Statement of Faith, Teaching Distinctives, Guidelines for the Lord's Supper, Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
The statement of faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America, which we have adopted, makes the following doctrinal assertions. (What does it mean to be an Evangelical Free Church (EFCA)? Click here to read.)
1. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.
2. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.
3. We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.
4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel's promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.
5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.
6. We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God's grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and The Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.
8. We believe that God's justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.
9. We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.
10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.
All teaching leads to changed thoughts, attitudes and actions. Because God is a missionary God, we naturally are His missionary people - not only across salt water, but also in our neighborhoods, schools, workplace - everywhere we go. The American church has typically been weak in the local mission mandate; therefore, relationships with non-believers leading to Gospel proclamation is emphasized, modeled, taught, and encouraged at TACC. We believe that every individual believer and every local church must have a missionary strategy.
1. Our spirituality must be centered in the gospel and the Word of Truth, the Scriptures. It is in the celebration and dedication of God’s people to the gospel and the Scriptures that we begin to know and understand the mind of Christ and enjoy the benefits of true spirituality, “righteousness, peace, and joy.” D.A. Carson’s comments are essential, “There will never be much sanctification apart from the Word of Truth. It is the entrance of God’s Word that brings light; it is constant meditation on God’s law that distinguishes the wise from the unwise, the just from the unjust (Ps.1).… the heavy stress in Scripture on understanding, absorbing, meditating upon, proclaiming, memorizing, reading, and hearing the Word of God is so striking that it will be ignored at our peril. That is why the best of the evangelical heritage has always emphasized what might be called ‘the spirituality of the Word.’ ” We affirm other spiritual disciplines: prayer, giving, serving, silence, fasting, fellowship, singing, etc.; however, the center must be the Word.
2. We believe that the systematic proclamation of the Bible is central to all our ministries. We affirm the necessity of teaching/preaching for the spiritual welfare of God’s people. Small group meetings, which include Bible study, prayer, fellowship, encouragement, caring ministries, and evangelistic activities, are essential to spiritual growth. Biblical proclamation and study are not the only activities we engage in, nor are they necessarily the activities that take the most time; however they are the catalyst and foundation for ministry (1 Timothy 3:14-16; 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 3:14-16).
The teaching/preaching ministry at TACC should be 1) expository, 2) passionate, and 3) applicable to the group addressed. Expository teaching can either be verse-by-verse or topical; the key element is that the ideas and principles taught come from the biblical text. We strive to understand and teach the original author’s intention. We must learn to be simultaneously faithful to the Bible and students of our culture. We teach for life change founded in the plan, character, and purposes of God.
Teachers at TACC should be consistent in Bible reading, study, memorization, meditation, and listening. We believe that there will be a stricter judgment for those who teach (James 3).
3. The Bible has one true interpretation and many applications. From time to time, we may not be fully convinced of the one true interpretation and so humility should be the rule when we are uncertain, especially when other believers hold another position. We should be convinced on the essential doctrines and sustaining doctrines, and hold loosely to the non-essentials. However, we must not back down from boldly proclaiming what the Bible teaches. G.K. Chesterton wrote, “What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition… [and] settled upon the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.”
4. The Bible’s grand theme is God and His mission. He is in the process of redeeming creation to Himself for His own glory and our joy. The Bible is primarily God’s revelation of Himself, and then because of who He is, He requires from us a joyful, obedient response (Psalm 78; Deuteronomy 6; Acts 2).
5. The Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment summarize our mission as a church and our participation in the mission of God.
6. We are committed to the five solas of the reformation.
• 1. Sola gratia ("by grace alone")
• 2. Sola fide ("by faith alone")
• 3. Sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone")
• 4. Solus Christus ("In Christ alone")
• 5. Soli Deo gloria ("Glory to God alone")
7. We teach God’s absolute and complete knowledge and sovereignty. The Cross, Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, are the means by which God purchased every good thing. The cross is the means by which God controls evil and turns it to good – in other words, God causes all good and controls all evil. He is sovereign in salvation, creation, over kings and rulers, birds and creatures, and every circumstance in our lives.
