While our Statement of Faith includes doctrines that are recognized to be universal and primary within the Church, there are a number of secondary beliefs that are debated even among Bible-believing, evangelical (gospel-centered) churches of which we have strong convictions and are passionate to proclaim. Not all Christians hold these beliefs to the same degree or with the same conviction (even within our congregation), but they are nonetheless important and true as we understand the Scriptures. These theological distinctives will inform the preaching, teaching, and other ministries of the pastors of this local congregation, though total agreement with them is not required for membership.
We believe that God, from all eternity, in order to display the full extent of His glory, did freely and unchangeably ordain whatever comes to pass by the infinitely wise and holy counsel of his will. The sovereignty of God extends over all things, from galaxies to molecules, from governments to individual persons, such that there is no aspect of reality outside of his ultimate control. He upholds, directs, and governs all of his creation, by his providence, to the end for which they were created, namely, the praise of his glorious wisdom, power, justice, goodness, mercy, and holy name. God is sovereign in such a manner that he is not the author of, nor guilty of committing, sin, but that his just and eternal decree is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in His image (Job 38:11; Ps 33:8-11; 93:1-2; 115:3; 135:6; Prov 16:33; 19:21; Isa 46:9-11; Dan 4:34-35; Rom 11:33-36; Eph 1:11; Rev 4:11).
The Doctrines of Grace
We believe, as understood from the consistent testimony of the Scriptures, that salvation, from beginning to end, is solely the work of our Triune God. The unmerited favor that God grants to radically corrupt sinners is entirely of His sovereign grace and mercy according to his eternal purposes to the praise of his glory alone. Though we affirm human responsibility, God is ultimately and entirely responsible for drawing those He would save unto Himself and overcoming their natural resistance to the gospel. We affirm the doctrines of total depravity, sovereign election, definite atonement, effectual call, and preserving grace (Deut 7:6-8; John 6:35-44; 10:7-16, 25-30; 17:1-26; Acts 13:48; Rom 8:7-8; 8:28-9:23; 11:36; 1 Cor 1:8-9; 2 Cor 4:4-6; Eph. 1:3-14; Php 1:6; 2:12; 1 Thess 5:23-24; 2 Thess 2:13; 2 Tim 1:9-10; 2:25; 1 Pet 1:3-5).
The Gifts of the Spirit
We believe that, while the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still distributed to the church for its edification according to God’s sovereign prerogative, there are no more Apostles today (1 Cor 15:8; Eph 2:20; cf. Acts 1:20-26). Therefore, the signs of a true Apostle (2 Cor. 12:12) do not occur as they did in the first century church, before the canon of Scripture was completed. We believe the “sign” gifts of tongues (speaking in unknown lexical languages), healings, prophecy, and the working of miracles do not function in the same manner as they did in the early church (i.e., to confirm the word of God and lay the foundation of the church) and are no longer normative for the church today. All we need to know for salvation and sanctification has been given to us through the teaching of the apostles and prophets, and this teaching is now found in the Scriptures (Rom 12:6-8; 1 Cor 12:11, 28-31; 14:1; 15:8; 2 Cor 12:12; Eph 2:20; 2 Tim 3:15-17; Heb 1:1-3; Jude 3).
While men and women are absolutely equal in essence, dignity, and value as they together bear the image of God, they are nevertheless different by divine design. As part of God’s good created order, men and women are to have different yet complementary roles and responsibilities in the home and in the church, especially regarding teaching and authority. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men (elders) is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments. These role distinctions are God’s grace to man and woman and are to be protected, preserved and practiced for His glory and our joy (1 Cor 11:2-16; 14:33-35; Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:18-19; 1 Tim 2:8-15; 1 Pet 3:1-7). For more information, see the Danvers Statement