G4P is an Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian mission that holds strongly to the Bible as its rule of faith and life. We have a passion for God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and a passion for people. This means that in all that we do we seek to bring glory to God and to be aware of where he is leading us through his Word and Holy Spirit. It also means that we are dedicated to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are lost. In doing so, we remain firmly committed to the Reformed faith as the most consistent presentation and outworking of Biblical Christianity.
We are Presbyterian in government, reformed in theology and evangelical in spirit.
How does G4P view the Bible?
We believe that the Bible is God’s word. It has been fully inspired by God the Holy Spirit and contains all that people need to know for salvation and to rightly understand the world – God’s world – in which they live. By its very nature the Bible is infallible, and forms a perfect rule for both faith and life. We believe that as God’s people we need to be immersed or “marinated” in the Bible to understand how to live for God in this world.
What does G4P believe?
The best summary of what we believe the Scriptures teach is found in the Westminster Confession of Faith, one of the several great summaries of doctrine that emerged out of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries. Key elements in this Confession are the sovereignty of God in creation, providence and redemption, the centrality of the life, death and resurrection of the God-Man Jesus Christ in God’s purposes, and the necessity of the Holy Spirit in the application of all aspects of salvation. It also highlights the nature and purpose of the Church, and the need to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ in every area of life.
How would you describe G4P?
GPCNZ is Presbyterian in government, Reformed in theology, and Evangelical in spirit.
What does it mean to be “Presbyterian”?
The term Presbyterian refers essentially to the way in which a church is governed. A Presbyterian Church is governed by elders according to the pattern seen in both the Old and New Testaments. This is in distinction to being ruled by bishops in a hierarchical model, or by members in a congregational model. In a Presbyterian church, biblically qualified elders are recognized through congregational election and rule the church corporately. This government is exercised locally, regionally and nationally through a graded series of courts usually known as Session, Presbytery and General Assembly. It provides a way for the whole Church to be connected in mutual accountability and responsibility, and demonstrates organizationally our common bond as the body of Christ under His Headship.
What does it mean to be “Reformed?”
To be “Reformed” means several things. Historically, it means that we trace our roots to the
Reformation, when John Calvin and others led a movement to reform the Church according to the Scriptures. Theologically, it means that we believe in the absolute sovereignty of God and in God’s glory as the highest good. This historical and theological heritage is often expressed in the “alones” of the Reformation, namely:
- Grace alone as the only way to be reconciled to God.
- Faith alone as the only means of receiving God’s grace.
- Christ alone as the only ground of God’s saving grace.
- Scripture alone as the only infallible authority for belief.
- God’s glory alone as the ultimate purpose for the lives of men and women.
7. What does it mean to be “Evangelical’?
To be “Evangelical” means to believe in the importance of sharing the good news of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ. It is to proclaim that through Jesus Christ the kingdom of God has been inaugurated, freeing people from the guilt and power of sin and death through personal faith and repentance.
The doctrinal position of G4P is that of the Bible as summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms (as adopted by the First General Asembly of the PCA in 1973). This means that among other doctrines:
1. We believe in the verbal, plenary, divine inspiration of the Scriptures in the original languages, their consequent inerrancy and infallibility, and, as the Word of God, the supreme and final authority in faith and life.
2. We believe in one God existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-equal and co-eternal.
3. We believe that man was created in the image of God; that the entire human race sinned in Adam as their covenant representative; and that all human beings thereafter are consequently born in a state of sin and with a sinful, totally depraved nature.
4. We believe in the absolute deity and the real but sinless humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that as man He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
5. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for the sins of those whom He elected to salvation from all eternity—a substitutionary, expiatory death; and that all who are thus enabled to come to Him are freely forgiven and justified on the ground of His shed blood and imputed righteousness.
6. We believe in the resurrection of Christ from the dead in the same body in which He was crucified; His ascension into the Heavens; His present work of intercession for those whom the Father gave Him; and in His personal return to earth with all His saints in power and great glory.
7. We believe that individual salvation is not of works, but by grace alone; that it is the effect of the sovereign, irresistible work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration; and that it is received by faith alone, a faith which itself is the gift of God.
8. We believe that all whom God has called to salvation are justified in time, and will assuredly persevere to final glorification in heaven where they will enjoy the Lord forever; on the other hand, those who die outside of Christ will be in conscious torment throughout all eternity.
9. We believe that the church, the mystical body of Christ, includes believers of all ages whom He has redeemed by his blood; and that those who live in this present age of the covenant of grace should assemble themselves together in local churches with others of like precious faith.
10. We believe that Christ through His Spirit instituted the sacraments of circumcision and the passover for His church in the Old Testament era; and that He personally instituted the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper for His church in this present era of His covenant of grace, the latter to be observed until He comes.
11. We believe in the real spiritual unity in Christ of all the redeemed and in the necessity of maintaining, according to the Word of God, the purity of the visible church in doctrine and life.
12. We believe that it is the primary task of the church, especially in this age, to fulfill Christ’s great commission by taking the gospel “to every creature” and making disciples of all nations, training them to be obedient to the “whole counsel of God.”
The Five Points of Calvinism
There are two mains camps of theology within Christianity in America today: Arminianism and Calvinism. Calvinism is a system of biblical interpretation taught by John Calvin. Calvin lived in France in the 1500’s at the time of Martin Luther who sparked the Reformation.
The system of Calvinism adheres to a very high view of scripture and seeks to derive its theological formulations based solely on God’s word. It focuses on God’s sovereignty, stating that God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, to do whatever He desires with His creation. It also maintains that within the Bible are the following teachings: That God, by His sovereign grace predestines people into salvation; that Jesus died only for those predestined; that God regenerates the individual where he is then able and wants to choose God; and that it is impossible for those who are redeemed to lose their salvation.
Arminianism, on the other hand, maintains that God predestined, but not in an absolute sense. Rather, He looked into the future to see who would pick him and then He chose them. Jesus died for all peoples’ sins who have ever lived and ever will live, not just the Christians. Each person is the one who decides if he wants to be saved or not. And finally, it is possible to lose your salvation (some arminians believe you cannot lose your salvation).
Basically, Calvinism is known by an acronym: T.U.L.I.P.
Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)
These five categories do not comprise Calvinism in totality. They simply represent some of its main points.
Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.
The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The Calvinist asks the question, “In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?” The answer is, “He cannot. Therefore God must predestine.”
Calvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).
God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21).
Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many’; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).
When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that “it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy”; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s.
“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out,” (John 6:37).
Perseverance of the Saints:
You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.