1) Is Mary’s act of love strange compared to your experience as a lover of Christ?
2) Is Mary’s act of love strange as compared to the New Testament?
Listen to the message from 3/29
1) Is Mary’s act of love strange compared to your experience as a lover of Christ?
2) Is Mary’s act of love strange as compared to the New Testament?
Listen to the message from 3/29
March 22nd, 2009
Dear church family or friend of Springs of Grace,
Grace and peace from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I cannot remember a time when the needs and opportunities before us as a church have ever been greater. The challenge of impacting the lives of those God has given us to love and to accomplish the mission God has given us to do requires us to stay on course. It is easy to get sidetracked or to grow weary but brothers and sisters in the Lord we must ask God for the grace to keep pressing on to care for people, to rescue people, to build relationships with those not like us because they are ones Christ wants to love through us.
The bible says that our citizenship is in heaven and because of that we are to stand firm. Giving your money away or working in order to give or spending your time investing in people that can give nothing back to you does not make any sense right now but it will! It looks stupid now but everyone else who has spent their lives on themselves will look stupid when Jesus comes back. In light of heaven – to live for ourselves instead of God and His kingdom and His people is crazy.
By God’s grace we at Springs of Grace have had our eyes opened to see something of the worth and beauty of the Lord Jesus. As a result, we long for His glory to be seen and savored by others. Our neighbors, those living in the inner city, many of those in man-centered churches, and people around the world treat God as though He were a small thing – as though other treasures and achievements in this life were a bigger deal than gaining Him. We long for them to know Jesus to be the greatest treasure.
Among the many ministries that God has raised up in this church body is a passion for investing in lives through our intern ministry and Project 61 summer ministries. For the past several years we have taken an offering in the spring to seek God’s provision for the special ministry opportunities of the summer. After prayer and seeking counsel from the advisory team we believe we should once again ask the Lord to provide for these ministries through this special offering.
During the next few weeks we want to ask you to pray especially for two things.
First, Sunday, April 5th we will take a special offering that will go towards our summer ministry. We don’t do this often. We hope people will give willingly and joyfully and secretly as each one is led by the Lord. Ours is a day when much of the church sells the gospel and others market the church in a way that targets financially profitable groups. We believe the Bible exhorts to give in secret and to trust the Lord to supply the needs of His body ought to be our emphasis. We are thankful for the generous way the Lord has supplied our needs as a church body through the faithful giving of the saints – without us needing to make any emotional appeals.
We believe deeply in the value of training urban missionaries and modeling for these interns what a God-centered church that goes after the head AND the heart for the glory of the Lord looks like. We believe the giftings of the interns adds greatly to our ability as a church to demonstrate the beauty of Christ to this city. Each year the Lord has provided amazingly for this ministry and we look to Him to do so again through His people.
The Lord continues to give us wonderful opportunities for increased ministry. The number of young men and women expressing an interest in serving as interns this summer is again staggering. We want to walk faithfully in the ministries the Lord has opened the door to. We are asking you to pray with us for $30,000 to support the summer ministry. Frankly, that is a staggering amount for such a small group of saints, but we believe the Lord has placed these ministries before us and it seems right to pursue Him to supply the means to carry them out. It may well be that the Lord would not have you give to this special offering. That’s fine. We just want you to pray with us and give if and as the Lord enables you to give.
Secondly, over the next 9 months we are asking each family of our church to join us in a prayer for laborers to join the ministry at Springs of Grace Bible Church. We are very grateful to the Lord for the people and gifts He is using to build His church here and we trust His wise leadership. However, if the Lord has these ministries for us and if they are to expand in effectiveness, then we need a larger base of laborers. Would you commit or renew your commitment to ask the Lord to enable you to reach at least one family or individual over the next 9 months who would come and join in the ministry here? One part of this would be making it a matter of regular prayer to ask the Lord to send more laborers to this ministry.
