Pillar One: Word
Preaching is not championed in many churches today. Often churches minimize the straightforward preaching of the Word of God in the name of being relevant and culturally accepted (what Paul calls trusting in “persuasive words of human wisdom” 1 Cor. 2:4). It is not uncommon for preaching to be relegated to whatever time is left after the music and drama.
We believe that all legitimate experience of God is grounded in knowing God and we believe that the way God has chosen to make Himself known to us is in the perfect Word of God, the Bible. Therefore we are committed to verse-by-verse, Christ-centered, expository preaching that is authoritative, passionate, and comes straight from the text of Holy Scripture. To the degree that we fail to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word, we fail to see Jesus since the entire Bible is about Him (Luke 24:13-35).
We do not believe that the power for preaching comes from our eloquence or ability to entertain. Rather, the power for preaching is found in the truth of God’s Word in the Bible. When the Bible is faithfully preached, the Almighty God grabs people’s souls with Holy Spirit conviction and Gospel encouragement.
Without this commitment to the Word and to preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), we begin to experience God on our terms and not His. When we do that, we begin to make God into what we think we want Him to be and are in danger of worshipping what we have “made with our own hands” (Isaiah 2:8).
The Psalmist declares, “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). Straightforward, Christ-centered, biblical preaching helps the truth of God to be settled in our hearts and minds. God has spoken, it is written, and we must preach the Word without apology and without compromise!
Pillar Two: Worship
Worship that is passionate, reverent, God-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit-filled, and Bible-saturated.
Much that passes in the name of worship today is man-centered entertainment and emotionalism. We champion the fundamental importance of emotions in worship, but an appeal to the emotions that does not come through the tunnel of truth is merely emotionalism. When emotion becomes the engine driving the train of worship instead of truth, then false doctrine and false worship cannot be far away.
Worship is about bowing before Him and giving “to the Lord the glory due His name” (Psalm 96:8). Without considering God and His self-revelation in the Bible, we have nothing to which to respond. Generic thoughts about God do not honor His name. Thoughts that reflect and respond to His self-revelation in His Word are what bring glory to Him. Our worship is Christ-centered because the God’s revelation is centered on Christ and we see “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Nothing could be more exciting than coming face-to-face with God in His Word and seeing Him for who He really is. That kind of encounter will affect one’s emotions at the deepest level. Biblical truth must be in focus as we pray, sing, and open the Word of Christ (Colossians 3:16).
Jesus warned against ritualism in worship that is not truly a response to Him when He warned “These people draw near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but their heart is far from Me and in vain they worship Me” (Matthew 15:8).
Our worship commitments can be summarized by 9 priorities:
- “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
- Worship must be God-centered and Christ-exalting or it is not worship.
- Worship must be Bible-saturated and Bible-based.
- Worship does not begin in corporate worship, it culminates there.
- Worship must aim for the heart through the head.
- Worship must be passionate.
- Worship must be marked by exuberant reverence.
- Worship must be marked by authenticity and intensity.
- Worship must be marked by un-distracting excellence.
Pillar Three: World
A radical commitment to boldly proclaim the gospel beginning in Richmond and extending to the ends of the earth.
The key words in this statement are “radical” and “bold”. We believe that God saves us and fills us with His Spirit for the purpose of being witnesses to Christ at home and around the world, no matter the cost to us (Acts 1:8). We are deeply troubled by the fact that much of what passes in the name of evangelism today is less than the biblical gospel presented in a straightforward way.
Our commitment is to boldly proclaim the fullness of the biblical message of salvation that is found in Jesus Christ alone. The approach we find in the New Testament is the simple and powerful proclamation of the truth of the gospel. They were bold in their witness for Jesus Christ. The word most often translated “boldness” in the New Testament carries the idea of “openness” and “speaking freely.” The early church prayed for this boldness in the face of difficulty, hostility, and even death (Acts 4:29).
We believe that missions is ultimately the work of a sovereign God who is saving a people from every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 7:9). To reflect the heart of God we must have a global vision for the spread of the Gospel among the reached and unreached. A focus on world missions is not optional but essential to our commitment to the glory of God in Christ. God is glorified when Christ is treasured among the peoples of the world (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Revelation 7:9-10).
A non-evangelistic church is not just disobedient it has ceased to be a church at all. We believe with the Moravian missionaries of long ago that our motto must be, “To win for the Lamb the reward of His sufferings.”