While the Elders and leadership of Onward Community Church hold to the full doctrinal statement, we understand that there is room for differing interpretations in what we consider the “non-essentials.” Consequently, it is possible to become a member of Onward even though you may not agree with the full doctrinal statement. Every member, however, is required to agree with Onward's eight essentials:
We believe the Bible to be the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, without error in the original writings, and the supreme and final authority in all matters to which it speaks, including spiritual, doctrinal, and historical (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; John 17:17).
We believe there is one God who exists eternally in three persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - each person distinct but with precisely the same nature and attributes and worthy of the same praise and obedience (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14, 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 2:9; Acts 5:3-4; John 10:30).
God the Father
We believe in God the Father, an infinite spirit, personal, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. We believe that He infallibly foreknows all that shall come to pass, that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Luke 10:21, 22; Matthew 23:9; John 3:16, 6:27; Romans 1:7, 1 Timothy 1:1,2,2:5,6; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 1:6)
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten eternal Son of God the Father, became fully man without ceasing to be fully God. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God, fulfill prophecy, and redeem sinful man. We believe He accomplished our redemption through His substitutionary physical death on the cross, His burial, and His bodily resurrection. We believe our redemption and salvation are guaranteed by His physical resurrection from the dead and that He is the only means of salvation (John 1:1; 14; 18; Luke 1:35; Romans 3:24-26; 4:25; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Timothy 2:5).
We believe that Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth, and the Head of the church. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is now in heaven, exalted to the right hand of God where, as High Priest to His people, He serves as our Advocate and intercedes for us (Colossians 1:15-19; Hebrews 1:3; 3:1; 7:23-25; 1 John 2:1-2).
The Holy Spirit
We believe God the Holy Spirit, third person of the Trinity, restrains evil in the world and convicts men of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He dwells in all who believe in Jesus. From the moment of belief in the Son, the Spirit baptizes believers into the body, seals them for salvation, regenerates them to new life, bestows spiritual gifts on each one, and is fully present to continually fill (control and guide) His own (John 16:7-11; John 3:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13; John 14:16-17; Ephesians 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).
We believe man was created innocent and in the image and likeness of God, but that man sinned, bringing both physical and spiritual death to himself and his posterity, the Man Christ Jesus alone being the exception (Genesis 1:27; 2:17; 3:19; 1 John 3:5). Man's depravity is radical and pervasive extending to his mind, will, and affections so that, apart from divine grace, he is incapable of turning to God, and as such, is in need of salvation (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23; 3:10; Ephesians 2:1-3). We believe that mankind’s sinful nature is rebellious toward God and His good design for life and worship (Romans 1:20-24; Ephesians 2:1-3). Mankind’s rebellion causes confusion about good and evil, and harm to people, ultimately ending in judgment, despair and death (Genesis 1:31; Galatians 5:16-21; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; James 1:13-15).
We believe God forms each person in the womb from conception (Psalm 139:13-16; Isaiah 44:2; 49:5; Jeremiah 1:4-5), and assigns a distinct gender - male (man) and female (woman) - as he forms them biologically and sexually different, but with equal personal dignity and value (Genesis 1:26-28).
We believe that God ordained marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18; Matthew 19:4-9; Ephesians 5:31-33). Those who accept and live within God’s design for sex, biological gender, and marriage experience the blessing of His good design (Psalm 1:1-3; 128:1-4), and decisions to change, alter, or modify God’s will in marriage, sex, or gender are part of man’s brokenness and lead to despair (Romans 1:21-22; James 1:13-15).
We believe that God loves and pursues mankind despite our rebellion (Romans 5:8). He offers forgiveness, healing and abundant life to anyone who turns to Him in humility (John 3:17; 10:10; Titus 3:3-7; 1 Peter 5:6-7).
We believe salvation is a sovereign gift of God and is received by man through personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sin. We believe man is justified by grace through faith apart from works (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:8-10). We believe that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation and that no one is saved apart from a conscious and personal decision to trust in Christ as his or her one and only Savior (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9-10). We believe all true believers elect of God, once saved, are kept secure in Christ forever (Romans 8:1; 29-30; 38-39; John 10:27-30).
The Second Coming
We believe in the future, visible, and bodily return of Jesus Christ to the earth, commonly called the Second Coming, to rule the nations and establish His kingdom on earth (Philippians 3:20; Matthew 24:15-31; Zechariah 14:4-11; Revelation 19:11-21).