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|What We Believe|
Grace Bible Fellowship Church seeks to be a church governed by the Bible, the Word of God. In its beliefs concerning salvation, it is reformed or Calvinistic. In its government, it is Presbyterian (governed by elders and deacons). In its view of the church, it is baptistic, baptizing believers only. In its view of the end of history, believing in the premillenial return of Christ.
Grace Church is a congregation in the Bible Fellowship Church, a small denomination in the middle Atlantic states. Our full doctrinal statement is found in the Articles of Faith, which are included below:
Article 1 - The Holy Scriptures
1-1. The Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired, infallible Word of God, a divine revelation, the original writings of which were verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit. They are the supreme and final authority of faith and conduct.
1-2. Inspiration is a special act of the Holy Spirit by which He guided the writers of the Scriptures so that their words would convey the thoughts He wished conveyed, would bear a proper relationship to the thoughts of the other inspired books, and would be kept free from error of fact, doctrine, and judgment.
1-3. The Holy Scriptures, the written Word of God, are composed of all books of the Old Testament and New Testament, namely:
Article 2 - The Trinity
2-1. There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, the same in substance, eternally equal in power and glory.
Article 3 - God The Father
3-1. There is but one living and true God, immanent, transcendent, infinite in being and perfection, pure spirit, invisible, immutable, eternal, almighty, all wise, most holy, most free, most loving, most gracious, most merciful, longsuffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin, the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, and withal most just and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin. He will by no means clear the guilty.
Article 4 - God The Son
4-1. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Word, the eternal and true God who is of one substance and equal with the Father. He took on Himself man's nature, with all of its essential properties except sin: Being conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, He embodied two perfect and distinct natures in one person. He is truly God and truly man, the only mediator between God and man.
4-2. The Lord Jesus Christ is the revelation of God to man. In the days of His humiliation He lived a sinless life, performed miracles, taught the will of God, was crucified, and died. He was buried and arose bodily from the dead on the third day. The Lord Jesus offered Himself a sacrifice for sins, satisfied the justice of the Father, propitiated the wrath of God, reconciled God and man, and obtained an eternal inheritance.
4-3. The Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, from whence He had come, and was exalted, taking His place at the right hand of the Father, where He makes intercession on behalf of all who come to God through Him.
Article 5 - God the Holy Spirit
5-1. The eternal Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of the same substance and equal in power and glory with the Father and the Son. By Him the prophets were moved to speak the Word of God, and all writers of the Holy Scriptures were inspired to record infallibly the mind and will of God. He is the only efficient agent in the application of redemption. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, moves them to repentance, and regenerates them by His grace, enabling them to embrace Jesus Christ by faith.
5-2. The Holy Spirit indwells all true believers, baptizing them into one body, of which Christ is the head. He, the divine Comforter, Intercessor, and Advocate, empowers the believer for service.
Article 6 - Creation
6-1. The triune God, according to His sovereign will, created out of nothing and out of things that He had made, by immediate and mediate action, the worlds and all that is in them. He is the Governor and Upholder of the creation by His wisdom and by the word of His mighty power.
Article 7 - Satan
7-1. Satan is a created angelic being who fell from his first estate. He is the god of this age, ruling by the permissive will of God. He exercises authority over the unsaved, tempts the believer to sin, and continually accuses the brethren before the throne of God.
7-2. He has been defeated by the finished work of Christ on Calvary. During the millennium he will be confined to the abyss, to be released at the end of that period to lead the armies of evil against God. He will be finally judged and doomed to the lake of fire.
Article 8 - Man
8-1. God, by a special, instantaneous act, created man in His image -- holy, righteous, and possessing true knowledge -- by forming him out of the dust of the earth and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. Thus man became a living soul.
8-2. Our first parents did not remain in the glorious and happy state of their original creation, but, through the subtlety and deception of the devil, they disobeyed and transgressed the command of God the creator, incurring on themselves and their posterity the sentence of spiritual and physical death. The guilt and consequences of Adam's sin are imputed to the whole human race, so that all men are guilty, inherently corrupt, totally depraved, and subjects of the wrath of God.