His sovereignty is also at work in saving men; additionally, He holds every person responsible for their choice to repent and turn to Christ. Salvation is a supernatural event that occurs when a non-Christian believes and repents, turning from his sin to God, trusting in the work of Christ and Christ alone for his salvation.
When God allows bad things to happen to the believer, God always uses them for good. When bad things happen to the non-believer, God intends it as a means to turn him to repentance or for judgment. God knows the end from the beginning. We teach His complete knowledge of all events past, present and future. Open theism and limited sovereignty are not taught at TACC (Genesis 45:4-9; 50:20; Isaiah 10; 1 Corinthians 1:31; 15:10; Philippians 2:12,13).
8. God is self-sufficient and does not need love or fellowship; He has no emotional needs (Isaiah 40-66).
9. We understand and teach the complementarian view of roles in the marriage relationship: husbands are to love, lead and sacrifice for their wives as Christ does for the church; wives are to respect, submit to, and follow their husband’s lead as the church does for Christ (Ephesians 5:18-32; 1 Timothy 2:12-15). We adhere to the Danvers Statement of the roles of men and women, http://cbmw.org/core-beliefs/.
10. Men should be the teachers and leaders of the body gathered. Women can do anything men can do in the church except serve as an elder, and authoritatively teach men (which includes preaching). Our philosophy of ministry is that men should be the regular teachers in the junior high, high school, and college groups when young men are present (1 Timothy 2:8-15).
11. We do not encourage or discourage the private practice of tongues speaking (1 Corinthians 14). We believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a one-time event, which occurs at the moment of salvation, which places the Christian into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). We do not hold to a "second blessing" or a "two-tiered" approach to spiritual maturity or spiritual gifts. We receive every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus at the moment of salvation (Ephesians 1:3). The Christian experience is one of continual growth in Christ which is promised in Philippians 1:6.
12. The primary ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. He does this by illuminating to the believer the truths about Jesus in the Bible and by reminding them of these truths for life and ministry. The Spirit guides the believer in subjective ways; however, we can know for certain His will found in the Bible (John 14-17; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
13. We do not adhere to what is popularly known as the self-esteem movement; however, we recognize the need to understand the love that God has for us, our position as children of God, and our position as image bearers of God (Genesis 1; Ephesians 3:14-21).
14. We encourage believers to enjoy the freedom in areas the Bible does not address. We also understand our responsibility to limit our freedom for the sake of weaker brothers (Galatians 5, Romans 14).
Here is a summary of TACC's practice in our celebration of the Lord's Supper
Download a detailed handout on what we believe about the celebration of The Lord's Supper here.
1. Communion is to be administered under the authority of the elders -they know of and approve of the officiant and the occasion for celebration.
2. The eating and drinking of bread and grape juice or wine are symbolic of Jesus' body and blood - it is not salvific, grape juice will be the norm unless specifically ordered.
3. The Lord's Supper is a means of proclaiming and remembering Jesus's death and coming again. Participation in the Lord's Supper is a means of nurturing and confirming grace. This will be the central emphasis of the celebration each and every time.
4. Communion is a community rite meant for the body of Christ, or portion of the body at TACC.
5. The Lord's Supper should be celebrated with decorum and joy.
6. The Lord's Supper should consist of prayer, contemplation, confession, repentance, and instruction/warning according to the teaching in 1 Corinthians 11.
7. Communion is to be celebrated by only true Christians who are not in conflict with other believers.
8. Communion is a unifying rite. We have humbled ourselves before our King who died for humbled sinners and is coming again.
9. The celebration should not be rushed.
10. It is not necessary to be a member at TACC to participate.
11. Children should follow the instructions of their parents.
12. We typically celebrate the Lord's Supper the first Sunday morning of every month in our worship service. We allow for other times of celebration as deemed necessary.
13. The elders will work to ensure that the Sunday morning Lord's Supper remembrance is done with care to ensure that all believers are included in the community aspects of the celebration and prayer.
Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
Download a copy of our Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality here.