What Do We Believe?

 Statement of Faith

Grace Evangelical Church affirms the doctrinal position of the Evangelical Free Church of America as in the EFCA Statement of Faith. We also agree with the Evangelical Free Church of America’s Distinctives.

A. ARTICLES:

1.) THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
We believe the Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life. (Psalms 19:7-8; Romans 1:2; 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:21-25;
2 Peter 1:20-21)

2.) THE GODHEAD
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, identical in nature, equal in power and glory and having the same attributes. For God the Father so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, and whoever believes in His Son Jesus should not perish but have everlasting life. (Deuteronomy 6:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14, Isaiah 48:12-16; John 3:16, 14:26-28, 17:1-3; 1 John 3:1)

3.) THE PERSON AND WORK OF JESUS CHRIST
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is true God and true man having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God more fully, redeem mankind and reconcile us back to God. He, who knew no sin, died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures, that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into Heaven; where now He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High, God the Father, He is now our High Priest, Intercessor and Advocate. (Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14, 18; Romans 3:24-26; 4:25; 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 7:25; 9:24;
1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 John 2:1-2)

4.) THE PERSONALITY AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and during this age to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, indwell, guide, instruct, and empower the believer for godly living and service. That at the moment of salvation, through faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit baptizes and permanently seals true believers into the Body of Christ until the day of redemption. We further believe that the Holy Spirit distributes to each true believer spiritual gifts for the purpose of serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (John 16:7-15; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 1:13-14; 5:18; 1 Peter 4:10)

5.) THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN
We believe that man was created in the image of God, according to God’s likeness, but fell into sin, inherited a sinful nature, is alienated from God, lost and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained. (Genesis 1:26-27; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-23, 5:12-14)

6.) SALVATION
We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and thus become children of God. Salvation is a gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 1:7, 13; 2:8-10; Titus 3:5-6)

7.) CHURCH ORDINANCES
We believe that water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances to be observed by the church during this present age. It is the duty of every believer, and an act of obedience to observe the ordinances that were established by Christ. Water baptism by immersion portrays the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit and this act of obedience identifies the believer with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus our savior. Believers participating in the Lord’s Supper do so in remembrance of Jesus and proclaim the Lord’s sacrificial death until He returns for His Church. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation. (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 22: 19-20; 24:25-35; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:23-30; 12:12-14)

8.) THE CHURCH
We believe that the true church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the Body of Christ of which He is the Head. This includes Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus from the Feast of Pentecost described in Acts 2 until the Rapture of the Church. Entrance into the Body of Christ is by Spirit Baptism, a ministry of the Holy Spirit occurring at the moment of salvation. The church shall be the bride of Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:9-17; 12:12-14; Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:25-27; Colossians 1:18-19; Titus 3:5)

9.) THE RESPONSIBILITY OF BELIEVERS / MEMBERSHIP
We believe that only those who are, thus, members of the Church shall be eligible for membership in the local church. We further believe that all Christians are instructed by the Holy Scriptures to assemble together to stimulate one another to love and good deeds; to be taught by Scriptures by Spiritually gifted teachers; and to worship God in spirit and in truth through prayer, praise, participation in church ordinances and stewardship. Additionally, believers are called to holy living in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and to use their spiritual gifts for the purpose of serving one another and building up the local Body of Christ. Every believer is to witness by life and proclamation to the world. (Matthew 22:37-39; 28:19-20; John 4:24; Acts 1:8; Romans 12:1-2; 14:13; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 7:1; Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Peter 4:10)

10.) LOCAL CHURCH AUTHORITY
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the church and that every local church has the right, under Christ, to decide and govern its own affairs. (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 3:1-3; Titus 1:5; Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:1-5)

11.) THE BLESSED HOPE / SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
We believe in the personal, premillennial and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and that this “Blessed Hope” has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer. Furthermore, we believe that the Lord Jesus will receive to Himself the dead in Christ and the believers who are alive at His coming, otherwise known as the Rapture of the Church. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will, in glorified resurrection body, return to establish His Millennial kingdom, which will climax the fulfillment of Israel’s seventieth week called the Tribulation. (1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Titus 2:11-15; Revelation 6:1-20:6)

