What We Believe
The Lighthouse Church of Chicago recognizes the limits of language to describe what it means to be Christian.
Here, we opt to frame Christian identity, as the early church did, through story. For us, being Christian means that one is captivated by, believes in, and dares to live out, in word and deed, the 5-part story of our Saviour and God, Jesus Christ. For Christ came, lived, died, rose, and will return.
We refuse to select isolated passages of scripture without providing an overarching narrative in which to situate those passages. The story that follows, and the points contained therein, constitute our humble approach to holistically depict Christian identity.
Christ: came, lived, died, rose, and will return
One of the main commitments that makes Christianity distinctive is that we believe God came to Earth in human form.1 This is a remarkable claim. It is not only distinctive, but good news! The Christian tradition shows us a God who saw hunger, pain, death, and injustice and did something about it—God came to Earth to identify with us. This reality provides us with deep comfort in tough moments, for we serve a God who loved us so much that God was willing to come to Earth and show us justice—love on public display.2 And not just this, we no longer have to feel that, “God doesn’t understand what I’m going through!” In fact God does!3
It is important to note, though, that Christ did not merely show up, but was actively engaged in the lives of his disciples and those who most needed him.4 Jesus first meets people (he is present) and then engages them (he lives life with them) and because of this two-step model of ministry he helps transform their lives. WE strive to be bold enough to initiate, and fortunate enough to be the recipients of, such a model of ministry.
We believe that there are three central Gospel principles, which are revealed in the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus Christ.
The first of the three Gospel principles is that of liberation—the progressive and continual act of freeing people from oppression.5 Jesus dedicated his life to helping those at the margins—those in poverty,6 women, the physically and mentally challenged to name but a few—it is our goal to demonstrate this commitment of liberation to all those who are silenced, objectified, and made invisible.
The second Gospel principle is inclusion—bringing the outsider, in.7 Christ teaches us that all (without qualification) are able to place their faith in Christ and receive his salvation. This news is radical. We must be careful that we don’t add asterisks where God did not.
The third Gospel principle is that of loving God and neighbor.8 Our ministry’s aim is to help all people fall more deeply in love with God as well as with their neighbor.
These are the three core principles we strive to live out as a ministry, for we find them abundantly evident in the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus Christ.
We believe that on the cross, Christ provided us with a moral example by which we are to lead our lives: On the cross, Christ diffused hate through love, became wealthy by giving everything away, and garnered a following through being a servant. This upside down way of living represents a counter-culture that we strive to join.9 The cross, though, provides us with more than just a moral example—much more. Also, on the cross, we believe Christ did something for humanity that we could not do for ourselves: Christ provided us with reconciliation and victory. Atop the cross, Jesus Christ defeated death by dying and trampled over the forces of sin, death, and the grave.10 Further Jesus imputed that victory to all who would place their faith in him.11 Indeed, we are justified (or saved) by grace through faith.12
Christ’s resurrection points us to the resurrection of all God’s people.13 It assures us that sickness, sin, injustice, death, and evil will not have the final word. For as it was with Christ, so shall it be with us—one day we will die and join God, in Heaven, and upon Christ’s resurrection, Heaven and Earth will become one and we will reign with Christ in what will be—“a new Heaven and new Earth.”14 The resurrection of Christ is a down payment on this promise.
Christ Will Return
We recognize that, despite our best efforts, sickness, death, hunger, poverty, and injustice continue to be experienced in this broken world of ours. However, we labor, intensely, to bring healing, restoration, and justice into this world—that we might illustrate the inbreaking of the kin-dom of God. We consider such acts, previews of coming attractions. And we are able to do so with much hope, for our actions, our joining in bringing Heaven to Earth, will find their successful and total completion in the triumphant return and reign of Jesus Christ.15
1. Matthew 1:23
2. Philippians 2:5-8
3. Hebrews 4:15-16
4. John 4; Luke 19:1-10
5. Matthew 4:18-19
6. Matthew 25:31-36
7. Romans 10:9-10
8. Matthew 22:36-40
9. Luke 9:23-24, Ephesians 5:1-4
10. Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
11. Romans 5:1
12. Romans 3:24
13. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
14. Revelation 21:1-5
15. Revelation 21:1-5