We Believe

The Holy Bible

We believe that the Holy Bible – in its entirety, originated from and was inspired by God. While each of the 40+ writers retained their own natures and styles, the message communicated was all God’s message. The Bible was written over a span of several thousand years and most of the writers never met one another and did not know about the written works of the others. Still they maintained a Spirit-inspired theme of God’s self-revelation and His plan of redemption. It is essential for Christians to know and believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We need to hear from God, for He created us with a need to communicate with Him.

What this means:

  • Because Scriptures came from an all-knowing God, they are infallible. Whenever there is disagreement about Scripture, it is not because Scripture is inconsistent but because fallible men interpret it.
  • Scripture is the final authority on all maters of faith and practice.
  • The Bible isn’t just a story but the actual Word of God.
  • It is revelation and truth and life-giving.

Practical application:

  • All teaching at Southland is based on the Bible and uses Bible Study as a component of this teaching.
  • All Christians are responsible for studying the Bible for themselves – no one should rely on someone else’s understanding of the Bible in total. God has called all of us to know His Word.
  • We encourage members to spend time in God’s Word regularly.  We do not tell members that they must “spend a certain amount of time” or “read a certain amount” each day. We believe that the Holy Spirit will guide each individual in how much time to spend in the Word.
  • Whenever there is a question about what to do or how to respond in a certain situation, we believe that it should be submitted to what the Bible teaches about that area and then we must obey what we discover God has commanded.

Scriptures: II Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12; I Peter 1:23-25; II Peter 1:19-21
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We believe in one God revealed in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

What this means:

The Bible begins with the phrase, “In the beginning, God.” God has always existed. His nature and being are eternal.

We also learn about God from His revelation to us that three distinct “persons” are called God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Because the Bible clearly teaches that there is one God – not three Gods, we understand that these three persons must fully share the one and only divine nature.

We use the term “Trinity” as a label for the teaching that God has a singular nature but a plural personality. Many struggle with the idea of God being three persons, yet one. Quite honestly, we will never fully grasp the concept this side of heaven.

Practical application:

Knowing God is our highest priority – substituting any activity or allowing any passion to become stronger is idolatry.

We cannot agree with any teacher or religious group which rejects God’s revelation of Himself as Trinity (as is common with many “cult” groups).

We can count on God to be active throughout our lifetime; He will bring us good things, and He can work through evil to create good outcomes; He works in our lives so we develop a vital relationship with Him based on deep trust that supersedes all other loyalties.

Scriptures: Matthew 3:16-17, John 17, Matthew 28:19-20, Romans 8:28
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We believe that man, in his natural state, is a sinner, lost, undone, without hope, and without God.

What this means:

  • God originally created man in His own image which was good and in perfect communion with Him.
  • When Adam and Eve sinned against God, sin came into the world and since that time all men have been infected with this sin and are spiritually separated from God.
  • Ever since then, the human quest has been to rediscover his lost worth and to enjoy relationship with God again.
  • No matter how good we are, how much we know, or what good works we do – we cannot overcome that chasm between sinful man and a righteous God on our own.

Practical application:

  • When we understand that we cannot save ourselves through anything of our own doing, we admit this to God and ask Him to show us how we can be restored to relationship with Him.

Scriptures: Romans 3:19-23; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 2:1, 2, 12
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Salvation and the Blood Atonement

We believe that the terms of salvation are repentance toward God for sin and a personal, heartfelt faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, which results in regeneration of the person.  This salvation is entirely by the grace of our Lord and not of works.

While works are not part of salvation, they are frequently the fruits of a saved life. We believe that it is the saving power of the Blood of Jesus Christ that actually saves us and gives us His righteousness. It is this righteousness that gives us the ability to have a personal relationship with God again.

What this means

  • Once we accept that we cannot save ourselves, we look to God’s plan for salvation.
  • His Word tells us that we can only come to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ – His son.
  • When we believe that AND accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we repent of our sins and He forgives us.
  • He doesn’t just clean us – He makes us righteous – new and restores us to relationship with the Father.

