(1) We are independent, meaning that we are not a part of a denomination or organization of churches. We do fellowship with like-minded churches, however.
(2) We are conservative and tradition in that we worship a Holy God who deserves both our reverence and our obedience. The practical application of this is seen in our services which emphasize the preaching and teaching of a literal interpretation of Scripture, with music that is designed for ministry rather than for entertainment.
(3) We are fundamental, meaning that we hold to the historic Baptist doctrines such as inerrancy of Holy Scripture, salvation by grace alone, eternal security, and the imminent return of Christ. We believe that the Bible is an infallible guide in all things that pertain unto life and godliness. These historic doctrines are as follows:
(a) Doctrine of the Scriptures - We believe in the verbal (every word) and plenary (complete) inspiration of the Scriptures in the original manuscripts; that the Old and new Testaments are equally inspired and without error or contradiction; that they are accurate and reliable in science, history, and every other matter they discuss; that we have the complete and only revelation by God to man in the sixty-six books of the Bible as it now stands; and that anyone who adds to or takes away from this completed revelation is cursed of God. (II Samuel 23:2; Psalms 19:7-11, 119:89, 105, Matthew 5:18; John 10:35, 17:17; II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21)
(b) Doctrine of God - We believe in the true and living God, eternally existing as one in His essence, yet three in His persons. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalms 90:2; Matthew 28:19; I Corinthians 8:6).
i. God the Father - We believe that God the Father is Father in His relationship within the Trinity and in His relationship with those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior; that He orders all things after the counsel of His own will and in so doing, concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men; that He hears and answers prayer; that He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent; and that He is the object of our worship and praise. (Psalms 65:2, 139:1-24, 147:5; Matthew 5:45, 6:24-34; John 14:6; I Timothy 2:5).
ii. God the Son - The Lord Jesus is coequal and coeternal with the Father; we believe that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary; that He is God manifest in the flesh, very God and very man; that He was sent by the Father for the purpose of being the perfect sinless sacrifice for the sins of mankind; that He died in our stead, was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures gaining victory over death for us; that He is the object of our faith; that He is the only way to the Father; that He is imminently coming for the saints; that He will reign as King of Kings on earth for one thousand years; and that He will judge evil works of darkness at the end of time. (Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 1:26-38; John 1:1,4; John 3:13-17, 14:6; Acts 16:31; I Corinthians 15:1-4, 55-57; Colossians 1:16-17; I Timothy 2:5; I Thessalonians 4:13, 5:11; Hebrews 4:14-16; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15).
iii. God the Holy Spirit - We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person equal with the Father and Son and of the same nature; that He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment; that He bears witness to the truth; that He is the agent of the new birth; that He baptizes all true believers into the body of Christ indwelling and sanctifying all of them, sealing and thus securing them unto the day of redemption; that He endues, guides, teaches and helps believers; and that it is the privilege and duty of the saved to be filled with the Spirit, the evidences being love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, (not speaking in tongues); and that in relation to the evil world He restrains the evil One until God’s purpose is fulfilled. (Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 2:18; John 3:5-7, 14:16, 17, 26; Galatians 5:22-23; I Peter 1:23; John 16:7-15).
(c) Doctrine of Creation - We believe the Genesis account of creation as being neither allegory nor myth, but a literal historical account of the direct immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that man (spirit, soul, and body) was created by a direct work of God. (Genesis 1-2:25; John 1:3,10; Colossians 1:16).
(d) Doctrine of Man - We believe that man was created by God in His image, sinless and innocent, but that by disobedience to his creator he incurred both physical and spiritual death; that all men through choice and an inherited evil nature are totally depraved, and if not saved after the age of accountability will endure eternal punishment in the lake of fire. (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7-3:24; II Samuel 12:23; Psalm 51:5; Matthew 18:10-14; Romans 5:12, 6:23, 8:5-8; I Corinthians 15:45; Galatians 5:17; Revelation 20:14-15).
(e) Doctrine of Sin - We believe that sin is the transgression of the Law of God; we believe in the universality of sin; that it separates man from God; that there is no remission of sin apart from the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and man’s repentance. (Luke 24:46-47; Romans 3:10-26, 6:23, 7:23-24; I John 3:40).
