It is difficult to say exactly what “we believe” because “we” are a very diverse group. We do not demand that you share our beliefs before attending the Black Hills Church. Consequently there are differing views on many topics. Here, there is a heavy focus on grace, and our need to give one another time to grow and discover truth as God points it out. However, in the section below, we can give you a broad sense of what is often taught. For a more in depth look at our core values and beliefs, take a look at our sermon section.
- We teach that Jesus did not come to start a new religion, but to replace religion with an intimate relationship with God. It is the conviction of the leadership that God is not glorified by your begrudging submission to a bunch of rules and ideals.
- We teach that willpower is an anemic and ineffective mechanism for dealing with the moral failures in our life. According to the New Testament, the harder a person tries to conform to rules, the more problems he or she will have reigning in immorality. The answer to this issue is, again, relationship with God. As we draw near to Him, He works on making us into the image of His Son Jesus.
- As broken and morally compromised human beings, our natural response to God’s extended hand of fellowship is to run from Him. We do so because we are aware of our own moral failure and His moral perfection. We run, thinking that given some time, we can fix ourselves and thereby be welcome into God’s fellowship. However, every step away from God is a step further from the only power in the universe available to transform us. Consequently, in order to overcome the “flight” response, it is imperative that each of us have a settled knowledge of our right standing with God. This can only happen when we put our faith in the finished atoning work of Jesus.
- God designed humans to live in, contribute to, and derive benefit from community. We put an emphasis on not just going TO church but BEING church. Church isn’t some place you go or something you do; it is the community of believers who are experiencing life and journeying toward Jesus together.
- It is often stated in classes and sermons that we are all “a mess”. It is a primary tenant of our philosophy that before God there are not two classes of people (good and bad, righteous and sinners). We are all sinners. Church isn’t a gathering of the spiritual elite but a triage unit for the spiritually and morally destitute. Before God, there are only sinners. It is sheer arrogance for those in a relationship with the only One who can pardon and transform us to look down on those outside of this saving grace.
- We don’t think you have to agree with us to go to Heaven. On the contrary, we teach that if we are all thinking alike, then most of us are probably not thinking. It isn’t the job of the Church or the leaders thereof to do your thinking for you. It is our job to simply challenge you to grow in faith and to help facilitate the only relationship that can transform you.
- Though we do not consider ourselves the standard of truth, we do believe that truth is a real and tangible thing and that the more truth you have discovered, the more quality you will have to your existence. Contrary to what is often taught in religious circles, truth as it is defined in the New Testament isn’t a primarily doctrinal or academic. It is truth as opposed to delusion and focuses primarily on the way the universe really is and not the way we would like it or perceive it to be. We unashamedly hold up Jesus as the embodiment of truth.
- Because we recognize that our salvation has nothing to do with our own merits (intelligence, goodness, etc) we are committed to living our lives in a condemnation-free bubble. We do not live under condemnation ourselves, nor will we condemn others.
- Down through the ages religion has been a failure. The entire Old Testament was an attempt to prove that religion, rules, and willpower are a complete failure when it comes to trying to deal with the broken human condition. So it is strange that so much of what is called “Christianity” is a warmed over Old Testament system of rules and regulations.