We are a Protestant Church

The Protestant movement is generally considered to have begun in 1517 with Martin Luther’s nailing up of the “Ninety-Five Theses” on a church door in Wittenberg, in what is today Germany.  Protestant Churches are generally characterized by five statements which are often called the five “solas.”  “Sola” is the Latin word for “only,” and the Protestant movement insisted that there were five “only” statements that must define the Christian Faith:

  • Only Scripture We believe that only the Bible (the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments), which is the inspired word of God, can be the ultimate authority in the Church.  All Creeds and Confessions, and personal feelings and opinions, must be submitted to the authority of scripture.

  • Only Grace   At the time of the Protestant Reformation, there were many who believed that it was because of merit that we were saved.  As a Protestant Church, we believe that it is for no other cause than the grace of God that we are saved.

  • Only Faith  Throughout Church history there have been (and still are) those who teach that we are not saved by grace through faith, but rather they believe that we are saved because of our good works.  We believe that although it is certainly true that genuine faith produces good works, it is still the faith alone through which we are saved.

  • Only Christ  We believe that there is only one Savior, Jesus Christ.  We pray in no other name and trust in no other person or angel to deliver us from sin or trouble.

  • Only to God be Glory  All of life should be aimed at this one great goal – to bring glory to God.  We worship our triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – no other person, angel, or thing!

We Are a Reformed Church

Within the Protestant movement, several different branches developed.  The three primary branches of this movement were the Anabaptist, the Lutheran, and the Reformed.  The Reformed branch of the Protestant movement was most influential in the Reformation of Switzerland, France, Hungary, and England.  The English speaking Puritan churches of the 17th century, mostly the Congregational, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches, continued this branch of Protestantism.  Reformed churches tend to share some basic distinctives:

  • The Sovereignty of God  We believe that God is sovereign  in creation – in actively maintaining his universe, and in salvation – in drawing and leading us to himself by his Spirit.

  • Simplicity in Worship – Our worship services are often considered basic.  We intentionally do only those things that the Bible instructs us to do in worship: we sing, pray, read from the scriptures together, hear sermons, and collect offerings.  We embrace what has been called “the regulative principle” – in worship only those things that God has explicitly instructed us to do in the Bible or given us an example of his people doing in the Bible are permissible.

  • “Calvinism” – We believe that the following five propositions are truly biblical:

    1. Total Depravity – We are all born sinners and cannot please God on our own.  Eph. 2:2-3; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:10-11; John 3:19

    2. Unconditional Election – God does not choose us because of any condition we meet before or after his choosing us.  Rom. 8:28-29; Rom. 9:11; 1 Cor. 1:26-29; 2 Tim. 1:9

    3. Limited Atonement – Jesus Christ died for the sins of all who will in God’s time look to Christ for forgiveness of their sins.  Rom. 3:24; Eph. 5:25; John 10:14-15,46; Matt. 1:21

    4. Irresistible Grace – God’s grace is stronger than our sinful wills – and those whom he draws will come to him.  2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 4:4-5; John 5:21; 6:37; Eph. 2:4-5; John 6:44

    5. Perseverance of the Saints – Once we are truly saved, we do not lose our salvation.  Philp. 1:6; John 17:2; James 1:18; Eph. 1:11; 2 Thess. 2:13; Jude 24-25

We Are an Evangelical Church

By the early twentieth century, a distinction in churches was becoming apparent that cut across all previous denominational lines.  Some churches were embracing what was called “modernity” and increasingly denying the infallibility of scripture and the necessity of Christ’s work, while other churches were being renewed by the nineteenth and early twentieth century revivals that swept the UK, South Africa, and America.  The churches that maintained their focus on the saving work of Christ as being the central, defining truth for the Church’s life and mission were eventually called “evangelical.”  Evangelical churches typically share common emphases:

  • The Gospel  The gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for sins and that we can have forgiveness through repentance and faith, is the theme of the preaching ministry of the church.

  • Evangelism  We as a church are committed to the spread of the gospel worldwide – beginning in our families and neighborhoods.