Our Basic Beliefs represent the most simple and foundational beliefs of Christian orthodoxy. They capture the basic contours of Christian theology. Anyone pursuing membership and baptism at Grace and Truth must agree with these beliefs.
- the Scriptures are true, authoritative and sufficient.
- there is only one true God, Creator of heaven and earth, who eternally exists and has reveal himself in three distinct personal roles in salvation: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- all things exist for the glory of God.
- all humanity—Christ excluded—is sinful by both birth and action.
- the deserved penalty for sin is physical and spiritual death.
- Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, was born of a virgin and is both fully God and fully human.
- Jesus Christ died as the sacrificial substitute to pay the penalty for sin.
- Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and will one day physically return.
- there will be a future physical resurrection of the dead. Only those who turn from sin and to Jesus in faith and repentance will be raised to eternal reward. Those who do not turn from sin and to Jesus will be raised to eternal punishment.
- only through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and repentance from sin can one be reconciled to God and experience true life and joy.
Our Theological Distinctives mark our convictions on areas that are debated even among Bible-believing, gospel-centered churches. Though agreement with these distinctives isn’t necessary for membership, we will preach, teach and counsel on the basis of them.
Justification by Faith Alone (Sola Fide)
The New Testament makes it clear that the gift of salvation is received through faith. "By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). By faith, which is also the gift of God, we repent of our sins and freely adhere to the gospel, the good news of God's saving work for us in Christ. By our response of faith to Christ, we enter into the blessings promised by the gospel. Faith is not merely intellectual assent but an act of the whole persons involving the mind, the will, and the affections, issuing in a changed life. We understand that what we here affirm is in agreement with what the Reformation traditions have meant by justification by faith alone (sola fide).
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The gifts of the Holy Spirit that we see exercised in the Scriptures have not ceased with the death of the last Apostle or the closing of the New Testament canon. They are available today and are to be eagerly desired and practiced in submission to the Spirit speaking through the Scripture.
The Complementary Roles of Men and Women
Men and women are absolutely equal in essence, dignity and value but are different by divine design. As part of God’s good created order, men and women are to have different yet complementary roles and responsibilities in the home and church, especially as it comes to teaching and authority. These role distinctions are God’s grace to man and woman and are to be protected, preserved and practiced for His glory and our joy.
Believer’s Baptism by Immersion
Baptism is intended only for those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ and can give sufficient testimony to the basics of Christian beliefs. Also, we baptize by immersion because it is not only the original significance of the word, but also best symbolizes the reality to which baptism points—our death and resurrection in Christ. We believe in water baptism (by immersion) in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. This constitutes the new birth. Acts 2:4, 38
The Relationship of God’s Glory to Man’s Joy
We believe that man’s greatest joy is found only in faithful obedience to God and that our enjoyment of Him is one of the chief means by which He is glorified.
What We Value
We do wish to make known our convictions on the following five theologically-driven core values:
We believe the family unit, no matter what its size, is extremely important to God and to us as a church family. Strong families help make strong local churches which can impact our society in a positive way. We believe in providing ministry to the whole family. We strongly believe in a children’s and youth ministry that is teaching Biblical truths that will be the standard by which they live their lives.
The first century church was a diverse church. We believe that ethnic diversity reveals the beauty and creativity of our great God. It is an earthly picture of what heaven will be like. We will pursue ethnic diversity and racial reconciliation. (Galatians 3:26-29; Revelation 5:9) Why? Ethnic harmony/diversity is core to being explicitly Christian. The scriptures would teach that there are two races, the race of the first Adam and the race of the second. It’s only in Christ that we are able to find our core identity. Our different cultures carry history, traditions and legacies but the gospel transcends all that and makes us a new people, a family. We continue to value what is good and right in our cultures but submit gladly to the new family as adopted sons and co-heirs of Christ. The production of diverse churches and ultimately a diverse network, that is not simply an assembly of multi-raced but assimilated people's, can only be done through God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Genuine love and caring relationships are key to the life of every believer. We strive to be a community of transparent living. Rather than pretending that our Christian faith magically fixes us we openly acknowledge our struggles and difficulties. Together we are learning how to speak the truth to each other in love and gentleness, and to hear the truth about ourselves without fear. Much of the Christian life can be described in terms of moving from darkness into light. We have found that unhealthy fears, self-defeating habits, and destructive desires maintain their powerful grip on us only while they remain hidden. But as we move out of the darkness and into the light we will experience freedom and healing, as well as deeper relationships with friends who walk through life’s difficulties with us.
We want to learn how to live as generous people. We believe that our physical, spiritual, emotional, and material resources ultimately come from and belong to God. We feel called to use them in a way that embodies God’s character and His vision. We give of our personal finances, our time, and our energy to serve one another as well as our communities. At the same time, we resist a tendency in ourselves to serve others simply because it makes us feel self-important or self-righteous. We believe that sacrificial, servant-living is bounded by two equally strong motives; radical generosity and quiet humility.
We value the expansion of God's kingdom beyond our local community through church planting and global missions.
Our commitment to church planting is part of our core DNA as one of the ways that we carry out the Great Commission. We value and believe in church planting, and we intentionally seek out men and women who are called by God for this awesome task.
We desire for God to use Gospel Community as a catalyst for a global church planting movement. We are committed to make Christ known to all people, and to raise up disciples in all nations, by planting new churches. Our hope is not that we would simply plant churches but that we would plant churches that plant churches that plant churches