Our vision at Grace & Peace is to see the people of Central Pennsylvania believe in Jesus and become mature disciples. We see a church of believers that continuously grows in their faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ, that reaches out for the lost around them, and that seeks to serve both God and man.
We desire to be completely Bible-based.
Because Scripture is the inspired Word of God, we believe that everything we do needs to be governed by the Bible. We emphasize strong, expositional preaching and teaching of the Word of God and we encourage the personal reading and studying of Scripture at home. To the best of our ability, everything we teach and preach is directly from Scripture.
We desire to equip believers and to be discipleship-focused.
Jesus wants people to follow him. The idea of following Jesus implies an active seeking of him, a desire to reach others, and a heart for Christlikeness and for others to grow in Christlikeness. Everything we do should be to help people become more like Jesus Christ.
We desire to lead people to worship authentically.
True worship of Jesus Christ involves knowing him, honoring him, and obeying him. Everything we do during our services is designed to encourage knowing him through preaching and teaching, honoring him through singing and praying, and obeying him through the living of our lives.
We desire to encourage growth and nurture obedient service.
God does not intend for his people to only serve him on Sunday. We best show our love for him by being willing to serve him throughout the week at work, school, and home. He is best served by our willingness to glorify him by loving him and loving our neighbors.
Statement of Faith
Adopted November 8th, 2020
Amended February 27th, 2022
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Since Scripture is breathed-out by God in its original autographs, we believe that all of the words of Scripture are infallible, inerrant, and our only rule of faith and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; Matthew 5:18; John 10:35; Revelation 22:18-19)
In addition, since the inspiration of Scripture applies to the original autographs and not necessarily in translations of Scripture, we believe that any translation of the Bible that states the truth in accordance to the autographs are legitimate and faithful in their translation. And thus, we do not believe any one English translation to be the only proper translation of Scripture. Our primary translation in services and in teaching is the English Standard Version (ESV), but any translation that reflects the truth accurately is welcome.
We believe in one Triune God. One being manifested in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, eternally existing as one yet three distinct persons. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, and co-equal in power and glory. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Corinthians 8:6)
God the Father: He is holy, eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. He is merciful and loving, and he desires to have a relationship with every person. Because of his desire to commune with us, he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to bring us into reconciliation with himself. (Psalm 139; 1 Chronicles 29:11; John 1:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:3-9; Romans 11:36)
Jesus Christ: He is the only Son of God, born of a virgin. He is fully man and fully God and has existed eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He lived a perfect, sinless life and gave himself as a substitutionary atonement for our sins on the cross. He arose from the grave, ascended to the Father, and will return bodily to reign on earth. (John 1:1-3; John 3:16-17; Hebrews 1:3, 8, 9:24; Philippians 2:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Revelation 19-20)
Holy Spirit: He is a divine person of the Trinity and not just a spiritual force. He was involved with creation and the inspiration of Scripture. He convicts of sin and draws people to belief. It is the Holy Spirit that indwells the hearts of all true believers and seals them until the Day of Redemption. (John 14:16-26, 16:7-14; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; Titus 3:4-7; Ephesians 1:13)
We believe the account of creation found in Genesis, which details creation as a literal, historical event acted by God with no involvement of any evolutionary process. (Genesis 1:2; John 1:3-10; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 11:3)
Mankind and Sin
We believe that man was created in the image of God. That Adam and Eve were created without sin and in perfection, but due to their disobedience, sin entered into the world. All are born sinners by nature and all choose to sin. Sin separates man from God. All are sinners and deserve eternal punishment. (Genesis 1-3; Psalm 14; Romans 3:23, 5:12-21; Ephesians 2:1-3)
We believe that salvation is by grace through faith. No amount of work can buy God’s forgiveness or grant us salvation. Salvation is a free gift of God through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. (Isaiah 53; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 5:12-21; John 1:29)
Regeneration: When an individual responds to the Gospel, repents of his sin, and turns to Jesus Christ for salvation, the Holy Spirit causes a spiritual change in which he is freed from the guilt of his sinful nature, receives the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, and thus is born again into God’s family. Regeneration involves an illumination of the mind, a change in the will, and a renewed nature. (John 3:3-7, 16; 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:22-28; 1 Peter 1:23; Titus 5:3; Acts 2:38, 17:30)
Justification: God declares the sinner to be righteous in his sight on the basis of Christ’s work on the cross. God does not impute sin to the individual, but rather imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:22-28, 4:1-8, 5:1-2; Galatians 2:16)
