What is a Bible believing church? There are so many groups in America that may claim to be a church, but are they really? What legitimately constitutes a church? In order to answer that question fully we need to know two important data: 1) the measurement, namely, a true church according to the Scripture; and 2) that which is to be measured, namely, the group claiming to be a church. In other words, does this or that particular local church define itself in accordance with what we know to be true of the local church from Scripture?

1. Scripture

In the absolute authority, accuracy, and inerrancy of the 66 books of the Bible; its full verbal inspiration of the original manuscripts and its all-sufficiency and final authority as the Christian’s rule of faith and practice. (Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 40:8, 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21)


2. God

There is but one God, the Creator, Preserver, and Ruler of all things, Who is perfect in holiness and in love, infinite in wisdom and measureless in power, and Who reveals Himself to us as three distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Nehemiah 9:6; Matthew 28:19; 1 John 4:8b)

3. Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the eternal and only begotten Son of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, and that He is true God and true Man, the Redeemer of man, and is the only Mediator between God and man. (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35; John 1:1, 12, 14, 12:45, 14:9; Romans 5:6; 1 Timothy 2:5)

4. Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, equal with the Father and the Son, and of the same substance and nature; that He convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment; that He bears witness to the church; that He is the agent of the new birth; and that at conversion He baptizes the believer into the Body of Christ; and that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses to, sanctifies, and helps the believer, indwelling every true child of God. (John 3:3-7, 14:16-17, 16:8-11; Acts 1:8, 5:3-4; Ephesians 1:13; Titus 3:5)

5. Man
That man was created by God in His image and that he was originally in communion with God. By man’s own choice he sinned, broke this communion and incurred both physical and spiritual death. Thus all descendants of Adam by nature and by choice are sinners and unable of their own selves to re-establish fellowship with God. Apart from faith in Christ all individuals shall be forever separated from God. (Genesis 1:26; Ezekiel 18:20a; Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:8-9)

6. Justification
The Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures as a substitutionary sacrifice. All who believe on Him are justified by faith in His shed blood for the remission of sins. (Romans 3:21-26; Revelation 1:5)

7.  Salvation
Salvation is by grace through faith alone, not of works, and that all who receive by faith Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are born again of the Holy Spirit, thereby becoming children of God. (John 1:12, 3:3, 7, 10:27-29; Romans 6:23, 8:14-17; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5)

8. Resurrection of Christ
The bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, His ascension into heaven, and His present ministry there for us as High Priest and Advocate. (Luke 24:1-8, 37-43; John 20:26-29; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

9. Resurrection of Man
The bodily resurrection of the just, the bodily resurrections of the unjust, the everlasting conscious blessedness of the saved and the everlasting conscious punishment of the lost. (1 Corinthians 15:20-24; 2 Corinthians 15:5-8; Revelation 20:12-15) \

10. Ordinances
The Bible teaches us that there are two ordinances that are established and that must be practiced in the local church (Matthew 3:14-17, 28:19; Acts 2:41, 8:38, 18:8; Romans 6:3-5; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-30). They are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. An ordinance is something that is mandated, prescribed, or obligatory. A group of believers which claims to be a church but either ignores these ordinances, becoming guilty of ignoring God’s mandates, or practices more, becoming guilty of adding human rules to God’s authoritative word, it is not a Bible believing church.

11. Local church
The local church is God’s ordained means of continuing the work of Christ on earth. It is the physical expression of the Universal Body of Christ in a community. It is an organized body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ that assembles for the purpose of worship and service. (Acts 1:8, 2:41-47, 4:12; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3)

12. Jesus as the Head and Final Authority of the Church
Another characteristic of the Bible believing church is that it submits to Jesus Christ as her ultimate and final authority. It answers to Him alone for matters of faith and practice. The local church is autonomous, in the sense that it is not answerable to any one man, any group of men or women, associations, or government. This does not mean that is wrong for churches to belong to denominations, have certain types of hierarchical systems as a way to insure order (see 1 Corinthians 14), or submit to human government (Romans 13). No. What this means is that the Bible believing church recognizes that God’s Word overrules any of these authorities and systems of operation and, in the end, must have the ultimate say. Scripture is the authority of the local church. (Ephesians 4:15, 5:23-24)

13. The Future

The personal, visible imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory to establish His righteous reign, culminating in a new heaven and new earth. He will judge with absolute truth and justice. His redeemed people will be in His presence forever, while those who have not obeyed the gospel will be condemned to spend eternity separated from God and His blessing. (Zechariah 14:1-11; Matthew 24:42, 25:31-46; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19:1-21:8)

We are a member of the Rosedale Network of Churches and their Statements of Theology and Practice can be found here: