A High View of God
God is portrayed throughout the Scriptures as being Holy (Lev. 11:44; Isa.6:3; I Pet. 1:16; Rev. 4:8); Righteous (Psa. 11:7; Zep. 3:5; II Tim. 4:8; 1 Pet. 2:23; Rev. 16:5); and Just (Deut. 33:21; Isa. 30:18; Psa. 146:7; Tit. 1:2). Therefore, the ministry of the church should not only promote the holy, righteous, and just attributes of God, but it should also encourage the imitations of these attributes in the lives of those within Faith Fellowship (I Cor. 11:1; II Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:1; II Thess. 2:14).
Practical application: Failure to have a high view of God will lead to a high tolerance of sin and rebellion, changing the focus of the ministry to being man-centered, rather than God-centered.
We must teach with a primary focus on promoting God’s holiness (II Tim. 3:1-5, 4:3). Offering hope and comfort through the gospel must never be done at the expense of exalting God’s holiness. Faith Fellowship must practice biblical reproof and restoration (Matt. 18:15-20; Rom. 16:17; Titus 3:10; II John 1:10). The church must have a reverence and fear for the person of God (Deut. 10:12; Psa. 34:9; I Pet. 2:17; Rev. 14:7). We must not compromise truth in an effort to please people, “maintain the status quo,” or to seek unity with those who do not embrace the gospel of Scripture (Gal. 1:8-10); I Thess. 2:4).
A High View of the Word of God
God’s Word is supreme and established forever (Psa. 119:89, Isa. 40:8, 55:11, Matt. 24:35). God’s Word is also authoritative and must be obeyed (Rom. 1:16, II Tim. 3:16-17, Heb. 4:12, Jas. 1:22). The precepts of God are relevant to every situation (Psa. 19:7-14, Rom. 12:1-2, 15:4, II Pet. 1:20-21). The Word of God is sufficient for every circumstance (Jn. 6:63, 68, II Pet. 1:3). The Bible will be studied and taught within Faith Fellowship as the objective Word of God (Ezra 7:10, II Tim 2:15, 4:1-2).
Practical application: Failure to have a high view of the Word of God will lead to man’s thoughts and opinions being “supreme” and “established” in the hearts of people. Man’s opinions will be considered “authoritative” and that which must be “obeyed.” God’s truth will be considered relative or irrelevant. Also, it will be considered insufficient for life’s circumstances and situations.
Faith Fellowship must humbly and willingly submit to the authority of the Word of God. The leaders of Faith Fellowship must pattern and conform their lives after God’s Word. The church must teach the Word of God in such a way that people can apply it to their lives. We must turn to the Scriptures in order to find the answers to people’s problems.
The Importance of Biblical Prayer
God is the absolute sovereign in all affairs of life. He is the final authority on earth (Psalm 135:16, 103:19; Romans 11:36). Because of this Faith Fellowship holds individual and corporate prayer as an indispensable part of church life (Col. 4:2-4; Phil. 4:6-7; Eph. 6:17).
Practical Application: Failure to have a biblical view of prayer will cause a church to lose its focus on God. It will lead to a dependence on individual freedom apart from the leading of God.
A Biblical View of Mankind
All men are totally depraved, unable to do any good to save themselves (Isa. 64:6, Rom. 3:10-26, Tit. 3:5). Man was created to glorify God, but because of sin, he seeks to glorify himself (Gen.3:17-18, Rom. 1:18, 3:10-23). Due to his depravity and sin-tainted heart, man seeks fulfillment from the world’s evil system (Jer. 17:9-10; Mk. 7:21; Eph. 2:3; I Pet. 4:2; I Jn. 2:16).
Practical application: Failure to have a biblical view of man will lead to the belief that all men are not sinners and contain some aspect of “good” within them. Christ will not be seen as the only solution to man’s most essential needs. The church will try to provide promising fulfillment’s that are actually failing substitutes. The “felt needs” of man will be the only target of the church, instead of his real need of God and His provisions. The church will therefore produce people who do not live for the glory of God, but for self.
