The Youtube videos below are taken from a seminar given on Saturday & Sunday, February 7, 8, 2009, at the Sola Conference at Countryside Bible Church in the Dallas area.
The first video is an overview of the historic and present day attacks against the doctrine of sola fide (justification by faith alone).
Lasting approx. 72 minutes, this presentation made by a man I am proud to call my friend, Dr. James White, is excellent for both its clarity and insight concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is highly recommended.
The second video (below) lasts approx. 55 minutes and is entitled Living Out Sola Fide.
Let’s be honest. Attending a service at a new Church can be more than a little intimidating. Actually, it can be downright scary. Yet if we have a general idea about what we might encounter, much of the unnecessary fear can be eliminated.
Let me just say that it is definitely worth the effort to find a good Church home. The fact is, God never intended any individual believer to live the Christian life in isolation. We were never meant to “do Christianity” by ourselves. The Bible tells us that the members of the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
WE NEED ONE ANOTHER
It is true to say that God saves each of us individually but He immediately sets each of us as Christians in a family, called “the Body of Christ” and in a visible expression of it called the local Church. This is where we can be equipped, nourished and strengthened in our faith and is the primary place where we can grow in our walk with God as disciples of Christ. Its also a place where we can use the gifts God has given us to help and serve others. Being a member of a local Church is an indispensable part of God’s intended will for each individual Christian.
A HIGH PRIORITY FOR CHRIST’S TRUE DISCIPLES
As followers of Christ, our lives should be built around the commands of Christ. As the Lord of the Church, through His Apostles, Christ summons His people to gather to worship Him together each Lord’s day, in the assembly of the saints. In obedience to Christ, participation in the weekly gathering of the saints on the Lord’s day needs to be a very high priority and focus.
Although there are many benefits for us in our assembling together, the chief reason for doing so is because He tells us to.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
As the return of Christ draws near, Scripture tells us to meet together “all the more.” This being the case, Sunday morning Church should be the first thing scheduled on our weekly calendars and not merely something that may happen if we can fit it in (after scheduling all sorts of other activities). This is both the duty and delight of His people if indeed Christ is Lord in more than name only.
As God’s beloved children we can trust that He has only the best of intentions in instructing us to gather together to worship Him, to hear His word, fellowship with His people, and to partake of His supper. These in fact are the very ‘means of grace Christ has ordained to bless, feed, protect, nurture and beautify His precious bride.
JUST A THOUGHT….
If we really think about it, part of our Lord’s day worship could even be the fact that we plan ahead and seek to get a good night of sleep the night before (Saturday night). That way, our minds can be in the best possible shape to be ready and attentive to listen to His word as it is ministered in the service. I realize that this is not always possible for many different reasons outside of our control (e.g. our next door neighbor decides to throw a loud party until the early hours of the morning), but nevertheless, it is something well worth thinking about as true disciples of Christ. As much as it depends on us, each of us should do all that we can to regard worship on the Lord’s day as special, set aside, different, unique and holy – in a word, “sacred.”
Our purpose in meeting together is to worship our great God, to be equipped and strengthened by the word of God, and to serve and encourage one another as disciples of Christ.
Because of these convictions, you are likely to see the following components in a Sunday morning worship service at the King’s Church:
THE CALL TO WORSHIP
We start with the call to worship. A passage from the Bible is read and we are exhorted to worship our great Triune God, in spirit and truth.
Then we enter a time of praise and worship as we come into God’s presence with singing, celebrating who He is and His amazing grace towards us in the gospel. Our music is contemporary in style as we sing both new songs as well as more familiar hymns.
We then include a short time to welcome our first time guests and make announcements.
We then take a few moments to greet one another as we prepare to listen to the word of God.
Our worship continues as we hear a portion of the Bible read to us and then through preaching, its meaning and life application is made clear to us. We call this “expository preaching” and it constitutes the main part of our service.
THE MEANING OF THE TEXT, THE MESSAGE OF THE SERMON
An expositional sermon takes the main point of a passage of Scripture and makes it the main point of the sermon, and applies it to life today. This is important because it is God’s Word that convicts, converts, builds up, and sanctifies God’s people.
