OUR BELIEFS

At the core of what we believe is the gospel of Jesus Christ—the glorious truth that Jesus Christ died and was raised so that sinners would be reconciled to God. The gospel is our primary passion and the driving influence in our church’s preaching, worship, small groups, and outreach.

The Statement of Faith below can also be found on the Sovereign Grace Churches website.

THE TRIUNE GOD

We believe that there is only one, true, and living God, who is infinite in being, perfections, power, and purposes. God is eternally existing, independent, and self-­sufficient, having life in himself with no need for anyone or anything. He is spirit, transcendent and invisible, with no limitations or imperfections, unchanging and everywhere present with the fullness of his being. His knowledge is exhaustive, including all things actual and possible so that nothing, past, present or future, is hidden from his sight. God is not divided into parts, but his whole being includes all of his attributes: he is entirely loving, holy, wise, just, good, merciful, gracious, and true. Our God is an infinite fullness of life who created all things, and all things exist by him and for him. He is all-­powerful to perform all his holy and perfect will, ruling over all creation with total dominion. In his transcendence God is incomprehensible in his being and actions, yet he reveals himself such that we can know him truly and personally.

The one and only God eternally exists as three persons-­-­Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-­-­infinitely excellent and all-­glorious. Each person is fully God, sharing the same deity, attributes, and essential nature, yet there is but one God. Each person is distinct, yet God is not by this distinction divided into three. The Father has always existed as Father, the fountain of all being. The Son has always existed as Son, eternally begotten of the Father, uncreated and without beginning, of one essence with the Father. The Holy Spirit has always existed as Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, and of one essence with them. The Godhead thus exists in a perfect, complex unity, indivisible as to substance and inseparably distinguished as persons who enjoy a fullness of intimate fellowship and all-­satisfying love.

The persons of the Trinity, being one in essence, are also united in their works, such that to deal with one person is to deal with the Trinity as a whole. Yet within this unity there are distinctions in the way they relate to each other and to creation-­-­distinctions that reflect properties of the persons, although there is no difference in essence or attributes. Within the Godhead, the ordered relationships among the persons are eternal, yet without any inequality. In creation, the persons fulfill roles appropriate to themselves: the Father originates, the Son accomplishes, the Spirit completes. Nevertheless, the three, thus distinct, are neither divided nor mixed, are of one and the same essence, equal from all eternity, and worthy to be worshipped as the one God-­-­Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

THE SCRIPTURES

The Triune God is, by his very nature, a communicative being. He both creates and governs through his words and has graciously revealed himself to his image bearers in order to commune with them. He has plainly revealed himself to all mankind through creation and providence, and has revealed himself through specific words that we might come to an accurate and fuller knowledge of his character and will, learning what is necessary for salvation. Through the medium of human language, which is suitable and adequate for communication with those who bear his image, God has preserved in Holy Scripture the only normative revelation for all mankind.

All of Scripture is authored and breathed out by God, being faithfully and accurately delivered through various human authors through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We therefore receive the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments as the perfect, infallible, and authoritative word of God. With the fullness of revelation given in Christ and his completed redemptive work, no new normative revelation can or need be given. In its original manuscripts, the whole of Scripture and all of its parts is inerrant -­ without error in all it affirms. Because there is one divine author behind all of Scripture, we are able to arrive confidently at a harmonious, doctrinally unified understanding of the whole. Furthermore, God in his loving providence has determined to preserve his word as pure and trustworthy throughout history, just as he guided the early church in discerning and identifying the canon of Scripture he inspired.

Believers live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. The word of God is therefore necessary and wholly sufficient for knowing the Father’s love in Christ, experiencing his glorious plan of redemption, and being instructed in the way of fruitful and godly living. The word of God is clear, and everything we need to know, love, and fellowship with God can be plainly understood through ordinary means, without appeal to any human authority. When its intended meaning is misunderstood, the fault lies not in the clarity of God’s communication but in the recipient. Scripture alone is our supreme and final authority, and the rule of faith and life. The Scriptures must not be added to or taken away from, and all creeds, teachings, and prophecies are to be tested by the final authority of God’s word.

We come to know the truth of God’s word through Scripture’s own self-­attesting authority and by the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the word in our hearts. As the Scriptures are preached and read, the Spirit delights to illuminate our minds to understand, cherish, and obey his word. God’s intended meaning is revealed through the intentions of the inspired human authors, rendering the truth of God’s word a fixed, historical reality. Therefore, the Bible is to be prayerfully interpreted according to its context and original intent, with due regard paid to the collective interpretation of past generations of believers. Ultimately, Scripture interprets Scripture and the meaning of each text must be understood in light of the whole. As believers devote themselves to God’s word, they commune with God himself, and are fortified in faith, sanctified from sin, strengthened in weakness, and sustained through suffering by the unchanging word of Christ.

GOD THE FATHER

God the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth. By his Word and for his glory, he freely and supernaturally created the world of nothing. Through the same Word he daily sustains all his creatures. He rules over all and is the only Sovereign. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good to those who love him, and in his unfathomable grace gave his Son Jesus Christ for mankind’s redemption. He made man for fellowship with himself, and intended that all creation should live to the praise of his glory.

JESUS CHRIST

In the fullness of time God the Father sent his eternal Son, the second person of the Trinity, into the world as the incarnate Jesus Christ. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, taking upon himself a fully human nature with all its attributes and frailties, yet without sin. In this union, two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in the one person of the divine Son without confusion, mixture, or separation. Thus our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son incarnate, is fully God and fully man and thus able to be our savior and the only mediator between God and man.

Incarnate as both God and man, our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled God’s saving purposes and all Old Testament prophecies about the One to come: he is the Seed of the woman, the Second Adam, the Prophet like Moses, the Priest after the order of Melchizedek, the true Israel, the Son of David, and God’s appointed Messiah and King. As such he was anointed by the Holy Spirit and lived a sinless life in full obedience to His Father. Jesus endured the common infirmities, temptations, and sufferings of full human existence, taught with divine authority and utter truthfulness, and demonstrated his lordship through the working of miracles and the exercise of divine prerogatives.

Being obedient to his Father in life, our Savior was also faithful unto death. Jesus Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate, dying a substitutionary death for the sins of his people. He was buried and arose bodily from the dead on the third day, vindicating his saving work as God’s Messiah and guaranteeing the defeat of death, our future resurrection, and the glorification of our physical bodies. Forty days later Jesus ascended bodily to heaven, where He is now enthroned at the right hand of his Father, interceding for his people as their Great High Priest, and reigning over all until He returns to judge all people and angels, putting all His enemies under His feet.

In his work as Mediator, Christ acted as the incomparable God the Son incarnate, exercising both his deity and humanity in his all-­sufficient work. Although it was always the one Christ who acted, he acted in and through both his human and divine natures, always in obedience to his Father’s will and in relation to the Holy Spirit. As our glorious Redeemer fulfilled his work as our Mediator, he acted in ways appropriate to each nature, and in this way Christ was and remains truly God and truly man. In Christ’s person and work, both natures are preserved and neither one is diminished by the other, yet both are inseparably joined and find expression in the one person of the eternal Son.

THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Through the proclamation of the gospel he persuades men to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit a person is led to trust in divine mercy. The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth, and dwells within the regenerate. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son who in turn came to glorify the Father. He will lead the Church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored, and worshipped as God the Third Person of the Trinity.

In addition to effecting regeneration and sanctification, the Holy Spirit empowers believers for Christian witness and service. While all genuine believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, the New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit subsequent to conversion as well. Being indwelt by the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are theologically distinct experiences. The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power for Christian life and witness, and imparts his supernatural gifts for the edification of the Body and for various works of ministry in the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the Church of the first-century are available today, are vital for the mission of the Church, and are to be earnestly desired and practiced.

GOD’S SOVEREIGN PURPOSES

From all eternity, God did plan and ordain all that exists and whatever comes to pass in order to display the fullness of his glory throughout all creation. God’s plans are efficacious, always coming to pass, and they are universal, encompassing all the affairs of nature, history, and individual lives. These decrees are an exercise of his free, unchangeable, wise, and holy will. Yet God, in his foreordination, is not the author of sin, nor do his decrees negate the will of his creatures, who act with the power of willing choice in accord with their nature. His ordaining and governing all things is compatible with his creatures’ moral accountability such that God never condemns a person unjustly, but that all people are responsible for their actions, which have real and eternally significant consequences.

