Our Doctrine

We believe the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments to be the full record of God’s self disclosure to mankind. Different men, while writing according to their own styles and personalities, were supernaturally moved along by the Holy Spirit to record God’s very words, inerrant in the original writings. Therefore, those applying themselves to study its literal, historical-grammatical context can accurately understand God’s Word. Scripture is fully trustworthy as our final and sufficient authority for all of life (2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:20–21).

We believe in the one living and true God, eternally (John 17:3) existing in perfect unity as three equally and fully divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19–20). Each member of the Godhead, while executing distinct but complementary roles in redemptive history, has precisely the same nature, attributes, and being, and is equally worthy of the same glory and honor and obedience (John 1:1–4; Acts 5:3–4).

We believe God the Father created all things for His glory according to His own will (Revelation 4:11), through His Son, Jesus Christ. He upholds all things by the Word of His power and grace, exercising sovereign headship over all creation, providence, and redemption (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).

We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, moved by love in accordance with the will of the Father, took on human flesh (John 1:1, 14, 18). Conceived through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the virgin Mary. He, being fully God and fully man (John 14:8–9), lived a sinless life and sacrificially shed His blood and died on the cross in our place accomplishing redemption for all who place their faith in Him. He arose visibly and bodily from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven, where, at the Father’s right hand, He is now Head of His Body the Church, the only Savior and Mediator between God and man, and will return to earth in power and glory to consummate His redemptive mission (1 Timothy 3:16).

We believe the Holy Spirit, in all He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ during this age. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He draws the unredeemed to repentance and faith, and at salvation imparts new spiritual life to the believer, bringing that person into union with Christ and the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit sanctifies, seals, fills, guides, instructs, comforts, equips, empowers, permanently indwells at salvation, and bestows spiritual gifts to the believer for Christ-like living and service (John 16:8; 13:15; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 1:22; 4:11–12; Romans 8:9–17; 12:4–8; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:4-5, 11–13, 19; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 2:1–4; 2 Corinthians 12:12).

We believe that God created mankind—male and female—in His own image and likeness, free of sin, to glorify Himself and enjoy His fellowship. Tempted by Satan, but in the sovereign plan of God, man freely chose to disobey God, bringing sin, death and condemnation to all mankind. All human beings, therefore, are totally depraved by nature and by choice. Alienated from God without defense or excuse, and subject to God’s righteous wrath, all of mankind is in desperate need of the Savior (Genesis 3:1–6; Romans 3:10–19; Romans 1:18, 32).

We believe the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as the substitutionary atonement in our place, and that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. Before Creation, God chose those who would be saved and granted this unearned grace solely based on His sovereign good pleasure. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was the sole and complete payment for sins, fully satisfying God’s righteous wrath, for each person that turns from sin in repentance and places their faith in Christ alone by grace alone. Upon salvation each person is made a new creation by the Holy Spirit, declared righteous before God, and secured as an adopted child of God forever. Genuine faith continues in obedience and love for Jesus Christ with a life eager to glorify God and persevere to the end (Romans 8:37–39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

We believe that upon placing one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, that believer is made part of the Body of Christ, the one universal Church, of which Jesus Christ is the Head. Scripture commands believers to gather locally in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, fellowship, the ordinances of baptism and communion, service to the local body through the development and use of talents and spiritual gifts, and outreach to the world to make disciples (Ephesians 1:22–23; Acts 2:42–46; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18–20). Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the Church under the watchful care of a plurality of elders. A church’s members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Ephesians 4:16).

We believe it is the aim, duty, and privilege of every believer and local church fellowship to glorify God by responding as active participants in the Great Commission call of Jesus Christ to go and make disciples of all nations. We believe the primary focus and priority of this call is centered on efforts that establish, strengthen, and reproduce biblically-based churches, which will then plant churches that plant churches for future generations and God’s Glory (Matthew 28:18–20).

We believe in and expectantly await the glorious, visible, personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The blessed hope of His return has vital bearing on the personal life, service, and mission of the believer (1 Thessalonians 4:1–18). We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost. The lost will be raised to judgment and experience eternal wrath in hell. The saved will be raised to eternal joy in the new heaven and new earth in the manifested presence of God (Acts 1:3, 9; Hebrews 7:25–26).

Our Distinctives

Jesus commanded his disciples and the church to “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Jesus’ great commission is to make disciples. This requires a clear picture of what a disciple is and a clear pathway to help disciples move to maturity. We embrace an intentionality in developing worshiping and sending disciples believing that this will lead to mature and reproducing disciples. Jesus’ commission includes a far reach “to all nations” (Matthew 28:19). We have a passion to go wider and a commitment to go deeper in the making of disciples through planting, strengthening and multiplying churches around the world.

We believe in the importance of serving the body of Christ by offering clear paths for people to start and develop healthy and growing relationships with others in the church body. We value an intentional plan to help every interested person enjoy godly relationships in the church. Church membership is a by-product of people who are growing in Christ and who grasp the importance of serving the Lord by using their gifts to serve others in the local church.

The church exists to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and in the spirit of the Great Commandment. (Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 22:37-38)

The commission is fulfilled as disciples of Jesus Christ are made through local churches. Therefore, to fulfill the Great Commission is to plant churches.

Vertical Church is committed to planting churches domestically and globally for the glory of God and the spread of the gospel to the nations.

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, edify, implore, reprove, rebuke and console others toward godliness. God needs no new or unique insight into the human condition in order to change lives, regardless of whether that insight is gained through psychology or some other tool of human origin. Problems that are approached by integrating the Scriptures with psychological 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 behavior and seek to explain the causes of human behavior, 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 fulfill 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 counselors.

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 for 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)

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:

  1. 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)
  2. Resisting his temptations (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
  3. Rightly applying the truth of the Scriptures (Matthew 4:1-11; John 8:44; Ephesians 4:24-27)
  4. Forgiving offenses (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)
  5. Putting on the armor of God’s truth, righteousness, readiness to share the Gospel, faith, salvation, and prayer (Ephesians 6:11-20)
  6. Demonstrating faithfulness to the Lord by enduring trials (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 2:13; Revelation 3:9-10)

We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of that 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 modern English should be preferred.

The chief purpose of mankind 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 thus 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 homage 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)

Several convictions guide our worship. We seek to:

  1. Lift high the name of Jesus Christ (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)