12.) THE ETERNAL STATE
We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord, of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment. The soul and spirit of true believers will at death pass into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the body at His coming when soul, spirit and body will be reunited and associated with Him forever in glory. The souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery until the final judgment of the great white throne at the close of the millennium, after which they will endure everlasting punishment away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21-23; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 7-9; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-22:5)

13.) THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
We believe that all true, genuine believers are kept secure forever. (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:1, 38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 5:11-13)

14.) THE PERSONALITY OF SATAN
We believe in the personality of Satan, who is the open and declared enemy of God and man. Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light to deceive and he can also appear like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Therefore, the believer is instructed to be aware of his schemes and resist him through daily faith in Jesus. (Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Matthew 4:2-11; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 Peter 5:8-9)

 

B. DISTINCTIVES:
Grace Evangelical Church adopts and affirms the Evangelical Free Church of America’s Distinctives.

1.) THE EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH OF AMERICA IS INCLUSIVE NOT EXCLUSIVE.
The great heritage of the Evangelical Free Church people around the world includes the fact that fellowship and ministry opportunities in the local church are based solely on one’s personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, trusting in Him alone for salvation. Membership requires commitment to sound doctrine as expressed in our Statement of Faith. However, a person is not excluded from membership because he or she does not agree on every fine point of doctrine.

2.) THE EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH OF AMERICA IS EVANGELICAL BUT NOT SEPARATISTIC.
The Evangelical Free Church was born out of a heritage of commitment to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. We have deep convictions based on the authority of God’s Word, but we do not draw battle lines over minor points. Nor do we make minor issues of doctrine a test of fellowship in the local church. We are evangelical. We believe in separated living and personal holiness. But we are not separatistic.

3.) THE EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH OF AMERICA IS ECUMENICAL IN SPIRIT THOUGH NOT IN STRUCTURE.
We believe in the spiritual unity of the church, though not necessarily in structural union. We join with other Christians and other denominations of like precious faith in common goals and ministries to accomplish the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. But we believe that there is strength in diversity and that it is important to preserve our Distinctives. We recognize that union in structure does not guarantee unity of spirit. Our foremost concern is unity of spirit with our Lord, with each other and with other Christians.

4.) THE EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH OF AMERICA BELIEVES IN LIBERTY WITH RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY.
We believe in Christian liberty, but freedom always has its limitations. Responsible Christians do not abuse freedom. The Apostle Paul wrote forcefully about Christian liberty in the book of Galatians. He shattered the legalists with the doctrine of grace. But in First and Second Corinthians and Romans, the apostle also rebuked believers when liberty was abused. He declared boldly the principles of Christian liberty but spoke with equal forcefulness about Christian accountability. The Evangelical Free Church desires to preserve our freedom in Christ and encourage our people to be responsible, godly men, women and young people who desire to live under the control of the Holy Spirit, in obedience to the principles and precepts of God’s Word and in harmony with God’s will for life as revealed in the Scriptures.

5.) THE EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH OF AMERICA BELIEVES IN BOTH THE RATIONAL AND RELATIONAL DIMENSIONS OF CHRISTIANITY.
We believe the Scriptures must be applied to our individual lives with warmth of heart, warmth of message and warmth of concern. We believe it is essential to have solid biblical content in our doctrinal understanding of faith, but it is equally important to have a dynamic, vital relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son and to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sound Christian doctrine must be coupled with dynamic Christian experience. Ours is a ministry of love and reconciliation.

6.) THE EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH OF AMERICA AFFIRMS THE RIGHT OF EACH LOCAL CHURCH TO GOVERN ITS OWN AFFAIRS.
Article 10 of our Confession of Faith states “We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Head of the church and that every local church has the right, under Christ, to decide and govern its own affairs.”  Strong pastoral leadership coupled with discerning and well-equipped Christian lay people can produce spiritual growth as well as significant church growth. The New Testament emphasizes the importance of the Body of Christ ministering through the spiritual gifts that have been given to each believer.

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