Core Doctrinal Beliefs

PREFACE

 

Grace Baptist Church recognizes and affirms the great depth of Christian teaching and doctrine revealed in the Bible, the rich immensity of the Scriptures and the broad and pervasive scope of the truth therein.  Similarly, Grace Baptist Church understands that Christians seeking to honor, obey and rejoice in God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit can in good faith disagree about “non-essential” doctrines.

 

It is the purpose of this Statement of Faith to articulate those key and central Scriptural doctrines according to which we are committed to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, submitting by faith to His Word.  This statement is not meant to be divisive, but unifying.  The doctrines articulated herein are meant to serve as a rallying point for the members of Grace Baptist Church as we come together with one unified voice to utter our ‘Amen’ to the glory of God, live for His purposes and pursue our greatest good in seeking His glory.

 

GOD

 

We believe that there is only one true God.15  God is one Being,2, 21 who eternally exists in three equal but distinct Persons23 (the Father,10 the Son11 and the Holy Spirit22).  God is a living, personal Spirit,8 with perfect and unchanging7 attributes such as holiness,14 grace,16 mercy,6 love,4 truth,17 justice,3 and He is all-knowing18 and all-powerful.19  God is the Creator of all.1, 9  He rules sovereignly20 over His creation and is actively involved in its affairs.  God is the supreme Lawgiver and Judge5 to Whom everyone is accountable.12  He is the only Savior and Redeemer.13

 

[1] Genesis 1:1-31; [2] Deuteronomy 6:4; [3] Psalm 89:14; [4] 1 John 4:8, 16; [5] Isaiah 33:22, James 4:12; [6] Daniel 9:9; [7] Malachi 3:6; [8] John 4:24; [9] Acts 4:24; [10] 2 Thessalonians 1:2; [11] 1 Timothy 1:17, Hebrews 1:8, 1 John 5:20; [12] Hebrews 4:13; [13] Isaiah 54:5, 1 Timothy 2:3; [14] Revelation 4:8; [15] Isaiah 46:9, John 17:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:9; [16] Ephesians 1:4-8 and 2:8-9; [17] Psalm 31:5, John 1:17; [18] Hebrews 4:13, 1 John 3:20; [19] Psalm 66:7, Jeremiah 32:17; [20] Isaiah 46:9-10, Daniel 4:34-35; [21] Galatians 3:20; [22] 2 Corinthians 3:17-18;   [23] Matthew 28:19

 

THE FATHER

 

We believe the Father is truly God.4  He is, first of all, the eternal Father of Jesus the Son of God.7, 9  Secondly, He is the Father of those people whom He has called and adopted into His family.1, 5, 6  The Father cares for His children10 and is the Giver of all good things.2, 8  The Father works through the Son11 and by the Holy Spirit12 to accomplish the purposes of God.3

 

[1] John 20:17; [2] Matthew 7:9-11; [3] Galatians 1:3-4; [4] 1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 4:6, Philippians 4:20; [5] 2 Corinthians 6:18; [6] Ephesians 1:4-5; [7] Hebrews 1:5; [8] James 1:17; [9] 2 Peter 1:17; [10] 1 John 3:1; [11] Hebrews 1:2 and 13:21; [12] Acts 1:8 and 9:31 

 

JESUS CHRIST

 

We believe that Jesus Christ is truly God,1, 4, 11 identical in nature with the Father.17  He is the only divine Son of God.18 All things were created through Him and for Him.8 He is the revelation and glory of God,9 the King of kings and Lord of lords,12 and is worthy of worship and praise from all God’s creation.7

 

We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of God4 who in humility took upon Himself flesh and blood4 to become the Savior of the world.13  He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin.1, 3  He is truly human.6 He preached the gospel, worked miracles,2 and was crucified, dead and buried.14  Then He rose bodily from the dead19 and ascended5 into heaven where He sits at the right hand of God the Father,20 acting as the Advocate15 and the Intercessor16 for God’s people.  We believe He will return to earth in person to rescue His people, judge the wicked and establish His Kingdom.10, 12

 

