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Who We Are
The Manhattan Church is a community of people on the journey of faith together. We encourage open inquiry and questions regarding our faith, and we want people to feel at home among us who are only beginning the journey of faith, or who perhaps are struggling with their faith. At the same time, however, we as a community are nourished by the basic teachings about God, humanity, salvation, and the Bible that have been held in common by Christians throughout the ages. We understand that there have always been variations in expression and practice, but we stand in the broad community of believers throughout the ages who have testified to their faith in Jesus Christ. We believe in One GodÂ—Father, Son, and Holy SpiritÂ—united in divine love throughout eternity. This trinity of one God in three persons is without beginning and without end and is alone worthy of all worship. We believe that God is the creator and sustainer of all things. We believe that from God's own love, God chose to create human beings as creatures capable of having a free relationship of love and trust with their creator, but also capable of sin and rebellion. We believe that although human sin and brokenness have profoundly separated us from God and enslaved us so that we can never save ourselves, God has never ceased to love his creatures. Because of that love, God chose to come among us in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, who was the Messiah promised to ancient Israel. We believe that Jesus taught us God's ways by his words and actions. Especially in the mystery of Jesus' crucifixion, God's profound self-sacrificing love was revealed, a love and sacrifice that alone can overcome the devastation of our guilt and sin. Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead to give us eternal life with him. We believe that we are saved by God's grace as a free gift from God. This grace is received by faith, that is, by trusting in what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. We believe that this grace and faith are life transforming in power. They are manifested through repentance (a change of mind and life toward God's values), by confession (publicly affirming one's faith, even in the face of opposition), and by baptism. We believe that Jesus has given baptism to believers as a special sign to express the meaning of what grace and faith do in our lives. This sign - a plunging in water - is a public, physical expression of faith that marks our identification with Jesus' death and resurrection, the forgiveness of our sins, and a new birth by the Spirit of God. We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and is our authority in all matters of faith and life. We believe that the content and message of the Bible are both simple enough for anyone to understand and profound enough to challenge the most thorough student. We encourage in-depth exploration of the Bible and the asking of challenging questions that help us to understand the great riches of God's word. We believe that Christians are called to a life of discipleship that imitates Jesus and embodies the challenging values that he taught. Such a life can only be lived through the presence of God's Holy Spirit, who actively works in the lives of Christians. The church - the assembly of believers - is empowered by the same Holy Spirit to be the body of Christ on earth and to continue his work of serving others and of reaching people who are far from God and leading them to know God's grace and salvation. The spiritual gifts of both men and women of all classes and ethnicities should be valued and used to the fullest extent possible. We believe that as Christians we are called to praise and glorify God, and to encourage, strengthen, and support each other in our lives together, as we live in expectation of Christ's return and an eternity of joy in the presence of God.