Teaching Positions

 

"Teaching Positions" is a summary statement of convictions and perspectives that characterize the public teaching and preaching at GTCC. These are provided as open disclosures of where we’re coming from. All churches have a theological framework with which they align themselves. In some churches it takes you a while to find out what they really believe in a number of areas - we think it's best to be transparent and specific about many of the important things we hold to be true. 

Historic Creeds: GTCC adheres to the early ecumenical creeds of the historic Christian church: The Apostles Creed, The Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. We are also in substantial agreement with the historic reformed confessions as represented by the 1646 and 1689 Baptist Confessions and the 1619 Canon’s of Dordt. All creeds of men stand in need of perpetual revision and are never the final appeal on any doctrine or belief. The Scriptures alone are inerrant and infallible, our sole base of authority for faith and practice. (Ps. 19:160; Jn. 10:35; Eph. 4:11-14; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Jude 3)

The Gospel: We are first and foremost Christians, and warmly embrace all true followers of Christ regardless of how much we might differ on secondary matters. We are unashamedly Evangelicals affirming the trumpet note of the Reformation, justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Our focus devotionally and theologically is on the person and work of Jesus Christ, especially His culminating work of substitutionary death on the cross. To be Gospel-centered is to be Christ-centered; to be Christ-centered is to be Cross-centered. To be cross-centered is to call all people everywhere to repent of their sins and to turn in sole reliance and trust to Jesus Christ as their only hope for salvation. We trust in Christ's life, death and resurrection for our righteousness and the forgiveness of our sins.  The gospel is not simply the ‘starting point’ of Christianity; it is the heart and soul, the beginning and the end, the apex and the permeating center. Having begun by faith, we walk by faith, bearing fruit in keeping with ongoing repentance and a life of faith working through love. (Mark 1:1, 15; Luke 24:27; Jn. 5:39-40; Acts 4:2; 17:30; 26:20; Rom. 1:16-17 1 Cor. 1:23; 2:2; 3:11; 15:1-5; 16:22; 2 Cor. 4:3-5; Gal. 1:8-9; 2:5, 14; 5:22; Phil. 1:21, 2:9-11, 3:8-10, 13-14)

The Doctrines of Grace: We would identify with mainstream historical reformed theology. We believe that man is born pervasively depraved, enslaved to sin and under the wrath of God. We believe in the distinguishing, sovereign grace of God and that the substitutionary death of Christ has both universal and particular designs. We believe that God loves all sinners and desires all without exception to be saved. We also believe in His invincible grace that secures the salvation of all those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Those saved by grace through faith will persevere in faith till death, by the empowering grace of God. (Ps. 51:5, 58:3; John 10:11, 26-30, 17:9-10; Acts 13:48, 16:14; Rom. 3:10-18, 8:6-8, 28-30; 9:6-23; 1 Cor. 2:14; Gal. 1:13-17; Eph. 1:3-11; 1 Tim. 4:10; 1 John 2:2, 5:19; 2 Pet. 1:10)

The Ordinances: We believe that Baptism is best practiced as immersion of believers in Jesus Christ and yet we view this as a secondary doctrine and would gladly allow paedobaptists to join this church without requiring another baptism. We also welcome all to the Lord’s Table who have a credible testimony of faith in Christ whether they’ve been baptized as a believer or whether they’ve been baptized at all. The Lord’s Table is for all those who are His people. We would encourage all who profess Christ and partake of Communion to pursue Christian baptism at their earliest convenience. (Jn. 3:23; Acts 2:42, 46; 8:38-39; 1 Cor. 1:17, 11:17-22, 29; 1 Pet. 3:21)

Religious Liberty: We believe that God has freed our consciences from the arbitrary and selective rules and traditions of men which are contrary to and in addition to the word of God. We believe that no person is Lord of another person’s conscience, and that the free exercise of religious liberty ought to be the moral norm of earthly nations. Furthermore, all human authority is limited; God alone and the clear precepts of His word are to govern all aspects of the lives of all people. We also believe that the Scriptures clearly teach submission to lawful and ordained authorities; civil governments are instituted by God and it is the duty of Christians to render obedience to those laws not contrary to the revealed will of God. (Matt. 15:8-9; 17:24-27; 22:15-22; Acts 4:18-20; Rom. 13:1-7; Gal. 3:3, 4:9; Col. 2:20-23)

