Note: Grace Chapel recognizes that it cannot bind the conscience of its members in areas where scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Holy Spirit and godly counsel to which we are both ultimately responsible. The priesthood of every believer is acknowledged. Biblical teaching is that the church is to be marked by love and unity, not “arguing and dissension.” All members, therefore, shall refrain from advocating doctrines that are not in keeping with those held by the local body.
The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the verbally (word for word) inspired (God breathed) and infallible Word of God.
We teach the Bible is absolutely without error in the original writings and that it is the complete revelation, in 66 books, of God’s will for the salvation of man (Luke 24:27, 44; Romans 15:4, II Timothy 3:16-17, II Peter 1:21).
We teach that the Word of God is an objective (Exodus 17:14), timeless revelation (I Thessalonians 2:13) and constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
We teach that while there may be several applications of any given passage of scripture, there is only one true interpretation and it is to be found by diligently applying the grammatical-historical (grammar of that day) method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15; I Corinthians 2:7-15; and I John 2:20).
Recognizing that the Bible is the very Word of the living God to mankind and understanding the priority of knowing and obeying its truths, we are deeply committed to teaching the scripture with diligence and authority. There is no sharper sword (Hebrews 4:12).
We believe that God was active not only in the formation but also in the preservation of His Word (Matthew 5:17-18, John 17:17, Romans 15:4, I Peter 1:24-25). God’s providential care has provided His people with ancient copies of scripture (in thousands of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts) that reassure us the Bible we study today is His pure, living and infallible Word. Men come and go; civilizations rise and vanish; but Holy Scripture marches on.
God, the Father
We believe in one living and true God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, absolute in power and eternally existing in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
God is infinite, eternal, sovereign and unchanging in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.
Each person of the Godhead (triunity) has precisely the same nature, (essence) attributes and perfections and is worthy of the same reverence and obedience.
In the beginning God created out of nothing, the universe and all that it contains, thus manifesting the glory of His power, wisdom and goodness. (Genesis 1-2)
By His sovereign power He continues to sustain His creation. In providence and mercy God is operating through history to fulfill His redemptive purpose (Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 12:29; I John 1:14; & II Corinthians 13:14).
God, the Son
We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son (John 3:16), true God and true man (Philippians 2:5-8). He was miraculously conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-35). He lived a sinless life (Hebrews. 4:15). He died on the cross a voluntary substitutionary sacrifice for our sins, according to the scriptures (Romans 5:8).
Further, He arose bodily from the dead (John 20:20), ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9) and is presently ministering at the right hand of the Father as our faithful High Priest and Advocate (Acts 7:55 & 56; Hebrews 2:17; and I John 2:1-2).
He is the one mediator between God and man, the Lord of life, and only Savior (I Timothy 2:5).
Christ will return personally and visibly, first to receive the believer to Himself (I Thessalonians 4:16-17), and then to establish His Kingdom on earth (Matthew 25:31-32).
We teach that upon the basis of the efficacy of Christ’s death, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power and one day the very presence of sin, declared righteous, given eternal life, and admitted to the family of God (John 10:15; II Corinthians 5:14-15; I Peter 2:24 & 3:18; & Romans 3:25 & 5:8).
God, the Holy Spirit
We believe that the prime ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. He is sovereignly active in the regeneration of the believer (John 3:1-8 and Titus 3:5).
He baptizes (I Corinthians 12:13), seals (Ephesians 1:13), and indwells every believer (Romans 8:9). He is the source of guidance, instruction, giftedness and power whereby the believer is enabled to live a godly life (Ephesians 5:18 & Galatians 5:16, 22-26).
We teach that the Holy Spirit alone administers spiritual gifts to the church, not to glorify Himself or the gifts by ostentatious displays, but to magnify Christ and implement His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (Acts 1:8; I Corinthians 12:4-11; and II Corinthians 3:18).
His present ministry also includes convicting the world of the reality of sin, of righteousness through Christ and of the judgment to come (John 14:16-17, 16:7-15; I Corinthians 6:19, 12:13; Ephesians 2:22, 4:30, 5:18; II Thessalonians 2:7; & I John 2:20-27).
We believe that there are two kinds of spiritual gifts: 1) confirming, sign gifts (e.g. tongues, miracles, healings and prophecy, etc.) and 2) edifying, speaking and serving gifts (e.g. teaching, service, giving, leadership, exhortation, mercy etc.).
