STATEMENT OF FAITH
Gospel Life Church embraces the following statements concerning the truth. The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This Statement of Faith is intended simply as a basis of fellowship among us (i.e., that we all speak the same thing; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Acts 2:42). No claim is made that it contains all biblical truth only that it covers the fundamental doctrines in which we believe. We do not presume to say the phraseology employed in this Statement of Fundamental Truths is inspired or that it is the final word on Bible truth. However, we are persuaded it is proper and consistent with the Holy Scriptures to “set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us.”
SECTION A: Scripture, Bibliology
We believe the Bible is the written revelation of God both communicating God’s character and expressing His will. This belief is the result of the Holy Spirit persuading us through an inward work upon our consciousness. The Holy Spirit wrote the scripture through human authors, thus it is entirely without error in the original manuscripts, wholly true, and supremely authoritative. It consists of the 39 books in the Old Testament and the 27 books in the New Testament. It declares God’s true revelation of Himself through His plan to reconcile all things to Himself in His Son Jesus. It is the ultimate objective standard of truth, and everything we need to know to live for God’s glory is found within its pages.
[Exodus 31:18; 32:16; 34:1, 28; Numbers 23:19; Deuteronomy 31:9–13; Joshua 1:8; 24:26; Psalm 1:1–2; 119:160; Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 30:8; Jeremiah 30:2; Matthew 1:22; 4:4; 19:5; Luke 24:25–27; John 6:39–40; John 17:17; Acts 1:16; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 15:1–4; 28; Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:20; 2 Timothy 3:14–17; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; 2 Peter 1:20–21; 2 Peter 3:15–16]
SECTION B: Trinity
We believe in one God existing eternally and necessarily in three persons, being of one essence, equal in all their attributes, yet relating differently in their relationships to each other and to creation. Each person in the Godhead functions distinctively in the work of redemption. The Father elects the redeemed, the Son accomplishes the work of redemption, while the Holy Spirit applies the cross-work of Jesus to the sinner’s heart resulting in new spiritual life. The theology of the Trinity reveals a God in relationship: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are engaged in eternal communion. And this relationship is shared with all Christians who have been baptized into the Triune name. The Trinity provides a model for belonging to a community, specifically the communities of the church as well as for society as a whole.
[Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Deuteronomy 6:4–5; Psalm 45:6–7 (cf. Hebrews 1:8); 110:1 (cf. Matthew 22:41–46); Isaiah 6:8; 48:16; Matthew 3:16–17; Matthew 28:18–19; John 1:1–4; 3:3–8; 8:56; 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:13–14; 17:5; 20–23; 20:28; Acts 2:32–33; 16:6–7; Romans 8:16; 27; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 12:4–6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:30; Titus 3:4–7; Hebrews 7:25; James 2:19; 1 Peter 1:2]
SECTION C: God, Our Father, Theology
God’s knowledge is immediate or intuitive, not demonstrative or discursive. God does not learn. He does not gain His knowledge by any temporal process such as induction, deduction, logic, comparison, use of the senses, going from the known to the unknown, etc. God’s knowledge is simultaneous, not successive. He knows all at one glance. He knows all in one indivisible, simultaneous act of intuition and cognition. He sees all objects of knowledge at once, and in their totality and exhaustively. His knowledge is not held by any temporal process. In that sense it is also eternal; God holds His knowledge in one act of timeless, eternal intuition.
We believe that God created the universe, and everything in it, out of nothing, by the Word of His power. Having no deficiency in Himself, nor moved by any incompleteness in His joyful self-sufficiency, God was pleased in creation to display His glory for the everlasting joy of the redeemed, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
The Father has declared all that should happen, not based on His knowledge of the future or anything external to himself, but upon His good pleasure. We believe that God upholds and sovereignly governs all things—from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations, and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons—all in accord with His eternal, all-wise purposes to glorify Himself, yet in such a way that He never sins, nor ever condemns a person unjustly; but that His ordaining and governing all things is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in His image.