VERSE BY VERSE
Though on occasions a sermon can be topical (given to a particular Biblical subject or theme) we believe a normal, healthy diet for the Church comes by teaching verse by verse through entire books of the Bible. This is also a great aid in making God’s agenda rule the church, rather than the preacher’s.
Our worship continues as we give in the offering to honor God and support the work of the local church as well as mission projects locally and around the world.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a communion in the body of Christ?” – 1 Cor. 10:16
The Didache (a late first-century document) 14:1 says, “On the Lord’s own day gather together and break bread and give thanks.” (Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers, 365. Interestingly, the Greek text reads Κατὰ κυριακὴν δὲ κυρίου (literally, “And according to the Lord’s of the Lord”). Κυριακὴν (“the Lord’s”) is the same word (an adjective) used in 1 Cor. 11:20 of the Lord’s Supper and Rev. 1:10 of the Lord’s Day. Holmes’ translation assumes an ellipsis, supplying “day” to complete the thought. It appears that The Didache is connecting the Lord’s Day with the Lord’s Supper.)
The early church (until the fifth century) apparently celebrated the Supper weekly (Maclean, The Lord’s Supper, 101). Whatever the case, it is important to think through the issue of the frequency with the fact that the Lord’s Supper, like the word of God and prayer, is a means of grace. We, therefore, receive communion together as a church family each Sunday morning.
WHO QUALIFIES TO PARTAKE
1. Sinners, convinced of their sin before a holy God.
2. Repentant sinners who believe in the Gospel of Christ.
3. Those water baptized upon a profession of faith.
4. Those not currently living in known sin (known and open defiance of God’s word) and are not under Church discipline in a local Church.
5. Those who see the full sufficiency of Christ to save by His life, death, burial, and resurrection (by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone) and come to His table to fellowship and commune with Him.
CONCERNING THE LOCAL CHURCH
Rev. Michael G. Brown writes, “The necessity of the local church for the making of disciples can hardly be overemphasized. This is our Lord’s chosen means for gathering His redeemed people, feeding them with His Word, receiving their worship, nurturing their faith, and bonding them as a community rooted and established in love (Rom. 12; Eph. 4; Phil. 1:27–2:11). The local church is a manifestation of the people who belong to Christ, and also the place where He meets them through the means He has ordained: an ordinary ministry of Word, water, bread, and wine.
Those means do not appear spectacular to the world. There is nothing particularly exciting or novel about a ministry of preaching, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. It is the same routine each week. We hear the Scriptures proclaimed, we come to the table, we sing, we pray, we enjoy fellowship, and then we go home. There are no halftime shows, no rock concerts, and no celebrity personalities. It is plain, ordinary, and even boring at times. Truth be told, it is about as exciting as watching a tree grow. But then Jesus said that the coming of His kingdom is like the growing of a tree (Luke 13:18–19).
A tree doesn’t grow by big and marvelous events but through the slow, steady diet of sun and rain year after year. The same is true with the kingdom of God. More often than not, it does not grow by what the world considers a mark of success: big buildings, big budgets, and big names. Instead, it grows in simple and often small services where the gospel is proclaimed. It grows where believers… are baptized into the covenant community. It grows where repentant sinners come to a holy meal that appears tiny and insignificant. It grows where ordinary members of a congregation love and serve one another. It grows in those late-night, unglamorous meetings of the elders as they seek to tend faithfully to Christ’s sheep.
We do not need more movements, more conferences, and more celebrities. We do not need the next big thing. What we need are more churches committed to the way disciples have been made since the Apostles planted a church in Jerusalem two thousand years ago: the slow-going, unspectacular, ordinary ministry of Word and sacrament, where God is raising dead sinners and creating a living communion of saints.”
Our Sunday morning service lasts approximately 80 – 90 minutes. Prayer and personal ministry is always available.
We hope the above comments are helpful to you. By the way, you can come in casual or smart clothes – either is fine with us. We look forward to seeing you at one of our services very soon.
A TWO HOUR DRIVE – The following is a transcript taken from the first question and answer session at the 2014 Ligonier National Conference.
