What We Believe
We believe that God exists eternally in three persons, the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. We believe that He created this world & sustains it by His power. We believe that God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, to save sinners by His atoning death.
We believe that Jesus was born of a virgin & lived a sinless life. While on earth, He was fully God & fully man. Through the power of His teaching & His miracles, He proved Himself to be God. We believe that Jesus was crucified, that he died, was buried & rose from the dead on the third day. We believe He ascended into heaven where He intercedes for believers before God the Father. We believe He is coming again to take His Church to be with Him.
The Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity & resides in the heart of every person who has made a commitment to Jesus Christ. We believe the Holy Spirit indwells a person at the moment he commits his life to Jesus Christ.
We believe the Church (all Christians) was established for followers of Christ to worship, fellowship, study, pray together, & be a vehicle for being a witness in this world for Jesus Christ. We believe that all followers of Christ should be actively involved in a church.
We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, written without error, & preserved for our instruction. We believe that it is authoritative, accurate & relevant & is the guide for all of life.
We believe that man was meant to have a perfect communion with God but sin ruined that relationship. The only way for a person to be restored to that right relationship is through the saving power of Jesus Christ. Without this, a person will be eternally separated from God & spend eternity in Hell. We believe that salvation is based on Christ’s work & not on man’s effort. Everyone must personally accept this gift of grace through confession, repentance, & commitment to Christ as Savior.
Marriage and Family
We believe the family & marriage are God’s creation. As such, we believe God has provided clear direction in the Bible as to how marriage& the family can be successful, fulfilling, & accomplish His purposes.
We believe that marriage is defined by God as a union between one man& one woman. We also believe that while God desires that no marriage ends in divorce, He acknowledges & provides guidance in the Bible for divorce & remarriage for anyone who has experienced a divorce.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe the Bible clearly teaches the need for followers of Christ to be baptized by water as a symbolic act of their commitment to Christ. We believe the symbolic nature of baptism allows for it to be done by sprinkling, pouring or immersion. We believe infants can be publicly presented to the Lord by their parents & should wait to be baptized until they are able to make a decision of their own to follow Christ.
We believe the Lord’s supper (communion) should be practiced regularly by followers of Christ. We believe the bread symbolizes the body of Christ & the juice symbolizes the blood of Christ.
We believe that both the Lord’s supper & baptism are acts of obedience & expressions of love for Christ. In no way does either of these acts provide any special grace to those who participate or assure one of a proper relationship with Jesus Christ.
Eternal Security and Free Will
We believe God made mankind to have a free will to follow God & receive Jesus as their Savior or to reject God & follow their own desires. God plays an important role in bringing a person to a relationship with Jesus Christ, but the ultimate decision to follow is left to man & not determined by God.
We believe a person can rest assured in his faith in Christ & not “fear” he may lose his salvation with every sin he commits after becoming a follower of Christ. Obedience to God’s Word & a desire to please God ought to characterize the life of every Christian. Any person whose life does not characterize what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ ought to examine his life to determine the sincerity of his initial commitment to Christ.
Justification and Sanctification
We believe that when a person receives the gift of Jesus Christ in his life & turns over control of his life to Jesus, God sees him differently. He sees him “as though he has no sin” & as righteous & pure & worthy to spend his eternity in heaven in the presence of God. This is called justification, & the Bible clearly states that we are justified through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
From a human perspective, a person still sins after committing his life to Christ. The goal of every believer should be to become conformed to the image of Christ. This act of becoming more & more conformed to Jesus is called sanctification & is a life-long process of obedience & growth. The goal of every believer should be to sin less and less as he matures in his faith.
We believe God gives every believer at least one spiritual gift at the time of his conversion to be used for ministry to others. We believe every spiritual gift outlined in the Bible is to be used for the purpose of exalting Christ, building up others & unifying the church for its purpose of evangelism and outreach. At Otterbein, we do not teach or practice “supernatural or charismatic” gifts in our worship or public gatherings.
We also believe that spiritual gifts are just one component of a person’s life which God gives to help a person be effective in ministry. Other components include one’s experiences, personality, passion & natural abilities. All of these, along with a person’s spiritual gift(s), allow for followers of Christ to effectively serve others in the body (church) & share the message of Jesus in our communities and world.
Tithing and Giving
We believe tithing is primarily an Old Testament principle. We believe giving sacrificially of our time & money is essential in the life of every believer & a matter of obedience to God. Principles throughout the Old & New Testaments suggest that how we spend our money demonstrates to God where our heart is, the priority we give God & our relationship with Jesus Christ in contrast to the world. Hence we suggest as a foundation, a person should give “10 percent plus other gifts” to God as God blesses him to do so.
About Social Issues
We believe the Bible clearly addresses many of the social issues & ills of our contemporary society including abortion, divorce, remarriage, illicit sexual relationships, homosexuality, murder & drunkenness. We believe God’s plan & His spoken Word as recorded in the Bible are for all times & all generations &, thus, do not allow persons to excuse their behavior.
For those issues not clearly outlined in the Bible, we believe God allows for principles of Scripture, the wisdom of mature & godly leaders within the church & the work of the Holy Spirit within a believer’s life to guide a believer toward making decisions which are appropriate for his life. It should be noted that the Bible does allow for differing views on issues not clearly outlined in the Bible. Believers are admonished to be cautious in their attitudes & view of such issues when participating in them.