It is our desire to teach and preach and live out the Bible, which is the Word of God. It is there that we find timeless truths for 21st century living. If we’re not Bible-saturated and Christ-centered, then no doctrinal statements, however good they may be, are worth the paper they’re printed on. However, neither can we be so generic that we stand for almost nothing. Please keep reading for details on what we teach.
What a church teaches is arguably the most important thing about that church. Throughout the gospels, Jesus was incredibly gracious to the people He met, with the sole exception of when He ran into false teachers. For them, He often gave scathing rebukes. Why? Because He knew that false teaching leads to hell (Matt. 23:15). (Listen to John MacArthur’s 2-minute commentary on that issue.)
GBC Allen is not looking for “new truths”. We’re not interested in “creative theology”. We don’t adapt our doctrine so that it is culturally palatable. Our desire is to teach and preach the timeless truths of God’s Word, the Bible – first, for the glory of Christ, and second, to help you apply them for 21st century living so that you can experience the “simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3).
So that you may know what we believe and what we teach, these documents detail our understanding of the Bible:
- To be a member of GBC Allen, we expect you to understand and agree with this basic Statement of Faith
- To be in an official leadership position, we expect you to understand and agree with our full Doctrinal Statement (click on What We Teach), which is identical to that of The Master’s Seminary.
We also agree with these statements (which are addendums to our Doctrinal Statement):
- The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
- The Cambridge Declaration (5 Solas) of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
- The Danvers Statement from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
- Section 4 of the Answers in Genesis statement of faith (related to the subject of Genesis and Creationism)
- We are also in substantial agreement with the 1689 London Baptist Confession
We hold as dear the 5 Solas of the Reformation and the Doctrines of Grace.
Grace Bible Church is committed to the biblical and historical theology of the Protestant Reformation. We eagerly affirm that Scripture alone is the guide for life and faith, salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and will be for God’s glory alone.
One way to summarize all that is that we are Reformed Baptists. But what does that mean? A short answer to what “reformed” means can be seen in this 2-minute video from a dear Presbyterian pastor, Ligon Duncan.
The short answer to “what are Reformed Baptists?” is that it simply means that we are Baptists who hold to the major biblical and theological principles of the Protestant Reformation. We believe that the Bible alone is our sufficient standard for truth and life, that we are saved from the penalty and power of our sins by grace alone through faith alone, and that only the work of Jesus Christ, God’s unique Son, is sufficient for our salvation. Although we may not hold to ALL of what some call “Reformed” theology in the sense of full or strict adherence to the 1689 London Baptist Confession (particularly in the areas of Covenant Theology and Christian Sabbath), we are in substantial agreement with 1689 LBC, as noted above.
A longer answer to the question “what is a Reformed Baptist” is made by the excellent author Robert G. Spinney:
A Reformed Baptist church is a Bible-centered, doctrinally conservative, Christ-focused, and grace-emphasizing church. It embraces both the truths championed in the Protestant Reformation as well as a Baptist understanding of believer’s baptism and local church autonomy.Some refer to Reformed Baptists as Historic Baptists. This is because Reformed Baptists affirm the same doctrinal positions:
- That the English Puritan Baptists affirmed in the 1600s (these English Baptists, like Pilgrim’s Progress author John Bunyan, were the founding fathers of most of today’s Baptist denominations);
- That prominent Baptist leaders like Charles Spurgeon and William Carey affirmed in the 1800s; and
- That the Southern Baptist Convention affirmed up until the late 1800s.Today’s Reformed Baptist churches (like most Baptists before 1870) regard the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith as a concise summary of the Bible’s main doctrinal teachings.Reformed Baptist churches – like their Baptist forefathers – accept the foundational truths of the Protestant Reformation as essential to correct doctrine. These truths include the so-called Five Solas of the Reformation:
- Sola scriptura, or Truth based upon Scripture alone;
- Sola gratia, or salvation by grace alone;
- Sola fide, or salvation through faith alone;
- Solus Christus, or salvation through Christ alone; and
- Soli Deo gloria, or to God alone be all glory.In practice, this means that Reformed Baptist churches hold to an inerrant and wholly sufficient Bible. The Word of God is our only rule for matters of faith and conduct.It also means that Reformed Baptist churches emphasize salvation by grace alone (apart from man’s works) based upon the substitutionary atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Sinners are declared righteous (or justified) by faith in Christ alone. And we respond to questions like, “Why did God create the world?” and “Why does God save sinners through Jesus Christ?” and “Why does God intervene in men’s lives today?” by answering, “To showcase and draw attention to His glory.” Accordingly, Reformed Baptists frequently summarize their life’s purpose (or their chief end, as the Puritans put it) as glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.Reformed Baptist churches are committed to evangelism and global missionary projects. Some assume (erroneously) that a Reformed church (i.e., one that embraces the total depravity of man, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints) will not be committed to fulfilling the Great Commission. Not true! Reformed Baptists are eager to preach the Gospel to every creature, not only because God has commanded that we do so but because we are confident that God will save His people when His Gospel – which is the power of God unto salvation – is proclaimed. Over the past three hundred years, Reformed Baptists have been at the forefront of many of the church’s global missionary endeavors.
Shown below are some quotes by men of God on the subject of doctrine:
Inability to distinguish doctrine is spreading far and wide, and so long as the preacher is “clever” and “earnest,” hundreds seem to think it must be all right, and call you dreadfully “narrow and uncharitable” if you hint that he is unsound! – J.C. Ryle
We should no more tolerate false doctrine that we would tolerate sin. – J.C. Ryle
We believe in the five great points commonly known as Calvinistic; but we do not regard these five points as being barbed shafts which we are to thrust between the ribs of our fellow-Christians. We look upon them as being five great lamps which help to irradiate the cross; or, rather, five bright emanations springing from the glorious covenant of our Triune God, and illustrating the great doctrines of Jesus crucified. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse than useless; it does positive harm. Something of ‘the image of Christ’ must be seen and observed by others in our private life, and habits, and character, and doings. – J.C. Ryle
Now, in order that true religion may shine upon us, we ought to hold that it must take its beginning from heavenly doctrine and that no one can get even the slightest taste of right and sound doctrine unless he be a pupil of Scripture. – John Calvin
Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world. – Francis Schaeffer
Those who teach by their doctrine must teach by their life, or else they pull down with one hand what they build up with the other. – Matthew Henry
The foundation of true holiness and true Christian worship is the doctrine of the gospel, what we are to believe. So when Christian doctrine is neglected, forsaken, or corrupted, true holiness and worship will also be neglected, forsaken, and corrupted. – John Owen
Good conduct arises out of good doctrine. – John Stott