Well, I am what you call a Reformed Baptist.
Carlton and I both grew up in very traditional Southern Baptist churches. We have a long family history on both sides of devoted Southern Baptists including Carlton’s grandfather who was a Southern Baptist preacher for 50 years. We love and respect the Southern Baptist Convention. Our lives have been enriched because we were a part of the denomination. But since 2003, God has given us a desire to reach the world through biblical, Reformed Christianity. So many of you have asked what we believe and what makes our church different. I have put together a list of some of the distinctive beliefs of Grace Fellowship. Here it is!
1) We believe in God-centered worship. Worship is the priority of God and is to be the passion of His people. Biblical worship comes from the heart and is grounded in truth. The word of God determines how God is to be worshipped. The church should be committed to worship that is defined by and consistent with the Bible. (John 4:23-26)
2) We believe in consecutive, expository preaching. Expository preaching involves the public reading, explanation and application of Scripture. We desire to “expose the text” rather than impose our personal opinions on the text. Our norm is consecutive, expository preaching in which the elder’s preach through a book of the Bible from beginning to end. This gives the preaching ministry a biblical balance. This method also gives the people the opportunity to see “the whole “ of a book over a period of time in order to gain a better understanding. (II Timothy 3:16-17; Nehemiah 8:8)
3) We affirm God’s sovereignty in Salvation. Salvation is wholly a work of God. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. God planned salvation “before time began” and elected certain undeserving sinners to life eternal. God sent His Son Christ Jesus into the world to save those sinners by His righteous life, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection. The sovereignty of God in salvation does not negate the responsibility of men to repent and believe or to share the gospel in fact God’s sovereignty is the motive for such. (John 6:35-40; John 10:7-30; Mark 10:45; Romans 8:28-30; Romans 9:1-29; Romans 10:8-17; Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:3-14; Ephesians 2:4-10; Revelation 5:9-10)
4) We believe the church should be ruled by a plurality of elders under the Headship of Christ. We believe that there are two offices in the church, elder and deacon. The elders focus is on the ministry of the Word, shepherding, ruling and prayer. While each elder has specific gifts and abilities, no one elder has more authority than the others. The deacons are helpers and to focus primarily on benevolence, stewardship of the church property, and church finances. (Acts 20:17; I Timothy 3:1-13; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5-9; I Peter 5:1-4)
5) We believe in the practice of church discipline. Christ wants His church to be pure from sin, error and division. We believe in the regular oversight in the life of the church members by the elders in the church. (Matthew 18:15-17; I Corinthians 5:9-13)
6) We believe the church should be evangelistic. We should seek to proclaim the gospel at every worship service. The church should encourage people to get to know their friends, neighbors and co-workers and find opportunities to invite them to church and share the gospel with them. We also desire to reach out to the community around us and share the gospel with them and invite them to church. We desire to support missions and to be actively involved in the lives of our missionaries. (Romans 10:14-17; Psalm 67)
7) We believe there should be a strong emphasis on the family in the local church. We believe strong families are foundational to strong churches and a strong nation. Families (which include singles, widows, divorcées, and grandparents) are God’s building block of the church. We believe that the church is not to take the place of the family but to equip them for the task God intended. We desire to train husbands to be godly, spiritual leaders in their homes and to equip parents to raise godly sons and daughters to the glory of God. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
Some churches that hold to the same theology as our church, Grace Fellowship are:
Church of Brookhills, Birmingham, AL- Pastor David Platt
Briarwood Presbyterian, Birmingham, AL- Pastor Harry Reeder
The Village Church, TX- Pastor Matt Chandler
Bethlehem Church- Pastor John Piper
Grace Community Church, CA- Pastor John MacArthur
Pastor Al Mohler (President of Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY)
Capitol Hill Baptist Church- Pastor Mark Dever
Some people you might know that are also of the reformed faith:
-Kay Arthur (Pre-cept Bible Studies)
-Joshua Harris (Kissed Dating Goodbye, Dug Down Deep)
-LaCrae (Christian Rappers)
-Tullian Tchividjian- (Billy Graham's grandson)
-Wayne Grudem (Author of Systematic Theology)
-Those are just the first few that come to mind. But, there are many, many more. A great website to find churches that are like-minded with the Reformed faith is: www.9Marks.org There you will find hundreds upon hundreds of churches.
OK..thats all for today!