Questioner: “This couple writes, ‘we live in a rural area without access to solid Biblical teaching, let alone Reformed teaching. The nearest Church with such teaching is two hours drive away. How should we choose a group to meet with and serve when we disagree with the things taught from the pulpit?’ What would you say practically to this couple?”
Dr. R. C. Sproul: “Drive two hours!”
Questioner: “Drive two hours?”
Dr. R. C. Sproul: “Lots of people do. Its that important. If you had to go to the hospital and it was a two hour drive you wouldn’t stay home. You would go to the hospital. You wouldn’t go to a dog pound because it was convenient. Would you?
Seriously! I mean its the old thing. I learned this from a former coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chuck Noll. His phrase was ‘whatever it takes!’ and the spiritual nurture of your soul and of your children’s souls are so important that if you have to drive two hours for worship, and for instruction in apostolic truth, then that’s an obvious decision. You drive two hours, or move! But it has to be a priority in every Christian family to be somewhere where there is true worship, true gospel, true doctrine, for the sake of eternity.”
Our generation is so blessed. In contrast to former generations where access to the word of God was very rare, there are many good Bible translations available to us in the English language today. How we thank God for this. It is simply a fact of history to say that many have paid the ultimate price (forfeiting their very lives) so that we would have access to the word of God in our native tongue. Yet now, because there are so many translations available to us, if the version used from the pulpit is not the same one we have brought to the service it is often difficult to follow a preacher’s sermon. Therefore, it may be helpful to know that we mainly use the English Standard Version in our services.
As a congregation, King’s Church stands upon the truths set forth in God’s inspired, inerrant and infallible Word, the Bible. We believe that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
Although King’s Church may be considered a young Church, it is true to say that what we believe is not in any way new. We stand in a long line of Churches as well as godly men and women who, through the centuries, have held to the historic creeds and confessions of the Church (these being short, precise, formal summaries of essential or important Biblical doctrines). We affirm the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, as well as the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 as representative of our doctrinal beliefs (with modifications). While this Confession is not equal to or above the Scriptures, it provides us with assistance in controversy and serves as an instrument of edification and instruction.
The 19th-century English Baptist, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, known as “the Prince of Preachers”, once commented on the 1689 Confession:
“This ancient document is the most excellent epitome of the things most surely believed among us. It is an excellent, though not inspired, expression of the teaching of those Holy Scriptures by which all confessions are to be measured. We hold to the humbling truths of God’s sovereign grace in the salvation of lost sinners. Salvation is through Christ alone and by faith alone.”
Since this Confession is very long (by design and intention), the following is a condensed written summary.
We accept the Bible (the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament) as the written Word of God, the sole infallible rule of faith for all Christian life, practice, and doctrine. It leads us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Being given by God, the Scriptures are both fully and verbally inspired by God. Therefore, as originally given, the Bible is free of error in all it teaches.
Each book is to be interpreted according to its context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through it in living power. All believers are exhorted to study the Scriptures and diligently apply them to their lives. The Scriptures are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded, or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation, or worldly wisdom. Every doctrinal formulation, whether of creed, confession, or theology must be put to the test of the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture.
The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth, and the universe. The days in Genesis do not correspond to geologic ages but are six consecutive twenty-four-hour days of Creation. The various original life forms (kinds), including mankind, were made by direct creative acts of God. The living descendants of any of the original kinds (apart from man) may represent more than one species today, reflecting the genetic potential within the original kind. Only limited biological changes (including mutational deterioration) have occurred naturally within each kind since Creation.
The special creation of Adam (the first man) and Eve (the first woman), and their subsequent fall into sin, is the basis for the necessity of salvation for mankind. Death (both physical and spiritual) and bloodshed entered this world subsequent to and as a direct consequence of man’s sin. The great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event, worldwide (global) in its extent and effect, and much (but not all) fossiliferous sediment originated at that time.
GOD IS TRIUNE
There is one God: infinite, eternal, almighty, and perfect in holiness, truth, and love. In the unity of the Godhead, there are three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, co-existent, co-equal, and co-eternal. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, yet each is truly Deity. One God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the foundation of Christian faith and life.