Sanctification: Whereas regeneration is a one-time event, sanctification is a continuous process by which God through the Holy Spirit transforms the believer into the image of Christ. This process will not be completed on this side of eternity, but will be complete when believers join Christ in heaven. (John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 5:26; 1 John 3:2; Acts 20:32)
Preservation: Since salvation is based only on the grace of God and not on the merit or work of the individual, everyone who truly accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior is eternally secure in his salvation and is kept by God’s power. However, Scripture does give solemn warnings to those who profess salvation but whose lives give no evidence of change because of willful, unrepentant sin. (John 6:37, 39, 10:27-30; Romans 8:38-39; 1 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 1:10; 1 John 3:7-10; James 2:14-26)
We believe that the church is made of all who truly believe and is led with Jesus Christ as the head of the body. Anyone who repents of sin and follows Christ is part of the church of God. We also believe that the local church is God’s way of discipling believers and evangelizing unbelievers, and that believers cannot live the Christian life alone. The local church is God’s way of mutually building up his people. (Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 1:15-23; Hebrews 10:19-25)
Organization: The local church is an assembly of believers that voluntarily join together for mutual fellowship and upbuilding. The local church governs itself and should be free from interference of outside authorities. Within the local body, the church is to be led by deacons and elders (commonly referred to as pastors). (Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 Peter 5:4)
Ordinances: Jesus commands the church to observe two ordinances. These ordinances are symbolic and do not provide salvation.
Baptism: All who profess faith in Jesus Christ should be baptized by immersion in water as a symbol of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:3-4)
The Lord’s Supper: The Lord’s Supper is a memorial service in which the bread and juice represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ. It is meant to cause reflection and repentance from sin. (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:23-34)
Spiritual Gifts: As a church, we believe and teach a cessationist position concerning spiritual gifts.
Cessationism teaches that there were two kinds of spiritual gifts given to the early church. Miraculous gifts (speaking in tongues, miraculous healings, signs, and miracles) were utilized temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of God’s message through the apostles (Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12); and ministering/equipping gifts (teaching, preaching, serving, encouraging, giving, leadership, mercy, words of wisdom and knowledge, faith, and helps) were given to equip believers for edifying one another.
Because the miraculous gifts were utilized for confirming the authenticity of God’s message, they ceased being utilized at the completion of the New Testament (Hebrews 1:1-2; 1 Corinthians 13:8-12). The only spiritual gifts in operation are non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Romans 12:6-8). While God does still heal the sick, suffering, and afflicted, no one today possess the gift of healing. (Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:6-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15)
We believe that Scripture commands God’s people to be holy and separate from all polluting influences, including sin, disobedient brethren, and false teachers.
Personal Separation: Individual believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit and so must be pure from sin. They are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers nor found to be friends of the world. (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4)
Ecclesiastical Separation: The church as a whole must separate from those who teach false doctrine and attempt to subvert the saints—including, but not limited to individuals who teach false doctrine and local churches who teach false doctrine. (Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 2 John 9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
We believe in the personal, physical return of Jesus Christ in his own way and in his own time. He will return to reign on earth, judge mankind, and bless those who truly believe. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; John 5:22-23; Revelation 19:11-22)
Marriage and Sexuality
We believe in the God-ordained institution of marriage between one man and one woman and that all moral sexual relations are exercised solely within the God-ordained institution of marriage (Genesis 1:27, 2:24-25; Matthew 19:4-6). We also believe that while people can genuinely struggle with same-sex attraction as well as gender dysphoria, the Bible is clear in its teachings concerning the sinfulness of homosexual behavior (as well as any other unnatural or immoral sexual behavior) and is clear on its teaching that gender is assigned at birth. (Exodus 20:14, 22:19; Leviticus 18:23, 20:15-16; Deuteronomy 27:21; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:10; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; James 2:11; Psalm 139:13-16)
We believe that all are sinners and that we live in a world that is broken by sin. However, we are called to live out our biblical beliefs and convictions even in a world that disagrees with us. We desire to do so in a way that glorifies God (1 Peter 1:11-12). Concerning those that disagree with our position on Marriage and Sexuality, we believe every person must be treated with love, respect, and compassion. We also believe that we are to speak God’s truth in love with grace and humility as we call people to repentance (Romans 3:10-11, 6:23; Ephesians 4:15) and belief in Jesus Christ, who offers free forgiveness to all who repent and forsake their sins. (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 6:23, 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 John 1:8-9)