Statement of Faith
The Bible (a.k.a., the Scriptures)
The sixty-six books, and only these, known as the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. God’s inspiration and superintendence of the writing of every word of the Bible guarantees that what was written is His Word and therefore authoritative, true, and without error in the original manuscripts. God preserves His Word which is powerful and effective to accomplish His purpose of salvation among all nations. As the revealed Word of God, the Bible is sufficient for every true need in order to display the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is the primary means that God uses to bring salvation and growth for every believer.
The One True God
There is one and only one true God existing eternally as three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit never less and never more. He is the creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Sovereign Lord of all. He is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent. His attributes include love, joy, holiness, righteousness & justice, and goodness. He is a jealous God, sharing His praise with no one.
God the Father
God the Father, existing eternally, first Person of the Trinity, is equal with the Son and the Holy Spirit. He is the creator of all things and orders all things according to His own purpose and grace. He is the absolute, omnipotent (all-powerful), sovereign ruler of the universe and all things in it. His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship to humanity. As Creator, He is Father to all of humanity but He is the spiritual Father only to those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation and have committed their lives to follow Him (a.k.a., disciples, believers, Christians). In His sovereignty, He does not author or approve sin and He does not remove the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures. “For God so loved the world that He sacrificed His only begotten Son…” and now, He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and, upon their adoption, He becomes the spiritual Father to His own.
God the Son
Jesus Christ is fully God, existing eternally. Everything was created by Him and for Him. His incarnation took place in the womb of a virgin. He became a man but never sinned. He died a substitutionary death to atone for sin, resurrected bodily, and ascended into heaven where He remains fully God and fully man and is presently ministering until He comes again. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is fully God, existing eternally. He is a person, and was involved in creation and the inspiration of the Scriptures. His works of convicting and regenerating are essential to the believer’s salvation. Believers are entitled to the benefit and joy of being filled with and walking in the Spirit for empowerment in Christian life, service, and mission. He guides us into all truth and enlightens our eyes to the knowledge of God. It is through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that we accomplish God’s mission on earth.
God created humanity as two distinct complementary genders (male and female), which together reflect His image and He continues to form each and every person. Therefore, all human life is sacred and is of inestimable worth in all of its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. All people are bearers of His image. However, Adam’s subsequent sin resulted in a fallen condition of spiritual death in which all people since Adam exist, thereby marring the beauty of God’s image in them in every facet of life and subjecting them to God’s judgment and an eternity separated from God in Hell. This condition of spiritual death leads to physical death. Therefore, new birth is necessary for salvation.
Any act of rebellion against God or which violates His moral law as revealed in the Scriptures. Because God is just, He must punish all sin. The punishment (i.e., wages) of sin is death. As a result of Adam’s sin, all of humanity since Adam was conceived with and has been born with a sin nature inherited from their father and is therefore subject to condemnation at the final judgment.
A literal, physical place God prepared for angels who participated in a rebellion against Him and to which He will also sentence humanity as a result of its sin. It is a place of eternal punishment in a literal lake of fire/burning sulphur.
Currently, heaven is the place where God the Father reigns with Jesus Christ at His right hand. It is the dwelling place of the souls of the “righteous” Old Testament saints and the souls of the believers of the Church Age. In the future (following the millennial kingdom), there will be a new physical heaven. We will have access to the new heaven in our “imperishable” physical bodies.
Because of God’s love, He authored a way for humanity to be “saved” from its fallen nature. Through His sinless life and death on the cross, Jesus Christ fully satisfied the demands of God’s justice. The salvation brought by God is a complete and eternal salvation by His Grace alone. It is received as the free gift of God by grace through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone and His finished work as He declares believers righteous in Him. Our good works have no part in the granting of salvation but are merely the result of a heart of gratitude for the gift that has been given to us. Salvation is received individually by repenting of all sin and trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. It is not sufficient to simply “believe” the facts regarding the death and resurrection of Jesus, express remorse for sins committed, and seek Him as Savior – true repentance occurs when that belief is converted into faith and submission to Jesus as LORD.
There exists one true (universal) CHURCH, the body and bride of Jesus Christ. The CHURCH began on a particular day of Pentecost when our ascended Lord sent His Spirit to the waiting disciples and will continue until the CHURCH is raptured by Jesus Christ. The CHURCH is composed of all true disciples of Christ of all time. In accordance with Scripture, these disciples seek to assemble together (thereby forming a local Church) for worship, for edification of disciples, and for world-wide gospel witness.
The believer is saved by grace through faith alone. The faith that saves will produce obedience and good works, which are the products of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This faith also produces a life of righteousness, good works, and separation unto God from the evil ways of the world, which is manifested by speaking the truth, maintaining the sanctity of the home, sexual purity, settling differences between Christians in accordance with the Word of God, and not engaging in carnal strife. The believer should strive to demonstrate a Christ-like attitude toward all humanity, exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, and maintaining a life of prayer. When the Spirit convicts the believer of sin, the believer should seek the Lord’s forgiveness and take any other restorative action that may be appropriate. In times of sickness, the believer enjoys the privilege of calling for the Elders to pray and to anoint with oil in the name of the Lord.