[1] Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6-7; [2] Mark 1:33, Acts 2:22; [3] Luke 1:30-35; [4] John 1:1-4, 14; [5] Acts 1:9-11; [6] Romans 9:5, Hebrews 2:14-18; [7] Philippians 2:9-11, Revelation 5:12; [8] Colossians 1:15-16; [9] John 1:14, 18; [10] John 14:3; [11] Colossians 1:19 and 2:9, 1 Timothy 1:17, Hebrews 1:8; [12] Revelation 19:11-16;       [13] Luke 2:11, 1 John 4:14; [14] 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; [15] 1 John 2:1; [16] Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25; [17] John 10:30, Hebrews 1:3; [18] John 1:14, 18;  [19] Luke 24:1-8, Acts 10:39-41; [20] Acts 2:33, Hebrews 8:1

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT

We believe that the Holy Spirit is truly God,1 of one essence with the Father and the Son.2 He is the eternal Spirit of God,13 and He communicates and applies God’s will and word.4, 14 The Spirit’s special role is to glorify Jesus Christ.11

 

By convicting people of sin, revealing the truth and imparting spiritual life, the Holy Spirit is instrumental in the process of salvation.3 Those who are thus born of the Spirit are eternally sealed9 with Him, indwelt by Him16 and baptized (joined) through Him into the Body of Christ6 at the moment of conversion.  The Holy Spirit sanctifies and empowers all Christians for holy living,5 teaching them15 and giving them spiritual gifts17 for witnessing4 and service.12 He transforms7 Christians into the likeness of Christ, to bear the fruit of Christ’s character.8

 

We believe the offices of prophet and apostles are no longer operative,10, 18 however, we recognize that the Scriptures do not definitively declare the cessation (i.e. ceasing) of the gifts of tongues, miraculous powers, prophecy and healing.  Nonetheless we are very cautious and conservative in our understanding of the role of these gifts within the life of the typical local church. This means that our church functions essentially like the cessationist churches in regard to the manifestation (or lack thereof) of these gifts.

 

[1] 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 and 12:4-6, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; [2] Matthew 10:20 and 28:19, Acts 16:7, Galatians 4:6; [3] John 3:5-8 and 16:8-11; [4] Acts 1:8; [5] Romans 8:1-2, 2 Thessalonians 2:13; [6] 1 Corinthians 12:13; [7] 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; [8] Galatians 5:22-23; [9] Ephesians 1:13-14; [10] Hebrews 2:3-4; [11] John 16:14;  [12] 2 Timothy 1:7; [13] Hebrews 9:14; [14] Genesis 1:1-2, Psalm 104:30, Romans 8:27, Ephesians 6:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17; [15] John 16:13, 1 Corinthians 2:12-13; [16] John 14:16-17, 1 Corinthians 6:19; [17] 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; [18] 2 Corinthians 12:12, Ephesians 2:20

 

THE SCRIPTURES

 

We believe that the Bible (consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments) is the word of God.1  We believe that each word of the original autographs2 was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit;3 therefore its propositions are true and absolute.5 The Bible is an accurate history and foretelling of real-life events.4 It is the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.6

 

[1] Matthew 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Hebrews 1:1, Revelation 1:2; [2] Exodus 34:27, Luke 1:3 and 3:4, John 20:31, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, Revelation 21:5; [3] 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21;  [4] Numbers 23:19, Isaiah 42:9 and 48:3; [5] Psalm 33:4, John 17:17, Revelation 22:6; [6] Matthew 22:35-40 and 28:18, Colossians 1:9-10, 1 Thessalonians 4:2

 

CREATION

 

We believe that the Genesis account of creation1 is literal, historical truth.  The Biblical account reveals that God created all things out of nothing7 by the power of His word.4, 5, 6 He created the universe (sun, moon, stars, the earth, mankind and all the kinds of plants and animals) fully formed and complete in six days.2, 3

[1] Genesis 1:1-2:2; [2] Genesis1:31-2:1, Exodus 20:11; [3] Revelation 4:11; [4] Psalm 33:6, 9, Psalm 148:1-5; [5] 2 Peter 3:5-7; [6] Hebrews 1:3; [7] Hebrews 11:3

 

SATAN

 

We believe that Satan is a created being who willfully rebelled against God,2 establishing himself as God’s enemy and the prince of evil.10 He hates mankind6 and works to tempt, lie, deceive and accuse.1, 3, 4  Christ came to defeat Satan and destroy his work.7 Therefore, by faith in the resurrection victory of Christ, the power of God’s word and the indwelling Spirit, Christians can successfully resist his influence.5, 8 Satan is destined to eternal punishment in the lake of fire.9

 

