Statement of Faith

There is but one God, infinite in power, wisdom, justice, goodness, and love, the Creator of the universe, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each of whom possesses all the attributes of Deity and the characteristics of personality. [Exodus 3:14; Exodus 34:6-7; Isaiah 40, 42-45; Jeremiah 9:24; Matthew 19:26; Romans 11:33; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 136:1; 1 John 4:8; Genesis 1:1; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 1 Timothy 1:17; Matthew 28:19; Luke 15; Acts 17:22-34; Colossians 2:9; John 11; Acts 5:3-9; Ephesians 4:30; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18]

God the Father, by His own choice and out of love for sinful men and women, sent Jesus Christ into the world to reconcile sinners to Himself. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. He is God in the flesh, both true God and true man. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and voluntarily suffered and died as our substitute to pay the penalty for our sins, thus satisfying God’s justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He bodily ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man, makes intercession for His own. He will return to earth – personally, visibly, and bodily – to judge all humanity and establish His kingdom. [John 3:16; Luke 1:34-35, 2:7; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 2:17; Philippians 2:5-7; 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 3; Acts 16:29-31; 1 Corinthians 15:20-24, 35-49; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 8:34; 1 Timothy 2:5, Acts 1:11; 2 Timothy 4:1]

The Holy Spirit has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ, convict men and women of their sins, and to impart new life to all who place their faith in Christ. He indwells believers from the moment of spiritual birth, seals them until the day of redemption, and empowers them to live a life pleasing to God. [John 16:8-11, 13-15; Titus 3:4-7; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:2]

At physical death, the believer enters immediately into eternal, conscious fellowship with the Lord and awaits the resurrection of his body to everlasting glory and blessing. At physical death the unbeliever enters immediately into eternal, conscious separation from the Lord and awaits the resurrection of his body to everlasting suffering, judgment and condemnation. [Philippians 1:23-24; 2 Corinthians 5:8; John 11:25-26; Luke 23:42-43; John 8:56; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Peter 2:9; Luke 16:19-31; John 8:21-24; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Mark 9:47-48; John 5:28-29; Matthew 25:41, 46; Revelation 20:11-15]

All true believers make up the church worldwide and should assemble together in local churches – for worship, prayer, fellowship, and teaching – to become equipped to be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. [Acts 2:42-47; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27-28; Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Colossians 3:16, 4:2; Matthew 28:18-20]

The sole basis of our beliefs is the Bible, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. It was uniquely, verbally, and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit and was written without error in the original manuscripts. It is the supreme and final authority in faith and life in every age. [Hebrews 1:1-2; John 10:35; Luke 24:44-45; John 14:26, 16:12-15; Revelation 22:18-19; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; John 17:17; Psalm 19:7-11]

God created humanity in His own image, and humanity, as originally created, was innocent before God. But humanity chose to sin by disobeying God, and therefore was alienated from the Creator and came under divine condemnation. Thus all human beings are born with a corrupted nature and without spiritual life, and are totally incapable of pleasing God in themselves. [Genesis 1:27; Romans 5:12; Genesis 3, 5; Romans 1:18-2:2; Romans 5; Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1-3, 8:6-8]

Men and women are freed from the penalty for their sins not as a result, in whole or in part, of their own works, goodness, or religious ceremony, but by the undeserved favor of God alone. God declares righteous all who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation [Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 3:4-7; Galatians 2:11-4:20; Romans 1:18-3:31, 4:1-5, 5:1; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5]

All who are born again of the Spirit can be fully assured of eternal life from the very moment in which they put their faith in Christ. This assurance is not based upon any kind of human merit, but upon the fact of God’s election, upon Christ’s complete payment for sins, and upon the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who is the deposit guaranteeing their inheritance. [John 3:3-16; 1 Peter 1:3-9; Ephesians 1:4-5; John 10:26-30; Romans 8:32-34; Ephesians 1:13-14]

The Lord Jesus Christ has instructed those who believe in Him to be baptized in water as a symbol of their new birth in Christ. Baptism is only for those who have personally believed in Christ. Our practice is to baptize by immersion. The Lord also instituted the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of His suffering, death, and resurrection. Neither baptism nor the Lord’s Supper have any merit in helping a person obtain eternal life. [Matthew 28:18-19; Romans 6:3-4, Titus 3:4-6; Acts 8:36-38; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 6:27-29]

H2O Church Position Statements

As a church, we welcome anyone, regardless of beliefs, to get to know us by participating in our worship service, activities and small group communities. Another way to get to know us is by reading our core statement of beliefs, as expressed in our Statement of Faith. However, this is not a complete list of what we believe, teach and practice as a church. As always, we invite anyone who wishes to know more about what we believe and practice to contact a pastor.

At the same time, we recognize that certain topics are asked about more often than others. In order to provide a starting point to understanding our positions on these topics, we have created the following Position Statements. Our hope for these statements is threefold:

  • that these would help people to decide if they want to get involved with our church,
  • that these would help our church members to better understand each of these difficult topics,
  • and that these would stir each person to study the Bible for themselves to determine what it has to say on these subjects.