(f) Doctrine of Salvation - We believe that the salvation of sinners is only of grace, a free gift of God in the person of Jesus Christ; that salvation is received individually by a repentance from sin and a personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; that through His mediatorial offices, the Son of God, by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature, yet without sin; and that He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by the shedding of His blood in death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins. He is in every way an all-sufficient Savior. (John 1:12; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 9:24-25, 10:19, 12:24; I Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 1:5)
i. Regeneration - We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new process; that in the new birth, the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that its proper evidence appears in holy fruits of repentance and newness of life. (John 3:33; II Peter 1:4; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:23; II Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 2:13; John 3:8)
ii. Justification - We believe that justification is the judicial act of God whereby He declares us to be righteous by faith in Christ Jesus; that justification includes the pardon of sin and the imputation of God’s righteousness; that it is bestowed, not by any work which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood sacrifice. (Acts 13:3,9; II Corinthians 5:18-25; Romans 5:1, 8-9; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 8:11)
iii. Sanctification - We believe that sanctification is an act and a process whereby God sets apart all believers unto holiness. He then conforms them to the image of Christ, completing the process of sanctification at the return of Christ for His saints. (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:3-4; I John 3:2)
iv. Security - We believe in the eternal security of the elect. Those whom God saved are kept by His power. At the same time, we must be diligent to make our calling and election sure. Scriptures gives no assurance to those who profess salvation yet whose lives are characterized by continued sin. (John 6:37,39; John 10:27-39; Romans 8:38-39; II Peter 1:10; I John 3:7-10)
v. Glorification - We believe that when Christ comes for the Church, all believers will be changed in the “twinkling of an eye” and will become like Christ at His appearing; that our mortal bodies will become immortal; that our corruptible bodies will become incorruptible. (I Corinthians 15:51-54; I John 3:2)
(g) Doctrine of the Church - We believe that the church exists in two aspects:
i. An Organism - We believe that the church as an organism is the body of the bride of Christ, His fullness, composed of all the redeemed. We believe that Christ gave Himself for the church; that He is its only true head. (I Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:20-23, 3:3-11; Colossians 1:18)
ii. An Organization - We believe that the establishment and continuation of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament. We believe that the church as an organization is an assembly of baptized believers, voluntarily associated by covenant in the faith for fellowship, worship, and service; that its mission is the spread of the Gospel to all men and to earnestly contend for the faith. We believe that its officers are pastors and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures. We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government, free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that its only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel; and that each local church is the sole judge of the measure and methods of its cooperation. On all matters of membership, policy, government, discipline and benevolence, the will of the local church is final. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 14:27; I Corinthians 3:9-17. 16:19; II Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11; Revelation 2:3)
(h) Church Ordinances - We believe that there are two Christian ordinances and that they are symbolical, not sacramental: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
i. Baptism - We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; that it sets forth in picture the essential facts in redemption—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe that it gives testimony to what has taken place in the heart of the believer—dead to sin and resurrected to walk in newness of life. Baptism after salvation is an act of obedience and is a prerequisite for church membership. It should be made clear that there is no saving power in baptism. (Matthew 29:18-20; Romans 6:4)
ii. Lord’s Supper - We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of the Lord’s death to be observed until He comes; that the elements, the bread and the fruit of the vine, are only symbols of His broken body and shed blood; and that our observance of it is a pictorial testimony of the believer’s fellowship with the crucified Savior and should be preceded by solemn heart-searching and self judgment. (Matthew 26:26-30; I Corinthians 10:16-21, 11:17-34).
(i) Satan - We believe in the personality of Satan, that old serpent, the devil; that he is the author of sin and the cause of man’s temptation and consequent fall. We believe that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; that his final doom along with his hosts shall be eternal punishment in the lake of fire. (Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:1-11, 25:41; Revelation 12:9-10, 20:1-2, 7-10)
(j) Doctrine of Spirit Beings - We believe that angels and demons are spirit beings. Angels were created as heavenly hosts, but some through rebellion are now the hosts of Satan and will share in his ultimate doom. The angels of heaven, ministering spirits, are sinless and pure and are forever seeking to praise God in their ministries for Him and His people. Their ministries, ranks, and orders differ, and their strength, appearance, travel, etc., are not bound by natural human laws. They are immortal and do not marry. Their abode is in heaven. (Matthew 18:10, 22:30; Mark 5:2, 8:38; Colossians 1:16; I Thessalonians 4:16; II Peter 2:4; Jude 6, 9)
(k) Doctrine of Last Things
i. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead—of believers , unto an eternal life of blessedness; of unbelievers, unto eternal punishment. (Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:5-6, 11-15; II Thessalonians 1:9)
ii. We believe that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent. After the first phase of His coming, in which the Church is taken up to heaven, the great tribulation on earth will be followed by the coming of Christ and the establishment of His millennial reign. Then, the kingdom will be delivered over to the Father for all eternity. (Matthew 25:1-13; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 24:21; Revelation 19:11-20:6; I Corinthians 15:24-28; II Thessalonians 2:7-12)
Music has been the subject of debate throughout history, especially as it relates to worship. This issue has been aggravated by continued exposure to subtle and not so subtle forms of music that have made inroads into church music. Add to this mixture a multitude of backgrounds and experiences, and the result is a broad range of acquired musical tastes. Everyone considers himself an authority on the subject, proclaiming that his styles are the most appropriate to his spiritual needs.
