STATEMENT OF FAITH
The leadership of GBC recognizes that any statement of faith is a fallible attempt to summarize and systematize an infallible divine revelation. We recognize that the Bible is the Christian’s only authoritative document. However, the Bible is often distorted and misinterpreted so we believe that it is necessary, not to add to what the Bible teaches, but instead to explain what we believe the Bible means by what it teaches in several important areas. Thus, this statement of faith is essential because it provides an explanation of our understanding of what scripture teaches, and thereby provides the framework in which our curriculum and teaching occurs.
Furthermore, it is acknowledged that there are contained within this statement doctrines which are essential (e.g. the Inerrancy & Infallibility of Scripture, Deity of Christ and the Spirit, Bodily Resurrection, etc.) and doctrines which are distinctives (e.g. spiritual gifts, end times, roles of men & women, etc.). Essentials are those doctrines which are universally held by the redeemed. Distinctives are those doctrines in which there has been latitude within historical Christianity. Being aware that all churches continually face the danger of doctrinal drift, any pastor employed by GBC is required to publicly affirm their personal agreement with this statement of faith including both essentials and distinctives on an annual basis.
Anyone seeking membership must believe in the essentials, and agree with or agree to abide by the distinctives of GBC.
This Gospel of Jesus Christ which God sets forth in the infallible Scriptures combines Jesus’ own declaration of the present reality of the kingdom of God with the apostles’ account of the person, place, and work of Christ, and how sinful humans benefit from it. The Patristic Rule of Faith, the historic creeds, the Reformation confessions, and the doctrinal bases of later evangelical bodies all witness to the substance of this biblical message.
The heart of the Gospel is that our holy, loving Creator, confronted with human hostility and rebellion, has chosen in his own freedom and faithfulness to become our holy, loving Redeemer and Restorer.
The Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world (1 John 4:14): it is through his one and only Son that God’s one and only plan of salvation is implemented.
So Peter announced: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). And Christ himself taught: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
Through the Gospel we learn that we human beings, who were made for fellowship with God, are by nature -- that is, "in Adam" (1 Cor. 15:22) -- dead in sin, unresponsive to and separated from our Maker.
We are constantly twisting his truth, breaking his law, belittling his goals and standards, and offending his holiness by our ungodliness, so that we truly are "without hope and without God in the world" (Rom. 1:18-32, 3:9-20; Eph. 2:1-3, 12). Yet God in grace took the initiative to reconcile us to himself through the sinless life and vicarious death of his beloved Son (Eph. 2:4-10; Rom. 3:21-24).
The Father sent the Son to free us from the dominion of sin and Satan, and to make us God’s children and friends. Jesus paid our penalty in our place on his cross, satisfying the demands of divine justice by shedding his blood in sacrifice and so making possible justification for all who trust in him (Rom. 3:25-26). The Bible describes this mighty substitutionary transaction as the achieving of ransom, reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, and conquest of evil powers (Matt. 20:28; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Rom. 3:23-25; John 12:31; Col. 2:15). It secures for us a restored relationship with God that brings pardon and peace, acceptance and access, and adoption into God’s family (Col. 1:20, 2:13-14; Rom. 5:1-2; Gal. 4:4-7; 1 Pet. 3:18). The faith in God and in Christ to which the Gospel calls us is a trustful outgoing of our hearts to lay hold of these promised and freely offered benefits.
This Gospel further proclaims the bodily resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus as evidence of the worth of his once-for-all sacrifice for us, of the reality of his present personal ministry to us, and of the certainty of his future return to glorify us (1 Cor. 15; Heb. 1:1-4, 2:1-18, 4:14-16, 7:1-10:25). In the life of faith as the Gospel presents it, believers are united with their risen Lord, communing with him, and looking to him in repentance and hope for empowering through the Holy Spirit, so that henceforth they may not sin but serve him truly. God’s justification of those who trust him, according to the Gospel, is a decisive transition, here and now, from a state of condemnation and wrath because of their sins to one of acceptance and favour by virtue of Jesus’ flawless obedience culminating in his voluntary sin-bearing death.
