DOCTRINAL DISTINCTIVES

OF LIVING STONES CHURCHES

Below are the doctrines that all Living Stones Churches believe and teach.

Gospel-centered

The gospel is the center and ultimate motivator of all we do as a church.
We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. (John 3:16)
Utter folly to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is Christological, centering on the cross and resurrection: the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if his death and resurrection are not central (the message is ”Christ died for our sins . . . [and] was raised”). (1 Corinthians 1:20, 2:14. Romans 1:16, 3:23-26, 4:24-25. 1 Corinthians 15:2-3) This good news is biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to God), historical (if the saving events did not happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved). (Acts 2:22-25. Romans 5:10. 1 Corinthians 15:12-18, 15:4-8. 2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Reformed Soteriology

God is sovereign in all aspects of salvation.
Apart from God’s intervention, no human would choose him of their own free will. He elects, died for, draws and preserves his people. We believe that all people are irresistibly drawn to one of two masters, either Satan or God. All people who do not have a saving relationship are drawn in by the power of Satan and of sin. When a person is saved and regenerated by God they are then irresistibly drawn in by his grace. The reason that a saved person finds the love and grace of God so irresistible is because a saved person has been washed clean of his or her old nature, given a new nature that is born of God, and this new nature born of God then can’t help but respond to God positively and be drawn in by him. Our belief is contrasted with prevenient grace, which is a belief that God’s grace enables us to come to him and leave sin behind, but that God’s grace does not guarantee that we will. (Ephesians 2:2, 4-5. 2 Timothy 2:26. John 5:21, 6:37)

Believer's Baptism (Credobaptist)

We believe that all Christians should be water baptized as commanded by Jesus.
We believe that baptism is most biblically carried out when a person is fully submerged into water and pulled back out, and that this submersion is symbolizes the death and resurrection of Jesus and is an outward expression of the inward reality that a person has been “born again,” and that they have put off their old self. Our old self has died with Christ and we have been raised to newness of life. Because of this we believe that baptism is reserved for believers only
(Mark 1:5-10. Acts 2:41, 8:12)

Complementarian

Men and women are created equal but have different roles which complement each other in the leadership in the church and in the home.
The office of Elder is reserved for qualified men only.
Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church. (Genesis 2:21-24; Romans 1:26-28) In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-33) In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The Pastor/Elder role within the church given to qualified men is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments. (1 Timothy 2:12-14)

Marriage & Sexuality

Marriage is a God-given gift to humanity to show his personality and relationship to his Church.
We believe that from cover to cover the Bible holds marriage between one man and one woman and that an any expression of sexuality outside of that covenant is outside of God’s created will and sinful. God beautifully designed and intends his people to participate in sex only within the union of marriage between one man and one woman. (Gen. 2:24-25; Matt. 19:1-9; Rom. 1:26-28)

Spirit-Empowered Continuationism

All the gifts of the Spirit listed in the Bible are present and active in his church.
The gifts of the Spirit are free to be used by members according to the guidelines of the Scriptures.
Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and, as the “other” Paraclete, is present with and in believers. (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:14, 14:16-17). He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, baptizing them into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. (John 16:18, 3:8; Acts 16:14; 1 John 5:1; Romans 3:23-25). By the Spirit’s agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive his sovereignly distributed gifts. (1 Corinthians 12). The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ- like living and service. (Ephesians 1:14; Romans 8:12; John 16:13; John 14:26; John 6:63; Acts 1:8).

Missional

The church is on a mission to seek and save the lost and make disciples of all nations as assigned by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Covenantal Hermeneutic

All sixty-six books of the Bible tell one story that details God’s relating with humanity.
This story’s progression can be summarized under the headings of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration (consummation). The progression of the story follows a pattern of covenants in which God chose his people, commands obedience, offers grace for disobedience, and sacrificially acts to redeem them to himself. Therefore, God has one plan of salvation for his one people which is demonstrated in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament God fulfills his plan through the line of Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, and Jacob. In the New Testament God continues to fulfill the same plan through Jesus and the church.

The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith

Click here to read the 1689 Baptist Confession
We believe that the 1689 Baptist Confession is an accurate and faithful summary of the teaching of the 66 books of Holy Scripture, and have therefore adopted this confession as the teaching doctrinal statement for Living Stones Churches with the following exceptions:

Articles 22.8, 26.4, 26.9