We rejoice that all people are made in the image of God and that the church thrives when led by a variety of unique men and women of all stories, backgrounds, ethnicities, and nationalities. We invite, train, equip, and ordain men and women into all offices of church leadership based on Biblical character qualifications and the availability of those in our community.
The Renewal of All Things
As said in the earliest creeds and throughout church history, Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. All people will be raised. Faithful disciples of Jesus will join him in everlasting life at the renewal of all things. Of those who reject the saving love of Jesus, God will honor their choice freely taken and hand them over to everlasting destruction.
We believe that because God was interested in authentic relationship rather than a precluded pseudo-drama with automatons, he created human beings and spiritual beings truly free. Human and spiritual beings often elect to use their freedom for evil. As a result, both the physical and spiritual realms are broken, chaotic places marred by sin, suffering, and death.
God does not will, determine, or ordain suffering or evil. Though God remains in charge of creation—his ultimate purpose for redemption is unstoppable—we carry out life in the chaotic crossfire of freewill consequences, partnering with God through prayer and action to push evil back and to see God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven.
We believe in the diligent pursuit of loving God with our minds through studying the Scriptures, theological acumen, history, language, and tradition.
We also believe in the full and powerful expression of all the things the Spirit does through prophecy and worship, words of wisdom and knowledge, miraculous healing, and the like.
We recognize the obvious division and vitriol tangled in questions and issues of sexuality in the church. Historically, Christians have not adequately acknowledged the pain and complexity of these issues nor navigated theological disagreement with humility and self-sacrificial love.
At Van City, all people are enthusiastically welcomed to worship, learn, and pray with our family on Sunday regardless of belief, theological disagreement, sexual orientation, or gender.
When and if a person decides to involve themselves at Van City in a meaningful way by attending our Basics class and joining a Van City Community, they will enter into the accountability and vulnerability of shared life in which all members of the church family are invited to take up their crosses and follow Jesus. This includes obedience to the Biblical paradigm of gender, romantic intimacy, sexuality, and marriage.
We believe in the historic Christian paradigm of marriage as a lifelong monogamous covenant union between two biologically sexually different persons (male and female) from different families and that any and all sexual relationships and expressions outside of this marriage paradigm are sin.
Though heated cultural dialogue often vests personhood in sexuality, we reject any paradigm of personhood that reduces a human being to who they sleep with. Jesus—our greatest example of a Spirit-empowered human being—elected not to have sex and was no less human for it.
Van City has no intention to, nor interest in, imposing or enforcing our theological paradigm on others, on culture beyond the church, or in the political sphere. What business is it of ours to judge those outside the church? Instead, we invite and accept all people. When and if they freely choose community accountability, we invite one another into the journey toward uncompromising faithfulness to the way of Jesus.
God, the artist, wonderfully crafts and creates human beings as male or female. These distinct, entirely equal, and complimentary genders reflect the image of God uniquely and respectively. Though men and women may express certain temperaments and sensibilities less anchored in certain cultural stereotypes of their genders depending on time and place, men and women are inherently different by God’s good design.
God creates human beings with biological sex/gender as one immutable aspect of their God-crafted personhood. Thus, gender is neither refutable nor open to the individual’s interpretation.
We recognize that the human experience is complicated and that not every person’s experience of their gender is uncomplicated. Throughout the journey of discipleship, all of us are working to bring all our personhood—including gender—into the redeeming fire of God’s love. The church can and should be a welcoming refuge to allow space for such a thing to take place within the gracious accountability of community.