GOD THE FATHER
God the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth. By his word and for his glory, he freely and supernaturally created the world from nothing. Through the same Word, He daily sustains all His creatures. He rules overall and is the only Sovereign. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good to those who love him, and in his unfathomable grace gave his Son, Jesus Christ, for mankind’s redemption. He made man for fellowship with Himself and intended that all creation should live to the praise of his glory.
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was the eternal Word made flesh, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He was perfect in nature, teaching, and obedience. He is truly God and truly man. He was always with God and is God. Through him all things came into being and were created. He was before all things and in him all things hold together by the word of his power. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation, and in him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He is the only Savior for the sins of the world, having shed his blood and died a vicarious death on Calvary’s cross. By his death in our place, he revealed the divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having redeemed us from sin, the third day he rose bodily from the grave, victorious over death and the powers of darkness, and for a period of 40 days appeared to more than 500 witnesses, performing many convincing proofs of his resurrection. He ascended into heaven where, at God’s right hand, he intercedes for his people and rules as Lord over all. He is the Head of his body, the Church, and should be adored, loved, served, and obeyed by all.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Through the proclamation of the gospel he persuades men to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit a person is led to trust in divine mercy. The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth, and dwells within the regenerate. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son, who in turn came to glorify the Father. He will lead the Church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored, and worshiped as God, the Third Person of the Trinity.
God made man male and female in his own image, as the crown of creation, that man might have fellowship with him. Tempted by Satan, man rebelled against God. Being estranged from his Maker, yet responsible to him, he became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and, apart from a special work of grace, utterly incapable of returning to God. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to his mind, will, and affections. Unregenerate man lives under the dominion of sin and Satan. He is at enmity with God, hostile toward God, and hateful of God. Fallen, sinful people, whatever their character or attainments, are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ.
Jesus Christ is the gospel. The good news is revealed in his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Christ’s crucifixion is the heart of the gospel, his resurrection is the power of the gospel, and his ascension is the glory of the gospel. Christ’s death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases his holy wrath. It also demonstrates his mysterious love and reveals his amazing grace. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. There is no other name by which men must be saved. At the heart of all sound doctrine is the cross of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God because of what he has accomplished.
MAN’S RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL
Man’s response to the gospel is rooted and grounded in the free and unconditional election of God for his own pleasure and glory. It is also true that the message of the gospel is only effectual to those who genuinely repent of their sins and, by God’s grace, put saving faith in Christ. This gospel of grace is to be sincerely preached to all men in all nations. Biblical repentance is characterized by a changed life, and saving faith is evidenced by kingdom service or works. While neither repentance nor works save, unless a person is willing to deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Christ, he cannot become his disciple.
MAN’S INHERITANCE THROUGH THE GOSPEL
Salvation, the free gift of God, is provided by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Anyone turning from sin in repentance and looking to Christ and his substitutionary death receives the gift of eternal life and is declared righteous by God as a free gift. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him. He is justified and fully accepted by God. Through Christ’s atonement for sin an individual is reconciled to God as Father and becomes his child. The believer is forgiven the debt of his sin and, via the miracle of regeneration, liberated from the law of sin and death into the freedom of God’s Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the active agent in our sanctification and seeks to produce his fruit in us as our minds are renewed and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality, as we are led by the Spirit we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping his commandments and endeavoring to so live in the world that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. All believers are exhorted to persevere in the faith, knowing they will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word, and deed. The spiritual disciplines, especially Bible study, prayer, worship and confession, are a vital means of grace in this regard. Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence to persevere is based in the sure promise of God to preserve his people until the end, which is most certain.
God by his Word and Spirit creates the Church, calling sinful men out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ’s Body. By the same Word and Spirit, he guides and preserves that new redeemed humanity. The Church is not a religious institution or denomination. Rather, the Church universal is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve him by faithfully doing his will in the earth. This involves a commitment to see the gospel preached and churches planted in all the world for a testimony. The ultimate mission of the Church is the making of disciples through the preaching of the gospel. When God transforms human nature, this then becomes the chief means of society’s transformation. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women are added to a local church, in which they devote themselves to teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer.
SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
Water baptism is intended only for the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work and become his disciple. Therefore, in obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself, and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of his death and resurrection. It signifies that his former way of life has been put to death, and vividly depicts a person’s release from the mastery of sin.
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 partake of the Lord’s Supper 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.
