Doctrine and By-laws
Grace Christian Church was formed under the original name of Grace Security Baptist Church, Inc. on March 31, 1997, in Noble County, in the state of Indiana, as stated by the Articles of Incorporation. On June 13, 2000, an amendment was filed with the state of Indiana to change the name to Grace Christian Church, Inc.
This church was formed in peace, on the inspired word of God and totally dependent on Him for all things through and by His Son, Jesus Christ, who died so that we may have eternal life.
Method of Formation
It was decided through prayer and contemplation that the chosen method of starting this church was to first get all the formation documents in order. The next step was to start doing the work of the Lord under the legal name of the church, being totally dependent on God to supply the required people and resources required to do His Holy will. Starting with no membership, but rather the use of volunteers, we would work towards a goal of a full time church ministry. We eventually offered membership but have never limited worship or activity participation to members alone. Some exceptions to this would be voting and serving as a church officer. The goal of this method was to allow volunteers to help the early stages of the organization without requiring that they leave their current churches. We seek to do Gods will and will trust Him to bring members and participant into our fellowship as He sees necessary. We believe that God will bless this peaceful manner of church formation and will supply our every need. We can plant and water, but only God can give increase. (1 Cor 3:7)
Article 2- Purpose, Doctrine, Observances and Principles
Section 1 - Purpose
The purpose of Grace Christian Church is to promote the Worship of the Triune God. We seek to provide Biblical instruction and to share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will support missionary work as God supplies the means to do so. We will seek to cultivate strong loving fellowship and promote the growth of a strong relationship with God. Though we will offer membership, we will encourage participation in worship and activities of members and non-members alike. We seek to create an environment that is comfortable for people to worship in.
Section 2- Doctrine
1) The Holy Scriptures
We believe in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the inspired word of God and the final authority for faith and life. (II Tim. 3:16 & 17, II Peter 1:20 & 21, Matt. 5:18, John 16:12 & 13)
2) The Godhead
We believe in the Triune God, eternally existing in three persons- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, coequal in being, identical in nature, equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfection. (Deut. 6:4, II Cor. 13:14)
3) The Person and Work of Christ
A. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that he might reveal God and redeem sinful men and women. (John 1:1,2, &4, Luke 1:35)
b. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through his death on the cross of Calvary as our substitutionary sacrifice, and that our justification is made sure by his literal, physical resurrection from the dead. (Rom. 3:24 & 25, I Peter 1:3 & 5, I Peter 2:24, Eph. 1:7)
c. We believe that the Lord, Jesus Christ, ascended in to heaven and now is exalted at the right hand of God, the Father, where, as our High Priest, He intercedes for us as our advocate and our true friend. (Acts 1:9 & 10. Heb. 9:24 & 7:25, Rom. 8:34. I John 2:1 & 2)
4) The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
A. We believe the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, and that He is the supernatural agent of regeneration, baptizing all believers in to the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them until the day of redemption (John 16: 8-11, II Cor 12:12-14, Rom 8:9, Eph. 1:13 & 14)
B. We believe that He is the divine teacher who guides believers in to all truth, and that it is the privilege of all the saved to be indwelled with the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13, I John 2:20 & 27, Eph. 5:18)
5) The Fall of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but in Adams sin, the race fell, inherited a sinful nature and became alienated from God, and that man is depraved, and of himself can not remedy his lost condition. (Gen. 1:26 & 27, Rom. 3:22 & 23, 5:12, Eph 2: 1-3 & 12)
We believe that salvation from Hell is the gift of God brought to man by grace, through faith, in the Lord Jesus Christ, whos precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. Our works can not earn us this free gift, only our true belief in Jesus Christ as the giver and guarantor of our eternal life. ( Eph. 1:7, 2:8-10, John 1:12, I Peter 1:18 & 19)
7) The Eternal Security and Assurance of the Believer
A. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved are kept saved by Gods power and are thus secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37- 40, 10:27-30, Rom. 8:1, 8:38 & 39, I Cor 1:4-8, I Peter 1:5)
B. We believe that it is the privilege of the believer to rejoice in their assurance of salvation through the testimony of Gods word and promises. Gods word, however, strictly forbids using this assurance as an excuse to sin. This manner of reasoning displeases God and he will deal with it accordingly, however, when he saves us, it is a work done by him, and will stand as all his work does. Believers cant work to earn salvation, and thank God, their works or lack of them, can not destroy it. (Rom. 13:13 & 14, Gal 5:13, Tit. 2:11-15, Eccl. 3:14)
