"Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God, the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son." - 2 John 9
Anyone familiar with historic Christian doctrine will find that the statements below fall in the center of evangelical theology ("evangelical" means theology derived from the evangel, or the Gospel; in other words, it is Biblical theology rather than speculative theology rooted in man-made tradition).
We try not to be hard-nosed about matters on which Scripture is not clear, and we're not dogmatic about matters where honest, Bible-based believers have held divergent views. We want our core beliefs to be centered in Jesus and His message as found in and supported by the clearest passages of Scripture.
More obscure doctrine or teachings with less support are left to individuals to sort out on their own—we take no "official" position in these areas. As a church we have no written doctrine or creed except for the Bible itself. However, in order to help people get to know us better, here's a summary of what we believe...
...about the Bible - The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, composed of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe Scripture, in its entirety, originated with God and that it was given by the Holy Spirit through the writings of chosen men. Scripture speaks with the authority of God while still reflecting the backgrounds, styles, and vocabularies of the human authors God used. We hold the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts. They're the unique, full, and final authority on all matters of faith and practice, and there are no other writings similarly inspired by God.
...about God - We believe that there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—each of Whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning God created out of nothing the world and all the things therein, thus manifesting the glory of His power, wisdom, and goodness. By His sovereign power He continues to sustain His creation. By His providence He is operating throughout history to fulfill His redemptive purposes.
...about salvation - The central purpose of God's revelation in Scripture is to call all people into fellowship with Himself. Originally created to have fellowship with God, man defied God, choosing to go his own way, and alienated himself from God and suffered the corruption of his nature, rendering him unable to please God. The fall took place at the beginning of human history, and all individuals since have suffered these consequences and are thus in need of the saving grace of God. The salvation of mankind is, then, wholly a work of God's free grace, not the result, in whole or in part of human works or goodness, and must be personally appropriated by repentance and faith. When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that He will continue performing it until the day of its full consummation.
...about Jesus Christ - Jesus is the eternal second person of the Trinity who united with a true human nature by a miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all by dying on the cross as their substitute, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He, the only Mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. He will come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
...about the Holy Spirit (and the Christian Life) - The essential accompaniment of a genuine saving relationship with Jesus is a life of holiness and obedience, attained by believers as they submit to the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. He was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply to mankind the saving work of Jesus. He enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them recognition of their need of a Savior and regenerates them. At the point of salvation He permanently indwells every believer to become the source of assurance, strength and wisdom, and uniquely endows each believer with gifts for the building up of the church. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Scripture. His power and control are appropriated by faith, making it possible for the believer to lead a life of Christ-like character and to bear fruit to the glory of the Father.
...about human destiny - Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. For all mankind, there will be a resurrection into the spiritual world and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. God's judgment will reveal His justice in consigning them to perpetuate in eternal retribution their own rejection of God. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life.
...about the Church - The outcome of union with Jesus is that all believers become members of His body, the Church. There is one true Church universal, comprised of all those who acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord. The Scripture commands believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, the teaching of the Word, the observance of Communion and Baptism as established by Jesus, fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world. Wherever God's people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the church. Under the watch care of pastors and other supportive leadership, its members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the one ultimate purpose of glorifying Jesus.
...about faith and practice - Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. This church recognizes that it cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where Scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Lord, to whom he or she alone is ultimately responsible.
Conclusion - We believe this is an accurate summary of what Scripture teaches. All members and regular attendees of Grace Church should refrain from advocating doctrines that are not included in this Statement of Faith in such a way as to cause dissension. We desire the local expression of Jesus’ body at Grace Church to be a radiant example of love, peace, and unity.