In our essential beliefs, we have unity. In our non-essential beliefs, we have liberty. In all our beliefs, we show charity. The following represents those beliefs we consider “essential”:
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.
About the Father
He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, and all-wise. He reigns with providential care over the universe and the flow of human history goes according to His purposes and plan.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus has eternally existed and became man at His incarnation. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He bodily arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return someday to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
About the Holy Spirit
He is the third Person of the Trinity. He guides men into all truth; exalts Christ; convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment; cultivates Christian character; comforts believers; bestows spiritual gifts by which they serve God; and seals the believer until the final day of redemption. His presence in the lives of believers is the assurance of God to bring us into the fullness of the stature of Christ.
The Bible is God’s Word to us. Human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit, wrote it. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because God inspired it, it is the truth without any mixture of error.
About Human Beings
People are made in the image of God and are the supreme object of God’s creation. All of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin”. This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in our lives.
Salvation is God’s free gift to us, but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sins by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.
About Eternal Security
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. If you have been genuinely saved, you cannot “lose” it. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security.
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
About Baptism by Immersion
We believe that scriptural baptism must be: (1) by being completely immersed under the water, and (2) must be after salvation. Jesus was immersed and all baptisms in the New Testament were by immersion. These two facts set the standard for baptism today. Baptism has no saving power but is the first act of obedience symbolizing (1) the believer’s faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, (2) the believer’s death to sin and resurrection to walk anew in Christ, and (3) the Christian’s belief that he will die, be buried, and that Jesus will resurrect him from the dead.
The Lord’s Supper (communion) is a symbolic act of obedience whereby believers remember the death of the Lord Jesus and anticipate His second coming. The bread is symbolic of His body and the juice represents His blood.
At Bay Vista we believe in giving the tithe – 10% of gross income (not net) – as the biblical standard of giving. According to the Scriptures we are to give cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionally, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.
It is the duty of every born again follower of Jesus Christ and of every church to endeavor to make disciples of all men everywhere. It is the command of Christ for every believer to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by personal effort and by all other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
About the Church
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by their common faith and fellowship with Jesus. A local church is to observe these two ordinances: (1) baptism, and (2) the Lord’s Supper; exercise their God-given gifts; and extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. The church is an autonomous body serving under the Lordship of Christ. All members are equally responsible as they serve with the scriptural offices of the church, the pastors and deacons.
About Christian Unity
To live in harmony with other believers is clearly the teaching of the New Testament. It is the responsibility of each believer to endeavor to live in fellowship with each member of the congregation. It is further the responsibility of each member to bring all gossiping and backbiting to an end.