This has been an important part of this ministry for the past few years. Many of you are here as God’s gracious answers to these types of prayers in the past. Just think of the additional potential impact in ministry that more laborers might provide. If each family or individual would reach one other family and if each single member of this body would reach one other person by the start of 2010, this body would be in an even greater position to pursue our vision for training and sending out preachers and urban missionaries; promoting adoption; tutoring and skill development in the inner city; increased mission support; helping families raise up a godly generation; a coaching ministry; intern ministry; strengthening godly, holy and passionate marriages; an increase in the preaching and shepherding ministry within the body, effectiveness in carrying out the one anothers as we seek to see the gospel win in each other; and other opportunities the Lord may bring our way. If the Lord answers these prayers we might well add another 100 people for us to minister to and to labor with us. Last year several of us made that commitment before the Lord. The Lord answered that request for some of us. Others are still laboring in prayer and faith for the Lord to use them in bringing someone else to join in this ministry. Perhaps for others this request has slipped from our minds and needs rekindled. On Sunday, April 5th you’ll be given the opportunity to make or renew this commitment.
We could set our target at a type of ministry that would bring in more support and target more people – but that is not the pattern we see in the Lord Jesus – that is not the path to greatness in His kingdom that Jesus gives us in Luke 9:46-48. We certainly could aim at something smaller and more attainable in our own power but a small vision doesn’t seem to fit with the greatness we have seen in our God. So, we are asking you to join us in these two great prayers as we continue seeking to be a church that collectively puts on display the perfections of Christ.
To the praise of His glory,
Joe Blankenship & Andrew Moss
It is not a sign of a seasoned Christian soul that steady joy is untinged with steady sorrow.
Or to put it positively, the seasoned soul in Christ has a steady joy and a steady sorrow.
They protect each other. Joy is protected from being flippant by steady sorrow. Sorrow is protected from being fatal by steady joy.
And they intensify each other. Joy is made deeper by steady sorrow. Sorrow is made sweeter by steady joy.
For the seasoned Christian soul, I do not see how it can be otherwise while people are perishing and we are saved. I do not see how it can be otherwise while these two passages are written by the same inspired man:
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (Romans 9:2-3)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)
“There’s significant wear and tear upon those called to pro-life work, jail ministry, street ministry, helping the poor, aiding substance abusers and those with sexual addictions, and fighting pornography.
If you’re going to endure, you must have a passion for Jesus that’s bigger than your passion for the cause. Otherwise, even if you don’t burn out, your cause will take the place of your Lord, thereby becoming an idol.
Lose yourself. Not in a righteous cause but in a righteous God who calls us to a variety of causes and sustains us wherever He calls us.”
- Randy Alcorn, Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints
Who’s emergency is your emergency fund saved for?
“We know love by this that Jesus laid down His life for us, so we also should lay down our lives for one another.”
“In the beginning God…” (Genesis 1:1). The Bible begins with God. In fact, everything begins with God. We don’t understand the full significance of anything until we understand its relation to God. He was the one and only fact a hundred trillion centuries before the universe or man existed. He forever has been the “I AM”. Continue reading
Carl Trueman of Reformation 21 posted this a while back. I ran across it again tonight and wanted others to have the opportunity to read it.
Over the past few days I’ve been reading Girls Gone Mild, the new book by Wendy Shalit. Shalit’s first book, A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue was published seven years ago and caused quite a stir. Shalit, an orthodox Jew, made the audacious claim that the sexual revolution may not have been entirely beneficial for women. She decried the lack of modesty this revolution has brought about and, according to TIME defended “compellingly, shame, privacy, gallantry, and sexual reticence.” Of course many people, and feminists in particular, were disgusted with the book and ruthlessly mocked her. Her second effort, Girls Gone Mild Shalit investigates a new movement that seems to be growing in strength and is being led by young people. It is a movement back to modesty and back to an understanding of womanhood that is somehow feminine.
It is not just Christians who are aghast at our culture’s view of womanhood. The sexual revolution has produced a generation of girls who are brazen in their sexuality. We’ve come to a time when girls are offered the choice between being brave and sexual or timid and modest. Culture teaches that it is acceptable to wait to engage in sexual practices as long as you feel you are unprepared. It is those who are comfortable with their bodies who flaunt their nakedness while those who hide their bodies are ashamed. Hence it is the weak who wait and the strong who engage. And countless numbers of girls are engaged, even from a young age.
