The values that color our vision and support our mission are as follows:
Treasuring Christ by:
PREACHING THE WORD
Our God is a God who must not only be examined but proclaimed (Rom 9.17). We believe that God has graciously revealed Himself to the world in a book, the Bible (2 Tim 3.16). And, as God is the One revealing, so the Word is objective, authoritative, unchangeable (Ps 119.89), having salvation and the worship of God as its end (1 Pet 1.23). Therefore, God Himself commands us to preach the Word (2 Tim 4.2). It is this divine command that we will set at the center of our lives and services of worship together, all else serves to frame the Word of God preached, which we otherwise title expository exultation.
Jesus Christ Himself has given us an interpretive lens upon all the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, that they bear witness about Him (Lk 24.44-48; Jn 5.39-40). Thus, true preaching is distinctively Christian preaching. The proclamation of God is Christ-centered. Indeed, in these last days God has spoken and revealed Himself to us climactically in His Son (Heb 1.2), God has made the message of Jesus Christ crucified to be His wisdom and power for those being saved (1 Cor 1.17-18), and God has designed the praise of the glory of His grace to advance in no other way than by the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ (Eph 1.13-14). Therefore, we will treasure Him by proclaiming Him (Col 1.28).
PURSUING COMMUNION WITH GOD
We believe that God Himself is perfectly satisfied in God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is no deficiency in the sweet enjoyment of divine communion, and God would lack nothing in the way of joy whatsoever whether one billion peoples or none delighted in Him. However, in His divine joy God has created and redeemed us for Himself that we might daily experience the all-satisfying joy of communion with Him (1 Jn 1.3-4), resulting in a passion for the supremacy of God in all things, i.e., worship. And this is what God aims at in salvation, namely, the soul’s enjoyment of God which magnifies the infinite value and worth of His glory. Therefore, we believe that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever (Ps 42.1-2). We hold that the most immediate effect of the soul’s satisfaction in God is a life of holiness. Holiness is a matter, then, of one’s passion to see and have communion with God supremely (1 Jn 1.5, 7). Thus, we value a happy holiness derived from the personal and corporate, practical and pervasive communion with God, purchased for us by Jesus Christ, worked out in us by the Holy Spirit.
LIVING PERVASIVELY CHRISTIAN LIVES
The good that God is omnipotently working for us in all things is our exact conformity to Jesus Christ (Rom 8.28-29). Therefore, we will treasure Christ by valuing a pervasive Christianity. We desire all of our members to know that before all else, they are Christians, — in our marriages, as we parent, on the job, in our political involvement, as we eat and drink, in the classroom, on the field; when we do our taxes, our wills, our papers, our projects; we will come after Christ by denying ourselves and daily taking up our crosses as a matter of losing our lives for His sake (whereby we will save it, Lk 9.23-24). We will be intentionally Christian and so with rejoicing, willing to be “like men sentenced to death,” “a spectacle to the world, to angels, to men,” “fools for Christ’s sake,” “weak,” held in “disrepute,” “hungering and thirsting,” “being poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless,” “working with our own hands,” when reviled, blessing, when persecuted, enduring, when slandered, entreating, being “like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things (1 Cor 4.9-13).” We believe that in this way God’s kingdom is advancing (Phil 1.27-30), as we consider the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of the world (Heb 11.26), looking forward to the city whose designer and builder is God (Heb 11.10).
Cultivating Community by:
APPOINTING BIBLICALLY QUALIFIED OFFICERS
God has always delighted to call weak men to the noble task of shepherding His people. For the church, God has appointed two offices of leadership, the elder/pastor and the deacon. In 1 Timothy 3.1-13 (also Titus 1.5-9), God has irrevocably established the qualifications for these offices. The importance of identifying biblically qualified officers cannot be understated as a means to nurturing the community of the saints. This is plain by those titles given them by God: “overseers,” “stewards of God,” those who are “keeping watch over your souls,” “teachers,” and “shepherds.” And concerning deacons, the word itself means servant, that is, servants of the church. God has given these biblically qualified officers to the church for nurturing community among her members until all attain to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Therefore, we will intentionally seek to discern and appoint biblically qualified men for the office of elder/pastor, and biblically qualified men and women for the office of deacon/deaconess.
PRACTICING BIBLICAL COUNSELING
As we are faced with an onslaught of sins, weights, entanglements, trials, tribulations, sorrow, grief, and schemes of the devil, God has given us His Word to guide and train us in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God’s words should not only be brought to bear in our lives from the pulpit, but also in the interpersonal situations that arise in everyday life. The Scriptures sufficiently address everything in our lives either by direct application or implication. Thus, as the Scriptures are applied to our lives by the Spirit, we have all we need to live properly before God and towards others (Matt. 22:37-39; 2 Pet 1.3-4). In our counseling, we are not seeking mere moral or outward reform; biblical counseling is distinctive in that it aims at the supernatural change of the heart, because from the heart flow the springs of life (Prov 4.23). Therefore, we hold that the gospel is paramount in biblical counseling because it is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe (Rom 1.16). Summarily, the counsel given in and through the church will be biblical, prayerful, gospel-saturated, and aimed at the heart.
