Statement of Faith
Adapted from Together for the Gospel
Pre-Articles a-c (original to Legacy 2012)
We affirm that biblical concept of the Church is universal and supra-cultural. It is functionally equivalent to that of the Kingdom of God in scope and purpose. Therefore, to preach the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:43; 7:28) is to preach the Church.
We deny that either the Church or Christianity is a culture-bound expression of the West. We further deny that any person can enter the Kingdom of God without simultaneously entering the Church universal and the historical Christian faith.
We affirm that the local church is the primary earthly manifestation of the Church universal and of the Kingdom of God. It is the only authorized, fixed body of worship, biblical preaching and teaching, and fellowship for followers of Christ.
We deny that any place of worship representing a different religion can encompass the Kingdom of God (e.g. mosque, temple, etc.) or act as a substitute for a local church for the exclusive worship of Jesus Christ as Lord.
We affirm that world missions (i.e. cross-cultural evangelism and church-planting) is authorized by Christ’s Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-19) and is a solely Christian enterprise of the Church and of local churches everywhere.
We deny that world missions can be identified with the Kingdom of God apart from its identification with the Church.
We affirm that the sole authority for the Church is the Holy Bible. The sixty-six books of the Bible’s Old and New Testaments are the verbally inspired communication of the one true and living God—who is only revealed therein—to a humanity that is lost and in spiritual darkness without the saving light of God’s Word. These alone are the supreme and final authority in all matters of Christian faith and practice, and are without error in their original Hebrew and Greek autographs. Taken together they form a Sacred Library known as the Holy Bible which is a complete and sufficient revelation from Yahweh of all that is necessary for life and happiness. Only the Bible reveals God’s exclusive plan for the redemption of sinners and His will for their lives. It can neither be replaced nor supplemented by other religious writings. We believe that the entire Bible has been faithfully translated into English (and other languages) from its original languages and may be safely relied upon as both the Word of God and the words of God.
We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation, or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error or the effects of human sinfulness in their original Hebrew and Greek autographs.
We affirm that the authority and sufficiency of Scripture extends to the entire Bible, and therefore that the Bible is our final authority for all doctrine and practice.
We deny that any portion of the Bible is to be used in an effort to deny the truthfulness or trustworthiness of any other portion. We further deny any effort to identify a canon within the canon or, for example, to set the words of Jesus against the writings of Paul.
We affirm that truth ever remains a central issue for the Church and that she must resist the allure of pragmatism and postmodern conceptions of truth as substitutes for obedience to the comprehensive truth claims of Scripture.
We deny that truth is merely a product of social construction or that the truth of the Gospel can be expressed or grounded in anything less than total confidence in the veracity of the Bible, the historicity of biblical events, and the ability of language to convey understandable truth in sentence form. We further deny that the church can establish ministry on a foundation of pragmatism, social science, current marketing techniques, or contemporary cultural fashions.
We affirm the centrality of expository preaching and teaching in the church and in missions contexts, and the urgent need for a recovery of biblical exposition and the public reading of Scripture in worship.
We deny that God-honoring worship can marginalize or neglect the ministry of the Word as manifested through exposition and public reading. We further deny that any church devoid of true biblical teaching can survive as a Gospel church.
We affirm that the Bible reveals God to be infinite in all his perfections, and thus truly omniscient, omnipotent, timeless, and self-existent. We further affirm that God possesses perfect knowledge of all things, past, present, and future, including all human thoughts, acts, and decisions.
We deny that the God of the Bible is in any way limited in terms of knowledge or power or any other perfection or attribute, or that God has in any way limited his own perfections.
We affirm that the doctrine of the Trinity is a Christian essential, bearing witness to the ontological reality of the one true God in three divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each of the same substance and perfections. Therefore, the presentation of the persons of the Father and the Son are also essential, both in oral communication and the written translation of the Holy Bible; there are no adequate synonyms for these.
We deny the claim that the Trinity is not an essential doctrine, or that the Trinity can be understood in merely economic or functional categories. No concept of God other than this one as presented in the Holy Bible can be considered the same true God.
