Member Statement of Faith
Bible Center has a 77-year history of being Bible-centered. As has been the practice in the global Church for two millennia, our congregation has found it helpful to summarize our core beliefs into various statements of faith. The foundation for all BCC doctrinal statements can be traced back to the one that appears in the first church bulletin on March 7, 1943. Multiple revisions have taken place over the years to provide clarification to the ever-changing winds of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).
Why is it time for an update?
- We desire a more robust statement of faith. Several sections of our current doctrinal statement are nearly 50 years old, and much more needs clarified in our day and age than it did 50 years ago. We can no longer assume that people today understand key truths that Christians understood 50 years ago. For instance, the word “gospel” doesn’t appear in our current statement anywhere. There’s only one short sentence about Jesus, which we feel should be increased. Our current statement refers to Jesus as a little “d” deity instead of a big “D” Deity, coequal with the Father. Our current statement mentions the timing of Creation, but it says nothing about Who did the creating, why God created, or the importance of a literal Adam and Eve who lived in a literal Garden of Eden. Again, all these things were understood by BCC believers 50 years ago, but we can no longer make these assumptions when biblical illiteracy is on the rise.
- We want to create a Member Statement of Faith so robust that it can be used for Bible studies and summarized into a doctrinal primer for our children and grandchildren.
- We want to answer the question definitively, “What must a person not deny in order to be a member of Bible Center?” In other words, we desire to make the gate to our church no narrower than the gate to heaven. Obviously, there is much that a person doesn’t have to fully know or understand in order to be a Christian, but there are very clear truths in Scripture that a person cannot deny and still call himself/herself a Christian. Our new doctrinal statement addresses these important truths.
- In an effort to address “the other side of the coin” to #3 above… we don’t want to exclude gospel-loving people from the membership of our church. Everyone has personal preferences and opinions on peripheral matters, especially on issues where the Scriptures are not dogmatic and where the global Church has held differing views (in good conscience) two millennia. With the newest update, our Elders, Pastors, and I desire to answer the question, “What beliefs would Jesus have us unequivocally require for membership in our particular church?”
- This is part of our overall strategy to create a healthier, replicable church DNA. In order to one day export and multiply healthy campuses and churches that deeply value the core doctrines of the faith, we must first be a church that can identify the core doctrines of the faith.
- This update to our current doctrinal statement has been talked about among our Elder Board for at least two decades. To our knowledge, Pastor Matt Friend is the third Senior Pastor who has felt burdened to do this (preceded by both Pastors Shawn and Eric). Making this change now will greatly benefit the long-term future of Bible Center Church.
The process so far...
In addition to being discussed among BCC leaders for over two decades, and being part of his candidating discussions with the Search Committee and Elder Board prior to Pastor Matt’s arrival almost five years ago…
- Our Elders officially launched this process with a resolution in February 2019.
- Our previous Elder Chairman, Mike John, notified the congregation at our March and June 2019 Member Meetings.
- Our current Elder Chairman, Paul Legg, updated the church at our November 2019 Member Meeting, and again, at our online Member Meeting in June of 2020.
- Our Elders registered a unanimous vote last month (August) to move forward with the rollout and congregational approval process.
What to expect through March 2021
Pastor Matt will be preaching (devotionally) through each of the doctrines, spanning five sermon series with unique emphases. After each sermon, our Communications Director (Jessica VonCrist) will post the corresponding sectional update to our website for your prayerful review and study. Our kids and students will be learning the same truths in their classes, and Pastor Mike Graham will be posting updated/revised Core Classes that correspond with that Sunday’s doctrinal truth.
Mark your calendars for four fireside chats where anyone can come and ask questions of our Pastors and Elders. We plan to host each public form on Sunday evenings (6 PM) in the lobby unless the crowd size requires us to move into the auditorium for social distancing.
- October 18
- November 22
- January 24
- February 28
As a capstone to this process, world-renowned theologian, author, and church historian, Dr. Gregg Allison, will join us March 19-21 to teach all weekend through our new Member Statement of Faith from the perspective of historical theology, answering: “What has the global Church believed about these things for 2,000 years?”
Lord willing, at our March 28th Member Meeting, we’ll vote on the final draft of our new Member Statement of Faith and (separate) Distinctives, with humble and prayerful hopes of replacing our current doctrinal statement (Article III of our current church constitution).
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- We believe the whole Bible—all 66 books—to be the inspired Word of God. Zechariah 7:12; Matthew 5:17-18; John 10:35; Acts 4:24-26; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 3:15-1
- We believe the Bible to be inerrant, accurate, and true in the original manuscripts, infallible, and trustworthy in everything. The Bible doesn’t affirm anything that is contrary to fact. Numbers 23:19; Psalm 12:6; Proverbs 30:5; John 17:17; Romans 1:2; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18
- The Bible alone is our final source of authority and is sufficient in matters of faith and practice; therefore, it guides our discussions of purpose, doctrine, morals, church membership, church governance, and ministry. Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 1 Thessalonians 4:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 2 Peter 3:15-16
- God’s Word is essential for showing and knowing the way of salvation, for maturing in the faith, and for discerning God’s will. It is necessary for the equipping, growth, and transformation of every gospel-believer. Therefore, it is the centerpiece of our preaching, teaching, singing, and counseling. Psalm 19:7-11; Matthew 4:4; Romans 10:13-17; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:3
- The good news of God’s redemptive plan through Christ is the central and dominant theme of the Bible—in both the Old and New Testaments—and in human history. God’s Word unveils God’s plan through creation, the fall, salvation, transformation, and restoration—impacting the individual, the Church, and the world. Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3; Luke 24:13-45; Galatians 3:16, Hebrews 9:15; Revelation 21:3-6
- Though not exhaustively, God has revealed Himself truly, clearly, and progressively through His Word so that, with God’s help, its teachings can be understood and applied. Deuteronomy 30:11-14; 31:9-13; John 14:26; Romans 15:4; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:1-2
- As the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have enjoyed eternal community with one another, God invites all believers to make every effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Psalm 133:1; John 13:34-35; 17:11, 20-23; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 4:1-6
- Jesus taught that some doctrines carry more weight than others, clearly indicating that there is a hierarchy of doctrinal significance. As outlined in this Membership Statement of Faith, doctrines plainly identified by Scripture as fundamental or essential include those required for saving faith, those closely connected to the gospel, and those we are forbidden to deny under the threat of condemnation. Matthew 23:23-26; John 17:3; Romans 4:4-5; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 16:22; 1 John 1:6, 8, 10; 4:1-3
- When an issue is a matter of personal preference or has various legitimate interpretations, we show grace and seek the good of others without requiring everyone to agree. We aspire to live, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” Romans 14-16; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Colossians 3:12-15; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 4:1-11; 6:2b-5, 20-21; 2 Timothy 2:14-17, 23-26
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