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What We Believe

What we believe as Christians is important. It's part of what unites us despite the beauty of our differences. We want to be upfront about our beliefs because they shape our community. The following series of common questions and answers provide a brief summary of our beliefs, which are in accord with the authorized declaration of faith for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

Who is God?
We believe the Bible identifies three distinct Persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—as the One Eternal and Infinite God, the Creator of all things. These three Persons share an eternal loving relationship as the one triune God—what we Christians call the Trinity.

Why is the Bible important?
We believe the Bible is uniquely God’s Word; true in all that it affirms, including the miraculous. We also believe that the Holy Spirit so inspired the writers of the Old and New Testament Scriptures—without setting aside their human personality and style—that the very words, and all of those words, in their original writings are His Word to us. We also believe that God has preserved His Word throughout history so that the Bible we have today is accurate and authoritative regarding belief and practice.

Why are people, and the whole world, so broken?
Though men and women are created in the image of God and there is a real beauty in this, we believe that all people have sinned and as a result have a broken relationship with God. Our collective rebellion affects all of human society. As a result, we all need forgiveness, healing, and restoration to loving relationship with God. The alternative is an eternity of voluntary isolation from God's presence and goodness.

What is God doing about the problem?
We believe sin brings guilt that deserves punishment but, because God loves us, God decided that the punishment for all sin would be borne by Jesus Christ when He died on the Cross. And Jesus, who rose from the dead, now offers forgiveness and new life to any who will welcome Him by trusting that He is completely faithful to fulfill the promise of new life He has made to us. God’s solution to sin holds two aspects of His perfection in perfect harmony; justice and mercy. Because Jesus paid the penalty for sin in our place on the Cross, God's justice remains intact. Because God freely offers us forgiveness from sin, He is also merciful.

You mean I can't help myself be right with God?
No, you can't. But the good news is this. We believe that God freely offers us the gift of forgiveness for our sin and a restored relationship with Himself. There’s nothing we can do to earn that gift, but we can receive it.

How do I receive God's forgiveness and new life?
We believe that if we trust Jesus, that His death and Resurrection on our behalf is God's provision to reconcile us to HImself, well, then we're right with God based on that trust, or what Christians call faith. As a result, God forgives us and lives within us through the Person of the Holy Spirit. With a sincere change of heart, we turn away from sin because of a new and God-given desire to live for Him. The Bible talks about someone who experiences this as being born “from above” into a new reality as one of God's children—a follower of Jesus.

How do I follow Jesus?
We believe there is a real and instantaneous spiritual transformation in the heart of someone who has received Jesus Christ by faith. This radically changes his or her heart—the seat of our deepest motivation. The resulting change in our conduct reflects this heart change. When God, the Holy Spirit, comes to live with us and in us, as the Bible promises, He brings a new life, a spiritual vitality, and a whole new set of desires that motivate us as we follow Jesus’ teaching.

What about things like going to church, communion, and water baptism? Do I have to do those?
None of those things bring you forgiveness and a restored relationship with God. But they are important. Since the early days of the Church, Christians have met regularly "in the temple Courts" (large gatherings) and "house-to-house" (small groups), as recorded in the Bible. That's why we encourage people who attend B4 to prioritize our Sunday morning services and getting connected in a small group. Both types of gatherings are important to our spiritual growth.

In the Bible, we also read the story of Jesus’ last meal with His followers. He tells us to remember Him by celebrating a similar “meal.” That is why we believe in the regular practice of the Lord’s Supper, or what Christians often call Communion. The bread and the grape juice symbolically proclaim the truth of Christ’s sacrificial death for us. It's a reminder that we're all a part of God's family gathered around His table. It also spiritually feeds the new life in someone who participates in faithful obedience.

