At Southbrook, we are intentional to make the distinction between Core Beliefs and Core Distinctives.

We believe core beliefs are necessary for maintaining Gospel integrity. In other words, these beliefs shape our understanding and application of the Gospel. Therefore, to compromise any of these beliefs would be to compromise the message at the heart of the Gospel.

This is not the case with core distinctives. These don't directly affect our understanding of the Gospel, but they do inform how we function as a church when gathered. Although we realize there are differing convictions on core distinctives, we believe it is necessary to make a commitment to maintaining unity around these things in spite of any differences in order to effectively fulfill our mission.

Core Beliefs

The Bible

The Bible is the written word of God. While it’s true that through creation (General Revelation) we can know certain undeniable truths about God, only through Scripture (Special Revelation) can we know Him personally and understand the way of salvation He has provided through Jesus’ death and resurrection. If God had not revealed Himself to us through His Word, we would be left to speculate about who God is and what He desires from us. The Bible is complete; there is no further Special Revelation to add to what God has already revealed in His Word.

The Bible is also the authority through which Christ-followers understand how to conduct their lives.

We affirm the Bible’s inerrancy and its infallibility. Inerrancy means the Bible never contradicts itself in its teaching about God, about the world or about humankind. The biblical authors, with the Holy Spirit as their guide, do not teach anything false or assert as God’s will anything displeasing to God.

Infallibility means that the ultimate Source of the Bible — the Holy Spirit — is incapable of error. Accordingly, the Bible cannot lead us astray in matters of faith and practice. Knowing that it’s ‘God-breathed’, we are confident that the Bible is altogether trustworthy.

2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21


God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe and all that it contains. He is uncreated and eternal, existing in three co-equal persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God is utterly unique, holy, good, loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, never-changing, and thoroughly reliable.

Genesis 1:1; Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Corinthians 13:14; James 1:1


An actual historical figure, Jesus is fully human and fully God. He has eternally existed with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, yet He assumed full humanity at the appointed time, thereby becoming the perfect, sinless substitute for our sin. Any one of us can be made right with God, but only by trusting in Jesus’ complete and final work on the cross and his subsequent resurrection. He is the one and only mediator between sinful humankind and our Creator.

John 1:1-29, 14:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:14-15; Philippians 2:5-11

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is fully God and engages in a direct and active role in the Christian’s life. Regarding our salvation (both our justification and our sanctification), it is only by the work and influence of the Holy Spirit that any of us are made aware of our need for a Savior. Since we are born sinful, we must be reborn in order to be saved—and this rebirth is the work of the Holy Spirit. Once we are saved, the Holy Spirit then motivates and enables us to conduct lives pleasing to God.

The Holy Spirit also provides for the church spiritual gifts for the purpose of equipping us to fulfill God’s mission in the world—the mission to declare the life-changing message of the Gospel.

John 3:5-8, 14:25; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, 12:4-11

The Trinity

The Bible teaches that there is one God, yet He is three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three are fully God, yet there is only one God. While the Bible never uses the term Trinity, it clearly depicts and teaches these truths about God; that each person of the Trinity is fully God and functions with a distinct role. For example, we see within our own salvation the work of the triune God: God the Father planned our salvation; Jesus the Son was sent to accomplish our salvation; and God the Holy Spirit applies our salvation and empowers us to please God in the way we conduct our lives.

Matthew 28:18-19; Acts 5:3-4; Colossians 2:9; 1 Peter 1:2


God created humankind (both male and female) in his own image. Adam’s original sin has left each of us in a state of total sinfulness and separation from God. There is nothing we can ever do through our own best efforts that can restore us to a right relationship with God—our best efforts on our best day will always fall far short. Left to ourselves we deserve death and Hell, which is eternal separation from God. But, thankfully, God did not leave us to ourselves. Instead, He provided the way of salvation through Jesus.

Genesis 1:26-27; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23, 4:25, 6:23


At its core, sin is living, thinking, and acting independently of God. So, sin is not merely bad behavior; rather, our bad behavior is the inevitable fruit of our sin. The Bible teaches that because of Adam’s sin in the garden, each of us is born with a sinful nature and therefore guilty of sin. The solution to our sin problem, then, is not better behavior—the remedy is rebirth, to be remade into new creations. It was for this purpose Jesus came into the world.