The Consummation of all things includes the visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the translation 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 are finally separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal punishment, but the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with him forever. Married to Christ as his Bride, the Church will be in the presence of God forever, serving him and giving him unending praise and glory. Then shall the eager expectation of creation be fulfilled and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God who makes all things new.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE LONDON BAPTIST CONFESSION OF FAITH (1689)
This 47-minute audio recording provides an overview summary of the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) as well as an explanation of its place in the life of King’s Church.
HISTORIC CREEDS AND CONFESSIONS:
Historical creeds and confessions are short, precise, formal summaries of essential or important Biblical doctrines. Subordinate to Scripture, these statements reflect unified positions the church has embraced and guarded for centuries as pastors and theologians have painstakingly labored to clearly communicate essential matters of Christian doctrine and faith.
At King’s Church we affirm the following:
(1) The Apostles’ Creed
2nd Century AD
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell.* The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic** Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*This line is not present in the earliest versions. It has been understood within the Reformed church as relating to Christ’s experience of God’s wrath on the cross (Calvin) or His continuing in the state of the dead and under the power of death for three days; in other words, hell = hades (WCF).
**The word “catholic” refers to the universal church
(2) The Nicene Creed
325 AD and 381 AD*
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, Light of Light, Very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father**; By whom all things were made;
Who for us and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and became incarnate by the Holy Spirit And the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, He suffered death and was buried, and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; and His kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son He is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic*** and apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins****; We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN.
*The original Nicene Creed (325 AD) ended after the words, “We believe in the Holy Spirit”. Content was added at the Council of Constantinople (381 AD). The Council of Ephesus (431 AD) reaffirmed the creed in this form and forbade additional revisions.
**“One in essence, three in Person” is the most concise definition of the doctrine of the Trinity. The three divine Persons, are distinct in terms of their personal relationships to one another, but not in their essence or Being. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are co-eternal, co-equal and equally divine.
***The word “catholic” refers to the universal Church
**** Because water is a cleansing agent for dirt on the body, it is a fitting visible sign for the spiritual cleansing that God effects for our souls in Christ. But note that the reality of forgiveness to which baptism points comes to pass only as baptized individuals repent (Acts 2:38).
(3) The Athanasian Creed
Whoever desires to be saved should above all hold to the catholic* faith. Anyone who does not keep it whole and unbroken will doubtless perish eternally. Now this is the catholic faith: That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity, neither blending their persons nor dividing their essence. For the person of the Father is a distinct person, the person of the Son is another, and that of the Holy Spirit still another. But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal. What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has. The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, the Holy Spirit is uncreated. The Father is immeasurable, the Son is immeasurable, the Holy Spirit is immeasurable. The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, the Holy Spirit is eternal. And yet there are not three eternal beings; there is but one eternal being. So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings; there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being. Similarly, the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, the Holy Spirit is almighty. Yet there are not three almighty beings; there is but one almighty being. Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. Yet there are not three gods; there is but one God. Thus the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord. Yet there are not three lords; there is but one Lord. Just as Christian truth compels us to confess each person individually as both God and Lord, so catholic religion forbids us to say that there are three gods or lords. The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone. The Son was neither made nor created; he was begotten from the Father alone. The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten; he proceeds from the Father and the Son. Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers; there is one Son, not three sons; there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits. Nothing in this trinity is before or after, nothing is greater or smaller; in their entirety the three persons are coeternal and coequal with each other. So in everything, as was said earlier, we must worship their trinity in their unity and their unity in their trinity. Anyone then who desires to be saved should think thus about the trinity. But it is necessary for eternal salvation that one also believe in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully. Now this is the true faith: That we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is both God and human, equally. He is God from the essence of the Father, begotten before time; and he is human from the essence of his mother, born in time; completely God, completely human, with a rational soul and human flesh; equal to the Father as regards divinity, less than the Father as regards humanity. Although he is God and human, yet Christ is not two, but one. He is one, however, not by his divinity being turned into flesh, but by God’s taking humanity to himself. He is one, certainly not by the blending of his essence, but by the unity of his person. For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh, so too the one Christ is both God and human. He suffered for our salvation; he descended to hell; he arose from the dead; he ascended to heaven; he is seated at the Father’s right hand; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. At his coming all people will arise bodily and give an accounting of their own deeds. Those who have done good will enter eternal life, and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.
