With regard to healthy churches, we affirm that a faithful local church is one that:
1. Accurately preaches the word of God (2 Tim 4:1-4)
2. Firmly holds to sound, biblical doctrine (Eph 4:11-14; Titus 1:9; 2:1)
3. Faithfully proclaims the gospel of Christ to believers and unbelievers (Luke 24:26-27; Rom 1:16-17; 1 Cor 15:3-4)
4. Rightly administers the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matt 28:18-20; 1 Cor 11:17-34)
5. Faithfully practices church discipline and discipleship (Matt 3:8; 18:15-20; 28:18-20; Luke 3:8)
6. Purposefully participates in making disciples of the nations (Matt 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 24:27; Acts 1:8; Rom 1:5)
With regard to the loving truth of Jesus Christ, we affirm that the gospel message of Jesus Christ includes the following:
1. Every person is equally created in God’s image to know and represent Him. Since God is holy, just, and true, those who bear His image are required to live in holiness, justice, and truth, which are defined by God in His word, not by culture or society.
2. All mankind has sinned, and all humanity has been affected by sin. Everyone stands condemned before God’s law for personally failing to meet His divine standard. There is no external regulation or personal work that can undo this condition.
3. Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. He lived in perfect righteousness and died on the cross to take the penalty of sin upon Himself. Christ rose bodily from the dead in victory over sin and death and in demonstration that God accepted His sacrifice.
4. God calls all men to repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ. There is no salvation apart from Jesus, and Christ will save anyone and everyone who turns from sin by trusting Him as Lord. Salvation from God’s eternal wrath is received by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Salvation does not rest on any merit to be found in us, nor upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us. Adding any necessary work to the gospel perverts the loving truth of Jesus Christ.
With regard to the Scriptures, we affirm that the Bible is breathed out by God. As God’s self-testimony, it is inerrant, infallible, and the final authority in all matters upon which it touches. Scripture’s authority is not received from the Church, tradition, or any other human source. The whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own.
With regard to the roles of men and women, we affirm that God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in His image, equal before Him as persons, yet distinct as male and female (Gen 1:27). Scripture also makes clear that the way of salvation is the same for both men and women, and both are members of equal standing in the body of Christ (Gal 3:28). This equality, however, does not diminish the God-given differences in function and responsibility. In the family, God’s design for a man is that he sacrificially lead and love his wife (Eph 5:25-31). God’s design for a woman is that she support and submit to her husband (Eph 5:22; Col 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet 3:1). In the local church, God’s design is that men serve as leaders over the congregation. Unlike his instructions concerning deacons, the Apostle Paul’s instructions concerning pastors, elders, and overseers (interchangeable terms) are distinctly directed at men (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9), which is a reflection of the creation order (1 Tim 2:12-13). Therefore, though women are spiritual equals with men, and though the ministries of women are essential to the body of Christ, women are ineligible to hold the highest office of leadership in the local church. We affirm that only men are eligible to be ordained as pastors or elders, to hold the office of pastor or elder, to hold the title of pastor or elder, and to fulfill the primary function of pastors and elders, which is to preach to and teach the whole congregation (1 Cor 14:33-34).