[1] Job 1:6-12; [2] Isaiah 14:12-15; [3] Matthew 4:3-11; [4] John 8:44; [5] 1 Corinthians 10:13; [6] 1 Peter 5:8-9; [7] 1 John 3:8; [8] 2 Thessalonians 3:3, 1 John 4:4; [9] Revelation 20:10; [10] 1 John 5:19

 

MAN

 

We believe that Man is created in the image of God1 to love, serve and worship Him,10 and thus Man is personally3 and morally accountable to God.9 The first man and woman, Adam and Eve,11 were originally sinless, but at one point they willfully disobeyed God.2 As a result, Man’s entire being – the human soul/heart, spirit, mind, will and body – was corrupted by sin,14 and Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden signifying Man’s total estrangement from God.13  As a further consequence of sin, God cursed Adam and Eve with pain, sickness, sorrow and physical death; and He cursed creation with death and deterioration.12  Adam’s sinful nature and God’s curse upon him have been passed onto his offspring, i.e. the entire human race;6 therefore all people are born spiritually dead,7, 8 and each person is a sinner by nature and by choice.5

 

[1] Genesis 1:27; [2] Genesis 3:1-13; [3] Ezekiel 18:20; [4] Romans 3:9-20; [5] Romans 3:23; [6] Romans 5:12; [7] Romans 6:23; [8] 2 Corinthians 4:3-6,    Ephesians 2:1-3; [9] Hebrews 4:13; [10] Matthew 22:37-38, Luke 4:8, Revelation 5:10; [11] Genesis 2:20-25 and 3:20; [12] Genesis 3:14-19, Romans 8:20-21; [13] Genesis 3:21-24, Isaiah 59:2; [14] Matthew 15:19, Romans 3:9-18 and 7:24

 

MARRIAGE

 

We believe that God designed the institution of marriage1 to consist only of the union of one man and one woman (i.e. one male and one female as biologically determined at birth4). Sexual congress between husband and wife is for the purpose of intimate love and procreation,9 and must be strictly within the bounds of holy matrimony.8 Any other form of “marriage” or practice of sexual relations is forbidden by God. 2, 3, 5, 6 The covenant of marriage is to mirror the relationship between Christ and His church.7

 

[1] Genesis 2:18-24; [2] Leviticus 18:22; [3] Deuteronomy 5:18; [4] Matthew 19:4-6; [5] Romans 1:24-27; [6] 1 Corinthians 6:13-20; [7] 2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:22-33, Revelation 19:7; [8] Hebrews 13:4; [9] Genesis1:28 and 2:23-24 

 

SALVATION

 

We believe that salvation is a free gift of God and must be individually received by repentance and faith1 in Jesus Christ.  Salvation is out of God’s love10 and by His grace,5 initiated by Him,6 and cannot be earned by any effort, merit or ritual of man.  Salvation is the application (by God) and appropriation (by the believer) of Jesus’ substitutionary death, burial and resurrection,7, 12 i.e., by virtue of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice9 and subsequent victory over the powers of sin, death and Satan,8 all believers have been redeemed and are justified before God.3

 

Salvation is an act of the Holy Spirit which permanently converts a person from spiritual death to spiritual life,11 and which transfers him from a position of condemnation4 under God’s law to an eternally secure position2 of freedom under God’s grace.13

 

[1] John 3:16-18, Acts 2:38; [2] John 6:39; [3] Romans 3:23-25; [4] Romans 8:1; [5] Ephesians 2:8-9; [6] Ephesians 1:4-5, 2 Thessalonians 2:13; [7] 1 Timothy 2:5-6;    [8] Romans 6:8-9, Revelation 1:18 and 12:10; [9] 1 John 2:2; [10] Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:10; [11] Romans 8:2, Ephesians Hebrews 2:4-5; [12] 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 21, ebrews 9:15, 26-28, 1 Peter 2:24; [13] Romans 6:14

 

SANCTIFICATION

 

Sanctification means “setting apart for a special purpose”12 or “making holy.”13  God’s plan to sanctify Christians involves three aspects. The first aspect occurs at salvation11 when the new believer is rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of God’s Son.8

 

The second aspect is a lifelong process of progressive spiritual growth.14 We believe that each believer is comprised of two natures.7  One is the old nature of sin and death, and the other is the new nature of righteousness and life in the Holy Spirit.3  The Christian life at times is a struggle between these two natures.1, 2 However, the Holy Spirit will faithfully lead and empower the believer to grow in faith and holiness.3, 4, 6

 

