Gospel - Centered Theology
“There is nothing more irreligious than self-absorbed religion.” - J.I. Packer
God is the initiator of Salvation and Jesus is the Hero. God doesn’t respond to us – we respond to God’s initiative and calling. He saves and secures us for salvation and we respond only because of and by his grace. Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension and sending of the Spirit are the center and fulfillment of our faith. It is through him, because of him and in him that we come to be God’s people, are transformed and have hope for final restoration.
"Submission to the Scriptures is submission to God. Rebellion against the Scriptures is rebellion against God." - Kevin DeYoung
The Scriptures are inspired by God, and are infallible and without error in the original manuscripts. They are the unique, full and final authority on all matters of faith and practice, and there are no other writings similarly inspired by God.
(Ephesians 2:1-10; 2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12-14)
Gospel - Centered Identity
FAMILY | SERVANT | MISSIONARIES
“Whenever God does something to you, he also intends to do something through you. Our work in the world is an extension and expression of God’s very identity.” - Jeff Vanderstelt
Jesus commands us to go everywhere and make disciples, teaching them to obey everything He commanded. We demonstrate this through baptism – we are to baptize into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
Baptizing people into the name of Jesus is about establishing them into their new Trinitarian Identity in Jesus Christ. This means:
God is our Father and we are His Family;
Jesus is our Lord and we are His Servants;
The Holy Spirit is our Guide and Sender and we are His Missionaries.
These three identities are true of a disciple of Jesus.
(Romans 12:10-16; Philippians 2:5-11; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
Gospel - Centered Ecclesiology
Ecclesiology is the understanding of the nature and structure of the church. "There is a great need today to understand the essential nature of the church from what Scripture teaches and not firstly from the role some claim she ought to play in society." - Greg Herrick
(Exodus 18; 2 Samuel 12:1-15; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 4:11-16)
We believe all Christians are members of God's Family. We also believe it is important to commit to a local church body. Membership at The Crossing Church represents your commitment to collectively live on the mission of God together with our church body in our present context. Together, as a family of servant missionaries, we commit to love one another, build each other up into Christ, engage, equip and encourage one another with the truth in love, and lead others to do the same.
Jesus called out twelve men in whom He entrusted His church. This demonstrates a plurality in leadership. Of the eighteen times church leadership is mentioned after Christ’s ascension, fifteen of them denote plurality in church leadership (the other three references are actually viewed in light of a plural context).
From the birth of the church in Acts throughout its growth, the church leadership is placed in the hands of a group of overseers or elders. The ministry and overall vision of the church will be overseen by elders. They are primarily responsible for the leadership and oversight of the church. As leaders they give direction and guidance to the church. As teachers they seek to preserve the church's faithfulness to the Word.
Gospel - Centered Community
“We need to shift our focus from putting on attractional events to creating attractional communities.” - Tim Chester
We believe the most irreducible and effective structure for making disciples as the church is a Missional Community (MC) seeking to see gospel saturation in all areas of life. This is a smaller group of people who gather regularly and engage in everyday life on mission throughout the week with a commitment to reaching a particular people and place together with the goal of making disciples and multiplying and sending out more MC's. We believe the church is the family of God sent by the Spirit to make disciples of Jesus to all nations throughout the world. We are saved by God’s power for God’s purposes to bring him glory in all things wherever we are. The church is always being sent by God to accomplish his mission. Disciples make disciples, missional communities send out missional communities, and churches plant churches for the glory of God.
We take time to recognize the natural rhythms of our culture and live in them having experienced gospel change. For us they are our gospel rhythms:
The mission is not an addition to an already busy life. The mission of the Gospel is the primary focus of our life. The Gospel has liberated us to live a life of mission in all things. With Gospel Fluency we look at the world and see every moment of every day as an opportunity to be on mission. We live as a family of servant missionaries in the normal rhythms of everyday life.
(John 17:14-18; Romans 12:9-21, 15:1-7; Hebrews 10:24-25)
Gospel - Centered Belief
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” - A.W. Tozer
Through the person and work of Jesus we have access to God, yet we often fail to believe what is true about Him. This unbelief leads us into sin. Therefore, we must remember often to believe, for example, God is Great - so we need not be in control, Glorious - so we need not fear, Good - so we need not search elsewhere, and Gracious - so we need not prove ourselves.
As we're on mission and reminded of our need to believe the gospel we discover the necessity for spiritual discipline (prayer, meditation on Scripture, fasting, fellowship with other believers, solitude, etc). Discipline is a means to being equipped for the mission of God to the glory of God. If the gospel is not the center of our belief we are sure to become bound in legalism or antinomianism. Neither of these categories is desirable, but without daily repentance and belief in the gospel our behavior drifts towards one of the two. Only gospel-centered belief frees us to obey God with joy and gratitude for His grace.
(Mark 9:14-29; John 20:29; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 4:6-8)
Gospel - Centered Worship
"Corporate worship is a regular gracious reminder that it's not about you. You've been born into a life that is a celebration of another." - Paul David Tripp
When we gather as family to worship we are striving to make much of Jesus. Through theologically rich songs, prayers, Scripture readings, expository teaching/preaching of the Bible, and weekly communion our desire is to focus the hearts, minds, wills, and emotions of our people on the sufficiency of and satisfaction in Jesus Christ above all else. Together we see our brokenness and sinfulness and see the gospel as able to not only bring forgiveness, but also bring a sense of belonging in the presence of God. We worship with humility because our sins are great and God is Holy. We worship with confidence because our Savior and His gospel are sufficient and God is our Father. We lead our people to engage with God through their hearts, minds, will, and emotions with the desired outcome of repentance of sin and faith in Jesus that is manifested in obedience. Weekly communion keep the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for our sins vividly before our people. Expository preaching through books of the Bible bring the whole counsel of God to bear on our people. Songs and prayers are selected for how accurately they portray God and His gospel as well as how they lead our people to sing. The worship gathering is best experienced as the result of a life of worship and not a once weekly encounter with God.
(1 Kings 8, Nehemiah 8:1-8, Isaiah 6:1-8, Matthew 5:23-25, John 4:21-24, Acts 2:42-47, 4:23-31 1 Corinthians 12-14)
Gospel - Centered Mission
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't.” - John Piper
The mission of God is to "go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" in order to bring a rebellious people back into relationship with our Creator. Through disciple-making, multiplication, equipping, sending, and church planting we desire to saturate cultures with the gospel of Jesus. This gospel will eventually reach all nations, tribes, peoples and languages transforming individuals and cultures. A gospel transformed culture begins more and more to resemble the Kingdom of God Jesus came to initiate and will one day bring to full realization. We seek a kingdom flavored by the character, conduct and attitude of the life of Jesus lived out by His followers in all cultures.
We recognize the grace of God in all cultures in food, arts, family, government, recreation, and we celebrate with them while trusting that the gospel is the solution for mankind's greatest need and the brokenness found in all cultures. The mission is our greatest mission in life which saturates our families and jobs while calling us to sacrifice whatever is necessary to see Jesus become more and more our greatest treasure.
(Genesis 3:15, 4:20-22, 12:1-3; Isaiah 65:17-25, Matthew 5-7, 28:18-20; Luke 14:25-33; Acts 1:8; Revelation 7:9-12)