Distinctives

 

Preamble

Acts 29 is a family of church-planting churches that stands in the tradition of historic evangelical confessionalism. While we believe it is vital that the Elders of each of our local churches determine where they stand on doctrines of second importance, we do wish to make known our convictions on the following five distinctive theological foundations.

Additionally, we hold to the The Lausanne Covenant Statement of Faith.

 

We are passionate about gospel centrality.

We believe the gospel is the good news of what God has graciously accomplished for sinners through the sinless life, sacrificial death, and bodily resurrection of his Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, namely our forgiveness from sin and complete justification before God; this gospel is also the foundation for our confidence in the ultimate triumph of God’s kingdom, and the consummation of his purpose for all creation in the new heavens and new earth.

This gospel is centered in Christ, is the foundation for the life of the Church, and is our only hope for eternal life; this gospel is not proclaimed if Christ’s penal substitutionary death and bodily resurrection are not central to our message.

This Gospel is not only the means by which people are saved, but also the truth and power by which people are sanctified; it is the truth of the Gospel that enables us to genuinely and joyfully do what is pleasing to God and to grow in progressive conformity to the image of Christ.

The salvation offered in this gospel message is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; no ordinance, ritual, work, or any other activity on the part of man is required in order to be saved.

(Mark 1:1; Luke 24:46-47; John 3:16-18; Romans 1:16-17; Romans 1:18-25; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 2:2; 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; 9:13; Galatians 1:6-9; Ephesians 1: 7-10; Colossians 1: 19-20; 2 Timothy 1:8-14; 2 Peter 3: 11-13 Jude 3-4; Revelation 21:1-22:21)

 

We enthusiastically embrace the sovereignty of God’s grace in saving sinners.

We affirm that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, not on the basis of foreseen faith but unconditionally, according to his sovereign good pleasure and will.

We believe that through the work of the Holy Spirit, God will draw the elect to faith in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, graciously and effectually overcoming their stubborn resistance to the gospel so that they will most assuredly and willingly believe.

We also believe that these, the elect of God whom he gave to the Son, will persevere in belief and godly behavior and be kept secure in their salvation by grace through faith.

We believe that God’s sovereignty in this salvation neither diminishes the responsibility of people to believe in Christ nor marginalizes the necessity and power of prayer and evangelism, but rather reinforces and establishes them as the ordained means by which God accomplishes his ordained ends.

(John 1:12-13; 6:37-44; 10:25-30; Acts 13:48; 16:30-31; Romans 3:1-4:25; 8:1-17,31-39; 9:1-23; 10:8-10; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:8-10; Philippians 2:12-13; Titus 3:3-7; 1 John 1:7,9)

 

We recognize and rest upon the necessity of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit for all of life and ministry.

The Holy Spirit is fully God, equal with the Father and Son, whose primary ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ; he also convicts unbelievers of their need for Christ and imparts spiritual life through regeneration (the new birth).

The Spirit permanently indwells, graciously sanctifies, lovingly leads, and empowers all who are brought to faith in Christ so that they might live in obedience to the inerrant Scriptures.

The model for our reliance upon the Spirit and our experience of his indwelling and empowering presence is the Lord Jesus Christ himself who was filled with the Spirit and entirely dependent upon his power for the performance of miracles, the preaching of the kingdom of God, and all other dimensions of his earthly ministry.

The Holy Spirit who indwelt and empowered Christ in like manner indwells and empowers us through spiritual gifts he has bestowed for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. Although there are different understandings in our network of the nature and function of these gifts, we all recognize that they are divine provisions central to spiritual growth and effective ministry and are to be eagerly desired, faithfully developed, and lovingly exercised according to biblical guidelines.

(Matthew 3:11; 12:28; Luke 4:1, 14; 5:17; 10:21; John 1:12-13; 3:1-15, 34; 14:12; 15:26-27; 16:7-15; Acts 2:14-21; 4:29-30; 10:38; Romans 8:9; 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-13; 12:28-31; 14:1-33; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Galatians 3:1-5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 5:18)

 

We are deeply committed to the fundamental spiritual and moral equality of male and female and to men as responsible servant-leaders in the home and church.

Both men and women are together created in the divine image and are therefore equal before God as persons, possessing the same moral dignity and value, and have equal access to God through faith in Christ. Men and women are together the recipients of spiritual gifts designed to empower them for ministry in the local church and beyond. Therefore, women are to be encouraged, equipped, and empowered to utilise their gifting in ministry, in service to the body of Christ, and through teaching in ways that are consistent with the Word of God.

Both husbands and wives are responsible to God for spiritual nurture and vitality in the home, but God has given to the man primary responsibility to lead his wife and family in accordance with the servant-leadership and sacrificial love characterised by Jesus Christ. This principle of male headship should not be confused with, nor give any hint of, domineering control. Rather, it is to be the loving, tender and nurturing care of a godly man who is himself under the kind and gentle authority of Jesus Christ.

