The following statement reflects what the leaders at The Bridge believe and teach. We understand that believers will not all agree on every nuance of Biblical doctrine, but we can and should show love and respect to those with whom we disagree, and manifest humility and a teachable spirit in order to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We teach that the Holy Scriptures in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are the verbally inspired Word of God, and without error in the original writings. They constitute the supreme, final, and sufficient authority for all doctrine and life.
We teach that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons; that these are equal in every divine perfection, and that they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence and redemption.
God the Father
We teach that there is one true and living God who is infinitely perfect in His love and holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. He perfectly knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about His eternal good purposes to redeem a people for Himself and restore His fallen creation, to the praise of His glorious grace.
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man. We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice, and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry as Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. We teach Jesus is coming again to judge the living and the dead.
The Holy Spirit
We teach that the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, applies the salvation secured by Jesus Christ to His people. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. By His powerful and mysterious work, He regenerates spiritually dead sinners, granting them new hearts, and enabling them to repent of sin and trust in Christ. He unites them to Christ, so that they are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. He indwells, guides, instructs, equips, seals, empowers and sanctifies all who believe in Jesus Christ. He is to be honored and worshiped as God, the third person of the Trinity.
The Total Depravity of Man
We teach that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that through Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, are spiritually dead, became alienated from God, and are under the wrath of God. Man is totally depraved and of himself utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. God holds man responsible to repent and believe the gospel. His unwillingness and inability to do so stems from his own wicked heart; thus he is culpable and blameworthy.
We teach that God, from all eternity, in order to display the full extent of His glory for the eternal enjoyment of all who love Him, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His will, freely and unchangeably ordain and foreknow whatever comes to pass. Before the foundation of the world, God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end chose them to salvation. This choice was not based on the fact that God knew which persons would believe of their own will, but on God’s good pleasure alone.
We teach that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. Repentance and faith, although exercised by sinners, are gifts of divine grace. Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit alone, whereby He makes the person who is dead in sins alive to God, enabling him to repent and believe in Christ. All those who are drawn by the Father to Christ will be saved.
The Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints
We teach that all the redeemed, once regenerated, are preserved by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever. At the same time, all believers are exhorted to persevere in the faith, knowing that only those who do so will enter the kingdom of God. Those who do not persevere to the end show that they were never genuine believers. All will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word, and deed. The spiritual disciplines, especially bible study, prayer, worship and confession, are a vital means of grace to enable genuine believers to mature and persevere in faith.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at conversion and is the placing of the believer into the Body of Christ. While all genuine believers are indwelt with the Spirit at conversion, he/she should experience an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit subsequent to conversion as well. We teach that God is sovereign in the bestowing of spiritual gifts. It is, however, the believer’s responsibility to attempt to develop their sovereignly given spiritual gift(s). Particular spiritual gift(s) are neither essential, nor prove the presence of the Holy Spirit, nor are an indication of deep spiritual experience. We teach that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the church of the first century are available today, and will be available until Christ returns.
We teach that the church, which is the body and espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons . We teach that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. We teach the autonomy of the local church, free of any external authority and control. We teach that the church is to be led, taught and protected by a team of men called Elders, Overseers or Pastors.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We teach that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances to be observed by the church. Water baptism is an outward sign of a person’s new life in Christ. The biblical pattern for baptism is by immersion in water in the name of the triune God. It should be administered only to those who demonstrate repentance from sin and make a credible profession of faith in Christ. We teach that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ for the remembrance and proclamation of His death until He comes again. We teach the Lord’s Supper signifies Christ’s death for our sins in the past, our spiritual unity with other members of Christ’s body in the present, and the heavenly marriage supper of the Lamb we will enjoy in glory in the future.
The Old Covenant
The Old Covenant, with the Law of Moses as its core, was revealed to the nation of Israel, promising earthly blessings for obedience, and threatening curses for disobedience. The purpose of the Old Covenant was never to offer eternal life, but rather to govern the life and worship of the Old Testament nation of Israel, to reveal the extent of man’s depravity, and to foreshadow Christ and the New Covenant.
The New Covenant
The New Covenant, established through the person and redemptive work of Christ, provides eternal blessings which are acquired by grace through faith. The Old Covenant was fulfilled in Christ, thus becoming obsolete. God’s final words of revelation, given through Christ and His New Testament apostles and prophets, have become the authority concerning Christian conduct, and the interpretive lens through which the Old Testament must be understood and applied.
We teach the consummation of all things includes the future, physical, visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the translation of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the establishment of the new heavens and the new earth. In the consummation, Satan with his hosts and all those outside Christ are finally separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal conscious punishment in hell, but the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with Him forever, serving Him and giving Him unending praise and glory.
We are also in full agreement with the distinctives of Acts 29.