Our Doctrine

We believe in the only true living God, who created everything and sustains everything by the Word of His power (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4; Revelation 4:11; Isaiah 45:5-7).

We believe that God is an infinite and all-knowing Spirit, perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, and is eternally existing in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are one God, having the same nature and attributes, and are worthy of the same worship, confidence and obedience (John 4:24; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Mark 12:29; John 1:1-4; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 4:3-4).

We believe in God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. He perfectly foreknows everything that happens, He concerns Himself kindly in the affairs of people, He hears and answers prayer, and He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. As Creator, He is Father to all men, but He is Spiritual Father only to believers (1 Corinthians 8:6; Psalm 103:19; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesian 4:6; Romans 8:14).

We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and man. He is the manifestation of God in the flesh. We believe He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. (John 1:1, 1:14, 1:18; John 14:8-9; 1 Timothy 3:16).

We believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and on the third day was resurrected in body, and then went to heaven where He is our High Priest and Advocate (Acts 1:3; Acts 1:9; Hebrews 7:25-26).

We believe that the Holy Spirit is fully God and that His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the One who awakens a sinner to have belief in Christ, baptising the believer into one body of which Christ is the head. The Holy Spirit indwells, guides, instructs, fills, comforts and empowers the believer for godly living. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of God’s righteousness and of coming judgment (John 16:14; Mark 13:11; John 14:26; John 16:13; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 3:16; John 16:8-11).

We believe the Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament are verbally inspired by God and inerrant in their original writings. We believe the 66 books of the Old Testament and the New Testament are God’s complete and sufficient revelation, and therefore carry God’s authority for everything humanity needs for our salvation and in all areas of our life that the bible speaks into. (Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16).

We believe that all of humanity was innocent under the law of our Maker but, by voluntarily disobeying, fell from that sinless and innocent state. All people are now sinners not only by birth but by their own choices and therefore are rightly condemned by a Holy God without any defence or excuse. We believe that – without exception – every man and every woman has been corrupted in every area of life with sin (totally depraved) and needs a Saviour to escape our fallen condition (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-19; Romans 1:18, Romans 1:32; Romans 5:1-2).

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins as is described in the Bible, as our representative and as a substitute sacrifice. He took the penalty of our sins on the cross at the hand of a most holy God, and when God’s holiness and righteousness were satisfied, Jesus declared that it was finished. We believe that each person who by faith receives Jesus as their God and personal Saviour are made right with God solely on the basis of Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross. Each person who recognises their sin, repents or turns away from it, and commits to following Jesus Christ is born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby becomes eternally secure as a child of God. We believe the Holy Spirit baptises each believing person into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation and empowers followers to follow and serve Him (Romans 8:37-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 1:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

Upon committing to follow Jesus, a believer becomes part of His body, which is the church. There is one church universal, composed of all those throughout the world who believe in Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour. The Bible commands that believers gather in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching the Bible, observing baptism and communion, fellowship, mutual service to the body through the development and use of each person’s talents and gifts, and outreach to the world in fulfilment of Christ’s command to make disciples of all believers (Ephesians 5:23; Romans 12:1; Acts 2:42-46; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18-20).

Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, this is a local expression of the church, which is under first the oversight of the elders and then by other supportive leadership. The church’s members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ. Realising that the cause of Christ extends beyond any one local fellowship, we commit ourselves to an ongoing ministry of extending the call of Christ to make disciples around the world (Ephesians 4:16; Matthew 28:19-20).

We believe in the “blessed hope” which is the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all humanity, both those who are saved and those who are lost. The lost are those who never repented or believed in Jesus’ saving work on the cross. The lost will be raised up and given a new body in which to face an eternal death in hell with a conscious separation from all of God’s graces. The saved are raised to an eternal life in heaven which will be a real existence with a new body in the new heaven and earth, enjoying this new world renewed without sin, and enjoying full and wonderfully unhindered intimacy with God (Matthew 25:34; John 14:2; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Revelation 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 8:11; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 13:49-50; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 12:5; Revelation 21:8).

Our Distinctives

The primary purpose of humanity is to glorify God by loving Him with the entire heart, soul, mind, and might (Deuteronomy 6:5; Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 22:37). All believing men, women, and children are to glorify God and accordingly, to fulfill the purpose of their existence. Worship glorifies God through adoration, (Psalm 95:6) praise, (Psalm 99:5) prayer, (Daniel 6:10-11) thanksgiving, (Nehemiah 12:46) and a complete yielding to Him (Romans 12:1). Worship declares His worth, pays Him respect and celebrates Him in a life of devotion. We seek to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. (Exodus 15:1-21; 2 Samuel 6:14-16; Psalm 5:7; John 4:23-24; Revelation 4:11; 5:12)

These are the convictions that guide each of our worship services. We seek to:

