Distinctives

The Glory of God

We believe the glory of God is the purpose of the universe, the purpose of the human race, and the point of the Bible. God is passionate about his glory. He is God, and there is no other. He is God, and there is none like him. He will not share his glory, and he means for his name to be proclaimed, known, and reverenced in all the earth. We believe God always works, through salvation and judgment, to bring himself the most glory possible, and we believe God’s people should be passionate about the glory of God above all things.

 

(Exodus 9:16; Numbers 14:21; 1 Samuel 17:26, 36, 45-47; Isaiah 42:8, 48:11; Ezekiel 36:22-23; Habakkuk 2:14; Matthew 5:16; John 12:28; John 17:1, 5, 24; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 9:22-23; Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14; 1 Peter 2:12; Revelation 5:12, 7:11-12)

The Sovereignty of God

We believe God rules and reigns over all things. We believe salvation is of the Lord, and it is his work from beginning to end. We believe human beings, in their natural state, are helplessly and hopelessly depraved. We are unwilling and unable, apart from the grace of God, to do anything about our spiritual predicament. If we are going to be saved, it must be because God chooses us—not because of our willing or effort, but because of his sovereign grace. We believe Jesus died for a particular group of people and purchased those individuals for God. We do not believe Jesus simply made salvation possible through his death on the cross, but that he accomplished everything necessary for the salvation of sinners. We believe God’s sovereign grace is irresistible. While people resist the grace of God all the time, God can overcome their resistance at any point he chooses. We believe God preserves all those whom he converts; he will not lose any. We will be Christians, tomorrow or ten years from now, because God will keep us. All of these truths serve to remove every possibility for human boasting, to give us unshakable confidence that we will make it home to heaven, and to give God all the glory in the work of redemption. Our God is in the heavens; he does everything he pleases.

 

(Exodus 4:21, 7:3, 33:19; Deuteronomy 7:6-7, 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6-8; Job 42:2; Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3, 99:1-3, 115:3; Proverbs 16:9, 33; Proverbs 21:1; Isaiah 6:8-13, 40:21-23, 45:4-7, 46:9-11; Daniel 4:34-35; Jonah 2:9; Matthew 13:1-11, 13-16, 18-23; Mark 4:26-29; John 6:35-45, 63-65; John 8:42-47; John 10:3-5, 14-16, 25-30; John 17:6, 9, 12, 20, 24; Acts 9:1-5, 13:48, 20:28; Romans 8:28-30, 9:1-23, 11:1-10; 1 Corinthians 1:22-24; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Ephesians 1:3-14; Ephesians 2:1-10, 3:14-15; Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13, 3:12; 2 Timothy 1:9-10, 2:19; Hebrews 7:25, 9:15; James 4:13-15; 1 Peter 1:1-5, 2:8-9; 2 Peter 1:10; 1 John 2:19; Jude 1, 24-25; Revelation 5:9, 13:8)

Expositional Preaching

We believe the regular preaching of the Bible should be expositional. The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God. And it is God’s word that has always made his people. Therefore, we should preach sermons where the point of the message is the point of the text. Consecutive, expositional preaching allows God’s word to set the agenda for our church and teaches people how to read their Bibles.

 

(Genesis 1:3-26, 12:1-3; 2 Kings 22:11-13; Nehemiah 8:8; Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119:2-6, 9-16, 33-40, 89-93, 142-144, 169-172; Isaiah 55:10-11; Luke 4:16-22; Acts 2:14-38; 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4; 2 Peter 1:17-21; Hebrews 4:12-13)

Plurality of Elders

We believe local churches are to be led by a plurality of elders. This is the clear pattern in the New Testament, which is reason enough. Beyond that, there is much wisdom and utility in having a plurality of elders. Pastoral responsibilities are distributed to men gifted by God to teach and lead his church, and one man is not left to make difficult decisions alone. This kind of biblical leadership also serves to round out the gifts of any one pastor—in areas where he is weak, other elders will be strong.

 

(Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17, 28; Ephesians 4:11-14; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5)

Biblical Practice of Church Membership and Discipline

God’s love is a holy love, and it is a love that makes distinctions. In the Old and New Testaments, there are individuals who are clearly included in God’s people and those who are clearly outside. We believe church membership and church discipline are two sides of the same coin. Led by their elders, congregations must do a good job of guarding the front door of membership. We must strive, as much as is humanly possible, to determine the credibility of an individual’s profession of faith. We should only allow people who demonstrate the fruit of saving faith to join our churches. Congregations must also use the back door of church discipline. If a member is in unrepentant sin, disciplinary action should be taken. Such an individual should be removed from the Lord’s Table (from membership) for the sake of that individual’s soul, for the sake of the corporate witness of the church, and for the honor of Jesus Christ. This is the Lord’s plan, and it results in a pure church that is distinct from the world.

 

(Matthew 18:15-18; Acts 12:1; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:5-8; Galatians 1:6-9; Ephesians 4:11-12, 5:25-27; 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15; Hebrews 10:24-25, 13:17; James 5:16; 1 Peter 5:1-5)

Culture of Discipling Relationships and Personal Evangelism

In order for a church to be healthy, it needs to be full of discipling relationships. This is not a matter of having the right programs, or even of simply establishing small groups. This is a matter of creating a church culture where people meet together regularly with the chief aim of doing each other spiritual good.

 

We believe the gospel should permeate every area of church life. Members should be speaking the gospel to each other, and they certainly should be sharing it with non-Christians. It is necessary to establish a culture in a local church where it is abnormal not to be sharing the gospel. Evangelism should be prayed for publicly, taught from the pulpit, and modeled by the pastors.

 

(Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 6:4-15; Proverbs 27:17; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 12:28-31; John 13:34-35, 15:12, 15:17; Acts 2:42-47, 8:26-40, 9:20, 17:16-17, 26:15-18; Romans 10:14-15, 12:9-15; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Galatians 5:13-14, 6:2; Ephesians 4:1-3, 4:11-16, 4:25, 5:18-21, 6:18; Colossians 3:12-13, 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Timothy 2:1, 5:20; 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 2:1-8; Hebrews 3:12-13, 10:23-25; James 5:16; 1 Peter 1:22, 4:8-11; 1 John 3:11, 3:23, 4:11)

Complementarianism

We believe God made human beings uniquely in his image, and that he created them male and female. We believe gender is a benevolent gift from God to humanity and that it is part of his good and wise design for his world. We believe men and women are equal in nature and in value before God. And, at the same time, we believe men and women have different roles and functions to perform for the good of humanity and for the glory of God.

 

We believe men are to be the heads of the home and of the local church. In the home, this means the husband and father sacrificially leads his wife and children, and the wife and children joyfully submit to his leadership. In the local church, this means only men are to hold the office of elder and that only men are to teach mixed assemblies. All members of the congregation are to submit to the authority of the Bible, the authority of the elders, and the authority of the preached word. Female members are to strive to never subvert the male leadership of the church, and married female members are to submit to the authority of their own husbands in church life.

 

(Genesis 1:27, 2:20-24; Proverbs 31:10-31; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:26-40; Ephesians 5:22-33, 6:1-4; 1 Timothy 2:12-15, 3:1-7; 1 Peter 3:1-7)

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