With the New Testament revelation complete, the confirming gifts gradually decreased and are not as normative for the church today (Acts 2:43, 19:11-12; I Corinthians 13:1-13, 14:20-22; II Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:1-4; II Timothy 4:20; James 5:14; & I Peter 4:10-11).
But as Christ’s return nears they will increase again (Acts 2:17-21).
Note: We acknowledge that believers differ over certain specifics concerning spiritual gifts and have purposed not to make this a test of fellowship.
We believe that man was directly and immediately created in the image and after the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). He was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence (volition), self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:15-25; I Thessalonians 5:23; & James 3:9; James 1:21-27).
Man, through the sin of disobedience to the revealed will of God lost his innocence; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject to the wrath of God; became inherently corrupt; and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God, apart from Divine grace (Genesis 3, 1 Corinthians 1:28-31; 2:6-16).
We teach that all men are in Adam and that the consequence of that sin has been transmitted (imputed) to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the one unique exception. All men thus are sinners by divine declaration, by nature, and by choice (Jeremiah 17:9 and James 2:10).
Man, therefore, in his natural state is condemned to an eternal death (Romans 6:23).
Only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained. (Genesis 3:1-19; Ps alms 14:1-3 & 51:5; John 3:6; Romans 3:10-23, 6:23, & 8:6; 1 Corinthians 1:28-31; 2:6-16; Ephesians 2:1-5; John 3:36; & I John 3:8)
Salvation, Full and Free
We believe that the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for the justification and salvation of all who believe.
We teach that only such as receive Jesus Christ by faith are born of the Holy Spirit and thus become the children of God.
Salvation is wholly a work of God’s free grace through the shed blood (i.e. sacrificial and substitutionary death) of His Son. It is not a result, in whole or in part, of human will, works or goodness (Titus 3:5; & Philippians 1:6).
Salvation brings the forgiveness of sin (Romans 4:7-8), a declaration of righteousness before God (Romans 4:6), a new nature (II Corinthians 5:7) and the promise of eternal life (Romans 6:23).
It must be personally appropriated by genuine repentance and faith (Leviticus 17:11; Isaiah 53:1-12, 64:6; Matthew 26:28; John 3: 7-18; Romans 5:6-9; II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7 & 2:8-10;
We teach that salvation will be demonstrated by repentance, faith and righteous living. Good works are its proper evidence and spiritual fruit will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit through faithful obedience to the Word of God (I Corinthians 6:19-20, Ephesians 2:10 & 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12; Colossians 3:16; II Peter 1:4-10).
This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (I l Corinthians 3:18) and will be climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Romans 8:17; I Peter 1:23; & I John 3:2-3)
Safe in the Savior
We believe that those who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation have the promise of eternal life as a present possession (John 5:24). Authentic believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), kept by the power of God and secure in Christ forever (John 5:24, 6:37-50, 17:15 & 20; Romans 5:9-10, 8:1 & 31-39; I Peter 1:5; & Jude 1:24). It is the high privilege of the believer to have a present and continuing assurance that he possesses salvation (John 10:28-30; & I John 5:13).
Note: It is also the solemn duty of every professing Christian to “examine themselves to see if they are in the faith” (II Corinthians 13:5) and to “make their calling and election sure” (II Peter 1:10) while never using their Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living (Galatians 5:1 & 16-21 & Romans 6:1-12).
We believe that Satan is a created being once holy and enjoying heavenly honors and that he fell because of pride and rebellion to his present state (Isaiah 14:12-17 & Ezekiel 28:1-19).
He is the author of sin and father of lies (Genesis 3:1-19 & John 8:44). He is the believer’s accuser and adversary (I Peter 5:8). He is the tempter and deceiver of nations (Matthew 4:1 & Revelation 12:9).
Further, we teach that Satan has been judged through the death of Christ on the cross (John 12:31). He will be eternally condemned to the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10).
Angels, Elect and Evil
We believe that angels are created beings and therefore are not to be worshipped.
Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1: 6, 7, & 14; Hebrews 2: 6-7; Revelation 5:11; Revelation 19:10 & 22:9).
Further, we teach that when Satan fell, he incurred the judgment of God involving numerous angels (Revelation 12:3-4) in his fall. These demonic beings, along with all the powers of darkness are destined with Satan to final defeat and eternal punishment in Hell, a place prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41; Ephesians 6:12; Job 1:6-7; and Ezekiel 28:11-19).