God “justifies the wicked” (ungodly: Rom. 4:5) by imputing (reckoning, crediting, counting, accounting) righteousness to them and ceasing to count their sins against them (Rom. 4:1-8). Sinners receive through faith in Christ alone “the gift of righteousness” (Rom. 1:17, 5:17; Phil. 3:9) and thus become “the righteousness of God” in him who was “made sin” for them (2 Cor. 5:21).
As our sins were reckoned to Christ, so Christ’s righteousness is reckoned to us. This is justification by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. All we bring to the transaction is our need of it. Our faith in the God who bestows it, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is itself the fruit of God’s grace. Faith links us savingly to Jesus, but inasmuch as it involves an acknowledgment that we have no merit of our own, it is confessedly not a meritorious work.
The Gospel assures us that all who have entrusted their lives to Jesus Christ are born-again children of God (John 1:12), indwelt, empowered, and assured of their status and hope by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 7:6, 8:9-17). The moment we truly believe in Christ, the Father declares us righteous in him and begins conforming us to his likeness. Genuine faith acknowledges and depends upon Jesus as Lord and shows itself in growing obedience to the divine commands, though this contributes nothing to the ground of our justification (James 2:14-26; Heb. 6:1-12).
By his sanctifying grace, Christ works within us through faith, renewing our fallen nature and leading us to real maturity, that measure of development which is meant by "the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). The Gospel calls us to live as obedient servants of Christ and as his emissaries in the world, doing justice, loving mercy, and helping all in need, thus seeking to bear witness to the kingdom of Christ. At death, Christ takes the believer to himself (Phil. 1:21) for unimaginable joy in the ceaseless worship of God (Rev. 22:1-5).
Salvation in its full sense is from the guilt of sin in the past, the power of sin in the present, and the presence of sin in the future. Thus, while in foretaste believers enjoy salvation now, they still await its fullness (Mark 14:61-62; Heb. 9:28). Salvation is a Trinitarian reality, initiated by the Father, implemented by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit. It has a global dimension, for God’s plan is to save believers out of every tribe and tongue (Rev. 5:9) to be his church, a new humanity, the people of God, the body and bride of Christ, and the community of the Holy Spirit. All the heirs of final salvation are called here and now to serve their Lord and each other in love, to share in the fellowship of Jesus’ sufferings, and to work together to make Christ known to the whole world.
We learn from the Gospel that, as all have sinned, so all who do not receive Christ will be judged according to their just deserts as measured by God’s holy law, and face eternal retributive punishment.
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (the sixty-six canonical books) to be the verbally inspired Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and God-breathed. God has divinely preserved the Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew texts so as to make His will explicitly known and obeyed.
This conviction requires a literal, historical and grammatical interpretation to the totality of scripture. (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12-13).
We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and each having the same attributes and perfections (Deuteronomy 6:4; II Corinthians 13:14).
We affirm an historical and traditional view of the living God who possess an exhaustive foreknowledge of all things potential, as well as all things actual, and that there is nothing God does not know, past, present, or future (Job 37:16; Psalm 139:4, 16; Isaiah 40:12-14, 42:9, 46:10; Matthew 11:21-23; Luke 10:12-13).
We believe that God the Father is the eternally self-existent One. He is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1; Ephesians 3:9; Revelation 4:11) and the absolute sovereign and omnipotent ruler of all creation (Psalm 103:19).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, having existed eternally, became man without ceasing to be God in an indivisible oneness, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God, redeem sinful man, and rule over God’s kingdom (John 1:1-2; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 9:6-7).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for all mankind as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and that the sufficiency of this atoning sacrifice to accomplish the redemption and justification of all who trust in Him, is assured by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24-25, 4:25; Ephesians 1:7; I Timothy 4:10; Hebrews 2:9; I Peter 1:3-5, 2:24; II Peter 2:1).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Hebrews 9:24, 7:25; Romans 8:34; I John 2:1-2).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only mediator between men and God (1 Timothy 2:5) and that He alone is the Head of His body, the church (Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:15, 5:23; Colossians 1:18).