Romans 3:9-18, 5:12-19, 6; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 6:15; John 3:16,17

Salvation (Justification)

Salvation is a gift of God’s grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus’ death and resurrection fully accomplished our justification and redemption from sin—he died in our place and bore our sins. Our salvation is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Therefore, good works and obedience are the fruit of salvation, not requirements for salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 5:8-9; Romans 4:25; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 14:9; Romans 8:1, 38-39; Ephesians 1:13-14; James 2:1-26


Sanctification is the lifelong process of becoming more like Jesus. While God loves us and accepts us as we are, He does not leave us as we are. Whereas we are saved through faith apart from our efforts, we grow toward becoming like Jesus as we participate by obeying the Scriptures. Therefore, we will progress in godliness as we respond in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts.

Romans 8:29-30; Galatians 5:16-26

Eternal Security

Because of the complete perfection of Christ’s sacrifice, all who have truly received Christ as Savior are eternally secure in their salvation, kept by God’s power, secured and sealed forever by the Holy Spirit. While salvation cannot be earned by our best efforts, neither does it require such effort to be maintained or sustained. Since we did not earn our salvation through effort, we cannot lose our salvation through insufficient effort. Therefore, good works and changed lives are the inevitable fruit of salvation.

John 10:28; Romans 8:29-30, 8:38-39; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; Jude 24

The Church

The Church began on the Day of Pentecost (as depicted in Acts 2) and consists of all who have trusted Jesus for their salvation. Though the Church is comprised of countless members, it is one body under the headship of Jesus Christ. A person becomes a member of the Church at the moment of salvation by the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit.

When gathered locally, the Church worships Jesus, receives teaching from God's Word, engages in biblical community, and celebrates the ordinances of water baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Matthew 18:15-20; Acts 2:42-47; Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:11-13, 5:25-27; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, 12:13, 10:32; Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20

End Times

We look for Jesus to return at any moment and He will do so both personally and physically. One day, He will rightly judge every person and those who belong to Him will spend eternity with Him in the New Heaven and New Earth. Those who have rejected Jesus, however, will be eternally separated from Him in Hell. As disciples of Jesus, our lives should reflect an eager anticipation of His imminent return.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:2; Revelation 19:11-16, 20:1-6

Core Distinctives

Women in Leadership

If we are going to accomplish our mission, it is essential that both men and women fulfill leadership roles within the church. At the same time, we hold firmly to the biblical instruction that the role of Elder/Pastor is reserved for men. While we believe that God created men and women as equal in value, we also believe He has created them to function within distinct roles. The theological term for this position is Complementarianism.

Historically, this position has been used by some as grounds for devaluing, demeaning—even abusing—women and we strongly oppose such an application. We believe our conviction elevates the significance of women in the church, rather than diminishing their value and importance.

God calls upon both men and women to serve the church with their gifts and abilities. Therefore, aside from holding the office of Elder/Pastor, women are free to lead within the church and we encourage them to do so.

Genesis 1:26-27; Acts 18:24-28; 1 Timothy 2:11-15


Baptism in water is identified in Scripture as the primary and initial public declaration of one’s personal decision to trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Through baptism, which we practice by immersion, we publicly identify ourselves with Jesus and His death and resurrection. Therefore, baptism is to follow one’s profession of faith, rather than precede it. Baptism is not necessary for and does not contribute to our salvation; however, it is a vital and significant step of obedience for all who have trusted Jesus. The theological term for this position is commonly known as Believer’s Baptism.

Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:37-38

Church Governance

Southbrook Church is an elder-governed, staff-led church. We believe that the local church is to be overseen and protected by a group of godly men called elders, each of whom meets the biblical qualifications as outlined in the New Testament. Their primary function, through prayer and dependence on God, is to serve the church by providing spiritual oversight. They also provide organizational oversight by empowering our staff to develop and implement ministry plans that equip our members to carry out the mission of the church. Because we value unity and Spirit-led decision making, our elders govern by consensus rather than by voting, always encouraging Bible-guided and Spirit-led diversity of perspective.

1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-3

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