Our Core Values
Core Values of the Forgiven Christian Community
The Forgiven Christian Community adheres to the ancient statements of faith - the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Confession of Chalcedon, and the Athanasian Creed - affirms the historic Christian faith as expressed in the five solas of the Reformation - Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, and to the glory of God alone – as well as the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 and believe and hold sacred the contemporary expression of biblical inerrancy as expressed in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, 1978.
The ultimate authority in all matters of Christian faith, order, and morals is the Bible alone, which the London Baptist Confession clearly sets forth in its first chapter. We subscribe to this confession not as an inspired document nor as a law to bind our consciences, but as a man-made guide in articulating historic, Christian theology, and as a standard in settling doctrinal controversies and examining prospective church leaders.
The following essential eight core values, and their supporting scriptures, are the principles most important in defining the ministry of the Forgiven Christian Community, who we are, and what we are all about as a community of believers in Christ.
Therefore, we believe . . .
The Eternal and Living Triune God
We believe that there is one living and true God, self-existent and self-sustaining, eternally existing as one in essence or nature, yet in three persons, each equally deserving worship; that the essence of God is equal in every divine perfection, and that God accomplishes distinct, but harmonious offices, in the work of creation, providence, redemption and salvation.
God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
Further, we believe our main purpose as a community of believers is to glorify the God of the Bible. Therefore, we will promote a high view of God by emphasizing the need to read the Bible, the need to understand the Bible, and the need to explain the Bible’s message to others by encouraging people to walk with God and to grow in their knowledge of God.
Genesis 1:1, 2:2-7; Exodus 3:14, 6:2-3, 15:11-18; Deuteronomy 6:4; Leviticus 10:3; Psalm 16:11, 73:25-26; Isaiah 6:3-5, 57:15; Jeremiah 10:10, 31:34; Daniel 11:32; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; Luke 1:35, 4:41, 22:70, 24:46; John 1:1-18, 29, 4:24, 5:23-26, 9:38, 10:30, 38, 11:25-27, 12:44-50, 14:7-18, 16:15-16, 28, 17:1-5, 21-22, 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:8, 2:1-4,38, 4:31, 5:3-5, 6:3, 7:55, 10:44, 13:2, 15:28, 16:6, 19:1-6; Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:28; 2 Peter 3:18; 1 John 1:7-9, 3:2, 4:14-15, 5:9; Revelation 4:8, 11
The Authority and Sufficiency of the Bible
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired in every word and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct, profitable for teaching and correction in all aspects of Christian living. Therefore, all Scripture is totally trustworthy and true, and is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Further, we believe there are three important guides to studying the Bible: the need to know the Biblical story-line (narrative analysis); the need to know the theological themes that weave their way through the story-line (narrative theology); and, the need to see what Jesus does with the Biblical story-line and its themes (systematic teachings).
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 17:19, 12:32; Joshua 8:34; Psalm 19:7-11, 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 20:20, 27; Romans 15:4, 16:25-26; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 3:16-4:2; Hebrews 1:1-2, 4:12; 1 Peter 1:18-25; 2 Peter 1:19-21
The Centrality of the Gospel in Worship
We believe love of the gospel and love of worshiping the God of the gospel are inseparable. A true grasp of the gospel leads to devotion in both public and private worship. The gospel takes the natural, worldly view that worship is a person justifying himself by reaching up to God, and corrects it with the truth that worship is a person responding to the God who has reached down through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We believe that people do not decide to become worshipers of God; rather, the gospel produces worshipers. God, through the gospel, changes a person’s nature such that worship changes from mere participation in the outward forms of veneration into adoration and enjoyment of God from the heart.
We believe the gospel not only prepares us to worship, it guides our worship and sustains us in worship. In biblical worship, the gospel is proclaimed in Word and sacrament; in the worship of God, His gospel is read, preached, and sung. The same gospel message that kindled the initial fire of worship in the believer’s heart rekindles worship as the gospel is proclaimed and remembered.
We also believe the need for gospel during worship in part because of the sins we commit in worship. We may sing, speak, or pray thoughtlessly or hypocritically in various moments of worship. The application of the gospel to our minds and hearts in worship encourages us that our sins during worship are forgiven and that the Lord receives us even though our worship is imperfect.
Finally, we believe the gospel reminds us that our worship, although flawed, is acceptable -- not because of what we do or how well we do it, but because of what Christ did for us. He made worshipers out of rebels, and because our worship comes to the Father in Jesus’ name, He makes our worship holy (sanctifies it) to make it pleasing to the Father.
The Centrality of the Gospel in Preaching
We believe the centrality of the gospel in preaching is not only for the unregenerate, but also for the redeemed. The gospel not only communicates our need of forgiveness from the penalty of sin, but the gospel also stresses God’s ongoing presence for all believers in need of strength in the battle against the power of sin and to live a life glorifying God.
The gospel is about the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is the main point of the Bible. It is the main message that God has given the church.
