What We Believe…
The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, Woodville Community Church accepts as true. No human opinion or decree of any church group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scriptures do not carry Scripture’s inherent authority.
2 Timothy 3:15-1
1 Thessalonians 2:13
2 Peter 1:20, 21
Autonomy of the Local Church
The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church’s beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. Woodville Community Church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and in an associational tie, but Woodville Community church cannot be a “member” of any other body.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23
Priesthood of the Believer
Priest is defined as one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God. Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and people. As priests, we can study God’s Word, pray for others and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God and serve God as one local body.
1 Peter 2:5, 9
Revelation 5:9, 10
The local church should practice two ordinances (1) baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, and (2) the Lord’s Supper; or communion, commemorating His death, burial, and resurrection for our sins.
Matthew 28:19, 20
1 Corinthians 11:23-32
Individual Soul Liberty
Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm. No one should be forced to assent to any belief against his will. Woodville Community Church has always opposed religious persecution. However; this liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself.
2 Corinthians 4:2
Saved, Baptized Church Membership
Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly professed that faith. When the members of a local church are believers, a oneness in Christ exists, and the members can endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
1 Corinthians 12:12
2 Corinthians 6:14
The Bible mandates only two offices in the church–elder and deacon. The three terms –“pastor”, “elder” and “bishop,” or “overseer” –all refer to the same office. The two offices of elder and deacon exist within the local church, not as a hierarchy outside or over the local church.
1 Timothy 3:1-13
Separation of Church and State
God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government’s purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1-7 and the church’s purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government.
As a confessional church, we subscribe to the 1689 Baptist Confession of faith creed. To view this confession of faith, click the “1689 square icon” below to bring you to the detailed creed.
The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith
Woodville Community Church Doctrinal Constitution
We believe that the Holy Bible was [a] written by men controlled by the Holy Spirit; [b] that it has truth without an admixture of error for its matter; and [c] therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age, the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man; the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions should be tried.
By “THE HOLY BIBLE,” we mean that collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, which, as originally written, does not contain and convey the word of God, but IS the very WORD of God.
By “INSPIRATION,” we mean that the books of the Bible were written by holy men of old, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally inspired and free from error, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be inspired.
The True God
We believe that there is [a] one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the Maker and supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; [b] inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; [c] that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person [a] equal with God the Father and [b] God the Son and [c] of the same nature; [d] that He was active in the creation; [e] that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God’s purpose is fulfilled; [f] that He convicts of sin, of judgment and of righteousness; [g] that He bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; [g] that He is the agent in the new birth; [i] that He seals, baptizes, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer. And that the fruit of the Spirit [love, joy peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance] is the evidence of His indwelling rather than the speaking in tongues and other spectacular demonstrations.
We believe that the sanctification has a two-fold meaning: [a] that of setting apart of things, days, or persons specifically for God, and that the believer at the time of his regeneration is so set apart by God the Father; [b] the progressive work of the Holy Spirit whereby the believer, obedient to the Word of God experiences the power of the indwelling Christ for holiness of life and victory over the old nature, which work will be completed when the believer stands in Christ’s presence.
The Devil, or Satan
We believe that Satan was once [a] holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors; but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell and [b] drew after him a host of angels; that he is now [c] the malignant prince of the power of the air, and the unholy god of this world. [d] We hold him to be man’s great tempter, [e] the enemy of God and His Christ, [f] the accuser of the saints, [g] the author of all false apostasy, [h] the lord of the anti-christ, and [i] the author of all powers of darkness-destined however [j] to final defeat at the hands of God’s Son, and [k] to the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.
We believe in the Genesis account of creation, and [a] that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; [b] that man was created directly in God’s image and after His own likeness; [c] that man’s creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; [d] that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God’s established law was that they should bring forth only “after their kind.”
The Fall Of Man
We believe [a] that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but [b] by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state, [c] in consequence of which, all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but of choice; and [d] therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse. [e] Mankind has no ability to seek after God, nor can he come to saving faith without the supernatural work of saving grace alone, through Christ alone, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Virgin Birth
We believe [a] that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit in a miraculous manner; [b] born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and [c] that He is both the Son of God, and God, the Son.