Practical application:

  • We acknowledge our need for a savior and ask Jesus to come into our lives.
  • We ask Him for forgiveness and repent of our sins.
  • We ask the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us.

Scriptures: Acts 3:19-20 & 4:12; Romans 4:1-9, 5:1-11; Ephesians 1:3-15; 2:8-10; John 3:12-18
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Divinity & the Humanity of Christ

We believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is God come in flesh and that He is both divine and human.

What this means

  • Jesus Christ is unlike any person who has or ever will live. He is not part divine, part human?He is fully both. All of God dwelt in Him, and His humanity was complete.
  • He was born in the normal way from a human mother, yet His divinity is established by virtue of the fact His mother was a virgin who conceived miraculously.
  • He experienced every human limitation except sin.
  • He was like us in every way except that He never disobeyed His heavenly Father.
  • Yet, He also was coequal with His Father and the Holy Spirit from all eternity.
  • His death did not end His existence, but after He paid for our sins on the cross, He arose from the dead on the third day.
  • He is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

Practical application:

  • We are called Christians because our message is about Christ?His work, His divinity, and our need to follow Him.
  • Because our salvation was secured by a perfect sacrifice of a perfect person, we live knowing that we are totally and unconditionally forgiven from sin now, rather than hoping we will be forgiven at some future point; we are secure in the grace of God through Christ.

Scriptures: Luke 1:26-38; John 14:1-3; Acts 2:36, 3:14-15; Philippians 2:5-12; Hebrews 1:3-15; John 1:1-14; Isaiah 9:6-7; Colossians 2:9
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Bodily Resurrection & Ascension

We believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What this means

  • When Jesus arose from the grave, His body was restored to life – not just His spirit and His soul.
  • He bodily ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf.

Practical application:

  • Because Jesus arose from the grave and conquered death, we can look forward to resurrection.

Scriptures: Luke 24:1-53; John 20:24-31; Romans 8:34; Matthew 28:1-20; II Corinthians 15:1-23
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Second Coming

We believe in the visible, bodily return of Jesus Christ to this earth to gather His Church (Bride) and judge the world.

What this means

  • Jesus said that some day He would return for the Church – those who believed in and accepted Him as Lord.
  • We know from the Word that everyone will see Him coming and there won’t be any doubt.
  • The Bible does not say whether this will be before, during, or after the Great Tribulation. Bible scholars have interpreted the Word to mean all three of these things based on how they understand it but no one knows for sure. What we do know for sure is that He will return and we need to be prepared for that day. .(Note:  It is not necessary that we all believe alike concerning whether He is coming before, during or after the Great Tribulation.)

Practical application:

  • We need to be using our gifts as the Holy Spirit directs us to help with the harvest of as many people as possible so they will be saved when Jesus returns.

Scriptures: Acts 1:10-11; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; II Thessalonians 1:7-10; James 5:8; Revelation 1:7; John 14:1-6; 2 Peter 3:1-14; I Corinthians 15:22-23; Matthew 24:23-51
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Local Church

We believe that the local church is a part of THE CHURCH.  It is a Body of Believers who have been baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; who are under recognized, delegated authorities; and who assemble to worship, and carry forth the Great Commission and minister as the Holy Spirit leads.

What this means

  • The CHURCH consists of groups of people -not buildings?who have been brought together by the Holy Spirit for His purposes.
  • It is made up of people who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.
  • Local bodies of the CHURCH may have different “flavors” or man-made traditions – but all have the same Biblical truths.
  • Each local body has a purpose that is set by the Holy Spirit based on God’s desires and heart. Some groups may be set in place to minister to poor communities, others to world evangelism, and/or other things.

Practical application:

  • We believe that the Holy Spirit has set us in place to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Christ.
  • Our primary goal is to create and use all possible methods, which are in the spirit and guidelines of Christ’s teaching and reach out into our community with the love and forgiveness of God.
  • We also believe that we are called to provide leadership training in order to make disciples of those who have made Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives.

Scriptures: Matthew 16:18; 28:19-20; Acts 2:40-47; 20:28; Ephesians 5:21-32; I Timothy 3:15; I Peter 2:9-10; Ephesians 3:1-11
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We believe that the two ordinances of the Church are water baptism and communion (The Lord’s Supper).

