Our Statement of Beliefs
Sandpoint Church of God is voluntarily affiliated with The Church of God movement that appeared in the 1880s in the midst of the broader American Holiness Revival. The pioneers of the Church of God hoped to restore a more biblical understanding and practice of what it means to be the church. One of our early church songs says: “The Bible is our rule of faith and Christ alone is Lord.” This lyric still summarizes the core belief of Church of God people. The Church of God movement has not issued any official belief statement and has no formal creed. Yet, the following statements reflect the heart of the Church of God movement of which Sandpoint Church of God is a part. Most of what is below has been taken from the Church of God ministries website https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/our-beliefs Some additions have been made as we at Sandpoint Church of God felt necessary.
God – We believe that there is one, true and living God. We believe He created heaven and earth and that He is, always was, and always will be. (Genesis 1:1, Revelation 1:8; 4:11)
The Trinity – Though difficult for the human mind to fully comprehend, our one God expresses himself in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person of the Trinity serves a unique role to bring God glory and accomplish his purposes in the world (Gen 1:26; 2 Cor 13:14)
Jesus Christ – We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Messiah that has come. We believe in His virgin birth, deity, sinless life, death and resurrection. (Matthew 1:18-23) We believe it is through His shed blood on the cross that we have forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:27-28) We believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one gets to heaven except through forgiveness of sins by Jesus. (John 14:6) He offers this forgiveness to anyone who would repent and receive Him. Hebrews 5;:9) We also believe that Jesus left to prepare a place for believers and is coming back again to take all those who believe in Him to eternal life in heaven. (1 John 14:2-3)
The Holy Spirit – We believe in living a holy life and that it is accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit in each Christian’s individual life. (Ephesians 5:25) It is the Holy Spirit that transforms, possesses, equips, and empowers us. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that sanctifies us, makes us holy, sets us apart for sacred service, and seals us for eternity’s sake. (Romans 5:16, Ephesians 1:13) It is the Spirit that convicts us of sin and enables us to overcome sin. It is the Holy Spirit that can breathe supernatural gifts into us, for Jesus’ sake. He is the Comforter promised by Jesus and the witness of our redemption. (John 16:7-11, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
The Bible – We believe in the supremacy of Scripture. We are a people of the Bible—the Old and New Testaments, supernaturally inspired, preserved across time, cultures, and continents, delivered to us, useful for reproof and instruction, for righteousness. Whatever the question, whatever the test, whatever comes before us, in the end, it is the Scripture, above all other disciplines, that informs, defines and guides us. (2 Timothy 3:14-17; Psalm 119:105)
The Great Commandments. Love God with your whole self. And, love your neighbors as yourself. The Scripture tells us this is the sum of the Law and the Prophets. When a teacher of the Law sought to test Jesus, asking, “What must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus asked him what he read in the Scripture. When the man replied with the Great Commandments, Jesus approved, saying, “You have answered well; do this and you will live.” It was this exchange that birthed the influential parable of the Good Samaritan that teaches our neighbor is anyone in need. As a people in the pursuit of holiness, the Great Commandments priority for life. (Luke 10:25-37)
The Free Will of Man – We believe that from the very beginning of creation, God created mankind with the freedom of choice because God is a god of love, and there cannot be true love without a choice, without free will. This is demonstrated by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that was placed in the Garden of Eden and by Joshua when he said, “Choose this day whom you will serve.” Free will is the reason there is evil in this world since many have chosen to reject God’s will and way for their lives. Free will is also the way in which we can overcome evil in this world by choosing God’s plan, power, and will for life. (Genesis 2:16; Joshua 24:15; Romans 8:37)
The Unity of All Believers – Another song of the Church of God movement says, “We reach our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one.” We are a people uniquely called by God to be a catalyst for Christian unity, believing that the division of the body of Christ is hell’s greatest weapon to thwart heaven’s ends in this world. We are convinced that the splintering of the body is not the Lord’s work, but the enemy’s; we believe that hell trembles at the prospect of a people united, redeemed by the blood, and possessed by the Spirit (John 17:21).
The Kingdom of God – The rule and reign of God is a present reality to be embraced and experienced today. His kingdom is not of this world and will therefore never be about earthly politics. As children of God, the spiritual riches of the King of kings are ours to claim and steward as we preach the good news of the kingdom to the world today. (Luke 17:20–21)
The Great Commission – To go and make disciples is the divine privilege and responsibility given to each of us. We champion the work of evangelism and discipleship in our own neighborhood, as well as the sending of international and home missionaries to places beyond our individual reach (Matt 28:19–20).
Church Membership – We do not believe in church membership. We believe that one’s faith in Jesus Christ makes him or her a member of God’s church and that God sets His members in place. We do, however, acknowledge when one has decided to align him or herself with our local church body with a certificate of belonging. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
Women in Ministry – The distributions of gifts by the Holy Spirit for the edification of the body of Christ is not determined by gender. God has poured out his Spirit on all people, and both sons and daughters will prophesy—and teach, and shepherd the flock. In Christ, in the kingdom of God, that which once divided us—Jew, Gentile; slave, free; male, female—no longer separate. From the earliest days of the Church of God movement, we’ve celebrated the ministry leadership of outstanding women clergy and continue to do so (Acts 2:17; Gal 3:28).
Heaven – We believe that heaven is a real, perfect and eternal place that is reserved only for those who have made Jesus Lord of their lives. We believe Jesus left to prepare and place for us, and He will return for all believers at the Second Coming. (2 Corinthians 5:1; John 14:3; Revelation 21:27)
Baptism – We believe baptism is for believers who have received forgiveness through Jesus and accepted Him as Lord of their lives. We practice a baptism that submerges one under water since the word baptism comes from the Greek word “baptiso” which means submersion. We believe when one is submerged in baptism it symbolizes dying and being buried to the old life and being raised to a new life in Jesus Christ. We believe that anyone who is able to understand their forgiveness through and commitment to Jesus is a candidate for baptism. This may come at age 6 or 90. For this reason we do not baptize infants. (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:4-5)
Parent Dedication – However, we do practice a parent dedication ceremony where the parents dedicate themselves to teaching their child about Jesus and God’s ways outlined in the Bible. We ask the church community to be a part of this dedication. (Proverbs 22:6)
Communion – We believe in the practice of partaking in the bread and wine as a remembrance of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. We believe anyone who has believed in Jesus may partake in this. We believe a time of examination is important prior to communion. We do not practice communion every Sunday, but only at the times the pastor feels led. That is often 3-4 times a year, and especially during the Easter season. (1 Corinthians 11:25-29)
Foot Washing – We do practice foot washing each year during a Maundy Thursday service. This is a precious symbolic opportunity to humbly express our service and love to one another. When Jesus said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them,” that included foot washing. (John 13:4-17)