This is the catholic faith: one cannot be saved without believing it firmly and faithfully.
(4) The Chalcedonian Creed
This creed was adopted at the Fourth Ecumenical Council held at Chalcedon–located in what is now Turkey–in 451 AD as a response to certain heretical views concerning the nature of Christ. It established the orthodox view that Christ has two natures (human and divine) that are unified in one person.
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.
A few years ago, Dr. Mark Dever wrote a book called Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. I found the book to be very helpful and insightful, especially in regards to building a church on the foundation of the Gospel. As the book title would suggest, Dr. Dever outlines nine distinctive features of a church that is seeking to conform itself to a biblical pattern for church life and ministry. Here are the nine marks, summarized by an article on the 9Marks website:
1. Expositional Preaching
This is preaching which expounds what Scripture says in a particular passage, carefully explaining its meaning and applying it to the congregation. It is a commitment to hearing God’s Word and to recovering the centrality of it in our worship.
2. Biblical Theology
Paul charges Titus to “teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Our concern should be not only with how we are taught but with what we are taught. Biblical theology is a commitment to know the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself in Scripture.
3. Biblical Understanding of the Good News
The gospel is the heart of Christianity. But the good news is not that God wants to meet people’s felt needs or help them develop a healthier self-image. We have sinfully rebelled against our Creator and Judge. Yet He has graciously sent His Son to die the death we deserved for our sin, and He has credited Christ’s acquittal to those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection. That is the good news.
4. Biblical Understanding of Conversion
The spiritual change each person needs is so radical, so near the root of us, that only God can do it. We need God to convert us. Conversion need not be an emotionally heated experience, but it must evidence itself in godly fruit if it is to be what the Bible regards as a true conversion.
5. Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
How someone shares the gospel is closely related to how he understands the gospel. To present it as an additive that gives non-Christians something they naturally want (i.e. joy or peace) is to present a half-truth, which elicits false conversions. The whole truth is that our deepest need is a spiritual life and that new life only comes by repenting of our sins and believing in Jesus. We present the gospel openly and leave the conversion to God.
6. Biblical Understanding of Membership
Membership should reflect a living commitment to a local church in attendance, giving, prayer, and service; otherwise, it is meaningless, worthless, and even dangerous. We should not allow people to keep their membership in our churches for sentimental reasons or lack of attention. To be a member is knowing to be traveling together as aliens and strangers in this world as we head to our heavenly home.
7. Biblical Church Discipline
Church discipline gives parameters to church membership. The idea seems negative to people today — “didn’t our Lord forbid judging?” But if we cannot say how a Christian should not live, how can we say how he or she should live? Each local church actually has a biblical responsibility to judge the life and teaching of its leaders, and even of its members, particularly insofar as either could compromise the church’s witness to the gospel.
8. Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth
A pervasive concern with church growth exists today — not simply with growing numbers, but with growing members. Though many Christians measure other things, the only certain observable sign of growth is a life of increasing holiness, rooted in Christian self-denial. These concepts are nearly extinct in the modern church. Recovering true discipleship for today would build the church and promote a clearer witness to the world.
9. Biblical Understanding of Leadership
What eighteenth-century Baptists and Presbyterians often agreed upon was that there should be a plurality of elders in each local church. This plurality of elders is not only biblical but practical – it has the immense benefit of rounding out the pastor’s gifts to ensure the proper shepherding of God’s church.
In identifying and promoting these nine marks, we are not intending to lay down an exhaustive or authoritative list. There are other significant marks of healthy churches, like prayer and fellowship. We want to pursue those ourselves as well, and we want you to pursue them with us. But these nine are the ones we think are most neglected in most local churches today, with the most damaging ramifications. Join us in cultivating churches that reflect the character of God.
A second book by Dr. Dever, The Deliberate Church takes these 9 marks and seeks to show how to practically walk them out in the everyday life of the Church. I recommend both of these books very highly and thought that writing these brief words here, might provide something of a window regarding our philosophy for ministry at King’s Church.