Grace Church is a winsome reformed & evangelical congregation in the Baptist tradition.
In order to grasp who Grace Church is seeking to be, the word "winsome" is a good place to start. By definition, the word "winsome" means to be "generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence." A shorter definition would be "humbly engaging." The word can literally be divided into it parts to get the scope of this definition, "win some". Our desire in our theological, social and cultural engagements is to live in such as a way as to "win some" with grace and truth.
IN OUR THEOLOGY...
We desire to be winsome in our theologically reflection, not doctrinaire peculiarists. Though we are uncompromising in our confession and doctrinal commitments, we desire to leave room for those who are processing and growing into sound doctrine.
IN OUR CHURCH...
We desire to be winsome in our pursuit of meaningful membership, not overbearing or controlling in our relational commitment to one another. Rather, we seek to live as a Gospel family
IN OUR MISSION...
We desire to be winsome through humble cultural engagement, not culturally tribal or rivalistic. We have no desire to please man by soft selling the Gospel or clear Biblical teaching but we do desire to take 1 Peter 3:8-12 seriously in our desire to be likeminded in our sympathy and brotherly love for one another and our neighbors where possible.
WE ARE REFORMED.
To be reformed means to stand within the Protestant tradition has 3 primary streams.
First, to be reformed is to stand with the great reformers like Calvin, Luther and other who sought to recover the true Gospel from Popish, pietistic and monastic drift that had had settled into the Roman church. Specifically, this means that we embrace the “Five Solas” of the Reformation:
- Our final authority is Scripture Alone, which reveals to us that
- Salvation is by Grace Alone,
- Through Faith Alone,
- In Christ Alone,
- To the Glory of God Alone.
Second, being reformed also means we are confessional and creedal. We affirm and rejoice in the sovereignty of God over all things, including the personal salvation of sinners. We affirm the catholic creeds (Apostles' & Nicene Creed) but more specifically, we stand in substantial agreement all of the Reformed Confessions with particular agreement with the 2nd London Confession, 1689, the New Hampshire Confession, 1853, & the Baptist Faith and Message, 2000.
Third, being reformed is to embrace covenantal theology. True churches are linked to the redemptive historical theological development revealed in the Scriptures and therefore we are not isolationalists from the history of the church and affirm the catholic creeds that espouse the essentials of Theology Proper that runs throughout the Bible and beyond into all church history as well.
WE ARE EVANGELICAL.
This basically means three things:
- We believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God and is, therefore, our final authority in all matters of life and doctrine.
- We believe that all people are born in sin and that man’s only hope for salvation is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- We believe that the church is called to preach the gospel to all peoples everywhere and compel them to repent and believe the Gospel.
In addition to affiliating with Southern Baptists, we also happily partner with the Pillar Network, a gospel centered network of Baptist churches united to plant healthy churches and do historic Baptist work together.
WE ARE BAPTIST.
We believe that the church, rightly understood, is a body of regenerate, baptized believers. Baptism is the immersion in water of individuals who have repented of sin and trusted in Christ alone for salvation. We are congregational in our polity, meaning that the final authority in our church rests with the congregation itself, under the authority of Christ. While being a Baptist church can have lots of stereotypes attached with it, we trust that you’ll find that we are a Bible-teaching, Gospel-centered, Christ-exalting, God-glorifying church that believes baptism is for people who repent of their sins and trust in Christ.
Presently, we are voluntarily affiliated with the Nashville Baptist Association, the Tennessee Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention. For further detail about what we believe, please see our Confession of Faith “here“
Other Practical Distinctives
How God's people worship is one of the if not the most important distinctive of the Church. We are concerned less with musical style than we are about how God commands his people to worship in the Scriptures. This means that we seek to only incorporate elements that are expressly commanded in the Scriptures and seek to be careful not to add unnecessary nor unbiblical elements to our corporate worship. We are more interested in the people of God worshiping God appropriately than to attract and gather a big crowd on Sunday morning.
At Grace, we focus on a few fundamentals: We preach, teach, read and sing God's Word. We pray over and with the congregation. We share in the Sacraments of the Lord's Supper and Baptism each week. We sing Psalms, Hymns and Spirit songs.
The Complementary (Interdependent) Roles of Men and Women
"Men and women are created ontologically equal in essence, dignity and value but are different by divine design to complement one another in order to fulfill their mutual calling given by God in creation." - Pastor Tom Agnew
Both men and women are together created in the divine image and are therefore equal before God as persons, possessing the same moral dignity and value, and have equal access to God through faith in Christ. Men and women are together the recipients of spiritual gifts designed to empower them for ministry in the local church and beyond. Therefore, women are to be encouraged, equipped, and empowered to utilise their gifting in ministry, in service to the body of Christ, and through teaching in ways that are consistent with the Word of God.
Both husbands and wives are responsible to God for spiritual nurture and vitality in the home, but God has given to the man primary responsibility to lead his wife and family in accordance with the servant-leadership and sacrificial love characterised by Jesus Christ. This principle of male headship should not be confused with, nor give any hint of, domineering control. Rather, it is to be the loving, tender and nurturing care of a godly man who is himself under the kind and gentle authority of Jesus Christ.
The Elders/Pastors of each local church have been granted authority under the headship of Jesus Christ to provide oversight and to teach/preach the Word of God in corporate assembly for the building up of the body. The office of Elder/Pastor is restricted to biblically qualified men.