We believe that being baptized in water is an important act of obedience to a clear command of Jesus. It is a visible and public statement of what He has done in our lives and publically declares our desire to live for Him. It is an outward sign of an inward work, and distinct from the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit comes to dwell with and in Christians when they put their faith in Jesus. But they can also invite the Spirit to show His power in them and work through them in the same manner demonstrated by the early Church. This empowerment is sometimes referred to as “the second blessing,” the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, or being Spirit-filled. It is a distinctive part of our Pentecostal heritage that is in addition to the indwelling by the Holy Spirit of all believers. We believe the Baptism of the Spirit is crucial to living the Spirit-filled life.

What is the Spirit-Filled Life?
We believe that God gives us the Bible, His Word, and the Holy Spirit, His constant and personal presence in our lives. These two—the Word and the Spirit—are given that we might know of God’s deep love for us and respond with consistent obedience to His leading. As we do so, we begin to respond to our circumstances in a way that increasingly looks like Jesus, becoming powerful witnesses to Christ’s redeeming love. There is great joy and blessing in living a fruitful life transformed by the Word and led by the Spirit.

What are the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit?
We believe that the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—mark us in ever increasing abundance as a direct result of our responding to the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives. The gifts of the Spirit are different than the fruit of the Spirit or even from natural talents. They are supernaturally given to the church through us so that we can minister powerfully as witnesses to Jesus' redemptive work.

Does it include divine healing?
We believe that divine healing is the power of Jesus to heal the sick. He hasn't changed. He's still willing and able to heal the body, as well as the soul and spirit, in answer to faithful prayer. You might ask then, “Why isn’t everyone healed?” A long-time pastor of our church, Ron Mehl, who suffered with active leukemia for more than twenty years, offered a wise answer: “God always answers a prayer offered in faith, but the answer is sometimes ‘yes,’ sometimes ‘not yet,’ and sometimes ‘I love you too much to do that.’”

How do you maintain balance, and not get weird “Holy Spirit” stuff going on?
The Foursquare movement values the outwardly visible ministry of the Holy Spirit. These expressions of the Spirit’s work among us are always examined in the light of Scripture to discern a genuine move of the Spirit. We believe that this practice is an important part of the principle of moderation: that our lives should reflect the balance, humility, and self-sacrifice Jesus demonstrated.

What about Jesus’ return?
We believe that Jesus Christ will fulfill His promise and return to earth physically and unmistakably at a future time that's unknown to us. This is why so much of our ministry is focused on evangelism—showing people that God loves them, and encouraging them to receive Jesus before He returns to judge the world.

What about judgment?
We believe that it's one expression of God’s love for his creation. It is in the capacity as Judge that He confronts evil on behalf of those He loves, ending it for all time. Within this larger context, we also believe that all people shall stand one day before God to give account for their lives.

What about Heaven?
We believe that Heaven is the glorious, eternal home of those who love and trust Jesus Christ as Savior. Their love relationship is expressed as a conscious desire to follow Jesus as Lord, and nothing could be more delightful to them than living in unhindered communion with Him. That’s what Heaven is about.

Okay, what about Hell?
Hell is a place where the door is locked from the inside. That's not just a clever saying. It indicates a powerful truth about a place of eternal isolation, and the resulting suffering, for all those who reject Christ’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. It is a place reserved for those for whom nothing could be more unbearable than living in the presence of the Lord.

Is the reality of Heaven and Hell why evangelism is so important?
In a word, yes. We believe that helping people open their hearts to Jesus by telling as many as possible about Him is the most important responsibility of the Church. But it's also about them experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised.

Why is there so much said about serving and giving?
God is the first to give as an overflow of His love, providing us with time, talent, and treasure. Most of His people have the ability to give significantly of these three in order to bless others. We believe that the joyful giving and serving of His people is the means designed by God for the support of His work in the world through his Church.

What's a Christian’s relationship with the Church?
There are two ways “church” is talked about in the Bible. The Church (capital "C"), which is made up of all Christians, past, present, and future, is distinct from the local church (small "c"), made up of Christians from a particular community who meet regularly for worship. We believe it is our responsibility to actively participate in the life of a local church in worship, fellowship, teaching, and service. It's one of the most important relationships a Christian has.

 

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