What this means

  • You do not have to be baptized to be saved but it is a public sign that you are following the example of Jesus and  being obedient to His command.
  • It is a “picture” of what Christ did for us – He died and was buried and then He arose from the grave again conquering the finality of death.
  • It is also a “picture” of what has happened to us when we accepted Him as Savior – our old selves died and have been buried and we rise out of that water clean and new to follow after our Lord.
  • Jesus commanded His disciples (the Church) to take communion in rememberance of Him. This is a sign of His covenant with us.
  • It is a fulfillment of the Passover feast and deliverance that began with Moses in Egypt.

Practical application:

  • We encourage all believers to follow Christ example and to be baptized through full emersion in the water. It is not that it is any “better than” sprinkling but it is the way He was baptized by John the Baptist.
  • Again, this is not a requirement of salvation – but it is a sign of submission to the Lord.
  • We take the sacrement of communion to remind us of the blood covenant that we have with the Lord. Any Christian who has repented of sin and asked God’s forgiveness may partake of communion – not just members of Southland.

Scriptures: I Peter 3:18-21; Galatians 3:26-28; Colossians 2:11-12; Matthew 26:17-28; I Corinthians 10:16-17 & 11:23-34
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Separated Life

We believe that believers should seek, as the early disciples did, to practice the Separated life from the world and unto Jesus Christ and to set standards of conduct which shall exalt our Lord and His Church.

What this means

  • First of all, this means that we follow the standards set by the Bible – even when something is allowed by the government, if it is outside the laws set by God, we should follow His higher standard.
  • It means that it is important that we spend a great deal of time with other believers encouraging one another, learning from one another, and growing together.
  • It also means that we should “do life together”.
  • It does not mean that we should not associate with non-believers. Even Jesus spent time with the unbelievers – how else could He minister to them. How else can we witness to them?

Practical application:

  • We offer a variety of opportunities for members and attendees to do things together such as family day, camp for kids, youth groups, women’s and men’s groups, luncheons, classes, Wednesday night service, Sunday School, and small groups.

Scriptures: Romans 12:1-3; II Corinthians 6:17; Galatians 5:16-26 & 6:14; Ephesians 4:24 & 5:11; Colossians 3:1-17; Matthew 16:24-27 & 18:8-9
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Heaven and Hell

We believe the Holy Scriptures clearly set forth the doctrines of eternal punishment for the lost and eternal bliss and salvation for the saved  –  Hell for the unsaved and Heaven for the saved.

What this means

  • The Bible clearly tells us that no one comes to the Father except by Jesus. Heaven is a real place that has been reserved for those who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior.
  • Hell is also a real place and we are told that those who are not saved will reside there.
  • Which place we spend eternity in has nothing to do with how good we are but only in whether we have accepted Christ as our Savior or not.

Scriptures: Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43 & 25:34, 41, 46; Luke 16:19-31; John 14:1-3; Revelation 20:11-15; I Corinthians 15:50-57
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Holy Spirit

We believe the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity whose purpose in the redemption of man is to convict him of sin, regenerate the repentant believer, guide the believer into understanding the Holy Scriptures, indwell and give gifts to believers as He wills, that they may minister as Christ would to men.

We believe that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, recorded in I Corinthians 12:8-11, shall operate in the churches today which yield to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We believe a believer can be baptized in the Holy Spirit during the time Jesus is regenerating him, or any time subsequent to his regeneration (new birth) experience.

We believe that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, with an evidence (but not the only evidence) of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance, is for all believers as promised by John the Baptist, was witnessed by the early disciples of Christ, and is evidenced in the lives of many present day believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

What this means

The Holy Spirit is the most mysterious member of the Trinity. It is probably fair to say that all Christians believe in the Holy Spirit, but many of them fail to see Him as a person. They view Him as a influence or force of God. He is far more than this. The Bible tells us that He is one of the three people of the Godhead. He is divine in absolute sense: He is eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.