But that is not all. As girls become increasingly sexual at an increasingly young age, they also become aggressive. Girls have long been taught that traditionally feminine qualities such as niceness and gentleness are a sign of weakness. Girls are encouraged to be tough, to stand for their perceived rights. And girls do this. Bullying among girls has become commonplace in schools. The term “bullycide” has been coined to describe people, and often girls, who are driven to suicide by bullying.
Girls are being mean because their parents and teachers are teaching them to be mean. Adults are telling the children that it is the aggressive who will inherit the earth. The girls who are nice will be trampled on and will be left behind. Girls are also seeing meanness modeled for them in their entertainment. In discussing this topic, Shalit provided an interesting quote from none other than Erika Harold, who was Miss America 2003 and who is now studying law at Harvard. “A profound statement from a beauty pageant winner,” you ask? Read on.
We live in a culture where reality TV is pervasive, and we’re entertained by other’s humiliation and by pulling on people’s weaknesses and watching a weak person be embarrassed; and I maintain that’s the cause–glorifying humiliation of others–not being good. With bullying it’s about thinking you have the right to devalue other people, and there are some people who think people should just toughen up, grow up. But bullying, I think, is a much more pernicious problem than that. If people don’t value other people, they just see it as acceptable to bully other people.
In February, just as a new season of America’s favorite program began, I wrote about American Idol and how it so masterfully combines our culture’s twin obsessions with exhibitionism and voyeurism. I thought back to this article yesterday as I read the quote by Erika Harold. I thought again of William Hung who, perhaps more than anyone else, typifies the victims of reality television. Hung is well, just not a very good-looking guy (we’ll leave it at that). He may have thought that he was talented enough to make an impact at American Idol but the cold reality, as we all saw, was that he was utterly untalented as both a singer and dancer. Yet he passed through two levels of auditions and was given the stage in front of the judges where he was promptly humiliated and rejected. He was brought back later in the season for a special “Uncut, Uncensored and Untalented” episode where he performed again. He even released a series of three albums, all featured his horrendous singing. He was a joke and we all laughed at him, not with him.
Last night I thought about other reality programs. I flipped through the TV Guide lately to see what reality programs are available right now. There is Hell’s Kitchen where a chef with a serious anger problem screams at potential chefs; there is Big Brother, where people compete to be the last person standing in a house filled with cameras; there is American Inventor where people try to create the next big product and America’s Got Talent where thousands compete in a national talent show with a million dollar prize. And then there is some horrendous show who’s name escapes me where young women and older women compete for the attention of a sleazy bachelor. A popular gameshow, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? puts “average Americans” up against a group of 5th graders in a quiz show format. Those who cannot beat the children (and to this point, as I understand it, no one has) the contestant has to look into the camera and say, “I am not smarter than a 5th grader!”
The common thread with all of these shows is that they glory in humiliation. Some are worse offenders than others, but anyone who has seen the commercials where Chef Ramsey screams obscenities at chefs in Hell’s Kitchen or who has seen advertisements of older women in anguish after being outfoxed by a younger woman on that ugly dating show will realize that the humiliation is as much the attraction as is the challenge of the show. I suspect as many people watch Hell’s Kitchen to watch the outbursts as they do because they find the cooking interesting.
What is wrong with us? Why is it that we glory in the humiliation of others? Would we be as interested in these shows if they were merely about talent or about fascinating plots? I don’t think we would. I think we are attracted to them precisely because they humiliate other people. We are attracted to them, at least in part, because they give us the opportunity to feel better about ourselves at the expense of others. “I may not be a good singer, but at least I’m not as bad as him. I may not be able to carry a tune, but at least I’m not delusional enough to go and audition for the show!”
Aileen and I have been reading and studying James together and we’ve been talking about the fact that the Bible is clear that what comes out a person is a sure indication of what he puts in. This is true physically, emotionally and spiritually. What we allow into our hearts and into our minds necessarily impacts our lives. We may not be able to exhaustively examine our own hearts, but we can surely look to what comes out of us and see in that what we’ve been putting into our hearts.
It is impossible for us to revel in the humiliation of other people and not begin to see ramifications in our own lives. Bullying is a problem in schools today and it stands to reason that one of the causes of this behavior is children imitating what they see on television. The adults in these shows humiliate and belittle one another and the children take this as an example of acceptable human behavior. You and I may not be prone to bullying, but if we enjoy watching other people be humiliated, what does that say about us? And, of equal importance, how is that beginning to manifest itself in our lives? – Carl Trueman
posted by Joe Blankenship
Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2009 by j1977t
Sign the be heard petition!