  1. Lift high the name of Jesus Christ by proclaming and adoring God in order to draw His worshipers together (John 4:22-26; John 12:32)
  2. Lead God’s people to lift their hearts and voices to Him, giving Him praise and thanks in music and lyric (Nehemiah 12:45-46; Psalm 66:1-4; Psalm 95:1-2)
  3. Prepare hearts to hear the Lord speak through the proclamation of Scripture (Psalm 95:6-9; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42)
  4. Emphasize fresh and contemporary expressions while retaining traditional elements that recognize the richness of our heritage in the faith (Deuteronomy 32:7; Psalm 33:3; Isaiah 46:8-9; Matthew 13:32, Ephesians 5:19; Revelation 5:9)
  5. Pursue excellence in worship, knowing that God is worthy of our best (Deuteronomy 17:1; Psalm 33:3, 1 Timothy 4:14-15; Hebrews 11:4)

The Lord changes lives and accomplishes His purposes directly through reading and applying the Scriptures, meditating on the truths of the Scriptures and prayer. The Lord also uses those who minister His Word as they encourage, exhort, admonish, teach, implore, reprove, rebuke and console others toward godliness. God needs no new or unique insight into the human condition to change lives, regardless of whether that insight is gained through any tools of human origin. Problems that are approached by integrating the Scriptures with humanistic theories tend to deceive individuals into diminishing the God of the Scriptures and into believing that He has not provided and cannot provide sufficient truth, insight, and wisdom that will change their lives. (Colossians 2:8-10)

When psychology and other social sciences step beyond observing human behaviour and seek to explain the causes of human behaviour, they enter spiritual territory. Only the God of the Scriptures can explain causes and offer solutions that lead to godliness and a fruitful, joyful life. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) He changes us as we discipline ourselves through obedience to the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. (1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Peter 1:5-11)

Each Christian’s passion should be to become more like Christ and fulfil the Great Commandment to love the Lord will the entire heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2, Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30; Matthew 22:37-38)

The Christian who learns and applies the Word becomes mature and, in turn, can help others mature. (2 Timothy 2:2).

When problems become more complicated and intense, we do encourage people to seek out trained and qualified Biblical counsellors.

Vertical Church affirms the God-ordained and significant role that women should play in establishing and leading the local church. Every leadership opportunity is open to women except those that are excluded by Scripture. The Scriptures clearly state that men are to serve in the office of Elder and that women are not to serve in church positions in which they exercise authority over men or in which they teach doctrine to men. (1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:6-9) We do not see this as an issue of equality, for men and women are equal under God. The Bible is clear that men and women do not have the same roles. Qualified women should serve in any leadership position that is not forbidden in the Scriptures.

It is God’s divine decision to save a person and it is God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience that lead that person to repentance. (Romans 2:4) All glory for the salvation and security of every believer belongs to God alone. (Romans 3:21-31; Ephesians 1:7-9; Ephesians 2:8-9, Jude 1:24-25) We believe that everyone who is born again by the Spirit through Jesus Christ is eternally assured of salvation from the moment of conversion. This assurance relies on God’s decisive grace rather than on the works of the Christian. Obedience, good works, and fruit-bearing do not earn or retain the believer’s salvation but indicate the reality of the person’s love of Christ and profession of faith. (Luke 6:46; John 14:21; James 2:17-18)

Eternal security in salvation relies on the Lord’s guarantee of each believer’s adoption as His son or daughter, (Galatians 4:4-7) and His seal of the believer by the Holy Spirit, (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14) and the conviction that God gives the Holy Spirit to each believer as a down payment toward future bliss in Heaven. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22) A person who professes genuine faith in Christ immediately becomes His possession, (Luke 23:42-43; Acts 2:40-41; Acts 16: 30-34) and nothing can snatch that person out of His hands. (John 10:27-29) Having been bought with the price of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion as complete payment for sin, Christians are not their own. They are Christ’s possession. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) This assurance is absolutely certain, reserved in Heaven, protected by God’s unlimited power. (1 Peter 1:4-5)

Mature disciples walk with Christ, worship Christ and work in Christ. A person committed to a relationship with Christ focuses on a personal walk with Him, worship of Him and work for Him. That person will experience significant growth in personal sanctification and, therefore, will experience a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will become “complete in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). We are committed to multiplying the godly characteristics of leaders’ lives into others. (2 Timothy 2:2) This multiplication of ministry is key to the healthy growth of the church. We believe the disciples of Jesus Christ should minister to one another in the local church, rather than one or a small number of professional pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. God has given spiritual gifts to all of His people to provide mutual ministry in the context of the healthy and strong local church. (Ephesians 4:11-12)

We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and that they contain all the words of God that we need in order to completely trust and obey Him. The Scriptures are inerrant in their original writings, (Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16) and are infallible in their instruction, (Proverbs 6:32; 2 Peter 1:19) eternal in duration, (Isaiah 40:8;1 Peter 1:23-25) the final authority and the standard for faith and practice (Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119), and sufficient for counsel in every issue of life. (Psalm 19:14-17; 2 Timothy 3:16) We believe the very words of Scripture in the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic are inspired by God. Therefore, we believe the Bible versions which translate God’s Word most literally into the modern language one is most comfortable with should be preferred.