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Person Who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ at the moment of conversion, indwelling and sealing them unto the Day of Redemption (John 16:8-11; II Corinthians 3:6; I Corinthians 12:12-14; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13-14).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher Who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they wrote God’s revelation, the Bible (2 Peter 1:19-21), and that He continues to guide believers in all truth as they read and understand His written revelation. Further, we believe that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (John 16:13; I John 2:20, 27; Ephesians 5:18).
We believe that the Holy Spirit does not glorify Himself by ostentatious displays but instead glorifies Jesus Christ by affecting His purpose of redeeming and transforming people into His image (John 16:14; Acts 1:8).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all spiritual gifts, and that all abiding gifts are sufficient for the perfecting of the saints today. We also believe that the miraculous gifts were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers. We believe that it is important to distinguish between God giving miraculous gifts and God’s ability to perform miracles as He sovereignly determines.
Thus we believe that God can and does still perform miracles as determined by His sovereign will. (I Corinthians 12:4-11; II Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:3-4; John 15:7; I John 5:14-15; James 5:15).
We believe that man was directly and immediately created in the image and likeness of God, but that the transgression of Adam resulted in the condemnation of all men. All men are thus born spiritually dead and under the penalty of physical death. As a result of transgression all men are born with an inherited sinful nature, and are alienated from God.
We believe that man is totally depraved and utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 3:22-23, 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3, 12).
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 2:8-10, 1:7; John 1:12; I Peter 1:18-19).
We believe that before the foundation of the world God freely and graciously chose those individuals whom He would save. He did this based upon His own sovereign choice and not based upon any foresight or anticipation of an individual’s decision. The grace of God encompasses the gift of salvation and the means of receiving the gift. All and only those whom the Father draws will come in faith, and all and only those who come in faith will be received by the Father (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4, 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:1-2; John 6:37, 40, 44; Acts 13:48).
We believe that God’s sovereign choice does not contradict or negate man’s responsibility for his actions in any way. Man is completely responsible for his decisions and should be honestly called upon to repent and trust Christ as Saviour and Lord (John 3:18-19, 36, 5:40; Acts 2:38-39; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Psalm 62:12; Romans 2:5-6; Revelation 20:13). Therefore, we shall continue to proclaim the Gospel and call upon all to repent of sin and trust Christ as Saviour and Lord.
We believe that justification is an act of God whereby He legally declares righteous those who have faith in Christ alone. This righteousness is completely independent of any virtue, merit, or good work of man, but is based upon faith alone.
Justification involves both an imputation of the believer’s sin to Christ and the imputation of God’s righteousness to the believer. In this way Paul can say that God is both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:20; 4:6; 8:33, 10:9-10; Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:26).
THE PRESERVATION AND ASSURANCE OF BELIEVERS
We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37-30, 10:27-30; Romans 8:1, 38-39; I Corinthians 1:4-8; I Peter 1:5).
We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word; and that it is the responsibility of believers not to use their Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. Such "liberty" is clearly forbidden in Scripture (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
We believe that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict-the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh-but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. This conflict terminates only when the saint is translated for this mortal life to the presence of Christ (Galatians 5:16 25; Ephesians 4:22 24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9 10; 1 Peter 1:14 16; 1 John 3:5 9).
We believe that out of a deep gratitude for the completely undeserved grace of God and because God is worthy of total dedication, all the saved should live in such a manner as to bring glory and not reproach upon their Saviour and Lord; and that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations is commanded of God (II Timothy 3:1-5; Romans 12:1-2, 14:13; I John 2:15-17; II John vv. 9-11; II Corinthians 6:14-7:11).
