What is the Gospel?

The gospel is the good news of God’s grace invading the darkness of this world. It is the narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and ultimate consummation planned by God, before the foundation of the world. The Gospel is orchestrated through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Christ’s crucifixion is the heart of the gospel. His resurrection is the power of the gospel. His ascension is the glory of the gospel.

At the heart of all sound doctrine is the cross of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have in glorifying God because of what He has accomplished. Therefore, we want all that takes place at The Garden Church, and each of our hearts to proceed from and be related to the gospel - ultimately for the glory of God.

What We Believe

The Garden Church is a church under the lordship of Jesus Christ. This church accepts the Scripture as its final authority in faith and practice. Additionally, this church adopts the Confessional Statement of The Gospel Coalition as accurate representations of the beliefs of the Scripture’s teaching. Further, we allign ourselves with Gospel-Centered, Reformed and Baptist traditions.

The basic doctrines within The Garden Church Statement of Faith represent what we believe to be core elements of biblical teaching. We expect all members of The Garden Church to affirm these doctrines.

The theological distinctives within The Garden Church Statement of Faith reflect what distinguishes The Garden Church from other churches who would affirm the basic doctrines. These distinctives indelibly shape the way that the church is led and the direction the church is headed. We do not expect all members to embrace all aspects of these distinctives, but members should expect that the distinctives will be maintained in all ministry environments at The Garden Church.

Core Beliefs

These are the essentials that we believe to be core elements of biblical teaching. We expect all members of The Garden Church to affirm these doctrines.

We believe in one God eternally existing as one essence and three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Each person is fully, equally and eternally God, yet there is one God. (Matt. 28:18-20), (John 1:14; Heb. 1:3), (John 15:26-27), (Ps. 24:1).

God has made Himself known to the world in Jesus Christ, the Scriptures, and creation. He has revealed Himself to us in His Son, the incarnate Word (Heb.1:1-2), in Scripture, the inspired Word (2 Tim. 3:16), and in creation (Ps. 8; Rom. 1:20)

We believe that God created the world from nothing and governs all things at all times in all places. (Gen. 1:1-2; Ps. 24:1). God doesn’t let the world exist, He makes the world exist. He upholds the universe by the word of His power, and He holds the world together in himself (Col. 1:17).

We believe that all humanity is created in the image of God and possesses intrinsic dignity and worth. God made humanity—male and female—in His own image (Gen. 1:27-30). Set apart as His image bearers, every human being is sacred. All men and all women, bearing the image of God, are meant to represent God in His creation (1 Cor. 10:31). Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union in the covenant of marriage. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways.

We believe that sin has fractured all things, leaving the world in desperate need of salvation (Gen 3; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 3:9-20). Unregenerate humanity lives under the dominion of sin and Satan (Eph. 2:1-3). He is at enmity with God, hostile toward and hateful of God.

We believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. We believe that, due to universal death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again (John 3:5-8); that salvation is only by grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ; and that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ through faith are declared righteous by God and become children of God (Heb. 10:19-25; Gal. 2:20)

We believe that the Church is the body of Christ sent into the world to shine forth the glory of God. (1 Cor. 12:12-31). The ultimate mission of the Church is to bring glory to God by making disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). The Church is called to make disciples through worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the ordinances, fellowship, the exercise of our gifts and talents, and the proclamation of the gospel both in our community and throughout the world.

We believe there are two ordinances of the Church. One is that of believer’s baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the other is the Lord’s Supper.

Water baptism is only intended for those who have received the saving benefits of Christ through the new birth of the Holy Spirit. In obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself and the world, believers are baptized by water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual and symbolic demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. It signifies that a former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts the release from the mastery of Satan, sin and death.

As with water baptism, the Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of His blood on our behalf and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s death. As we come to the table with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.

We believe that Jesus Christ is returning to the world in the future to judge the living and the dead. The consummation of all things includes the future, physical, visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the glorification of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In the consummation, Satan, with his hosts and all those outside Christ, is finally separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal punishment (Rev. 20:7-15), but the righteous, in glorious bodies, will live and reign with Him forever, serving Him and giving Him unending praise and glory. Then the eager expectation of creation will be fulfilled, and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God, who makes all things new (Rev. 21:1-5).

Theological Distinctives

These reflect what distinguishes The Garden Church from other churches who would affirm the basic doctrines.

The salvation of humanity is fundamentally the work of God. Before the foundation of the world, God elected His people, setting His affection and grace upon them (Rom. 8:29-30). In love God predestined His people for adoption (Eph. 1:4-6). Faith is a gift of grace that is given by the mercy and pleasure of God, so that no one may boast. Apart from the intervention of God, humanity cannot choose of his own accord to worship God and pursue righteousness (Rom. 3; Eph. 2:1-3). God’s sovereignty in salvation is comprehensive: from first to last, all of salvation is the work of God.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit that we see on display in the New Testament are still active within the life of the church. These gifts did not end with the close of the New Testament or the death of the last apostle (1 Cor. 12:1-11). The Garden Church takes a continuist stance on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We believe that all spiritual gifts seen in the New Testament— including those of prophecy, healing, and speaking in tongues—did not cease with the death of the apostles but continue for consistent and well-ordered use in the Church for the purpose of upbuilding the body of Christ. Our practice is guided by and under the authority of the Word of God to be exercised in the manner of humility worthy of our calling as Christ followers.

The precedent we find in the New Testament is baptism following conversion by full immersion into water. Baptism by immersion is meant to symbolically depict the believer’s real union to Christ in His death and resurrection (Rom. 6:1-14). (For more on this distinctive, consider attending one of our Baptism classes, held several times throughout the year.)