Ultimately, our hope is that these statements will honor God and His Word, and will help people to love Him with all their heart and to love their neighbors as they love themselves.

We believe that a local church is meant to be led by qualified elders. The qualifications are described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. They have authority from Christ, our Chief Shepherd, to lead and care for the church as his under-shepherds (1 Peter 5:1-4). We believe that the terms “elder” (1 Peter 5:1, Acts 20:17, Titus 1:5), “overseer/bishop” (1 Timothy 3:2, Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:1) and “pastor” (Ephesians 4:11) describe the same office in a church (notice the connections between all these passages, as well as Hebrews 13:17).

With respect to the leadership function of an elder, we believe that elders have equal authority and responsibility over the church and govern as a united board rather than as individuals. We believe that an elder board functions best when there is a plurality of elders (ex. Acts 11:30, 14:23, Phil. 1:1). The responsibilities of the board of elders are:

  • to detect and obey God’s direction for H2O Church and approve goals for the church
  • to set governing policies for H2O Church
  • to evaluate H2O Church performance and progress
  • to oversee the finances of the church
  • to appoint and remove new pastors, deacons and staff members of the church
  • to accept and remove church members as outlined in the By-laws
  • to oversee all doctrinal issues primarily through a teaching ministry
  • to determine pastoral roles each year
  • to approve new church plants, and new programs and ministries of the church
We believe that deacons are meant to be appointed by the elders of the church in order to serve in a church-wide capacity to help the elders care for the church. The qualifications for deacons, both male and female, are described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

We believe that God created men and women as equal bearers of His image (Gen. 1:27) and fellow recipients of the grace of God in Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 3:7), and that God does not make any distinction between men and women with respect to the means of salvation or the blessings that come with salvation in Christ (Gal. 3:26-29).

We believe that part of the role of the pastors of H2O is to equip the members of H2O for serving Christ (Eph. 4:11-13). This includes both men and women in every role in H2O and at every level of leadership responsibility save one: we believe that God wants the elders of a church to be men.

We do not believe this is because men are intrinsically better or more capable than women, but simply due to God’s sovereign choice for marriage and the family as expressed in Genesis 2. Adam was given the position of “first-born”, which in the ancient world signified being the leader of the family, and Eve was created as his helper. This signified that God gives men the authority and responsibility to be the primary leaders in the family as husbands and in the church family as elders (Gen. 2:18-25; 1 Tim. 2:12-13, 3:1-13; 1 Cor. 11:1-16, Eph. 5:22-33). This in no way diminishes women, for throughout the Bible God is referred to as the Helper of His people.

We do allow women and non-elder men to teach in H2O, as long as their teaching is under the authority and approval of the elders.

We do not believe that Christians are required to give away 10% (a “tithe”) of their income. Rather, we believe the New Testament teaches Christians to give away their money generously and cheerfully, out of our surplus and even sacrificially, in proportion to what they have (2 Cor. 8-9).

However, we believe that the Old Testament examples in the Law of giving 10% of income to support the Levites, the priesthood and Temple (Num. 18:21-32), along with another 10-13% to care for the poor and to celebrate God’s provision (Deut. 14:22-29) are a good starting point for giving today. Therefore, we encourage H2O members to consider giving at least 10% of their income to the local church they are involved in (which in this case is H2O), in addition to any other giving God might lead them to. We expect H2O leaders to set a good example in this area.

Why prioritize giving to the local church in which one is a member? It is a pattern we see in Scripture.

  • In Numbers 18:21-32 we see how God wanted the Jews to tithe to provide for the Levites and the priests, since the Levites could not have an inheritance in the land.
  • Similarly, in the New Testament (1 Timothy 5:17) we see God commanding that elders be supported financially by the local churches that they pastor for their hard work preaching and teaching.
  • In Acts 4:34-35, we see the members of the church in Jerusalem selling their possessions and bringing the proceeds to the apostles to be distributed.
  • In Deuteronomy 14:28-29 we see the Jews of each town commanded to collect their tithe together and use it to help the disadvantaged locally.
  • In Micah 3:8, God condemns the Jews for not giving to the storehouse of the Temple (Micah 3:8).
  • And in 1 Corinthians 16:1-3, we see the members of the church in Corinth instructed to pool their money together each week and set it aside in order to save up for a large gift to help the poor church in Jerusalem.
Summary Statement:

We believe that God created sex for marriage, and that God intends marriage to be between a male and a female who are married to each other in a life-long covenant commitment (Matt. 19:3-6). Its purpose is for having children and for strengthening the marriage bond (Gen. 1:28, 2:24; 1 Cor. 7:1-5, 6:16). Any other sexual activity is outside of God’s will (1 Cor. 6:9-20, 1 Thess. 4:3-8, 1 Tim. 1:9-10, Rom. 1:18-32), and thus is classified as sexual immorality. It is a sin against God, against our own bodies (1 Cor. 6:18), and against those we have wronged through it (1 Thess. 4:6). As with all sin, it is ultimately harmful for humanity (Rom. 5:12-14, 6:21).