Marriage was established by God and is not an institution of humanity’s invention. Marriage is a life-long covenant made before God between one (biologic) man and one (biologic) woman. Sexual relationships are appropriate ONLY within the bounds of a marriage relationship.
The Christian should observe the ordinances of our Lord Jesus Christ which are:
Baptism: is for all believers by immersion which testifies to the reality of our salvation and identifies us as disciples of the Triune God;
Communion: comprised of three parts – the sharing of a meal (the love feast), the washing of the saints’ feet, and the sharing of the bread and the cup. Communion in the Son testifies to our justification, sanctification, and glorification, which are accomplished through Jesus Christ.
Angels, Satan, Demons
God created a multitude of spiritual beings called ‘angels’. Righteous angels continue to serve God and work both in the heavenly sphere and on earth. By his disobedience, Satan, a fallen angel, became the adversary of God and God’s people, carrying with him a procession of demons (fallen angels). Jesus Christ has overcome Satan so that the final judgments and doom of Satan and his demons are certain.
Rapture, Second Coming
The rapture of the CHURCH is the physical removal of the CHURCH, both living and dead, from the earth to join the Lord for eternity. The second coming of Jesus Christ will be a physical and visible return of Jesus Christ from heaven to earth with His CHURCH after which He will defeat Satan and establish His millennial (thousand-year) kingdom on earth.
The dead will have their physical bodies resurrected and have a conscious physical existence for all eternity. Unbelievers, already under condemnation, will be sentenced to suffer eternal damnation and separation from God in a literal lake of fire (Hell or the second death). Believers, having already been granted eternal life, will give an account for their lives and be rewarded according to their works, and will experience a glorified, eternal existence in the presence of the Lord.
Final Authority for Matters of Belief and Conduct
This Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of Grace Community Fellowship, the Board of Elders is the final interpretative authority on the Bible’s meaning and application on matters of faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline.
God’s Absolute Sovereignty
God does everything in this world for His glory. He is absolutely sovereign over our salvation, our suffering, and our lives. God was sovereign over Jesus’ death on the cross and over His resurrection. It is because God is sovereign that we have hope of the future, confidence in our mission, and live without fear toward the Satanic forces against us. We strive to rest in the fact that God does all things in this world for His glory, and in turn, everything for our good.
We focus on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ who brought spiritually dead people destined for hell and God’s wrath into a reconciled, loving, worshipful relationship with God through His death on the cross as a perfect, atoning substitute. God calls us by His grace to believe in Christ by faith, to turn from our sin by repentance, to be forgiven of all of our sin, and follow Him with our whole life. Our lives are no longer our own, but we live now for His glory, according to the grace that He continues to give us, through the leading of His Holy Spirit.
The true gospel transcends culture and MUST be proclaimed. There is one eternal gospel message that does not change because of culture. Only this gospel is the power of God for salvation; it is proclaimed to people who are fallen, dead in sin and enemies of God. God, by His power through His Word, by His Holy Spirit, supernaturally regenerates a person into a new creation in Christ. Salvation is a miracle of God. Culture can give us examples to use in sharing the gospel to help people understand, but the focus of Christ dying for our sins and being our propitiation on the cross to escape God’s wrath and judgment to come, does not change no matter if we are in a guilt/shame/honor, or fear culture.
We teach, preach, and counsel from God’s Word alone, since it is God’s Word that is sufficient for every true need, in order to display the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the means that God uses to bring salvation and growth for every believer. We are dependent on the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth and enlightens our eyes to the knowledge of God. We strive to teach what God has declared, not our own thoughts and opinions.
The Kingdom of God and Christian Warfare
Jesus told Pontius Pilate that He was a king, but not of this earthly realm. He said that if His kingdom were of this earthly realm then His servants would fight. In this age, God’s kingdom exists in the hearts of people. It is a heavenly, eternal, spiritual kingdom. In the future, Christ will return to the earth and establish His earthly kingdom in Jerusalem where He will sit on the throne of David and rule the world with a rod of iron for 1000 years. Therefore, the Church DOES NOT take up arms to fight against man, governments, or the leaders of the earth in an effort to overthrow them. Our battle is not against people, but against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Our weapons are not those of the earth or of man-they are from God and are mighty in the pulling down of spiritual strongholds and the lies that stand against the knowledge of Christ. Our weapons are the proclamation of biblical truth, serving with unconditional love, and relying on God through sacrificial prayer.
