Beliefs and Affiliation
Beliefs about Beliefs
Before diving into the perspective that forms the basis of Winding Creek’s teachings and beliefs, it’s important to understand what we mean by doctrinal integrity and good, biblical teaching.
Winding Creek is committed to doctrinal integrity. That’s simply another way of saying we’re committed to interpreting Scripture with care. With ‘care’ means that the goal of our Bible interpretation is to find the meaning of the original author.
If the Bible can mean ‘anything’ then it means nothing. In some circles today, Scripture’s meaning has been tortured and twisted to mean some novel things. This happens when teachers set aside the accepted rules for understanding and interpreting written words. Especially those written in different languages and in the context of various cultures and histories.
Doctrinal integrity means we follow the proven Historical-Grammatical method of interpretation, which helps ensure we hear Scripture speak from its own language, history, and culture. It further means that we work hard to understand its meaning, uncolored by our own subjective cultural or prejudicial ideas.
But when discussing the idea of doctrine, it’s always important to note the difference between doctrinal integrity and doctrinalism.
Doctrinal Integrity versus Doctrinalism
Doctrinalism is when our trust is in our own doctrinal comprehension rather than in Christ himself. Jesus addressed this in the first century. Speaking to religious leaders he pointed to the central purpose of Bible teaching: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me…” (John 5:39 – ESV).
Christ himself is the goal of biblical teaching. On the flip side, doctrinalism is about us, and its fruit is religious pride. We can deny we have religious pride, but it can’t be kept hidden. It slips out here and there in our smug religious superiority and manifests in anger, judgment, and censorship toward those who might believe a bit differently. Jesus’ command that Christians love even their enemies should temper our religious arrogance.
The ‘Perfect Church’
People hold varying views of the church and its purpose. Some look for churches that seem to have all of its theological ducks in a row. Others pursue a church that is relationally warm. Still, others look for a church with great programs. The list goes on.
Regardless of our particular expectations, if we seek ‘the perfect’ church, then we’ve fallen into a kind of perfectionism with unbiblical expectations.
Biblical Church: A Place of Community and Growth
First and foremost, the biblical idea of the church is that of a community of fallen but redeemed believers in Jesus Christ, joined by his Spirit and intent on living out his commands together.
Churches should not be reduced merely to a set of pristine theological statements or any other form of idealistic perfectionism.
Only individuals dissatisfied with their current spiritual state are candidates for the kind of biblical community and discipleship offered in a New Testament church.
This is why the outreach and ministries of Winding Creek aim to echo the Spirit of Christ when he said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). And “…make disciples…teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20)
Prospective Winding Creek Members
Winding Creek’s outreach is not aimed toward ‘settled believers’ content with where they are spiritually and looking for their idea of a perfect church. Rather, we hope to reach non-Christians who’ve yet to become Jesus’ disciples, alongside those who, though they already profess Christianity, have a deep desire for ongoing spiritual growth.
The Aim of Doctrinal Integrity
Lastly, excellent teaching is not an end in itself, but a roadmap to a specific destination.
Finding a good map doesn’t end the journey. The trip is never simply about the map. It’s always about the destination.
For Winding Creek, doctrinal integrity is a map whose destination is Christ. Arrival at that destination produces discipleship and the opposite of religious pride. In place of immaturity and spiritual smugness, we’re moved toward a deep love for Christ and others (1 Corinthians 13).
In his Imitation of Christ, written in the 14th century, Thomas A Kempis said it well: “What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity, if lacking humility you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God.”
Winding Creek’s Biblical Perspective
Winding Creek is a confessional church. That means we look to historic Confessions and Creeds to publish our beliefs and as the basis of our teaching and discipleship.
In particular we look to the Heidelberg, Belgic and Westminster Confessions. More recently, we recently added the New City Catechism, a modern language Q & A format based on the historic confessions.
Winding Creek was launched in the fall of 2000, as part of Grace Network of Churches.
A network of churches is not the same as a denomination. In a network, churches can differ in their worship styles and non-essential doctrines.
In June of 2017, Grace Network joined with another network to form a new organization called One Focus.
Though Winding Creek is committed to being part of a network of churches, we are still in the process of deciding our new affiliation.