WHAT WE BELIEVE

A. THE SCRIPTURES: We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and God-breathed.  II Timothy 3:16,17; II Peter 1:20,21; Matthew 5:18; and John 16:12,13.

B. THE TRINITY: We believe in the one God, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections.  Deuteronomy 6:4; II Corinthians 13:14; and I John 5:7.

1. FATHER: God, the Father, is seen in God's Word to be the Administrative Head of the Trinity, with the following examples:

a. God, the Father, chose us in Christ.  Ephesians 1:4.

b. God, the Father, gave and sent His Son for us.  John 3:16.

c. God, the Father, sent the Holy Spirit.  John 14:16,17,26.

2. The Person and Work of Christ:

a. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal only begotten Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God; having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men.  John 1:1,2,14 and Luke 1:35.

b. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross and that our justification is made sure by His literal, bodily resurrection from the dead.  Romans 3:24, 25; I Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7 and I Peter 1:3-5.

c. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is High Priest and fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate.  Acts 1:9 10; Hebrews 9:24, 7:25; Romans 8:34 and I John 2:1,2.

3. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit:

a. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, and that He is the supernatural agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the Day of Redemption.  John 16:8-11; II Corinthians 3:6; I Corinthians 12: 12-14; Romans 8:9 and Ephesians 1:13,14.

b. We believe that He is the Divine Teacher who guides believers into all truth, and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit.  John 16:13; I John 2:20,27; and Ephesians 5:18.

C. THE PERSONALITY OF SATAN: We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the Fall; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. Job 1:6 7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:2-11 25:41; and Revelation 20:1.

D. THE CREATION: We accept the Genesis account of creation, and believe that man came by direct creation of God and not by evolution.  Genesis 1 and 2; Colossians 1:16-17- and John 1:3.

E. THE FALL OF MAN: We believe that man, in the person of the first Adam, was created in innocence, but by voluntary transgression fell into sin, thus plunging the whole race into condemnation and death, so that now all mankind is born with a sinful nature, and having reached the responsible age of accountability are without excuse before God.  Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 5:10-19; Ephesians 2:3; Romans 1:18, and Genesis 3:24.

F. THE BLOOD ATONEMENT FOR SIN: We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly by grace, through the mediatorial office 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.  Christ's atonement was a 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 is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.  Hebrews 9:12,22; 10:19; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 15:1; Romans 3: 24; John 3:16; Matthew 18:11; Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 2:17; Isaiah 53:4-7; Romans 3:25; I John 4:10; I Corinthians 15:3-11; and II Corinthians 5:21.

G. SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, APART FROM WORKS: 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 an instantaneous act 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, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with the divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life.  John 3:3; II Corinthians 5:17-19; I John 5:1; John 3:6,7; Acts 16:30,31; II Peter 1:4; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-10; Colossians 2:13; John 3:8; and Titus 3:5-7.

H. THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER: We believe that all the saved have "eternal life" and shall never perish, and that they are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.  John 10:28,29; I John 5:10-13; I Peter 1:5; and Ephesians 1:12-14.

I. THE TWO NATURES OF THE BELIEVER: We believe that every saved person possesses two natures with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural.  Romans 6:13; 8:12,13; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10; I Peter 1:14-16; and I John 3:5-9.

J. SANCTIFICATION: We believe that sanctification is both instantaneous and progressive beginning at conversion.  In its instantaneous sense, it is positional and has to do with our standing.  In its progressive sense, it is experiential and has to do with our walk and state.  Hebrews 10:14; I Thessalonians 4:1-7; 5:23.

K. THE MINISTRY AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS:

1. We believe that God has vindicated Himself by miracles and we now have the complete Word of God, the gifts of evangelists, pastors and teachers, these being sufficient "for the perfecting of the saints, for the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Ephesians 4:7-12; I Corinthians 13:8-13; I Corinthians 12:4-11; and I Corinthians 12:12.

2. We believe that at the moment of salvation every child of God receives a spiritual gift(s) with which he should operate within the local body, but not at the exclusion of ministering in any area where there is a need or opportunity.  I Corinthians 12:11; Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthian 13:8-10.

3. We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith in accordance with His own will.  James 5:14-16; I John 5:14-16; John 15:7; Hebrews 4:16; James 1:5-7; Philippians 4:6.

L. THE CHURCH:

1. We believe that the Church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again believers.  Ephesians 1:22,23; Ephesians 5:25,27; I Corinthians 12:12-14; and II Corinthians 11:2.

2. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. Acts 14:24; 20:17,28,32; I Timothy 3:1-13; and Titus 1:5-11.

3. This church is a congregation of immersed believers, associated by 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.  Its pastors’ and deacons’ qualifications, claims and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures.  We believe that the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have opportunity.  We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government, by majority vote of any individuals or organizations, and that the one and only head is Christ, through the Holy Spirit; that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel; that each local church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation; and that in all matters of membership, of policy, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final.  Acts 2:41,42; I Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23,24; and Acts 15:13-18.

