Our Convictions, Persuasions, and Opinions
Our aim is to glorify Jesus in everything we do. We are convinced that what we believe about Christ greatly impacts this life as well as our lives in Eternity. We are also aware that the 66 books of the Bible contain many different topics and subjects that guide and direct our faith and lives. Some matters carry great weight and are crucial to our Eternal Salvation (our convictions). While other matters are very important in the way we live out our lives and honor God (our persuasions and opinions), but they are secondary things that are not worth dividing the Body of Christ over. Our goal is always to pursue unity with other believers in Jesus whenever and wherever possible. We recognize that there are some strong differences within the body of Christ. We also understand that there are many topics that do not impact our Eternal Salvation through Jesus. We may be convinced and persuaded in certain areas, but we can also continue to love and fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ that hold to a different interpretation or viewpoint.
We place what we believe into three categories of importance; from the most important to the least important. Our most important beliefs are our convictions from the Word. These are the areas that if we don’t hold the same views as someone else, we don’t believe we hold the same faith and Salvation in Jesus Christ with them either. Convictions are the “hills that we are willing to die on.”
The next category is our persuasions. These are the areas of the Word that we are convinced are truth, but that we wouldn’t want to cause division with other ministries that are convinced of other viewpoints on these areas. These topics shape how we live, how we lead our ministry, what we believe about God, and other areas that impact our faith in Him. That being said, we would not consider these topics “hills that we are willing to die on”. We also know that there are Godly men and women who love Jesus that hold different views. These are not salvation issues. Our intention is to serve Jesus Christ in our community, side by side, making it our goal to share the love of Christ with those that don’t know Him. We trust that if we erred in some way, the Lord could change our hearts and minds; and we feel that He is capable of doing that gently with anyone who calls Him Lord and Savior and is filled with His Holy Spirit.
Our least important category is our opinions. These would be our thoughts and beliefs on areas that make us unique from other churches. In no way would we hold that we have arrived at the truth in these areas, and that others are missing the mark. This category would contain things that are much more preferences that the Lord has led us to for our unique calling and church context. These are topics that we want to live open handedly with when interacting with other believers in Christ.
What follows are brief statements that we hope will give you a picture of who we are, what we believe, and what our personality in ministry is like at The Vine Calvary Chapel. This is not meant to be an all-encompassing list of every belief and viewpoint. Instead, these statements are designed as a quick synopsis to simply explain our heart as a Church. If you would like an in-depth look at our Core Beliefs with the Scriptures that support them, please click here.
• We believe Jesus is God.
• We believe that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to Eternal Salvation.
• We believe in one God in 3 distinct Persons. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
• We believe all 66 books of the Bible are inspired by God and infallible.
• We believe Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died on the Cross to pay the price for our sins, and was resurrected to defeat sin and death once and for all.
• We believe that God is the Creator of sexuality.
○ You’ll notice that this area is the longest statement of any category. We’d like to explain this conviction with clarity, not because it is most important to our Faith. It isn’t. The most important focuses of our Faith are loving Jesus and loving others. This answer is the longest because this particular area of God’s Word has kept more people away from experiencing the sweet, tender love of a relationship with Jesus than any other.
○ In God’s Word He tells us that He created us as male and female, and that sexual intimacy outside of a marriage between one man and one woman is not part of His will for our lives. We believe the best and most fulfilling way any human being could ever live their life is by willingly surrendering their life to Jesus. Anything we give up for Him, we are told that Jesus will give us much more fulfillment in this life, and also in the life to come.
○ Whether it be any sexual intimacy outside of the relationship of marriage such as pornography, adultery, fornication, polygamy, homosexuality, etc., Jesus even goes so far as to raise the bar of sexual brokenness to a lustful thought in our hearts! Whatever category you might fit into, all of us have fallen short of God’s plan for our life sexually. We all need to walk in humility before God and towards each other, being willing to be more disgusted with our own sin than we are with the sin we may see in others. The best life we could ever live is one walking in the will of God for us.
These are the areas that we are compelled by Scripture to believe, but we understand that other men and women that love Jesus as much as we do may hold other interpretations or understandings. These are not issues that impact our Eternal Salvation. While these beliefs will shape the way we lead and teach at The Vine Calvary Chapel, we hold nothing but love towards our brothers and sisters in Christ that may believe differently.
