GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH STATEMENT OF FAITH
A. Beliefs on Doctrine
1. OF THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the HOLY BIBLE was written by men supernaturally inspired; That it has truth without any admixture of error for its matter; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age, the only complete and ﬁnal revelation of the will of God to man; the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions should be tried.
1.a By the “Holy Bible” we mean that collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, which, as originally written does not only contain and convey the Word of God, but IS the very Word of God.
1.b By “inspiration” we mean that the books of the Bible were written by holy men of old, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, in such a deﬁnite way that their writings were supernaturally and verbally inspired and free from error, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be inspired.
(2Tim. 3:16-17; 2Pet. 1:19-21; Acts 1:16; Acts 28:25; Psa. 119:160; Psa. 119:105; Psa. 119:130; Lu. 24:25-27; Jn. 17:17; Lu. 24:44-45; Ps. 119:89; Pro. 30:5-6; Ro. 3:4; 1Pet. 1:2-3; Rev. 22:19; Jn. 12:48; Is. 8:20; Eph. 6:17; Ro. 15:4; Lu. 16:31; Ps. 19:7-11; Jn. 5:45-47; Jn. 5:39.)
2. OF THE TRUE GOD
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an inﬁnite, intelligent Spirit, the maker and supreme ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, conﬁdence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit.
(Ex. 20:2-3; Gen. 17:1; Gen. 17:6; Eph. 4:6; Jn. 4:24; Ps. 147:5; Ps. 83:33; Ps. 90:2; Jer. 10:10; Ex. 15:11; Rev. 4:11; 1Tim. 1:17; Rom. 11:33; Mk. 12:30; Mt. 29:19; Jn. 15:26; 1Cor. 12:4-6; 1Jn. 5:7; Jn. 10:30; Jn. 17:5; Acts. 5:3-4; 1Cor. 2:10-11; Phil. 2:5-6; Eph. 2:18; 2Cor. 13:14.)
3. OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
That the Holy Spirit is a divine person; equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature, that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the Evil one until God’s purpose is fulﬁlled; that He convicts of sin, of judgment and of righteousness; that He bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the agent in the New Birth; that He seals , endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctiﬁes and helps the believer.
(Jn. 14:16-17; Mt. 28:19; Heb. 9:14; Jn. 14:26; Lu. 1:35; Gen. 1:1-3; 2Thes. 2:7; Jn. 16:8-11; Jn. 15:26-27; Acts 5:30-32; Jn. 3:5-6; Eph. 1:13-14; Mt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lu. 3:16; Jn. 1:33; Acts 11:16; Lu. 24:49; Jn. 16:13; Jn. 14:26; Ro. 8:16; 2Thes. 2:13; 1Pet. 1:2; Ro. 8:26-27.)
4. OF THE DEVIL, OR SATAN
We believe that Satan was once holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors; but thought pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell and drew after him a host of angels; that he is now the malignant prince of the power of the air, and the unholy God of this world. We hold him to be man’s great tempter, the enemy of God and his Christ, the accusers of the saints, the author of all false religions, the chief power back of the present apostasy; the lord of the anti-Christ; and the author of all the powers of darkness—destined however to ﬁnal defeat at the hands of God’s Son, and to the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.
(Is. 14:12-15; Ez. 28:14-17; Rev. 12:9; Jud. 6; 2Pet. 2:4; Eph. 2:2; Jn. 14:30; 1Thes. 3:5; Mt. 4:1-3; 1Pet. 5:8; Zech. 1:3; 1Jn. 3:8; Mt. 37:39; Lu. 22:3-4; Rev. 12:10; 2Cor. 11:13-15; Mk. 13:21-22; 1Jn. 4:3; 2Jn. 7; 1Jn. 2:22; Rev. 13:13-14; 2Thes. 2:8-11; Rev. 19:11, 16, 20 ; Rev. 12:7-9; Rev. 20:1-3; Rev. 20:10; Mt. 25:41.)
5. OF THE CREATION
We believe in the Genesis account of creation and that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or ﬁguratively; that man’s creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God’s established law they should bring forth only “after their kind.”
