“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity”.
– Peter Meiderlin
We believe God has revealed Himself to us through His saving works and words throughout human history as recorded in Scripture. God’s supreme act of self-disclosure was in the person of Jesus Christ, His Son, whom the bible teaches to be the “image of invisible God” and “the exact representation of His being” (Col 1:15; Heb 1:3).
We believe that the bible needs to be interpreted responsibly in ways consistent with reason, the tradition of the Church and experience. We must take into account the worldviews, historical settings and cultural contexts of the original authors as well as the diverse genres and literary/rhetorical devices they used in their writing. As we prayerfully and reverently study God’s Word, we can trust that God’s Holy Spirit will reliably guide us “into all truth” as Jesus promised (John 16:13-15).
And we believe that Christian doctrines represent different levels of relative importance. While all truth claims are important, not all are equally important. There are certain essential teachings of the Faith that we should be willing to die for: things like the triune nature of God, the full humanity and deity of Christ and the fact that salvation is by faith alone in Jesus. But there are many other teachings, which—while still significant—are not as consequential as the core set of defining beliefs that comprise what C.S. Lewis called “mere Christianity.” For example, the precise timing of Jesus’ return to earth is not nearly as important as the fact that He is returning to earth. The former is an example of a second-order truth claim; the latter, a first-order truth claim.
Many first-order claims were defined by the early Church Creeds. Of these, two are particularly important: the Nicene Creed (A.D. 325, 381) and the Definition of Chalcedon (A.D. 451). In addition, the Apostle’s Creed gives us a beautiful distillation of Christian doctrine and has been a treasured resource among churches in the West since the fourth or fifth century. Holy Trinity treasures each of these statements as accurate encapsulations of biblical truth.
In addition to the Creeds, most denominations further define their beliefs by means of a
Confession or a Statement of Faith. These typically embody both first- and second-order doctrines. As an Alliance church, Holy Trinity Chico holds to the Alliance Statement of Faith, which can be found here.