The Atonement For Sin
We believe [a] that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; an intentional atonement [b] through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, Who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature, yet without sin, honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins; [c] that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the Just dying for the unjust; Christ, the Lord, bearing oursins inHis own body on the tree; [d] that having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in heaven, and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection. He is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and an all-sufficient Savior.
Grace in the New Creation
We believe [a] that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated (born again); [b] that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; [c] that it is instantaneous and not a process; [d] that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; [e] that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, not by culture, not by character, nor by the will of man, but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; [f] that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life.
The Freeness of Salvation
We believe [a] in God’s electing grace; that before the foundation of the world, God chose to elect those He foreknew to be a crowing display of His redemptive work, to show fourth His love and grace to mankind. [b] that the blessings of salvation are made free to those through the gospel; [c] that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and [d] that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel, [e] which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation to a literal hell.
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is justification; [a] that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the gift of eternal life on principles of righteousness; [b] that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood. His righteousness is imputed unto us.
Repentance and Faith
We believe that repentance and faith are [a] solemn obligations, and [b] also inseparable graces, [c] wrought in our souls by the quickening Spirit of God; [d] thereby, being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession and supplication for mercy; [e] at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confessing Him as our only and all-sufficient Savior.
We believe that the church of Christ is a local congregation of redeemed individuals [a] associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel; [b] observing the ordinances of Christ; [c] governed by His laws; and [d] exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word [e] that its scripturally designated officers are elders and deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are clearly defined in the scriptures; [f] we believe the true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission, and the edification of the saints. This Church is under the authority of Jesus Christ, and the authority of the holy Scriptures. [h] We believe that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its cooperation; [i] on all matters of membership, of policy, of discipline, of benevolence, the direction of this local Church Board determines how this Church exercises its decisions.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two means of grace this church observes to remind us of the finished work of Christ on our behalf. They show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life. They were instituted by God so that by our use of them He might make us understand more clearly the promise of the gospel.
We practice believer’s baptism by immersion into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. This shows forth the promise and symbol of the finished work of Christ. Buried in the likeness of His death, raised in the likeness of His resurrection.
The Lord’s Supper is a memorial service in which the elements of bread and juice remind us of the love of God in Christ Jesus, “Who spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all;” and that this means of grace is to be observed in anticipation of His second coming and preceded always by solemn self-examination. All individuals who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are invited to partake in the Lord’s Supper.
The Perseverance Of The Saints
We believe [a] that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; [b] that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; [c] that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and [d] that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto eternal salvation. We do not believe that a true believer can lose their salvation.
The Righteous And The Wicked
We believe that [a] there is radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; [b] that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of God, are truly righteous in His esteem; [c] while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; [d] and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting happiness of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost.
We believe that civil government is [a] of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; [b] the magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed; [c] except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ; [d] Who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the kings of the earth.
The Resurrection, Return of Christ And Related Events
Historically, the Reformed faith has taken no official position in regards to the second coming of Christ and an eternal kingdom. We believe in and accept the sacred scriptures upon these subjects at their face and full value:
We affirm that the return of Christ for all believers is imminent. We believe in a pre-tribulational rapture (catching away) of the church (all saved). It will be followed by seven years of great tribulation and then the second coming of Christ to establish His earthly kingdom for a thousand years. The unsaved will then be raised and judged at the Great White Throne Judgment according to their works and separated forever from God in hell. The saved, having been raised, will live forever in a new heaven and a new earth in fellowship with God.
Other Guidelines and Policies
Ethical Guidelines for Christian Living
Every Christian believer being freed from the Law is both privileged and obligated under God to enter into a new and dynamic way of living. By yielding ourselves to God’s Spirit within, we are to “walk in Him.” Thus experiencing the love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance which He alone is able and desirous to produce in our lives. (Galatians 5: 16, 22).
