Doctrinal Statements

The Word of God

We believe that the Bible (i.e., the sixty-six books of the Protestant canon) is the propositionally revealed Word of God, fully inspired in every part and without error in the original manuscripts. We believe it was written by human authors under the protection and guidance of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that it is complete and adequate in its record (i.e., the canon is closed), and that it has supreme and final authority, when accurately interpreted, in all matters of faith and conduct. We believe that the teachings of the Bible, when properly understood and applied, are binding on people of all generations, cultures, races, genders, and ages.

Ps 19:7-11; Matt 5:18, Mark 12:26-27; 13:31; John 8:31, 32; 10:35; 16:12-15; 20:31; Acts 1:16; 20:32; 1 Cor 2:7-14; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Tim 3:15-17; Heb 3:7-11; 4:12; 2 Pet 1:20, 21; Jude 1:3

The Trinity

We believe that there is one true and living God, eternally existing (i.e., never created) in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – and that this is the God of the Bible. We believe each of these persons are united in common essence, equal in the attributes and perfections they possess, and execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence, and redemption. We believe these persons are equally worthy of our worship, confidence, and obedience.

Gen 1:1, 2, 26; Deut 6:4; Matt 28:19; Mark 12:29; John 1:1-3, 14-16, 18; 10:30; 14:16-17; Acts 5:3, 4; Rom 1:19, 20; 2 Cor 13:14; Col 1:9; Eph 4:4-6

God The Father

We believe in God the Father, the first person of the trinity. We believe Him to be an infinite, uncreated, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, knowledge, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that He is sovereign over all creation, that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and judgment all who come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ.

Prov 16:33; Matt 23:9; Luke 10:21, 22; John 3:16; 6:27; Rom 1:7; 1 Tim 1:1, 2; 2:5, 6; 1 Pet 1:3; Rev 1:6

God The Son: Jesus Christ

We believe in Jesus Christ, the historical person who was the incarnation of the second person of the trinity, now ascended into heaven. We believe He is God the Father’s only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. We believe He lived a sinless life during which He taught and performed many miracles as recorded in the four canonical Gospels, and that, by crucifixion, He died a substitutionary death of atonement, successfully satisfying God the Father’s holy judgment against the sin of man. We believe in His bodily resurrection which vindicated His teachings and claims to divinity, confirmed the atonement which had been accomplished, and offered a sign of the victory over sin and death which had been won. We believe in His ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people, headship over the church, and personal visible return to earth in the future. We believe both the Old and New Testaments speak with reference to Him.

Is 7:14; 53:3-12; Matt 1:18-25; 20:28; 28:6; Luke 1:26-38; 24:27; John 1:1-3, 14-18; 5:26-29; 10:15; 20:28-31; Acts 1:9-11; Rom 1:4; 3:24-26; 5:6-8; 6:9, 10; 8:34; 9:5; 1 Cor 12:27; 15:1-23; 2 Cor 5:21; Eph 1:4, 22; Col 1:9; 1 Thess 4:13-18; Heb 7:25; 9:24, 28; 1 Tim 3:16; 1 Pet 2:21-24; 1 John 2:1)

God The Holy Spirit

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity. We believe that He has been sent forth by the Father and the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to regenerate, indwell, sanctify, enlighten, unite, empower, and seal all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe He is the divine agent through whom spiritual baptism occurs at the moment of conversion, and that His purpose is to glorify God through the transformation of believers into the image of Jesus Christ.

John 3:5-8; 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15; Acts 1:5, 8; Rom 8:9; 1 Cor 2:10-16; 3:16; 6:19; 12:13; 2 Cor 3:18; Gal 5:22-26; Eph 1:13; 2:22; 4:30; 5:18

The Condition of Man

We believe that man was originally created by God in His own image and after His own likeness, free from sin and enjoying perfect harmony with God. We believe that man subsequently fell into sin by an act of voluntary choice, incurring the judgments of physical, spiritual, and eternal death, which is separation from God, and resulting in a humanity each member of which, save Jesus Christ, has inherited a sinful nature, is a sinner by choice, and is under the condemnation of God. We believe this universal depravity of man and the condemnation it incurs are conditions which cannot be remedied apart from divine grace.

Gen 1:26; 2:17; 3:1-24; 5:2; 6:5; Ps 51:5; Jer 17:9; John 5:30; Rom 3:10-19, 23; 5:12, 19; 9:22; Eph 2:1-3; 2 Thess 1:9; James 1:14; Rev 20:10

Salvation and Regeneration

We believe that salvation from sin, death, and eternal condemnation is found only through faith placed in Jesus Christ and the work of atonement which was accomplished through His death alone. We believe that no amount of human deeds, moral progress, or participation in ordinances is adequate to justify any person before God. We believe concomitant to every and all cases of saving faith will be a genuine repentance from sin and a regeneration of person by the Holy Spirit into a “new creation,” evidenced necessarily by the production of good works; while works do not save, they are the necessary evidence of a truly saving faith. We believe all persons who place such faith in Christ and persist in it will be forgiven their sins, spared God’s wrath, and will enjoy eternal communion with God.

