Doctrine and Theology

As a ministry, Power of Change and her leaders stand among a long line of Christian people dating back to Jesus Christ and the teaching of his apostles. In articulating our beliefs we want to both clarify where we stand on certain teaching issues, but also define areas we consider open for robust theological discussion. As Christians we are connected to the faith once for all entrusted to the saints, written in Scripture, and handed down faithfully by the churches throughout time. As with all followers of Jesus we hold to the core convictions as represented in the ancient Apostles and Nicene Creeds.

We are also confessional Christians in that we hold firmly that the only inspired and fully authoritative word from God is comprised of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. This is therefore the highest authority in our lives and we submit joyfully to its teaching for we believe them to be the very words of God. The Bible is to be interpreted by believers in community and by trained, responsible leaders. We desire to teach and live faithfully in accord with the truth of the Word of God.

Additionally, we believe in discussion and formation of our theology over time as we communicate and teach in our time. We also believe some things are settled doctrine, without which one would not be considered to be a follower of Christ. On this page, we have a few goals. We want to share out theological vision, things that we treasure and some foundational truth from which we will not depart. These things we hold tightly in a closed hand: protecting, teaching, finding our identity and joy in the precious revealed truths of our faith. Second, we also want to say what we believe about those issues and their biblical moorings.

Finally, we want to acknowledge the depth and mystery of the revealed truths of our faith. Not that these things cannot be known, but that they cannot be domesticated and known exhaustively. The truths we hold dear proceed to depths beyond our grasp whereby we stand in awe and worship, humbly submitting ourselves to God revealed in Jesus Christ. It is in Him that we find our deepest trust and confidence.

Our doctrine and theology

The Scriptures

We hold that the Scriptures, the 66 books of the Old and New Testament to be the only inspired writings/words of God (2 Tim 3:16) which are the result of a divine confluence between human authors (their style, grammar, vocabulary) and the primary author which is the Spirit of God (2 Peter 1:19-21).  The Scriptures, as the word of God, are wholly true and never false when properly understood.  They are the very words of God by which we are to feed our souls, be encouraged, rebuked, instructed, and trained in righteousness.  They are the primary way which God's speaks to us and the final and supreme authority on all matters of faith and practice. In the Scriptures we see and enter the story of God, we find the narrative soil for truth, and receive a mirror by which God convicts us of sin and helps us to change.

The Nature of God

The Scriptures are clear that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6), who is the creator of all things (Genesis 1). God is eternal (Psalm 41:13), holy (Isaiah 6:3, Rev 4:8), sovereign (Isaiah 43:13), all-knowing (Psalm 139:1-4), all-powerful (Matthew 19:26), personal (John 1:14; Hebrews 1:2), loving (John 3:16, 1 John 4:8), completely self-sufficient (Isaiah 40:12-17) and transcendent (Deuteronomy 29:29, Isaiah 55:8-9). This God is revealed to us in Scripture, through nature and conscience, and fully in the person of Jesus Christ. He is a unity existing in diversity, a triune community of divine persons (Matthew 28:19), mysteriously one God, Father (Matthew 6:9), Son (John 1:34), and Holy Spirit (John 14:26).

The Beauty and Depravity of Human Beings

Various confessions and Christian communities throughout history have acknowledged that God created the world and human beings for the purpose of revealing himself to them. Our chief purpose is to bring honor and praise to God and to enjoy relationship with him forever. In fact, in the enjoyment of God we reflect his glory and goodness to the world around us.  This is why we exist; we were created by God and for God.  Now let us look briefly at who and what we are.

Human beings are endowed with intrinsic worth, value and dignity by virtue of their being created male and female in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26,27).  The Imago Dei, the image of God in us, is found in our makeup we have a mind, emotions and will.  This image also reflects our relational nature in that we are made to be in community with God and others.  Finally, the image of God in us is also functional, in that we have been entrusted by God with stewardship and rule of this world (Genesis 1:28, Psalm 8).  As such creatures we are more "like God" than any other being vested with beauty and worth distinct within the natural order. 

While human beings are vested with this dignity and value, we are also comprehensively fallen in our nature.  Our first parents sinned and the created order was thereby cursed by God, people were relationally separated from God and discord was sown in our relationships with one another (Genesis 3).  By nature we choose rebellion and independence from God and one another with our lives being in a state of fracture and depravity.  The Scriptures clearly teach than we are sinful by nature and by choice and receive the due consequences from a just and holy God.
As such human beings are capable of both the most atrocious and the most wonderful actions.  The love of human communities, creative works of art and beauty, technological and intellectual rigor producing wonderful things that ease suffering are all reflective of our creation in the Imago Dei.  At the same time we have created and fostered injustice, racism, genocide, insidious ways of maiming and destroying one another, let alone the billions of hurtful and intolerant acts inflicted on each other daily during the course of time. 