“The Conscience Clause was implemented by former President George W. Bush to give physicians and nurses the choice to act according to their conscience — to not participate in abortion procedures if it conflicts with their personal convictions. If President Obama makes this damaging move, if he reverses the Conscience Clause, pro-life doctors and nurses will be forced into performing abortion procedures, despite their individual beliefs.” -From the “Be heard petition” website
Johnny Thulin, Jr.
The more impossible the odds – the more glory is God’s! - Brad Arnold
Brad is a dear friend of mine who now pastors in Nampa, Idaho. I was blessed to pastor alongside of Brad for several years in Texas during the early ’90s.
I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lay down and when I rise and the answers are always coming. Tens of thousands of times have my prayers been answered. When once I am persuaded that a thing is right I go on praying for it. The great point is never to give up until the answer comes. The great fault of the children of God is that they do not continue in prayer – they do not persevere. If they desire anything for God’s glory they should pray until they get it. – George Mueller
ONE HOPE MINISTRY IS CLOSELY LINKED WITH THE HEARTBEAT OF SPRINGS OF GRACE. CHECK OUT THE NEW ONE HOPE BLOG @ http://onehopeblog.wordpress.com/
One Hope is a ministry started by a handful of people who dream about seeing God do something big in our city.
We want to do something that makes God look really big as His people love their world
CHICAGO (BP)–President Obama kept at least two campaign promises March 9 when he signed a bill authorizing the expenditure of tax-dollars for embryo-destructive stem cell research.
Many have been surprised that it has taken so long for him to follow through on the first promise, the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Throughout the campaign Mr. Obama made it clear that he thought the Bush policy was wrong and, were he elected, he would set it straight. On Aug. 9, 2001, President Bush instituted a policy allowing funding for embryonic stem cell research using already-existing stem cell lines, but forbidding the funding of additional destruction of embryos. Of course, the Bush policy did nothing to limit private research, which went on without hindrance from the federal government.
Mr. Obama’s executive order authorizes the National Institutes of Health to determine guidelines for funding research labs, thus effectively keeping another of his campaign promises: job creation. Pumping tax-dollars into embryo-destructive research will mean that every working American will be forced to help scientists destroy tiny members of the human species in order to obtain tissues for research that has up until now produced no drug and no therapy to help anyone. The president remarked at the White House signing that “this order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America.” Perhaps he should have said that is was an important step in keeping American scientists in business.
“It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs,” he said, “free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on fact, not ideology.”
That rhetoric sounds high-minded, but it is, in fact, extremely dangerous. He makes it sound like science is objective, rational and above ethical consideration. In truth, science — and especially science funding — is neither purely objective nor purely rational. And the days of letting research be done without careful attention to ethics is long gone. The Manhattan Project, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments and Hitler’s infamous doctors have shown that science must be informed by ethics.
Make no mistake about it: Despite the rhetoric, the Obama executive order is underwritten by a moral vision for science. It is utilitarian in the worst way. A few vulnerable members of the human race, namely human embryos, may be harmed to serve the greater good, namely a scientific research community. For this is how, Mr. Obama opined, “we will harness the power of science to achieve our goals — to preserve our environment and protect our national security; to create the jobs of the future, and live longer, healthier lives.” Except for a few dispensable human beings whose lives happen to hang in the balance in fertility clinics around the nation. Of course, by the time it is all over, it will not be so few.
The next shoe likely to drop in favor of so-called scientific integrity will be the Congressional Dickey-Wicker Amendment that prohibits federal funding of “the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.” Scientists have long claimed that if the economic doors were swung wide open for embryonic stem cell research, they would need many times more embryos than those currently being stored in fertility clinics. Creating new, “high quality” embryos will be necessary. The good news: more jobs will be created for scientists. The bad news: science becomes predatory on human embryos.