Before the foundation of the world, God did, in love, choose those whom he would save in Christ Jesus. God’s election is entirely gracious and not at all conditioned upon foreseen faith, obedience, perseverance, or any merit in those whom God has chosen. His decision to set his saving love upon the elect is based entirely on his sovereign will and good pleasure. The number of God’s elect is fixed for eternity and no one who has been chosen by God will be lost. In the mystery of his will, God passes over the non-elect, with sadness withholding his mercy and punishing them for their sins as a display of his holy justice.

As God has appointed the elect to glory, so has he foreordained all the means necessary to carry out his saving purposes. Those whom he has predestined, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called to faith in Christ by his Spirit, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation. God did all this in order to demonstrate his mercy, to the praise of the riches of God’s glorious grace. Though attended with much mystery, the doctrine of election should function, not to produce speculation, introspection, or pride, but humility, gratitude, and eternal praise for the underserved grace of God in Christ.

MAN’S SIN AND ITS EFFECTS

God originally created man innocent and righteous, without stain or corruption. In this state, Adam and Eve enjoyed a fullness of life in communion with God, delighting in him and his righteous will. Our first parents were deceived by Satan and willfully sinned against their Creator by doing what he had forbidden. In their rebellion they doubted his character, rejected his authority, and disobeyed his word. Man’s trespass of God’s law brought the curse of guilt, separation from God, and subjection to spiritual and physical death.

In the created order God established Adam as the representative head of the human race. As a result, Adam’s sin was imputed to all his descendants, bringing guilt, condemnation, and death to all humanity. Because of this, all people are by nature corrupt and inclined to evil from conception.

From our inherited corruption arise all the sins that we willingly commit. We are now by nature enemies of God, living under the power of Satan, subject to the curse of the law, and deserving of eternal death. Moreover, every part of human nature has been corrupted by the fall and no part of man is untainted by sin. Although fallen people remain in the image of God and manifest the virtues of common grace, they are incapable of pleasing God or freeing themselves from their bondage to sin. Their hearts are hardened, their understanding is darkened, their consciences are corrupted, their spiritual sight is blinded, and their deeds are evil. Therefore, all people are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Jesus Christ.

The curse of the fall corrupted not only mankind but the entire created order, subjecting the world to futility, distortion, decay, and death. Natural evil combines with moral evil to produce calamity, suffering, hostility, and injustice in the world. Such groaning in the created order reminds us of our fallenness and causes us to long for the redemption of all things under Christ.

CREATION, PROVIDENCE, AND MAN

In the beginning the triune God freely created out of nothing the universe and everything in it by the word of his power, all for his own pleasure and glory. God declared all of his creation to be very good, and even in its fallen state it tells of his greatness and is to be delighted in and stewarded for his glory. As supreme Creator, God is separate from and transcendent over all he has made. As sovereign Lord, he sustains all things, governs and guides all circumstances, and directs everything in accord with his holy and loving will. In all his providential rule, God acts for his glory and for the good of his people in Christ, granting us great comfort and unshakable hope in God’s love, wisdom and faithfulness to us in this life and in eternity.

God created man, male and female, in his own image as the crown of creation and the object of his special care. God directly created Adam from the earth, and Eve from Adam’s side, as the parents of the entire human race. They were created to know and glorify their Maker by trusting in his goodness and obeying his word. God gave them dominion over all creation, to fill, subdue, and steward the earth as his representatives. All human beings are likewise made in the image of God. Despite the effects of the fall on sinful man, all people remain God’s image bearers and have intrinsic dignity and worth at every stage of life from conception to death. All people are known personally by God and created for communion with him, which is the highest purpose of human existence. Redemption in Christ progressively restores fallen men and women to their true humanity as they are conformed to the image of Christ.

The curse of the fall corrupted not only mankind but the entire created order, subjecting the world to futility, distortion, decay, and death. Natural evil combines with moral evil to produce calamity, suffering, hostility, and injustice in the world. Such groaning in the created order reminds us of our fallenness and causes us to long for the redemption of all things under Christ.

Men and women are both made in the image of God and are equal before him in dignity and worth. Gender is therefore neither incidental to our identity nor fluid in its definition, but is essential to our identity as male and female. Although sin distorts and damages God’s design for gender and its expression, these remain part of the beauty of God’s created order. In marriage, men and women were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church, and establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women. Husbands are to exercise sacrificial headship and wives joyful submission in ways that bring joy and blessing to each other and display the beauty of God’s purposes to the world.

SALVATION

Jesus Christ is the gospel. The good news is revealed in his birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension. Christ’s crucifixion is the heart of the gospel, his resurrection is the power of the gospel, and his ascension is the glory of the gospel. Christ’s death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases his holy wrath. It also demonstrates his mysterious love and reveals his amazing grace. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. There is no other name by which men must be saved. At the heart of all sound doctrine is the cross of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God because of what he has accomplished. Therefore, we want all that takes place in our hearts, churches and ministries to proceed from and be related to the cross.

Man’s response to the gospel is rooted and grounded in the free and unconditional election of God for his own pleasure and glory. It is also true that the message of the gospel is only effectual to those who genuinely repent of their sins and, by God’s grace, put saving faith in Christ. This gospel of grace is to be sincerely preached to all men in all nations. Biblical repentance is characterized by a changed life, and saving faith is evidenced by kingdom service or works. While neither repentance nor works save, unless a person is willing to deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Christ, he cannot become his disciple.

Justification, the free gift of God, is provided by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Anyone turning from sin in repentance and looking to Christ and his substitutionary death receives the gift of eternal life and is declared righteous by God as a free gift. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him. He is justified and fully accepted by God. Through Christ’s atonement for sin an individual is reconciled to God as Father and becomes his child. The believer is forgiven the debt of his sin and, via the miracle of regeneration, liberated from the law of sin and death into the freedom of God’s Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the active agent in our sanctification and seeks to produce his fruit in us as our minds are renewed and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality, as we are led by the Spirit, we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping his commandments and endeavoring to so live in the world that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. All believers are exhorted to persevere in the faith knowing they will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word and deed. The spiritual disciplines, especially Bible study, prayer, worship and confession, are a vital means of grace in this regard. Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence to persevere is based in the sure promise of God to preserve his people until the end which is most certain.

THE CHURCH

God by his Word and Spirit creates the Church, calling sinful men out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ’s Body. By the same Word and Spirit, he guides and preserves that new redeemed humanity. The Church is not a religious institution or denomination. Rather, the Church universal is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve him by faithfully doing his will in the earth. This involves a commitment to see the gospel preached and churches planted in all the world for a testimony. The ultimate mission of the Church is the making of disciples through the preaching of the gospel. When God transforms human nature, this then becomes the chief means of society’s transformation. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women are added to a local church in which they devote themselves to teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper and prayer.

All members of the Church universal are to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context they are called to walk out the New Covenant as the people of God and demonstrate the reality of the kingdom of God. The ascended Christ has given gift ministries to the Church (including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) for the equipping of Christ’s body that it might mature and grow. Through the gift ministries all members of the Church are to be nurtured and equipped for the work of ministry. Women play a vital role in the life of the Church but in keeping with God’s created design, they are not permitted “to teach or to have authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:11). Leadership in the Church is male. In the context of the local church, God’s people receive Pastoral care and leadership and the opportunity to employ their God-given gifts in his service in relation to one another and to the world.

Water baptism is only intended for the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work and become his disciple. Therefore, in obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of his death and resurrection. It signifies that his former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts a person’s release from the mastery of sin.

As with water baptism, the Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of his blood on our behalf, and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s death. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls, and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.

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THE CONSUMATION

The Consummation of all things includes the visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the translation of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In the Consummation, Satan with his hosts and all those outside Christ are finally separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal punishment, but the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with him forever. Married to Christ as his Bride, the Church will be in the presence of God forever, serving him and giving him unending praise and glory. Then shall the eager expectation of creation be fulfilled and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God who makes all things new.

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