The Preaching of the Word
The proclamation of the full counsel of the Word of God is essential and non-negotiable. God has charged the elders of the CHURCH to preach the gospel and the doctrines of Scripture and has charged the CHURCH with shining the light of truth into the culture. The culture is to submit to God’s Word: God’s Word never submits to the culture. Biblical preaching is explaining what God has said in His Word, not imposing our own thoughts over it. It is not boring, but is empowered to reach the heart soul, and mind of the hearer bringing full conviction.
Prayer (the believer’s communication with God)
Prayer is a necessity for the believer. Prayer is not a duty to be performed. It is an overflow of a humbled heart full of love and gratitude to God for His great love and faithfulness to us. Without prayer, we operate in our own strength. Nothing of eternal significance can be accomplished apart from individual and corporate prayer to our God. God does not hear the prayer of non-believers other than the prayer of repentance: seeking forgiveness and reconciliation for salvation.
Corporate Worship is Essential
The Church is commanded by God to assemble together. The gathering together of God’s people: to worship, fellowship, and be edified; to know Christ’s full love; and to bring God glory is essential to the life and health of the Church, their families, and individuals. We are the body of Christ and a body that is pulled apart and separate is mutilation. The CHURCH throughout the book of Acts and through CHURCH history has demonstrated that the Church is to gather together no matter what is happening in society or what the government demands. Christ is the head of His CHURCH and He tells us what we are to do and how we are to worship.
Sanctity of Life
The loss of human life by the actions of another is tragic; nevertheless, the taking of a human life is justifiable in certain circumstances (e.g., self-defense, defense of others, capital punishment for those who commit premeditated murder, military/authority of civil government).
Abortion is abhorrent to God and an assault on human dignity. Adoption is an honorable alternative to abortion.
God alone has the authority to determine (or “appoint”) the length of a person’s life. Suicide/assisted suicide is man’s attempt to wrest from God that over which He alone exercises authority-life.
Any activity which degrades or devalues human life (e.g., slavery, human trafficking) is contrary to biblical teaching as it is a rejection of the value and dignity of a life created by God in His image.
Gender & Sexuality
God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as a male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that Person. Any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sin and is offensive to God. Men and women must avoid sexual sin and both bear the responsibility for their actions and its consequences. However, we believe that every person must be afforded 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 Grace Community Fellowship.
Humanity’s God-given dominion over creation is correctly understood not as ownership but as stewardship. God is infinite, creation is finite. Although we are free to use and enjoy creation, we are commanded by God to act as stewards of it thereby ensuring future generations the same opportunities. We must always ensure that we worship only God the creator, and never deify or worship creation in any way.
Role of God-Created Institutions: Family, the CHURCH, and Civil Governments
1. Primary responsibility for the secular and sacred education/teaching of children.
2. Primary responsibility for discipline and training of children.
3. Responsible for care of family members (e.g., elderly).
1. Spreading of the Gospel/Training of believers: In the current age, the CHURCH is God’s only plan for spreading the good news of salvation with the world. The mission of the CHURCH is an impossibility apart from the power of God by His Spirit. Jesus told the first disciples that only AFTER they were given the power of God through the Holy Spirit could they be HIS witnesses and could God’s mission be accomplished on earth. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of host”.
2. Edification of the Believer: Although salvation through Jesus Christ means we are dead to sin and are no longer slaves to sin, we still live in this fleshly body and we still struggle with sin every day. We need each other in our battle to believe the gospel in every aspect of life in order to please God by trusting Him in obedience.
3. Discipline of Believers: There are times we must confront each other on clear sin with the goal that each of us would be restored to a proper relationship with each other and with God, through repentance and the confession of our sin. We strive for holiness by grace so that God would be glorified and we would be useful instruments in His hand.
4. Care of those in need (e.g., widows, sick, poor).
1. Human governments are established by God for the promotion/administration of justice, punishment of evil, and for the peace and safety of its citizens.
2. Governments should exist to further the wellbeing of the people and enhance human flourishing and liberty and not repress these in any way.
3. In the United States, the government is “of the people, by the people and for the people.” Accordingly, Christians have a duty to exercise the privileges and responsibilities God has granted them to influence the government to act in a manner in accordance with God’s Word.
4. Christians are instructed to pray for all who are in authority and to submit to civil authority except where to do so would violate the laws and commands of God.
We believe that triune immersion best reflects the command of Jesus Christ. All baptisms performed at Grace Community Fellowship will be performed in this manner. (Exceptions will be considered when they apply to a strong medical inability to be immersed.)
The Rapture, Second Coming
Prior to the outpouring of God’s wrath on the earth during the tribulation period (this period of time is described in the Books of Daniel and Revelation), Jesus Christ will return to physically “rapture” or remove His CHURCH from this earth. The present CHURCH age will come to an end when our Lord comes in the air (He will not return at this time to stand on the Earth) to remove His Church from the earth, before the tribulation, and fulfill His promises to Israel.
The Second Coming of Christ refers to His physical return to the Earth at the conclusion of the tribulation to judge the nations of the Earth and to establish His millennial kingdom on earth.