In contrast to the “Fruit of the Spirit,” there are those things enumerated in the Scripture as the “works of the flesh,” hated by God and to be mortified (fought against) by the Christian believer. The following are typical, though not exhaustive: pride, envy, coveting, anger, wrath, hatred, lying, sowing discord, strife, blasphemy, filthy talking, heresy, stealing, drunkenness, extortion, fornication = (pre-martial, extra-marital, homosexual sexual sins), revelings. (Prov. 6: 16-19; Gal. 5: 19-21; Col. 3: 5-9)
We live in a society where moral relativism has supplanted truth, where material gain is not achieved by hard work and thrift, but by dreams of lottery and casino winnings; where alcohol and drugs wreak havoc with individuals and families; where human sexuality is degraded and debased in films, television, videos, magazines, and internet.
We are responsible before God to love one another and we owe each other the debt of love and respect. It is also our responsibility to hold one another accountable with a spirit of gentleness and humility realizing that we are not above reproach to any sin or any temptation.
Discipline of Members
The purpose of all discipline shall be to strengthen the local Church by promoting consistent Christian living. Every effort shall be made to restore erring members to fellowship and active membership of the Church.
Section A. Reasons, Purpose, and Procedures.
1. The Reasons for Discipline. There are two reasons for discipline:
a. Doctrinal deviation or heresy
b. Immoral conduct, lying tongue, sowing discord among the congregation, unrepentant sinful behavior, unbiblical divorce or remarriage, physical or significant emotional abuse, abandonment, or the violation of a Woodville Community Church policy as determined by the Council.
2. The Purpose of and Procedure for Church Discipline. The purpose of church discipline is to effect the return to a biblical standard of conduct and doctrine, to restore a member who errs, to maintain purity in the local church, and to deter sin (Galatians 6: 1; 1 Corinthians 5:6; 1 Timothy 5:20).
Members of this Church who err in doctrine or conduct will be subject to dismissal based on the principles of Matthew 18:12‐18. Before such dismissal, however, the following steps ought to be taken:
a. It is the duty of any member of this Church who has knowledge of the erring member’s heresy or misconduct to warn and to correct such erring member in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration.
b. If said erring member does not heed this warning, the warning member will again go to the erring member accompanied by one or two witnesses to warn and correct such erring member, seeking his or her repentance and restoration.
c. If said erring member still refuses to heed this warning, it will be brought to the attention of the Council. Any disciplinary action that is deemed necessary will be in the spirit of love and meekness (Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:14‐15).
d. If said erring member refuses to heed the warning of the Elders, he or she will be dismissed from the Church. The names of any whose status of membership has been changed shall be reported by announcement, either in writing or from the platform, in a regular service of the Church, indicating whether they have been placed on the lapsed membership or dismissed from the membership. If said member, after dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement, he or she may be restored to membership.
e. General information regarding the reasons for discipline, dismissal or the termination of a person’s membership, even after a member voluntarily withdraws membership, may be shared with the congregation, as determined by the Council.
Woodville Community Church Policy on Woman and Ministry
All people are special creations made in the image of God and are therefore deserving of respect and honor. Woman and men are created different from each other, but are of equal value before God. (Genesis 1: 26-27)
All people are in need of salvation. Salvation is extended to all on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ alone and they have equal spiritual standing before God as justified and complete in Him. (Genesis 3:16; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 2: 8-10)
All (believers) are divinely and uniquely gifted to assume ministry roles as responsible members of the Body of Christ. Full use of those gifts is vital and necessary and should be encouraged in order to provide for effective ministry in the church. (Acts 2:17-18; Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph.4)
Women (believers) are encouraged to be full participants in the life and worship of the church, except for the governing leadership of elder and deacon. The early church was governed by multiple, godly male leadership. It is this Church’s interpretation that the biblical evidence does not merit changing this pattern.
Woodville Community Church Policy on Marriage and Weddings
Woodville Community Church holds to the biblical pattern of marriage as being one man, one woman for a lifetime commitment of the covenant of holy matrimony.
Marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden, before sin. The first human relationship was a marriage and history will end with a marriage between
Jesus Christ and His glorious bride, the church. Marriage may be defined as follows: God has created marriage to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman, for the purpose of companionship, sexual unity, procreation and to display the love Christ has for His church. Marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman. Marriage, as intended by God, is between one man and one woman as long as they both shall live. We must reject any variations on this pattern including homosexual marriage, or polygamy.