C. We believe that true assurance comes from knowing Gods plan of salvation and depending on it for ones eternal life. Once a person believes in Jesus Christ, he is assured of his salvation because he knows that Jesus can not lie and has promised him salvation base on belief and nothing else. A Christian who is living outside of the will of God may not feel the joy that God has for him. Though he knows that God will never break a promise, he may suffer a loss of joy as a result of Gods chastening hand. He may not feel saved, but his feelings are no replacement for Gods promises. One willfully living in sin may be chastised, even to the point of sickness or death, if God deems this the proper discipline for his willful disobedience. (1 Cor 11:30)
8) The Two Natures of the Believer
We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural. (Rom. 6: 13, 8:12 & 13, Gal. 5:16-25, Eph. 4:22-24, Col. 3:10, I Peter 1:14- 16, I John 3:5-9)
We believe that all the saved shall live in such a manner not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord, and that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations is commended by God. (II Tim. 3:1-5, Rom. 12:1 & 2, 14:13, I John 2:15-17, II John 9-11, II Cor. 6:14, 7:1)
We believe that it is the obligation of the saved to witness by life and by word to the truths of the holy scriptures and to seek to proclaim the gospel to all mankind. (Mark 16: 15, Acts 1:8, II Cor. 5:19 & 20)
11) The Ministry of Spiritual Gifts
A. We believe that God is sovereign in the distribution of all His gifts, and calls evangelists, pastors, teachers, singers, prayer warriors, and many other like ministries in his furtherance of the gospel. Although God is fully capable of using any method, we lean toward the opinion that the gift of speaking in tongues gradually ceased as the New Testament scriptures were completed and their authority became established. We find this practice misunderstood and abused and have decided not to practice it in our worship services. We believe that Scripture tells us that it does not edify the church and that it is not a preferred method of public worship. We are not judging others and are not claiming that this gift does not exist, but are clarifying our interpretation and our position on this matter. God, certainly, can use any resource that he chooses. (I Cor. 12:4-11, II Cor 12:12, 14:4, 19, 26, Eph. 4:7-12)
B. We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith in and will act in accordance to His holy will, and certainly can heal any disease or condition that he desires to. We believe it proper and scriptural to lay hands on the sick or afflicted at their request, but dont make a practice of making a spectacle of this practice. It is a holy time of prayer, not a show to exalt man, but a humble request from man to God through our Savior, Jesus Christ. ( John 15:7, I John 5:14 & 15)
12) The Church
A. We believe that the church, the bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again Christians of the present age. (Eph. 1:22 & 23, 5:25-27, I Cor. 12:12-14, II Cor 11:2)
B. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. (Acts 14:27,20:17, 28:32, I Tim. 3:1-13, Tit. 1:5-11)
We believe in the dispensational view of the Bible interpretation, but reject the extreme teaching known as hyper-Dispensationalism, such as that teaching which opposes either the Lords table or water baptism as a scriptural means of testimony for the church in this age. (Matt 28:19 &20, Acts 2:41&42, 18:8, I Cor. 11:23-26)
14) The Personality of Satan
We believe that Satan in a personal being, the author of sin and the cause of the fall of man, that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man, and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire. We believe that he still works to hinder all who seek God and all who seek to please God, both Christians and sinners alike. (Job1:6& 7, Isa. 14:12-17, Matt. 4:2-11, 25:41, Rev 20:10)
15) The Second Advent of Christ
We believe in the blessed hope, the personal imminent, pre-tribulation, and pre-millennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones, and in His subsequent return to earth, with His saints, to establish His millennial kingdom. (I Thes. 1:10, 5:9, 4:13-18, Zech. 14:4-11, Rev. 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:1-6)
16) The Eternal State
A. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life with Jesus, and the unsaved to judgment resulting in eternal damnation and punishment. (Matt. 25:46, John 5:28 & 29, 11:25 & 26, Rev. 20:5 & 6 & 12 & 13)
B. We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at the time of death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious happiness they await the first resurrection, where spirit, soul and body will be reunited and will be glorified with the Lord, eternally. (Luke 23:43, Rev. 20:4-6, II Cor. 5:8, Phil. 1:23, 3:21, I Thes. 4:16 & 17)
We recognize two ordinances of the church of this age. (1) The Lords supper and (2) water baptism. They are not to be regarded, however, as a means of salvation or a means of grace by which special merit is obtained.
