About Uswhat we believe and where it comes from
All of our beliefs and convictions are derived from the Bible. The Bible is our final and ultimate authority. Our doctrines and distinctives are not original to us, but come to us from the historic and reformed faith. The celebration of the Sovereign Grace of God at Community is rooted in the Reformation itself. We are an old soul theology in a modern context. What we do as a church is driven by what we believe.
The Church’s final and ultimate authority is the Word of God. There are, however, explanations of biblical doctrine which have served the church throughout its history. The classic and Reformed confessions/creeds of the church have been born out of moments of much-needed clarity. They have also helped the church define orthodoxy, informed its worship and provided it with a trusted exposition of the Gospel of Christ. While they are not inspired, or authoritative, they are helpful. We have attached the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession to our church’s statement of faith in order to assist us in our pursuit of Reformed orthodoxy. To the extent that we can agree with its statements we affirm the usefulness of this document to the church. The elders of Community Bible Church have provided commentary where clarity is warranted and where it was necessary to demonstrate our diversion from aspects of the confession.
The Triune God
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit, co-identical in nature, coequal in power and glory. (Deut. 6:4; John 1:1-4; 16:7-15; Luke 1:35; Matt. 3:16-17)
God the Father
We believe in God, who is Spirit and a person; infinite, eternal and unchangeable in being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth; sovereign. (Deut. 4:15-18; John 4:24; Exodus 3:14; Num. 23:19)
God the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, and not merely an influence; that He is the source and power of all acceptable worship and service. We believe that His work is to convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, to convict and regenerate sinners, to dwell in the hearts of believers, to guide, comfort, protect and sanctify them in this world, and to glorify Christ. We believe that He will never depart from the Church nor from the weakest believers. (John 14:16-17,26; 16:13-15: Acts 1:8; 5:3-4; Rom. 8:2,16; I Cor. 6:19; 12:13; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 4:30; 5:18).
God the Son
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinners. (John 1:1,2,14; Luke 1:30-35; Phil 2:5-8; Heb. 4:15; Matt. 1:18-25) We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood in death on the cross as a representative, substitutionary sacrifice; and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical, resurrection from the dead. (Rom. 3:24-25; I Peter 2:24; Eph. 1:7; I Peter 1:3-5) We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor and Advocate. (Acts 1:9-10; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; Rom. 8:34; I John 2:1-2)
We believe in the verbal, plenary God-breathed inspiration of the Bible, both the Old and New Testament, consisting of 66 books, inerrant in the original writings. (II Tim. 3:16,17; Matt. 5:18; II Peter 1:21,22; John 16:12,13)
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; and that man is totally depraved in the sense that his whole being is affected and cursed by sin so that he cannot, in this state, please God. We believe that he is unrighteous in an absolute sense and can only accomplish relative good. We believe that he is lost and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. (Gen. 1:26-27; Eph. 2:1-3, 12; Rom. 3:22; 5:12) We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and that man is justified by faith in Jesus Christ alone, and is thus given a new position of righteousness and holy standing before God, in which he becomes a son of God by spiritual rebirth, a new creation in Christ. (John 1:12; Rom. 8:1,38-39; I Cor. 1:14-15; 10:10; II Cor. 5:17) We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1,38-39; I Cor. 1:4-8; I Peter 1:5) We believe it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. (Rom. 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-14)
We believe that the church, which is the body and espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born again persons of this present age and is distinct from the nation of Israel. (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-27; I Cor. 12:12-14; II Cor. 11:2) We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. (Acts 14:27; 20:17,28-32; I Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)
Following the regeneration of the sinner (Ephesians 2:5), there does occur an inevitable (Romans 8:29-30), varying and lifelong renovation of the inner man (Ephesians 3:16) in thought, will, affection and appetite (Matthew 22:37-38). By sanctification, the believer is more and more transformed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18) through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27). Sanctification, which manifests itself in the life of every child of God, is an act of His grace (Ephesians 2:8-10) whereby Christians are continually delivered from the power and effects of sin remaining in their fallen natures (Romans 6:14). In sanctification, believers do simultaneously increase in their love for those things that pertain to God’s glory and in their aversion to those things that are contrary to His will (Romans 12:9). Sanctification can never be understood as logically preceding, simultaneously occurring, or meritoriously resulting in the justification of the sinner. Justification is a finished act (Romans 5:1), while sanctification is an ongoing process (Hebrews 12:2), and each are accomplished by faith (Galatians 2:20). Sanctification is distinguishable from justification but may never be divorced from the whole of Christ’s benefits that belong to the Christian by faith (John 15:5). There is no sense in which the good works wrought in sanctification serve as a meritorious ground of acceptance before God, either in the present or in the future (Romans 3:20). On the contrary, sanctification naturally flows from justification, and those good works that inevitably accompany it are the grateful response of the redeemed to the grace of God (John 14:15). Being strengthened by the Spirit through ordinary means, the Christian is able to put to death the deeds of the flesh – mortification (Colossians 3:5), bring to life the desires of the new man – vivification (Galatians 5:17), and increasingly rest in the work of Christ faith (Colossians 2:7). There will occur over the entire life of the Christian a war against the flesh and its sinful desires (Galatians 5:16-17). There is no sense in which a Christian may hope to achieve a state of sinless perfection in this life since our very natures are corrupted by sin (Romans 7:24). Our ultimate and final deliverance from the power and presence of sin lies in the future and is in every respect as certain as justification and sanctification (1 Corinthians 15:53-57).
The Lord's Supper
We believe that all born again believers are to be invited to partake of the Lord’s Supper. (Mark 14:22-25; I Cor. 11:23-24)
The Second Coming
We teach that Jesus will return to earth bodily1 in order to deliver His elect,2 to execute judgment3 upon the living and the dead,4 to consummate His kingdom5 as promised to Abraham,6 Israel,7 and the Church,8 to abolish all earthly rule, authority and power,9 to put an end to the last enemy, which is death,10 and to reconcile all things to himself, having made peace by the blood of His cross.11
1 Acts 1:11, Titus 2:12-13, Revelation 1:7, John 14:3
2 Matthew 24:31
3 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, Acts 3:13-26
4 2 Timothy 4:1, 1 Peter 4:5
5 2 Samuel 7:12-13, Revelation 20:10
6 Genesis 12:1-3, Hebrews 11:10
7 Ezekiel 37:1-14, Luke 1:68-79
8 Genesis 17:1-8
9 1 Corinthians 15:24
10 1 Corinthians 15:26
11 Colossians 1:20
The Eternal State
We believe that all those who have rejected God’s offer of salvation in Christ, and thus have not believed on nor received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, remain after death in conscious torment in hell (Hades) until the final judgment of the great white throne at the close of the millennium when spirit, soul and body will be reunited and all those individuals will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (which we believe will be a literal place), not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction, without end, from the presence of our Lord and from the glory of His power.
We believe that all those who have believed on and have received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour will, at death, immediately enter into His presence in Heaven and will there remain in conscious comfort until the resurrection of the body at His coming for His bride, the Church, when spirit, soul and body will be reunited and they, together with those raptured alive at His coming for the church, will dwell with Him forever in the glory. (Luke 16:19-26; 23:43; John 3:36; II Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; II Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:11-15; 21:8)