4554 Research Park Blvd
There are many components forming the foundation of a Christ-exalting church. The four indispensable, biblical priorities for GCC are:
Spiritual devotion, an unreserved love for God, is the fountainhead from which spiritual maturity, the goal of the Christian life, flows (Eph 4:13-14). Devotion to the Lord is demonstrated by obedience to God and love for others (Mt 22:36-40). We desire our people to discern the difference between being religiously busy and having a personal relationship with the Lord.
All believers are expected to contribute to the building up of the body of Christ (Eph 4:11-16). Service can be formal and informal. We encourage congregants to participate in formal ministries where they can meet the needs of the church. Some of the greatest opportunities for service, however, are informal in nature and are dependent upon relational involvement. We desire to see congregants committed to the informal practice of the many one-anothers that exist in Scripture.
Relationships are indispensable for spiritual growth; they are both a means to and the fruit of spiritual development (Gal 6:1-2; Heb 3:12-13; 10:23-25). We believe it is imperative to provide a context in which Christians can be immersed in a community of fellow believers and where the roots of those relationships run deep. Consequently, we emphasize the need for the church to participate in both formal and informal contexts for cultivating meaningful friendships.
The mission of the church is to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19-20). Disciple-making has both local and international dimensions. Making disciples requires Christians to zealously desire and purposely pursue the conversion of the lost (1 Pt 2:6). It also requires an ongoing commitment to establish new believers in their walk with Christ. Our desire is for the church to grow in their burden to see unbelievers transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son and to take an active role in the development of others both domestically and internationally.
Elders are primarily responsible for overseeing the spiritual care of the congregation (1 Tim 3:1–7; Ti 1:5–9). Consequently, the primary task of elders is shepherding (1 Pt 5:2). Shepherding includes teaching, guiding, counseling, and protecting the church. Before becoming an elder at GCC, each candidate must submit himself to a lengthy evaluation process which considers each man’s character, conviction, and competency. Potential elders are recommended by current elders and are presented to the congregation for affirmation.
Servant Leaders (Deacons)
Servant Leaders are primarily responsible for organizing the physical care of the congregation (1 Tim 3:8–13). Though all congregants should participate in the care of the church, servant leaders are recognized as such because they assume responsibility for organizing and ensuring the needs of the congregation are met. As with elder candidates, each prospective servant leader is evaluated according to his/her character, conviction, and competency. Servant leaders are recommended by current elders and are presented to the congregation for affirmation.
Mary Ellen Heathershaw
The importance of setting aside individuals to fulfill certain responsibilities has increased over the years. Consequently, the staff are compensated members of GCC who give substantial amounts of time to the church’s ministry and administration.
All members of GCC joyfully ascent and adhere to the doctrinal summary contained within our Statement of Faith.
A Note on Historic Creeds and Confessions
While historic creeds and confessions are not a requirement for formal membership or teaching, the GCC Statement of Faith and What We Teach are nevertheless in accord with the tradition of historic creeds (e.g., Apostle’s, Nicene, Chalcedonian, Athanasian) and the broader statements of numerous historic confessions of faith.
There is one God, perfect in all attributes, eternally existing in three persons but one in essence––the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is the infinite, sovereign creator, sustainer, and ruler of all things. He alone is owed the highest love, obedience, and worship.
God the Father
God the Father personally and lovingly governs His creation according to His purposes and grace. He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption, decreeing all things for His own glory. Yet, He is neither author nor approver of sin and does not impede the responsibility of people.
God the Son
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of a virgin, is fully God and fully man. He took on human nature without sin and without surrendering His divine essence. He perfectly fulfilled the Law and accomplished the redemption through shedding His blood and sacrificing His life on the cross. Defeating death, He rose bodily on the third day and ascended to the right hand of the Father and lives to intercede for those who love God. He will return in glory to establish His kingdom and to judge those who refuse to worship God.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, in all the divine attributes is coequal and coeternal with the Father and the Son. He is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ. He indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers, and seals believers unto the day of redemption.
SCRIPTURES, HUMANITY, SALVATION, & SANCTIFICATION
The Bible, divinely authored by the Spirit of God, is composed of sixty-six books and, in the original manuscripts is verbally inspired, authoritatively binding, wholly inerrant in every word, and fully sufficient in all matters pertaining to faith and practice.
Human beings—created male and female in God’s image—exist to worship God and to bear His image upon the earth. Because humans have inherited a sin nature from the first man, Adam, humans reject God’s authority, are spiritually dead, and fall short of God’s purposes. Consequently, fellowship with God is destroyed, and all are subject to final judgment.
Fellowship with God and liberation from judgment is restored by faith and repentance. One must trust in Jesus’ atoning death and subsequent resurrection and repent of unbelief. God’s forgiveness is granted by His grace alone and offered with no consideration for one’s moral deeds. Salvation, which includes present justification and future glorification, is eternally secured by God.
Sanctification, which begins at conversion and is completed in glorification, is the process of becoming like Christ. The believer’s pursuit of holiness is grounded in the merits of Christ’s righteousness, enabled by the indwelling Spirit who empowers our efforts to put off sin and put on righteousness that is necessary for spiritual growth and grace.
CHURCH, LAST THINGS
The Church consists of all who have been regenerated by the Spirit. The Church is expressed in local and autonomous assemblies of believers that are under the supreme headship of Christ, led by biblically qualified elders, and served by biblically authorized deacons. The Church gathers as a worshipping, edifying, equipping, and disciple-making community. In fellowship with the local Church, believers should be obedient to the Lord in baptism and the Lord’s Supper—two ordinances which demonstrate and celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ.
Jesus Christ will physically and imminently return to earth, judging all evil, gathering all believers, and establishing His eternal kingdom, ushering in a new heavens and a new earth. After death, all persons will be resurrected physically and exist eternally in a physical environment either unto fellowship, blessing, and reward with God or unto judgment, separated from God in hell.
We teach that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and thus the 66 books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the Word of God (1 Cor. 2:7–14; 2 Pet. 1:20,21).
We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Cor. 2:13; 1 Thess. 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Tim. 3:16), fully inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. We teach the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture. This interpretation is that which is most natural and consistent with the biblical witness. We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matt. 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12,13; 17:17; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:15–17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 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 Pet. 1:20,21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matt. 5:18; 2 Tim. 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 7:17; 16:12–15; 1 Cor. 2:7–15; 1 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.
We teach that there is but one living and true God (Deut. 6:4; Is. 45:5–7; 1 Cor. 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 (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 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 (Ps. 145:8,9; 1 Cor. 8:6). He is the sole creator of all that exists and created everything by divine fiat out of nothing and without the aid of evolution in six literal days (Gen. 1:1–31; Eph. 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps. 103:19; Rom. 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Eph. 4:6), but He is Spiritual Father only to believers (Rom. 8:14; 2 Cor. 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Eph. 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chr. 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Hab. 1:13), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Pet. 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Eph. 1:4–6); He saves from sin all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Heb. 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 10:30; 14:9).
We teach that God the Father created “the heavens and the earth and all that is in them” according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operations (John 1:3; Col. 1:15–17; Heb. 1:2).
We teach that in the incarnation Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. The Son accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-man (Phil. 2:5–8; Col. 2:9). Christ laid aside His right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God, and took on an existence appropriate to a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Phil. 2:5–8).
We teach that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Mic. 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9,10; Col. 2:9).
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23,25; Luke 1:26–35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:1,14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom (Ps. 2:7–9; Is. 9:6; John 1:29; Phil. 2:9–11; Heb. 7:25,26; 1 Pet. 1:18,19).
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 10:15; Rom. 3:24,25; 5:8; 1 Pet. 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 (Rom. 3:25; 5:8,9; 2 Cor. 5:14,15; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18).
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 (Matt. 28:6; Luke 24:38,39; Acts 2:30,31; Rom. 4:25; 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; 1 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 5:26–29; 14:19; Rom. 4:25; 6:5–10; 1 Cor. 15:20,23).
We teach that Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, unto Himself at the Rapture and, returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9–11; 1 Thess. 4:13–18; Rev. 20).
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22,23):
- a. Believers (1 Cor. 3:10–15; 2 Cor. 5:10);
- b. Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matt. 25:31–46); and
- c. Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11–15).
As the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), the head of His body the church (Eph. 1:22; 5:23; Col. 1:18), and the coming universal King who will reign on the throne of David (Is. 9:6,7; Ezek. 37:24–28; Luke 1:31–33), He is the final judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matt. 25:14–46; Acts 17:30,31).
God the Holy Spirit
We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1 Cor. 2:10–13), emotions (Eph. 4:30), will (1 Cor. 12:11), eternality (Heb. 9:14), omnipresence (Ps. 139:7–10), omniscience (Is. 40:13,14), omnipotence (Rom. 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). In all the divine attributes He is coequal, coeternal, and consubstantial with the Father and the Son (Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3,4; 28:25,26; 1 Cor. 12:4–6; 2 Cor. 13:14; and Jer. 31:31–34 with Heb. 10:15–17).
We teach that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine will with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in the creation (Gen. 1:2), the incarnation (Matt. 1:18), the written revelation (2 Pet. 1:20,21), and the work of salvation (John 3:5–7).
We teach that a unique work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16,17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the body of Christ. His activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7–9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 2:22).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Rom. 8:9–11; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine teacher who guided the Bible’s human writers into all truth as they committed to writing God’s revelation (2 Pet. 1:19–21). Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and all those born of the Spirit are to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (Rom. 8:9–11; Eph. 5:18; 1 John 2:20,27).
We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13,14; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 12:4–11; 2 Cor. 3:18).
We teach that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (1 Cor. 12:4–11; 13:8–10; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7–12; Heb. 2:1–4).
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 (Gen. 2:7,15–25; James 3:9).
We teach that God’s purpose in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, and live his life in the will of God (Is. 43:7; Col. 1:16; Rev. 4:11).
We teach that in Adam’s sin of disobedience to 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. Man has no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, and is hopelessly lost. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:1–19; John 3:36; Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1–3; 1 Tim. 2:13,14; 1 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 permission (Ps. 14:1–3; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:9–18,23; 5:10–12).
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 1:12; Eph. 1:4–7; 2:8–10; 1 Pet. 1:18,19).
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 (Rom. 8:28–30; Eph. 1:4–11; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 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 (Ezek. 18:23,32; 33:11; John 3:18,19,36; 5:40; 2 Thess. 2:10–12; Rev. 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 6:37–40,44; Acts 13:48; James 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 (Eph. 1:4–7; Titus 3:4–7; 1 Pet. 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 (Rom. 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 (Matt. 11:25–28; 2 Tim. 1:9).
We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3–8; Titus 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 Cor. 6:19,20; Eph. 5:17–21; Phil. 2:12b; Col. 3:12–17; 2 Pet. 1:4–11). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Rom. 8:16,17; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:2,3).
We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Rom. 8:30,33) by which He declares sinners righteous by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Those who are justified, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; Is. 55:6,7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Rom. 10:9,10; 1 Cor. 12:3; 2 Cor. 4:5; Phil. 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Rom. 3:20; 4:6) and involves the placing of our sins on Christ (Col. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Cor. 1:2,30; 6:11; 2 Cor. 5:21). By this means God is enabled to “be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).
We teach that every believer is 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 20:32; 1 Cor. 1:2,30; 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 2:11; 3:1; 10:10,14; 13:12; 1 Pet. 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 likeness of Christ 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 17:17,19; Rom. 6:1–22; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Thess. 4:3,4; 5:23).
In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the desire of the sinful 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 (Gal. 5:16–25; Eph. 4:22–24; Phil. 3:12; Col. 3:9,10; 1 Pet. 1:14–16; 1 John 3:5–9).
We teach that all the redeemed once saved are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37–40; 10:27–30; Rom. 5:9,10; 8:1,31–39; 1 Cor. 1:4–9; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 7:25; 13:5; 1 Pet. 1:4,5; Jude 24).
We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an excuse for sinful living and carnality (Rom. 6:15–22; 13:13,14; Gal. 5:13,16,17,25,26; Titus 2:11–14).
We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Cor. 6:14–7:1; 2 Tim. 3:1–5).
We teach that out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation from any association with religious apostasy, and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Rom. 12:1,2; 1 Cor. 5:9–13; 2 Cor. 6:14–7:1; 1 John 2:15–17; 2 John 9–11).
We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 1:11,12; Heb. 12:1,2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness demonstrated by a beatitude attitude (Matt. 5:2–12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Rom. 12:1,2; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14; Titus 2:11–14; 1 John 3:1–10).
We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church (1 Cor. 12:12,13), the bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:23–32; Rev. 19:7,8), of which Christ is the head (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; Col. 1:18).
We teach that the formation of the church, the body of Christ, began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–21,38–47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the Rapture (1 Cor. 15:51,52; 1 Thess. 4:13–18).
We teach that the church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present age (Eph. 2:11–3:6). The church is distinct from Israel (1 Cor. 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Eph. 3:1–6; 5:32).
We teach that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23,27; 20:17,28; Gal. 1:2; Phil. 1:1; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1) and that the members of the one scriptural body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Cor. 11:18–20; Heb. 10:25).
We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (males, who are also called overseers, pastors, and pastor-teachers; Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:11; 1 Pt 5:1) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualification (1 Tim. 3:1–13; Titus 1:5–9; 1 Pet. 5:1–5).