We recognize that some of us are attracted to those of the opposite sex, some to those of the same sex, some to both sexes to various degrees, and some to neither sex. What is important is what we do with those desires. We believe there is an important distinction between sexual attraction and sexual activity.

H2O Church welcomes any Christian, regardless of sexual orientation, past sexual sins, or present sin struggles, to be a fully-functioning participant in the community and ministry of our church, as long as they reject sexual immorality as a valid activity and seek to live a pure life in Christ (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

For a more thorough explanation of our position on this topic, please email Pastor Aziz

Resources at H2O for LGBTQ People:

LGBTQ Community – If you are interested in Christianity or want to be a part of a space to grow in faith with those who have similar life experiences regarding gender and sexual identity, we’d love to have you join us! Find more info here!

Gender Neutral Bathrooms – We want our church building to be place where transgender and non-binary individuals can meet in community and worship God without needing to worry about what restroom to use.

Do you have thoughts or suggestions for us? Let us know how our church can better love and serve you as an LGBTQ person. Please contact Diane Gress if you would like to talk more!

Summary Statement:

We believe that each human shares an identity that is more important than all others, and which is not assigned by the individual or by society, but by God: we are each made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28). As God’s image-bearers, we were created to be God’s representatives, to express God’s passions and priorities to the world and to reveal His person in the context of a right relationship with Him. All our other identities, including our gender identity, are meant to flow out of that core identity.

In Genesis 1:26-28 we also learn that part of that core identity is that God has made us male and female. In addition, we note that, in the Bible, not only are humans made male and female, but also no distinction is made between sex and gender. Our gender is indicated by our sex.

Therefore, since our biological sex is intrinsically connected to our role as God’s image-bearers, and our gender is indicated by our sex, we believe that we glorify God when we affirm and value our bodily sex as our gender.

According to the Bible, there are a few gender roles that are fixed and Biblically defined: namely the roles of husband, wife and pastor. But apart from that, we recognize that there are very legitimate differences in how gender is expressed between individuals and cultures, and the Bible does not define what it should look like to be male or female. As a result, we find great freedom in the recognition that the definitions of masculinity and femininity in societies do not define our sex or gender, and that the Bible presents a broad understanding of masculinity and femininity.

Each of us has a natural sense of our gender (i.e. our “gender orientation”) that is influenced by our own and society’s shifting definitions of masculinity and femininity (i.e. “gender expression”). For many of us, our gender orientation matches our biological sex. This is called being cisgender. But for some of us, there is a deep-seated sense of incongruence between our sex and our sense of gender. This is called being transgender. With this understanding, we do not believe being transgender is a sin, and we acknowledge that our gender orientation may never change. However, being transgender can lead to sin when we give in to that sense of incongruence and choose to believe that we are a gender different than our sex. This begins with how we think of ourselves, but can also include presenting ourselves to others as a gender different than our sex, or seeking to change our sex to match our sense of gender. Instead, God is calling all of us, whether cisgender or transgender, to embrace and live according to our core identity as His image-bearers. As stated earlier, this includes our gender identity as male or female according to the sex He has given us rather than according to our own sense of gender or our society’s sense of our gender.

We believe that all of us, whether transgender or cisgender, become Christians by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, turning all aspects of our lives over to Him and trusting in Him to save us. We recognize that all of us struggle after becoming Christians with various issues related to self-image and identity and rightly viewing ourselves as God views us. Our expectation for one another is not perfection, but that we are willing to engage with the process of viewing ourselves as God views us. Our expectation for leaders in our church is that they acknowledge, affirm and value their biological sex as an aspect of what it means to live as God’s image-bearers and as their true gender, and that they shape their concept of being male or female based on the broad range of gender expression allowed in the Bible rather than the narrow expectations of any particular time or culture.

For a more thorough explanation of our position on this topic, including our heart for intersex people and those struggling with gender dysphoria, please email Pastor Aziz.

Resources at H2O for LGBTQ People:

LGBTQ Community – If you are interested in Christianity or want to be a part of a space to grow in faith with those who have similar life experiences regarding gender and sexual identity, we’d love to have you join us! Find more info here!

Gender Neutral Bathrooms – We want our church building to be place where transgender and non-binary individuals can meet in community and worship God without needing to worry about what restroom to use.

Do you have thoughts or suggestions for us? Let us know how our church can better love and serve you as an LGBTQ person. Please contact Diane Gress if you would like to talk more!

We believe that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to Christians, special enablements for the good of the Church, the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:4-7; see all of 1 Cor. 12; also 1 Pet. 4:10-11; Rom. 12:3-8). However, we are concerned that some Christian practices involving “gifts of the Spirit” are not Biblical. When given by the Spirit, we believe these gifts ought to be practiced in accordance with the Bible’s instructions. Most importantly, we do not believe any of these gifts are required for salvation (Eph. 2:8), nor are any of them a required evidence of salvation (1 Cor. 12:28-31).

In addition, the Holy Spirit has given grace to every Christian through certain individuals He has given as gifts to the church. The purpose of these individuals is to equip the saints for the work of serving Christ (Eph. 4:7-13).