Statement of Faith

Adopted 2-19-14

I. The Scriptures

We believe the Bible was written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. In the Bible, God reveals Himself, His will, His truth, and His plan for salvation through Jesus Christ, who is the focus of all Scripture. All the words of all 66 books of the Bible, in their original writings, are without error, true, trustworthy, and sufficient for every matter of faith and practice. The Bible alone reveals God’s standard for faith, life, and obedience and by which all human conduct, religious doctrines, and truth claims are to be measured.

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

II. God

We believe there is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. He is eternal, immutable, incomprehensible, and absolutely free.  God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-wise. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. We believe God created the world according to the literal, historical account given to us by God in the book of Genesis. His creation was perfect until the fall of man brought sin into the world.

A. God the Father

We believe God the Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.

B. God the Son

We believe Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. Through His substitutionary death on the cross Jesus propitiated God's wrath against sin and made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God and fully man, who alone brings reconciliation between God and man. He is the head of the Church and is, in all things, preeminent. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells spiritually in all believers as the living and ever-present Lord.

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 2:1-10; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

C. God the Holy Spirit

We believe the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He indwells and baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His Church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the Church in worship, evangelism, and service. Believers are to eagerly pray for the ongoing empowerment and leading of the Holy Spirit as they seek to live for God each day.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

III. Man

We believe God created our first parents, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden. He created them uniquely male and female, in His own image, as the crowning work of His creation, separate and distinct from the animals. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby every human since inherits a sinful nature and environment. Only the grace of God can bring man back into right relationship with Himself.  The sacredness of human life, which begins at conception, is based on creation in God’s image; therefore, all people possess full dignity and are worthy of respect and Christian love. 

We believe God judged the early descendents of Adam, after they reached a state of continuous evil, by destroying them with a literal, worldwide, cataclysmic flood. But Noah found grace in the eyes of God and God brought Noah and his family through the flood to repopulate the earth and to maintain His promise to send a redeemer by the promised seed of Eve.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 6-9; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Psalm 139; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11; James 3:9-10;  2 Peter 3:3-6)

 

IV. Satan

We believe that Satan is a created, finite being, a fallen angel, and the author of sin. He tempted Adam and Eve in the garden and the second Adam, Jesus Christ, in the wilderness. Satan and his demons continue to tempt, accuse, and deceive today. In the Scriptures, Satan is called the god of this world and he is the sworn enemy of the one true God, God’s people, and God’s creation. In no way are Satan and God equal in power or authority. God, Who is absolutely sovereign over all things, limits Satan’s power and shall eternally punish him in the lake of fire.

 

Ezekiel 28:15; Job 1:6-7,12; 2:6; Isaiah 14:12-17; Genesis 3:1-6; I Corinthians 15:45, 47; Matthew 4:2-11; 25:41; John 12:31; 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; 1 John 4:4; 5:19; Revelation 12:9; 20:10.

 

V. Salvation

We believe salvation is made possible by God’s grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are called to respond to God’s grace with repentance and faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. All who repent of their sins and trust Christ as Lord and Savior are forgiven and saved.  In broad categories, salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God, a radical changing of the mind regarding sin. Faith is the act of trusting Jesus Christ alone for salvation and continuing to submit to Him as Lord.

B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal of believers based on His righteousness imputed to all those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, bringing them into right relationship with God.

C. Sanctification is the ongoing experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. While sinless perfection will not be gained in this world, growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.

D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed on the new Earth.

We believe that all who truly believe in and receive Jesus Christ as Savior obtain eternal life. They are kept by God’s power, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and are thus secure in Christ forever. This assurance is not a license to sin, but a call to rejoice and respond with greater love and obedience to God.

 

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.

VI. God's Purpose of Grace

We believe God regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners according to His gracious purpose of election, which is based solely on God’s loving will apart from any human merit.  Although it is a mystery beyond human comprehension, God’s sovereign election is consistent with the freedom of every person and serves as an example of the love, power, goodness, and mercy of God. God’s work in election leads to fame for God and humility for us.

We believe all true believers will persevere until the end.  Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.

VII. The Church

We believe the Church universal is made up of all believers from all times.

We believe the local church was instituted by God after Christ’s ascension. The writings of the New Testament provide us with all necessary commands and patterns for the functioning of the local church. With this principle in mind, we believe the local church should worship God through the practice of biblical preaching, singing, praying, Scripture reading, baptism, communion, fellowship, the discipleship of believers, church discipline, and equipping believers for works of ministry. We believe families and people of all ages should worship together.

We believe the local church has only two offices, pastor/elder[1] and deacons. The pastors/elders are responsible for shepherding the local church as well as teaching and guarding the sound doctrine of Scripture. The deacons are responsible for serving with the pastors to meet the practical needs of the congregation. Following the New Testament, the church is to be led by a team of multiple equal pastors/elders and served by a team of multiple equal deacons. God has blessed both men and women with spiritual gifts, and both are essential for the proper functioning of His church; however, only qualified men are called to serve in the offices of pastor/elder or deacon.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.

VIII. The Family

We believe that at the beginning of human history God ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. God created and defined marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman so that we might reflect His image, become more like Christ, reflect the unity of Christ and the Church, and take part in God’s plan to fill the earth with worshippers through having and raising faithful children.

God created both men and women in His image with equal value, worth, and dignity, and also created them differently so that they might fulfill different roles and responsibilities within the family. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, sacrificially serve, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the Church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper, in his life calling, in managing the household, and nurturing the next generation. Husband and wife are called to be "one" and partner with one another in advancing God's Kingdom.

Marriage is a “discipleship relationship” designed to help each person grow in every area of their life. Spiritual unity in marriage is critical for impressing the hearts of children with a love for God.

We believe children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to be the primary spiritual trainers of their children, and to do all in their power through consistent lifestyle, faithful Bible teaching, and loving discipline, to make disciples of their children and equip them for Kingdom living. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

We believe in the grace, mercy, and power of God to bring healing, forgiveness, and transformation to our family relationships and family legacy.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.

 

IX. Baptism and the Lord's Supper

We believe Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, and their new life in Christ.

We believe the Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby believers, through partaking of the bread and the juice, remember Christ’s work on the cross, examine themselves and confess their sins, and eagerly proclaim and anticipate His second coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.

X. The Lord's Day

We believe the first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship, rest from labor, and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.

XI. Last Things

We believe God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting, conscious, and physical punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever on the New Earth with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.

XII. Evangelism and Missions

We believe it is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ to endeavor to make disciples. Disciple making centers on the proclamation of the Gospel as revealed in the Bible and teaching all people to obey everything God has commanded. This call to disciple making begins in the home, overflows to fellow believers, our neighbors, nations, and to the ends of the earth. Disciple making is a work of both word and deed, which is carried out through the power of the Holy Spirit. As God enables believers to make disciples, the Kingdom of God advances as individuals, families, local churches, communities, and nations are transformed by His grace. It is the responsibility of the local church to equip believers for the work of disciple making and to eagerly send and financially support missionaries.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.

XIII. Stewardship

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him.  Therefore, all Christians are obliged to serve God, for His glory and the good of others, with the time, talents, and material wealth as he has entrusted to them. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

XIV. Jurisdictions

We believe God has created four essential jurisdictions, or spheres: the individual, the family, the local church, and the government. Through His Word, He speaks His perfect will to each of these jurisdictions so that they might fulfill their role in advancing the Gospel and building His Kingdom.

Genesis 1:28, Genesis 9:1-2, Genesis 18:18-19, Deuteronomy 6:5-7, Joshua 24:15, Psalm 2, Proverbs 8:15; 28:2, Isaiah 2, Jeremiah 1, Micah 3, Acts 16:15, Romans 13, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Ephesians 3:15, 1 Timothy 3; 5:1-11, Titus 1:5-16; 3:1.

XV. Summary

We believe:

Only Scripture – The Bible and the Bible alone is our authority in all matters of faith and life.

 

Only Grace – We don’t deserve salvation and forgiveness. We are saved by the unearned loving grace of God.

 

Only Faith –We cannot earn His favor or salvation by being virtuous. We are forgiven and made right when we respond to God’s grace with repentance and faith.

 

Only Christ – God has made one and only one way for sinful men and women to be forgiven and saved, and that is through Jesus’ death, resurrection, and glorious ascension.

 

Only for the Glory of God – The end of all things is the glorification and worship of God.

 

(Note:  In January 2014, the elders of Gospel Fellowship Church voted to approve the foregoing statement of faith structured from The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, but a variety of edits and amendments make this a separate and distinct document. The points of difference may be seen in a review and comparison between the two statements. To review the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, go to this link - http://www.sbc.net/bfm/default.asp).



[1] We believe the titles of pastor, elder, shepherd, and overseer used in the New Testament are interchangeable and all refer to one office/role, which we refer to as “pastor.”