DOCTRINES OF GRACE
Scripture presents the all-glorious, triune God as the source and end of all things (Romans 11:36), sovereignly working all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11). At the center of God’s purposes in the world is the exaltation of His glory through the redemption of sinners (John 17:1–26). To this end, we believe that God sovereignly chooses men and women to be saved in order to display His immeasurable grace and glory (Ephesians 1:3–6; Romans 9:11). God’s sovereign grace in salvation humbles us, fills us with gratitude, and compels us to worship Him and share the message of His grace to all nations (Matthew 28: 19). We believe that to believe in the doctrines of grace and not be gracious to others, whose beliefs differ from us, is a profound contradiction. Therefore, we seek not only to be theologically clear but also to model our belief as chief repenters (1 Timothy 1:15).
GOSPEL-CENTERED DOCTRINE AND PREACHING
We believe that the gospel—the good news of God’s saving activity in Jesus Christ—is the pinnacle of His redemptive acts (Ephesians 1:9–12), the center of the entire Bible’s story (Luke 24:44–47), and the essential message for our faith, life, and witness (1 Corinthians 15:3–11). We are committed to preaching the gospel, singing the gospel, praying the gospel, living out the truths of the Gospel, and building our churches upon the gospel (2 Timothy 4:2; Colossians 3:16; Matthew 16:18). Our ultimate hope in all that we do is not our plans and labors, but the perfect life, substitutionary death, victorious resurrection, and glorious ascension of Jesus Christ. We believe that the gospel is not merely an entry point into Christianity but also the power to grow as Christians forming all aspects of life (Titus 2:11-14). The gospel is neither conservatism nor liberalism. It is neither legalism nor licentiousness. It is neither religion nor irreligion. It is not even a middle of the road lukewarm way. The gospel is a radically different way altogether. The gospel of grace ravishes the heart and frees us to grace-motivated obedience.
With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, God’s purpose to dwell among His people entered a new era (Exodus 34:14–16; Leviticus 26:12; John 14:16–17; Acts 2:14–21). We believe that each believer is commanded to be filled continually with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5: 18) with increased power for Christian life and witness, including the giving of His supernatural gifts for the building up of the church and for various works of ministry in the world (Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:16–18; 1 Corinthians 12:4–7). We are keenly aware of the abuses of the gifts of the Spirit, therefore, we seek the ‘still more excellent way’ to love one another as the basis for unity instead of being divisive by majoring on secondary issues (I Corinthians 13). We are eager to pursue God’s active presence in all its breadth, that Christ may be magnified in our lives, in the church, and among the nations (Psalm 105:4; 1 Corinthians 14:1; Ephesians 2:22).
COMPLEMENTARIAN LEADERSHIP IN THE HOME AND IN THE CHURCH
We believe it was God’s glorious plan to create men and women in His image, giving them equal dignity and value in His sight, while appointing differing and complementary roles for them within the home and the church (Genesis 1:26–28; Ephesians 5:22–33; 1 Timothy 2:8–15). Because these roles give different expressions to God’s image in humanity, they should be valued and pursued in joy and faith. As the redeemed community of God, the church has a unique opportunity and responsibility to celebrate this complementarity, to contend for it against cultural hostility, and to protect it from sinful distortions. It is is our firm conviction that women are essential to the life of the church and the work of gospel ministry. We oppose universal patriarchy, universal hierarchy and any form of male oppression whatsoever. To know the breadth of our practice, refer to an in-depth position article on "Complementarianism and Preaching."
ELDER-GOVERNED AND ELDER-LED CHURCH
Jesus Christ reigns as head over His church, and He gives to His church elders (or pastors) to govern and lead local churches under His authority (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 4:11; Titus 1:5). We believe that men, qualified by both character and gifting, are to serve as elders (grk. presbyteros), shepherding God’s people as under-shepherds of Christ (1 Timothy 2:12; 3:1–7; 1 Peter 5:1–3). We are an elder-led church, which means we are different from a congregational church in that the final decisions are made by the elders. The elders and church ordain deacons, and commission deaconesses, as lead servants. The two qualities required of elders, being able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2) and governing of the church (1 Timothy 3:5), are not part of the responsibility of deacons. Thus, they are appointed to serve various needs inside the church and outside the church, so that the elders are freed to teach (Acts 6: 1-7). A church’s health is to a great degree dependent on the health of its elders, and so our aim is to strengthen the elders in our church while we prayerfully seek to identify and train new ones (Acts 20:28; 2 Timothy 2:2). Training of potential elders falls under the broader category of discipleship within a church. Therefore, we begin by looking at a culture of discipleship in the church. Read elder process.