The goal of Faith Fellowship’s teaching must be to present men and women with truth and reality of their sin against God. We must not seek to please men, but out of love for their souls, we must speak plainly with them about their true spiritual condition. Only when men and women understand God’s view of their sin, will they be able to grasp the grace and glory of His giving His Son to bear the judgment for their sins on the cross.
The Importance of Biblical Leadership
The leadership of Faith Fellowship ought to reflect Christ-like characteristics, being an example to the church of God (I Tim. 1:16, 4:12; Tit. 2:7; Heb. 13:7). The elders of Faith Fellowship are responsible to equip the church to do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-12, I Thess. 5:11-14). They are also responsible to reproduce themselves (I Cor. 11:1), discipling and entrusting ministry work to others in the church (II Tim. 2:2, 4:5; I Thess. 2:4-12; I Pet. 5:1-3).
Our elders will be shepherds who devote themselves to the Word and to prayer with the goal that they might reproduce their Christ-like character in others. We want to train faithful men to exposit the Scriptures, to effectively counsel the hurting and to faithfully shepherd the sheep through patient exhortation, reproof, and encouragement (Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:2-3).
Practical application: Failure to adhere to a biblical view of leadership will lead to unbiblical models of leadership in discipleship as well as skewed ministry priorities. Ministry will be entrusted based on the skill and ability of the man rather than on the godly principles prescribed in the Bible. Also, failure to uphold the qualities of godly character within the life of church leadership will result in a toleration of disqualifying sins. Furthermore, a lack of biblical leadership will result in an inadequate equipping of Faith Fellowship and will lead to instability in the lives of the people in handling life’s difficulties (Matt. 7:24-27). Lastly, a failure of biblical leadership will result in a lack of disciple making.
Faith Fellowship’s model of leadership must be firmly based on Scripture. Church leadership must meet biblical qualifications. The elders must have a plan for training the next generation of church leaders.
The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
The sovereignty of God in the salvation of men is seen as all members of the Trinity work to bring it about. God the Father chooses certain men to be saved (Eph. 1:4), and his choice is unconditional. That is, He does not first look ahead into the future to see if a man would choose Him. God’s choice is not on the basis of the efforts/work of men (Rom. 9:11, 16; John 1:12-13), but is instead according to the counsel of His own will. His choice is designed to bring Him all of the glory (Eph. 1:5-6).
Practical application: Faith Fellowship must be moved to praise God for every man that is saved. Ephesians 1:14 says that redemption is for the “praise of His glory.” When people are saved through the ministry of the church; there should be joyful praise and thanksgiving to God!
Faith Fellowship must recognize the sovereignty of God in salvation in all efforts of evangelism. The servant of God presenting the gospel must find his hope and confidence in the God who saves, not in methods, their own skill in presenting facts or arguments, or in their ability to convince a guilty sinner to pray a prayer. As well, he must serve His Lord prayerfully. As he prays for the salvation of souls, he expresses his complete dependence on God to grant sinner repentance.
The Primacy of the Gospel Mission
The primary mission of Faith Fellowship is to take the gospel to the ends of the earth for the salvation and sanctification of men (Matt. 28:19-20). The gospel is spread through the preaching and teaching of the Word (whether presented to groups or individuals) (Rom. 10:13-17).
Practical application: All evangelistic ministries of Faith Fellowship must have as their primary effort the teaching of the Word (whether by the written or the spoken Word). All other efforts, such as the bettering of the community, social activism, etc., must work only to serve the primary effort: to proclaim the gospel.
The Centrality of the Local Church
Christ promised that He would build His church (Matt. 16:18). He is doing that right now. The church is the chief institution through which God spreads His gospel throughout the world. The local church is the “household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15).
Practical application: Christian ministries must encourage a greater appreciation for and commitment to the local church. While not all parachurch ministries are wrong, church members should guard against being drawn away from the church in order to participate in other parachurch ministries. Christians must have a strong affection for the church, commit themselves to the church and consider the other members of Faith Fellowship to be their spiritual family.
Revised April 4, 2012
Adapted with Permission from Christ Community Church in Plainfield, NH