WHAT WE AFFIRM, TEACH, PRACTICE

September 2022

SECTION I

THE GOSPEL

The word “gospel” means news. It is the news about who Jesus Christ is, what He has done, and how that changes everything.  The Gospel, or the Good News about Jesus, is the best and most important news you will ever hear.  It’s the most life-changing news you could ever share with someone else.

Ephesians 2:1-10  (NKJV)

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the [a]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

SECTION II

WE PLACE A GREAT EMPHASIS ON BIBLICAL DISCIPLESHIP

Biblical illiteracy among Christians is at an all-time high.  Making disciples is the primary mandate of the Great Commission.

Matthew 28:18-20  (NKJV)

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

2 Timothy 2:15  (KJV)

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

SECTION III

THE FAMILY IN CHRIST SHOULD REGULARLY, BOTH PLANNED AND SPONTANEOUSLY, DO LIFE TOGETHER

The reality of Scripture is that Christians are commanded to love everyone … but not necessarily to like everyone.  We encourage those who both love and like to engage in doing life together.  

Acts 2:46-47  (NKJV)

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Hebrews 10:24-25  (NKJV)

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

SECTION IV

FAMILIES SHOULD WORSHIP GOD, STUDY, AND FELLOWSHIP TOGETHER

There is no segregation of any type endorsed in the Bible.  And so, children will not be segregated from the adults during Church service as well as any expositional verse-by-verse study of the Scripture.  This is known as the intergenerational model and this is the model for the Church that is Biblically endorsed.  

Proverbs 22:6  (NKJV)

6 Train up a child in the way he should go,

And when he is old he will not depart from it.

SECTION V

IT IS THE PARENTS RESPONSIBILITY TO BE THE PRIMARY DISCIPLERS OF THEIR CHILDREN

While it should be acknowledged that God has done much good through inventions such as “Children’s Church” and “Youth Groups,” neither of these institutions are founded in Scripture and thus are not Biblically endorsed.  It would appear therefore that God, in His grace, has done this good in spite of these institutions, and not because of them.  The primary role of the parental ministry is the raising up of children in the ways of God.  When parents are living and present in the lives of their children, the Bible offers no substitute or surrogate in discipleship of the youth.      

Deuteronomy 6:6-9  (NKJV)

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

SECTION VI

WE ARE CAREFUL TO GUARD AGAINST PERSONALITY CULTS / SECTARIANISM

The pastor is no more worthy to be placed on a pedestal than any other sinner saved by the grace of God.  Therefore the Church should not exercise any practice which exalts the pastor in any ungodly fashion.  As a practical matter, if a pastor is doing the job of raising up men as exemplified by Christ Himself, then the Church should be equipped with a “lineup” of men who are qualified to share in the public explanation or proclamation of the Word of God.  In other words, the pastor should not be the primary common denominator during the majority of the Sunday Service in sharing the Word of God.  History proves that this unBiblical practice (though wildly popular in the modern Church context) can lead to personality cults.  

1 Corinthians 3:1-4  (NKJV)

1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

SECTION VII

CHURCHES SHOULD BE IN COOPERATION, NOT IN COMPETITION, WITH EACH OTHER

We encourage our attendees to fellowship with Christians outside of our own local Church context.  Additionally, we partake in regular fellowship with a variety of other healthy, local area Churches for the purpose of broadening fellowship in the pursuit of unity among the Body of Christ.  

John 17:20-23  (NKJV)

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

1 Corinthians 1:10  (NKJV)

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

SECTION VIII

IN FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP / MATTERS OF BUSINESS

A Fiscal Steward is assigned to handle the financial business of the Church.  Pastor / Elder has no “signature power” on Church bank accounts.  A Church Administrator is assigned to handle the matters of Church business in cooperation with the Church Deacons.  Pastor / Elder should tend to the ministry of the Word and the feeding of the flock.  

