Grace Fellowship Church Doctrinal Statement

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

  • We teach that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and thus the sixty-six books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:7-142 Peter 1:20-21).
  • We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Thessalonians 2:131 Corinthians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed.
  • We teach the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture which affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:31Exodus 31:17).
  • We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matthew 5:1824-35John 10:3516:12-1317:171 Corinthians 2:132 Timothy 3:15-17;Hebrews 4:122 Peter 1:20-21).
  • We teach that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man (2 Peter 1:20-21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matthew 5:182 Timothy 3:16).
  • We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:1716:12-151 Corinthians 2:7-151 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.

GOD

We teach that there is but one living and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4Isaiah 45:5-71 Corinthians 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19– 2 Corinthians 13:14) — each equally deserving worship and obedience.

God the Father

  • We teach that God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8-91 Corinthians 8:6). He is the creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Ephesians 4:6), but He is spiritual Father only to believers (Romans 8:142 Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13;John 8:38-47), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12Romans 8:15Galatians 4:5Hebrews 12:5-9).

God the Son

  • We teach that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:3014:9).
  • We teach that God the Father created according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operation (John 1:3Colossians 11:15-17Hebrews 1:2).
  • We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally existing second person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-man (Philippians 2:5-8Colossians 2:9).
  • We teach that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Micah 5:2John 5:2314:9-10Colossians 2:9).
  • We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born (Isaiah 7:14Matthew 1:2325;Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:114); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9;Isaiah 9:6John 1:29Philippians 2:9-11Hebrews 7:25-261 Peter 1:18-19).
  • We teach that, in the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity laid aside His right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God, assumed the place of a Son, and took on an existence appropriate to a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:5-8).
  • We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15Romans 3:24-25;5:81 Peter 2:24).
  • We teach that on the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God (Romans 3:255:8-92 Corinthians 5:14-151 Peter 2:243:18).
  • We teach that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Matthew 28:6Luke 24:38-39Acts 2:30-31;Romans 4:258:34Hebrews 7:259:241 John 2:1).
  • We teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-2914:19Romans 1:44:256:5-101 Corinthians 15:2023).
  • We teach that Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His body, unto Himself at the rapture and, returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9-111 Thessalonians 4:13-18Revelation 20:1-15).
  • We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23): a. Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10-152 Corinthians 5:10) b. Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matthew 25:31-46) c. Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15) As the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the head of His body the church (Ephesians 1:225:23Colossians 1:18), and the coming universal King who will reign on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6Luke 1:31-33), He is the final judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46Acts 17:30-31).

God the Holy Spirit

 

MAN

  • We teach that man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:715-25James 3:9).
  • We teach that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world (Isaiah 43:7Colossians 1:16Revelation 4:11).
  • We teach that in Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject to the wrath of God; and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:16-173:1-19John 3:36Romans 3:236:231 Corinthians 2:14Ephesians 2:1-31 Timothy 2:13-141 John 1:8).
  • We teach that because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3;Jeremiah 17:9Romans 3:9-18235:10-12).

 

SALVATION

We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12Ephesians 1:72:8-101 Peter 1:18-19).

Regeneration

  • We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20Ephesians 2:10), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21;Philippians 2:12bColossians 3:162 Peter 1:4-10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Romans 8:172 Peter 1:41 John 3:2-3).

Election

  • We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28-30Ephesians 1:4-112 Thessalonians 2:132 Timothy 2:101 Peter 1:1-2).
  • We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:233233:11John 3:18-19,365:40Romans 9:22-232 Thessalonians 2:10-12Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-4044Acts 13:48James 4:8).
  • We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4-7Titus 3:4-71 Peter 1:2).
  • We teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-282 Timothy 1:9).

Justification

Sanctification

  • We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:321 Corinthians 1:2306:112 Thessalonians 2:13Hebrews 2:11;3:110:101413:121 Peter 1:2).
  • We teach that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:1719;Romans 6:1-222 Corinthians 3:181 Thessalonians 4:3-45:23). In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict — the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh — but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25Ephesians 4:22-24Philippians 3:12;Colossians 3:9-101 Peter 1:14-161 John 3:5-9).

Security

Separation

 

THE CHURCH

Gifts

Baptism

  • We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42).

Lord’s Supper

  • We teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32).
  • We also teach that whereas the elements of communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).

ANGELS

Holy Angels

Fallen Angels

 

LAST THINGS (Eschatology)

Death

The Rapture of the Church

The Tribulation Period

The Judgment of the Lost

  • We teach that following the release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41Revelation 20:10) whereupon Christ, who is the judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne judgment.
  • We teach that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment (Romans 14:10-13), they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41;Revelation 20:11-15).

Eternity

  • We teach that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9Revelation 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5Revelation 20:1521-22). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3;Revelation 21:1-22:21). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).

MARRIAGE

Believing that God has established the institution of marriage for His glory and man’s good, we teach the following truths:

  • We teach that marriage is a holy union of one man and one woman in which they commit, with God’s help, to build a loving, life-giving, faithful relationship that will last for a lifetime. (Gen. 2:18-25; Matt. 19:4-6; Heb. 13:4)
  • We teach that God has established the married state, in the order of creation, for spouses to grow in love of one another and for the procreation, nurture, formation and education of children. (Gen. 1:26-28; Deut. 6:4-9; Eph. 5:22-33, 6:1-4)
  • We teach that when a marriage is true to God’s loving design it will bring spiritual, physical, emotional, economic, and social benefits to a couple, their family, the Church, and to society as a whole. (Josh. 1:8; Eccl. 9:7-9)
  • We teach that our responsibility as a church is to assist couples in building and sustaining, and, if necessary, restoring marriages. This assistance includes the ministries of prayer, encouragement, education, mentoring and counseling. (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Tim 4:16; 1 Pet. 5:1-3)