New Beginnings Grace Brethren Church

Values

The Glorification and Exaltation of God

We have been created and redeemed by God for His own glory (Isaiah
43:7, First Corinthians 6:20). Our chief desire is to know, love, and
obey Him, thus promoting His glory in every circumstance, everywhere,
among all peoples (Matthew 22:37-40, Matthew 28:18-20). We desire to be
intensely God-focused, even to the extent of pleasing God rather than
people when the choice arises (First Thessalonians 2:4).

The Trinity and Christ-Centeredness

The one, true God has never been nor ever will be less or more than
triune (Second Corinthians 13:14). The God-given illustration of this
truth for this age is the water baptism of disciples of Jesus – one
baptism consisting of three coequal actions (Matthew 28:19). It is the
Second Person, The Lord Jesus Christ, Who is represented by the second –
the central – baptismal action. It is Christ who brings us to the
Father (First Peter 3:18), and it is the role of the Holy Spirit to
glorify Christ (John 16:13). Christ is central. As His church we long to
know Him, love Him, obey Him, praise Him, and serve Him. We worship Him
as the honored center of the Scriptures and every portion of our lives,
that “in all things He must have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).

Expository Bible Preaching

The preacher is to preach the Word with both exegetical accuracy and
spiritual power (Second Timothy 4:1-2, First Thessalonians 1:5). The
pulpit ministry is central in the church’s worship, knowledge, holiness,
love, devotion, and mission. Therefore, it is indispensable and must
not be diminished or replaced.

Sound Doctrine

Flowing both to and from Expository Bible Preaching is Sound
Doctrine. Sound Doctrine consists not only of accurate, cognitive
biblical facts, but also the understanding of those facts which brings
life-application, spiritual integrity, and obedience. In a time when
many people do not accept or tolerate sound doctrine (Second Timothy
4:3-4), the elders of the church yet are responsible to guard the flock
from compromising and dangerous influences (Acts 20:28-32). The
Statement of Faith of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches is the
tool (not creed) we use to explain some of the vital doctrinal
parameters.

Non-Creedal/Thoroughly Biblical

We accept “The Bible, The Whole Bible, and Nothing But the Bible” as
our authority. We do not accept the authority of creeds or other
man-made formulations. In our worship, we do not recite creeds, nor sing
them, nor read them. We do stand in honor of the reading of the Word of
God (Nehemiah 8:5). It is our desire to be thoroughly biblical in the
totality of our lives. Our purpose, methods, and goals must be from
sound, biblical teaching. We reject the concept that biblical goals can
be achieved by man-centered, man-empowered methods.

Creation and Flood

We affirm that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are actual, true
history, and are to be believed and taught as such (as should all of
Genesis and all historical portions of the Bible). The days of Creation
Week are actual, real, 24-hour days revealed in Genesis as comprising a
genuine historical time-block with no intervening gaps in the text or in
history. Adam and Eve were real humans, the first two ever, not merely
literary symbols of human existence nor vestiges of some pre-Adamic race
of beings. The record of the Fall of Man and the events leading to the
global catastrophic Flood are real, and the worldwide Flood is factually
true history. This understanding is essential to a Biblical Worldview
which accurately includes the establishment and outworking of the nation
of Israel from the beginning through to the prophesied culmination of
all things in the destruction of the present heavens and earth, and the
establishment of the New Heaven and New Earth. Without this
understanding of Genesis there is no possibility of interpreting the
rest of the Bible in a way that sees its statements as true and
accurate, including anyone’s personal salvation.

Biblical Corporate Worship

The direction of corporate worship is vertical, an engaging of God
and the congregation. Worship involves ascribing honor, majesty and
praise to Christ (Revelation 5:12-14) and learning from Him (Luke
10:38-42). The most significant feature, then, of corporate worship is
the public reading of and expository preaching of the Word of God. All
other features of corporate worship – the offering, announcements,
music, drama, audio and visual, prayers, etc. – must seek to fulfill
this vertical direction. 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 seeing God-honoring standards of musical excellence.
Music is to reinforce sound Bible doctrine through song, and to express
congregational praise and adoration to Christ Who is our Audience.