It is our desire to demonstrate and practice Biblical truths and principles that we believe Scripture reveals as Godly forms and functions of music within our ministry. We believe the purpose of music in the church is not to entertain or to attract prospective members and converts, even though current trends within church music have been to accept music on these terms. In order to accomplish these current trends, we are convinced that ministries have chosen to use styles of music that are fleshly in nature. That is not to question the sincerity of anyone. We believe music should: (1) Glorify God; (2) Edify the saints; and (3) Testify of the Holiness, Love and Might of God (Ps. 96:1-2; Col. 3:16). Because music is a MORAL vehicle, we believe that certain styles of music cannot deliver a moral message that would glorify a holy God. This is primarily why we avoid most of what is produced in Contemporary Christian Music. The general movement of CCM attempts to carry a moral message that should appeal to the spirit, through an immoral vehicle of music that appeals to the flesh. The one corrupts the other and thus hinders the spiritual growth of the believer. There are those who state that such music must be used if we are to reach the lost, but there is no Biblical support for evangelism through music (music was for the saints; evangelism is only a by-product). It seems quite inappropriate to use ungodly vehicles to reach ungodly people. If we want to change a person’s condition, we must not use those elements that contribute to his current condition (Eph. 5:10-11).
We preach and we teach from the King James Bible; however, we do not take a “King James Only” stance that some of our brethren take. This is not, however to draw battle lines. We prefer to maintain attitudes that reflect the principles of II Timothy 2:24, Romans 14:1-6, Ephesians 4:3, and James 3:16. We do not dictate to our congregation what translations they personally use, although we would and do caution against embracing any and all translations. Most are without merit and should be avoided. We do believe in the inspiration of God that has resulted in a text that is inerrant and infallible found in the original autographs. We believe God has preserved His word for every generation of human history, through copies and translations of those original writings. Even though inspiration applies to the original autographs, those words have been accurately retained over time.
There is much debate over which sets of manuscripts are most accurate, a debate that no doubt will continue for generations to come. However, for us the King James is the safest translation to use and the most universally accepted.]]>
Pastor Mike Jones began his ministry nineteen years ago as an Assistant Pastor in Youth and Music in Georgia. In 2001 he joined the staff here at Grace Baptist in the same capacity, and was called to fill the Senior Pastor position in early 2009. Pastor Jones desires Grace Baptist to impact Panama City for Christ, while challenging the saints to a vibrant faith and obedience to God. He believes the church must have a unified purpose that balances the church’s responsibilities of evangelism, discipleship, instruction, worship, fellowship, and prayer. This is accomplished through a strong pulpit ministry by a man desperate to know the mind of God and through team leadership which teaches, trains, and utilizes believers and their gifts.
He and his wife, Susie, are graduates of Bob Jones University. Susie completed a degree in Piano Pedagogy and has used her keyboard ministry throughout their years of service. Mike and Susie have been blessed with three sons, Tyler, Trevor, and Troy, all of which are currently home schooled.
Pastor Darrell Bevis accepted the call to Grace Baptist Church in the Fall of 2009. Prior to that, he served as Minister of Music in both large and small ministries, taught music in two Christian schools, and served as a Christian camp music director. In twenty-seven years teaching music at two Bible colleges he directed choirs, various traveling ensembles, brass choir, handbell choir, and chamber orchestra. He has spoken on “Music and Worship” in several seminaries and churches, and frequently served as an adjudicator for music competitions. He enjoys leading choral workshops and festivals, and was the clinician for the 2007 Keystone Christian Educators Association All-State Choir. He has ministered as bass-baritone soloist in several performances of Handel’s Messiah.
He has a passionate desire to see the church worship biblically, using conservative yet fresh and vibrant music. His theology of music and ministry grows out of his hunger to know God, and to both rightly understand and effectively communicate the truths of God’s Word.
Pastor Bevis holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Sacred Music from Bob Jones University, and has done further ministry preparation at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and Faith Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association. He and his wife, Deb, have a married daughter, Gwen, and a son, Matt.]]>