The third aspect is glorification.5, 9 When a believer enters heaven the process of sanctification is consummated as he sheds his mortal body and sinful nature, and takes up his new body of immortality and holiness.10

 

[1] Romans 6:11-14; [2] Romans 7:15-25, Galatians 5:16-25; [3] Romans 8:9-14; [4] 2 Peter 1:4; [5] 1 Corinthians 15:35-56; [6] 2 Corinthians 5:17; [7] Romans 8:5-8, Ephesians 4:22-24; [8] Colossians 1:13-14; [9] Philippians 1:6; [10] 1 Corinthians 15:42-54; [11] 2 Thessalonians 2:13; [12] 2 Timothy 2:20-21; [13] Hebrews 10:10; [14] Colossians 3:5-14, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7, 1 Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 1:5-8

 

CHURCH

 

We believe that the universal church comprises all Christians from anywhere and anytime3 since Pentecost.1 Jesus Christ is the Head5 of the church; it is His Body4, 5 in which all Christians are spiritually united with Him and with one another.8

 

The local church, as a structured group of baptized Christians who associate for worship,9 fellowship,7 ministry, discipleship10 and evangelism,11 is a manifestation of the universal church. The local church is independent under Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit through its pastors and elders.2 Each Christian is a unique and important member of the church and should contribute to its operation.6

 

[1] Acts 2:1-42; [2] Acts 20:28; [3] 1 Corinthians 1:2; [4] 1 Corinthians 12:13, 27; [5] Ephesians 1:22-23; [6] 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; [7] Acts 2:42, Hebrews 10:24-25; [8] John 17:20-23; [9] Hebrews 12:28-29; [10] 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 2:1-6; [11] Matthew 28:19-12

 

ORDINANCES

 

We believe that two ordinances were instituted by Jesus Christ,2, 8 which should be conducted by faith according to the Scriptural instructions and under the authority of Christ.

 

Baptism:  We believe that water baptism by immersion3, 4, 5, 6 is a symbolic act of obedience to Christ2, 10 which indicates a believer’s union and identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.1, 7

 

Lord’s Supper:  We believe that the bread and wine are symbols of Christ’s body and blood, respectively.8, 9 Partaking of the Lord’s Supper is intended for believers. It is a commemoration and celebration of Christ’s sacrificial death and an indication of belief in His return.9

 

[1] Colossians 2:12; [2] Matthew 28:18-20; [3] Matthew 3:6, 15-16; [4] Acts 8:12-13, 36-38; [5] Acts 10:47-48; [6] Acts 16:15; [7] Romans 6:3-6; [8] Matthew 26:26-29; [9] 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; [10] Acts 2:38-41 

 

MISSIONS

 

We believe that the Great Commission2 is Christ’s command to His church through the ages. Each believer is a missionary appointed by Christ to be His ambassador4 and a bearer of the gospel.1 Collectively, the church’s duty is to evangelize the community and the world at large.  Thus we are committed to personal evangelism3 and local outreach, as well as raising up, sending5 and supporting missionaries dedicated to preaching the gospel and making disciples of all nations.2

 

[1] Matthew 5:13-16, 1 Peter 3:15; [2] Matthew 28:19-20; [3] Acts 1:8; [4] 2 Corinthians 5:20; [5] Luke 10:2, Acts 13:2-3, Romans 10:14-15

 

LAST THINGS

 

We believe that the Bible has prophesied that the following events will occur in God’s timing, and by His sovereign plan and power:14

 

The rapture of the church;6, 7, 10 the great tribulation;1, 3 Christ’s bodily return to earth in unmistakable glory;4, 8, 11 the millennium;12 the defeat of Satan and the Antichrist9 when God casts them permanently into the lake of fire;2 the judgment of all mankind when Christ will condemn the unbelievers to eternal punishment and usher the believers into the presence of God;4, 5 and the creation of a new heaven and earth where God will dwell with His people in joy, love and righteousness for eternity.13

 

[1] Daniel 9:25-27; [2] Revelation 20:7-10; [3] Matthew 24:15-25, Revelation 6–19; [4] Matthew 24:30-31 and 25:31-46; [5] John 3:16-18, Revelation 20:11-15; [6] 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; [7] 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; [8] 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; [9] 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; [10] Revelation 3:10; [11] Revelation 19:11-16; [12] Revelation 20:1-6; [13] Revelation 21:1-8; [14] Revelation 11:17-18