Further, the gospel is necessary for the unbeliever without Christ, as well as for the believer endeavoring to serve and live for Christ. The gospel is the central point not only of our being made righteous in the sight of God (justification) but also for our setting aside to be made holy (sanctification), and ultimately the saving from sin and its consequences, which include eternal death and separation from God (salvation). All of this is graciously granted the believer through Christ’s death and resurrection which is the reconciliation between the Creator and His creation (atonement).
Therefore, as a worshiping community we will focus solely on the gospel as the only message of salvation, the key to the Christian life, and the foundation of Christian unity.
Matthew 4:17, 28:19-20; Luke 4:43, 16:16; John 3:1-36; Acts 2:38, 8:1-40, 20:24; Romans 1:8-16, 3:21-22, 12:1; 1 Corinthians 1:23, 2:2; 15:3; Galatians 1:8-9, 2:20; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:5-6, 4:6; 1 Peter 3:28
The Centrality of the Gospel in Evangelism
We believe the gospel must be proclaimed to all people and all that hear must be called to repentance and faith in Christ as their only means of salvation. We must plead, with the compassion and persuasiveness of Christ Himself, for all peoples to respond to the gospel and receive Christ alone as their Lord and Savior.
We believe the church must proclaim the gospel message fully without deletions, additions, hesitancy or deceit as modeled by the Apostles.
The human means that God has chosen to use in evangelism is His people proclaiming the gospel and through godly living. Therefore, we are committed to earnest prayer, Christ-like living, and gospel proclamation as our priorities in evangelism.
Matthew 16:18, 28:19-20; John 3:16, 13:34, 14:6; Acts 1:8, 2:22-41, 3:12-26, 5:17-21, 13:1-3, 13:26-41, 14:12; Romans 10:1, 14-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:5; 9:19-23, 15:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21; Galatians 1:9-11; Ephesians 4:11, 15-16; Colossians 1:5-6; James 5:17; 1 Peter 3:15-17
The Centrality of the Body of Christ in Community
Physically, all Christians function as Christ's body in the world. Individually, we serve in various ministries with various spiritual gifts such as: preaching, teaching, missionary work, evangelism, charity, healing, worship arts, and helps. Together, we serve the LORD when we worship God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Forgiven Christian Community is called into a healthy multiethnic ministry in which people of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds will themselves to:
walk, work, and worship God together as one to advance a credible witness of God’s love for all people.
recognize, renew, reconcile, and redeem broken relationships, both interpersonal and collective.
establish equitable systems of responsible authority, leadership, governance, and accountability within the congregation.
advocate and advance justice, mercy, and compassionate work in the community.
embrace the tension of sound theological reflection and applicational relevance in an increasingly complex and intersectional society for the sake of the Gospel.
Therefore, we will promote Christian fellowship where the gospel is displayed, the New Covenant is lived out, and each member of the body of Christ is cared for in community.
John 2:19-22, 13:35, 15:12-13; Acts 2:42; Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Galatians 3:27, 5:14, 6:2; Ephesians 1:22, 2:19-22, 4:4, 11-16, 5:29-30; Colossians 1:18, 24, 2:19, 3:12-15; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 John 1:3, 3:16-19, 4:7-11
The Centrality of Trusting in God
Without God nothing is possible. In the body of Christ, we express our dependence in God through a simple faith, submitted to God in repentance, and expressed in our life lived in complete devotion to Him. It is in God’s strength and blessing we find our purpose in God all the time. For the believer there is nothing else to compare living in the LORD’s ways. A fully forgiven and surrendered life to God is basic to the Christian way of life.
So, depending on God alone does not mean we act foolishly. In the Forgiven Christian Community, we trust in God for our salvation, for wisdom and forgiveness; we depend on God for everything and in everything.
The Centrality of Christian Fellowship in Community
Why is Christian fellowship so important? Two especially important reasons are because it helps express love to one another, and it encourages good works. But there are several more reasons. Christian fellowship:
has an impact on unbelievers. The love Christians have for one another can influence others toward faith in Jesus Christ.
provides the ability to for the community of believers to pray together just as the early believers were committed to prayer, both individually and in groups. This required being together.
is important for church decision-making as the early church gathered to make important decisions about the future direction of the church - this required community, prayer, and close discussion.
is required for baptism. A new Christian cannot baptize himself or herself because it is not a public profession of faith. Christians gather to celebrate a person's baptism and serve as witnesses of the person's commitment to a new life in Jesus Christ.
is required for the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper does not quite work the same for an online church. This ancient practice requires time together with other believers to remember the sacrifice of Christ in body and blood.
Though many believers today do not recognize the importance of fellowship or local church involvement, the Forgiven Christian Community understands Christian fellowship is essential to spiritual growth. Many aspects of our spiritual lives depend on being together with other believers to encourage, teach, serve, and share life together.
Matthew 3:11, 28:19; Luke 22:14-20; John 13:35; Acts 2:42-47, Acts 6, Acts 8:12, Acts 15, Acts 18:8; Romans 6:3; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29; 2 Corinthians 6:14, 13:14; Galatians 3:27; Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 John 1:3-7; James 5:14-16