(Gen. 1:1; Ex. 20:11; Acts. 4:24; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 11:3; Jn. 1:3; Rev. 10:6; Rom. 1:20; Acts. 17:23-26; Jer. 10:12; Neh. 9:6; Gen. 1:26-27; Gen. 2:21-23; Gen. 1:11; Gen. 1:24.)
6. OF THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from sinless and happy state, in consequence of which, all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but of choice; and therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse.
(Gen. 3:1-6; Gen. 3:24; Ro. 5:12; Ro. 5:19; Ro. 3:10-19; Eph. 2:1; Eph. 2:3; Ro. 1:18; Ez. 18:19-20; Ro. 1:32; Ro. 1:20; Ro. 1:28; Gal. 3:22.)
7. OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH
We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner; born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and that He is the Son of God, and God, the Son.
(Gen. 3:15; Is. 7:14; Mt. 1:18-25; Lu. 1:35; Mk. 1:1; Jn. 1:14; Ps. 2:7; Gal. 4:4; 1Jn. 5:20; 1Cor. 15:47.)
8. OF THE ATONEMENT FOR SIN
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature, yet without sin, honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our Sins; that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the Just dying for the unjust, Christ, the Lord, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that, having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in heaven and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection, He is every way qualiﬁed to be a suitable, a compassionate and an all-sufficient Savior.
(Eph. 2:8; Acts. 15:11; Ro. 3:24; Jn. 3:16; Mt. 18:11; Phil. 2:7; Heb. 2:14; Is. 53:4-7; Ro. 3:25; 1Jn. 4:10; 1Cor. 15:3; 2Cor. 5:21; Jn. 10:18; Phil. 2:8; Gal. 1:4; 1Pet. 2:24; 1Pet. 3:18; Is. 53:11; Heb. 12:2; 1Cor. 15:20; Is. 53:12; Heb. 7:25; 1Jn. 2:2.)
9. OF GRACE IN THE NEW CREATION
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, not by culture, not by character, nor by the will of man, but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life.
(Jn. 3:3; 2Cor. 5:17; Lu. 5:27; 1Jn. 3:6-7; Acts 2:41; Acts 16:30-33; 2Pet. 1:4; Ro. 6:23; Eph. 2:1; 2Cor. 5:19; Col. 2:13; Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9.)
10. OF THE FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe in God’s electing grace; that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
(1Thes. 1:4; Col. 3:12; 1Pet. 1:2; Titus 1:1; Ro. 8:29-30; Mt. 11:28; Is. 55:1; Rev. 22:17; Ro. 10:13; Jn. 6:37; Is. 55:6; Acts 2:38; Is. 55:7; Jn. 3:15-16; 1Tim. 1:15; 1Cor. 15:10; Eph. 2:4-5; Jn. 5:40; Jn. 3:18; Jn. 3:36.)
11. OF JUSTIFICATION
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is Justification; that Justiﬁcation includes the pardon of sin, and the gift of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done; but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood, His righteousness is imputed unto us.
(Ro. 13:7; 2Sam. 23:3; Ex. 18:21-22; Acts 23:5; Mt. 22:21; Titus 3:1; 1Pet. 2:13, 14; 1Pet. 2:17; Acts 4:19-20; Dan. 3:17-18; Mt. 10:28 Mt. 23:10; Rev. 10:6; Phil. 2:10-11; Ps. 72:11; Acts 13:39; Is. 53:11; Zech. 13:1; Ro. 8:1; Ro. 5:9; Ro. 5:1; Titus 3:5-7; Ro. 1:17; Hab. 2:4; Gal. 3:11; Ro. 4:1-8; Heb. 10:38.)
12. OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe that Repentance and Faith are solemn obligations, and inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the quickening Spirit of God; thereby, being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confessing Him as our only and all-sufficient Savior.
(Acts 20:21; Mk. 1:15; Acts 2:37-38; Lu. 18:13; Ro. 10:13; Ps. 51:1-4, 7; Is. 55:6-7; Lu. 12:8; Ro. 10:9-11.)
