our distinctives

Note from the Elders:

Below are eight categories we believe to be distinctive about our church. They are not meant to be an indictment of other churches, but to help you understand more about us as a church which you are seeking to join.

As with the Essential Doctrines, these are categories with which teachers, guest preachers, small group leaders, etc. in our church must agree. We are not demanding full agreement with these distinctives from every member, but we are asking for members to not obstinately advocate for viewpoints contrary to these distinctives.

And again, as with the Essential Doctrines, comprehensive knowledge of these distinctives is not prerequisite for membership at Faith Bible Church. We only ask that members understand these to be our positions and not persist in opposition to them.

1) High View of God

Although God is immanent—accessible to us as Abba Father—Scripture also teaches He is transcendent—exalted far above us as our Sovereign King. Therefore, He must be treated with profound reverence and respect and never taken lightly. God’s transcendence is captured in the attribute we call His holiness. God is holy or transcendent in two related, but ultimately distinct ways: He is transcendent in His moral purity and also transcendent in His majesty. He is separate or distinct from and exalted above everything else in the universe. Our greatest prayer must always be that God’s transcendence is seen and known in the worship of this church and that He therefore is both loved and feared. It is our profound desire and chief concern that in our worship we treat God as separate, distinct, set apart, majestic, and transcendent. It is only in understanding His transcendence that we can truly see the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ through which we are reconciled and brought near to such a great and awesome God.

2) High View of Scripture

The inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God provides the foundation and contours of our beliefs. As such, the Scriptures inform every facet of life and practice (2 Timothy 3:16). Scripture provides the form and content for preaching, worship, and singing. The Bible is God’s self-revelation and states the purpose for which He created us. It also helps us to understand our own hearts of sin and the broken world in which we live because of man’s fall into sin. Through His Word, God has also revealed the way of salvation in Christ to restore sinful human beings into the image of Christ for His glory.

3) The Five Solas of the Reformation

We promote the five Reformation watchwords or battle cries, centered around the Latin word solus, meaning "alone". These watchwords capsulate Protestant teaching.

Sola Scriptura

Scripture Alone: The Bible is the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God, and it is the only rule and authority for faith and practice. This means that we endeavor to submit unconditionally to everything the Bible teaches (2 Tim. 3:16).

Sola Gratia

Grace Alone: We can only be saved from sin and its consequences by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. This manifestation of God's sovereign goodness to sinners, which excludes all human merit, the Bible calls the grace of God (Eph. 2:8). Our salvation is altogether of God; from beginning to end, it is only by God's free mercy and grace.

Sola Fide

Faith Alone: Salvation is not the result of our own accomplishments or works, but is obtained only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement accomplished on Calvary's cross. By faith in the perfect obedience of Christ we become righteous before God, trusting only in the finished work of Christ (Heb. 4:2).

Solus Christus

Christ Alone: The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), who has made an effective, complete and final atonement for sin. Therefore, He is the only One through whom we can be reconciled with our Creator, whom we have offended by our sins. Only Christ's perfect sacrifice and righteousness are acceptable to God (John 14:6), and through Him we have direct access to God.

Soli Deo Gloria

Glory to God only: The primary purpose of our existence is to live to God's glory, which therefore is the primary purpose of our salvation. This means that all honor and glory for our salvation must be given to God alone (Rev. 7:12).

4) The Sovereignty of God's Grace in Salvation

This is powerfully illustrated by the so-called "Five Points of Calvinism" succinctly summarized as follows:

Total depravity (sovereign grace needed): man is so depraved and corrupted by sin in every part of his being that he is by nature incapable of doing any spiritual good and cannot affect any part of his salvation (Gen. 6:5).

Unconditional election (sovereign grace conceived): from eternity past, God chose to save certain individuals irrevocably to everlasting life and glory in Christ Jesus without seeing any intrinsic goodness in them, and He ordained the means by which they would be saved (Rom. 9:15-16).

Limited atonement (sovereign grace merited): while the death of Christ is sufficient to cover the sins of the world, its saving efficacy is intentionally limited to His elect sheep whose sins He bore and for whom He fully satisfied the justice of God (John 17:9).

Irresistible grace (sovereign grace applied): God irresistibly calls the elect to saving faith and salvation in Christ with such sovereign power that they can no longer resist His grace, but are made willing in the day of His power (Ps. 110:3; John 6:44-45).

Perseverance (sovereign grace preserved): those whom God saves, He graciously preserves in the state of grace so that they will never be lost. They may be troubled by infirmities as they seek to make their calling and election sure, but they will persevere until the end, fighting the good fight of faith until the final victory shall be realized in the coming again of their Savior and Lord as Judge (John 10:28).

5) Cessation of Miraculous Gifts

God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers. Thus they (the miraculous or sign gifts) have ceased to be present in the life of the Christian church (1 Cor.12:4-11, 13:8-10, 2 Cor. 12:12, Eph. 4:7-12, Heb. 2:1-4).

This does not mean that Christian do not pray for the physical healing of others. God has commanded us to pray for this (John 16:24; James 5:14-15). It means that we believe that no individual Christian has the spiritual gift of healing today (2 Timothy 4:20).

The gift of tongues was the miraculous, God-given capacity to communicate the truth of God's Word in human languages the speaker had never learned or studied (Acts 2:4-12; 8:15-17; 10:44-46; 19:1-7). It was a manifestation of God's power and blessing to validate the gospel message the Apostles taught and to establish the early church (Acts 14:3; 1 Cor. 14:22; 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3-4). We believe that ecstatic outbursts and private prayer languages share nothing in common with the New Testament gift of tongues, and that they are patently unbiblical (Acts 2:4-12; 1 Cor. 14:5, 13, 27).

6) The Role of Women (a Complementarian view)

We believe that both men and women bear the image of God and that those in Christ enjoy equal spiritual standing before God (Gen. 1:27; 5:1-2; Gal. 3:28).

But Scripture teaches that God has assigned different roles and responsibilities to men and women. In the home, the husband is to be the gracious, loving head and the wife is to submit to her husband's leadership (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).

God has provided equally clear roles in the church. While there are many ways women can and should serve, we believe that Scripture forbids women from teaching and leading men, or in any way exercising authority over men in the context of the church (1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:9-12; 3:1-2, 5).

7) Marriage

We believe marriage is a gift of God’s common grace to all mankind as a fundamental building block of society (Gen. 1:28; 2:18, 24; Ps. 127:3; Prov. 18:22; 31:10-11; Heb. 13:4).

As the architect of marriage, God alone retains the right to define its constructs and guidelines, and He has done so in His Word (Gen. 2:18-24).

In accordance with Scripture, we teach that God’s design for marriage is a public, formal, and official covenant between one male and one female for life (Gen. 2:24; Prov. 2:17; Ezek. 16:8-14; Mal. 2:14).

God designed the marriage covenant to be a life-long bond, with divorce permitted only in (1) the case of unrepentant sexual sin (In keeping with the spirit of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, we urge reconciliation in most cases in the event of an unfaithful spouse who demonstrates sincere biblical repentance cf. Hos. 1-3; 11; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13) or (2) of desertion by an unbeliever (Mal. 2:16; Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; 1 Cor. 7:12-16, 24).

Although sexual sins of thought are not justification for divorce, all sexual immorality, both thoughts and behavior, must be taken seriously as a transgression against God (Job 31:1; Matt. 5:28; 15:19; James 1:14-15).

God intends that the union between two believers be a loving illustration of the relationship between Christ and His church, when carried out in obedience to the Bible and through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18-33; 2 Cor. 6:14; 1 Pet. 3:7).

8) Human Sexuality

We believe that God created mankind in His own image (Gen. 1:27; 5:1; 9:6; James 3:9).

In two separate acts, He created only two distinct genders: male and female (Gen. 1:27; 5:1-2; Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6).

The genders of Adam and Eve were established by God and defined by their physiological sex at creation (Gen. 1:27; 2:7, 22).

Subsequent to creation, God determines the gender of all other humans by their physiological sex at the time of birth (Gen. 18:10; Lev. 12:2, 5, 7).

Thus, all attempts to redefine human sexuality beyond the physiological male-female distinction (whether framed biologically or culturally) and all attempts to change one’s birth gender are sinful rebellion against our Creator. As our Creator, God stipulates in His Word that the only legitimate and acceptable sexual desires and sexual acts are those between a man and a woman within the context of marriage (Gen. 2:24; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Matt. 5:28; 19:4-6; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 7:1-5; Gal. 5:19- 21; 1 Th. 4:3-8; 1 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 13:4).