We teach that these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ (1 Tim. 5:17–22) and have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Heb. 13:7,17).
We teach the importance of discipleship (Matt. 28:19,20; 2 Tim. 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matt. 18:15–17), as well as the need for discipline for sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matt. 18:15–22; Acts 5:1–11; 1 Cor. 5:1–13; 2 Thess. 3:6–15; 1 Tim. 1:19,20; Titus 1:10–16).
We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Local churches, however, through their elders and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judges of the measure and method of their cooperation (Acts 15:19–31; 20:28; 1 Cor. 5:4–7,13; 1 Pet. 5:1–4).
We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify and worship God (Eph. 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Eph. 4:13–16), by instruction of the Word (2 Tim. 2:2,15; 3:16,17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38–42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8).
We teach the calling of all saints to the work of service (1 Cor. 15:58; Eph. 4:12; Rev. 22:12).
We teach the need of the church to cooperate with God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:7–12) and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5–8; 1 Cor. 12:4–31; 1 Pet. 4:10,11).
We teach that there were two kinds of gifts given the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message (Heb. 2:3,4; 2 Cor. 12:12); and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1 Cor. 13:8–12). Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (Matt. 24:24). The only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Rom. 12:6–8).
We teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today but that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accord with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luke 18:1–8; John 5:7–9; 2 Cor. 12:6–10; James 5:13–16; 1 John 5:14,15).
We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper, neither of which imparts grace (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 (Rom. 6: 1–11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ (Acts 2:41,42).
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 Cor. 11:23–32). 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 Cor. 10:16).
We teach that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. They were created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9–14; Heb. 1:6,7,14; 2:6,7; Rev. 5:11–14).
We teach that Satan is a created angel. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Is. 14:12–17; Ezek. 28:11–19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:1–14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Gen. 3:1–15).
We teach that Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Is. 14:13,14; Matt. 4:1–11; Rev. 12:9,10), the prince of this world who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 16:20) and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Is. 14:12–17; Ezek. 28:11–19; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
LAST THINGS (ESCHATOLOGY)
We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Rom. 8:10,11,19–23; 2 Cor. 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Dan. 12:2; John 5:29; Rev. 20:13–15).
We teach that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Rev. 6:9–11), that there is a separation of soul and body (James 2:26), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13–17) which initiates the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4–6), when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (1 Cor. 15:35–44,50–54; Phil. 3:21). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:8).
We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19–26; Rev. 20:13–15), when the soul and the resurrection body will be united (John 5:28, 29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11–15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41–46), cut off from God forever (Dan. 12:2; Matt. 25:41–46; 2 Thess. 1:7–9).
The Rapture of the Church
We teach the imminent, personal, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year tribulation (1 Thess. 4:16; Titus 2:13) to translate His church from this earth (John 14:1–3; 1 Cor. 15:51–53; 1 Thess. 4:15–5:11) and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1 Cor. 3:11–15; 2 Cor. 5:10).
The Tribulation Period
We teach that immediately following the removal of the church from the earth (John 14:1–3; 1 Thess. 4:13–18) the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thess. 2:7–12; Rev. 16), and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matt. 24:27–31; 25:31–46; 2 Thess. 2:7–12). At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged (Dan. 12:2,3; Rev. 20:4–6). This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy (Dan. 9:24–27; Matt. 24:15–31; 25:31–46).
The Second Coming and the Millennial Reign
We teach that after the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matt. 25:31; Luke 1:32,33; Acts 1:10,11; 2:29,30) and establish His messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth (Rev. 20:1–7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezek. 37:21–28; Dan. 7:17–22; Rev. 19:11–16). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Dan. 7:17–27; Rev. 20:1–6).
We teach that the kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel (Is. 65:17–25; Ezek. 37:21–28; Zech. 8:1–17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience (Deut. 28:15–68). The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Matt. 21:43; Rom. 11: 1–26) but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jer. 31:31–34; Ezek. 36:22–32; Rom. 11:25–29).
We teach that this time of our Lord’s reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Is. 11; 65:17–25; Ezek. 36:33–38), and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Rev. 20:7).
The Judgement of the Lost
We teach that following the release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ (Rev. 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’s army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Rev. 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 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 (John 5:28,29), they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:11–15).
We teach that after the closing of the Millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 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 Pet. 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Eph. 5:5; Rev. 20:15,21,22). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Rev. 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; Rev. 21,22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:23–28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Cor. 15:28).
*This statement of faith is used by permission from Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, CA. All changes or adjustments to the original are the sole responsibility of Grace Community Church of Huntsville, AL.