1) The Lords Supper (Feet Washing)
This ordinance shall be observed as desired by the church members. All Christians are welcome to partake in this time of worship. (I Cor. 11:17-34)
2) Water Baptism
Baptism shall be done at the request of a Christian by means of total immersion. This, once again, is not a means by which a person is saved, but rather, an act of obedience to God who has requested that we do this. It symbolizes to the world how one has been cleansed by Jesus Christ in a spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is encouraged, but not a requirement for fellowship or to be a member of this church. (acts 8:36-39, 10:47 & 48, I Cor. 1:14-17)
Section 4- Principles
1) The Lord Jesus Christ is the only head of the church, and our only way to receive eternal life. He is our savior, and the son of the only God.
2) The Holy Bible is our only rule of faith and practice. All other sources of study are to be based on this God inspired book of truths.
3) We are of the Christian Faith and shall be known as Christians.
4) We are strangers in a foreign land and will not be at home until we are with the Lord. As representatives of our Lord and Savior, we shall strive to be good examples and obedient followers of the cross, in hope that we may be used by God to lead others to eternal life with the holy son of God, Jesus Christ.
Article 3- Membership
Section 1- Requirements
1) One must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and will testify of their personal belief and acceptance of Him as their Lord and Savior.
2) Accepts the Bible as the complete, final, and inspired word of God for man to live by.
3) One must believe in the doctrine of the church.
Section 2- Duties of the Member
1) Pray for the uplifting of the kingdom, and pray for our church and all that need prayer.
2) Make an effort to attend worship services, Sunday school, meetings, and other activities.
3) Support the church according to your means and as you feel God is leading you as you prosper.
4) Work to make the church a warm, hospitable place for people to worship.
Section 3-Commendation and Dismissal
Letters of commendation will be granted for any member in good and regular standing. The elders shall determine the eligibility for such letters.
Any member presenting an oral or written request for dismissal shall be removed from the church membership log. The Elders shall make a review of the church membership roll at the end of each calendar year to review the accuracy of the active members. Any member that has not been in attendance in the prior year, will be contacted if possible, to see if they still wish to remain on the membership book. If the member wants removed or can not be located, the elders may elect to remove them for the sake of good record keeping.
1) Discipline shall be administered in such spirit of love as to secure, if possible, the return, cooperation, and fellowship of the member in question. In the case of a private offense, the scripture rule (Matt. 18:15-17) shall be observed. All trespasses shall be discussed with scriptural references made as to where the member is within scriptural
liberty or not.
2) One who is determined to be in a willful state of serious sin as stated in 1 Cor 5:11, will be dealt with swiftly and asked to repent of the sin or to be removed from the church membership and from intimate fellowship. This does not forbid them to attend services.
Section 5-Status of Members
Any member that is not in regular attendance may not hold an office until they exercise steady attending. This is the best interest of the church, simply because of the importance of office holders to be aware of current status of the church. Sickness, missionary service, military service, and furtherance of education are some examples of reasons a person may be allowed to remain in the office as an inactive honorary officer. In this case, another officer may be elected or appointed to fill the position temporarily. The Elders may have to meet to determine where special circumstances exist.
Article 4- Government
The Government of this church is vested in Christ, The head of the church, and in submission to him stands the Elders and Deacons as well as any other office holders and committees. All these persons shall stay in close communication with the members and
followers of this church, since they are servants of the church body. These by-laws will be observed and may be amended as the body deems necessary, as long as the amendments are within the restrains of the holy inspired Scriptures of Gods word.
Section 1- Voting
1) Voting may be done orally, by a show of hands or by a secret ballet. Any time that a secret ballet is requested, it will be honored. Any member who is 15 years of age or older will be allowed to vote. In voting situations, a majority will decide the matter.