Satan and his demonic servants viciously oppose the work God performs in and through His people. (1 Peter 5:8; Genesis 3:1-7; Ephesians 6:12) God, who by His nature is infinitely more powerful than Satan, in due time will have complete and total victory over Satan. (1 John 4:4; Revelation 20:1-10)

Although it is appropriate to pray in Jesus’ name for protection against demonic activity, the Scriptures do not instruct the Christian to “bind Satan in Jesus’ name.” Rather, the Scriptures instruct the Christian to combat Satan by:

  • Humbly drawing near to God, knowing that He will give grace, mercy, and strength (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Hebrews 4:15-16; James 4:8; 1 Peter 5:6-10)
  • Resisting temptations (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
  • Rightly applying the truth of the Scriptures (Matthew 4:1-11; John 8:44; Ephesians 4:24-27)
  • Forgiving offenses (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)
  • Putting on the armor of God’s truth, righteousness, readiness to share the Gospel, faith, salvation, and prayer (Ephesians 6:11-20)
  • Demonstrating faithfulness to the Lord by enduring trials (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 2:13; Revelation 3:9-10)

Jesus taught us to “love your neighbor as yourself”. As such, all Christians are expected to love one another as Christ loved us, by exercising forgiveness, dealing with grievances biblically, and by refraining from gossip, slander, lording it over one another, and bitterness. As Christians, we must guard our hearts against hatred and pride, and lovingly walk as a distinct people that model, in word and deed, the overwhelming love that God has extended to us in the person of our Savior Jesus Christ. (Matthew 18:15-20; Mark 12:31; Hebrews 12:15; 1 Peter 4:8).

The Bible teaches that all believers are saints, set apart unto God and are thus responsible to live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon the Savior and Lord (Romans 2:1-2; 1 Peter 1:14-19; 2 Timothy 2:19; Titus 2) lest the Word of God be blasphemed (l Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:5). As Christians, we should obey the Word of our Lord, seek the things which are above, walk as He walked, and accept as our responsibility the duty and privilege of bearing the Gospel to a lost world (l John 2:3; Colossians 3: 1; Matthew 28:19-20). A victorious and fruitful Christian life is possible only for those who have presented themselves wholly to Christ and walk by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit-filled life is the normal Christian life to be expected of all believers. (Romans 12:1,2; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18; Romans 6, 7).

Scripture clearly teaches that God is the sole authority in matters of marriage and sexuality for all people, and that marriage involves the sacred joining together of one man and one woman in faithful, permanent union (Genesis 2:18-24; Matthew 19:1-9; Mark 10:1-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; Hebrews 13:4). God states in the Bible that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and Scripture states that He intends the marriage union to last until one of the spouses dies (Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 7:10-13). Sex is a gift from God to be enjoyed solely within this God-ordained marriage relationship, and God has clearly and expressly commanded abstinence from any form of sexual or intimate activity outside of this context, prohibiting as “sexual immorality” activities related to, for example: lustful thought, adultery, fornication, pornography, homosexuality, bisexuality, or polygamy (Leviticus 18; Matthew 5:27; Matthew 15:9; Romans 1:18-32; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 5; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; Galatians 5; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; Hebrews 13:4; Jude 1:7).

Disobedience in these matters is sin, although it is no more or less offensive to God than any other sin (Romans 6:23a; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5; Colossians 3:5-19), and Scripture is clear that God provides redemption, healing, freedom from the power of sin, and restoration to all who would turn from sin and embrace Jesus Christ by faith (Acts 16:31; Romans 1:16; Romans 6:23b; 1 Corinthians 6:11, Ephesians 2:1-10, Titus 3:3-7). Vertical Church will love, disciple, exhort and patiently assist men and women repenting of sin and fighting sexual temptations of all kinds in each of their ministry contexts (1 Corinthians 10:13, Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:14-16). Vertical Church’s firm conviction on Scripture’s clear teaching on marriage and sexuality will not serve as grounds for bigotry, harassment, or fearful or hateful speech or action, which are forbidden by God and are ineffective at producing change (Leviticus 19:17-18; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Galatians 3:1-3; Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 4:5-6; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; James 1:19-21, 26; 1 Peter 2:1).

Affirmations

Danvers
Statement

Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

Nashville
Statement