Does Gateway believe that Jesus died for everyone or just some people?
Gateway believes what the Bible teaches about Jesus’ death. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV). This means that God sent Jesus to be a sacrifice (Or, as the ESV states in Romans 3:25, a “propitiation”—a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath so that God’s favor rests upon us) for us. The theological term for the work of salvation through Jesus’ death is atonement. Atonement can be understood by two basic, foundational truths: (1) Christ’s perfect obedience of the law for us, and (2) Christ’s sufferings for us, in which he took upon himself the penalty for our sin. As John 3:16 states, “…whoever believes in him…” has eternal life.
Therefore, Jesus’ death or atoning work is sufficient for all people, but it is only applied to those who believe by faith.
I am confused why we are spending so much time on something that is not actually in the Bible.
Although I am not 100% sure to what you are referring, I assume your comment alludes to the fact that Gateway is teaching about the Apostle’s Creed.
If I misunderstood and you are not referring to the Apostle’s Creed, please send me an e-mail (MBarnhart@gatewayepc.org) to clarify because one of the things we are passionate about at Gateway is teaching the Bible. We want to be very careful to teach what the Bible says, instead of simply stating opinions, ideas, or cultural norms.
If you are referring to the Apostle’s Creed, there are several things I can say:
- The Apostle’s Creed is a statement of faith that came directly from Scripture. As I mentioned in the sermon on May 15, “The Apostle’s Creed is a simple reflection of what Scripture says, just like the moon reflects the light of the sun.” All good doctrine is a summation of Scripture. We, as Gateway Church, believe that the Apostle’s Creed is not Scripture, but it is a reflection of Scripture. Therefore, it is a launching point to discuss some core truths that are in Scripture.
- During each week of the Apostle’s Creed sermon series, we have sought to teach directly from the Bible. Our desire is that the people of Gateway Church see how the Apostle’s Creed came to be directly from Scripture, not the other way around. Therefore, we have taught from specific Scripture texts that helped form the creed.
- The Apostle’s Creed is not Scripture, and we are not treating it as Scripture. Again, it reflects Scripture in a memorable way. For many, the Apostle’s Creed has been a way of remembering key Bible truths from generation to generation. We want people to understand the value of the creed and where it came from.