We support the principle that marriage involves the public commitment of one man and one woman to live as husband and wife as provided in the Bible, and that no other state of relationship of a conjugal nature is acceptable as good Christian practice.
In keeping with Christian Biblical teachings, members of GBC and employees of GCS are to refrain from any sexual act outside of marriage between a man and a woman including pre-marital, extra-marital, homosexual sex, etc.
Activities that promotes lust or degrades the human body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, such as viewing and possessing pornographic materials, is also inconsistent with Christian living. (Genesis 2:24, 19:5-13; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:9; 1Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4).
We believe that it is the joyful obligation and privilege of all the saved to witness, by life and by word, the truths of Holy Scripture, seeking to proclaim the Gospel to all mankind and to baptize and to teach all converts through the local church. If sound local churches are not present, then every effort must be taken to establish a church for the purpose of propagating the Gospel, baptizing future converts and instructing the saints (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20; II Corinthians 5:19-20).
We believe that the Church, which is the Body and the espoused Bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons of this present age (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:25-27; I Corinthians 12:12-14; II Corinthians 11:2).
We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; I Timothy 3:1-3; Titus 1:5-11).
We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Romans 16:1-4; I Corinthians 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; I Peter 5:1-4).
We believe that Jesus Christ is the head of the church and He mediates His rule through the Word of God by the plurality of elders who govern the church. The elders within a local church are assisted by the deacons (Ephesians 1:22-23; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Act 6:1-6).
We believe that women and men are created equal in the sight of God, equal image bearers, equally sinful, equally redeemable, equal in Christ, equally morally responsible to God. However, created differences do exist within God’s program. This applies in both the natural realm, such as the family, and in the supernatural realm, such as the church.
Within the local church, women are forbidden by the head of the church to teach or exercise authority over men, this includes serving as pastors/elders; but are charged with teaching other women (Genesis 1:26; Galatians 3:28; I Timothy 2:9-12; Titus 2:3-5).
We believe in the ordinances of believer's water Baptism and the Lord's Supper as scriptural means of testimony for the Church Age (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 18:8; I Corinthians 11:23-26).
While we recognize that baptism has no saving merit, it is our belief that after one is saved, the first step of obedience is the public declaration of oneself to belong to Jesus. It is the step of identification with the death burial and resurrection of Christ.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe the observance of the Lord’s Supper to be the privilege of all born-again believers, and by the sacred use of bread and the fruit of the vine we are to commemorate the death of Christ. It is a spiritual exercise of His saints to be observed “till He come” and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination and confession of any known sin.
THE PERSONALITY OF SATAN
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the original fall, that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire (Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:2-11, 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
THE SECOND ADVENT OF CHRIST
We believe in the personal, imminent, and premillennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones and in His subsequent return to earth with His saints to establish His Millennial Kingdom (I Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1:10, 5:9; Zechariah 14:4-11; Revelation 19:11-16, 20:1-6, 3:10).
DEATH, RESURRECTION AND THE ETERNAL STATE
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men: the saved to Eternal Life and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:5-6, 12-13).
We believe that at death, the souls of the redeemed are absent from the body and present with the Lord where in conscious bliss, they await the resurrection of the Church to be glorified forever with the Lord (Luke 23:43; II Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23, 3:21; I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
We believe that after death, the souls of unbelievers remain in conscious misery until the Second Resurrection when they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting, conscious punishment (Luke 16:19-26; Matthew 25:41-46; II Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 20:11-15).
 The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration (1999) - The Committee On Evangelical Unity In The Gospel, P.O. Box 5551, Glendale Heights, IL 60139-5551.
 The recognized translations for public / pulpit ministry at Grace Baptist shall be those that follow a ‘formal-equivalency’ or ‘word-for-word’ translation philosophy, (e.g. ESV, KJV, NASB & NKJV). Illustrative quotes from other translations may also be used.
 By immersion.