We affirm that Jesus Christ is Son of God in a plenary, non-figurative sense; true God and true Man, in perfect, undiluted, and unconfused union throughout his incarnation and now eternally. We also affirm that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners, as a sacrifice for sin, and as a propitiation of the wrath of God toward sinners. We affirm the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Christ as essential to the Gospel. We further affirm that Jesus Christ is Lord over His church, and that Christ will reign over the entire cosmos in fulfillment of the Father’s gracious purpose.
We deny that the substitutionary character of Christ’s atonement for sin can be compromised without serious injury to the Gospel or denied without repudiating the Gospel. We further deny that Jesus Christ is visible only in weakness, rather than in power, Lordship, or royal reign, or, conversely, that Christ is visible only in power, and never in weakness.
We affirm that salvation is all of grace, and that the Gospel is revealed to us in propositional doctrines that most faithfully exalt God’s sovereign purpose to save sinners and in His determination to save his redeemed people by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to His glory alone.
We deny that any teaching, theological system, or means of presenting the Gospel that denies the centrality of God’s grace as His gift of unmerited favor to sinners in Christ can be considered true doctrine.
We affirm that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s means of bringing salvation to His people, that sinners are commanded to believe the Gospel, and that the church is commissioned to preach and teach the Gospel to all nations.
We deny that evangelism or Missions can be reduced to any social science, program, technique, or marketing approach. We further deny that salvation can be separated from repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
We affirm that salvation comes to those who truly believe and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
We deny that there is salvation in any other name, or that saving faith can take any form other than conscious belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving acts.
We affirm the continuity of God’s saving purpose and the Christological unity of the covenants. We further affirm a basic distinction between law and grace, and that the true Gospel exalts Christ’s atoning work as the consummate and perfect fulfillment of the law.
We deny that the Bible presents any other means of salvation than God’s gracious acceptance of sinners in Christ.
We affirm that sinners are justified only through faith in Christ, and that justification by faith alone is both essential and central to the Gospel.
We deny that any teaching that minimizes, denies, or confuses justification by faith alone can be considered true to the Gospel. We further deny that any teaching that separates regeneration and faith is a true rendering of the Gospel.
We affirm that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers by God’s will alone, and that this righteousness, imputed to the believer through faith alone, is the only righteousness that justifies.
We deny that such righteousness is earned or deserved in any manner, is infused within the believer to any degree, or is realized in the believer through anything other than faith alone.
We affirm that the shape of Christian discipleship is ideally congregational, and that God’s purpose is evident in faithful Gospel congregations [i.e. churches], each displaying God’s glory in the marks of authentic ecclesiology.
We deny that any Christian can truly be a faithful disciple apart from the teaching, discipline, fellowship, and accountability of a congregation of fellow disciples, organized as a Gospel church. We also deny that there can be any biblically legitimate substitute for the local church in missiological contexts, be that a family unit (oikos), mosque or temple, etc.
We affirm that evangelical congregations are to work together in humble and voluntary cooperation and that the spiritual fellowship of Gospel congregations bears witness to the unity of the Church and the glory of God.
We deny that loyalty to any denomination or fellowship of churches or mission organization can take precedence over the claims of truth and faithfulness to the Gospel.
We affirm that God calls his people to display his glory in the reconciliation of the nations within the Church, and that God’s pleasure in this reconciliation is evident in the gathering of believers from every tongue and tribe and people and nation.
We deny that any church can accept racial prejudice, discrimination, or division without betraying the Gospel.
We affirm that our only sure and confident hope is in the sure and certain promises of God. Thus, our hope is an eschatological hope, grounded in our confidence that God will bring all things to consummation in a manner that will bring greatest glory to his own name, greatest preeminence to his Son, and greatest joy for his redeemed people.
We deny that we are to find ultimate fulfillment or happiness in this world, or that God’s ultimate purpose is for us to find merely a more meaningful and fulfilling life in this fallen world. We further deny that any teaching that rejects suffering and persecution for the sake of maintaining social or cultural inclusion in this life can be considered a true gospel.