Ps 51:7; Prov 28:13; Matt 7:17-27; John 1:12-13; 3:14-16, 18, 36; 5:24; 6:29; 8:12; 10:26-28; 14:6, 15, 23-24; Acts 4:12; 13:39; 16:31; Rom 1:16-17; 3:22, 26; 4:5; 5:8; 8:1; 10:4; Gal 2:16; 3:22; Eph 1:6, 7; 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 1:23; 1 John 1:3-7, 9; James 2:14-26

Christian Conduct

We believe that a Christian should seek to glorify God in all things, and that this is best accomplished when he aims at loving God and loving his fellow man with all that he is, has, and does. This means that his conduct should strive for holiness and blamelessness before the world, that he should consider service a calling and not a mere obligation, that he should steward all of his resources (material possessions, time, energy, knowledge, etc.) faithfully, and that he should endeavor zealously to become, and help others become, fully mature in Christ.

John 14:15, 23-24; 17:17; Rom 6:1-22; 12:1-3; 1 Cor 4:2; 10:31; 2 Cor 3:18; 5:17; 9:6-9; Gal 5:25; Eph 4:1 – 5:5; Phil 2:12, 13; 3:13, 14; Col 1:9-12; 1 Thess 4:3-5; 5:23; Heb 12:1-2; 1 Pet 1:14-16; 1 John 1:9; 2:3-7

The Church

We believe in the universal Church, a living spiritual body of which Jesus Christ is the head and all who have been baptized in the Spirit upon a true confession of faith are united members. We believe the members of this body are directed to associate and congregate themselves in local assemblies (or “local churches”) for instruction, worship, prayer, fellowship, service, and the administration of the ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Supper). We believe that God has laid upon the members of these local assemblies the primary task of glorifying God through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world. We believe that the members of these assemblies are diverse, yet called to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Matt 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; 2:42-47; Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 11:3, 23-26; 12:4-7, 12-26; Eph 1:22, 23; 25; 2:19-22; 4:3; 5:19-30; Heb 10:23-25

The Ordinances

We believe that Jesus Christ has commanded the local assembly of believers to observe the two New Testament ordinances of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe these two ordinances are to be observed in obedience to Jesus Christ as expressions of love and devotion, but they are not regarded as conditions for salvation. We believe that baptism symbolically represents death to the old life and resurrection with Christ to a new life, and that it is properly administered by immersion to those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is observed as a memorial of Christ’s death, and that the elements are symbols of His body and blood.

Matt 26:26-28; 28:18-20; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19, 20Rom 6:3-7; 1 Cor 1:16; 11:23-26; Acts 2:41; 8:12; 10:44-48; 16:14-15, 32-33

Spiritual Gifts*

We believe that God bestows Spirit-empowered gifts for service to all those in the body of Christ. We believe these gifts are diverse, distributed according to God’s own will and wisdom, allocated to all believers in some measure, and are for the purpose of edifying the universal and local church. We believe that it is possible for all the gifts described in the New Testament (save Apostleship) to manifest themselves in this present age, including the miraculous gifts (i.e., prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing, miracle working, and distinguishing spirits). However, we also believe that the principal purpose for miraculous gifts during the apostolic period was to supernaturally validate the witness of the twelve apostles and the ministry of the early church until the closing of the canon of Scripture, and thus that caution and scrutiny are properly exercised with respect to any apparent manifestation of a miraculous gift today. We believe that in the case of legitimate manifestations of miraculous gifts, any and all Scriptural guidelines pertinent to their use are to be strictly observed.

Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 7:7-9; 12:1-31; 13:8-10; 14:1-40; 2 Cor 12:12; Eph 4:7-13; Heb 2:1-4; 1 Pet 4:10, 11

Last Things*

We believe in the prophesied return of Jesus Christ. We believe that this return is still in the future and that it will be sudden, personal, bodily, and visible. We believe in a coming tribulation, the resurrection of the body, the establishment of a millennial kingdom on earth, the repayment of all according to their deeds, the final judgment, the eternal felicity of the righteous (believers) and the endless conscious suffering of the wicked (unbelievers).

Matt 16:27; Mark 14:62; Luke 16:19-26; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Cor 4:5; 151-58; 2 Cor 5:8, 10; Phil 1:23; 3:20; 1 Thess 4:13 – 5:11; 2 Thess 1:7-10; 2 Tim 4:1; Titus 2:13; Rev 3:10; 19:11-16; 20:1 – 21:27

*Limited measure of divergent opinions will be considered tolerable among members of the church. On spiritual gifts, differences of opinion about whether God bestows miraculous gifts today (e.g., cessationism vs. non-cessationism) will be tolerated. The same holds for differences of opinion regarding the chronology and literalness of certain eschatological events, with particular reference to the rapture, the tribulation, and the millennium. While divergence of viewpoint here is tolerated, and discussion encouraged, it still stands that Doctrines 11 and 12 as stated remain the official doctrinal positions of Living Way Community Church.