  • He had a part in creation, regeneration, and the resurrection of Christ.
  • He has a personality, mind, will, and feelings.
  • He teaches, witnesses, intercedes, speaks, commands, testifies, and He may be grieved, lied to, and blasphemed.
  • His personality is separate and distinct from God, for He proceeds from God, is sent from God, and is God’s gift to people.

Scriptures: Hebrews 9:14; Psalm 139:7-10; Luke 1:35, I Corinthians 2:10-11; Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4; John 3:5-8; Romans 8:11; Romans 8:27; I Corinthians 12:11; II Peter 1:21; John 14:26; Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:26; Revelation 2:7; Luke 11:13; John 7:37-39; 14:16, 17; Acts 2:39-47; Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:4, 5, 8; Acts 10:44-47; 19:1-6
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Divine Healing

We believe that God does use doctors, medicines and other material means for healing.  However, we believe divine healing has been provided for us in the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Divine healing may be received through the laying on of hands by Elders, laying on of hands by believers, by the prayer of an anointed person gifted for healing the sick, by the anointing with oil and the prayer of faith, or by a direct act of faith where the believer receives healing from the Lord Jesus Christ without ministry from anyone else.

What this means

  • One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the church is the gift of healing. We believe that sometimes God allows us to be healed physically or mentally in a supernatural way.
  • This is always for His glory and to demonstrate the power of God.

Scriptures: Isaiah 53:5; James 5:14-16; Mark 16:18; I Corinthians 12:9; Mark 11:23
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Priesthood of Believers

We believe that each believer is a priest of the Lord Jesus Christ and has direct access to the Father through the Lord Jesus.  Each person must believe for himself, be baptized for himself, obey for himself and answer to his Creator for himself.

What this means

  • When Jesus died for our sins and arose from the grave, He restored our relationship to the Father through Himself.
  • Because we now have access to the Father, we can come before Him boldly to bring our petitions, thanksgiving, and praise.
  • We do not need an earthly priest to intercede on our behalf.

Practical application:

  • All members of the Body have the right, ability, and responsibility to pray, speak out the truth that God gives them, and be part of ministry.

Scriptures: Revelation 1:6; I Peter 2:1-10; Romans 12:1-8; Philippians 2:1-16; I Corinthians 12:12-27
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Government of the Church

We believe that the New Testament Church should be apostolic in nature and governed by delegated authorities.  These authorities at SouthlandChurch are the Pastors and Elders.  We understand and believe that God’s order of government for the local church is one of the church being birthed under the oversight of an Apostolic ministry.

Practical Application

Southland Church is fully autonomous; yet we maintain an apostolic relationship with Cornerstone Fellowship of Ministries and Church Foundational Network.

Scriptures: Ephesians 4:11-16; I Peter 5:1-5; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:7
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Tithes and Offerings

We believe that God’s plan of finance for His work is by tithes and  offerings and that it is a joy for His children to acknowledge His Lordship in this manner.

What this means

  • In the Old Testament, God required the tithe – or 1st 10% of each person’s earnings to be given to the House of the Lord.
  • We believe that God still calls us to tithe and that unless led otherwise by the Holy Spirit that this should go to support the work of the member’s local church.
  • Offerings are given above and beyond tithes. There are many opportunities to give offering both inside and outside the church. One special offering that Southland observes is the Sacrifice Offering. Periodically, we are asked to pray and seek God’s guidance on what we should give as a Sacrifice Offering. Money given in this Sacrifice goes towards special needs as directed by the Pastor and Elders.
  • All of this – tithes and offerings – are between God and the giver. Each person is responsible for praying to God and seeking His direction in what he should offer.

Practical application:

  • Each person should pray and seek God’s guidance on this matter.
  • He should determine in his heart what he will give and be led by the Spirit on this.
  • It is wise to put aside what you have determined to give first before you start paying out everything else – otherwise, the enemy will always have ?reasons’ why you cannot give what you have committed to God.
  • Give with a joyful heart and rejoice that He has provided enough to allow you to give back to Him.

Scriptures: Malachi 3:6-12; Genesis 14:17-20; Hebrews 7:1-10; Matthew 23:23; II Corinthians 8 & 9; Acts 20:35
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Our Core Values