Acts 6:3-4  (NKJV)

3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

SECTION IX

SPIRITUAL GIFTS / EXPRESSIONS OF WORSHIP

Since the dawn of the Church, interpretive challenges which have led to exercising the Christian faith in a multitude of ways have, unfortunately, divided the Body of Christ in an unBiblical fashion.  Today, when this divide continues to occur in the context of the local Church, it is of the devil, not of God, and in total violation of the Priestly Prayer of Jesus Himself in John 17.  Though this section is by no means exhaustive, as this topic is massive, we teach and practice that the spiritual gifts which were endowed to the Church are still valid for today when interpreted with a sound hermeneutic.  In other words, the gifts are valid today when interpreted and exercised in support of the Scripture.  We do not accept the extreme “no nothing” cessationist teaching for the New Testament Church. Furthermore, Scripture is very clear:

God and God Alone “Gifts” the Individual Christian as He Wills

1 Corinthians 12:4-11  (NKJV)

4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Not All Christians Are Gifted Alike

1 Corinthians 12:27-31  (NKJV)

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

That More Excellent Way … Is Love 

Please refer to the the entirety of 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, and specifically, how God, through the Apostle Paul, closes:  

1 Corinthians 13:13  (NKJV)

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Since God is love (1 John 4:8, 16) and since love is the more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31), a misprioritization by way of giving too much attention to the gifts is both immature and unBiblical, because it causes the believer to focus on the gift instead of the gifter.  

Those Who Profess and Manifest The Miraculous May or May Not Be Known By Christ

Matthew 7:21-23  (NKJV)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

The Christian Is Known By The Love and Not By The Gift

John 13:35  (NKJV)

35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The Various Expressions of Worship

Both individual and corporate worship may look different from one Christian to the next and from one local congregation to the next.  If worship is done in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), then the expression of that worship may vary.  No Christian should judge the spiritual maturity or spiritual depth of either individual or local congregation by outward appearance alone.  God does not look upon the outward; God looks upon the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).  Any Christian who judges spirituality based on outward appearance is not only immature, but unBiblical in practice.  

In Summary

Any particular gifting does not make one a “Super Christian,” and any lack of a particular gifting does not make one a “Lesser Christian.”  The ground at the foot of the cross is level, and even on our very best of days, those days when we might have experienced a special movement or unction of the Holy Spirit, even when we feel that we have “summited the peak of our righteousness,” remember ye the words of God through our Brother Isaiah:  

Isaiah 64:6  (NKJV)

6 But we are all like an unclean thing,

And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;

We all fade as a leaf,

And our iniquities, like the wind,

Have taken us away.

DOCTRINAL CLARITY

SECTION X

THE TRINITY

There is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Stated differently, God is one in essence and three in person. These definitions express three crucial truths: (I) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, (II) each Person is fully God, (III) there is only one God.

SECTION XI

THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD

God’s Word is Truth and is the primary means of the Believer coming to maturity in Christ (John 17:17).  The Word of God is without exception Inspired, Authoritative, Sufficient, Inerrant.  We affirm The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy  (1978).

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

SECTION XII

CHRIST DIED FOR HIS CHURCH AND RATIFIED A FAMILY IN CHRIST FROM THE CROSS

We witness a shadow of this Family in Christ in Matthew 12:46-50, and the fullness thereof from Christ Himself while hanging from the cross in John 19:25-27.

Matthew 12:46-50  (NKJV)

46 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” 48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

John 19:25-29  (NKJV)

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

SECTION XIII

THE CHURCH

The Church is not a place, but a redeemed people.  Also known in Scripture as the saints and in common vernacular:  Christians.  Therefore the local setting, the building, the edifice, the gathering is not a networking group / not a social club / not an entertainment or recreation center for the younger generation.  The Church is the Bride of Christ and the purpose of the local “Church Gathering” is for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying (the building up or strengthening) of the Body of Christ so that we may be able to stand firm, and stand strong against the deceptions of the world.  The Church is to grow in the truth,  and always speak the truth with love while at the same time never compromising Biblical convictions for the sake of convenience or comfort.  In doing so, the Church honors Christ Jesus as He is the Head of His Church.  

