These brief statements (developed in part by the Association of Campus Ministers) help to define the theological positions generally held by members of the Impact Campus Ministries, and their constituent churches known as the “Independent Christian Churches” and “Churches of Christ”:
God is one being eternally coexisting in three persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He is the source of all creation (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1-2), which He sustains (Col. 1:17) and is in the process of redeeming (Rom. 8:19-22). God the Father loves us and desires that we have fellowship with Him as His children (I John 1:3).
Jesus of Nazareth is the incarnation of God the Son. He is the Word become flesh (John 1:14), and He now holds all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). He is both Savior and Lord. For our salvation, He was born a man, lived a sinless life, and suffered a brutal death on the cross. He was raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven where He is now our high priest and advocate. He and he alone is the head of the Church.
The Holy Spirit is a “person” and not a “thing,” “power,” or “force.” Although co-equal with God as Father and Son, Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit works interpersonally and actively in the world, seeking to glorify Jesus and the Father. The Holy Spirit actively works to convict people of their own sin, of God’s righteousness, and judgment to come (John 16:5-11). The Holy Spirit indwells (lives inside) believers individually, and corporately in the Church—the body and bride of Christ. The Holy Spirit produces fruit within the life of each Christian and also works to produce in each believer a pure heart, which results in Christ-like character expressed in private and public conduct and action. The Holy Spirit also endows each believer with gifts for service or ministry in the kingdom.
The Bible is not just “A” book—it actually exists as a collection of 66 separate and distinct literary works known as the Old and New Testament Scriptures. It is the uniquely inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21). We firmly hold that the Bible stands as the only rule or standard of faith and practice for Christians. We affirm that Scripture is the only authoritative revelation from God by which we know God’s will and Christ’s authority. We seek to assert what the Scriptures clearly assert and allow freedom in other cases. We believe that to grasp the meaning of Scripture it is our solemn responsibility to seek to understand divine intent, through authorial intent, and we seek to apply its teaching to the individual Christian’s life, as well as to the contemporary church and to any culture in which Christians live.
The Church is the body of Christ on earth, the undivided, unified, and organic community of believers throughout the world. Upon surrender to Christ, a person is added to the Church. In addition, the priesthood of all believers means each Christian is called to be a serving minister, faithfully utilizing the gift or gifts given to him or her by Jesus and through the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 2:9-10). The Church’s mission (and therefore every individual disciple’s mission) is to live out the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).
Human beings were created by God to walk in fellowship with Him. We were created to glorify God. However, all (except Jesus) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Because of this, we must rely solely on God’s generous offer of mercy, compassion, grace and forgiveness. Each human, from the moment life begins, is made in the image of God (imago dei), and as such, is a person valued and loved by God. As the human objects of His love we are to be nurtured, protected, and developed. The primary purpose of every human’s existence is to glorify God.
Salvation is by God alone through Jesus Christ alone. Salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). This salvation is welcomed through hearing the Good News, acknowledging (confessing) Jesus as Lord, turning from sin (repentance), being baptized (Acts 2:38, 3:19, 8:12, 10:47-48; and Rom.10:9-10), living in fellowship with Christ and His Church (Eph. 2:1-22), and demonstrating the love of God to the world (Matthew 28:18-20). In our salvation, we are being transformed into the likeness of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).
Baptism represents a part of the believer’s proper response in obedience to Christ—“…the appeal of a good conscience toward God” (1 Pet. 3:21). As an act of faithful obedience, baptism in no way represents a “work” through which salvation is earned by any meritorious act or effort on the part of the believer (Eph. 2:8-10). The writers of Scripture record that in baptism (meaning “immersion” in water) the following things occurred: See… a believer is crucified and buried with Christ (Rom. 6:3-4), receives forgiveness of sin and the Holy Spirit as a gift (Acts 2:38), is resurrected (Col. 2:12) and clothed with Christ (Gal. 3:27), and has ones’ sins washed away (Acts 22:16)—all because of God’s merciful, compassionate, and free gift of grace received by faith.
The Christian life does not end at conversion—it begins. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit brings new life and new joy. Every person who comes to the Father through Jesus (as just described) becomes a dynamic disciple– personally dedicated to spiritual growth, Christian community, and Kingdom priorities. Once saved by grace, by grace we live.