A High View of God
God is portrayed throughout the Scriptures as being Holy (Lev 11:44; Isa 6:3; 1 Pet 1:16; Rev 4:8); Righteous (Psa. 11:7; Zep. 3:5; 2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Pet. 2:23; Rev. 16:5); and Just (Deu. 33:21; Isa. 30:18; Psa. 146:7; Tit. 1:2). Therefore, the ministry of the church should not only promote the holy, righteous, and just attributes of God, but it should also encourage the imitations of these attributes in the lives of those within the church (1 Cor. 11:1; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:1; 2 Thess 2:14).
Practical application: Failure to have a high view of God will lead to a high tolerance of sin and rebellion, changing the focus of the ministry to being man-centered, rather than God-centered.
The church must teach with a primary focus on promoting God’s holiness (2 Tim. 3:1-5, 4:3). Offering hope and comfort through the gospel must never be done at the expense of exalting God’s holiness. The church must practice biblical reproof and restoration (Mat. 18:15-20; Rom. 16:17; Titus. 3:10; 2 John 1:10). The church must have a reverence and fear for the person of God (Deut 10:12; Psa 34:9; 1 Pet. 2:17; Rev. 14:7). The church must not compromise truth in an effort to please people, “maintain the status quo,” or to seek unity with those who do not embrace the gospel of Scripture (Gal. 1:8-10; 1 Thess. 2:4).
A High View of the Word of God
God’s Word is supreme and established forever (Psa. 119:89; Isa. 40:8, 55:11; Mat. 24:35). God’s Word is also authoritative and must be obeyed (Rom. 1:16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12; Jam. 1:22). The precepts of God are relevant to every situation (Psa. 19:7-14; Rom. 12:1-2, 15:4; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). The Word of God is sufficient for every circumstance (John 6:63, 68; 2 Pet. 1:3). It must be studied and taught within the church as the objective Word of God (Ezra 7:10; 2 Tim. 2:15, 4:1-2).
Practical application: Failure to have a high view of the Word of God will lead to man’s thoughts and opinions being “supreme” and “established” in the hearts of people. Man’s opinions will be considered “authoritative” and that which must be “obeyed.” God’s truth will be considered relative or irrelevant. Also, it will be considered insufficient for life’s circumstances and situations.
The church must humbly and willingly submit to the authority of the Word of God. The church must pattern and conform their lives to God’s Word. The church must teach the Word of God in such a way that people can apply it to their lives. The church must turn to the Scriptures in order to find the answers to people’s problems.
A Biblical View of Man
All men are totally depraved, unable to do any good to save themselves (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:10-26; Tit. 3:5). Man was created to glorify God, but because of sin, he seeks to glorify himself (Gen. 3:17-19, Rom. 1:18, 3:10-23). Due to his depravity and sin-tainted heart, man seeks fulfillment from the world’s evil system (Jer. 17:9-10; Mar. 7:21; Eph. 2:3; 1 Pet. 4:2; 1 John 2:16).
Practical application: Failure to have a biblical view of man will lead to the belief that all men are not sinners and contain some aspect of “good” within them. Christ will not be seen as the only solution to man’s most essential needs. The church will try to provide promising fulfillments that are actually failing substitutes. The “felt needs” of man will be the only target of the church, instead of his real need of God and His provisions. The church will therefore produce people who do not live for the glory of God but for self.
The goal of the church’s teaching must be to confront sin and to see God change lives rather than merely to please people. The leadership of the church must model lives that reflect total dependence on God.
A Biblical View of Leadership
The leadership of the church ought to reflect Christ-like characteristics, being an example to the church of God (1 Tim. 1:16, 4:12; Tit. 2:7; Heb. 13:7). The leadership of the church is responsible to equip the church to do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Thess. 5:11-14). They are also responsible to reproduce themselves (1 Corinthians 11:1), discipling and entrusting ministry work to others in the church (2 Tim. 2:2, 4:5; 1 Thess. 2:4-12; 1 Pet. 5:1-3).
Practical application: Failure to adhere to a biblical view of leadership will lead to unbiblical models of leadership in discipleship as well as skewed ministry priorities. Ministry will be entrusted based on the skill and ability of the man rather than on the godly principles prescribed in the Bible. Also, failure to uphold the qualities of godly character within the life of the church leadership will result in a toleration of disqualifying sins. Furthermore, a lack of biblical leadership will result in an inadequate equipping of the church and will lead to instability in the lives of the people in handling life’s difficulties (Matt. 7:24-27). Lastly, a failure of biblical leadership will result in a lack of disciple-making.
The church’s model of leadership and must be firmly based on Scripture. Church leadership must meet biblical qualifications. The church leadership must have a plan for training the next generation of church leaders.
The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
The sovereignty of God in the salvation of men is seen as all members of the Trinity work to bring it about. God the Father chooses certain men to be saved (Ephesians 1:4), and His choice is unconditional. That is, He does not first look ahead into the future to see if a man would choose Him. God’s choice is not on the basis of the efforts/ work of men (Romans 9:11, 16; John 1:12-13), but is instead according to the counsel of His own will. His choice is designed to bring Him all of the glory (Ephesians 1:5-6)
Practical application: The church must be moved to worship God for every man that is saved. Ephesians 1:14 says that redemption is for the “praise of His glory.” When people are saved through the ministry of the church, there should be joyful praise and thanksgiving to God!
The church must recognize the sovereignty of God in salvation in all efforts of evangelism. The servant of God presenting the gospel must find his hope and confidence in the God who saves, not in methods, their own skill in presenting facts or arguments, or in their ability to convince a guilty sinner to pray a prayer. As well, he must serve His Lord prayerfully. As he prays for the salvation of souls, he expresses his complete dependence on God to grant a sinner repentance.
The Primacy of the Gospel Mission
The primary mission of the church is to take the gospel to the ends of the earth for the salvation and sanctification of men (Matthew 28:19-20). The gospel is spread through the preaching and teaching of the Word (whether presented to groups or individuals) (Romans 10:13-17).
Practical application: All evangelistic ministries of the church must have as their primary efforts the teaching of the Word (whether by the written or the spoken Word). All other efforts, such as the bettering of the community, social activism, etc., must work only to serve the primary effort: to proclaim the gospel.
The Centrality of the Local Church
Christ promised that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). He is doing that right now. The church is God’s chief institution through which He spreads His gospel throughout the world. The local church is the “household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
Practical application: Christian ministries must encourage a greater appreciation for and commitment to the local church. While not all parachurch ministries are wrong, church members should guard against being drawn away from the church in order to participate in other parachurch ministries. Christians must have a strong affection for the church, commit themselves to a specific local church, and consider the other members of his local church to be his family.