Concerning the Church
We teach that all who place faith in Jesus Christ are immediately baptized by the Holy Spirit into one united, universal and spiritual Body—the Church (I Corinthians 12:12-13), of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22, 4:15 & Colossians 1:18), and which is His espoused Bride (II Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32 & Revelation 19:7-8).
We teach that the formation of this Body began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21 & 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own (I Corinthians 15:15-47 & I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
We believe the church then, is a unique spiritual organism (Mat 16:18), made up of all born again believers in this present age (Ephesians 2:11-22 & 3:1-6).
Further, we teach that the church universal is made visible by the establishment and continuity of local churches and that the members of this one united spiritual Body of Christ are commanded to associate themselves together in local assemblies (Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; I Thessalonians 1:1; I Corinthians 11:18-20; & Hebrews 10:25).
The Church (local) is an organized body of believers where the gospel is taught faithfully, where the ordinances are observed regularly and where church government is functioning biblically.
The ordinances of the Church are water baptism (immersion) and the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; & I Corinthians 10:16-17 & 11:23-26). They are not to be regarded as a means to salvation.
Christian baptism is the testimony of a believer, showing forth in solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and resurrected Savior and our union with Him in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:1-11; Acts 8:36-39; & Mark 10:33-45).
We teach, in addition, that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration, celebration, and proclamation of His death until Christ returns, and should be preceded always by vigorous self-examination (I Corinthians 11:23-28).
Things to Come
We believe that Christ has gone to prepare a place for believers and He will come again to receive them (John 14: 1-3). The “blessed hope” of the believer is the personal, bodily, pre-millennial and eminent return of our Lord and this should have a vital bearing on the personal life and service of every Christian (Acts 1:11; I Corinthians 15:51-52, Philippians 3:20; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; & Titus 2:11-14).
Note: We acknowledge that believers differ over certain specifics about the second coming of Christ and have purposed not to make this a test of fellowship.
Death and Afterwards
We believe that at death the souls of those who have trusted in Christ pass immediately into the presence of God (Philippians 1:23). We teach that there is a separation of soul and body (IICor 5:8) and that such separation will continue until the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6) when spirit, soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord (1Thessalonians 4: 16-17; Philippians 3:21; & I Corinthians 15:35-44 & 50-54).
Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:8).
We teach the bodily resurrection of all mankind (Daniel 12:2; Revelation 20:11-15 & John 5:28-29): the saved to eternal life in heaven (Romans 8:10-11 & 19-23; II Corinthians 4:14; John 5:29, Daniel 12:2 & Revelation 20:6) and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment in hell.
We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death descend immediately into Hell (Job 3:13-19 & Luke 16:19-26) where they are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26 & Revelation 20:1-15). When the soul and resurrected body are united, they shall then appear at the great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41-46) and cut off from the life of God forever (Il Thessalonians 1:7-9; Daniel 12:2; & Matthew 25:41-46).
Concerning Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Gen 2:18-25.) We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4.) 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 sexual immorality (including but not exhaustive to adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.)
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Grace Chapel as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the Grace Chapel members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Grace Chapel in any capacity, or who serve as ministry volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality. (Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22.)
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11.)
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Grace Chapel.
ConcerningChristian Life and Conduct
We believe that the Christian is called in the Word of God to a life of service and a life separated from the sin of this world (Romans 6:1-2; I Corinthians 6: 18-19; II Corinthians 6:17-18; and Galatians 5:1-21). We teach that all the saved should live in such a manner as to not bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord and that separation of all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practice is commanded of God (Romans 12:1-2; II Timothy 3:1-5; I John 2:5-17; & I Corinthians 5:9-13).
This can only be accomplished by believers living in dependence upon the Holy Spirit so as to reproduce in themselves the fruit of the Spirit. In the church every member should be a minister (Romans 12:1-8 & Ephesians 4:7-16). Every believer should aim at being fruitful in spiritual service and live for the glory of God (John 15:1-8).
Concerning the Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. (Psalm 139)
Note: The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of Grace Chapel’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our elders are Grace Chapel’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
This church recognizes that it cannot bind the conscience of its members in areas where scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Holy Spirit and godly counsel to which we are both ultimately responsible. The priesthood of every believer is acknowledged. Biblical teaching is that the church is to be marked by love and unity, not “arguing and dissension.” All members, therefore, shall refrain from advocating doctrines that are not in keeping with those held by the local body.