Anyone familiar with historic Christian doctrine will find that the statements below fall in the center of evangelical theology (“evangelical” meaning “theology derived from the evangel, or the Gospel”); in other words, it’s biblical theology rather than speculative theology rooted in manmade tradition. At Woodland Hills, our desire is to glorify God while leading as many people as possible into a saving faith and growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We value unity in the universal body of believers and therefore we try not to be hard-nosed about matters on which Scripture is not clear. We also try not to be dogmatic about matters where honest, Bible-based believers have held divergent views. We want our core beliefs to be centered on Jesus and His message as found in and supported by the clearest passages of Scripture. More obscure doctrine or teachings with less support are left to individuals to sort out on their own – we take no “official” position in these areas. As a church we have no written doctrine or creed except for the Bible itself. However, in order to help people get to know us better, here’s a summary of what we believe…
We believe the 66 books of the Bible, in both Old and New Testaments, are given by God's inspiration and that in the original writings they are without error. We believe the Scriptures originated with God but were written using humans as the means and thus speak with the authority of God while reflecting the backgrounds, cultures, styles, and vocabularies of the human authors. They are the unique, reliable, and the final authority on all matters of Christian faith and practice.
We believe in one true God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and, in His incarnation was also fully man; having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. We believe He was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now acts as the only mediator between God and people.
Holy Spirit (and the Christian life)
The essential accompaniment of a genuine saving relationship with Jesus is a life of holiness and obedience, attained by believers as they submit to the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply the saving work of Jesus to mankind. He enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them a recognition of their need for a Savior, and regenerates them. At the point of salvation, He permanently indwells every believer to become the source of assurance, strength and wisdom, and uniquely endows each believer with gifts for the up-building of the body. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Scripture. His power and control are appropriated by faith, making it possible for the believer to lead a life of Christ-like character and to bear fruit to the glory of the Father.
Our church family celebrates communion, or the Lord's Supper, every Sunday morning in our gathering (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We practice open communion, meaning all who have confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, are welcomed to take communion with us whether you are a member of our church or not. If you do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, we ask that you simply pass the tray on when it comes to you.
We believe that there is only one true Church universally composed of all people who have been regenerated and forgiven by Jesus Christ. It is reflected by a diversity of believers working and serving together, using their gifts to build one another up, forming the parts of the body of Christ, the Church. Scripture commands believers to gather together in local congregations for the scriptural teaching, fellowship, prayer, mutual encouragement, worship of God, and disciple-making. Wherever God's people meet in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the church. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the Church, and that every local church has the obligation under Christ to decide and govern its own affairs in obedient submission to the will of God, the Word of God, and the Spirit of God.
We believe that God made us for relationships, with God himself and with our fellow human beings. We emphasize the two greatest commandments which are to love God with all of one's heart, mind, soul, and strength; and to love others as we love ourselves. Our love for others, especially other Christians, is the clearest demonstration to the world that we are true disciples. Love is the answer God has provided to the many problems faced by humanity. God's love for us and His empowerment in us is to love others as He loves us.
We believe that baptism by immersion is a very sacred act that is performed when a person willingly surrenders their life to Christ and commits to following him faithfully, thus becoming a Christian. Baptism is practiced in scripture as the common mode through which a person publicly repents of their sins, receives Christ, and in turn receives forgiveness of their sins. We understand that baptism was taught and practiced in scripture as the means by which a person identified with Christ and that we do not have the right to alter this method. Therefore, we see baptism as a requirement before a person becomes a formal part of the local church family. For further details on the act of baptism please follow this link: The Act of Baptism
Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. For all mankind, there will be a resurrection into the spiritual world and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God by grace (undeserved favor) and will be rewarded for works done in this life according to their faithfulness to God’s call on their life and the gifts and opportunities he equipped them with. Unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. God’s judgment will reveal His justice in consigning them to perpetuate in eternal retribution due to their own rejection of God.
Discipleship and Faithfulness
We believe that the distinguishing characteristic of those who live in God's Kingdom is Christ-likeness. Discipleship is the fundamental ministry of the local church which facilitates the development of such people. Love for others displayed in ministering to the poor, reaching out to people who are spiritually lost, serving others, practicing forgiveness, and the like are all signs of the presence of God's Kingdom and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Those with genuine faith are known by the fruit of their lives and their pattern of faithfulness to Jesus and His commandments. Thus, the local church becomes a counter-culture community, whose members live Christ-centered lives.
Becoming a Member
Membership at Woodland Hills Church of Christ is not about salvation but faithfully joining with other followers of Jesus. The New Testament followers of Jesus shared their lives with each other, so we gather regularly to grow in Christ, serve Him and each other, and encourage one another in the faith (Acts 2:44-47, Hebrews 10:23-25). Each of our pastors and elders are available to speak with you if you desire to become a member of WHCC. We welcome you to come forward during our Sunday service, when we sing our song of invitation, if you’d like to begin that discussion.
We believe this is an accurate summary of what Scripture teaches. All formal members and regular attenders of Woodland Hills should refrain from advocating doctrines that are not included in this Statement of Faith in such a way as to cause dissension. We desire the local expression of Christ’s body at Woodland Hills to be a radiant example of love, grace, humility, and unity.