Dogwood Church exists to make more and better Christ followers who love God and love people. Matthew 22:37-40; 28:19-20
1. The Bible — God wrote a book!
We believe that the Bible is the supreme spiritual authority on what we are to believe, how we are to behave, and how we are to conduct the ministry of this church. The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s written revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. Because this is true we now have an objective source of what is true and what is not; of what is right and what is wrong. We have a written account of who God is; what He is like; and how we can know and enjoy Him personally.
2. God — Three in One!
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. Because this is true we are no longer the center of the universe. We are accountable to Someone other than ourselves. We answer to God. We have to deal with Him! When we say, “God”… everything changes.
a. God the Father — God is great and God is good.
God as Father reigns and rules with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
b. Jesus Christ — God became a man.
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is fully God, fully man, and in whose Person is accomplished the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to complete His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever-present Lord. Because this is true you now have a God who is willing and able to forgive you of your past sins, be with you in the present, and give you a home in heaven when you die.
c. God the Holy Spirit — God indwells us.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men to write the Scriptures. He enables people to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts people of the reality of their sin, of their need for the righteousness that comes only through faith in Christ, and of the certainty of judgment as a result of their sin. He calls people to the Savior, and brings about regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He secures the believer until the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service. Because this is true you can have power to live right; understand spiritual truth; and have God’s daily guidance.
3. Human Beings — God’s image bearers.
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. Because this is true you are of great value, but may be far from God and need to be saved.
4. Eternity — Somewhere forever.
Man was created to exist forever. He will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life in Heaven. Heaven and Hell are places of eternal existence. Because this is true you right now have one of two destinations where you will spend eternity. As of this moment, your eternal destination is ________?
5. Salvation — God’s only way.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own death on the cross obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes the regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification of sinners. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.
A. Regeneration, or the spiritual birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart worked by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God and sets the believer free from the penalty of sin.
C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life. Sanctification sets the believer free from the power of sin.
D. Glorification is the finale of salvation and is the final state of Christ-followers in eternity. Glorification sets the believer free from the presence of sin.
Because this is true you can receive God’s gift of eternal life right now by faith.
6. Eternal Security — Believers endure to the end
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall stick with it to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the believer is secure in their salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives this security. Because this is true you can know for sure that you have eternal life, no longer live in fear or doubt, and experience the joy that comes from knowing that you are O.K. with God!
7. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper – Symbols
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership.
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the cup, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
8. The Church — God’s design for community
The church is a local community of baptized believers unified through faith in Christ. It is committed to the teachings of Christ, to obeying all of His commands, and it seeks to bring the gospel to the world. The Church works together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ.
*For our expanded statement of faith that also includes articles of faith that we consider important but non-essentials see The Baptist Faith & Message at www.sbc.net/BFM/bfm2000.
Our Core Values
1. Biblical Authority
The Bible is the basis for what we believe and how we will live.
2. Spirit-filled Living
A moment-by-moment, day-by-day yielding to the filling, control, direction and empowering of God the Holy Spirit is essential and the intended norm for every follower of Jesus.
3. Authentic Community
For our message to have power, we must live lives together of transparency, integrity, and love.
4. Relevant Ministry
The Gospel of the Kingdom and the purposes of God must be presented in culturally relevant ways.
5. Bold Faith
God wants us to seek Him prayerfully and follow Him boldly wherever He directs.
6. Our Best
In our service to God, His Church, and the world, we are to offer excellence, the best we can do with the resources available at the time, as an act of worship.