Doctrine is important to us. We stand firmly on a reformed and baptistic heritage; therefore, we adhere to the historic 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, which is available in our book room. It is in the Confession that you will find a detailed exposition of the doctrines we love and cherish. However, for a more succinct statement, we offer the following statement of faith:
1. THE WORD OF GOD. We believe that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the complete and revealed Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original writings. We believe that it is wholly sufficient as Divine revelation and it alone has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. (Psalm 12:6; 19:7-11; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:21; Heb. 1:1-3).
2. THE TRINITY. We believe that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These Three, being one in essence, are co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existing, and perform distinct but harmonious functions in creation, redemption, and providence (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Cor. 13:14).
3. GOD THE FATHER. We believe in God, The Father, an infinite personal spirit, perfect in holiness, justice, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that He is unchangeable in His being, all glorious in His nature, and absolutely sovereign over creation, providence, and redemption. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Jn. 4:23-24; Isa. 6:1-6; Psa. 115:3; 145:5; I John 4:16).
4. JESUS CHRIST. We believe in Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, God's only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, and teachings. We believe in His substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people, and personal visible return to earth. (John 1:1-14; Acts 1:11; Phil. 2:5-11; I Corinthians 15:3-4; Hebrews 1:1-10; 4:14).
5. THE HOLY SPIRIT. We believe in the Holy Spirit who came from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to apply the benefits of Christ’s work to the elect in regeneration and sanctification. We believe that every believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit and indwelt at salvation. The Holy Spirit sovereignly bestows a spiritual gift(s), helps, teaches and guides every believer (John 3:3-7; 16:8-14; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Cor. 3:16; Rom. 8:9; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 5:18).
6. SALVATION. We believe that all men are sinners in Adam, by nature and by choice and are therefore dead in sin and under condemnation. We believe that God in His free and sovereign grace saves sinners as He wills. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. True believers will persevere in faith and good works unto the end. This good news of salvation is freely offered to all and requires faith in Christ, which is enabled by the Holy Spirit, making those who are ordained to eternal life willing and able to believe. (Acts 13:48; Romans 3:10-18, 23; 6:23; Jonah 2:9;Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Phil. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:5; Heb. 12:14; Rev. 22:17).
7. THE CHURCH. We believe in the universal church, a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head, composed of people who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the local church, whose membership consists of a company of baptized believers in Jesus Christ, associated for worship, Bible study, prayer, the ordinances, fellowship, and the evangelism of a lost world. We believe in the autonomy and independence of the local church, although cooperation with other churches, associations, or organizations may prove beneficial. However, cooperation is voluntary and may be terminated at any time. (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:42-47; Ephesians 4:1-15; 1 Cor. 16:1).
8. CHRISTIAN CONDUCT. We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God and that he should seek the well-being of his fellow-man; that his conduct should be one of pursuing blamelessness before the world; that he should seek to be a faithful steward of his possessions; that he should seek to realize for himself and others the full stature of maturity in Christ. We disavow a legalistic approach to the Christian life and believe in the liberty of conscience (1 Cor. 10:31; Romans 12:1-2; Titus 2:11-13; Rom. 14:1-15:6).
9. THE ORDINANCES. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the church to be observed until the return of Christ: baptism by immersion and the Lord's Supper. By baptism a believer publicly declares his forgiveness of sin, union with Christ, and new life in Christ. Baptism is only for those who profess faith in Christ. In the Lord's Supper, the believer is dramatically reminded of the sacrifice of Christ for our sin. The Lord’s Supper is communion with God in Christ, as the believer spiritually feeds on Christ by faith, and communion with the body of Christ. We believe that these two ordinances are not means for salvation, but are visible signs of an invisible faith. (Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-29; I Corinthians 10:16, 17; 11:23,24).
10. LAST THINGS. We believe in the personal and imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ to earth. His coming will be visible, for the consummation of His eternal Kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the endless suffering of the wicked, and the eternal blessedness of the believer. (Matthew 24:1-51, 25:41; John 14:1-3, I Corinthians 15; II Corinthians 5:10; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Rev. 20:11-15).
11. CREEDS AND CONFESSION. Grace Community Church adheres to the ecumenical creeds of the historic Christian Church: the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. We also adopt the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith as our confessional standard; in which we are in substantial agreement. We recognize that only the Bible is infallible, however, these historic creeds and this reformed confession provide a clear basis for our doctrinal standard and unity.
12. MEN AND WOMEN IN THE CHURCH AND HOME. Grace Community Church adopts the Danvers Statement as its official policy regarding the role of men and women in the church and home. Copies of the Danvers Statement are in the book rack.
GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH’S VALUES AND VISION
Churches, like people, have personalities. Personality is in part based on a person's core values. What is important to a person shapes that person. This is true with a church also. Although style and taste may be negotiable, the deep-seated values that drive us are not. At Grace Community Church we have certain commitments and values that do not change. In fact, they shape us and give us our personality. If you want to know what we are about, what drives us, what is important to us, what makes us tick, then read on.
1. We are committed to the supremacy of God in all of life.
The Bible is clear; God does not like to be taken for granted. He is not satisfied being the Unseen Foundation, the Anonymous Unmoved Mover. He values His reputation, and takes pleasure in His fame.1 His desire is to be supreme in all of life.2 Therefore, our desire is to be in conformity with His will and to be a God-centered, God-saturated people, a people who live joyfully under the supremacy of God.3 This desire dictates what Sunday mornings are all about. Our Sunday morning worship is a corporate expression of the supremacy of God in our personal lives and the life of our church.4
2. We are committed to the supremacy of God's truth over all of life.
God has spoken.5 What He has said is truth.6 It is absolute, without error, and completely authoritative. God's truth is our life,7 and we seek to live under it, knowing that it kindles our joy in God and gives us the wisdom we need to live life in a manner pleasing to Him. Therefore, we are a truth-driven church, not a market-driven church. We believe that truth matters and that it drives us and compels us to propagate it wherever possible. This is why we are dedicated to Bible study, Christian education, and the distribution of solid Christian literature.8 This is why the preaching of God's Word is the hub of our worship on Sunday mornings.9 God's truth alone conquers the errors of men and lies of the Devil, setting people free.10 (A sermon tape is available upon request on the "Marks of a Successful Minister" which describes our commitments).
3. We are consumed with a passionate pursuit of joy in God.
God has created each one of us with a desire to be happy and satisfied. Our problem, however, is that we are far too easily pleased with the things of this world. Our hearts long to be satisfied in God, but we look for satisfaction in other things.11 What we believe at Grace is that God's desire to be glorified and our desire to be satisfied come together in this great statement: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.12 When we delight in God, it issues forth in praise to Him, reflecting His inestimable worth and invaluable glory.13 We therefore pursue joy and satisfaction in God; He is our Treasure.14
4. We are consumed with a passionate pursuit for the joy of others in God.
Someone once said, "Joy shared is joy doubled." We believe that God in Christ is such a rich, invaluable Treasure that we must share Him! This is true love to others.15 This is nothing less then evangelism; it is the Great Commission; it is loving and caring for one another.16 We desire to see others experience the same joy we have in God, and God in turn to receive glory from more of Adam's fallen race.17 This fleshes itself out in our philosophy of missions, with a special heartbeat for frontier missions.
5. We are committed to fighting the fight of faith.
If truth matters, if God is supreme in all life, if we are pursuing joy in God and joy for others, then we realize that we are in a battle. This battle is fought not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces.18 The weapons of the enemy are lies, half-truths, and deception,19 but the weapons of our warfare are the Word of God, prayer, and edifying Christian fellowship and friendships.20 As we battle against the desires which would rob us of joy in God we draw the Sword of the Spirit and fight with God's promises and threats, we use prayer like a war-time walkie-talkie, calling in for Divine grace, and we rely on brothers and sisters who can encourage us and stand with us.
6. We are committed to the doctrines of grace.
Our doctrinal commitments are clear. We believe in a sovereign and holy God, who reigns over all.21 He has a plan; it is global and invincible.22 It is the plan of sovereign grace, which redounds to His glory.23 The truth of God, His person and plan reside most cogently and accurately in the doctrines of grace, sometimes called "reformed theology." The core would be namely, man's pervasive depravity and inability,24 God's free and sovereign selection of sinners,25 Christ's victorious and effectual atoning, redemptive sacrifice for His people,26 God's effectual calling and regenerating grace,27 and God's preservation of His children and their final perseverance.28
7. We are committed to the Biblical view of men and women, in the home and the church.
In a day and age when male and female roles are blurred and confused, the church must stand and say God's design is counter-cultural, but it is right! God has established male and female roles in the home and the church, these are clear and need to be taught.29 At Grace Community Church we have adopted the Danvers Statement as our Biblical understanding of these things. A copy can be secured by asking one of the elders or taking one from the book rack.
