The following are the fundamental principles that drive all of our teaching and our practices.
- Sola Scriptura – The foundational principle that guides our every practice as a church (and as families) is the sufficiency of Scripture for everything pertaining to life (salvation) and godliness (sanctification)– 2 Pet.1:3-4 (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Lord Jesus is the grand theme of both the New and Old Testament Scriptures, which unifies all of the Bible (Luke 24: 27, Eph 1:9-10).
- Sound Doctrine – We offer a discipling course where we personally disciple families, in their homes, at no cost. We also offer advanced discipleship courses.
Doctrinal principles that we hold to are:
- The doctrine of the Trinity: In the One Creator are three distinct testifiers: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who each equally and uniquely possesses full deity. We further hold to the Complementarian form, ie., the Son and Holy Spirit are eternally subordinate in rank to the Father.
- The deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1-18): virgin birth (Luke 1:26-37, 2:6-7), sinless life (2 Cor 5:21), miracles (Acts 2:22), atoning death (Rom 5:8), resurrection (1 Cor 15:3-4), ascension and future return (Acts 1:9-11)
- Salvation is based on faith of the repentant sinner through God’s grace alone (Acts 15:11, Eph 2:8-9) through none other than Jesus Christ (John 14:6, Acts 4:12)
- Resurrection of the saved unto eternal life and the unsaved to eternal damnation (1 Thes 4:14
Romans 14 – (see a longer explanation: Loving Others Without Judging (Chapter 8))
- GCF holds to this maxim:
- Unity on the essentials
- Freedom on the non-essentials
- Charity/love in all things (Love restrains our freedom – Romans 14:15).
- Since this view is based on Romans chapter 14 we say we are a ‘Romans 14’ church.
- We regard these as essentials (a subset of the things listed in Hebrews 6:1,2):
- Jesus is the Christ (King, High Priest, Prophet)
- All subjects of our King, Jesus, must repent from the serious sins listed in the Bible (eg.: 1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 21:8,27; 22:15).
- All believers put full faith in God as creator and promise-keeper (Hebrews 11)
- The resurrection – the dead will live again
- There will be an everlasting, permanent Judgement for those judged as wicked
- GCF holds to this maxim:
- Although other issues may be foundational, even important, they are not essential for salvation. They are non-essentials. Among these are such things as:
- The process of salvation (Calvinism vs. Arminianism),
- Creation of the universe (Young-earth creation vs. Old-earth creation vs. Young Life),
- Involvement in politics (Republican vs. Democrat vs. neutral),
- Involvement in the military (pacifism vs. defense-only vs. ‘Just War Theory’),
- Preferred translations (King James vs. modern)
- We hold that Romans 14 implies that if a fellow believer holds to the essentials then even though that person may also hold to diverse or minority views (the non-essentials), we will welcome that person in love as long as their views have some biblical support and their fellowship is peaceful. This extends even to those who serve in our ministries, we serve shoulder-to-shoulder in love. More than welcoming someone as a guest, we are to welcome such believers as servants of God who are acceptable to both God and man (Romans 14:18). Romans 14 grants everyone the freedom to follow one’s Bible-trained conscience, yet love for others in Christ restrains one’s actions so that we do not do things that make fellow Christians feel unwelcome in the congregation. Being a ‘Romans 14’ body does not mean that we avoid discussing controversial or debatable topics nor does this mean we ask our brothers and sisters to hold their views lightly. Rather we believe that Romans 14:5,22 implies we should all seek to be informed and committed to following our conscience without being inflammatory in our relationships. Any combative or divisive thoughts are to be kept between us and God alone. Our ‘vertical’ relationship with God encompasses all our personal beliefs but our ‘horizontal’ relationships with fellow believers are regulated by love.
- The Local Church is a Gathering of Believers and the Household of God – In virtually every example of the formation of a local church in Scripture, believers are gathered. The church is the household of God and the pillar and foundation of truth on the earth (1Tim 3:15). The plethora of “one anothers” (encourage, serve, love, exhort, admonish, etc.) and the other New Testament illustrations of a church–a flock and a body–indicate intimate relationships of mutual support. The gathering of the local church for edification, fellowship and worship is an essential activity of the church (Heb 10:25), but church life is more than superficial relationships and is not contained to a once-a-week activity. A local church is intended to be a family of families.
