What We Believe

The Heartland Church of the Nazarene is a community of faith that confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.  We strive to live into this confession about Jesus’ Lordship through practicing our belief in the following things:


The Triune God

We believe that God exists as a co-equal and co-eternal Trinity of love, deference, mutuality, and unity of purpose and movement. We believe that the relationship the Trinity models for us is the same type of relationship we should have with one another. 


We practice our belief in the Triune God by submitting ourselves in obedience to the God who created us. As we are learning to submit ourselves to God, we are also learning to submit to one another in mutuality.  This means that we love and care for each other in the same way that the Father, Son, and Spirit love and care for each other.


 The Bible

We believe in the full inspiration of the Holy Scriptures or the Bible. We believe that God used the author's talents and gifts to inerrantly express God's desire to bring about salvation for all of creation. We believe the Bible reveals the will of God concerning us in all things necessary for salvation. 


We practice our belief in the Bible by submitting ourselves to it.  When we read the Scriptures, we do so humbly always inviting the Holy Spirit to help us understand and obey. Then, we submit our reading of Scripture to the wisdom and discernment of the historical and local Body of Christ.


Sin and Grace

We believe all people are born into sin as a result of humanity's first sin perpetrated by Adam and Eve.  We call this original sin.  Original sin causes us to love ourselves more than we love God or our neighbor, and so we make choices that cause harm to others.  We call these choices, personal sin.  We believe that God has not left us alone in our selfishness, but that God's grace continually goes before us to woo us back into the divine dance.


We practice our belief in sin and grace through the twin practices of confession and repentance.  First, we confess our sins to God and pray for the strength to repent, turning to walk in a new direction where we love God and neighbor more fully.  Next, we engage in acts of confession to one another.  Because we have sought to mutually submit ourselves to each other, when we confess, God’s grace flows through our brothers and sisters in Christ to forgive us and to help us as we repent and change directions.

 

Salvation and Sanctification

We believe that through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ that creation can once again unite with God in the divine dance of mutual relationship. Through Christ's atonement we are justified (made right with God), regenerated (made new and spiritually alive), and adopted (brought into God's family).

We believe that salvation is not the end of our journey, but the beginning.  We believe that as we enter into a relationship with the Triune God, the Holy Spirit begins to live within us to help us grow in grace and the likeness of Jesus Christ. Though the Spirit begins to empower us when we first believe, we must continually invite and allow the Spirit to dwell in us to convict us of sin and to move us toward an ever-increasing love of God and neighbor. 


We practice our belief in the Triune God’s gift of salvation for us through engaging in our own ministry of reconciliation.  What Jesus has done for us, we long to see done for others. To that end, we are called to identify with and enter into the broken space of our world, carrying Jesus’ presences with us, so that the reconciling and restoring power of the Triune God might come to be known through the continual work of the Holy Spirit.    


The Church

We believe that the church is a community of faith that confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord. To confess that Jesus Christ is Lord is to confess that we have no other lords or masters. We believe that an individual cannot truly make this confession apart from participation in a local fellowship of believers because all of our other beliefs are intimately connected to our mutual submission to God and each other.


We practice our belief in the church through our regular gathering as a worshiping community in three spaces. First, we gather together as a unified body for worship and teaching.  Second, we gather in homes to break bread, submitting ourselves to Scripture and each other.  Third, we gather together in our communities and neighborhoods as guests who bring with them the reconciling and restoring presence of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

 

The Sacraments

We believe that Jesus Christ has given us specific practices which are conduits of God’s grace.  The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, are these means of Grace. 

In baptism, our selfish and sinful natures are crucified with Christ.  As we emerge from the baptismal waters, we are resurrected with Christ and empowered to go forth and walk in newness of life.  Put another way, in baptism, our sins are washed away, and we are made clean.

We partake of the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  We share in this meal often to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice for us.  As with any other meal, we are nourished to go forth as Christ’s ministers of reconciliation every time we receive the bread and the cup. 


We practice our belief in these sacraments by mindfully participating in them.  We give ourselves to the grace and work of God in our baptism.  Every time we witness another's baptism, we pray for strength to remember and live into our baptism.  When we are offered the bread and the cup, we do so ever mindful of our sinfulness.  Yet, we also partake of this meal, remembering God's great grace.

 

The Last Things

We believe that Jesus Christ is going to return to his beloved creation in the same way he left.  We believe that those who are dead in Christ will be resurrected to meet Christ in the air to usher him here so that he can make his home among us, making all things new. 

We believe that all people, the righteous and unrighteous alike, will be resurrected to face the loving and just judgment of God.  Those who have loved God and neighbor well will live in eternal and unbroken relationship with the Triune God. Those who have not loved God and neighbor well will be finally and fully separated from communion with God. 


We practice our belief in Christ’s return through care for the creation that God so lovingly made.  What God loves, we should love, too.  We also practice our belief in Christ’s return through working for justice in the world here and now.  If God in Christ is making all things new, it is our job to participate with him in his work of restoration.