The Elders/Pastors of each local church have been granted authority under the headship of Jesus Christ to provide oversight and to teach/preach the Word of God in corporate assembly for the building up of the body. The office of Elder/Pastor is restricted to men.

(Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18; Acts 18:24-26; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 3:1-7; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7)

 

We embrace a missionary understanding of the local church and its role as the primary means by which God chooses to establish his kingdom on earth.

The church has a clear biblical mandate to look beyond its own community to the neighborhood, the nation, and the world as a whole; thus mission is not an optional program in the church but an essential element in the identity of the church.

We are called to make Christ known through the gospel and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring his lordship to bear on every dimension of life.

The primary way we fulfill this mission is through the planting of churches that plant churches and the training of their leaders. Our aim is that Jesus Christ would be more fully formed in each person through the ministry of those churches God enables us to plant around the world.

We also believe we are responsible neither to retreat from our culture nor to conform to it, but with humility, through the Spirit and the truth of the gospel, to engage it boldly as we seek its transformation and submission to the lordship of Christ.

(Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 10:5-25; 28:18-20; Luke 4:18-19; 24:46-47; Acts 28:31; Romans 10:14-15; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 3:10; 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Hebrews 10:23-25; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10)

 

Values

 

Church-Planting Churches

We will be a family of church-planting churches.

That is why Acts 29 exists. Our focus is not simply on our own congregations, but on the work of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ, making his name famous to the ends of the earth. In the DNA of all Acts 29 churches should be a deep and driving desire to see churches planted across the world, all of which are  defined by theological clarity, cultural engagement and missional innovation.

We are a family of churches that are theologically aligned and philosophically diverse, and we pray that the Spirit would keep us all deeply submitted to the word of God and walking in a glad submission to the Spirit. Acts 29 is not a theological club where churches and church planters gather around theological alignment without the desire or resolve to plant other like-minded churches. At our core, we are a church-planting family. May the Spirit draw those who share this passion so we see myriads of people who are far from him, reconciled to him through Christ.

 

Holiness and Humility

We will be known for holiness and humility.

Our desire is that our family will be comprised of  godly, sacrificial and mature men and women:

  • Men and women who would gladly lay down any and all of their liberties if it would serve the cause of Christ in greater ways
  • Men and women who don’t seek conflict but also aren’t afraid of it
  • Men and women who treasure Christ and his gospel above all

We desire to be faithful servants who love Jesus deeply and are quietly training, coaching and planting churches that will train, coach and plant more churches. We will continue to have our flaws and blind spots, but our deep and abiding hope is that regardless of what is said of us – even by our enemies – it will have to be said that we are men and women who deeply and desperately are invested in the Kingdom of God and are walking in holiness and humility.

 

A Diverse and Global Community

We will be a radically diverse and global community.

It is a joy and privilege to be involved with and learn from brothers and sisters from different cultural, ethnic and economic backgrounds. We also want to press into and learn from those who differ from us in practice, philosophy and culture; especially those from different parts of the world. Our desire is to find the Spirit of God working among us so much so that we see more of his glory in and through a bold ethnic harmony that reveals God’s infinite worth and the power of the gospel in a visual and captivating way.

Ethnic harmony and global diversity are integral to what it means to be explicitly Christian. The Scriptures teach that there are two races—the race of the first Adam and the race of the Last Adam. It is only ‘in Christ’ that we are able to realize this identity. Our different cultures carry individual history, traditions and legacies, but the gospel transcends them and captures them for Christ, making us a new people, the family of God. We continue to value what is good and right in our cultures while gladly submitting to our new family as adopted sons and daughters – co-heirs with Christ Jesus.

 

Praying For Conversions Through Evangelism

We will pray for conversions through evangelism.

“I need to tell you about Jesus, when do you want to do that?” Words as simple as those can affect eternal change, bringing the spiritually dead to life in Christ. Witnessing the salvific work of the Holy Spirit creates in us an insatiable desire to see more and more of the same. This is why we are serious about evangelism and praying for conversions.

This can not simply be realized by preaching sermons that are evangelistic, but rather it is a holistic approach to evangelism. We desire churches filled with those who model personal evangelism by sharing the gospel as boldly in their neighborhoods as they do in their congregations. We desire churches filled with those who long and yearn for salvations and experience godly frustration when they are not happening. We desire churches filled with those who believe in the sufficiency of the Scriptures and in the power of the Spirit to break the hearts of the most hardened of people in their cities. We desire churches filled men and women who see their relationships with neighbors, co-workers and friends as opportunities to love supremely by praying for and sharing the best news in the universe with them. We desire churches filled with men and women who love the saving work of God so much that it would lead them to the ends of the earth, proclaiming and living out the gospel until all that will know, know.

May the Spirit protect and guide us, and may he draw many to Jesus, not only in our churches but also in and in all those churches where Christ is preached, loved and served.