Worship: We believe that worship is ultimately not about us, but about the triune God. We seek to worship Him sincerely and Scripturally, with gravity and gladness. We want the word of God to be paramount in every aspect of our worship, which means we’re committed to substantive, theologically accurate songs and clear, expositional preaching. We seek to offer what he clearly commands, refuse what He clearly forbids and use wisdom and prudence for everything else. Our worship style is inevitably limited and shaped by our cultural context; our heart is to mix things new and old with a contemporary variety that is suitable to the tastes and participation of the gathered worshippers. We seek to employ the gifts of the body as they are developed and competent for edification. We hope to maintain the tensions of concurrent expressions of brokenness and joy, simplicity and profundity, ministering to both the head and the heart. (Ps. 66:16, 115:1; Isa. 57:15, 66:2; Matt. 15:8-9, 26:30; Mark 11:17; John 4:21-24; Eph. 5:18-19; Col. 3:16; 1 Thess. 5;16-18; 2 Tim. 3:15-17, 4:1-4; Rev. 5:1-14)

Roles of Men and Women: Grace and Truth Community Church adopts the Danvers Statement as its official policy regarding the role of men and women in the church and home. (Attached at the end of our bylaws)

Servant Leadership: (Mark 10:42-44; 1 Pet. 5:2-3) Jesus came “as one who serves,” and explicitly taught His disciples that their leadership was to be characterized by servanthood as well - servants first of God, then of people. Humility, self-sacrifice, and exemplariness combined with faithful, bold leadership is the model of Scripture. No man is an island or a Pope; leaders need to be accountable to others and the NT reveals a pattern of parity and plurality of those in authority in the local church. There is still distinction of gift, function and role, and Scripture evidences the principle of a ‘first among equals,’ but all shepherds are undershepherds; Christ alone is Head of His church. Our leaders are not lords, our pastors and deacons are also brothers and fellow sinners. We value leaders who are transparent, teachers who are teachable and pastors committed to modest lifestyles and a team approach to ministry. We believe that only men should occupy the office of Elder, but that men and women may occupy the office of deacon. (Matt. 20:25-26, 23:8-12; Luke 22:27; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:22, 5:23; Phil. 1:1, 2:7-9; 1 Pet. 5:3-5; Heb. 13:17, 20)

Divorce and Remarriage: Marriage is ordained and instituted by God Himself, and was established “in the beginning” to be a permanent one-flesh union between a man and a woman, and is to be held in honor by all people. Marriage is designed ultimately to represents as an earthly picture the heavenly relationship between Christ and His Church. Divorce is always occasioned by sin, but it is not necessarily so that all who are divorced have sinned. Divorce and/or Remarriage after divorce are not unforgivable sins. The only unforgivable sin is the sin that we refuse to confess and forsake. It is important to point out that the God who “hates divorce,” “sent away faithless Israel with a decree of divorce.” (Jer. 3:8; Isa. 50:1) The mercy and grace of Christ is available to all people, including those who have been divorced without biblical grounds. God hates all sin; and in Christ all sins may be forgiven. A believer is only to marry another believer. (Gen. 2:18-25; Mal 2:14; Matt. 5:27-32; 19:1-9; Eph. 5:32; Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 7:9, 15, 36, 39; 9:5; 2 Cor. 6:14-15; 1 John 1:9)

Revelatory and Sign Gifts: We would distinguish between revelation, inspiration and illumination. Revelation is the direct communication that God revealed to prophets, apostles and select others at various times through the Old and New Testament eras. Inspiration is also that past work of the Spirit in a select, small group of people whereby the Holy Spirit superintended their writing of the books of Scripture. Illumination is the ongoing work of the Spirit enabling individuals to understand and apply the word of God. Revelation and inspiration ceased with the completion of the New Testament. We believe that God is able to do anything He chooses to; that He answers prayer, heals diseases and sicknesses when it suits His glory and purposes and that miracles, though intrinsically uncommon, still take place. We do not believe that apostolic-like gifts of widespread healing and miracles, signs and wonders still take place after the first century. (Ps. 115:3, 135:6; Mark 16:12-18; Acts 5:12-16; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 3:20; Heb. 1:1-3; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Jam. 5:15)

The Kingdom of God and Social Responsibility: We believe that the sons and daughters of the kingdom of Christ are the salt and light of the world and that good works indispensably evidence the work of grace in their souls. As God loves the world, so we are to love our neighbor as instinctively and practically as we love ourselves, doing good even to those who are our enemies. We have entered into the present expression of the kingdom of God, and though we are not of this world, yet we are in this world, and as we have opportunity we ought to seek the welfare and benefit of the communities in which we live. We must always have first, the aid of fellow believers and secondly, the spiritual good of others as our priorities. If we have no heart for the physical and temporal needs of those we’re able to help, then, according to Scripture, how does the love of God dwell in us? As we have opportunity, we seek to do good to all people; but the gospel and the care of brothers and sisters in the Lord rank first among our social obligations and responsibilities as a local church. (Isa. 58:8; Jer. 29:7; Matt. 5:13-16; John. 18:36; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 2:8-9; Col. 1:13; 1 Thess. 3:12; Tit. 2:8, 3:8; Jam. 1:27-2:13; 1 John 3:16-18)