And all of this comes at a time when alternatives to embryo destructive research are reaching an all-time high. More than 70 treatments or cures are available using adult stem cells that do not require the destruction of any human embryos. More recently, research using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) — reprogrammed adult body cells that have embryonic-like stem cell qualities — has shown tremendous results. In fact, these alternatives are so promising that a number of high-profile researchers have turned away from embryonic stem cell research, not because of any moral concerns, but merely because of the potential of the alternatives. To state it bluntly, embryonic stem cell research is obsolete.
If anyone should see the irony in all this it should be the nation’s first African-American president. Of all people, he should know the lessons of our history. The consequences are disastrous when one group of human beings is regarded as less than human in order to serve what other people think is the greater good. American chattel slavery certainly served the “greater good” of those plantation owners in the South.
What our forebears learned through a bloody war was that as long as any member of our race is deemed less than human — unworthy of protection against unnecessary harm — all of us are vulnerable. Following his mentor Abraham Lincoln, Mr. Obama should be the emancipator of human beings, setting them free to flourish. He should authorize funding for adopting human embryos, freeing them from their clinic freezers. He should release them from their sterile laboratory plantations. Finally, he should authorize the NIH to think about ways to reduce the number of embryos created for IVF procedures.
C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., is a consultant for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and a bioethics and contemporary culture professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in suburban Chicago. He also is the co-author of “Biotechnology & the Human Good” (Georgetown University Press, 2007).
March 9, 2009
Today, President Barack Obama signed an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Let’s be clear about what this means. Tax-payers will now be forced to pay for research that destroys innocent human life in its earliest stages.
You wouldn’t have known what was at stake had you listened to President Obama’s remarks today just before he signed the order. In fact, you wouldn’t even have known that human life was on the line at all. Here is the justification that President Obama gave for signing what amounts to a death-warrant for embryonic human life.
“In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research — and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.”
Did you see his argument? I didn’t either. It’s because there’s not one. He simply argued by assertion that funding the destruction of human life is moral. Obama says nothing about the moral status of the embryonic human beings that his order will destroy. Is it too much to expect the President of the United States to offer at least some sort of rationale for denying the humanity of those he would destroy in the name of scientific advance? High approval-ratings may make that kind of argument fly before an undiscerning American electorate, but it won’t fly before the only tribunal that counts.
President Obama says that he believes that “we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering,” yet he does not believe that we are called to care for embryonic human life. How can he so casually exclude from the human community a whole class of persons? Does advancing science to ease the suffering of one set of humans justify the destruction of another set of humans? Apparently, he thinks it does. But where does this logic take us? If human embryos are not protected from this destructive research, are human fetuses? What about “unviable” fetuses? What about “unviable” babies? What about “unviable” humans at any stage of development? Obama may not see where his bankrupt reasoning takes us, but this is where it goes nonetheless.
President Obama also said that we need science to be free from “ideology.” In his own words:
“Promoting science isn’t just about providing resources — it’s also about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about letting scientists like those who are here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.”
Really? Does the President actually want science unbound by ideology? What about an “ideology” defined by its commitment to preserving the rights of innocent human life? Does Obama really want scientific inquiry to be free from an obligation to protect human life? Isn’t this the kind of ideology-free science that the Nazi’s used to exclude Jews and gypsies from the human community? Contrary to what many “progressives” would have us believe, scientific inquiry is not value-neutral. Science can be used for good or for ill. There are all kinds of things that scientists can do but shouldn’t. But the President speaks as though what science can do it then should do. That is deadly logic and morally bankrupt.
Obama is once again living up to his word. Signing this order is exactly what he promised to do during his campaign, and it is an affront to the sanctity of human life.
John Flavel has long been one of my favorite puritan authors. This is one of his profound quotes that has stayed with me over the years.
“The grand inquest of conscience is, is God satisfied? If he be satisfied, I am satisfied.” – John Flavel, The Fountain of Life, Sermon XI, 149
I was reading back through these foundational commitments of our ministry and wanted to call them to your attention again. We might say some things differently today but eight years later, they still express the core of what we believe.
SPRINGS OF GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Springs of Grace Bible Church exists to the praise of God’s glory. We believe the following non-negotiable pillars are essential to being such a church. (This is only one way of declaring in summary what the Scripture teaches. It is not intended to be a complete expression of our faith or any kind of authoritative document).
