From the time of the very first Christians all the way to the present, Christians have found it helpful to layout their beliefs (commonly called doctrine) in definitive, summarizing statements. A common objection to such statements is that we need “no creed but the Bible.” But that kind of reasoning quickly becomes circular. To say we believe what the Bible says, yet not to explain in our own words what we understand the Bible to mean, is unhelpful. Therefore, to crystallize and clarify our beliefs about what Scripture actually teaches, we often need to use statements that are not from the Bible so that we can helpfully explain what we think the Bible says.
Anyone who wants to join the membership of Grace Baptist Covenant Church is required to affirm the GCBC Statement of Faith, which is a revised version of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith from 1853. We’ve adopted this historic confession to connect ourselves with the church of the past in a way that roots our doctrine and practice in time-tested language and testifies to our unity with the church of previous years. This particular confession records our shared belief in the central and historic doctrines of Christianity, and particularly the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation, among which are the inspiration, inerrancy, and sufficiency of Scripture; the atonement of Christ as a substitute penalty for our sins (penal substitutionary atonement); the sovereignty of God in salvation; the importance of believers’ baptism, and elder leadership in the context of congregational church government. Click the icon to the top to download our Statement of Faith or click on the title to look at it online.
Just as a statement of faith summarizes our doctrinal commitments, our church covenant summarizes our moral commitments. The statement of faith says, “This is what we are committed to believing.” The church covenant says, “This is how we are committed to living.” Church covenants are nothing new. Churches have actually been using them for centuries to clarify the ethical and relational commitments that church membership entails.
In our non-committal, individualistic, privatized age, a church covenant might sound a little arcane, or maybe even intrusive. But too often, membership in the local church becomes an ambiguous commitment that has little meaning and less value. In an effort to restore the meaningfulness of local church membership, our church covenant clarifies just what it means to become a member of Grace Baptist Covenant Church by crystallizing the commitments we’re making and the priorities we’re embracing as those who are. It’s a commitment that we all make to one another, and it reminds us of the transforming implications of the greater commitment that God has made to His people, the covenant that He has sealed with the blood of His Son. Please click the icon on top to download a copy or click on the title to look at it online.
Let’s face it – none of us equates “church constitution” with “a riveting read,” so we can’t say we blame you if you take a pass on this one. But just as the statement of faith says “This is what we believe,” and the church covenant says “this is how we live,” the church constitution says “this is how we conduct our family business together.” Please click the icon on the right to download a copy.