God has provided us a handbook -- the Bible -- that defines who we are and who He is, and what our relationship should be.
We believe that there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three persons -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- each of Whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning God created out of nothing the world and everything in it. By doing so, He made visible to all the glory of His power, wisdom and goodness. By His sovereign power He continues to sustain His creation and operate in people's lives to fulfill His redemptive purposes.
Man's Relationship With God
Man was originally created to enjoy unending fellowship with God. But man defied God, chose to go his independent way, and became alienated from God because of sin. As a result, man suffered the corruption of his nature, rendering him unable to please God. The Bible refers to this historical event that occurred at the beginning of human history as "the Fall." Since that time, every individual has suffered alienation from God and is in need of His saving grace.
God's grace is extended to each person who will receive it as a free gift. It is not a result, in whole or in part, of human effort or goodness. God's forgiveness and mercy must be personally received by repentance of personal sins, faith in Jesus Christ's substitutionary payment for one's sins, and baptism. When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that He will continue performing it until the day of its full completion.
Jesus Christ is the eternal second Person of the Trinity who was united forever with a true human nature by a miraculous conception and a virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all individuals by dying on the cross as their substitute. In doing so, He satisfied divine justice and made available salvation for all those who will trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He, the only Mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. He is coming again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
All who receive God's grace through Jesus Christ become members of His body, the church. There is one true church universal, comprised of all those who acknowledge and follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scripture commands all believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word of God, observance of baptism and communion as established by Jesus Christ, fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world. Wherever God's people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the church. Under the oversight of supportive leadership, its members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the one ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ.
Southwoods' Beliefs are summarized by our Statement of Faith