4. We believe that God's Word teaches that discipline is to be sought within the local assembly, and that those things described in the Bible as being detrimental to the proper functioning of the local church must be corrected by mutual exhortation in the Spirit.  Refusing correction, offending individuals place themselves in a position of alienation from the church and so remain until, by a true spirit of confession, they are once again restored to fellowship.  We believe that action taken by the body to withhold or restore fellowship to be merely the recognition of the stance taken by the offending brother or sister.  Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1 2.

M. BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER -
THE TWO ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH:

1. We believe that since there can only be one Scriptural mode of baptism, it is the immersion in water of the believer, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior; and that every new convert should be baptized as soon as possible.

2. We believe that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes, and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination.  The Pastor shall extend an invitation to those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and have been baptized by immersion.  Acts 8:36-39; John 3:23; Romans 6:3-5; Matthew 3:16; Colossians 2:12; I Corinthians 11:23-28; Matthew 28:19-20.

N. THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED: We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only those who through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in life and after death, in the everlasting blessedness of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost.  Malachi 3:18; Genesis 18:23 Romans 6:17 and 18; I John 5:19; Romans 7:6; 6:3; Luke 6:25; 16:19-28; John 18:21; and Psalms 37:28.

O. MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY: When Jesus Christ came to earth, He was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He shared God’s grace with compassion and proclaimed God’s truth with conviction. In this statement on marriage and sexuality, we want to reflect Christ by proclaiming both grace and truth.

1. THE GOOD NEWS OF GOD’S AMAZING GRACE

a. We believe that the good news of the God’s amazing grace is that any sinner can be forgiven, cleansed, and declared righteous and holy in God’s sight because of the sacrificial death of Christ. God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess their sins (including any of the sins mentioned below) and who seek His mercy and forgiveness through faith in Christ (1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 John 1:9), seeking to live a life worthy of the calling they have received (Eph. 4:1).

b. We believe that every person must be afforded grace, compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated, and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the church (Matt. 7:12; 22:39; Luke 10:25-37; Rom. 12:18; 1 Pet. 2:17).

2. BIBLICAL TRUTH ABOUT MARRIAGE

a. We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 10:5-8).

b. We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman (Gen. 2:25; Prov. 5:15-20; Heb. 13:4).

c. We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God (Ex. 20:14; 22:19; Lev. 18:6-23; 20:10-21; Deut. 5:18; 27:21; Rom. 1:26-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-20; Eph. 5:5-7; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; Heb. 13:4).

d. We believe that believers in Jesus Christ should only marry “in the Lord.”  In other words, a believer should not seek to be “unequally yoked” by marrying a non-believer (1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14-15).

e. We believe that marriage is the joining together by God of a man and a woman in a sacred union. Therefore, we believe that it is not God’s plan for that union to be broken by divorce (Mal. 2:14-16; Matt. 5:31-32; 19:1-6; Mark 10:1-9; 1 Cor. 7:10-14), and that those who are divorced should not remarry (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; 1 Cor. 7:11), although scriptural exceptions to the prohibitions against divorce and remarriage may include marital unfaithfulness (Matt. 5:32; 19:9) and spousal abandonment (1 Cor. 7:15-16), situations whereby the exception is consistent with scripture.  

3. APPLICATION OF THESE TRUTHS AT GRACE CHURCH

a. We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, including volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.

b. Because of our beliefs, we will refuse to provide marriage related services in situations that do not adhere to this biblical view of marriage. These services include but are not limited to: conducting premarital and marriage counseling, officiating wedding ceremonies, and renting the facility for showers, weddings, marriages, receptions, and other events.

4. SUMMARY: Grace Church consists of people who rejoice in the truth of the good news of God’s amazing grace: that although unrepentant sinners “will not inherit the kingdom of God,” we have been “washed,” we have been “sanctified,” and we have been “justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

P. CIVIL GOVERNMENT:

1. We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and fulfillment of God's will; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Bible, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and coming Prince of the kings of the earth.  Romans 13:1-7; II Samuel 23:3; Exodus 18:21 and 22; Acts 5:17-20; Acts 4:18-20; and Daniel 3:17,18.

2. We believe in the principles of religious liberty and separation of Church and State.  I Peter 5:1-3; I Peter 2:13-17; and Matthew 22:21.

Q. THE SECOND ADVENT OF CHRIST: We believe in that Blessed Hope, the personal, imminent, pre-tribulational and pre-millennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones; and in His subsequent return to earth, with His saints, to establish His Millennial Kingdom.  I Thessalonians 1:10; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Zechariah 14:4-11; Revelation 19:11-16; Revelation 20:1-6; I Thessalonians 5:9; and Revelation 3:10.

R. THE RESURRECTION: We believe in the resurrection of the bodies of the dead, that believers who sleep in Jesus will be raised at the coming of Christ for His Church and caught up with transformed living saints to meet the Lord in the air, and that the wicked dead will be raised at the close of the Millennial Kingdom and stand in their bodies at the Great White Throne Judgment to receive their eternal punishment.  John 5:21-30 I Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 7:9-17; and Revelation 20:11-15.