HISTORY OF GRACE
We believe that the Bible reveals the Story of a LOVING God who cares about every detail of OUR lives, and Jesus- the One who is our only hope for this life and the next.
OUR BELIEFS ABOUT:
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.
We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.
The Human Condition
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.
We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel's promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.
The Work of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God's grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.
We believe that God's justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.
We believe in the personal, bodily and pre-millennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.
Response and Eternal Destiny
We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.
OTHER MATTERS OF FAITH
Reformed Perspective on Salvation
Salvation is God’s free gift to us, and through His grace alone we must accept it personally. We are incapable of saving ourselves. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works, because we are saved only by God’s grace. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ, as God’s offer of forgiveness, can anyone be saved from sin’s consequences. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus Christ, in faith and repentance, we are saved. At the moment of salvation we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his or her life by grace through faith. Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. If you have been genuinely saved, you cannot “lose” it. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security. The evidence of saving faith will be seen in the fruits of repentance and works produced through God’s work in a believer’s life.
We believe the way we interpret the Bible (hermeneutics) is very important. Therefore, we depend on the Holy Spirit to teach us as we pray in dependence to interpret the Bible. We believe the historical-grammatical-redemptive approach to studying the Bible leads us to understanding. In other words, we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture; we interpret Scripture in its original context; we interpret Scripture in light of the grammar (meaning of words, grammatical structures, literary genre, verb tenses, etc,) and we interpret Scripture through the redemptive work of God in Jesus Christ. We reject cultural interpretations of Scripture, in which we are tempted to change what Scripture says so that it is accepted by culture. Lastly, we reject placing our experience above Scripture, but instead allow Scripture to interpret our experiences.
In Baptism the water symbolizes the cleansing from sin that each person needs through trusting in Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. According to Matthew 28:19, we are to baptize people in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We believe that there is Biblical evidence for covenant infant baptism and covenant believer’s baptism and will permit either practice at Grace Reformed Church. We believe that the act of baptism does not save a person, but that baptism ultimately means identification with Christ and His Church.
Communion, also referred to as the Lord’s Supper, points to the reality of our relationship to our Savior and dependence upon Him. It is a reminder and symbol of what Christ has done for us. It is a statement of faith (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). The bread signifies the body of Christ given for our salvation. The fruit of the vine signifies His shed blood for our complete forgiveness.
Sanctity of Life
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image (Genesis 1 & 2). Human life is to be valued and protected in all of its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every stage or condition from conception to natural death (Psalm 139). We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value, all human life.
Gender and Marriage
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God and as such, ones biological sex is not to be rejected (Genesis 1:26-27). We believe that marriage has only one meaning: the uniting of one biological man and one biological woman in a single, exclusive, life-long union that is generative in nature, as delineated in Scripture (Genesis 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Corinthians 6:18, 7:2-5. Hebrews 13:4).
We are complementarian in our leadership—we believe, based on our understanding of Biblical teaching, that men and women were made to complement each other and not compete with each or be interchangeable in how they live out God’s creative design. Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, however the fall, as sin entered the world, began to distort God’s created design. We believe that male headship and servant leadership in the family and church is God’s design, but that God gives to men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men. Therefore, we do no not ordain women to the office of Pastor and Elder, which is based on our understanding of the biblical text (Gen. 3; 1 Cor. 11:3-16; 14:33b-36; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:11-15; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).
Pastor Howie and his wife Ginny have experienced the wonder of over 60 years of marriage and ministry. Howie served Grace Reformed Church as Senior Pastor for 36-years. He currently serves Grace as pastor to our senior adults.
Howie and Ginny have three married sons, ten grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.
He enjoys reading, writing, listening to classical and sacred music (especially The Gaithers), gardening, and playing games.
Favorite Bible passage:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:28-39 ESV