While all people are loved by Woodville Community Church and are encouraged to attend any and all public services of Woodville Community Church, no church owned facility of Woodville Community Church may be used for any service or any form of celebration which has as its purpose uniting or marrying couples of the same sex; nor shall any licensed or ordained pastoral staff member of Woodville Community Church perform privately or publicly any such ceremony.
Genesis 2: 18-25; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Ephesians 5: 25-32; Romans 1: 26-27; Romans 13: 8-10; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; 1 Corinthians 7: 2-5; 1 Timothy 1:10
THE CAMBRIDGE DECLARATION
of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
April 20, 1996
Evangelical churches today are increasingly dominated by the spirit of this age rather than by the Spirit of Christ. As evangelicals, we call ourselves to repent of this sin and to recover the historic Christian faith.
In the course of history words change. In our day this has happened to the word “evangelical.” In the past it served as a bond of unity between Christians from a wide diversity of church traditions. Historic evangelicalism was confessional. It embraced the essential truths of Christianity as those were defined by the great ecumenical councils of the church. In addition, evangelicals also shared a common heritage in the “solas” of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation.
Today the light of the Reformation has been significantly dimmed. The consequence is that the word “evangelical” has become so inclusive as to have lost its meaning. We face the peril of losing the unity it has taken centuries to achieve. Because of this crisis and because of our love of Christ, his gospel and his church, we endeavor to assert anew our commitment to the central truths of the Reformation and of historic evangelicalism. These truths we affirm not because of their role in our traditions, but because we believe that they are central to the Bible.
Sola Scriptura: The Erosion Of Authority
Scripture alone is the inerrant rule of the church’s life, but the evangelical church today has separated Scripture from its authoritative function. In practice, the church is guided, far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic technique, marketing strategies, and the beat of the entertainment world often have far more to say about what the church wants, how it functions and what it offers, than does the Word of God. Pastors have neglected their rightful oversight of worship, including the doctrinal content of the music. As biblical authority has been abandoned in practice, as its truths have faded from Christian consciousness, and as its doctrines have lost their saliency, the church has been increasingly emptied of its integrity, moral authority and direction.
Rather than adapting Christian faith to satisfy the felt needs of consumers, we must proclaim the law as the only measure of true righteousness and the gospel as the only announcement of saving truth. Biblical truth is indispensable to the church’s understanding, nurture and discipline.
Scripture must take us beyond our perceived needs to our real needs and liberate us from seeing ourselves through the seductive images, cliche’s, promises. and priorities of mass culture. It is only in the light of God’s truth that we understand ourselves aright and see God’s provision for our need. The Bible, therefore, must be taught and preached in the church. Sermons must be expositions of the Bible and its teachings, not expressions of the preachers opinions or the ideas of the age. We must settle for nothing less than what God has given.
The work of the Holy Spirit in personal experience cannot be disengaged from Scripture. The Spirit does not speak in ways that are independent of Scripture. Apart from Scripture we would never have known of God’s grace in Christ. The biblical Word, rather than spiritual experience, is the test of truth.
Thesis One: Sola Scriptura
We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.
Solus Christus: The Erosion Of Christ-Centered Faith
As evangelical faith becomes secularized, its interests have been blurred with those of the culture. The result is a loss of absolute values, permissive individualism, and a substitution of wholeness for holiness, recovery for repentance, intuition for truth, feeling for belief, chance for providence, and immediate gratification for enduring hope. Christ and his cross have moved from the center of our vision.
Thesis Two: Solus Christus
We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.
We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.
Sola Gratia: The Erosion Of The Gospel
Unwarranted confidence in human ability is a product of fallen human nature. This false confidence now fills the evangelical world; from the self-esteem gospel, to the health and wealth gospel, from those who have transformed the gospel into a product to be sold and sinners into consumers who want to buy, to others who treat Christian faith as being true simply because it works. This silences the doctrine of justification regardless of the official commitments of our churches.
