Grace Community Bible Church
The corporation shall be named Grace Community Bible Church, Inc. and shall be located in Venice, Florida.
The following represents a summary of what GCBC believes to be true. On these issues and doctrines we are unified with one heart, and they represent our statement of faith.
First, it must be stated first that we believe Jesus Christ is truth (John 14:6). We believe that He came to us full of grace and truth and through Him we receive grace and truth (John 1:17); we believe that He epitomized and embodied truth. It is on this foundation that we declare the following as truth.
We believe that there is one God and one God only. However, we believe that this one God does eternally exist in three separate and distinct persons. These three persons are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We do not pretend to understand, clearly, how this can be, but we do accept it by faith, believe it to be true and stand in awe of the mystery that is our God. We believe that these three persons are absolutely equal in their deity, eternality and nature. However, we also believe that these three persons are distinct in who they are and what they do as God.
We believe that the Bible is holy and is the inspired, authoritative Word of God which is without error or fallibility in its original writings. We believe that the Bible is sufficient for everything we need to both understand and live life. We believe that the Bible is the final authority for all of life, practice and doctrine and therefore we seek to live in submission to it.
We believe that the first people created by God, Adam and Eve, were created perfectly, without sin and with free will. We believe the record of Holy Scriptures teaches that Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, knowing that God had instructed and warned them to not eat of it. By eating of that tree, in direct disobedience and rebellion to God, they sinned and experienced a collapse of their nature wherein their perfection, innocence and freedom vanished.
The consequences that Adam and Eve experienced due to their decision to disobey God were and are to this very day passed on from generation to generation. Therefore, it is our belief that all people are born with imperfect natures, guilty of sin and without freedom of will. Stated another way, we believe that what Adam and Eve experienced as a result of rebelling against God is the state into which every human being is born.
We believe that God is a God of mercy and grace. We believe that it is His will to show love, mercy and grace more than it is to express His wrath. Since we have all been born into this helpless, lost state, we believe that God initiated and carried to completion His plan, from all of eternity, to redeem and reconcile His people by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to us in order to pay in full the penalty for being children of Adam. We believe, therefore, that the only way to be reconciled to God is through Jesus Christ.
We believe that reconciliation between God and man takes place when God, who has chosen who will be His before the foundation of the world was laid, draws the guilty sinner to Himself. We believe that this drawing is irresistible and therefore, once drawn the guilty sinner commits his faith and life to God through Jesus Christ, thereby becoming justified before God and eternally secure before God Almighty.
We believe that when a guilty sinner is regenerated and justified by God at least two holy actions have taken place. First, the justified sinner is given the Holy Spirit who lives in him and seals him until the day of Christ Jesus our Lord. Second, we believe that when one is justified before God they are eternally added to the universal church of Jesus Christ, being grafted in as a member of the body of Christ.
As a member of the body of Christ we believe that the born-again Christian is to become an active part of a local community of believers where they can be of benefit to others in the community using their gifts, talents, money and time. We believe that we are to serve each other with such selfless love that the lost world would notice and give God glory. As a local community, we believe that we are to practice two sacraments, the Lord’s supper and baptism.
We believe that we are God’s agents for declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ to this world. We believe that we are to be involved both personally and as a community in serving the lost, making disciples and being internationally oriented in our outreach.
Finally, we believe that the world as we know it will come to an end. We believe that the consummation of all things includes the imminent, visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead, 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. We believe that the church will be in the presence of God forever.
(a) This church exists to glorify God by enjoying Him and leading others into the same.
(b) In order to accomplish the above, GCBC’s objectives shall be:
1. to live under the authority of the Bible.
2. to live in community with each other.
3. to serve the lost in our communities and around the world.
The Head and ultimate authority of GCBC is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 1:22, Colossians 1:18). The Bible is recognized as the supreme and sole authority for all of the church’s life, practices and polity (2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12, 2 Peter 1:19-21).
Under the headship of Jesus Christ, the authority and leadership of GCBC shall be vested in elders (a.k.a. directors). These elders shall have oversight of the ministry and business of GCBC. They shall be the shepherds, accepting that caring for the souls of those at GCBC is their ultimate aim and priority (1 Timothy 3:1-7, 5:17-21; Titus 1:5-10, Hebrews 13:17). The Lead Pastor shall serve as an elder in perpetuity.
In order to preserve their ministry and call as shepherds, the elders shall delegate the responsibility of the business of GCBC to the deacons and ministry staff. However, the elders shall establish the size of the annual budget. The elders of GCBC shall represent the church in any and all legal matters.
Any elder may be removed from his office when he is determined to be unfit for serving as an elder. His removal requires a unanimous vote of the active elders and a two-thirds majority of the members of GCBC.
Under the headship of Jesus Christ and the authority/leadership of the elders of GCBC, deacons (Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13) shall have oversight of the business matters of GCBC. This may include, but shall not be limited to, financial oversight, budget and disbursement of funds.
The deacons shall provide reports and frequent updates to the elders and membership of GCBC. They will attend meetings with the elders when called to do so.
The deacons, with the input of the elders, shall establish the annual budget in conjunction with the ministry staff.
In January of each year, the names of potential elders and deacons shall be put before GCBC by the previous year’s elders. Each elder/deacon shall share their desire to serve in their respective office before the church body. The members of GCBC shall have two weeks to submit, in writing, any clear, biblical reason why any presented should not serve. Each submission shall contain the biblical reason, supporting biblical text(s), explanation of how they know this to be true, printed signature and signature. If nothing is received, the elders and deacons shall be affirmed.