(The following summary of doctrine was created at the request of the leadership for the Youth Ministry Lab at its 2011 meeting. YML recently drew a great number of young people and their ministers together for worship and instruction in Fort Worth, Texas, where numerous decisions were made to follow Christ into salvation and service. It is offered for general readership here.)
The Trinity: The one true God who created all things, who redeems believers, and whom believers worship is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; God the Trinity is eternally one God in three persons.
The Bible: God reveals all the truth we need in order to know of Him, to be reconciled to Him, and to live for Him in the 66 canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, which comprise Holy Scripture. Holy Scripture is the perfect Word of God with full authority over mankind, because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit, who kept the original autographs free from error, who preserves the text through history, and who testifies its full trustworthiness while illumining its meaning to us.
Creation and Providence: On the basis of His love, the triune God created all things, visible and invisible, out of nothing, sustains all things providentially, and will bring all things to their proper end for His glory.
Humanity and Sin: The triune God created humanity, male and female, in His image. He gave mankind dominion over the earth and commanded him to be fruitful and multiply. God intended the man and his wife for a faithful lifelong marriage exclusively with one another, the man at the head of his family. However, Adam with all of his descendents rebelled against the Creator. Thus, human beings come under a sentence of condemnation to eternal death through their own sin. Humanity was driven from the holy presence of God because of sin.
Jesus Christ: In order to restore mankind and bring him to eternal life, God the Father sent His only begotten Son, the eternal Word of God and second person of the Trinity, to unite Himself forever with humanity in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus Christ was conceived of a virgin by the Holy Spirit, lived a sinless life, taught us the words of God, died a propitiatory death on the cross as a once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, arose from the dead on the third day for our justification, ascended to reign enthroned at the right hand of the Father, and will one day return to render judgment on all creation.
The Holy Spirit: God sends the eternal Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, into the world to accompany the proclamation of the Word of God and convict men of the sin of unbelief, of the coming judgment on the ruler of this world and those in the world, and of the righteousness that is available freely to all sinners through faith in the Son of God. The Holy Spirit comes to reside in new believers, providing them with the seal of promise that God will complete His work of salvation, with spiritual fruit to characterize their lives, and with spiritual gifts for the edification of the church, especially the gift of proclamation.
The Beginning of Salvation: In salvation, when a person hears the Word of God proclaimed and truly believes by grace, the external righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to the believer as justification, thus saving him from condemnation; at the same moment, the Holy Spirit sovereignly regenerates or transforms the believer with faith and repentance so that this person now begins to follow Jesus Christ in salvation.
The Christian Life and the End: As salvation continues, a believer is assured of perserverance unto eternal life, but must consistently seek to grow in holiness through hearing, reading, and knowing God's Word and the Holy Spirit's work of sanctification. Salvation will one day be completed in God's work of glorification, when believers shall receive transformed bodies in the first resurrection as Jesus returns to reign. At the end of the millennium, Christ shall judge all with the eternal consequence of heaven or hell. By grace, believers are united with God and one another, entering the eternal presence of the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit.
The Church: All believers must regularly and faithfully worship God with the church, the gathered congregation of true believers, hearing the Word of God proclaimed and observing the Lord's ordinances, beginning with believers-only baptism by immersion as a sign of faith and continuing with regular celebration of the meaningful memorial of the Lord's Supper, submitting to redemptive congregational discipline.
The Great Commission: The church, inclusive of all believers as a royal priesthood in Christ, was commissioned by the Lord, beginning in Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, to go to the entire world until the end, to proclaim the Word of God so that whosoever will believe should become disciples of Jesus Christ, to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to teach them all things contained in the Word of the Lord, of which this is a mere summary.