Section l: The Bible
We believe the Bible to be the pure Word of God (Psa. 12:6), wholly true (John 17:17), and reliable in any matter it discusses. We believe in the plenary (total), verbal inspiration of the Scriptures in their original manuscripts (II Peter 1:19-21; II Tim. 3:16, 17). We recognize that the Bible was not originally written in English, that any translation is only as useful as its faithfulness to the original languages, and that care should be exercised in the choice of translations. We affirm that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
Section 2: God
We believe in one God (Gen. 1:1; Deut. 6:4; Isa. 45:5-6; 46:9) eternally existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; yet being only one God (Matt. 3:16-17, 28:18-20; John 10:30, 15:26; II Cor. 13:14; James 2:19).
A. God the Father
We believe in God, the Father, perfect in holiness (Psa. 22:3), infinite in wisdom (Psa. 147:5, I John
3:20), and measureless in power (Matt. 19:26); that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men (Matt. 6:26-32, 10:30); that He hears and answers prayer (Psa. 65:2; Matt. 6:9-13); and that He saves from Hell all who come to Him through Jesus Christ (John 3:16, 17:11; Rom. 5:8-11; I Tim. 2:5).
B. God the Son
We believe in Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, co-equal and co-eternal with God the
Father (John 1:1, 8:58), God’s unique Son (John 1:14, 3:16) as the God-man born of a virgin (Matt. 1:18-25), sinless in His life (Heb. 4:15); that He died for our sins, according to the scriptures, as a substitutionary sacrifice for us (I Cor. 15:3-4; John 11:49-51, 18:14; II Cor. 5:14-15; Rom. 5:6-8; I Thess. 5:10; I Peter 3:18) that all who believe in Him are justified on the grounds of His shed blood and reconciled by His death (Rom 3:21-30, 5:9-11); that He not only died on the cross for our sins, but that He resurrected bodily for our justification (Rom. 4:25); that He is now at the right hand of God the Father (I Peter 3:22; Heb. 10:12), acting as our High Priest (Heb. 3:1, 5:6-10, 8:1-2, 9:11-27) and our Advocate (I John 2:1-2) before the Father; that He is coming again in power to rapture His church by raising the dead and translating the living believers (I Thess. 4:13-18; I Cor. 15:51-58). He will establish His millennial kingdom upon earth (Rev. 20:4-6); He will judge the world (Rev. 20:11-15) and will establish His eternal kingdom (Rev. 21:1-27, 22:1-5) with commensurate rewards for the believers and punishment for the unbelievers (I Cor. 3:12-15; John 5:28-29).
C. God the Holy Spirit
We believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, the Third person of the Godhead (John 14:16-17, 15:26; Acts 2:32-33), co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Son (II Cor. 13:14), and He exists in the world today to reveal the fullness of Christ (John 15:26), to convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8-11), regenerating (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5-7), sanctifying (I Peter 1:2), filling (Eph. 5:18), and sealing forever (Eph. 1:13-14) those who have been born again through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:21-26). We believe that no one can be saved from sin or be born again without a supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit in his life. We believe that no one can attach himself to the body of Christ unless the Holy Spirit energizes that attachment (I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:13, 4:30).
Section 3: Man
We believe that man was created by the direct act of God and was the last and best of God’s creation; created in the image of God Himself (Gen. 1:26-27). We believe that the primary distinguishing characteristic of man from the rest of creation is his immortal soul (Gen. 2:7), and that soul will either spend eternity in bliss with God (John 14:1-3; Rev. 21:3-4) or eternity in the Lake of Fire, separated from God (Rev. 20:10-15).
Section 4: Sin
We believe that man was created free from sin, that Adam knowingly disobeyed the command of God, that through his transgression sin was passed to all of mankind, and that the consequence of that sin is death, both physical and spiritual (Gen. 3:6, 2:17; Rom 5:12; I Tim. 2:14); that all men are sinners both by inheritance and by infraction (Rom. 3:10-18, 23; I John 1:8, 10), and that sin separates from God (Isa. 59:2, 64:7; Psa. 66:18).
Section 5: Salvation
We believe that each individual is born in sin, and, therefore, is a sinner by nature, having nothing whereby he might justify himself before God the Father (Rom. 3:9-18, 5:12); that each individual must, therefore, receive for himself the death of Jesus Christ and the shedding of His blood on the cross (John 1:12; Rom. 3:21-26, 4:16-25, 5:1-2), and in repentance must ask God’s forgiveness for his sins (Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:5; Acts 2:38, 17:30, 26:20); that having received Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord by faith, entirely apart from works (Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9), he is spiritually saved, or born again (John 1:12, 3:4-5; Rom. 10:9-10, 13); that in regeneration the Holy Spirit is sent to permanently indwell, enable, and empower the believer to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4; Eph. 2:1-10). Each believer is thereby a child of God and a member of the family of God for time and eternity (Rom. 8:1-39).