Article 9 - Sin
9-1. Sin is any lack of conformity to the will of God or any transgression of the law of God. Sin separates man from God, incurring His wrath and judgment, and it is manifest in the selfishness, rebellion, and total depravity of man's conduct and behavior before God and man. Sin is the cause of the curse on and defilement of the created universe.
Article 10 - Human Ability and Responsibility
10-1. In his original creation man was endowed with the ability to will and do good or evil and was accountable for his willing and doing. But by the fall of Adam man lost his ability, apart from God's grace, to will and to do those things necessary for a right relationship with God; however, he is still accountable to God for obedience to all of His commands. Man has not lost his ability to make decisions, but left to himself, he acts only in accordance with his fallen, sinful nature.
10-2. Only by God's infinite grace can man will or do anything necessary to his salvation. By that grace, God saves men whom He causes to will and to do good; however, He does this without nullifying man's ability to act responsibly.
Article 11 - Election
11-1. Election is a free act of the sovereign God in which from eternity, for reasons known only to Himself, and apart from any goodness in man He graciously chose from among the fallen mankind a people unto salvation, that they might be conformed to Christ's image. Those so chosen He redeemed by His Son and seals by His Spirit.
Article 12 - Salvation
12-1. Salvation is offered in the gospel to all men and is received by grace through faith and the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, apart from works or human merit. Salvation centers in a person, Jesus Christ, and receiving Him includes the remission of sins on the grounds of His shed blood, the imputation of His perfect righteousness, the reception of the Holy Spirit, and the impartation of eternal life.
Article 13 - Repentance
13-1. Repentance unto life is a voluntary act of man, accomplished by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. Repentance consists in a knowledge of sin, a sense of guilt and corruption that results in the confession and forsaking of sin and a turning to God.
Article 14 - Regeneration
14-1. Regeneration, or the New Birth, is an instantaneous creative act of God through the agency of the Holy Spirit, whereby divine life is imparted to those dead in sin, making them members of the family of God.
Article 15 - Justification
15-1. Justification is the act of God's grace whereby the sinner is declared righteous solely through faith in the redemptive work of Christ. By this action the righteousness of Christ is imputed, sin is pardoned, and the sinner is restored to divine favor.
Article 16 - Sanctification
16-1. Sanctification is a progressive work of the Holy Spirit in the believer that purifies the life and conforms the whole man to the image of Christ as the Word of God is believed and obeyed. It begins at regeneration, continues throughout the believer's life on earth, and reaches its completion at the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Article 17 - Perseverance of the Saints
17-1. Salvation is the work of God, from its commencement to its consummation. Those regenerated by the Word of God through the work of the Holy Spirit become partakers of the divine nature. They are preserved by the power of God so that they shall never totally or finally fall away, but shall persevere unto the end.
Article 18 - The Church
18-1. The Church is the body of which Christ is the head. All those redeemed by His blood and born of His Spirit are members of that body and are in mystical union and communion with Christ and fellow believers. The Church is universal and local, visible and invisible. The visible Church consists of all those professing faith in Christ. The invisible Church is composed of all those born of the Spirit.
18-2. The purpose of the Church is to worship God, to edify the saints and to evangelize the world.
18-3. The Head of the Church administers the affairs of His body through overseers chosen by Himself and selected by the people.
18-4. A properly constituted local Church must include the ministry of God's Word, the observance of the ordinances, the oversight by officers, and the exercise of discipline. The overseers of the Church are to be prayed for, obeyed, and honored.
Article 19 - The Evangelistic Mission of the Church
19-1. The Church has been commissioned by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel to all nations. Each Particular Church and every believer bear responsibility for this commission.
19-2. God has clearly revealed in the Gospel the only way of salvation sufficient for and applicable to the whole lost race of mankind. Based on His infinite and perfect love and His expressed desire that all men be saved, He bids that the Church - with urgency, compassion, and persuasion - proclaim the gospel to all people and invite them to believe.
19-3. It is the duty and privilege of everyone who hears the gospel to repent and receive its merciful provisions. Those who do are saved, and those who continue in impenitence and unbelief incur aggravated guilt and perish by their own fault.
