Long ago, it was common practice to define a thing by first defining what it is not. It was called the via negativa, or the way of negation. So, by stating what we are not, we are not seeking to attack those who disagree with us but instead seeking to distinguish ourselves so that those considering joining our church family are aware of who we are and who we are not.

1. We are not theological liberals who embrace culture without discernment and compromise the distinctives of the gospel; we are theological conservatives who believe the truths of the Bible are inspired, inerrant, and infallible for all peoples, in all places, through all ages. (Deut. 32:46-47, Psalm 1, Psalm 119, 2 Tim. 3:16-17)

2. We are not biblicists who live out our faith with a ‘me and my Bible only’ mindset; we are confessionalists who live out our faith within the context of the local, global, and historic church. (Eph. 4:11-12, 5:19-21, 1 Peter 4:10-11, Jude 3)

3. We are not those bent on retreating from culture and cultural involvement in a holy huddle; we are those who desire to engage with culture and see culture transformed with the gospel of Christ. (1 Cor. 10:23, 1 Cor. 10:31, Col. 3:17, 1 Peter 4:11)

4. We are not isolationists who believe our church is the greatest church ever; we are those who seek to partner with like-minded Christians, churches, denominations, and organizations in reaching our cities. (Rom. 1:8-15, 1 Cor. 1:10, Phil. 1:3-8, 1 Peter 3:8-9)

5. We are not egalitarians who believe gender is fluid or interchangeable, nor are we feminists who believe women must rise and overcome male suppression, nor are we patriarchalists who believe men should dominate women; we are complementarians who believe men should lead their homes and male elders should lead their churches with sacrificial Christ-like love mirroring how Christ loved the church. (Gen. 1:26-28, Gen. 2:18-25, Gal. 3:27-29, Eph. 5:21-33)

6. We are not hyper-calvinists who get bogged down in secondary matters and leave all things to the sovereignty of God while we sit back inactive; we are within the reformed tradition which prizes the sovereignty of God as well as the obedience of the church, believing that God in His sovereignty ordains both the end (His glorification) and the means (our grace-fueled effort) of all things. (Psalm 115:3, Eph. 1:3-14, Titus 2:11-12, Titus, 3:8)

7. We are not open theists who believe God learns, grows, changes and regrets as time goes on; we are classical theists who affirm the wonder of God’s incomprehensibility, infinity, immensity, immutability, simplicity, independence, and impassibility. (Gen. 1:1, Ex. 3:14, Psalm 115, Rom. 11:33-36, 1 Tim. 1:17)

8. We are not post-enlightenment thinkers who are skeptical about what we do not know; we are pre-enlightenment thinkers who enjoy the mystery of all we do not know. (Job 5:9-11:7, Psalm 92:5, Rom. 11:33-36, Col. 2:2-3)

9. We are not pluralists, relativists, or universalists who believe God is on top of a mountain with many roads leading up to Him; we are exclusivists who believe there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ. (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Acts 10:43, 1 Tim. 2:5-6)

10. We are not moralists seeking to help people live squeaky clean lives; we are gospel-oriented people who believe God’s grace saves sinners who will struggle with sin and grow in grace for the rest of their lives. (Rom. 7:13-25, Rom. 8:1, Gal. 5:16, Titus 2:11-12)

11. We are not annihilationists who believe there is no eternal torment in hell; we are those who affirm the existence of hell and that many will spend eternity in its torments, as the Bible teaches. (Matt. 10:28, John 3:16, Mark 9:42-50, 1 Thess. 5: 2-3, 2 Thess. 1:5-12)

12. We are not humanistic naturalists who deny the spiritual or supernatural realm; we are those who affirm the spiritual realities mentioned in the Bible, such as miracles, signs, and wonders, as well as the spiritual entities, both good and bad, behind these works. (Job 1, Rom. 8:38-39 2 Cor. 10: 1-4, Eph. 6:10-12)

13. We are not embarrassed by the bloodiness of the cross; we are gladly and unashamedly a cross-centered people who believe the bloody death of Jesus Christ was an act of penal substitutionary atonement. (Gen. 3:20-21, Gen. 22, Isa. 52:13-53:12, 2 Cor 5:21)

14. We are not dead or morose, seeking life according to arbitrary moral boundaries; we are a people made free by grace, seeking to be free in grace while also seeking to be wise in our enjoyment of the liberty of grace. (2 Cor. 8:7-12:9, Eph. 4:7, James 4:6, Titus 2:11-14)

15. We are not perfect, not at all; we are those who rejoice that we’re being made perfect in Christ daily. (Rom. 3:23, 2 Cor. 5:17 Philp. 3:12 1 Pet. 2:9-10)

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