Who We Are
We're a church - first and foremost.
The term “church” can mean a lot of things these days - not all of which are either helpful or positive. We like to think of the church as a vertebrate organism. The church is a living, breathing thing - like a body (1 Corinthians 12). Just like a body, we are made up of different parts. We don’t all look the same, think the same, laugh at the same things, etc., but we are committed to love each other, serve each other, forgive each other, and celebrate with each other. Just like a body, we are also in a constant state of growth. You won’t have to look hard to find imperfections here, but we are hopeful that God is continually teaching, correcting, healing, and renewing us into the image of Christ and we believe that the primary means by which He does so is through the relationships within a church. One day, we will be fully reshaped into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ...just not yet. We also believe that the church has a certain shape (hence, it is a vertebrate organism) and that shape comes from the Bible, from which we get our structure, our message, and our mission.
We desire to see the good news of Jesus Christ proclaimed, taught, and believed in every part of the world, beginning with Bellingham.
This is not a mission that we chose for ourselves, but the mission that God has given to each and every Christian (Matthew 28:18-20). As people who have been graciously forgiven of our sins and adopted by God as His daughters and sons, we are excited to see others receive the same grace. The Bible tells us that one day He will come to gather His people together forever and that it will be an impossible-to-number crowd made up of people from every nation, language, and color.
We know that this work is difficult, because the Bible teaches that men and women are neither able nor willing to believe in God on their own - which compels us to pray that God would change hearts and open eyes to His gospel. At the same time, because we believe that God is able to change hearts and open eyes, we proclaim Him with hopeful joy, knowing that there is no one that God is not able to save.
What We Value
The aim of the church is not to make people happy. Nor is it to tell people what they would like to hear! The purpose of the church is to hear and experience God as he has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ. So while happiness is not our aim, we do believe that a true understanding of God’s love will bring the greatest joy possible. We believe Oikos is filled with joyful people, because they know the riches of God’s goodness.
We do not come to church simply to be served, but also to serve! This includes everyone. Leaders do not lead to be noticed or praised, but following the example of Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who humbly sacrificed himself for his people. We strive to be a church full of serving people.
Oikos loves and serves the local church community, but also stretches out to serve the global community. We’ve currently have five families from the church serving in five countries. We hope to share the good news of Jesus Christ with all people!
Coming together to worship is meant to be a celebration, but we must never forget why we celebrate. We are careful each week to contemplate our own sin and need for a savior. While we may have a laid back atmosphere, we take care to remember the weightiness of our need for God, and the greatness of his salvation in Jesus Christ.
Appreciation of the Past
In the times we live in, the past, and people from the past, are often looked down on or dismissed. We try to cultivate a counter-cultural understanding of the past, and believe there is much to be learned from the people and church practices that came before us. We incorporate many historical elements of worship into our service, and seek out the writing and wisdom of the past to aid us in our pursuit of Christ.
What We Believe
Of the Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction (1); that it has God for its author, salvation for its end (2), and truth without any mixture of error for its matter (3); that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us (4); and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union (5), and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried (6).
Of the True God
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth (7); inexpressibly glorious in holiness (8), and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love (9); that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (10); equal in every divine perfection (11), and executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (12).
Of the Fall of Man
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace (19), through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God (20); who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin (21); honored the divine law by his personal obedience (22), and by his death made a full atonement for our sins (23); that having risen from the death, he is now enthroned in heaven (24); and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all- sufficient Saviour (25).
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ (26) secures to such as believe in him is Justification (27); that Justification includes the pardon of sin (28), and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness (29); that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood (30); by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God (31); that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity (32).
Of the Freeness of Salvation
We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel (33); that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith (34); and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel (35); which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation (36).
Of Grace in Regeneration
We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again (37); that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind (38); that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth (39), so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel (40); and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life (41).
Of Repentance and Faith
We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God (42); whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ (43), we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy (44); at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior (45).
Of God's Purpose of Grace
We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners (46); that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end (47); that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable (48); that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy (49); that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree (50); that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel (51); that it is the foundation of Christian assurance (52); and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence (53).
We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness (54); that it is a progressive work (55); that it is begun in regeneration (56); and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means--especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer (57).
Of the Perseverance of Saints
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end (58); that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors (59); that a special Providence watches over their welfare (60); and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (61).
Of the Harmony of the Law and the Gospel
We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government (62); that it is holy, just, and good (63); and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin (64); to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible Church (65).
Of a Gospel Church
We believe that a visible Church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers (66), associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel (67); serving the ordinances of Christ (68); governed by his laws (69), and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his Word (70); that its only scriptural officers are Bishops, or Pastors, and Deacons (71), whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer (72), into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost (73); to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life (74); that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a Church relation; and to the Lord's Supper (75), in which the members of the Church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ (76); preceded always by solemn self- examination (77).
Of the Christian Sabbath
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath (78); and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes (79), by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations (80); by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private (81) and public (82); and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God (83).
Of Civil Government
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society (84); and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed (85); except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ (86) who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth (87).
Of the Righteous and the Wicked
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked (88); that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem (89); while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse (90); and this distinction holds among men both in and after death (91).
Of the World to Come
We believe that the end of the world is approaching (92); that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven (93), and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution (94); that a solemn separation will then take place (95); that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy (96); and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness (97).