With reverence and humility we express this faith commitment, lifting before our members and inquirers beliefs that express our relationship with God. We do not wish to repeat the mistakes of history and omit an important detail or, conversely, deceive ourselves into believing we have incorporated the fullness of God's revelation. We offer this statement to provide clarity. Yet, we do not want to put at risk our cherished identity as a place of Christ-like love and compassion, which is at the core of the message of Christ. We want all who long for God to feel at home among us. While God's truth is unchanging, our understanding of that truth is dynamic and progressive. We commit our growing faith to a merciful God who will sustain us amidst our imperfections.
Statements of faith, by nature, run the risk of conveying smugness or legalism. To the contrary, we confess we are not everything we should be. As sinners, we never fully measure up to what God wants us to be. We make erros in judgement, and we have our blind spots. We are imperfect reflections of the spirit and teachings of Christ.
As you inquire of us and visit us, you are likely to see our weaknesses as well as our strengths. We see them, too, and we are constantly praying that God will refine us into making maximum impact in the name of His Son. Yet, we also realize that God ministers powerfully to people through the Lee Acres ministry. We believe that God's love and grace toward us demand nothing less than a sincere attempt to be our best. We engage in this quest with humility and awe before God. We trust in God's grace to save us despite what we have made of ourselves and because of what He has made of us.
Our faith is shaped by our heritage of the American Restoration Movement of the early 19th century that sought to restore biblical emphases that wer lost through centuries of religious division and compromise. The aim of this effort was to disavow human religious authority and denominational hierarchies, and restore the believer's freedom to conduct their lives after the teachings of Scripture.
While our allegiance is to God and not a historical ideology, the spirit of this tradition remains with us insofar as it helps us adhere more closely to God's will. Thus Lee Acres is non-denominational, independent, and self-governing, guided solely by the scriptures. As each member exercises their individual freedom to study and gathers respectfully in fellowship to learn from others' discoveries, our corporate life is shaped.
Since we accept the Bible as a sufficient guide to faith, our established practice is not to adopt historical creeds or doctrinal statements. We appreciate all sincere attempts at summarizing important beliefs, and our statement bears similarities to some of the excellent statements from Christian history. Please understand, however, that the following list is only representative, not exhaustive.
1. God is one being in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He is the source of all creation (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1-2), which He sustains (Col. 1:17) and is in the process of redeeming (Rom. 8:19-22). God the Father loves us and desires that we have fellowship with Him as His children (1 John 1:3).
2. Jesus of Nazareth is the incarnation of God the Son. He is the Word become flesh (John 1:14), and He now holds all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). He is Savior and Lord. He made human salvation possible through His life, death on the cross, and resurrection. He ascended into heaven where He is now our high priest and advocate. He is head of the Church.
3. The Holy Spirit works actively in the world, seeking to glorify Jesus. The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin, righteousness, and judgement to come (John 16:5-11). The Holy Spirit indwells believers individually and corporately in the Church. The Holy Spirit develops within the Christian a pure heart which results in Christ-like character expressed in private and public conduct and action.
4. The Bible, the Old and New Testament Scriptures, is the uniquely inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:1-17; 2 Pet. 1:16-21). The Bible is the rule of faith and practice for Christians. We affirm that Scripture is the authoritative revelation from God by which we know God's will and Christ's authority. We seek to assert what the Scriptures clearly assert and allow freedom in other cases. We seek to understand God's original intent as conveyed by the inspired authors, and we seek to apply its teaching to the contemporary church and culture.
5. Human beings were created by God to walk in fellowship with Him. However, all (except Jesus) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) and must rely on God's grace and forgiveness. Every human from the moment of life is in the image of God (imago Dei), a person to be nurtured, protected, and developed.
6. People are saved by God alone through Jesus Christ alone. Salvation is God's sovereign gift, made possible through the all-sufficient work of Christ. Scriptures reveal an appropriate response to this free gift to trust in Christ's work on man's behalf (faith), express godly sorrow for sin and a willingness to redirect one's life toward God (repentance), humbly acknowledge the Lordship of Christ (confession), and identify with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (baptism). (Acts 2:38, 8:12, 10:47-48, Rom. 10:9, etc)
7. Each Christian has the responsibility to live a holy life (1 Pet. 1:16), to be changed increasingly to reflect Christ (2 Cor. 3:18), and to maintain regular practices of spirituality such as prayer, Bible study, and fellowship that help one realize the presence and power of God in this quest.
8. The church is the body of Christ on earth (Matt. 16:13-20), the visible community of believers throughout the world. Upon surrender to Christ, a person is added to the Church. In addition, the priesthood of all believers means each Christian is called to be a serving minister (1 Pet. 2:9-10). The Church's mission is to spread the gospel (Matt. 28:18-20), and to practice good works which demonstrate the love and justice of God (Matt. 22:34-40).
9. The Lord's Supper is the celebration of the New Covenant, in which the Christian community remembers Christ and celebrates the covenantal relationship they have with Him and with each other. We celebrate the Lord's Supper in weekly assemblies (1 Cor. 11:17-34; Acts 20:7), which also provide occasion for instruction in God's word, communal prayer, financial offerings, spiritual songs, and other means of edification.
10. At the Final Coming of Christ, all humanity, including all people past and present, shall appear before Christ and be judged according to the scriptures. All believers shall dwell with God in the New Heavens and the New Earth, in the full realization of the eternal life that began when they were saved by Jesus. They shall experience the resurrection in which the body, soul and spirit will be redeemed from sin and made completely whole. The unrighteous will not inherit this same blessedness, but will experience judgement in keeping with God's holy will.