ANCHORED IN TRUTH WORLD MISSIONS ENGAGEMENTS:
ANCHORED IN TRUTH DOCTRINAL STATEMENT:
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.
THE TRUE GOD
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness; and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; revealed under the personal and relative distinctions of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in a state of holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice, being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, wholly given to the gratification of the world, of Satan, and of their own sinful passions, therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
THE WAY OF SALVATION
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the Mediatorial Offices of the Son of God, who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and made atonement for our sins by His death; being risen from the dead He is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, He is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.
We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ of His fullness bestows on such as believe in Him, is Justification; that Justification consists in the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life, on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through His own redemption and righteousness, by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
THE FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth except his own inherent depravity and voluntary refusal to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ which refusal will subject him to an aggravated condemnation.
GRACE IN REGENERATION
We believe that in order to be saved, we must be regenerated or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; and is effected in a manner above our comprehension or calculation, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; and that its proper evidence is found in the holy fruit which we bring forth to the glory of God.
REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on Him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
GOD’S PURPOSE OF GRACE
By the decree of God, some men are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace. This act of election is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness toward sinners, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable. Those sinners that are predestinated to life, God, according to His eternal and immutable purpose and the good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His free grace and love; without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto. God’s gracious act of election is perfectly consistent with the free agency of man and includes the foreordained means of preaching the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit wherefore they who are elected are effectually called unto faith in Christ, justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power through faith unto salvation. No others are redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only. This doctrine utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, and trust in God while also serving as the foundation of Christian assurance; and to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of His holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means - especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.
THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from mere professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
THE HARMONY OF THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL
We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government; that it is holy, just, and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible Church.
A GOSPEL CHURCH
We believe that a visible Church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His word; that its only proper officers are Bishops or Pastors, and Deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, in the name of the Father, and Son, and Spirit, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its purifying power; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord’s Supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination.
THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a day to be regularly observed and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Actions performed on the Lord’s Day are to be governed by the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scripture and in harmony with the convictions of the corporate local church.
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after their death.
THE WORLD TO COME
We believe that the end of this world is approaching: that at the last day, Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principle of righteousness.
THE FAMILY AND SEXUALITY
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The ultimate purpose of marriage is to glorify God and manifest God's power, wisdom, and beauty in the earth. It is impossible for two persons of the same gender to be married. This type of union is averse to God's Word and does not constitute a true marriage.
Marriage is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Heterosexuality is God's revealed will for humankind. A chaste and faithful expression of this orientation (whether in singleness or in marriage) is the ideal to which God calls all people.
A homosexual orientation is a result of the fall of humanity into a sinful condition that pervades every person. Whatever biological or familial roots of homosexuality may be discovered, these do not sanction or excuse homosexual behavior, though they would deepen one's compassion and patience for those who are struggling to be free from sexual temptations. Any attempt to change one's gender or any disagreement with one’s biological gender is sinful and offensive to God.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Leviticus 18:1-30; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalm 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6, 15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15, 17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:9; 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:19-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; 1 Timothy 5:8, 14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7
ANCHORED IN TRUTH MINISTRY DISTINCTIVES FOR THE LOCAL CHURCH:
These were developed out of the 40 years of reforming Grace Life Church of the Shoals to be as biblically healthy as possible.
The purpose of Grace Life Church is to glorify God by obediently making and equipping disciples of Christ, in the Shoals and throughout the world, by the power of the Spirit.