Doctrinal Distinctives

Lordship Salvation

The idea behind the label “lordship salvation” is perhaps best summarized by the great champion of justification-by-faith-alone theology Martin Luther when he said: “Faith alone is that which saves; but faith which saves is never alone.” The idea here is that while it is in- deed faith alone that justifies man before God, true faith in Jesus as Savior cannot stand on its own apart from recognition of Him as the Lord to whom one lives in obedience. While good works themselves cannot save, they serve as evidence of the presence of saving faith and true knowledge of Christ. Good works are seen as the natural and inevitable outgrowth of the seed of faith; hence any claims to saving faith apart from the presence of such works justly fall under concerned uncertainty.

Matt 3:8, 6:15−27; James 2:14−26

Sovereignty of God in Salvation

The salvation of sinful humanity is fundamentally the work of God. Before the foundation of the world, God, in His sovereign grace, had chosen a people for Himself, setting His affection and grace upon them. In love, God chose certain individuals to be the recipients of
His promise; that is, out of all the peoples of the earth, He chose some to know and enjoy Him and experience the blessing of His salvation. Therefore, faith is a gift of grace that is given by the mercy and pleasure of God, so that no one may boast. apart from this work of grace, sinful man cannot choose of his own accord to worship God and pursue His righteousness. God’s sovereignty in salvation is comprehensive—that is, from first to last, all of salvation is His doing.

John 13:18; Rom 3, 8:29–30; Eph 1:3–14, 2:1–3; 2 Thess 2:13–15)

Christian Hedonism

Borrowed from the theological emphasis of John Piper (Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church), “Christian hedonism” refers to the notion that Christians should have as their motivation in life the pursuit of pleasure in God. This is because of the profound truth that “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him.” The resulting diagnosis is that humanity is fallen not in virtue of their pursuit of pleasure per se, but due to their failure to pursue what is truly satisfying, namely, God Himself.

Deut 28:47−48; Ps 16:11; Matt 13:44; John 6:35

The Upside Down Kingdom of God

The key text here is found in Mark 8:34−38 where, among other things, Jesus says, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” This results in an incredible paradigm for how a true, satisfying, Christ- honoring life is gained: by living in a manner that loses entitlements to all else when the gain in return is Christ and the advancement of His Kingdom.

Matt 6:33; Mark 8:34−38, 10:29−31, 42−45

Stewardship of the Mind

We are unapologetic in our emphasis on the importance of developing a well-informed, knowledgeable Christian mind. We believe that biblical instruction that is internalized in the heart and thus renews the mind by the power of the Spirit is the best catalyst to bringing about transformation in one’s life. The value here is not for everyone to become a Christian genius; rather it is for each to heed Christ’s call to love God with all of who we are, including our minds (Matt 22:37).

Matt 22:37; Acts 17:10−12, 18:24−28; John 17:17

Complementarianism over Gender Roles

Complementarianism, in contrast to egalitarianism, holds that there exists a permanent, God-ordained, normative order between men and women when it comes to roles in the home and in the church. The emphasis here is not on differences in value, but on differences in roles only. We affirm a proper, biblically-sensitive perspective on male headship in both the church and in the home. The most obvious and significant application of this in our church is reflected in that women are restricted from serving in the office of pastor/elder.

1 Cor 14:34-36; Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:18-19; 1 Pet 3:1; 1 Tim 2:11-15

Gender Identity and Sexuality

Human personhood as male and female is part of God’s wonderful plan for His creation. Our true identity, as male and female persons, is something given by God, not an expression of an individual’s autonomous preference. Therefore, it is not only unwise but hopeless to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be (e.g., transgenderism). Sin has also distorted sexual desires by directing them away from God’s original design—a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality. God has designed marriage to be a covenantal and sexual union of one man and one woman as a means to signify the covenant love between Christ and the Church. Therefore, a marriage union between homosexual persons is inconsistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption and will not result in human good and flourishing.

Gen 1:28–29, 2:23–24; Lev 18:22; Matt 19:3–6; Rom 1:18–32; 1 Cor 6:9–10; Eph 5:28–32

Conversion as Entrance into a New Life

We believe that Christianity does not simply consist in being saved, but in living saved. Far too many churchgoers seem to place singular emphasis on the significance of conversion as the pinnacle of the Christian experience when in fact it should more properly serve as the doorway into an entirely new experience of living – living in the fullness of life that Christ alone can offer.

Matt 5:1-7:27, 13:44; Mark 6:33, 8:34-38

Sanctity of Human Life

What is contained in the womb of a mother is a valuable human person being formed in the image of God. The gospel of life stands against the culture of death and the modern holocaust of the unborn. The unborn are fearfully and wonderfully made because it is God who knits all children together in their mother’s womb. In a culture where abortion is touted as a woman’s right to choose, the moral duty to honor the right of the unborn to life supersedes the personal inconveniences and hardships that may come from the pregnancy. Once the personhood of the unborn is recognized, the right to treat them any way we wish is forfeited. as Greg Koukl states, “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. But if the unborn is a human person, then no justification for abortion is adequate.”

Job 10:8–12, 31:15; Psalm 127:3, 139:13–16, 22:10; Jer 1:5, 7:6; Luke 1:14–15, 39–44

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