2) When requested, members will be allowed at least a one week notice before a vote is taken to allow them time to pray for guidance in the decision. Bigger decisions may require more time. We must always remember to ask Gods guidance in all matters.
3) Most issues of financial significance will be decided by the church board.
4) Spiritual issues will be decided by the Elders who will determine if it is proper to consult the board or the general body. Input will always be considered in the cases where the information may be shared with the board or the entire church body. Some issues are private in nature and will not be shared with anyone outside of the Elders.
5) Anyone not in attendance at a full body vote will forfeit their vote. These votes may be taken at any church event and will be announced in advance when possible. In a board meeting, if all are not in attendance, enough votes must be reached to have a majority of all the members, including the missing ones.
6) On the church board, no family may constitute more than 40% of the board voters. A family member includes brother, brother-in-law, father, father-in-law, son, son-in-law, adopted family members or cousins.
Section 2- Finances
1) This Church shall be primarily supported by free will offerings. The church needs funds to operate and we will trust God to impress on the peoples hearts the amount that he required of them in the support of the church. (1 Cor. 16:2, II Cor. 9:6-15) We also will allow various types of fund-raisers as decided by the church elders.
2) Spending limits will be established as to amounts that may be spent by Elders, Deacons, board members or committee and department heads. These limits will not require a vote as long as the church has the funding available. Large amounts will require a vote of the entire church. These amounts are to be set by the church board.
3) Borrowing money is allowable as long as it passed by the church board with a simple majority.
4) Elders may not be given access to who gives money or in what amounts. This is to be done only by those chosen by the Elder Team and must be kept to a minimum.
Section 3- Affiliations
The church shall be independent and shall not unite with any association of churches, organization, or denomination unless decided by a three-fourths majority vote of the members present at the year end meeting. Any association, organization, or denomination that stands contrary to any of our doctrinal statements shall not be considered. A decision of this magnitude will require a four week advance notice to be repeated at every service and church function from time of original notice until the time of vote.
Section 4- Ordinations
It shall be within the power of this church to ordain to the gospel ministry and to issue proper credentials to those whom God has called and equipped. The Elders will decide if the candidate has displayed fruits consistent with his proposed calling and is in accordance to biblical requirements. Formal education shall not be a requirement of any persons eligibility to pursue a calling. We will realize that when God calls a person to a work, He will supply what they need in the way that He deems best in each individual situation.
Article 5- Officers
Section 1- Names
The officers of this church shall be Elders and Deacons. Other positions are the treasurers, secretaries, and any other office decided to be necessary by the church Elders. The church Elders may choose to create these new positions as needed. In the beginning years, one person may hold as many offices as necessary to complete the church functions, however, as God increases the membership, the Elders may restrict the amount of offices a member can hold to prevent burn out and over-dependence on any person.
Section 2- Officer Recognition
If the church has Elders in place, the Elders will decide when someone has displayed the biblically required qualifications to hold an office. They may or may not choose to offer a means of input by the church body. In the case that no elders exist, this task shall be done by ballot and require a two-thirds majority vote of the entire membership.
Section 3- Term of Office
The church year, (as term of office is concerned), will be based on the calendar year. New office holders will be elected at the annual meeting in December and will begin duties on January 1st in the New Year. An officer may resign at any time.
A. Elders shall be called for an indefinite term of service.. Elders shall be the spiritual leaders of the church and will be considered placed in their positions by God. They will be expected to meet the requirements outlined by the Holy Scriptures pertaining to the office. Once installed, they shall not face removal unless there is evidence of willful immorality or the practice or support of false doctrine. In the case that multiple Elders are in place, this decision will fall to the remaining Elders. A unanimous decision must be reached by the remaining members of the Elder team before one is removed from office.
B. In the event that members of the congregation feels that an elder has brought reproach upon his office, and their attempts to restore him have failed, the other Elders may be contacted and expected to meet with the accused Elder and council him on the matter. If there is no scriptural support for the charges, the matter will be swiftly dropped and the accusers will be counseled on the danger of accusing a brother without sufficient cause. If the charges are found to be accurate, and the problem can not be resolved without leaving the church in a vulnerable position or biblically disqualifying the elder, an emergency meeting must be called. If no other Elders are in place, this decision will fall to the church members and will require a two-thirds majority vote to remove the elder from office.
