we are protestant
In the early 16th century, a monk by the name of Martin Luther sparked what is known as the "Protestant Reformation". This reformation was a shift away from the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and towards the authority of Scripture. From that movement came the "Five Solas" of the Reformation which we still embrace:
The Five Solas are:
- Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
- Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
- Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
- Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
- Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
(2 Peter 1:20-21; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 2:8; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 John 1:1; Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; Acts 4:12; Hebrews 7:23; 1 Corinthians 10:31)
we are confessional
Every church has a list of things they believe. However, not all of them are willing to write them down. When a church's beliefs are written down (codified), the church is required to keep them, teach them, and use them as a standard of belief. At GfBC, we hold to the standard of faith known as the London Baptist Confession of 1689. That document is a summary of what we believe the Bible teaches about everything from the authority of Scripture to the final judgment (each section in the sidebar labeled "About" is one section of the 1689 Confession of Faith). Although we hold to a confession, our confession is only a reflection of what we believe the Bible teaches. Scripture has final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
We Are Calvinistic
Calvinism is a simple way of understanding what the Bible teaches about how a person is saved. It emphasizes the sovereignty of God and his eternal decrees. Although it is called "Calvinism" (after John Calvin), we believe it is simply Biblical Christianity.
- Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
- Unconditional Election
- Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Redemption)
- Irresistible Grace
- Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)
Total Depravity: Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body
(Mark 7:21-23, Jer. 17:9, Rom. 6:14-20, Rom. 3:11, 1 Cor. 2:14, Eph. 2:3, Phil. 1:29, John 6:28-29, Acts 13:48, Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; Rom. 9:9-23)
Unconditional Election: God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will without any consideration of merit or quality within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him (lest God learn and react to man's choices). Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not.
(Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:9-11,15,21)
Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption): Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus' sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus bore the sins of the elect only. This means that Christ did not simply make salvation possible for all humanity, but he actually accomplished the salvation of His elect by His work on the cross.
(Matt. 26:28; John 10:11,15 [cr. Matt. 25:32-33]; John 17:9; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25-27; Isaiah 53:12)
Irresistible Grace: When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call. This call is by the Holy Spirit who brings men to life spiritually and works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God.
(Rom. 9:16; Phil. 2:12-13; John 6:28-29; Acts 13:48; John 1:12-13)
Perseverance of the Saints: Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. Although they may still fall into sin, they will repent and continue in their belief, being preserved in faith until the end.
(John 10:27-28; John 6:47; Romans 8:1; 1 Cor. 10:13; Phil. 1:6)