We believe that the gospel, the view of humanity in the Scriptures, holds both of these truths in tension.  The beauty and depravity, man's glory and his fallenness, are twin truths of reality.  We will not cut off the leg that says all people are valuable, nor will we forfeit the evident truth that we are in great need of redemption and reconciliation to God and one another other.  Human beings are valuable enough to be worth redeeming; and sinful enough to desperately need the fundamental change of heart that comes by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

The Salvation of God in Jesus Christ

As sinners, human beings are in need of both the forgiveness of God and reconciliation to him.  The Scriptures use the term salvation to refer to the multifaceted work of God by which he rescues sinners from his wrath (Romans 5:6-9), forgives them (Ephesians 1:7), brings them back into relationship with himself (2 Corinthians 5:20), transforms their lives (2 Corinthians 3:18), and ultimately conforms them to be like Jesus (Romans 8:29).

God's purpose from the foundation of the world was to redeem a people for himself who would declare his excellencies on the earth and to be made holy (1 Peter 2:9-10).   God saves such a people by calling them to himself (1 Corinthians 1:18-25, Romans 8:28-30), extending grace to them in the gospel, the good news of the saving work of Jesus Christ on an executioner's cross.

God sent his own Son into the world, to die the death we deserved, the death for sin and to live the life we could not live, a life without sin.  God then raised Jesus from the dead declaring his work to be triumphant over sin, death and hell.  In doing so the just penalty for our sins was taken by Jesus as our substitute and we receive new life (Romans 6:4) and his righteousness by faith (2 Corinthians 5:21).  It is by God's grace, his kindness and goodness towards us, that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8, 9).  Our lives are united with Christ and we continue to live in him while he continues to mold and change us, making us ever more like him in increasing ways.  This process continues throughout our lives and moves forward as we exercise spiritual disciplines and put to death sin by those same means (Romans 8:13).  We hold on to the hope of the promise that one day we will be glorified, fully changed and finally made perfect by God in the kingdom to come.

All of these things - forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption, and a changed life are free gifts and the work of God.   They are not rewards for our own self-righteousness, nor are they earned by keeping religious or moral rules.  The good news is that God accepts rebels home, loves them fully, adds them to his church and sends them in mission into their world. Only those who acknowledge their sin and great need can come to God in Christ - and all who come to him he will in no way cast out.

One Holy, Apostolic, (c)atholic Church

There are many ways that the Church of Jesus Christ has been described over the years.  A wonderful description is found in the formulation of the Nicene Creed where the church is described in the following way: We believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic church

This confession is significant.  First, we believe the church to be one, a unified body, representing all people who have been saved by grace through faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ.  This one church exists spread through various faithful denominations and traditions today.  Second, the church is holy; she is a people set apart for God.  Her holiness is not simply a moral description but a comment that she is God's own bride and possession, sanctified (set apart) for his purposes in the world.  Third, the church is catholic, or universal.  The church is not for one ethno-linguistic group or nation state.  No, the church is universal and in its final form will include people from every tribe and language and people and nation.  Finally, the church is apostolic in that it is founded on the teaching of Jesus Christ and the apostles found in the Scriptures of the New Testament. This church is a people under a new covenant which has been called to assemble together locally for the teaching of the Bible, the practice of the ordinances, under the authority of Jesus Christ the head of the church. 

The Reality of Divine Judgment

Jesus spoke of both the promise of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven and the terrible reality of the final judgment of God upon sin and evil (Matthew 25:46).  Upon Jesus' return all people will be raised and will be justly judged by God.  Those who took refuge in Jesus Christ will be raised to everlasting life and glory while those who persisted in autonomy, rebellion and the denial of God will be separated from him in hell, forever conscious of their state and choices. The reality of hell is a vindication of the belittling of God's name, final judgment of evil and wickedness and a cause for prayer and deep concern.  The urgency of this truth must cause us to care for the lives of our neighbors by sharing the good news of the grace of God which rescues us from the wrath to come.

Joy at His Second Coming

There are many scenarios Christians have held regarding the Scriptural teaching of the second coming of Jesus Christ and the end of history. We believe this event includes the essentials of Jesus' visible, physical return to earth, God's final judgment and the establishment of an eternal Kingdom of light and love on the earth.  Jesus' promised return is our blessed hope which helps us to be faithful in our work, joyful in trials, and to pursue holiness in our lives.  It is not an inconsequential teaching in Scripture, yet many of the precise details remain a mystery to us.