The church assembled to worship through the Spirit empowered preaching of the Word, to strengthen the saved and convert the lost, with singing that reinforces the faith and expresses praise to God our audience
The church organized into Small Groups (Sunday School) to evangelize the lost, equip the saved, and provide fellowship to meet individual needs
Personalized and Strategic World Missions:
The entire church family involved in local church centered missions following a biblical and strategic approach for the glory of God among all peoples
ADDITIONAL DISTINCTIVES FOR THE LOCAL CHURCH:
GLORY OF GOD FOCUSED
The glory of God is everything! The centerpiece of the universe for time and eternity is for God to be seen and praised for His matchless perfections! For all eternity, those in hell will bring Him glory as they suffer eternal wrath under His perfect justice (Revelation 15:1-4). Those in heaven will bring Him glory as they inherit paradise as trophies of perfect grace. Every individual Christian and every local church family must have a continual, intentional, and passionate focus on the glory of God! (1 Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 3:21)
God is most glorified through the Person and work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. By His unrivaled character and work (merit), He has redeemed for Himself a people (the Church). As His church, we strive above all things to know Him, love Him, praise Him, and serve Him. It is by, through, and for Him that we exist. It is our goal to keep Him the honored center of all that we say and do! “In all things He must have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:18)
LOCAL CHURCH CENTERED
We believe that meaningful and enduring fellowship in a local congregation is absolutely essential to the Christian’s life and ministry. Media ministries can never take the place of the local church and its ministers. We are committed not only to congregate, but to do so for the purpose of encouraging one another and stimulating one another to love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
BIBLE SATURATED/THOROUGHLY BIBLICAL
It is our desire to be thoroughly biblical in the totality of our lives. Our purpose, our methods, and our goals must be from sound, biblical teaching. We reject the modern concept that biblical goals can be achieved by man-centered, man-empowered methods. Our theology must dictate our methodology.
EXPOSITORY BIBLE PREACHING
The hub of the wheel of God’s church is the preaching of the word of God in the power of the Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2). The preacher must strive to be thoroughly biblical. He must avoid the temptation of misusing Scripture to support a man-centered or culturally relevant message. The biblical text should be preached exegetically in its historical and grammatical context, giving application for today’s world. The pulpit is indispensable to the church’s growth in knowledge, holiness, and love. It cannot and should not be replaced or diminished. (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2)
The music department strives to lead the church family to glorify God and to edify one another through singing and musical instruments, ministering with spiritual passion and doctrinal integrity, while maintaining high standards of musical excellence. The worship is to reinforce the faith through song and to express congregational praise and worship to Christ, our Audience. We are sovereign grace in doctrine, Baptist in polity, and affectionate in worship.
BIBLICAL CONVERSION AND ASSURANCE
A biblical understanding of regeneration and conversion has been lost by the modern church. Salvation requires hearing the Gospel accompanied by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-8; Ephesians 2:5). This supernatural work, called regeneration, produces repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20-21). The truly saved person perseveres in faithfulness (Philippians 1:6; Matthew 7:16-20). This perseverance is the basis of assurance. The man who walks in a continual state of carnality with no divine discipline can have no assurance of sonship (Hebrews 12:8), no matter how adamantly he professes his allegiance to Christ.
It is the duty of every believer to evangelize the lost. We adamantly stand against cold, unevangelistic hyper-Calvinism on the one hand and “hoop-jumping” easy believism on the other. We are committed to preach the Gospel to every creature and to implore ALL men to repent and believe. We believe that whoever believes in Christ will be saved. At the same time, we recognize that neither repentance nor faith can be produced by manipulating the emotion or coercing the will. They are the result of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalm 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3, 8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17)
A New Testament church is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers. Church government or leadership is congregational in context. Therefore, the final word in matters pertaining to the congregation must come from the congregation itself. The congregation must be committed to the Lordship of Christ under the full authority of Scripture. (Matthew 18:15-17, Acts 6:2-5, 1 Corinthians 5:4-5, 2 Corinthians 2:6, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The church has a body of elders/pastors who teach and shepherd the flock. In accordance with Hebrews 13:17, they keep watch over the congregation as men who must give an account to God. According to the same text, the congregation is to obey them and submit to their authority so that their work will be a joy and not a burden. The elders must meet the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and they exercise authority over the church only to the degree that they teach and lead according to the Scriptures.
According to the teachings of Jesus, the life of every Christian is to be marked by service (Mark 9:35). However, the New Testament also speaks of the specific office of deacon. The word deacon (gk: diakonos) denotes a helper or servant who serves (gk: diakoneo). Before a man may be appointed as a deacon, he must be tested for the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The tasks of a deacon are primarily that of meeting the physical and material needs of individual believers and the congregation as a whole. If the deacon serves faithfully, he obtains for himself a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus (I Timothy 3:13).
EVERY MEMBER MINISTRY
Every Christian in the local congregation without exception has been given spiritual gifts, which they are commanded to employ for the edification of the entire congregation. The administration of such gifts by every member is necessary for the proper growth and ministry of the church.
