What does High Pointe believe?

At this year’s Southern Baptist Convention, I had the privilege of serving on a panel about maintaining unity while disagreeing on certain doctrines. If all of God’s Word is true, and if we’re to obey all that Jesus has commanded, does that mean that we are to hold all doctrines with equal weight? The short answer is no. Jesus spoke about the weightier matters of the Law (Matthew 23:23-24). And Paul spoke about personal convictions and Christian freedoms (Romans 14). Based on these distinctions, it is helpful to understand the different levels of doctrine because there are some beliefs for which we would die, and there are other beliefs that we will just agree to disagree. So, how can we tell the difference? Allow me to remind us how we approach doctrine at High Pointe.

We Are a Confessional Church.  

High Pointe is a confessional church. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, having dedicated themselves to the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). In fact, the early Christians confessed certain doctrinal truths together, as seen in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and Colossians 1:15-20. Today, High Pointe simply follows their example. So then, to be a “confessional church” means that, together as a body, we “confess” or “hold to” specific truths of the Christian faith.

As confessional Christians, the 1853 New Hampshire Confessionserves as our statement of faith. Although this confession does not explain all that our members believe, it is a summary of the basic beliefs required for membership at High Pointe. In addition, we understand the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 to reflect a fuller explication of our Statement of Faith and a faithful application of it to contemporary issues related to the life and discipline of our church. 

The Way We Distinguish Doctrines

At High Pointe, we believe that all that the Bible teaches (doctrine) is important, but for the glory of Christ, the unity of the church, and our mission, we understand that we must distinguish between those doctrines that are essential to Christianity, those that distinguish us as a church, and those that Christians are free to differ on. We distinguish these doctrines by three categories: core, characteristic, and charity beliefs

  • CORE beliefs are those doctrines that represent historic and evangelical Christianity. In other words, they are beliefs that are required for someone to be a Christian. CORE beliefs include the deity of Christ, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the Trinity, etc.
  • CHARACTERISTIC beliefs are those doctrines that characterize HPBC. In other words, there are other true churches filled with true Christians who might believe differently than we do on these beliefs. CHARACTERISTIC beliefs include believer’s baptism, congregational government, etc.
*Required for membership at HPBC is believing the CORE and CHARACTERISTIC beliefs summarized in our Confession of Faith. 
  • CHARITY beliefs are those beliefs that Christians can agree to disagree on. In other words, we will seek to be charitable with one another on these particular beliefs. CHARITY beliefs include alcohol consumption, details on the timing of the second coming of Christ, the Sabbath vs. the Lord’s day, etc. First Corinthians 8 and Romans 14 teach us how we should relate to one another regarding charity beliefs.
By distinguishing between core, characteristic, and charity beliefs, we can eagerly maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. May the Lord grant us the grace to fight for unity as we together seek to display the manifold wisdom of God to the cosmic powers and the world.