The office of Deacon shall be appointed by the Elders. The Elder team may or may not choose to solicit nominations or feedback. from the church body. If members of the church feel that a deacon has failed his duty and brought reproach upon his office, it will be handled in the manner described in article five, section three, subtitle 1-B.
The secretary shall be appointed by the Elder Team after review every year.
The treasurer shall be appointed by the Elder Team after review.
6) Other Offices
Any other officer deemed necessary shall be appointed by the Elder Team after review.
7) The Church Board
This committee shall be made up of all Elders and Deacons as well as any other members appointed by the Elder Team.
8) Elder Team
This team will consist of all Elders, whether ordained or not.
Article 6- Duties of the Officers
Section 1- Elders
We believe a church is to be spiritual led by a team of Elders. The Elders duty is to feed the flock that God has entrusted him with, supplying them with spiritual guidance, preaching and teaching the unadulterated word of God. He shall administer the ordinances, faithfully labor in public and evangelize the unbeliever. He shall be an example for the believers to model after. He will responsibility manage his reputation and use the gifts that God has given him for the good of Gods kingdom and not for his own personal gain. He shall be a spiritual leader of the church and shall have the ability to teach the word of God, either from the pulpit or in a class setting. He shall keep order in the church and especially in church services. He shall always remember to seek Gods counsel in all matters. He shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and boards, except in matters of his election or dismissal.
Section 2- Deacons
The office of Deacon shall be a position of spiritual servitude. He shall promote the spiritual interest of the church, assist in communion services, visit the sick and troubled, care for the widowed and orphaned, and follow all biblical standards set for his office. He shall set a proper example for all to follow and will offer confidential counseling for those who need spiritual guidance. The deacon is expected to seek the counsel of God in all matters. He should be in spiritual submission to the Elders.
Section 3- Church Board
The Board shall manage and care for all physical properties (grounds and building) of the incorporation. They shall recommend to the church and church board any resources needed to maintain the properties of the church. They shall initiate and plan for future needs of the church in church business matters. These persons shall be the business leaders of the church and seek Gods counsel in being good stewards of his assets. They shall report all needs and actions to the church during periodic meetings.
Section 4- Treasurer
The treasurer will care for the money of the church, and pay all bills ordered by the church board. (insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc...) The treasurer will be responsible for accurate record keeping and monthly financial reports. The treasure will also work with the secretary on any documents that need renewed (non-profit status, etc.) and any tax forms that may need filed.
Section 5- Secretary
The secretary shall keep accurate minutes for all business and church board meetings. This officer will also keep membership rolls current and keep all receipts and documents in an orderly filing system. The secretary will work with the treasurer on any documents that may need renewed (non-profit status, etc.) and any tax forms that may need filed. The secretary must be able to work with Elders, Deacons, and board members on scheduling matters.
Article 7- Fiscal Year
The Fiscal Year will end December 31.
Article 8- Business Meetings
Section 1- Annual Meeting
The annual meeting will be in December of each year and request the attendance by all church members. This will be where the majority of the appointments will be announced. This meeting will be announced at least one month in advance at all church services and activities between the original announcement and the meeting date.
Section 2- Quarterly Meetings
Quarterly meetings will be held in addition to the annual meeting in the months of April, July, and October. These meetings are to be announced at least one week in advance at all church services and activities between the first announcement and the meeting date.
Section 3- Special Meetings
1) Special meetings may be called at any time deemed necessary with the approval of elders. Special meetings and their purpose must be announced at least one week prior to the meeting at all church services and activities if the congregation is requested to attend. A special election would fall under this section.
2) Matters of dismissing an officer must have at least four weeks notice to be announced at all church services and activities prior to the meeting. If the meeting is for a dismissal vote of an elder, the remaining elders can approve the meeting as long as all measures described in article 5, section 3, subtitle 1b have been followed. In the event that no other Elders exist, the church body must make this decision.
Article 9 - Other Dismissals
If any officer described in Article 5, Section 3, Subtitle 3-6, brings reproach to their office or duties, the Elders may remove them with a unanimous vote. In the case that no Elders exist, this decision fall to the church membership.
Article 10- Dissolution
In the case of church dissolution, the incorporation will be liquidated and the proceeds will be donated to Riley Childrens Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana.