Accepting the Bible to be the very Word of God to man through men, and understanding the importance of knowing and obeying its truths, our church is committed to study and teach with diligence and authority. We strongly seek to teach the Scriptures to people that they may know God and serve Him in worship and ministry.Through the years, our elders have come to convictions concerning the major theological truths of the Bible. This outline presents an overview of those important doctrines. We believe these to be the primary doctrines of the Christian faith, and reflect the teaching of Grace Bible Church.
THE SCRIPTURES | THE WORD OF GOD
We believe the Scriptures, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God and are therefore without error in their original writings. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and free from error. The Scripture is sufficient for all that God requires for us to believe and do and is therefore to be believed (Is. 40:6-8). As God’s people hear, believe and obey the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel. (Mark 13:31; John 8:31,32; John 20:31; Rom. 10:14-17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20,21)
THE TRINITARIAN GOD
We believe that there is one true, good, and living God who is of one substance, power, and eternal purpose yet eternally existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each person is fully, equally and eternally God, yet there is one God. Each person has precisely the same nature and attributes and is worthy of precisely the same worship, honor and praise. They execute distinct but harmonious roles in the work of creation, history, providence, and redemption. God the Trinity possesses all life, glory, goodness, and blessedness in and of Himself*. (Genesis 1:1,26; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; John 1:1,3; 4:24; 26; Romans 1:20; 9:5; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 1:3-14; 4:5,6; Colossians 2:9;)
*Although the word Trinity is not contained in the Scriptures, this term is used to convey the collective nature and being of God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as revealed in His Word.
GOD THE FATHER
We believe in God the Father, an everlasting, infinite, perfect personal being who is the sovereign and rightful ruler of all that exists. The Father is perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. God created all things and upholds, directs, disposes, and governs all creatures, actions, and things by His wise and holy providence according to his infallible foreknowledge and the unchanging counsel of His own will. God makes use of all natural and spiritual means yet is free to work without, above, and against them at His pleasure. He does this to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and grace. He is sufficient in Himself, not standing in need of any creature that He has made. He conducts Himself with steadfast mercy towards humanity.
He draws men to Himself through His Son, forgiving the sin and delivering from death those who come to Him through Christ for salvation. The Father hears and answers prayer according to His wisdom, love, and providence. He will carry out all things in their proper time and order that they would come to completion in Jesus Christ to reveal the supremacy of His name and purposes especially including the power of His love. (Job 22:2-3; 34:10; Psalm 139; Isaiah 55:10-11; Daniel 3:27; Hosea 1:7; 2:21-22; Matthew 4:4; 23:9; Luke 10:21-22; John 3:16; 6:27; Acts 17:24-28, 31; Romans 1:7; 4:19-21; Colossians 1:16-17; 1 Timothy 1:1,2; 2:5,6; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 1:4-6;)
GOD THE SON
We believe that Jesus Christ is God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, performed many miracles, shed His blood on our behalf, taking our place on the cross as our substitute. He was buried, bodily resurrected, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and will return literally, visibly, and personally in glory and power. At His appearing, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. (Matthew 1:18-25; 20:28; John 1:1-3, 14; Acts 1:11; Romans 5:6-8; 6:9, 10; 8:34; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Philippians 2:5-9; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 7:25; 9:28; 1 Peter 2:21-23; 1 Timothy 3:16; Revelation 5:12-14)
GOD THE SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God, co-equal and co-existent with the Father and the Son. He is the primary one who convicts and convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8) and is also the primary one who brings new life (regeneration) and sanctification. It is He who also seals and secures us in the Father. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son who, in turn, came to glorify the Father. He does so by living His life in us and through us, giving expression to the very nature and character of the life of Christ. He is to be respected, honored and worshiped as God, the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer and empowers every believer to live a godly life. Through His gift of the Holy Spirit, God graces every believer with spiritual gifts, which are sovereignly-given abilities graciously bestowed upon every believer at salvation to enable him to perform a function effectively within the church, the Body of Christ. (John 14:16,17,26; 15:26-27; 16:7-15; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11; 3:16; 6:19; 12:13; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Romans 8:9, 12-13; Ephesians 1:13-14; Galatians 5:22-26; Ephesians 4:11-16; 6:11-18; Titus 3:5;)
We believe that the Triune God created all things visible and invisible for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness. God doesn’t let the world exist; He makes the world exist. He holds the world together in himself. Both Adam and Eve were created equally in the image of God without sin. He endued them with knowledge, righteousness, and holiness having God’s natural law of conscience written in their hearts and the power to fulfill that law. They lived with the possibility of transgressing since they were left to the liberty of their own will. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man and woman in His own image and therefore every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. (Genesis 1; 2:7; Ecclesiastes 7:29; 12:7; Job 26:13; 33:4; Psalm 24:1-2; 33:5-6; 104:24; Isaiah 55:10-11; Jeremiah 10:12; Matthew 10:28; John 1:1-3; Acts 17:24; Romans 1:20; 2:14-15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Hebrews 1:2; 11:3; Revelation 4:11)
MAN AND WOMAN
We believe that in the beginning God created mankind in His image, and is not in any sense the product of evolution. Mankind was originally created with the ability to live perfectly for God’s glory. Set apart as His image bearers, every human being is sacred. All men and all women, bearing the image of God, are meant to represent God in His creation. God declares the created order to be very good, distinguishing men and women as His agents to care for, manage and govern over it. They enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond a self-centered individualism to a significant engagement of faith in both public and private arenas. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union in the covenant of marriage that establishes the only God-ordained pattern of sexual relations for men and women. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not interchangeable, in any capacity, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways.
Women in Ministry Statement
The Bible teaches that God created men and women in order that they would both reflect the beauty, goodness, and creativity of his image (Genesis 1:27). Throughout the New Testament, men and women are referred to as brothers and sisters in Christ, since they are both meant to engage in God’s mission as a united siblinghood. In the church, men and women are expected both to serve and to lead, submitting to the lordship of Christ (James 4:7–10) and exercising their gifts for the edification of the body (1 Peter 4:10).
The beauty of the church is best seen when every member is on mission. While every member of the church bears the responsibility of engaging in God’s mission, we do so according to the pattern given by Scripture. The Bible portrays men and women as equal and complementary partners in God’s mission, yet diverse in their calling when it comes to the roles, specific to the church and the home. As such, GBC holds to complementarianism. We believe it is a good doctrine given by a good God with his glory and human flourishing in mind. The home and the church thrive when men and women play their respective roles, reflecting and re-enacting the gospel as they do so. When both men and women are given room to flourish, the entire church will be built up. In his design, God has reserved the office of elder for qualified men.
Beyond that, we believe Scripture teaches that God intends for both women and men to be equally involved and engaged in ministry within the church. As such, we long to see women sharing their gifts in every possible outlet of ministry except those duties that belong specifically and solely to the office of elder.
On Sundays, we routinely invite guests, included the women of Grace, onto the stage to share their hearts, their stories and their unique expression of Christ to the gathered, corporate body. However, we do so after the elder has explained the Word of God, unpacking its doctrinal significance for the life of the church. After that “elder duty,” any guests may be invited to the ongoing conversation for the application and impact of the Word of God for the life of the church. By doing so, we make a clear distinction between elder responsibilities, and the clear command of all to “speak the truth in love, that we may grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
To be clear, women should be exercising all of the same spiritual gifts as men, including teaching—explaining the truth of Scripture—and preaching—proclaiming the truth of Scripture (cf. Acts 2:17–18; Colossians 3:16; 1 Peter 4:10–11). But in our efforts to promote more women in leadership, we seek to draw the same lines that Scripture does—no more, but also no less.
Marriage, Gender and Sexuality
The Bible teaches that marriage is a covenant between one biological man and one biological woman, in a single exclusive union, by which their status changes from two individuals to one flesh as God joins them together. This covenant creates a new family such that their lifelong primary human loyalty is now to one another before anyone else. It is an earthly covenant between one man and one woman that God created and sanctioned to image the unbreakable heavenly covenant between Christ and His Church, therefore intended not to be broken by anything but death. From Genesis to Revelation, the authority of Scripture witnesses to the nature of biblical marriage as uniquely bound to the complementarity of man and woman. Regarding gender, God fearfully and wonderfully created each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders have been assigned by God and together reflect the image and nature of God. Regarding sex, God created sex as a gift to be enjoyed within the covenant of marriage. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of this marriage covenant. We believe that the exercise of sexual expression outside the biblical definition of marriage in any manner is contradictory to God’s design for sexuality and marriage. Thus, the only holy options for the expression of our sexuality is covenant marriage, between one man and one woman, for a lifetime, or chastity in our singleness. (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:15-25; Psalm 139; Matthew 5:27-32; Matthew 19:3-12; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:2-5; Ephesians 5:21-33; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Timothy 1:10)
Though Adam and Eve were born without sin, through their rebellion in the Garden, they and their children to come are born dead in their sin. Thus, we believe that sin is an issue of identity before it is an issue of performance. Thus, salvation does not just forgive our sins, but brings new life in Christ. This is a gift of God. Therefore, we believe that the salvation of lost and sinful mankind is a free gift of God’s grace apart from human works, based solely upon Christ’s atoning death, made possible by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. This gift is received only through faith in the person and finished work of Jesus.
In addition, we teach that God is sovereign in salvation. He not only desires that all be saved, but He also knows who will be saved. The Bible teaches that all who call upon the name of the Lord have been chosen by God unto that salvation. We also teach that God’s choosing of us assures that we will be saved, but that it alone does not save us. People are saved through faith in the substitutionary death of Christ, but individuals must respond to the gospel call through repentance and trust in Christ to be saved. Reconciling the biblical doctrines of God’s choice and man’s response may be humanly impossible. Somehow God’s sovereign choice and a person’s response to the gospel are both required in the salvation of an individual. Since God’s Word clearly teaches both, we must somehow accept that tension as divine mystery. (Genesis 1:28-29, Genesis 3; John 3:16; Romans 5:12-21; 8:28-30; 10:9-10, 13; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:4; 2:8-10; Hebrews 12:2; 2 Peter 3:9).
Security in Salvation
Our salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the efforts of the believer. The evidence of that salvation will be a life that bears the fruit of the Spirit. (John 10:27-30; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 5:11-13).
We believe the Holy Spirit empowers spiritual gifts as God wills to His children. These gifts are designed to testify to the presence of the Kingdom and distributed to equip the saints for worship and ministry to build up the body of Jesus Christ. We believe the gifts expressed through the apostles and prophets of the early church are still active today. We believe that God uses these spiritual gifts to display His glory and anointing in individual saints for the work of His ministry established in the timeless message of the Bible. However, we also believe that upon salvation, we received all that there is to receive of God’s promised Holy Spirit. We do not believe there is a second baptism of the Holy Spirit nor should we seek one out. (Acts 2:1-4; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11; 14:12; Ephesians 4:11-12).
We believe that the universal church is the body of Christ and that Christ is the head of the Church and the family of God. It is made up of redeemed believers who regularly join together for worship and fellowship while also living in community and on mission in the normal, everyday stuff of life. The primary purpose of the Church is to worship God and glorify Him by building up the body and reaching the world with the gospel. We believe that the local church is a gathering of believers who are associated by the New Covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Spirit; observe the ordinances of Christ; are governed by His laws; and exercise the gifts, rights, and privileges within them by the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 16:15-19; Acts 2:41-42, 47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:17-32; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 7:17; 9:13- 14; 12:1-31; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 3:1-15; 4:14; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 10:25; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3)
The biblical offices the NT designates are elders and deacons. Its only proper officers are Elders—whose primary role are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry—and Deacons—whose primary role is to serve the needs of the body. The qualifications, claims, and duties of both offices are defined in the New Testament epistles of 1 Timothy and Titus.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We teach that Jesus instructed His followers to remember His death and resurrection. He gave the church two visible symbols (called “ordinances”) as reminders. These two ordinances are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Neither of these ordinances are necessary for salvation but are practiced in obedience to and in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ. Upon repentance and belief in Christ, baptism by immersion is a one-time act of obedient identification with Jesus as Lord. It serves as an outward sign of conscious confession of repentance and faith. The Lord’s Supper is an ongoing symbol remembering our Lord’s death, burial, resurrection, and promised return. (Matthew 26:26-29; 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32)
Evangelism and Missions
The call and holy privilege of every child of God and of all churches of Jesus Christ is to go and make disciples of the nations (Matthew 9:37-38). God creates transformed lives evidenced by purity, holiness, and growth in Christ-like character by means of new birth. The Holy Spirit imputes the love of Christ into the hearts of believers, thus transforming their love toward others, for His Name’s sake. This results in children of God who actively seek to take the Gospel to those outside of the family of God and who share in carrying out the Great Commission. The highest purpose for evangelism and missions is that the name of Jesus Christ and the glory of His kingdom be taken to the ends of the earth until He returns. (Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20; Romans 1:5; 10:13-15; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 22:17)
HEAVEN AND HELL
We believe that Heaven is a real place of eternal blessedness prepared by God for those who have been saved by grace through the shed blood of Christ. While Hell was created for the fallen angels who rebelled against God, we also believe that Hell is a real place of eternal suffering for those who did not confess Christ as Lord and Savior. There is no intermediate state in which the unsaved can atone for their own sins. (Luke 16:19-31; John 14:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Revelation 7:13-17; 20:11-15; 21:22-27;)
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth to establish his everlasting kingdom and to bring about the New Heavens and the New Earth. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal joy of the righteous, and the eternal punishment of the unredeemed. (Matthew 16:27; Mark 14:62; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; I Corinthians 15; Philippians 3:20; I Thessalonians 4:15; II Thessalonians 1:7-10; II Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15)