13. OF THE CHURCH
We believe that a church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His word; that its ofﬁcers of ordination are pastors or elders whose qualiﬁcations, claims and duties are clearly deﬁned in the scriptures; we believe the true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission; First, to make individual disciples; Second, to build up the church; Third, to teach and instruct as He has commanded. We do not believe in the reversal of this order; we hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government, free from interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that the one and only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is scriptural for true churches to co-operate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the gospel; that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its co-operation; on all matters of membership, of polity, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is ﬁnal.
(Acts 2:41; Acts 2:42; 1Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22-23; Eph. 4:11; 1Cor. 12:4; 8-11; Acts 14:23; Acts 6:5-6; Acts 15:23; Acts 20:17-28; 1Tim. 3:1-7; 1Tim. 3:8- 13; Mt. 28:19-20; Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23-24; 1Pet. 5:1-4; Acts 15:22; Jude 3-4; 2Cor. 8:23-24; 1Cor. 16:1; Mal. 3:10; Lev. 27:32; 1Cor. 16:2; 1Cor. 6:1-3; 1Cor. 5:11-13.)
14. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer; in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with the authority of the local church, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the cruciﬁed, buried and risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is a prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation and to the Lord’s supper; in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination.
(Acts 8:36-39; Mt. 3:6; Jn. 3:23; Ro. 6:4-5; Mt. 3:16; Mt. 28:19; Ro. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; Acts 2:41-42; Mt. 28:19-20; 1Cor. 11:23-28.)
15. OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superﬁcial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto eternal salvation.
(Jn. 8:31-32; Col. 1:21, 23; 1Jn. 2:19; Mt. 13: 19-21; Ro. 8:23; Mt. 6:30; Ps. 121:3; Heb. 1:14; 1Pet. 1:5; Phil.1:6; Jn. 10:28-29; Jn. 16:8; Ro. 8:35-39.)
16. OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justiﬁed in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctiﬁed by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all and under the curse and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost.
(Mal. 3:18; Gen. 18:23; Ro. 6:17-18; Pro. 11:31; 1Pet. 4:18; Ro. 1:17; 1Cor. 15:22; Acts 10:34-35; 1Jn. 3:7; Ro. 6:16; 1Jn. 5:19; Gal. 3:10; Ro. 7:6; Ro. 6:23; Pro. 14:32; Lu. 16:25; Mt. 25:34, 41; Jn. 8:21; Lu. 9:26; Jn. 12:25; Mt. 7:13-14.)
17. OF THE RESURRECTION AND RETURN OF CHRIST AND RELATED EVENTS
We believe in and accept the sacred Scriptures upon these subjects at their face and full value. Of the Resurrection, we believe that Christ rose bodily “the third day according to the scriptures;” that He ascended “to the right hand of the throne of God;” that He alone is our “merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God;” “That this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” – bodily, personally and visibly; that the “dead in Christ shall rise first;” that the
living saints ” shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump;” “that the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David;” and that “Christ shall reign a thousand years in righteousness until He hath put all enemies under His feet.”
(Mt. 28:6-7; Lu. 24:39; Jn. 20:27; 1Cor. 15:4; Mk. 16:6; Lu. 24:2; Acts 1:9; Lu. 24:51; Mk. 16:19; Rev. 3:21; Heb. 8:1; Heb. 12:2 Heb. 8:6; 1Tim. 2:5; I Jn. 2:1; Heb. 2:17; Heb. 5:9-10; Jn. 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1Thes. 4:16; Mt. 24:27; Mt. 25:13; Jas. 5:8; Mt. 24:42; Heb. 9:23; 1Thes. 6:16; 1Cor. 15:42-44, 52; 1Thes. 4:17; Phil. 3:20-21; Lu. 1:32; Is. 9:6-7; Acts 13:29-30; 1Cor. 15:25; Is. 32:1; Is. 11:4-5; Ps. 72:8; Rev. 20:1-4; Rev. 20:6.)
18. OF MISSIONS
The command to give the gospel to the world is clear and unmistakable and the Commission was given to the churches.
(Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15; Jn. 20:21; Acts 1:8; Ro. 10:13-15.)
