We are a Reformed Baptist congregation. For many, this terminology is new. Below are 5 distinctives that influence our ministry and characterize our view of the church, doctrine, and life lived for God's glory.
We hold to the "5 Solas" of the Protestant Reformation. We believe that the church should always be reforming, in all matters, according to the Word of God.
- Sola Scriptura(Scripture Alone) - The Bible is the complete, closed, and clear authority in all matters of faith.
- Solus Christus(Christ Alone) - Our confidence is in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
- Sola Gratia(Grace Alone) - Grace secured our redemption without reference to works.
- Sola Fide(Faith Alone) - We are declared righteous by God through faith alone (1).
- Soli Deo Gloria(To the Glory of God Alone) - The goal of creation and redemption is the praise of God's glorious grace.
Concerning the doctrine of salvation, we believe and teach what have historically been called "The 5 Points of Calvinism". We admit there are better titles for these doctrines but that the acronym T.U.L.I.P. is the easiest way to remember these doctrines of grace.
- Total Depravity - The fall of Adam affected the totality of man’s person(2).
- Unconditional Election - Election is not based on foreseen faith or works(3).
- Limited Atonement - Redemption was accomplished by Christ for the elect on the cross(4).
- Irresistible Grace - Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is efficacious for the elect.
- Perseverance of the Saints - God will, by grace, complete what He began in the regeneration of the elect.
The modern departure from orthodoxy known as "Dispensationalism" has caused much confusion in rightly understanding and teaching God's Word. We believe this must be corrected by returning to the historic teachings of the Christian Church, namely, that the 66 books of the Bible are not divided in purpose or theme, but are one unified Word from the Living God. We teach:
- The unity of the Bible - The Bible has many parts yet one message.
- A Christ-centered interpretation - Jesus’ person, work, and kingdom is the theme of the entire Bible.
- A Law / Gospel distinction - The law(7) commands and condemns. The Gospel saves(8).
- Only one way of salvation - Christ has saved all of the elect throughout all the ages by grace through faith.
- An optimistic view of history - Jesus Christ currently rules and reigns over all things. He will soon come again.
The Puritans are an often misunderstood and wrongfully caricatured group from which we have much to learn. Above all, their devotion to holiness in all of life stands out as one of their defining traits. Their godliness set a precedent that has been forgotten in much of Christianity today. We believe this is to our shame. We believe there should be:
- Godliness in Worship - We hold to the Regulative Principle of Worship(5), and observe the Lord’s Day as the Christian Sabbath.
- Godliness in Preaching - We believe in the primacy of preaching: both exposition and application emphasized.
- Godliness in Instruction - We are confessional and catholic: publishing what we believe the Bible teaches(6).
- Godliness in Family - Parents are to instruct (catechize) and discipline their children in the Lord in the home through regular family worship.
- Godliness in Behavior - Christians should maintain a good conscience before God and man.
There are many different Baptist denominations and congregations. Most profess a belief in the inspiration of scripture and believe that God's Word should dictate how the church functions. In spite of this, many Baptist churches have unbiblical structures that, while seemingly harmless, proclaim an insufficiency in God's Word to instruct all matters of church life. We want God's Word to be shown perfectly sufficient in all matters, therefore we hold to:
- Biblical Church Practice - Ordinances are for believers only(9). Church discipline lovingly exercised.
- Biblical Church Freedom - The state is not to intrude into matters of conscience.
- Biblical Church Government - Elders and deacons. The local congregation chooses its leaders(10).
- Biblical Church Growth - Gospel proclamation to the world. Repentance and Faith is demanded of all.
- Biblical Church Ministry - Priesthood of all believers(11).
(1) This is an imputed alien righteousness. Justification is perfect, neither waxing nor waning.
(2) We agree with Martin Luther that man‘s “will comes from the devil and from Adam.”
(3) A Calvinistic understanding of Salvation: We reject all man-centered understanding of salvation.
(4)“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matt. 1:21 cf. John 10:11,14-18,24-29; Acts 20:28; Isa. 53
(5) As opposed to the “Normative principle” which states that what is not forbidden is allowed. Our worship service is built around the Scriptures read, preached, and sung.
(6) We hold to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689. Additionally the Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian and Chalcedonian creeds express our understanding of orthodoxy.
(7) We recognize the “Three uses of the law.” First, the law serves as a guide to society in promoting civic righteousness. Secondly, the law convicts sinners and drives them to Christ. Thirdly, the law directs Christians in holy living.
(8) Law and Gospel are in both Old and New Testaments. The gospel is the promises of God to His elect.
(9) Infant baptism is alien to the practice of the New Testament. Likewise, immersion is the proper mode of baptism.
(10) “A particular church, gathered and completely organized according to the mind of Christ, consists of officers and members; and the officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the church.” We recognize no greater authority than the local church.
(11) The local church is a spiritual family where relationships are to be open and honest. All matters are handled in charity and patience. Only through every-member participation can individuals grow in grace and love.
Adapted and Developed by Pastor David Charles