Our Theological Beliefs
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are not three different Gods, nor three names for the same Person, but the three exist as the one true God. Genesis 1:1,26,27; 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; II Corinthians 13:14
About Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is coequal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Matthew 1:22,23; Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1-5,14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14,15; I Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 1:3,4; Acts 1:9-11; I Timothy 6:14,15; Titus 2:13
About the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is coequal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians we seek to live under His control daily.
II Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13, 14:16,17; Acts 1:8 I Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18.
About the Bible
The Bible is God’s Word. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error. II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20,21; II Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119:105,160,12:6; Proverbs 30:5.
About human beings
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin”. This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life. Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1,2
Salvation is God’s gift to us but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self- ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith. Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. John 3:16; John 2:25; John 5:11-13; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20;15; Matthew 1:8; 2:44,46
Our Lifestyle Statement: What we practice
Beliefs are not worth much unless they are translated into actions. Based on what the Bible teaches, we feel very strongly about the following seven practices:
Bible as our sole authority
2 Timothy 3:15 The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us to do what is right.
Since God’s Word is the only completely reliable and truthful authority, we accept the Bible as our manual for living. Our first question when faced with a decision is “What does the Bible say?” We practice daily Bible reading, Bible study, Bible memorization and prayer. The Bible is the basis for all we believe.
The biblical offices in the church are Elders and Deacons/Deaconesses.
The Elders shall provide broad oversight to the ministry, financial management, and resources of the church. The Elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members, teach, exhort and equip the membership for the work of the ministry, be prepared to refute those who contradict the truth, encourage sound doctrine and practice, pray for the sick, care for the church’s members, devote themselves to prayer and the leadership of the congregation, oversee the administration of ordinances of baptism and communion, oversee the process of church discipline, and oversee the ministries of the church. The Elders shall exercise spiritual oversight of the congregation and lead the church to fulfill its mission and ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our understanding of the Holy Scriptures.
The Senior Pastor performs the duties of an Elder as described above, but he is also recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the ministry of preaching and teaching the word of God. The Associate Pastors fulfill additional roles within the church such as working with youth, seniors, Christian Education, and more.
Deacons/Deaconesses shall advise and assist the Elders in any service that shall support and promote the ministry of the word, new and existing ministries of the church, and the care of the members of the congregation. The responsibilities of Deacons/Deaconesses do not include preaching, teaching, or spiritual oversight, which are the responsibilities of the Elders, nor do Deacons/Deaconesses exercise financial control of the church. Deacons/Deaconesses exercise a ministry of service, not a ministry of spiritual leadership. Deacons/Deaconesses may serve in teaching capacities under the oversight of the Elders.
Autonomy of each local church
Colossians 1:18 Christ is the head of his Body, the church. He is the source of the Body’s life…
Christ is the recognized head of our church, not any person, group, or religious organization. While recognizing the value of associating and cooperating with other groups of Christians, we believe every local church should be self-governing and independent from any denominational control.
Leviticus 26:30; 27:30 A tithe of everything you produce belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord....A tenth of all you produce is the Lord’s, and it is holy.
1 Corinthians 16:2 Each one of you, on the first day of each week, should set aside a specific sum of money in proportion to what you have earned and use it for the offering.
At Mulberry, we practice tithing for the support of Christ’s Body, the church, as God commands. We believe that giving 10% of our income is a good starting point, but God may ask us to give even beyond that. We don’t practice fund raisers, bingo, selling gadgets to the members, etc. Rather, we believe that God will provide our needs through our members. We can ask our visitors not to give because our members tithe faithfully.
Colossians 2:12 For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ…
We practice baptism by immersion (under the water) the way Jesus was baptized, and the way the Bible commands.
John 15:5 (Jesus said) I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; but apart from me you can do nothing.”
We believe the only way possible to live the Christian life is by God’s power within us. So we seek to practice a daily dependence on God’s Spirit to enable us to do what is right. (Phil. 2:13, Eph.5:18)
Priesthood of every believer
Revelation 1:6 Christ loves us, and by his death he has freed us from our sins and made us a kingdom of priests to serve God.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to “full-time” Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation. We practice the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member to find a place of service and ministry. Every believer has direct access to God through prayer and Bible reading.
Telling others about Christ
1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Good News with those God brings us into contact with. We practice personal sharing about Christ and inviting friends to church. Even though we do mass mail-outs and advertisement, the overwhelming majority of visitors will come because someone invited them.
Teaching them to obey
2 Timothy 2:2 And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
Because the Great Commission and Discipleship are one and the same, discipleship is at the very center or core of our church. God did not command us to “Go unto all the world and make converts”, but “to make disciples”. This is why we are committed to helping each individual mature in his or her relationship with Christ and become a fully devoted follower of Christ.
For an even deeper understanding of our beliefs, click here to access the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.