19. OF THE GRACE OF GIVING
Scriptural giving is one of the fundamentals of the Faith. 2Cor 8:7, “Therefore as ye abound in everything, in faith, and in utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. “We are commanded to bring our gifts into the storehouse (common treasury of the church) upon the first day of the week. 1Cor 16:2 “Upon the first day of the let every one of you lay by him in store, as God Hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” Under grace we give, and do not pay, the tithe: “Abraham GAVE a tenth part of all” – “Abraham GAVE the tenth of the spoils” – Hebrews 7:2, 4 – and this was four hundred years before the law, and is confirmed in the New Testament; Jesus said concerning the tithe, “These ye ought to have done” Mt. 23:23. We are commanded to bring the tithe into the common treasury of the church.
(Lev. 27:30; Mal. 3:10; Acts 4:34-35, 37.)
20. OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS, AND CHURCH WORSHIP
God bestows to all believers gifts according as it pleases Him, for the purpose of the edification of the Body of Christ. We believe that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles gradually ceased as the New Testament scriptures were completed and their authority became established. We believe God hears and answers the prayer of faith, in accord with His own will, for the sick and afflicted. A believer who gathers with others should come with a heart attitude of worshiping God in spirit and in truth. Christ is the head of the Church and He should have the preeminence in worship.
(1Cor. 12:4-11; 2Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7-12; Jn. 15:7; 1 Jn. 5:14-15; Jn. 4:24; 1Cor. 13:10; 1Cor. 14:22; 2Tim. 3:16.)
21. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interest and good order of human society; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ; who is the only lord of the conscience and the coming Prince of the Kings of the earth.
(Ro. 13:7; 2Sam. 23:3; Ex. 18:21-22; Acts 23:5; Mt. 22:21; Titus 3:1; 1Pet. 2:13-14 1Pet. 2:17; Acts 5:29; Acts 4:19-20; Dan. 3:17-18; Mt. 10:28; Mt. 23:10; Rev. 10:6; Phil. 2:10-11; Ps. 72:11.)
22. Beliefs on Cultural Issues
1. Marriage and Sexuality
a. We believe that the term “marriage” has only one, legitimate meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God, which joins one man and one woman in a single, covenantal union, as delineated by Scripture. Marriage ceremonies performed in any facility owned, leased or rented by this church will be only those ceremonies sanctioned by God, joining one man with one woman as their genders were determined at birth. Whenever there is a conflict between the church’s position and any new legal standard for marriage, the church’s statement of faith, doctrines and biblical positions will govern. (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:22-23; Mark 10:6-9; I Cor. 7:1-9)
b. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage as defined in (a) above. We believe that any other type of sexual activity, identity or expression that lies outside of this definition of marriage, including those that are becoming more accepted in the culture and the courts, are contradictory to God’s natural design and purpose for sexual activity. (Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1: 26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9-10; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4)
c. We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two-distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God and the rejection of one's biological gender is a rejection of the image of God within that person. (Genesis 1:26-27)
2. Family Relationships
a. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors and elders) of the church. (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
b. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are a wonderful gift and heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate training and discipline. (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mk. 10:6-12; 1 Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Col. 3:18-21; 1 Pet. 3:1-7)
3. Divorce and Remarriage.
We believe that God disapproves of and forbids divorce except on the grounds of adultery. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon. (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Mark 10:11-12; Rom. 7:1-3; I Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6; I Cor. 7:10-16)
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion is murder and constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. (Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5; 139:13-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:36, 44)
We believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, facilitates premature death, is assuming a decision that is to be reserved for God. We do not believe that discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome is euthanasia. (Ex. 20:13; 23:7; Matt. 5:21; Acts 17:28)
We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such actions. (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Phil. 2:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; I Peter 3:8-9; 1 John 3:17-18)
7. Lawsuits within the Church. We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits within the Church. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32)
Protection of Children. We believe that children are a heritage from the Lord and must be absolutely protected within the church from any form of abuse or molestation. The church has zero tolerance for any person, whether paid staff, volunteer, member, or visitor, who abuses or molests a child. (Ps. 127:3-5; Matt. 18:6; Matt. 19:14; Mark 10:14)