ENLISTING EVERY-MEMBER GOSPEL MINISTRY
Christian service is not exclusive to the biblically qualified and called officers of the church. These are given to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4.11-16). Therefore, we will nurture community by equipping the community to minister the gospel to one another, to be intentionally and lovingly invasive, to take the initiative in meeting the needs of the saints, in being available and accountable to one another, in speaking the Word of God into one another’s lives until our “communal blood runs Bibline,” and in encouraging one another to a habitual sharing of Jesus Christ in the world.
EMBRACING BIBLICAL GENDER ROLES
Even as God is one God in three eternal Persons, these Persons being equal in being and value but distinct in function or role, so God created human beings, male and female, in His image (Gen 1.26-27). An important part of that image, redeemed from the effects of the Fall by Christ Jesus, is the simultaneous equality and distinctiveness of men and women. Males and females, as created persons, carry equality in being and value; yet, they are distinguished by the roles that God has given to them. To men, God has given the function of leadership under the sovereign Word and grace of God, resulting in a valiant, kingdom advancing dominion, clothed in glad-hearted, self-sacrificial love. To women, God has given the role of helper, of entrusting herself, first to God, and (if married) also willingly to her husband, of being a gentle and quiet spirit, a laborer in the gospel, training the young women to live in accord with the Word of God, and so in this way advancing the kingdom of God. As manhood and womanhood are thus redeemed by Christ, both men and women will find their God-given design to be their God-given joy, like the harmonic pleasure of a perfectly recited ballet (Gen 2.18-25; Eph 5.22-33; 1 Pet 3.1-7).
ENCOURAGING FAMILY WORSHIP
We understand that the Fall has effected the family unit, that we live in a world of broken families, single-parent homes, and orphaned children. We also affirm singleness as good and legitimate insofar as it is held in purity for greater devotion to the Lord, but not as a means of selfishly putting off God’s good design of marriage and family. The household is akin to the church of God, and is each man’s realm of shepherding. It is not complexity but simplicity of worship that we value in the home. This would include praying, reading the Bible, doing the Bible, serving the saints, eating with sinners and tax collectors, etc., as a family. We desire God in Christ to be set upon the throne of the home, giving our children the opportunity to see their parents worshiping God, treasuring Christ, begging for the fullness of the Holy Spirit, learning, loving, and teaching the gospel, confessing their sins and setting their hope fully upon the saving work of God through Christ by the Spirit. Such worship within the family is precious to God, and so also to us as a church (Deut 6.4-9, 20-25; Eph 6.1-4; 2 Tim 1.5).
Loving the World by:
EMPLOYING MINISTRIES OF MERCY
God is abundant in holy mercy, in defending the cause of the orphan, the widow, and the sojourner — in a word, the helpless (Deut 10.18; Jer 22.16). This has been made clear in the sending of His Son into the world, the fruit of which was the full and complete salvation of the elect out of Adam’s helpless race. Mercy is in the air we breathe [common grace] and, most essentially, in the new heart we receive by faith [saving grace]. Because our whole existence is one of mercy divine, we are called of God in Christ to minister mercy to the broken and helpless of our city and world (Js 1.27). We understand that the greatest mercy that we can offer to anyone is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Coinciding with this, we will do our utmost, as we have the resources, to defend the cause of the poor and needy, operating under the condition that if mercy is abused, mercy limits mercy. This includes our desire to establish a global diaconate, a team of believers clothed in the readiness of the gospel to respond to the world’s major crises, both of body and soul.
SEEKING ETHNIC DIVERSITY AND HARMONY
Around the throne of God and the Lamb are worshippers from all tribes and peoples and languages crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Rev 7.9-10)! Thus, the church in glory will consist of ethnic diversity united harmonically in worship of God and the Lamb, that is, the gospel harmonizes the nations without erasing their diversity and the center is the sovereign salvation of God in Jesus Christ. We desire the church present to be a foretaste of this glorious scene. Indeed, now, in Christ, there is neither Jew nor non-Jew, slave nor free, male nor female in the sense that any has an advantage with God on the basis of ethnicity, social privilege or gender. All are one in Christ, having their acceptance with God on the basis of faith in Christ (Gal 3.25-29). By the supernatural new birth, which arouses faith, God has made one new man in Christ Jesus — the Christian, the child of God (Eph 2.15). Therefore, we will seek to gather people unlike ourselves into the one body of Jesus Christ, and to display gospel love to one another.
DEPLOYING CROSS-CULTURAL MISSIONARIES
God created heaven, the heaven of heavens, the earth and all that is in it (Deut 10.14). God made all the nations (Deut 26.19). God has given to the nations their inheritance, divided mankind, and fixed the borders of the peoples (Deut 32.8-9). God is the Sovereign of all the earth (Neh 9).. God is the Redeemer of sinners through Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2.5). Jesus is, Himself, infinitely worthy to receive the nations as His inheritance (Isa 49.6). Jesus is the light of salvation to be taken to the end of the earth (Isa 49.6). And Jesus commanded His church to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28.16-20). Because of these things, we are joyfully constrained by the love of Christ (2 Cor 5.14-15) to endeavor all to bring the gospel of God about Jesus Christ to all peoples for their joy in Him. We will prioritize the training, sending, and support of cross-cultural missionaries, especially to reach the unreached peoples of the world.