Affirmations and Denials

Thought it can difficult, it is our desire as a church not to be defined by certain doctrinal or denominational beliefs. We desire to be defined by:
  1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. Our love for God, one another and ALL those around us.
  3. Our desire to live holy, pure and righteous lifestyles that are separate and distinct from the world around us (and in many cases, other professing believers and churches).
While we may embrace certain theological and doctrinal positions, we will not be theologically boxed in. Christ and His gospel message must be at the forefront of who and what we are…Not certain theological or doctrinal boxes.

Boxed In Theology vs. Christ and Gospel Centered Theology
Click the image to enlarge

We affirm and embrace, but don’t emblazon the following:

  1. Sovereign Election and Eternal Security: While many of us believe that the Doctrines of Grace are scriptural, we are not a Reformed or Calvinist church. We embrace these doctrinal truths not because of what some other individuals said...We believe them because God has made it known to us in His Word.
  2. Conversion Baptism: We hold to the very clear teaching of the New Testament and Early Church when it comes to baptism. Though baptism in and of itself does not save, it was most definitely taught and practiced that it was part of the total salvation experience. Baptism ALWAYS came immediately after hearing the Word, being convicted of sin (or cut to the heart) and repentance of sin. It was followed by being permanently indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Baptism never came prior to comprehending and responding to the Gospel message. And neither was there a long duration and additional steps taken (new members class, agreeing to a church covenant, examination period) prior to baptism. So, while we may believe and hold to Conversion Baptism or what some may call "Believers Baptism” we are not a Baptist church. 
  3. Family-Integrated Fellowship: While we are in fellowship with and supportive of other Family-Integrated churches and believe that families should worship together and children should be a part of an inter-generational worship service instead of being sent to “children’s church”…being Family-Integrated is more of how we gather, instead of who we are.
  4. Literal Interpretation of Genesis: We believe God’s Word. God’s Word states that He created the heavens and the earth in six literal days. And He created man is His own image. Meaning God did not create man through some evolutionary process that has taken billions of years.
  5. Gifts of The Spirit: While we may believe that the “Gifts of The Spirit” have not ceased we are not a Charismatic or Pentecostal church. We believe that certain gifts (tongues, prophesy, healing), like the Corinthian church, have been misused, misunderstood and made a mockery of. While they may be (emphasis on may) permissive, they are not normative. And as the Apostle Paul says, those that are maturing and putting on love, will be doing away with “childish” things. See "Tongues And All That."
  6. The Lord's Supper: The Lord's Supper also known as the "Agape/Love Feast" was central to and the primary purpose for Christ's bride to gather on Sunday/The Lord's Day (Acts 20:7). The Lord's Supper is not just a celebration and reminder of what Christ has done on the Cross, it also reminds us and serves as the rehearsal dinner for the coming Wedding Feast and Marriage Supper of the Lamb.   
What The Church Is Opposed To
  1. The church is opposed to: Being spiritually and theologically boxed in, i.e. “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos.” Though it can be difficult sometimes, we desire not to take on theological, philosophical, doctrinal or denominational labels. While individually some may claim and hold to certain theological constructs, as a group we are “not of” Calvin, Arminius, Reformed, Fundamental, Baptist, Covenantal, Pre-millennial, Post-millennial, Amillennial, Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, Post-Trib, Charismatic or Pentecostal. We are of Christ and no other.

“For when one may say, Truly I am of Paul, and another, I of Apollos; are you not fleshly?” -1 Corinthians 3:4

“For no one is able to lay any other foundation beside the One having been laid, who is Jesus Christ.” -1 Corinthians 3:11

“And there is salvation in no other One, for neither is there any other name under Heaven having been given among men by which we must be saved.” –Acts 4:12

“And opening his mouth, Peter said, ‘Truly I see that God is not a respecter of faces, but in every nation the one fearing Him and working righteousness is acceptable to Him”. –Acts 10:34-35

  1. Dividing over non-essentials.
  2. Being critical or judgmental of other genuine Christians who believe differently.
  3. Neglecting to follow through with biblical, loving church discipline when it is needed and/or required by scripture.
  4. Hiding ourselves within a comfortable commune and not going out into the world.
  5. “House-Churches” that neglect the clear teaching of scripture when it comes to biblical eldership, having deacons, spreading the gospel, administering biblical church discipline and more.
  6. The Emergent Church and Hipster Christianity
  7. Health, Wealth and Prosperity teaching...i.e. "Name It and Claim It" teaching. Along with much (not all) of the charismatic and pentecostal movement, this movement and teaching too is demonic. It is as 2 Thessalonians 2 says, a "deception of wickedness" with false "power, signs and false wonders." Those that teach such and those that follow do so because "they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved." So now God has sent a "deluding influence so that they will believe what is false." Woe unto them!
  8. Theistic Evolution
  9. Legalism: There is a lot of confusion about legalism. According to Webster’s legalism is: “strict, literal or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code.”
Many Christians are called legalists when in reality they are not. After all, the Bible does give us very clear commands, principles, precepts and traditions to follow. Someone or some group (ex. Mennonites) who faithfully or what some might say, religiously follows the commandments of Christ is not a legalist…unless he believes that by doing so he will earn salvation or make himself more righteous.

“If, then, you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why are you under its decrees, as living in the world? Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, which things are all for corruption in the using, according to the "injunctions and teachings of men." Which things indeed appear to be a matter of having wisdom in self-imposed worship and humility, and severity in abuse of the body, but are not of any value with regards to gratification of the flesh.” –Colossians 2:20-23  

"As children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves to your former lusts in your ignorance, but according to the Holy One who has called you, you also become holy in all conduct; because it has been written, 'Be holy, because I am holy." 
-1 Peter 1:14-16  

We are not saved by the law or by following any particular set of rules, we are saved by faith. Justified first, Sanctified later. We are not righteous and saved by faith in our deeds, we are saved by our faith in Christ and our righteousness is in Him not us. If we are truly in Christ then that will be demonstrated by our actions and practices. We will seek to avoid worldly appearance and pagan practices. We will be at enmity with the world, not in alignment.

“And this is love, that we should walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, even as you heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.” -2 John 6

We understand that the material or the physical does not affect the spiritual (unless of course it causes someone/another to stumble or pride within ourselves). But the spiritual does and should affect the material or the physical. It is not what goes into the mouth or onto the body that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth or out of the heart, that defiles a man.

We are opposed to the rules of men, but believe we should encourage and exhort one another to follow the New Testament teachings and commandments of Christ. Examples:
  • While we emphatically believe that our dress/clothing (especially for the sisters) should be modest and unworldly, we don’t believe we can define modesty by how long a skirt or dress should be. Those that do, might be considered “legalists.” We don’t legislate whether women should wear pants or not. But if immodest dress becomes a stumbling block and/or appears worldly, we will lovingly encouraged one another to reconsider  our dress. We believe that Godly husbands will protect their wives and daughters by encouraging and ensuring that their appearance and adornment is modest apparel. 
  • While we believe that much of entertainment is contrary to Christ and we will encourage one another to abstain from worldly entertainment, we don’t believe in telling you “thou shall not go to the movie theatre” or “thou shall not watch the television (or play video games).”
For more on "legalism" check out the Scarlet L.