First, we are of course a Christian church. That says it. But then again we must realize that it doesn’t say much to very many people, for it is a term that is used with so many different points of reference that it lacks real precision. To various people “Christian” might mean Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox or simply non-Jewish or non-Muslim. So we would go another step and gladly identify ourselves more specifically — we are a Protestant church.
Further, we believe in the historic Christian teachings of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, justification by faith alone, and that salvation is a supernatural work of God’s grace. And we do not believe in the efficacy of the sacraments — that saving grace is communicated via the waters of baptism, for example. These kinds of doctrines regarding the Scriptures and salvation identify us as within the historic Evangelical tradition.
Next, we believe that the church consists of believers only, and we recognize that scripture authorizes baptism as immersion and that it is to be administered for believers only. These are known asBaptist distinctives.
Next, believing as we do that salvation is the result of the supernatural workings of divine grace, we believe that God is sovereign in saving sinners. This is sometimes referred to as “sovereign grace” but is known generally as Reformed theology.
And in all this we strive to be a gospel-centered and gospel-shaped church. By that we simply mean that we want this saving distinctive of Christianity to have a shaping influence in every aspect of our ministry.
Now of course all of these terms can carry other connotations along with them, depending on their associations with the varying experiences of the one who hears them. In our generation especially,Evangelical has come to connote other things also, some of which would be true of us and some wouldn’t. Similarly, Baptists come in all varieties, and so the term Baptist can carry a wide range of connotations also. And so on. And of course there are other labels which we could use to describe our church with more or less accuracy. We would also want to say that we are an evangelistic church, which simply means that we seek opportunity to give the gospel to those who are not saved. We are an independent church in that we are unaffiliated with any denominational body. We are a historic evangelical church in that our doctrinal statement reflects the theological beliefs traditionally held by evangelical Protestants, and the fundamentals of the faith, such as the substitutionary death of Christ, his virgin birth and resurrection, and so on. We are a Bible or Biblical church, which means we emphasize the inspiration and authority of Scripture and give attention, therefore, to its exposition and application to our lives. Negatively, we are non-charismatic, which means we do not believe in the continuing validity of the miraculous gifts.
And so one we could go, but we do not want to major on minors. This should be more than enough to define who we are and what we are all about. In brief, we seek to be a church that is shaped by the Christian gospel. It is our desire to know and make known the Lord Jesus Christ — incarnate, crucified, risen, and returning — and to make as many people as possible his fully devoted disciples.