The Framework of What We Believe
This Doctrinal Confession is only part of our covenant together as members of Glenwood. It is what we believe, teach, and strive to live out together as a community of faith. We continually strive to grow into the unity of this faith and the fullness of Christ. Our goal is to not be tossed on the waves of false doctrine or deceived by the schemes of false teachers. We strive to speak this truth in love in order to grow up into all aspects of Christlikeness, building one another up in love to exalt the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 4:13-16). To this end, we remind one another that...
- In Essentials (Doctrine) we maintain unity. Eph 4:4-6
- In Non-essentials (Convictions) we recognize liberty. Rom 14:1, 4, 12, 22
- In All Things (Life) we show charity. 1Cor 13:2
The Ultimate Purpose of Life
We believe the ultimate purpose of life begins and ends with God, His glory, and the good of His creation. All things are from Him, through Him, and for Him. The chief end of humanity is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. The ultimate goal of history is to establish His glory over all things, through all things, and in all things by His presence dwelling with His people in His place. Gen 1:1, 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31; 1Cor 6:20; 8:6; 10:31;15:28; Rom 11:36; Rev 4:11; 21:3-4
The Authority and Power of the Bible
We believe the only trustworthy and authoritative means of knowing God and His ultimate purpose for life is His own self-revelation in the general revelation of creation, the special revelation of the written Scriptures, and ultimately in the living revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus affirmed and authenticated the written Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible by His life, His miracles, His teaching, and His work of redemption. The Scriptures do not reveal everything there is to know about God and His purposes but what He has chosen to reveal in His wisdom is sufficient, understandable, and what humanity is ultimately accountable for before Him. Ps 19; Rom 1:20; Heb 1:1-4; Matt 5:17-19; Deut 29:29; 2Pt 1:3-4, 16-21
We believe the Scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired by God using godly men and their unique personalities as led by the Holy Spirit and, therefore, are without error in the original writings, and have been providentially preserved so they are of sufficient and supreme authority in faith and life. They are given by God to reveal Himself and His ultimate purpose for humanity as promised and fulfilled in His Son, Jesus Christ, to make people wise unto salvation and are profitable for teaching, reproving, correcting, and training in right living so that His people will be fully equipped for every good work God requires. Ps 119:1-176; 2Tim 3:15-17; 2Pt 1:21; 1Cor 2:12-13
They are clear enough for the simplest person, deep enough for the greatest scholar, clear in their essential matters, obscure in some places due to human weakness or sinfulness, understandable through ordinary means by the unsaved on a general level and by the saved on the deepest level through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and is available to every believer whose faith must rest on the Scriptures.
The One True God as Trinity
We believe there is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, personal, and eternal Being, the Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Ruler of all creation. He is unlimited and unchanging in holiness and all other divine attributes. He is all-present, all-powerful and all-knowing; and His sovereign wisdom extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His responsible creatures. He is worthy of the highest love, reverence, and obedience of everyone and everything everywhere. John 4:24; 1 Tim 1:17
We believe that this God has graciously revealed Himself in Scripture as existing eternally in three distinct persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit; that these three are the one living and true God, having precisely the same divine nature and worthy of the same faith and obedience. It is the unity, order, and relationship of these three Persons in one God that fundamentally establishes creation, redemption, and final glorification in the coming Kingdom and New Creation. Matt 28:19; Deut 6:4; John 1:1; 10:30; Heb 1:1-3, 8-9; Acts 5:3-4; 1John 5:7
God the Father
We believe God as Father reigns with providential care over His creation, His creatures, and the course of human history according to the sovereign purposes of His grace. His fatherhood provides the true pattern for all the families on earth. Matt 5:45; 6:25-34; Eph 4:6
We believe God the Father and God the Son share a unique relationship as members of the trinity. Matt 6:25-34; Mark 1:9-11; John 1:14, 18; 3:35; 5:17-26; 6:27; 8:27-28; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; 1Cor 8:6; Col 1:15
We believe God the Son has become the exclusive way for fallen humanity to be born again into a Father-Child relationship with God the Father. The reality of being God’s child and having Him as our Father should promote and control the way we worship and live our daily lives. “Father” is the Christian name for the one true God and a true understanding of Christianity requires a growing understanding of adoption, wherein God no longer treats us as sinners but as sons in Christ Jesus. Matt 5:48; 6:8-14, 25-34; 7:11; 11:25-27; 12:50; 23:9; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 6:36; 12:32; John 6:37, 40, 44-46; 6:65; 12:49-50; 13:3; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Rom 8:14-15; 1Cor 8:6; Gal 4:6; Eph 4:6; Col 1:15; Heb 12:9; 1Pt 1:17
God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ became fully man without ceasing to be fully God, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God, redeem humanity, and restore all of creation.