I. A high view of God and the centrality of Christ.
A. We believe God is great and holy and sovereign. Therefore, it is important for preachers and people in word, emphasis, and practice not to take God off His throne and turn Him into a servant subject to man’s decisions. In Isaiah the Lord said, “I am the high and exalted One who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy. I dwell on a high and holy place and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit (Is. 57:15).” We seek not God’s blessing upon our plan but we seek God. We must not question His hand. “Our God is in the heavens and He does whatever He pleases (Ps. 115:3).” And, what He does is always just, right, holy, and good because that’s who He is.
B. We believe that God’s passion is for the fame of His name and that the glory of His name is most awesomely revealed through His Son redeeming a people unto Himself. As the only begotten Son, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, performed miracles and teachings, died a substitutionary atoning death, was resurrected bodily, ascended into heaven, is in perpetual intercession for His people, and will personally and visibly return to earth. As such, Christ is the central figure in the purpose of God, the central figure in the history of man, and the central figure in the worship of the Church.
II. A dependence on the Holy Spirit.
A. We believe salvation was planned by the Father, purchased by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-7). The Holy Spirit is a divine, eternal, person possessing all the attributes of the Godhead equally (Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3,4).
B. We believe that the Holy Spirit came from the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16,17; 15:26). His work is indispensable to completing and building the body of Christ and accomplishing the ministry of the church. His work is to convict of sin (John 16:7-9), guide us to an understanding of the Truth of God’s Word (John 16:13), administer gifts to the church, and most importantly to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:14). Therefore, we believe that we are dependent on the Holy Spirit in every way for everything. “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His (Romans 8:9).”
III. A high view of Scripture.
A. We believe the Bible is the inspired, infallible, inerrant, plenary, sufficient Word of God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16a).” As such, we believe in the absolute authority and sufficiency of Scripture in every area of the Christian’s life. “[All scripture] is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16b).” We believe that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4).
B. We believe it is not enough to hold to a high view of Scripture in profession only. It is our ambition to practice and demonstrate the sufficiency and superiority of Scripture in the life of the church and its people. Therefore we will not refute it, ascribe error to it, reduce it to a small portion of what we do as a church, embrace new revelations, or suggest certain portions can’t be implemented today (like church discipline). Instead, we are committed to preaching all of it – hard passages, convicting passages, and even controversial passages. We are committed to prioritizing it – not programs, entertainment, psychology, or any other substitute. We are committed to a high view of Scripture not out of personal preference or clever invention. Rather, we are committed to a high view of God’s Word because God is committed to a high view of His Word, “You have magnified Your word above all Your name (Psalm 138:2).” We believe it is absolutely essential to have a high view of God’s Word, to teach it, treasure it, defend it, obey it, and love it.
IV. A biblical view of man.
A. We believe man is inherently evil, not good. “There is none righteous, no not one. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have become useless. There is none who does good. There is not even one (Romans 3:10-12).” We believe as our Lord said, “There is only one good and that is God.” When men do good, it is only the result of common grace. Men are not as bad as they could be, but neither are they as good as they must be to be right with God. Therefore, life changing salvation is an absolute necessity. “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).”
B. We believe man was created by God in God’s image, yet because of the fall is now sinful, depraved, and corrupt. He is a sinner by nature and by choice. Ephesians 2:1 tells us that before being made alive to God man is “dead in trespasses and sin.” Man is totally wicked and totally incapable of saving himself. Therefore, nobody is good enough or smart enough to come to God on his own. The grace of God is the only source, and hope, of salvation for sinful man, and the atoning work of Christ the only source and hope for justification and righteousness. Therefore, we are bound to preach, teach, share, and live the Word of God faithfully and prayerfully, recognizing that all spiritual life and growth must be produced by God Himself (1 Corinthians 3:6).
V. A biblical view of salvation.
A. We believe 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away and all things have become new.” We believe there is no such thing as true saving faith without repentance, obedience, submission to Christ, and perseverance. These are not the means to earn salvation – they are the evidence of biblical salvation.