[Genesis 1:1; 50:20; Deuteronomy 32:4; Job 9:7; 34:10–15; 37:6–13; Psalm 33:10–11; 90:2; 104:24; 135:6; 147:15–18; Proverbs 16:9; 33; 20:24; 21:1; Isaiah 40:26; Lamentations 3:37–38; Daniel 4:37; Lamentations 3:37–38; Amos 3:6; Matthew 10:29–30; 19:26; Mark 4:39–41; Acts 2:22–23; Romans 1:20; 2:11–12; 3:4; 19; 16:27; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Colossians 1:16–17; Hebrews 4:13; 11:3; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5; Revelation 17:16–17]
SECTION D: Jesus, Christ, Christology
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son. He is the perfect representation of the Father. He is God and has always existed as God. All things were created through Him and for Him. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and by living a sinless life He perfectly fulfilled the righteous requirements of God’s law thus reflecting the express image of the Father to all men. He died on the cross as a substitute for God’s people, suffering God’s holy wrath against sin, and three days later rose from the dead. He then ascended into heaven where he stands on behalf of all those who place their trust in His sacrifice for sins and His resurrection. This is the core of the Gospel, the Good News. We believe Jesus set the example we are to follow in demonstrating a humble self-sacrificing love that brings the Gospel into every level of society and culture. We further believe Jesus modeled perfectly for us how disciples are trained and sent out. One day every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.
[Psalm 110:1–7 & Daniel 7:13–14 (cf. Mark 14:61–62; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33; 5:31; Colossians 3:1); Mark 1:27; 4:39; Luke 1:30–35; John 3:16–18; Romans 3:25–26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 5:25; Philippians 2:5–11; Colossians 1:15–21; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1; Hebrews 4:15; 5:5–6 (cf. Psalm 110:4); Revelation 5:9] [John 1:14 (cf. Exodus 25:8)]
SECTION E: The Holy Spirit, Pneumatology
We believe the Holy Spirit is actively working in the world manifesting the active presence of God, and especially in the church. He is the primary manifestation of the presence of Trinity among us. He works to complete and sustain what God the Father has planned and what God the Son has begun. He is the first fruits of the future resurrection age and the guarantee of the life to come. He gives life to all of nature, and new life in regeneration. The Holy Spirit anointed and empowered Jesus for ministry just as He still distributes gifts to the church today for the work of the ministry. He empowers our prayer and helps us to intercede. He cleanses us from and convicts us of sin changing us more and more into the image of Jesus giving us the power to put to death the deeds of our fallen natures. We believe the Holy Spirit still guides and directs His people and we should be responding to His desires moment-by-moment. We believe the Holy Spirit is able to impart the love of God for Himself and for our brothers and neighbors. He also imparts joy, peace, truth, wisdom, comfort, freedom, righteousness, hope, illumination, and an awareness of our adoption into the family of God. He further places us into the unity and fellowship of the universal, invisible church which necessarily results in membership within a local, visible church.
Acts 10:38; 2:4; 17–18; Ephesians 1:1–17; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Psalm 104:30; Job 34:14–15; John 3:6–7; 1 Corinthians 12:1–13; Romans 8:26; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5; John 16:8–11; Romans 8:28–30; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:22–23; Romans 8:13; Philippians 1:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; Acts 15:28; 16:6–7; 20:22–23, 28; Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16–18; Romans 5:5; 14:17; 15:30; Colossians 1:8; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 14:33;  John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 John 5:7; Deuteronomy 34:9; Isaiah 11:2; Acts 9:31; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Romans 14:17; Romans 15:13; Psalm 119:18; Luke 2:26; John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10–14; Ephesians 1:17–19; Romans 8:14–15; Galatians 4:5–6; ; 1 Corinthians 12; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:1–2; Ephesians 2:18; 22; 4:3; Acts 2:44–47; Hebrews 10:24–25; 1 John 1:7.
SECTION F: Humanity, Anthropology
We believe that the human race is the pinnacle of God’s creation. God created man, both male and female, in His image to bring glory to Himself. Man was created without sin, having the ability to do good (spiritually) or evil. When tempted by Satan, man rebelled against his Creator, resulting in spiritual death. No longer was man able to do any good (spiritually), but only evil, having been enslaved in his will and nature to sin. The effects of sin were so pervasive that all humanity is born into this state of spiritual death, separated from fellowship with their Creator. Because of God’s righteousness and the radical sinfulness of man, all people are under the wrath of a just God, desperately in need of a Savior.