SMALL GROUP MINISTRY
One of the greatest outlets for every member ministry is our Small Group ministry. Such fellowships are employed to evangelize the lost, equip the saved, and minister to the individual needs in the body. Christianity is not a spectator sport.
The purpose of Grace Life Church is to glorify God by obediently making and equipping disciples of Christ, in the Shoals and throughout the world, by the power of the Spirit. The primary means employed to disciple believers are expository preaching, Small Group interaction, accountability, and personal one-on-one discipleship.
COMPASSIONATE CHURCH DISCIPLINE
Although church discipline is a foundational doctrine in Baptist history, it is now almost non-existent among “contemporary” Baptists. This forgotten and often misunderstood Bible doctrine is still practiced at Grace Life Church. We believe that if we truly seek to honor God, and if we truly care for the well being of His people, we will obey Christ’s commands to practice church discipline. When practiced biblically and compassionately, it is a powerful tool to restore the fallen and to preserve Christ’s honor in the church and the unbelieving world.
PARENT-DRIVEN CHILDREN’S MINISTRY
Parents are primarily responsible for the discipleship and discipline of their children. The church should not usurp the authority of godly parents, nor assume the responsibilities of parents who are lax in their duties. The church should give itself to teaching the biblical principles of parenthood and to holding parents accountable to carry them out in the context of families. While we have an active program for children, it should be viewed as an extension of the parents’ roles, and it is never to replace them.
PARENT-DRIVEN YOUTH MINISTRY
The youth ministry is not designed around the presumed unique needs or desires of young people, but it is centered on God’s will for young people as revealed in His Word. Our youth ministry is parent-driven. Our goal is to strengthen parents in their God-called responsibility to “bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The so-called “generation gap” and the “adolescent years” are a result of sin and should not be encouraged by the church or youth ministries. Our youth ministry is not centered on music, drama, comedy, or other entertainments but on the faithful preaching of God’s Word and Small Groups for application of Scripture, meeting personal needs, and one-on-one discipleship and accountability. While other activities may be allowed, they must never take the place of or de-emphasize the preaching of the Word or the leadership of fathers in discipling their children.
We believe that dating as it is practiced in our contemporary culture is an unbiblical practice that has led to untold misery among the people of God. Although the Scriptures do not specifically address courtship in every aspect, it does give us countless sound principles by which our young men and women may guide their relationships with the opposite sex and discover God’s will for marriage.
Christians are children of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that grace should be expressed in their financial stewardship. Joyous giving reflects the God of grace who has saved us. Stinginess is antithetical to Christianity. We believe that Christians should tithe of their income to the local church. We do not tithe under the Law, but we tithe under love. Tithing is the beginning point or the “training wheels” of giving. God’s primary means of financially supporting His work on earth is through the giving of tithes and offerings to the local church. (I Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 3:21)
PERSONALIZED WORLD MISSIONS
The Great Commission is a great command. Personal involvement in world missions is not a suggestion or an option, but it is demanded of every true believer. The entire local church family should be personally and strategically involved in world missions, mobilizing laborers, prayer, and finances to the end of glorifying God among all peoples. We are either called to go down into the well (be a missionary) or to hold the rope for those who are going down (support missionaries). Either way, our dedication must be costly and enduring.
LOCAL CHURCHES IN UNITY AND COOPERATION FOR MUTUAL EDIFICATION AND WORLD MISSIONS
We require everyone interested in partnering with Anchored In Truth Missions to prayerfully listen to a three-part foundational message by Pastor Jeff Noblit entitled “Local Churches in Unity and Cooperation.” This message was originally prepared for those interested in enrolling in the Pastoral Training Institute. However, the message thoroughly sets forth the biblical principles for local churches to cooperate for church planting and missions.
Outline to download:
Local Churches in Unity and Cooperation, Part 1:
Local Churches in Unity and Cooperation, Part 2:
Local Churches in Unity and Cooperation, Part 3:
If you agree with Anchored In Truth's doctrinal statement and ministry distinctives and agree with the premise taught in the three-part message "Local Churches in Unity and Cooperation," we encourage you to complete the prospective partnership form below.