- The Local Church is Strengthened, Led, and Guarded by Multiple Elders – It is clear from Scripture that there may be an initial time in the life of the church where no elders have been appointed (Acts 14, Titus 1:5, etc.) because clear, qualified leaders have not been identified and recognized. It is also clear that the only Head of the church is Jesus Christ and “the priesthood of all believers” (1 Pet 2:4-9, Rev 1:5-6, Eph 2:17-18) can approach Him without other mediators. However, the necessity for accountability and order within the body of Christ is also very clear. As we follow the development of the church in the New Testament, a primary issue in further “establishing or strengthening churches” is the appointment of “elders” (Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5). Clear qualifications for these elders are given in Scripture (Titus 1:5-9, 1 Tim 3:1-7) as well as standards for disciplining an elder (1 Tim 5:19-20) and submission to the elders’ authority in matters pertaining to the church (Heb 13:17). Although all elders must be able to teach, some elders may be the primary teachers (1 Tim 5:17). Their main responsibility is protection and provision (shepherding) of the flock. The main thing they are to provide is “help for the weak” and instruction in the word (Titus 1:9) while protecting from false doctrines of men and evil influences that would draw people away from Christ (Acts 20:28ff, Rom 16:17-18, Heb 13:17, etc.). Although Scripture requires the flock to submit to elders, it discourages assertion of control/power by the elders and limits the jurisdiction of their authority. Submission of the flock is voluntary, not forced, as elders are to lead by example (1 Pet 5:1-4).
- Men & Women: Equal but Different – Scripture clearly teaches differences of roles for men and women (Titus 2:1-8,11-15, 1 Tim 3:4-5, Prov 31, Num 30:3-16, Eph 5:22-6:4, 1 Peter 3:1-7, etc.), particularly in the context of marriage. However, there is no difference between the value of male or female in Christ’s eyes (1 Peter 3:7b, Gal 3:28). God designed marriage to be an earthly picture of an eternal truth. The church is Jesus Christ’s betrothed bride (Eph 5:22-33, Mark 2:19-20, Matt 25:1-13, John 14:2-3, etc.) and Christian marriages should reflect that truth.
- Children: Blessings From the Lord – Scripture clearly teaches that children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127, etc.), and the Lord wants them to come to Him (Mark 10:14). In fact, some of His biggest admonitions are against those who would cause little ones to stumble (Mark 9:42). It is a theme throughout Scripture that it is a father’s primary responsibility to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:1-4) and that a mother is to love their children in honor of the word of God (Titus 2:1,3-5,15). A fatherless home does not change God’s design, but increases the church’s responsibility as the body of Christ in its exercise of “true religion” (James 1:27).
This doctrinal statement is a non-exhaustive attempt to summarize our beliefs in a page. These statements are adapted from various sources and were written by men more eloquent than ourselves. They have been modified and condensed to summarize what we believe. When wondering about other doctrinal issues not covered here, see our Shepherding Guidelines.
We believe the Bible is God’s written revelation to man. From the literal Genesis account of creation to the fortelling of Christ’s return in Revelation it is verbally inspired in every word, and absolutely inerrant in the original documents. We affirm the infallibility, sufficiency, and authority of Scripture. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Heb 4:12)
We believe That there is one and only one Living and true God, an infinite, all-knowing Spirit, perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit equal in nature but differing in function. (Exodus 20:2-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11; John 14:16-17; Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 9:14; John 14:26; Genesis 1:1-3; John 16:3-11)
We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His Virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory. (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Isaiah 53:4-5; Jonah 2:9; Matthew 18:11; John 3:16; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 2:17; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3)
We believe that the salvation of man, who is sinful and lost, is instantaneous and accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God when the repentant sinner – enabled by the Holy Spirit – responds in faith. This salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Isaiah 53:4-5; Jonah 2:9; Matthew 18:11; John 3:16; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24-25; John 3:3; 1 John 5:1; John 3:6-7; Acts 16:30-33; 2 Peter 1:4; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-12)
We believe in the Spirit-filled life. As the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration, the Holy Spirit baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ at the moment of salvation. The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption. (Acts 13:52; Ephesians 3:16, 5:18; Romans 8:14; 1Peter 1:5; Hebrews 3:1; John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 5:25-26; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; Philippians 1:6)
We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved; the saved unto the resurrection of life and the unsaved unto the resurrection of damnation. (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:16; 5:1-11; Matthew 3:7; 24:30-31; Romans 9:14-24; Prov 16:4; 1 Peter 2:8; Revelation 20:10-15)
We believe that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church, of which Christ is the head. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by building its members up in the faith, by instruction of the word, by fellowship, by keeping the ordinances, and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world. (Ephesians 1:22-23,4:1-16, 1 Corinthians 12:11-13; Acts 2:41-42; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:18)