He alone is the answer to our greatest need. Maybe you have a question that we didn't answer below. Click the button below and send us an email. We'd love to help in whatever way we can.

The word “gospel” simply means “good news.”  In other words, it is a message and it’s the best kind of message.  Who doesn’t like stories about love and rescue, dedication and sacrifice?  But what if we like these stories because we need it to be our reality?  The gospel asks us to finally and honestly face our greatest problem:  God is holy and we are not (Isaiah 6).  God in his holiness demands perfection from those he perfectly made but rebelled against his perfect love (Genesis 3).  This rebellion is the reason why we daily feel both a heavy brokenness in this world and a longing for more than the brokenness of this world.  But we cannot escape this brokenness.  In fact, we will be judged as the culprits of this brokeness.  Does that sound unfair?  This is justice.  What is not fair is what God does to bring about his good-news-love-story for those who do not deserve a happy ending.  He sent Jesus, fully God and fully man, to satisfy the demand of justice on the cross which we could not satisfy.  From this satisfied justice, he promises the forgiveness of sins and new life to those who believe on him (John 3).  In this way, the message of good news becomes an invitation to receive his forgiving grace, not on the basis of what you have done, but what he has done (Ephesians 2, Romans 3:21-31).  This message, accepted as an invitation, results in real change (II Corinthians 5:17).  You won’t just think different, you will be different.  You don’t just take on new ideas.  You don’t simply follow new “rules.”  You will have, in a word, a new heart.  You will have new affections when you realize that God’s love story of rescue is about the rescue of you!  Perhaps this simple answer raises more questions.  That’s why we are here.  We’d love to help in whatever way we can.  

Jesus did not simply come to save individuals.  Rather, he came to gather a church.  The word “church” in the Bible comes from the Greek word meaning, “called out.”  Churches are communities of “called out” sinners saved by grace, who not only gather for worship, but scatter for witness.  Being apart of this communion and fellowship is the way that God equips us for service (Ephesians 4:11-12), strengthens us with his comfort (II Corinthians 1:3-7), and encourages growth with mutual accountability (Hebrews 13:17).  This is seen throughout the Bible as Paul wrote letters to local congregations (Ephesians, Galatians, Corinthians), and wrote letters to pastors who were called to lead local churches (Titus, I & II Timothy).  Since Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, the church has traditionally worshipped on this day and is directed in God’s Word not to forsake this gathering (Hebrews 10:25).

Maybe this is an odd way to begin this answer, but don’t expect perfection.  Don’t expect a people who are put together with our nice, tidy little lives where everything goes swimmingly.  That’s not us even if that’s what you think you see if you visit us.  We are broken.  We have hurts.  We have scars.  And we come for worship praising God that we don’t have to prove our worthiness to him by hiding all that from him.  So expect a place where worship is offered to God for his amazing grace, hospitality is shown to all people in light of that grace, and the joy of being accepted by Jesus (Ephesians 1:6) is the atmosphere of all that we seek to do.  

On a more practical note, expect a service that is just over an hour – some times a little more than “just over” but we love our pastors.  Expect faithful music that is new and old, Psalms and Hymns, with a variety of instruments depending on the day.  Expect dress styles to vary with everything from shorts to suits.  Expect to be invited to enjoy a time of fellowship after the service.  And most of all, expect to be warmly welcomed in the name of Jesus.  

All our programs are designed to equip us in our worship of God and walk with others (Matthew 22:37-40).  The greatest way we encourage this is through regular, weekly worship where the Bible is explained and sacraments are administered (Acts 2:42-47).  Any other program we have will not suffice without a rich diet of healthy worship.  

While weekly worship is the greatest way to grow, it’s not the only way to grow.  We offer a wide variety of small groups, Bible studies, men’s and women’s groups, a post high school group, youth groups, catechism classes, Sunday school and classes to become more acquainted with the ministry of Bethel.  We also have an assortment fellowship oriented groups that better connect us to each other and help to create bonds with each other.  Contact us if you have specific questions about our programs.