We believe that Jesus Christ accomplished this redemption through His perfect obedience unto death on the Cross as the perfect sacrifice for sin; that this redemption is guaranteed by His physical Resurrection from the dead and by His subsequent Ascension into Heaven, where He is now seated at the right hand of the Father reigning with all authority and fulfilling His high Priestly ministry of intercession and advocacy for His people.
We believe in Jesus Christ's imminent return to receive His Bride, the Church, at the pre-tribulation Rapture; His literal thousand-year reign on earth as the Davidic King of Israel, and His eternal reign with the Father over the New Heavens and New Earth. Col 2:9; Phil 2:5-11; Luke 1:31-35; 24:39-43; Matt 1:20-21; 24:29-31; Heb 4:15; 7:25-8:1; 10:5-18; 1John 2:1-2; John 20:27-29; Acts 1:11; 1Thess 4:16-18; Rev 20:4-6; 1Cor 15:4-8, 23-28
God the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit permanently and completely indwells every believer at the moment of salvation and unites them to Christ and His Body, the Church. In doing so, He is the guarantee of the believer's final redemption and is ever-present to empower, instruct, and lead the believer to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ through godly living for evangelism, discipleship, and missions.
We believe the Spirit's desire is to exalt the Risen Lord as the head of the Church and to continue His ministry on earth through His Body, the Church, with each member having been given spiritual gifts for the edification of the whole Body; and that those gifts of a more revelatory and miraculous nature gradually ceased after the apostles and prophets laid the foundation for the Church as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority recognized. Eph 1:13-14; 1Cor 12:4-7, 13; 13:8-13; Rom 8:9, 26-27; John 14:16-18; 16:13-15; Acts 1:8; 13:2; Gal 5:16; 2Cor 12:12; Heb 2:3-4
Humanity and Sin
We believe that God created the entire universe out of nothing in six days and that this truth upholds the sovereignty of the Creator, the significance of His image-bearers, the standing of His creation, and the sufficiency of His Scriptures.
We believe that the first couple, Adam and Eve, were created directly by God in His image to glorify Him. They were to joyfully thrive in an obedient relationship with Him to rule over all creation as His representatives. However, they were deceived and the first man, Adam, rebelled against God and suffered the penalty of spiritual and physical death, so that along with creation they were separated from God, subjected to the power of sin and Satan, and rendered incapable of redeeming themselves.
We believe that every person since this Fall is conceived with a nature at war with God and incapable by any human effort to fulfill His holy Law and will not enter into God's presence unless born again from above–the creation of eternal life in Christ by the Spirit through the Word of God. Gen 1:26-28; 2:17; 3:1-19; Eph. 2:1-3; Rom 3:10-12, 19-20, 23; 5:12; 8:20-21; John 3:5-6; 2Cor. 5:17
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being; that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth control, population control, or the emotional well-being of the mother violate the sanctity of life; that fertility procedures that intentionally conceive “extra” fertilized eggs is questionable if life truly begins at conception; that euthanasia is also a violation of the sanctity of human life. Nevertheless, like all sin, these sins are covered by the blood of Christ and can be forgiven in those who are redeemed and seek forgiveness with a repentant heart.
Angels and The Afterlife
We believe that God created an order of immortal spirit beings for the purpose of serving Him and His people; that the greatest of these beings, Lucifer, arrogantly rebelled against God and became, along with a horde of angelic rebels (demons), the arch enemy of God and humanity.
We believe that the Lake of Fire is a literal place of eternal, conscious torment of body and soul and is the place of judgment for unbelieving humanity after the resurrection of the dead, with Hell or Hades being the place of temporary, conscious torment until that time.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has gone to heaven in order to prepare a place in His presence for believers when they die; that their bodies will be resurrected and the living in Christ will be transformed at the Rapture to be rewarded according to their works and to reign with the Lord in His coming Kingdom and serve Him and His Father eternally in the New Creation. Heb 1:14; Isa 14:12-14; Ezek 28:13-19; 1Tim 3:6; Rev 12:9-10; John 8:44; 2Thess 1:8-9; Rev. 20:11-15; John 14:1-3; 2Cor 5:8; 1Thess 4:13-18; Rev 22:3-5
We believe that salvation was accomplished by the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ who, although He knew no sin, was made to be sin and a curse in order to die in the place of fallen humanity; that the shedding of His blood was of such eternal worth that no person can add anything to its value and having died rejecting it has no hope for salvation; so that salvation is the free gift of God given by His grace and can only be received by repentance toward God and faith in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ alone.
Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints
We believe that it is the privilege of every believer born again by the Spirit to be eternally secure in their salvation, being kept by the power of God until final glorification; that assurance of this security is experienced by faith in and obedience to God's Word and its joy is disrupted by sin which brings the compassionate discipline of their heavenly Father. Lev 17:11; Heb 10:10-18; Matt 26:28; 1Peter 1:18-19; Rom 5:6-11; 2Cor. 5:21; Gal 3:13; Eph 1:7; 1Pt 1:3-5; Rom 8:29-39; John 10:27-29; 1John 1:4-10; 5:4-5, 10-13; Heb 12:5-11
We believe that true believers persevere by faith to the end and will never fall away from a state of grace as God’s graciuous providence watches over their welfare. This persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors. Even though they may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto eternal salvation. John 8:31-32; Col. 1:21-23; 1John 2:19; Matt 13:19-21; Rom 8:23; Matt 6:30; Ps 121:3; Heb 1:14; 1Pt 1:5; Phil 1:6; John 10:28-29; Rom 8:35-39
The Church and Its Ordinances
We believe that the Church is composed of all who are united with the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus Christ, the Head over the Church, having been baptized by the Holy Spirit into one Body; that being members of one another, the Church is to love one another and in so doing preserve the unity of the faith once delivered and grow into Christ-like maturity in all aspects of life.
We believe that local churches are the visible and vital manifestation of the Body of Christ in one locale; that they are comprised of baptized, professing believers in Jesus Christ who covenant together to be organized under the offices of pastors/elders/overseers and deacons according to the direct authority of Jesus Christ and His Word; and are dedicated to the practicing of the New Testament ordinances and corporate worship, instruction, fellowship, service, and witness.
We believe that believer's water baptism and the Lord's Supper are the only ordinances of the Church and that they are the Scriptural means of testimony about, commitment to, and encouragement in the grace of God in Christ.
We believe that in accordance with the command of the Lord Jesus Christ every New Testament believer is to submit to water baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; that water baptism is an outward symbolic picture of the previous inward baptism of the Spirit at salvation which identified the believer with the Savior and His death, burial, resurrection, and with His Body the Church; that the usage of the word for baptism in Scripture as well as the purpose of the symbol itself dictate that full body immersion is the best way to portray and proclaim the meaning of believer's water baptism.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that water baptism requires previous experience of justification by faith in Christ, provides identification with Christ and His local church to “show and tell” how salvation took place (by faith alone in the death burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ); what happened when salvation took place (baptized with the Spirit into the Body of Christ); and why salvation took place (walk in newness of life); that as a “badge of discipleship” it calls for consecration to godly living and service in Christ and His Spirit.
We believe that the Lord's Supper is a repeated memorial to the redemptive death of Christ on the cross until He comes again; that as often as a local church partakes of the symbols of the bread and the fruit of the vine they are affirming and proclaiming the forgiveness, fellowship, and freedom that His death continuously provides. Thus, believers should examine themselves prior to partaking of the symbols to be sure they are faithfully enjoying these benefits; all who are can come as invited guests while those who are not should confess their sin and only then come to partake with a clear conscience. 1Cor. 12:13; Matt 28:19-20; Eph 4:11-16; Heb 10:22-25; Acts 2:33-47; 6:1-7; 20:28; 1Tim 3:1-15; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 8:12; 10:47-48; 11:15-17; Col 2:11-12; Rom 6; Mt. 26:26-29; Luke 22:15-20; 1Cor 11:23-34
Stewardship of Our Lives
We believe that Christ followers are to be a faithful stewards of their entire lives which God the Creator and Christ the Redeemer has entrusted to them; that they are to present their bodies as a living sacrifice in the service of the Lord out of love and gratitude for all that God has done for them in Christ; that they are to be willing to risk their very lives for the furtherance of the Gospel and the fulfillment of the Great Commission; that this stewardship lies at the heart of fulfilling God’s effective call to every one of His elect children, so they will be saved sons, set apart saints, serving stewards, and suffering soldiers who walk worthy of the calling with which they have been called. Rom 12:1-21; 16:1-20; 2Cor 5:9-11; Eph. 4:1; Col 1:10; 1Thess.2:12
We believe that that Christ followers are to be faithful stewards of all the time and talents that God the Master has entrusted to them; that they are to discover, develop, and deploy their shape for ministry according to the measure of God’s grace and faith they have been given by Christ and in keeping with the Spirit’s gifting; that regardless of their gifting they are to speak and serve in dependence on the Lord and for His glory through Jesus Christ; that love never fails and is the more excellent way of exalting Christ and edifying His church. Rom 12:3-8; 1Cor 12:1-31; Eph 4:7-16; 1Pt 4:8-11
We believe that Christ followers are to be faithful stewards of all the treasures that God the Owner has entrusted to them; that they are to joyfully, freely, and generously support their local church financially; that establishing a structured, systematic, percentage method for giving to the local church on first day of the week is keeping with scriptural examples; that God has established the pattern of the tithe (tenth) as a basis for giving, but that grace giving in the New Testament should sacrificially surpass a tenth percentage; that freewill offerings that support other ministry endeavors of the church to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission are in keeping with this stewardship. 2Cor 8:1-16; 1Cor 9:7; 16:1-2; Mal 3:10; Lev 27:30; Heb 7:2-4; Acts 4:35, 37
We believe that believers are to be faithful stewards of the testimony that God the Savior has entrusted to them; that they are to be faithful stewards of the gospel who seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ with those across the street and around the world.