God’s grace in Christ is not merely necessary but is the sole efficient cause of salvation. We confess that human beings are born spiritually dead and are incapable even of cooperating with regenerating grace.
Thesis Three: Sola Gratia
We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.
We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.
Sola Fide: The Erosion Of The Chief Article
Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. This is the article by which the church stands or falls. Today this article is often ignored, distorted or sometimes even denied by leaders, scholars and pastors who claim to be evangelical. Although fallen human nature has always recoiled from recognizing its need for Christ’s imputed righteousness, modernity greatly fuels the fires of this discontent with the biblical Gospel. We have allowed this discontent to dictate the nature of our ministry and what it is we are preaching.
Many in the church growth movement believe that sociological understanding of those in the pew is as important to the success of the gospel as is the biblical truth which is proclaimed. As a result, theological convictions are frequently divorced from the work of the ministry. The marketing orientation in many churches takes this even further, erasing the distinction between the biblical Word and the world, robbing Christ’s cross of its offense, and reducing Christian faith to the principles and methods which bring success to secular corporations.
While the theology of the cross may be believed, these movements are actually emptying it of its meaning. There is no gospel except that of Christ’s substitution in our place whereby God imputed to him our sin and imputed to us his righteousness. Because he bore our judgment, we now walk in his grace as those who are forever pardoned, accepted and adopted as God’s children. There is no basis for our acceptance before God except in Christ’s saving work, not in our patriotism, churchly devotion or moral decency. The gospel declares what God has done for us in Christ. It is not about what we can do to reach him.
Thesis Four: Sola Fide
We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice.
We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.
Soli Deo Gloria: The Erosion Of God-Centered Worship
Wherever in the church biblical authority has been lost, Christ has been displaced, the gospel has been distorted, or faith has been perverted, it has always been for one reason: our interests have displaced God’s and we are doing his work in our way. The loss of God’s centrality in the life of today’s church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful. As a result, God, Christ and the Bible have come to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us.
God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings, the appetite for consumption, or our own private spiritual interests. We must focus on God in our worship, rather than the satisfaction of our personal needs. God is sovereign in worship; we are not. Our concern must be for God’s kingdom, not our own empires, popularity or success.
Thesis Five: Soli Deo Gloria
We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone. We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self- fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.
Call To Repentance And Reformation
The faithfulness of the evangelical church in the past contrasts sharply with its unfaithfulness in the present. Earlier in this century, evangelical churches sustained a remarkable missionary endeavor, and built many religious institutions to serve the cause of biblical truth and Christ’s kingdom. That was a time when Christian behavior and expectations were markedly different from those in the culture. Today they often are not. The evangelical world today is losing its biblical fidelity, moral compass and missionary zeal.
We repent of our worldliness. We have been influenced by the “gospels” of our secular culture, which are no gospels. We have weakened the church by our own lack of serious repentance, our blindness to the sins in ourselves which we see so clearly in others, and our inexcusable failure adequately to tell others about God’s saving work in Jesus Christ.
We also earnestly call back erring professing evangelicals who have deviated from God’s Word in the matters discussed in this Declaration. This includes those who declare that there is hope of eternal life apart from explicit faith in Jesus Christ, who claim that those who reject Christ in this life will be annihilated rather than endure the just judgment of God through eternal suffering, or who claim that evangelicals and Roman Catholics are one in Jesus Christ even where the biblical doctrine of justification is not believed.
The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals asks all Christians to give consideration to implementing this Declaration in the church’s worship, ministry, policies, life and evangelism. For Christ’s sake. Amen.
ACE Council Members:
Dr. John Armstrong
Rev. Alistair Begg
Dr. James M. Boice
Dr. W. Robert Godfrey
Dr. John D. Hannah
Dr. Michael S. Horton
Mrs. Rosemary Jensen
Dr. John F. MacArthur
Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Dr. Robert M. Norris
Dr. R. C. Sproul
Dr. G. Edward Veith
Dr. David Wells
Dr. Luder Whitlock
Dr. J. A. O. Preus, III
Below is a link on the doctrine of sovereign election by R.C. Sproul. We believe that this explanation of this difficult doctrine will add clarity to a hotly debated theological topic…enjoy!