A doctrinal summary of what the Elders believe and teach at Grace Church. These are the essential truths that guide the Elders in shepherding the flock, and they guide the people of Grace Church in true worship and a true practice of the Christian faith.
We believe in the absolute authority and accuracy of the 66 books of the Bible; its full verbal plenary inspiration, and thus its inerrancy and infallibility in the original autographs; and its all-sufficiency as the Christian’s rule of faith and practice. Scripture is the standard by which all human teaching and thinking must be judged. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is the focus of divine revelation
(Psalm 19:7-10; 119; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:17-18, 24:35; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 10:35, 17:17; Romans 16:25-26; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD
We believe that there is but one true God; an infinite, immortal Spirit, one in essence, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with one another. He is the Creator, Preserver and Ruler of all things, perfect in holiness, in love, and justice; infinite in wisdom and measureless in power. He is sovereign over all things; actively upholding, directing, and governing every event and all of creation according to His own purposes and for His own glory.
(Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Chronicles 29:11, 12; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 103:19; Isaiah 45:5-7; Matthew 28:19; John 4:24, 10:30, 14:9; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 1:11; 1 John 4:8b).
We believe that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity, the eternal and only begotten Son of God. All things were created through Him, and in Him all things continue to exist and function. In His incarnation Jesus was supernaturally conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, and is thus true God and true man, full deity and full humanity in indivisible unity. Jesus is the only and all-sufficient mediator between God and man
(Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35; John 1:1, 3, 12, 14; 12:45; 14:9; Colossians 1:15-17; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1:2).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. His ministry is to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; He glorifies Jesus Christ in His work as the sovereign agent who brings about regeneration, enabling the sinner to put faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit unites the justified sinner to Christ and His church through regeneration, and is the Spirit of adoption, joining the redeemed sinner to the family of God. He also indwells, sanctifies, and empowers the believer for ministry through the administration of spiritual gifts; He seals the believer for the day of redemption. As the divine Author, He is the agent of divine inspiration, superintending the human authors to write exactly and only what God intended, and is therefore the One able to provide divine illumination for the right interpretation of the written revelation of God.
(John 3:3-8; 14:26; 16:8-11, 13-14; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 13; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 1:13-14; 2:22; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 2:27.
THE CREation and fall of mankind
We believe that mankind was created in the image of God, male and female, an act of special creation. When the first man, Adam, transgressed the prohibition of God, death entered the world – immediate spiritual death, eventual physical death, and potential eternal death. By the transgression of Adam, the representative head of the human race, all mankind inherited the guilt and corruption of Adam’s sin and are born into a state of death, being under divine condemnation. After Adam, all mankind is sinful by nature and by choice, being inherently corrupt and totally depraved, inclined to evil, and incapable of pleasing God; thus, all men are sinners and apart from Christ shall be forever separated from God
(Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 15-23; 2:17; Genesis 3:1-19; Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Ezekiel 18:20a; John 3:18, 36; Romans 3:9-18, Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12-21; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 John 1:8).
the salvation of sinners
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ took on humanity and perfectly obeyed and fulfilled the law of God, meriting eternal life for all whom the Father had given Him. Jesus died on the cross, according to the Scriptures, becoming a propitiation for sins; He took upon Himself the full wrath of God justly due to all those the Father had given Him; His death provided a penal substitutionary atonement for all who believe. By His grace, God justifies all who believe when they repent of all sin and put their faith in Jesus, confessing Him as Savior and Lord. By this faith the guilty sinner is counted righteous in Christ on the basis of imputation, God imputing the sinner’s sins to Christ, and imputing Christ’s righteousness to the sinner.
(Isaiah 53:6; John 17:2; Acts 3:19; Romans 3:20, Romans 3:25-26; Romans 4:6; Romans 5:9; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 15:3, 4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:13-14; Hebrews 2:17; 9:14-15; 10:14; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 4:10; Revelation 1:5).
We believe that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redeeming work of Christ on the cross, not on human works or merit. God chose in Christ, from eternity past, those whom He would graciously regenerate by the power of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration enables the sinner to respond to the gospel in repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ. God justifies the guilty sinner on the basis of faith. The Holy Spirit baptizes the justified sinner into Christ and His church at conversion; through the Spirit believers are adopted as children of the Father. By the Spirit, God sanctifies the believer, producing the fruit of faith and repentance; The Spirit also seals the believer, causing him to persevere to the end.
(Jeremiah 32:40; Luke 13:3-5; John 1:12-13; John 3:3-8; 10:27-29; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-30; 9:11, 16; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2:8-9; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:19; Titus 3:5-7; 1 John 2:19; 3:9).
the ministry of the risen christ
We believe that the crucified body of the Lord Jesus Christ was buried in the tomb. We further believe in his bodily resurrection, and in His bodily ascension into heaven where He ministers at the right hand of the Father as the Intercessor, Advocate, and Great High Priest for His people. We believe in the personal, visible, and imminent return of Christ to judge the living and the dead, for reward and for judgment, and to reign in eternal glory.
(Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 24:30; 25:31-46; 26:64; John 20:25-27; Romans 8:34; 1 Corinthians 15:4; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Acts 1:9-11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Hebrews 4:14-16; 9:24; 2 Peter 3:7-18; 1 John 2:1, 2; Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-15).
the destiny of all mankind
We believe that upon death, the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ, and the soul of the unredeemed passes immediately into divine punishment. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the redeemed, and the bodily resurrection of the unredeemed; the redeemed are resurrected to everlasting, conscious blessedness and joy in the presence of God, and the unredeemed are resurrected to everlasting, conscious punishment in the lake of fire, cut off from the life of God.
(Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; Luke 16:19-26; 23:43; John 5:28-29; 6:39-40; Romans 8:10-11; Philippians 1:23; 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:20-24, 35-58; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 20:12-15).
the local church
We believe that the local church is a voluntary association of baptized believers who are equal in privilege, mutually accountable, and subject to the Word of God, both as individuals and as a corporate body. Christ is the head of the church, and thus each local church is governed independently of external ecclesiastical control. Church leadership, spiritual gifts, and church discipline are governed by Christ’s sovereign appointment, to maintain sound structure and good order for the purpose of spiritual growth and maturity. Christ has designated two offices in the church, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications: elders (a.k.a., pastors, overseers) are men who shepherd, exercise oversight, pray, and administer the Word to equip the saints for the work of ministry; and deacons assist the elders in the task of shepherding and providing practical care.
(Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:11-16; Colossians 1:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1Timothy 1:18-20; 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Titus 1:10-16; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Hebrews 10:25; 13:17).
We believe that Christ has commanded every believer to be baptized by immersion in water. Though baptism has no saving merit, it is a public demonstration of the believer’s union with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism symbolizes the believer’s death to sin and resurrection to a new life of holiness, demonstrates identification with the church, and is thus the entrance ordinance into the membership of the local church.
(Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:9; Matthew 28:19; John 3:23; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:36-38; Acts 18:8; Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12).
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the fellowship ordinance of the local church, the elements of the bread and the cup being symbolic of Christ’s broken body and the New Covenant in His shed blood. Believers partake of the Lord’s Supper corporately, not individually; they partake in sincerity, through sober self-examination; and they partake to commemorate and proclaim the death of Christ until He comes.
(Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:23-30).