As a Christian church, there are certain core beliefs that we hold to in common with all Christian churches down through the ages.  They are summarized in an ancient creed, whose truths are timeless because they are rooted in the living Word of God.  This creed, the Apostles Creed, is so-called because it faithfully summarizes apostolic doctrine.  It is derived from the Bible as the authoritative, self-revelation of God – inspired, without error and unable to fail.  It is structured around the doctrine of the Trinity.  And it speaks to our creation, fall and hope of redemption.    

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic (universal) church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen. 

Good question!  There are multiple ways in which this simple question can be answered.  Basically it means that we trace our theological heritage back to the historic event of the Reformation in 1517.  Martin Luther ignited the first spark but he was not the only leader.  A number of leaders, labeled “Reformers,” also arose in the wake of Luther’s rediscoveries of core Biblical truths (the authority of Scripture alone, the basis of salvation in grace alone, the means of salvation in faith alone, the merit of salvation being in Christ alone, all of this for the glory of God alone).  One such reformer was John Calvin from whom we get the term “Calvinism.”  At its heart, this theological tradition is a comforting conviction that God is sovereign over all things.  God does not stand on the sidelines and watch with a sympathetic tear as the world spins out of control.  Rather, he rules.  He reigns.  And he is fulfilling his good purpose of justice and redemption in time and space.   Bethel adheres to this specific strand of theology through our three confessions:  The Heidelberg Catechism, The Belgic Confession, and The Canons of Dort.  These confessions are not meant to replace the Bible or to be an authority alongside the Bible.  Rather, they are simple clarifications of our understanding of the Bible on various subjects and faithfully summarize what we believe about the biblical subjects they address.  These documents cover way more than a simple Q/A ever could.  So we encourage you to check them out and followup with any questions you might have.  

Every congregation has their own personality.  We’re no different.  But what we seek to uniquely do is focus our ministry and leadership according to a vision rooted in John 4:23 where Jesus says, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  Life is about worship.  We all worship something, but not everything is worthy of worship.  In fact, there is only One who is worthy of dedication and devotion.  And that is the One who made us, created us, and promises salvation to those who turn to him by faith.  

Therefore, at Bethel, our vision is centered on worship We see our task as threefold:  Be Worshippers; Equip Worshippers and Seek Worshippers.

BE WORSHIPERS 

Gather for Worship. Engage in Worship.

EQUIP WORSHIPERS

Grow in a Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ; Grow in our Relationship with Each Other

SEEK WORSHIPERS

Engage the Distant; Enfold the Visiting; Encourage the Seeking 

Yes.  We are a member congregation of the United Reformed Churches in North America.  While this kind of affiliation is not essential, it is helpful.  It is a way for fellow Christians to be united together and help in various Christian endeavors.  For example, the work of missions.  It is also a way to hold each other accountable lest we drift in our commitment to the Bible.  To find out more about this federation of churches, follow the link above.

more resources

Below are a few resources that we put together to encourage your Christian walk.  Our Christian walk is not just intellectual, it is also devotional.  But in order for our devotion to be faithful, it needs to be rooted in knowledge.  So we offer these resources to balance your walk and direct you in it.   

devotional

Looking for a devotional? Here is a link to Paul Tripp's "Wednesday Word" Devotional. Use the archive to aid your daily worship of God.
Click Here

prayer

Need help or encouragement in your prayer life? Scotty Smith's "Heavenward" is an excellent resource to help direct you in your prayer life.
Click Here

The Basics

Want to learn the basics of the Christian faith? Need a refresher? Here is a link to a course by Sinclair Ferguson on "The Basics of the Christian Life."
Click Here

go deeper

Want to dive deeper? Here is a link to multiple courses on a variety of Christian subjects taught at Covenant Theological Seminary.
Click Here