REFERENCE   Ephesians 4:11-16

SECTION XIV

THE OPERATIONAL AND GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH a/k/a ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY

The government of the Church is triune in nature:  Pastor-Elder / Deacon / Congregation.  A plurality of complementarian pastoral-eldership rule is the prescription of Scripture for the New Testament Church.  In the early stages of a local Church, where a plurality of pastoral-eldership rule is not available, a presbyter relationship with fellow Churches should be established.  Deacons and Congregation are also a part of the Church Governmental Structure.  (Acts 6, 1 Timothy 3)  From a plain reading of the text of Scripture, one can clearly discern that the Bible holds true to a complementarian position regarding Pastor-Elders and Deacons (1 Timothy 3) as opposed to an egalitarian position.  And so we affirm complementarianism.   

SECTION XV

THE DIVINE DESIGN FOR GOD’S CREATION OF MALE AND FEMALE

The entirety of Scripture is clear from creation to consummation.  Furthermore, we affirm the 2017 Nashville Statement of Faith.  

Genesis 1:27  (NKJV)

27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Matthew 19:4-6  (NKJV)

4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

SECTION XVI

THE APOSTLES CREED

I believe in God the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth.  

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into Hell.

On the third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven,

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,

whence He will come again to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church*,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body

and the life everlasting.

Amen.  

NOTE ///

the above phrase “catholic Church” simply means

One True Church just as Christ prayed in John Chapter 17.

SECTION XVII

THE FIVE SOLAS

The Bible teaches what has become known as The Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation.  The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity.  The Five Solas are:

ONE

SOLA SCRIPTURA

“Scripture Alone”

The Bible alone is our highest authority.

TWO

SOLA FIDE

“Faith Alone”

We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

THREE

SOLA GRATIA

“Grace Alone”

We are saved by the grace of God alone.

FOUR

SOLUS CHRISTUS

“Christ Alone”

Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.

FIVE

SOLI DEO GLORIA

“To The Glory Of God Alone”

We live for the glory of God alone.

SOLA SCRIPTURA

  • The Scriptures are our ultimate and trustworthy authority for faith and practice. This doesn’t mean that the Bible is the only place where truth is found, but it does mean that everything else we learn about God and his world, and all other authorities, should be interpreted in light of Scripture. The Bible gives us everything we need for our theology.
  • Every word of the 66 books of the Bible is inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit also helps us to understand and obey Scripture.

SOLA FIDE AND SOLA GRATIA

  • We are saved solely through faith in Jesus Christ because of God’s grace and Christ’s merit alone. We are not saved by our merits or declared righteous by our good works. God grants salvation, despite our sin, not because of the good things we do.
  • As humans, we inherited (from our ancestor Adam) a nature that is enslaved to sin. Because of our nature, we are naturally enemies of God and lovers of evil. We need to be made alive (regenerated) so that we can even have faith in Christ. God graciously chooses to give us new hearts so that we trust in Christ and are saved through faith alone.
  • God graciously preserves us and keeps us. When we are faithless toward him, He is still faithful.
  • We can only stand before God by his grace as He mercifully attributes to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ and attributes to Him the consequences of our sins. Jesus’ life of perfect righteousness is counted as ours, and our records of sin and failure were counted to Jesus when he died on the cross.
  • Sola fide and sola gratia express the teaching of Ephesians 2:8-10  (NKJV):
  • For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

SOLUS CHRISTUS

  • God has given the ultimate revelation of Himself to us by sending Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15). Only through God’s gracious self-revelation in Jesus do we come to a saving and transforming knowledge of God.
  • Because God is holy and all humans are sinful and sinners, neither religious rituals nor good works mediate between us and God. Only the sacrificial death of Christ can atone for sin.

SOLI DEO GLORIA

  • Glory belongs to God alone. God’s glory is the central motivation for salvation, not improving the lives of people — though that is a wonderful by-product. God is not a means to an end — He is the means and the end.
  • The goal of all of life is to give glory to God alone: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).  
  • As The Westminster Catechism says, the chief purpose of human life is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

 

THE END

Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

Psalm 150:6  (KJV)