Distinctives

While we hold these doctrines with a fairly tight fist, we joyfully and openly accept criticisms and critiques and are more than willing to be challenged on any of these. Our aim and goal is always to glorify God and be as consistent as possible in our understanding of scripture. One way we can glorify God is by rightly handling and understanding His word that He has given us (2 Tim 2:15). The only reason we hold to and believe these things are because we deeply believe them to be doctrines taught in scripture. We do not want to in any way force what we think to be attractive and progressive ideas on the eternal word of God. We allow the scripture to interpret our beliefs and never the other way around. We allow the word of God to change us and our ideas instead of taking what the world has taught us and forcing those ideas on scripture (Rom 12:2). If you find fault in our teaching or doctrines, we humbly request you seek an audience with a church leader and wrestle carefully with these doctrines and what God’s word has to say about them, as we have. 


Calvinism

We affirm God’s complete sovereign rule over all things in existence including the salvation and sanctification of men and women. We see this position as unavoidable, for even if we confess that it is man who decides as to whether or not they will accept the free gift of grace from God, God ultimately knew what that man or woman would decide and determined the outcome when He chose to create them. Either way, God is sovereign over whom shall be saved.

We believe there is great hope in the fact that before we had the opportunity to accomplish any good works or fall into the worst of sins, God chose, without the influence of any outside forces, to take specific people and make them “…holy and blameless before Him” (Eph 1:4-6). Because you had nothing to do with earning your salvation, it also means that there is nothing you could ever do to lose it. God will never stop loving you because there was never a moment in time that He started loving you but has instead had an eternal special love for His chosen people.

“The best proof that He will never cease to love us lies in that He never began.” -Geerhardus Vos

We believe and teach what Jesus said in John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” “No one can come to [Jesus]…” because “…no one seeks for God” (Rom 3:11). In our fallen state we neither have the ability nor the desire to worship and love God as He truly is because “… there is none who does good” (Ps 53:1). It is the “Father who sent [Jesus]…” who “…draws…” the unregenerate man or woman to faith in Christ absent of any assistance from any outside forces “…for who can resist his will?” (Rom 9:19). “And [Jesus] will raise him up on the last day…” and not fail in this because “…no purpose of [God’s] can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). If God’s will cannot be thwarted, and His will is that “…[Jesus] should lose nothing of all that he has given [Him]…” then none whom God has predestined to save can fall from grace (Jn 6:39). 

Those that appear to have fallen away from the church “… went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 Jn 2:19). Even the desire to love God and do good is a sovereign act of our creator “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). God is sovereign every step of the way “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Rom 8:30).


Complementarianism

We believe and teach that men and women are equal as God’s fellow image bearers, but not interchangeable in their roles in the church and home (Gen 1:26-28). We are also fellow partakers in the grace of God with no special grace given to one gender over the other (Gal 3:28). In Ephesians 5 Paul gives some distinctions between man and woman in the context of marriage and how they are to fulfill their roles in marriage. The danger in diminishing the differences between man and women are central to the teaching of the Gospel according to the Apostle Paul. After explaining how the wife and husband are to love one another and reflect the beauty of the Gospel in their specific responsibilities, Paul says, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph 5:32). If this picture of husband and wife is a God-ordained institution founded upon Christ’s death and resurrection for His church, we should avoid diminishing the distinctions God has made in the home. 

Women played a significant role in the life and ministry of the early church in the writings of the New Testament. Priscilla and Aquila overheard Apollos teaching in the book of Acts and offered a correction to his teachings (Acts 18:24-26). Paul also says that they both saved his life by sticking their necks out for him (Rom 16:3-4). In Romans 16 Paul also goes on to give thanks and praise to about sixteen different helpers to his ministry, at least ten of whom are women. Women were even essential in providing for Jesus’ ministry (Luke 8:1-3). There should never be the question as to whether or not women and men have equal value in the church or whether or not they can minister effectively, but instead what will be the nature of their roles in the church. None of the instructions that are given for the office of pastor in the New Testament include instructions for women (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim 3:1-7). Along with this, there is also text that strictly forbids women holding the role of pastor (1 Tim 2:12). We believe this teaching of man’s role in the church as an overseer to be consistent with scriptures teaching on man’s role in the home as well (Eph 5:21-24). 


Credo-Baptism

Baptism is an ordinance that the Lord Jesus Christ commanded that his people do (Matt 28: 19-28). We believe that baptism is no mere religious ritual or tradition that the Church has created nor does it unite us to Christ rather it is our faith that unites us to Christ. Baptism is instead the way in which we verbally affirm our faith, physically demonstrate our faith, and symbolically proclaim our burial with Christ as we go down into the water, and the newness of life we have with Him in His resurrection as we rise up out of the water (Rom 6:3-4). 

The term Credo-Baptism comes from the Latin word creed. We believe that a person must make a confession of faith before being baptized instead of baptizing the children of believers. Scriptures on baptism have a consistent order where in which the believer is to repent, believe and be baptized (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Eph 4:5, Acts 2:41, Acts 8:12). It is clear from these scriptures that a believer is expected to be baptized after they believe and not through the confession of another on their behalf, for there is only one mediator between God and man who is the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5).


Continuationism

We believe that all the spiritual gifts in scripture are still in operation in the church today just as they were in the early church. We see no sufficient scriptural reason to believe otherwise. The gifts may not be as much of a hallmark of God’s church today as they were during the time of the early church but there is no place in scripture where these gifts were told to have been limited to the apostles to validate their authority as there are accounts of non-apostles performing miracles such as Stephen and Philip (Acts 6:8, Acts 8:6-7). We in no way affirm emotion-fueled sensationalism that has sometimes been present in conjunction with those in the faith seeking to demonstrate the continued use of the spiritual gifts, but instead encourage that all gifts be used, “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12).