CHURCH PLANTING, GLOBAL MISSIONS AND RACIAL DIVERSITY
Our gospel-centrality entails not only treasuring the gospel personally but sharing it passionately as an extension of our joy. The risen Christ commissioned His church to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18–20). We believe that commission falls to us and to all believers (disciples), and that it is fulfilled primarily through church planting, whereby the gospel is proclaimed and converts are formed into communities of disciples (Acts 2:21–47; 14:23). We are eager to pursue this mission, relying fully on the Holy Spirit, to see the gospel proclaimed and churches planted in Tokyo, Japan and throughout the world, so that God may be glorified among every tribe, language, people, and nation (Revelation 7:9–12). Because Jesus has broken down the dividing wall of separation between races through His atoning sacrifice on the cross, we embrace racial diversity as we are all one in Christ (Colossians 3:11, Ephesians 2:14, 1 Corinthian 12:13, Galatians 3:28)
UNITED IN FELLOWSHIP AND MISSION
We believe that the unity for which Jesus prayed among His people should find concrete expression among believers and churches. Indeed, the New Testament testifies to the interdependence of churches in the first century (John 17:20–21; Acts 16:4–5; 1 Corinthians 11:16; Galatians 2:7–10). We seek to express a similar interdependence through our common fellowship and mission with other Gospel-centered Churches in Tokyo, Japan and the World. This approach protects our church from becoming tribal-centered and encourages us to become Kingdom-centered—as we pray for a Gospel movement in our city. Pursuing such unity with like-minded churches also protects us doctrinally and ethically, and enables us to do far more together for our neighborhood and city than we could ever do separately. Because of the gospel, we are united in Christ with other Gospel-centered churches on a mission together for Christ and His coming Kingdom.
Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God in his bodily ministry on earth and continues to establish it by His Spirit through his body, the church, today. We are aware that in the ‘already but not yet’ of the Kingdom there are various views on the millennium. Our church subscribes to Historic premillennialism (i.e, post-tribulation millennium). While respectfully engaging with those whose views differ from us we are most eager to see Christians united around the centrality of the Gospel and preach it to all nations until the Savior returns. We believe that the Church serves as a foretaste of the future reality when all will come under Christ as Head. As the Church submits to Christ and serves one another and the world, the world will see and experience a preview of the future under the full rule and reign of Jesus Christ. The consummation of the Kingdom will be fulfilled when Jesus returns (Mark 1:15: Luke 17:20-21; Ephesians 1:10; 22-23; Revelation 20-21).
statement of faith
The Bible was written under the Holy Spirit’s perfect inspiration of each writer, containing all that God desires to reveal to humanity concerning salvation. The Bible is the single and absolute standard for faith and practice.
The living and true God is one, who is eternally existent in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God created all things, visible and invisible, from nothing, which are subject to His absolute sovereignty.
Adam was created in the image of God and in right relation with God, but was tempted by Satan and sinned against God, thereby experiencing both spiritual and physical death. All human beings are therefore born with a sinful nature, being sinners in thought, word and deed.
The Lord Jesus Christ is true God and true man. He was begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, died on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried, and rose on the third day. He ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God where he executes his ministry as High Priest for us.
Because of the substitutionary death of our Lord Jesus Christ, all who believe in Him are forgiven of their sins, justified by faith and redeemed from the penalty and dominion of sin. There is no other way to salvation.
The Holy Spirit is a person whose ministry is to convict and regenerate sinful people, making them children of God, conforming them to the image of Christ; and empowering them for effective world evangelization. The Holy Spirit is sovereign, having perfect liberty to do as He pleases. He gives gifts of graces as He wills for the edification of the church.
The church universal is the body of Christ, and all who are born again by the Holy Spirit become members thereof, with Christ being the head. The church on earth, in a manner befitting its head, should maintain purity of faith and life and preach the gospel to every creature.
While we believe that there are different and valid modes of baptism, our church practices baptism by immersion as it portrays a beautiful picture of the gospel (Roms. 6: 1-11). Baptism is a visible symbol of God’s saving work within a person. It is the outward sign of belonging to the people of God—those who have repented and put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is coming again personally, bodily and visibly. He will raise bodily the just and the unjust–one to everlasting blessedness and the other to everlasting punishment, after which He will renew all things and deliver the kingdom to God the Father.
In addition to our statement of faith, we also subscribe to:
Addendum: A Statement On The Prosperity Gospel. In agreement with Laussane Movement, “It is our overall view that the teachings of those who most vigorously promote the ‘prosperity gospel’ are false and gravely distorting of the Bible” ( Laussane Movement).