Section 6: The Church
A. The Church of Jesus Christ
The Church consists of those who have personally believed in the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:13, 14), who are born again, and baptized into His Body by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:13). These believers constitute the Body or the Bride of Christ (I Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 5:25-32; Rev. 19:7-10). The Body of Christ consists of individual believers everywhere in the world (1 Cor. 12:13). No one belongs to the Body of Christ simply by virtue of belonging to a local Bible-believing and Bible-preaching church.
In spite of minor doctrinal differences and practices existing among local churches, members of the Body of Christ are to love, appreciate, and bear the burdens of other Christians (John 15:12; I Thess. 4:9-10; Rom. 15:1-7).
B. The Local Church
In the New Testament there were churches made up of individual believers who lived in certain areas which constituted a local church (i.e. Corinth, Berea, Philippi, etc.). It is in this sense that the Grace Fellowship exists, and is known as such. The local church is composed of professing, born-again believers who have voluntarily united together for the purpose of worshipping God, ministering to the saints (fellow believers), evangelizing the world, and discipling new believers (Acts 2:42; I Thess. 1:2-10). It provides an opportunity for those who are of the same mind in Christ to meet together for the study of God’s Word, common prayer, social contact, and mutual uplifting (Heb. 10:25). Grace Fellowship will never seek to exclude from its fellowship other believers who may belong to other churches or other denominations, or who may differ from us in minor matters but nevertheless belong to the Body of Christ.
C. Church Distinctive
Grace Fellowship is governed by the membership through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and under the headship of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:1-3; Eph. 1:22, 4:15, 5:23; Col. 1:18, 2:19). No outside ecclesiastical body has authority over our local church decisions. However, the church should always be open in a spirit of humility to Scriptural counsel, encouragement, teaching, rebuke, and/or correction where needed from a sister church or churches (Acts 15:22-35).
2. Priesthood of the Believer
We believe that every believer has both the privileges and responsibility of discerning God’s will for his life, interpreting and applying God’s Word, and presenting prayers, petitions, and praise to the Father through Jesus Christ as the sole mediator between God and man (I Peter 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6; II Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12; I Tim. 2:5).
3. Security of the Believer
We believe that genuine salvation is an act of God that is for eternity, that to be genuinely saved is to be eternally saved, and while sin may separate the believer from some of the blessings of God, it cannot separate the believer from the love of God (John 3:16, 36, 5:24, 10:27-30, 11:25-26; Rom. 8:38-39). However, not everyone who claims to know Christ has been genuinely saved and many, therefore, who have professed to know Christ will perish (Matt. 7:21-23, 13:36-43). Each professed believer should, therefore, be regularly admonished to self-examination as to the legitimacy of their faith (II Cor. 13:5; I John 1-5).
4. Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture
We believe the Scriptures are the Word of God, that they speak authoritatively upon every area that they address, that they were given inerrantly in the original manuscripts and that they are essential and sufficient for the proper administration of the church (Psa. 119; II Tim 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21).
We believe and practice two symbolic ordinances: water baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We believe that scriptural baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, setting forth in symbol his union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6:3-4); that every believer should be baptized following salvation because of the example and command of our Lord (Matt. 3:13-17; 28:18-20; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; Acts 2:38, 10:47-48); and that the physical element of water in baptism does not save the sinner, but is a voluntary external testimony to the work which the Holy Spirit has already done in the heart of the believer (I Cor. 12:13; Acts 8:36-40, 10:44-48).
b. Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of the Lord’s death until He comes; that the physical elements of bread and the fruit of the vine are not the actual body and blood of Christ but are symbolic of Christ’s body broken for us and His blood shed for our justification before God. It is an occasion of remembrance and self-examination and is open to all regenerated believers who, after reverent self-examination, choose to participate therein (Luke 22:14-20; I Cor. 11:24-32).
6. Spiritual Gifts
We believe that the Spirit of God gives spiritual gifts to individual believers to edify the Body of Christ and that the effectiveness of the local church is diminished when the members fail to exercise their individual gifts.
a. We believe that no single gift is intended for all believers (I Cor. 12:4, 8-11, 29-30).
b. We believe that spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit according to His sovereign purpose and that no human authority can bestow or distribute gifts (I Cor. 12:12).
c. We believe that no single gift is necessary evidence of the baptism or filling of the Spirit (I Cor. 12:4).
d. We believe that the Spirit of God indwells every genuine believer at the moment of conversion (Rom. 8:9).
e. We believe that the exercise of any spiritual gift must conform to all scriptural guidelines and restrictions for that gift (I Cor. 12-14).
f. We believe that all worship should be done decently and in order and that the work of the Spirit of God brings unity, not division, among God’s people (I Cor. 14:40; Acts 2:38-47).
Section 7: Human Sexuality
1. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, or pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex (Lev. 18:1-30; I Cor. 6:9).
2. We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; I Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23).