Put as simply as we can, we believe the Bible. Although, you were probably hoping for something more specific. Augustine of Hippo (354-450 AD) is given credit for saying something like:
The Bible is simple enough that a child can wade in its water yet deep enough that elephants cannot reach its depths.
We might even say that Jonah's whale couldn't plumb its depths. We recognize that visitors to our site may be coming from different levels of familiarity with the Bible, church, and the history of the Christian religion. So, we want to keep things simple but also point you to more substantial places for further study if you are interested.
Simple put we believe that:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am (we are) the foremost. But I (we) received mercy for this reason, that in me (us), as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:15-17
How did he do it? He took the punishment that real justice demanded and offered his record of goodness and compassion to count for our record. The essential heart of Christianity can be summarized in those short words. To become a member of Breakwater, all that one must believe is the truth contained in those words.
But Christianity also affects every area of life and in two thousand years God has guided his church into a greater understanding of the Bible's richness. We believe that one of the fullest and most complete summaries of that richness can be found in what are called the Westminster Standards. These are documents written by learned theologians between 1643-1653, and revised in America in 1788. You can find pdfs of those texts (with Bible verses to support the conclusions drawn) listed below.
For a book length study on how we relate these documents to the Bible, you could read Carl Trueman,The Creedal Imperative
- Title page, contents, and preface of Westminster Standards
- The Westminster Confession of Faith
- The Larger Catechism
- The Shorter Catechism
- Index of Biblical Support
You might be thinking, "A lot has happened in 250 years, haven't you wrestled with issues like American chattel slavery or the advent of science." We certainly have (see here and here), but we still believe the documents mentioned above indirectly address those issues. For more information on how we think our beliefs fit in the twenty-first century meet with our pastor to discuss your questions or doubts. If you prefer a less personal encounter, you could also refer to the books below:
Tim Keller, Making Sense of God
Michael J. Kruger, Surviving Religion 101