In regards to primary issues we proudly stand with the rest of the evangelical church in affirming such things as the authority of scripture and salvation only by faith in Jesus Christ. It is also important that you know where we stand on other important theological issues where there is often disagreement within the body.
Changed by Grace
The good news of the gospel is that we don’t have to do anything; Jesus has done, and is doing it all! This is true both of our salvation (Acts 15:11, Titus 2:11) and our sanctification (Romans 6:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:23). We change our behaviour not because we try harder but because we see better. Rules and regulations are useless and counter productive (Colossians 2:23). Rather, we become more like Christ the more he reveals himself to us and we keep our eyes on him. A “radical” grace produces not sin (Romans:6:2) but righteousness whereas law produces only sin (Romans 7:8), death, and condemnation. We truly are dead to the law (Galatians 2:19).
You will notice that our values start with Christ. The rest of our values, practices, and our theology all stem from this complete devotion to our saviour. Jesus is our all-in-all.
We are Christ centred in at least two important ways.
The first important way is in our practice. We are convinced that we need to point to Jesus and his finished work on the cross frequently and emphatically. The good news of Jesus death, burial, resurrection and what it means for our standing before God should be explained in every service in our teaching, our music, and our eating. This is one reason we plan to celebrate the Lord’s supper before every gathering.
The gospel is for both believers and visitors. We forget and get caught up in our own lives. One of the purposes of meeting together regularly is to remind ourselves of who God is and what he has done. And for those who don’t know Christ there is no more important news than that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, so they can be right with God.
Second, we are Christ centred in our hermeneutic. That is, we believe Jesus when he says that all of scripture is about him (John 5:39, Luke 24:27). Although, other tools are useful for understanding scripture, the primary lens through which we understand both the old and new testament is that of Jesus Christ. As we open the scriptures each week they will speak for themselves as they point us to Christ.
We hold a basically reformed set of theological beliefs. We affirm such doctrines as total depravity, the sovereignty of God, predestination, and unconditional election. Before God intervenes, we are “dead in our sins” and it is God who “made us alive” (Colossians 2:13). Dead people do not “choose” anything; they are dead. Lazarus is a great picture of how we are raised from the dead (John 11). We are dead yet Christ calls us and we immediately come to him.
The new covenant is by faith not by birth (Galatians 3:29). The sign of the new covenant, baptism by immersion, is reserved for those that have demonstrated evidence of faith in Christ Jesus. We encourage parents to dedicate their children to the Lord and to train them in his ways (Proverbs 22:6). We also note that God seems to be in the habit of working within families and Jesus very often saves the children of faithful parents. We also encourage those who were baptized as an infants to be re-baptized if they have not already done so.
Baptisms are also cause for great celebration. They should be done publicly with much fanfare to call attention to the good work God has done and continues doing. This is both for the encouragement of the body and as an evangelistic tool to reach those who have not yet come to know Christ. Additionally, baptism should take place soon after someone, understanding the whole gospel, places their faith in Jesus as is the pattern we see in scripture (Acts 8:38).
We wholeheartedly embrace the teaching of the NCMI team on the subject of church governance. We believe in the autonomy of the local church under the direction of biblically qualified elders. We gratefully accept the godly service of deacons as serving the church. We thank God for his gift of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to the local church (Ephesians 4:11). New elders are to be appointed by “trans-local” apostles at the invitation of the elders.
Although the local church is autonomous it should not be completely independent nor unaccountable. It is our hope, and intention, to partner with the NCMI team to bring outside influence, perspective, and accountability along with national and international ministry partnership opportunities.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is still active in power in the world today. God still heals. He still does miracles. He still gives dreams and interpretations. People still speak in tongues. He gives these gifts for His glory and for the good of His church.
It is our observation, from both scripture and experience, that the gift of tongues appears to be particularly common among those open to receiving it. However, we do not believe that this gift is, or should be, universal within the church. In addition, we are instructed to “desire the greater gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31).