[Genesis 1:27–31: Genesis 3:1–24; John 3:36; Romans 3:23, 9–12; Romans 5:12–15; Romans 8:18–19; Ephesians 2:1–3]
We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in his own image. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s agents to care for, manage, and govern creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations and marriage for a man and a woman, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments.
[Genesis 1:26–27; Genesis 2:18; Matthew 20:25–28; 23:8; John 13:13–17; 1 Corinthians 11:3–16; 14:33–36; Ephesians 5:21–33; Colossians 3:18–19; 1 Timothy 2:11–14; Titus 2:3– 5; 1 Peter 3:1–7; 5:2–3]
SECTION G: Salvation, Soteriology
We believe that salvation is God’s gift to those He has chosen by His own good pleasure, not because of any foreseen merit or anything good in them. Through the declaration of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit brings to life spiritually dead sinners resulting in their repenting (turning away from sin) and believing (confident trust) in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as a substitute for their sins as well as His lordship. The Father then credits to these sinners the righteousness of Christ––not that they in themselves are made righteous, but that Christ’s righteousness is imputed or applied to their account. Because of this they are justified before God, are adopted as His children, walk justly, and will be preserved by God until He brings them into His glorious presence. This is by grace (God’s unmerited favor) alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
[John 1:12–13; Romans 1:16; Romans 2; Romans 9:10–24; Romans 10:14–17; Galatians2:16, 21; Ephesians 1:3–14; Ephesians 2:8–10; Philippians 3:8–9; 2 Thessalonians 2:13– 14; 1 Peter 1:3–5]
SECTION H: Becoming Like Jesus, Sanctification
We believe that upon faith in Christ, believers are set free from the powerful rule of sin and are no longer its slaves. The Holy Spirit gives them a new heart and works in them to change their desires and actions, to bear spiritual fruit and to make them more like Christ. Sin’s presence still dwells in the life of the believer though, causing a continual struggle between the desires of the flesh and of the Spirit. Our cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s work is accomplished through involvement in the life of the local church and the community and through spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible study. Although perfect Christ–likeness or the complete absence of sin will not be seen in this life time, this process of sanctification is to be carried on throughout the life of the believer.
[Romans 6:6–11, 22; Romans 7:14–25; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 5:16–17, 22–25; Philippians 2:12–13; Philippians 3:12–14; Titus 2:11–14; 1 John 1:8–10]
SECTION I: The Church, Ecclesiology
We believe the church is the body and bride of Christ. It is not a religious institution or denomination, but is the spiritual body of all true believers, those called out by God, in heaven and on earth, from the beginning till the end of time.
[Matthew 15:13–19; Romans 12:4–5; Ephesians 5:22–30; Colossians 1:18, 24]
The church defined consists of three elements: The proclamation of the Gospel through word and deed, of necessity forms a Gospel community that goes on mission together. The church consists of the citizens that will people the coming Kingdom of God. Together, the citizens of the Kingdom form the body and bride of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. The church exists to accurately reflect the coming full expression of the Kingdom of God as a city set on a hill shining light into the world. The church consists of the universal and invisible facets along with the local and visible facets and these two must not be separated.
The aspects that form the local, visible expression of the church are: Fellowship, 30 one-another statements (John 13:35; Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 10:24–25), the word, evangelism & discipleship (Matthew 28:19–20, 2 Timothy 3:16–17), the sacraments, baptism & Lord’s Supper (Matthew 28:19–20; Luke 22:19–20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26), the guidance of church government, Biblically qualified elders/pastors & church discipline.
[Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–9; Hebrews 13:7, 17; Matthew 18:15–18; 1 Corinthians 5; Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10), and mission (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:9–12]
Formal church discipline is required to maintain the purity of the church’s witness.
[1 Corinthians 11:27; Ephesians 5:8; Philippians 2:15]
While the church is an invisible body, we believe that God has also commanded that believers devote themselves to teaching, fellowship, and prayer in a community or local assembly also called a church. These local churches are composed of men and women who have turned from their sins and placed their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. Having trusted in Him, they have also been immersed or baptized in water as a symbol of their unity with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection and their new life through Him.
[Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Hebrews 10:24–25]
Because Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, He has given special instructions for her care. Membership is reserved only for those who have shown evidence of saving grace and who have made a public profession of their faith through baptism. Members are to be discipled both formatively and correctively. This not only strengthens the body, but also protects the corporate witness of the church in the community around them. The church is to be served by leaders called pastors or elders and also by deacons. Elders lead the church by looking after the spiritual health of the body and equipping believer’s for ministry. Deacons assist the Elders in their work and look after the practical needs of the church.
[Matthew 18:15–20: 1 Corinthians 5:9–13; 2 Corinthians 2:5–8; 2 Thessalonians 3:14–15; Hebrews 13:17]
Elders are to be men of exemplary character, having healthy marriages if they are married, and strong families, displaying spiritual maturity, possessing an ability to teach the truths of the faith, and holding a good reputation with those outside the church.
[1 Timothy 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–9; 1 Peter 5:1–4]
Deacons are to be men or women of excellent character, also having healthy marriages if they are married and strong families. They are to be self–controlled, worthy of respect and are to be faithful in serving and meeting the practical needs of the church.
[1 Timothy 3:8–13]
Each local church is completely independent of outside rule, but makes its own decisions as directed by God’s Word.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH?
The purpose of the church is to make disciples, and form a witness of the coming Kingdom to the watching world.
SECTION J: Worship
We believe that God, as the only-wise, infinite, all-powerful creator and ruler of all things, is worthy of worship and honor from all created things, seen and unseen. Worship is an inward posture or attitude that highly esteems and values God and should be expressed intentionally through every facet of life.
[Exodus 20:1–6; Matthew 22:36–38; Romans 1:21–23; Romans 11:33–36; Colossians 3:16–17; 1 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 13:15]
Believers should worship God individually, everyday and everywhere, using the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has provided (Romans 12:1–8; 1 Corinthians 12–14; 1 Peter 4:10–11). As a united body though, or a local church, believers are to worship corporately at regularly scheduled times and places.
[1 Chronicles 16; 25:1; Psalm 40:3; 150:1–6; John 20:1–10, 19; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1–2; Hebrews 10:24—25]
SECTION K: Baptism
We believe that all those who have turned from sin to trust in Christ, according to the teachings of Christ Himself, are to be immersed in water or “baptized” in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This act of obedience does not impart grace nor “save” anyone or wash away their sins, nor is it through this act that believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Rather, it symbolizes the union of believers with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. It is an outward sign of an inward change, and is the first step of obedience for the follower of Christ. Baptism publicly places the believer in union with a local body of believers and is only to be practiced once in a believer’s life.
[Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12, 35–38; Romans 6:4–5; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21–22]
SECTION L: The Lord’s Supper, Communion
We believe that the Lord Jesus left, as an ongoing remembrance of His sacrifice, the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. The elements of bread and wine represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ which was broken and shed for the sins of His people. At no time do the elements of the Lord’s Supper become anything more than bread and wine. Although believers are to approach the Lord’s Supper with an attitude of faith and self–examination, it is not through their participation that they are saved. It is through the once–for–all shedding of the blood of Christ that the sins of Christians are forgiven and through the resurrection of Christ that Christians are justified before God. As believers participate in the Lord’s Supper they commemorate the Lord’s death, renew their communion with Him and their fellowship with believers.
[Matthew 26:26–29; 1 Corinthians 10:15–17; 1 Corinthians 11:23–34; Hebrews 9:26–28; Hebrews 10:1–18]
SECTION M: The Lord’s Return and the End of the Beginning, Eschatology
We believe that someday, Jesus Christ will return. No one but the Father knows the appointed day, but it is fixed and approaching. Although there are several views among Christians about the return of Christ and the fulfillment of His kingdom, on several points we can all agree and be sure. The physical bodies of all the dead will be raised to life and Jesus Christ will judge all people according to their deeds. The righteous will be rewarded eternal life in the presence of their Father while the wicked will be condemned to the eternal suffering of God’s wrath in hell, along with Satan and the fallen angels.
There will be a new heaven and a new earth and the dwelling place of God will be with His people. Those who are counted righteous will not be considered righteous by comparison of their efforts to those of the wicked, but on account of the righteousness of Christ which is credited to sinners who turn from their sins and trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior.
[Matthew 24:36–44; Matthew 25:31–46; Acts 1:6–7; 1 Corinthians 15:1–58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Peter 3:1–13; Revelation 20:11–15; Revelation 21:1–7]