B. We believe our Lord’s words in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of My father which is in heaven.” We are not swayed by man’s profession but look for the fruit that evidences the divine nature within man. It is not perfection but direction. The evidence of a regenerate heart, according to the Scripture, is a personal hatred for sin, a personal love for God, and the longing to obey. Psalm 42:1 says, “As the deer pants for the water brook, so my soul longs for Thee, O God.” At salvation, righteousness becomes your love and sin becomes your burden. For the ungodly it is just the opposite. Sin is their love and righteousness is a burden. We believe the new covenant Christ instituted is a covenant of obedience (1 Peter 1:2), and that coming to Christ is entering by grace into a covenant with God that you will obey and follow Him. He covenants to forgive us when we fail to obey, based on the mediated sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross. There is no such thing as a biblical salvation that does not produce an ever-increasing life of obedience.
C. We believe missions must exist because worship doesn’t. Jesus charged all His followers to take the gospel into the entire world (Matthew 28:18-20) spreading the fame of His name. We believe that the conversion of the lost is very much on the heart of God and as we love Him it must be on our hearts as well. Every believer should be concerned for the salvation of those around them and those whom God might save from every tribe and tongue and people for His own glory. Thus there are only three kinds of people in regards to world missions: goers, senders or disobedient.
VI. A biblical view of the church.
A. We are not trying to be a unique church. We are not trying to be something different or new. Rather, we desire to be just another true and biblical church in the long line of true churches that have always been but of which today there are too few.
B. We believe that the church is made up of those who have genuinely been saved and that the universal church makes up the bride of Christ of which the local body is a visible symbol. As such, the church should strive to be pure. Every believer must strive for, and pursue after, holiness. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” We live in a day in which the world is constantly redrawing the lines. We cannot give ourselves to the lusts of the world and be what God has called us to be – a pure church.
C. We believe the church should be marked by godly leaders. You cannot read the Scriptures honestly and ignore the necessity of having godly leadership and still expect to have God’s blessing. We believe that Christ is the head of the church (Col. 1:18). As the head of the church, He wants to rule His church through holy people. Unholy people get in the way. The primary ingredient in church leadership is holiness. The qualifications laid out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are not primarily about skill but about character. Developing holy leadership takes time and effort (40 years for Moses; at least that for Joshua; David watched sheep and then spent years hiding in caves from Saul). It takes great investments to raise up men of God. We are committed to being a church, by the grace of God, that willingly expends its resources to this end.
D. We believe the Scriptures teach a church is to be led by a plurality of godly men called elders (1 Thessalonians 5:13-14; Hebrews 13:7,17) and that the church is to submit to those over them in the Lord for they watch over their souls.
E. We believe that the church is a body and as such must exist in mutual accountability to one another in accord with Scripture. We believe that it is essential for the body’s health that each member be pursuing the use of his/her gift(s) for the serving of one another and that such gifts are used to glorify God and not men.
VII. A commitment to the preaching and teaching of sound doctrine.
A. We believe the church is to be “the pillar and support of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).” It is a dangerous thing to be vague about your doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3,10; 3:16; 4:6,13,16). Therefore, we are committed to preaching and teaching the doctrines of Scripture. It is entirely possible to have right doctrine without right living. But, it is entirely impossible to sustain right living with wrong doctrine. We must strive to believe right about God if we ever hope to live right before God.
B. We believe sound doctrine is the unifying anchor of the church. It is what we stand upon and strive for (Philippians 1:27; Jude 3).
C. We believe that the preaching of the Word of God is the God appointed means for saving and maturing the saints. As such it must be central to every ministry of the church. (1 Cor. 1:21; 1 Tim. 4:16; Eph. 4:11-13).
VIII. A commitment to develop godly families.
A. We believe that parents must be committed to the spiritual nurturing of their children and must aim to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
B. We believe that children must be trained to honor their parents and the Lord in attitudes as well as in actions. We are praying that God will raise up a generation of children who have both zeal and truth; who are not only obedient but passionately in love with God having supremacy in all things.
C. We are committed to developing spiritual husbands who make their priority to selflessly lay down their lives for their wives and love them as Christ loves the church.
D. We are committed to encouraging women to love their husbands and children, to be gentle and submissive to their husbands, and to be passionately devoted to Christ. Further, we believe it is essential that the husband and wife fulfill their biblical roles of leadership and submission as unto the Lord because of the testimony and glory it brings our Lord as it pictures His relationship with His bride, the church.