Christian Life and Home
We believe it is the responsibility of every believer to live in a manner worthy of their holy calling in Jesus Christ being led by the Spirit so as to not fulfill the lusts of the sin nature; that since the sin nature still resides in the believer until glorification, it must be kept in constant subjection by the filling of the Spirit, the indwelling of the Word of Christ, and the obedience of faith.
We believe the home is the God-intended place for nurturing Christian faith and living. Foundational to the home is the institution of marriage between one man and one woman for one lifetime as ordained by God from the beginning; wherein a believing man and woman become one for the purpose of physical, emotional, and spiritual intimate companionship, fruitful partnership, and the godly nurture of children. Divorce (except for abandonment by an unbelieving spouse or unrepentant adultery or unrepentant abuse of this covenant) and sexual immorality are serious sins against this life-long covenant. Nevertheless, like all sin, these sins are covered by the blood of Christ and can be forgiven in those who are redeemed and seek forgiveness with a repentant heart.
We believe the roles of husband and wife are such that the husband provides loving leadership and the wife compliments and completes him by providing respectful submission, so that together they provide spiritual understanding into the mystery of Christ's relationship to His Church; that the role of parents is to provide spiritual understanding of the heavenly Father for their children by being an example of and exhortation in godly living and the things of God through prayer, family worship, daily discipleship, and dignified discipline worthy of their submission and respect.
We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism, pedophilia, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God's gift of sex and prohibited by the scriptures. Nevertheless, like all sin, these sins are covered by the blood of Christ and can be forgiven in those who are redeemed and seek forgiveness with a repentant heart. 1Pt 1:14-16; Eph 4:22-24; Col 1:9-12; Gal 5:16, 25; Rom 6:11-23; 13:14; Eph 5:15-23; Col 3:16-21; Deut 6:6-9; 1Tim 3:4-5; Titus 1:6, 18-24; 2Cor 6:14; Mal 2:14-16; Heb 13:4; 2Tim 3:14-17
Relationship of Church and State
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; that civil leaders are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed except in things when forced to oppose the will of the sovereign Lord of our conscience and His revealed will in the Bible; that our ultimate citizenship is in heaven and we are to serve the Lord faithfully as we proclaim, pray, and wait for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Rom 13:1-7; Acts 4:19-20; 5:29; 23:5; Matt 22:15-22; 2Cor 10:3-5; Phil 2:9-11; Ps 2:1-12; 72:11; 1Tim 6:15-16; Rev 17:14; 19:11-21
We believe that faithfulness in preaching of the Gospel, readiness to do good works, and willingness to suffer for the sake of Christ is not only the calling of all believers but also the best possible means of being a witness to secular authority and influencing government for good; that political involvement is not prohibited for the believer and is a part of good citizenship, but political parties or participation in the political system must never become our ultimate hope. (See biblical examples of Daniel, Nehemiah, Esther and the historical example of William Wilberforce.) Titus 3:1-8; 1Pt 2:11-17
The Great Commission: Evangelism, Discipleship, and Missions
We believe that the local church, as well as each individual believer in Christ, has been sent into the world to seek and to save those who are lost in sin and unbelief, just as the Father sent His Son; that in obedience to the Lord's Great Commission the Gospel is to be proclaimed to every people group and disciples are to grow to maturity, serve in ministry, and invest their lives to multiply more disciples and local churches.
We believe that the Gospel, which in its fullest expression is the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, reign, and return of the God-man Jesus Christ, is the power of God unto salvation so that there is no other Name by which men may be saved and that believers have the holy responsibility in the power of the Spirit and with an attitude of love to proclaim this Good News by means of investing in relationships with the lost and inviting them to repent of their sins and trust the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe that the Great Commission involves the planting of local churches by evangelism, establishing local churches by discipleship, and multiplying local churches by world missions. Obedience to this commission will result in numerical growth of people, spiritual growth of God's Word, and geographical growth of local churches. John 20:21; Luke 19:10; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Rom 1:16-17; 1Thess 1:5; Rom 15:24; 3Jn. 5-8; Acts 13:2-3; 14:26-27; 15:40; 4:12; Gal 1:6-9; 2Cor. 5:14-21; 1Cor 15:3-4