Article 20 - Ordinances
20-1. Baptism. Water baptism, the immersion of the believer, is a visible testimony to the work of regeneration and a mark of identification and union with Christ. It has no saving or cleansing power, but it is the answer of a good conscience before God; hence, it should be administered only to those who have, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, realized the forgiveness of sins and possess the assurance of acceptance with God.
20-2. The Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of the New Testament, in which, by the giving and receiving of bread and wine, according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, His death is proclaimed. Those who worthily partake in this remembrance of Him feed upon Him to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace, have their union and communion with Him confirmed, and testify and renew their thankfulness and commitment to God and their mutual love and fellowship each with the other as members of the same mystical body.
The Scriptures direct that each one spiritually examine himself before partaking of the bread and the cup "until He come."
Article 21 - The Lord's Day
21-1. The first day of the week has been recognized by the Church as the Lord's Day since apostolic times. We believe, therefore, that it ought to be observed by all believers, voluntarily and in love, as a continuation of the sabbath principle, a day of remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord from the dead and a day of worship of God, rest from physical toil, service for the Master, and fellowship of the saints. Christians should engage only in duties of necessity and mercy on the Lord's Day.
Article 22 - Divine Healing
22-1. It is the believer's privilege to seek the will of the Lord in matters of physical healing. This healing, whether by natural, medical, or supernatural means, must come from the omnipotent God who created the human body. The believer may implore the Lord for physical restoration according to the Scriptures, and if the healing is for the highest glory of God, His power will be displayed.
Article 23 - Civil Government
23-1. God ordained and instituted civil government for the welfare of society, to promote and to protect the good and restrain and punish the evil. It is the duty of Christians to pray for those in authority, to render due loyalty, respect, and obedience to them, and to pay taxes and customs demanded of them. Where demands of civil law militate against the supreme and higher law of God, Christians should obey God rather than man.
Article 24 - Resurrection
24-1. The bodily resurrection of Christ is the basis for the resurrection of man. At the return of the Lord the bodies of the righteous dead will be raised, and the living believers will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. Believers will, at the resurrection, receive spiritual and immortal bodies like Christ's own glorious body.
24-2. The event of the resurrection is divided into two stages, separated by a period of a thousand years and differing in respect to both their subjects and their issues. The first resurrection includes only the righteous dead. The second resurrection is universal and occurs at the close of the millennium when all the unregenerate dead are raised to be brought before the great White Throne for judgment.
Article 25 - The Second Coming of Christ
25-1. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the personal visible, bodily return of our Lord to this earth to conform believers to His image and to establish the millennial kingdom. In connection with Christ's return there will be the resurrection of the righteous dead, the rapture of the saints, the salvation of Israel, the great tribulation, and the inauguration of the millennial reign. Following the millennium will be the resurrection and judgment of the unrighteous. The righteous will be eternally glorified with Him; the unrighteous will be eternally punished.
25-2. The Second Coming is the believer's source of encouragement and comfort inspiring him to active service for Christ, and is a motive for purification and holy living.
Article 26 - The Judgments
26-1. The Scriptures enumerate several judgments that differ in time, place, subjects, and results. All judgment has been entrusted to the Son by the Father.
26-2. Through the death of Christ on the cross, the believer's sins have been judged, and he has passed from death unto life. In no case do the redeemed come again into judgment concerning their eternal destiny. Each saint, however, will be required to give an account before the judgment seat of Christ regarding his works and conduct.
26-3. The unregenerate will be judged, condemned, and banished to eternal damnation in the lake of fire.
Article 27 - The Millennium
27-1. The Millennium is that aspect of the Kingdom of God that will be ushered in when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the Earth to rule in righteousness. The unfulfilled Messianic prophecies will then be completed. During this period, Satan will be bound and his deceitful activities thus restricted. The created universe will undergo a transformation, with universal prosperity and peace prevailing on earth. The saints will reign with Christ, and the earth will be full of the knowledge and glory of the Lord.
Article 28 - The Eternal State
28-1. There are two final, eternal destinies for man: heaven for the righteous and penitent, and hell for the unrighteous and impenitent. At the great white throne judgment, all of the enemies of God will be consigned to the place of eternal conscious punishment, from which there is no escape. The new heavens and the new earth shall be created as the final state in which the righteous shall dwell forever in the presence of God.