Biblical Evangelism

While we fully believe that salvation is the work of God in His
sovereign grace (Psalm 3:8, Ephesians 2:8, Romans 9:15-16), we are also
obediently committed to preach the Gospel to everyone, imploring people
to believe and be reconciled to God (Mark 16:15, Second Corinthians
5:20). Such, too, is the sovereign work of God. And, while we believe
that God calls some to the office of Evangelist, He does so to equip
every believer to evangelize the lost (Ephesians 4:11-12). We understand
that regeneration and saving faith cannot be produced by manipulation,
coercion, or programming; rather they are the result of the supernatural
work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8, Titus 3:5). We believe the Holy
Spirit does His supernatural work of regeneration through the preaching
of the Gospel according to the Scriptures, not apart from it (Romans
1:16, First Corinthians 15:1-5, First Peter 1:23).

The Lostness of the Lost

“Total depravity” or “total inability” are doctrinal phrases which
describe the lostness of all people who are not yet regenerated in
Christ. This is not to suggest that, relatively speaking, all people are
“as bad as they can be”, but rather that all people are “as bad off as
they can be.” There is “none righteous” (Romans 3:9), “none who
understands”, “none who seeks for God” (Romans 3:10), and none who has
any ability to please God (Romans 8:8). Without spiritual birth from
above, man “cannot” – has no ability to – “see the kingdom of God” (John
3:3).

Regeneration and Justification by Faith Alone

Regeneration is completely the sovereign work of God, and in no way
is caused by or assisted by any work or decision of man (John 1:12-13,
John 3:8, Titus 3:5). The gift of God in this new birth is a new heart
(core identity) which truly desires to please God (Romans 2:29, 7:22).
The first, necessary, and evidential act of the new birth is the
exercise of the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8, John 3:16), which is to
the new birth what breathing, eating, and drinking are (John 6:53-54).
Saving faith/trust involves the elements of knowledge (notitia – mental
element/understanding – the perception of truth and its qualities),
assent (assensus – emotional element/inclination – the persuasion of
truth as the object of Faith), and confidence (fiducia – volitional
element/will – personal reliance on the Person of Christ). To have the
mental or emotional elements only does not constitute saving faith, for
even demons believe in that sense (James 2:19). By the exercise of faith
alone, the believer receives justification (Romans 3:28, 4:5),
forgiveness of all sin (Colossians 2:13-14), right-standing with God
(Romans 5:1-2), all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ
(Ephesians 1:3), and new identity as a believer in Christ (Second
Corinthians 5:16-17).

Eternal Security and Assurance

Those who are truly regenerate are so forever. The Bible clearly
teaches the eternal security of the true believer (John 10:28-30). True
believers have the privilege of full assurance of their salvation (First
John 5:13). The gracious work of God in salvation continues forever
(Philippians 1:6) and is evidenced in the life of the believer by the
bearing of spiritual fruit (Matthew 7:16-20). There are, however,
fakers/false professors of faith. Such do not have eternal security and
are not entitled to true assurance of salvation, for they were never
actually regenerated (Matthew 7:21-23). So, we believe in the eternal
security of the believer, and the eternal insecurity of the
make-believer.

World Mission Church Principles

We are guided by a set of biblical mission principles which flow out
of the Great Commission, which is the biblical purpose statement for
the Body of Christ. “Missions is not what the church does for the
missionary – missions is what the church does through the missionary.”
The entire local church family should be personally and strategically
mobilized for involvement in world missions through praying, giving, and
going, for the glory of God among all peoples. The goal of our mission
ministry is the planting of churches like-minded with us in faith and
practice, as reflected in our Statement of Faith and this Biblical
Values document.

Church Discipline

Matthew 18 was the most quoted chapter of the Bible among the old
Brethren. It is not the only biblical passage or approach to church
discipline, but it is historically the most well-known. We acknowledge
the necessity of carrying out appropriate disciplinary processes for the
spiritual health, holiness, and preservation of the local body (Matthew
18:15-22, First Corinthians 5:3-13, Romans 16:17-18). This must be done
with grace, love, and sensitivity (Ephesians 4:15), with the goal of
forgiveness and restoration (Galatians 6:1).

Church Purity and Separation

We acknowledge the duty of the true church to separate herself from
worldliness, apostasy, and error (Romans 16:17-18, Second Corinthians
6:14 - 7:1, First John 2:15-17). This includes separation from all
manner of sin, including that which is “religious”, “ecclesiastical”, or
“philosophical” - for example, non-Christian religions (like Islam,
Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.), “Christian” cults (like Mormonism, Jehovah’s
Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Science, liberal
Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, etc.), neo-pagan philosophies (like
the New Age movement, “emergent church” theologies, theistic evolution,
the Masonic Lodge), and so on. This separation is not isolation, but the
recognition that such people are to be evangelized, not counted as
co-workers in a cause with which we cooperate. In love and compassion we
bring the Gospel to them.

Elder Oversight

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 I Timothy 3:1-7, which
includes male-only eldership., They exercise authority over the church
only to the degree that they teach and lead according to the Scriptures,
and do so with grace and humility (First Peter 5:1-5).

Deacon/Steward Servant Leadership

According to Jesus the life of every believer should be marked by
service (Mark 9:35). There are specific servant-leaders marked out by
the New Testament to be leaders among servants. These are
deacons/deaconesses and stewards/stewardesses. These must have lives
consistent with the listed biblical qualifications (First Timothy
3:8-13, First Corinthians 4:1-2). Their tasks include the carrying out
of ministries and projects (Acts 6:1-7) of many kinds, and often have
the primary responsibility of meeting the physical, financial, and
material needs of the congregation, both individually and corporately.
When these lead and serve well, they obtain great honor in Christ (First
Timothy 3:13).

The Local Church

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. 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). A church is an autonomous local
congregation of true believers under the headship of Jesus Christ.
Church government is from the congregation itself, raising up elders,
deacons, and stewards. While local churches help each other and
cooperate in an interdependent manner (Romans 16:16), no church or
outside entity has authority over any other church.

Discipleship and Family

The purpose of the people of New Beginnings is . . . to discover and
develop people who will become biblically obedient, passionate
followers of Jesus Christ in devoted relationship with us. We offer
systematic, biblical programs and tools of discipleship for people of
all ages. We affirm that parents are primarily responsible for the
discipleship and discipline of their children (Ephesians 6:1-4). 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 and youth, it
should be viewed as an extension of the parents’ roles, and it is never
to replace them.

Sanctity of Human Life

We affirm that all human life, at any stage, is in the image of God
and is to be respected accordingly (Genesis 1:26-27). We affirm that
abortion and active euthanasia are murder, and are morally sinful before
God.

Sanctity of Marriage

We affirm that the marriage relationship of one man and one woman
for life is the design and plan of God (Genesis 2:23-25). Sex within
marriage is holy (Hebrews 13:4). All sexual activity outside of a
biblically defined marriage is sin (fornication, adultery, “living
together”, homosexuality, pornography, lust, incest, and so on). We also
affirm that believers are not to be unequally yoked in binding
relationships with non-believers (Second Corinthians 6:14), and that
this includes marriage as well as other kinds of binding relationships.
We further affirm that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:14-16), which was
never part of God’s recommended plan in Creation (Matthew 19:8). And, of
course, we affirm the power of the Gospel to justify and sanctify true
believers, no matter what their wicked past may have been.

Israel and the Future

We affirm that God’s covenants with Abraham (Genesis 12;1-3,
15:18-21, 17:1-7) and David (Second Samuel 7:12-17) are unconditional
and will be fulfilled as promised through Jesus the Messiah at His
Second Coming and the establishment of His Kingdom. This includes the
land promises as well as Messiah as the Son of David ruling on David’s
throne on earth in the Kingdom. God has a future program for Israel, and
she will be “grafted in” again to God’s covenantal promises (Romans
11:23-29). This perspective includes the actual future fulfillment of
sections of Scripture like Ezekiel 36-48. The Body of Christ has the
scriptural, ethical responsibility to support Israel and seek her peace
and salvation. We repudiate the errors of “replacement theology” (Israel
being “replaced” permanently from her promised blessings, and
“Kingdom-now” theologies which deny the future fulfillment of Kingdom
promises and attempt to separate them from Israel and compress them into
the present age (over-realized eschatology).

The Blessed Hope

We highly prize the truths of the Pre-Seventieth-Week-of-Daniel
Rapture of the Church (First Thessalonians 4:15-5:11, Daniel 9:27) and
the Pre-Millenial Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 19:11 - 20:6).
Such is the position that keeps the believer focused on our Lord’s
appearing (Titus 2:13 and Second Timothy 4:8).