8. We are committed to Christ-Centered families.
The puritans used to call the family a "little church." God created the family,30 and each family should live for the glory of God.31 We believe, therefore, that God should be worshiped by families through the week in family worship,32 and together as a family on the Lord's Day. This is why we have our children 3 years and up in the service with us. A tape of the sermon "Children in Worship" is available which explains our biblical rationale for keeping the children in the service.
9. We are committed to a plurality of elders.
We believe that the New Testament teaches that a plurality of elders govern each local church.33 At Grace Community Church there is not a single man who "runs the show," rather there is a group of biblically qualified men who are accountable to one another and to the congregation who govern this body.
10. We are committed to Biblical, pastoral oversight.
We believe that God has established elders, who meet the Biblical qualifications, to oversee the church. This oversight is not only in the area of business and organization, but it covers the area of the church's spiritual life.34 This oversight is designed for the growth, protection, and health of the church. Although we believe that every Christian is their own priest before God,35 we believe that God has appointed elders to help God's flock in many ways. We believe that pastoring God's people is a means of grace for their perseverance.36
At Grace Community Church, we may not always live up to our values, but they are firmly in place. These are our commitments and we stand by them, through thick or thin. As is often the case, values move a group or organization towards to a vision. Our vision at Grace Community Church is not complicated at all.
We have a passion to exalt God,
displaying and proclaiming
His supremacy and truth,
in our community and abroad,
through God-centered worship,
through grace-empowered nurture,
and Spirit-led outreach.
we envision a church,
growing with people wholly satisfied in our sovereign God,
thoroughly soaked in His eternal truth,
building one another up in His love and grace,
living in joyful obedience and confident hope,
sending out workers to our community and the nations,
for God's glory and their everlasting joy.
This is our heartbeat of Grace Community Church. No frills and thrills. We simply try to show thirsty, parched sinners where their thirst can be forever quenched. We exist for Him and for His glory, and this means that we drink deeply ourselves at the fountain of His grace and goodness, and joyfully tell others. To boil it down, we are a church where people care and truth matters.
SOLI DEO GLORIA
1Isaiah 48:9-11; Ezekiel 36:22-23
2Psa. 86:8-10; Rom. 11:33-36; 1 Cor. 1:31; 10:31; Col. 1:16-17
3Matt. 22:37-38; Acts 17:28
4Psa. 47:5-9; Psa. 100
52 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21
7Deut. 32:46-47; Psalm 19:7-11
81 Tim. 4:11-13; Titus 1:9
91 Cor. 1:18-26; 2 Tim. 4:2
10John 8:31-32; Rom. 6:17-18
11Jeremiah 2:12-13; Rom. 1:23; 3:23
12This truth is best unfolded by Dr. John Piper in his book Desiring God (Multnomah, 1986). The statement is his, however it reflects the teaching of God's Word.
13Psalm 16:11; 36:8-9; 42:2; 63:1-5; 73:25-26; Jer. 31:14
14Matt. 13:44; John 6:35; Psalm 73:25-26
16Matt. 28:18-20; John 13:34; 2 Cor. 1:24; Gal. 5:6
17Psalm 67; Rom. 1:5; 15:7-13; 16:25-26
192 Cor. 11:3; 1 Thess. 3:5; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 2:24-26
20Eph. 6:18; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Heb. 3:12-14; 10:23-25
21Psa. 103:19; 115:3; Isa. 46:10-11; Job 42:2;
22Num. 14:21; Job 42:2; Hab. 2:14; Eph. 1:11
23Rom. 9:22-23; 11:33; 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Eph. 1:3-14
24Jer. 17:9; John 6:44; 15:5; Rom. 3:10-11; Eph. 2:1
25Rom. 9:14-23; Eph. 1:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13-14
26Isaiah 53:4-6, 8, 11-12; Matt. 1:21; John 10:11, 15; Acts 20:28; Rom. 8:29-32; Heb. 9:12; Rev. 5:9-10
27John 1:12-13; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Cor. 1:24; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 5:1
28John 10:27-29; Phil. 1:6; Heb. 3:12-14; 10:36-39; 1 Pet. 1:5
29Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Tim. 2:11-15; 1 Pet. 3:1-7
30Gen. 1:28; 2:24; Psalms 127 and 128
311 Cor. 10:31; Josh. 24:15
32Deut. 6:1-9, ask for the booklet "Rediscovering the Missing Treasure of Family Worship”.
33Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-4
34Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:2-4
351 Pet. 2:9
36Col. 1:28-29; cf. Col. 1:23; 1 Thess. 2:7-12; 3:1-13; 1 Tim. 1:5; cf. 1 Tim. 1:18-20