• We are persuaded that water baptism is an outward sign for those who have already made the decision to trust Christ by faith in their hearts. For that reason, we only baptize people who are old enough to make that decision for themselves. On a side note, we consider it an honor to dedicate a child to the Lord, but we would want to wait to baptize that child until they are old enough to make a decision for themselves to give their life to Christ. At that time, we welcome them to take the step of obedience of water baptism.
• We are persuaded by Scripture that God is sovereign, and that mankind has the responsibility to choose to love God. At the Vine we would not fall into the camp of Armenianism or Calvinism, but instead we believe that God is sovereign, and at the same time, that God will receive any person that chooses to humble their heart, repent of their sins, and trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. If you want to be part of the elect and God’s family, please humble your heart and put your faith in Jesus. Yes… this is a paradox, but we’re okay with resting in that tension!
• We are persuaded by Scripture that God has given different and unique roles to men and women in multiple areas including a marriage, as mothers and fathers, and as leaders of His church. Our view that God has chosen men to lead and teach over the body of Christ in no way speaks to the ability of women to lead and teach the Word of God. Many women are much more gifted in communicating the Word of God than Pastor Adam (Hi! This is Adam writing this, I’m impressed you made it this far and that you’re still reading!). What we believe is that God has given all of us unique roles and gifts to be a part of His body. The mark of a “successful” believer isn’t how many people they impact or lead, and it’s also not how well you’re known or what role you hold in the Kingdom of God. The mark of “success” for a follower of Christ is how faithful you have been to exactly what God has called you to, whatever that role may be.
• We are persuaded by Scripture that the gifts of the Spirit laid out in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 are intended to be used today as the Lord leads. We would not consider ourselves to be a charismatic church, nor would we consider ourselves to be Cessationists (That some of the gifts of the Spirit have ceased being used today.) We make it our aim to worship Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the Truth of His Word.
• We are persuaded by Scripture that a literal rapture of Jesus’ church will happen before a 7-year tribulation period, followed by a millennial reign of Christ. While we are open handed to any other believer with a different End Times view, this shapes the way we teach through the Word of God.
• We are persuaded that God created each of us uniquely and gave every human being a body, soul, and spirit. We believe that God is our Creator and that Macro Evolution is not found to be true scientifically or in the Word of God. We also believe that the timeline from the Creation of the World till now is much younger and aligns with the genealogies found throughout the Bible dating back to Adam and Eve.
• We are persuaded that the nation of Israel has a special place in God's plan in His Word, and that even their existence back in the land today is a miraculous prophecy fulfilled by God. We also believe that any person,Jewish or otherwise, that hasn't put their trust in Jesus does not have atonement for their sins, and there is no special treatment of any people when it comes to Eternal Salvation through Christ alone. We wouldn't offer blind blanket support for all of Israel's Government's decisions, and we stand with innocent Palestinian people as well. As a general rule, our hearts are with the nation of Israel having a right to exist, and we believe there will be a great Spiritual revival among the Jewish people again before the Lord returns.
Our opinions are made up of our preferences in the way we lead at The Vine Calvary Chapel. Again, we would not divide with other believers in Christ over differences in our persuasions, and we certainly don’t believe that we should divide over any of our opinions either. We share these with you here so that you can get an honest expectation of what your experience would be like plugging into our Church Family.
• It’s our opinion that teaching verse by verse, chapter by chapter through every one of the 66 books of the Bible is the best way to build up followers of Christ. As Pastor Chuck Smith taught, we make it our aim to “Simply teach the Word of God simply.”
• It’s our opinion that we don’t have membership at The Vine. If you want to be a member, just start coming out! If you want to cancel your membership, feel free to follow the Lord wherever else He is leading you. If you’d like to reinstate your membership, come on back and you’re in! All are welcomed to come as they are at The Vine Calvary Chapel. But be prepared to have Jesus tug on your heart to become more like Him! Followers of Jesus are His sheep, not The Vine’s sheep.
○ If you would like to serve in a volunteer Spiritual Leadership role, it’s important that each leader has high integrity and character as they lead others closer to Jesus. We don’t expect perfection because God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. But we want to make sure that you are pursuing Jesus in every area of your life. If you would like to learn more about what we ask of each leader at the Vine, please see our Leadership Expectations here.
• It’s our opinion that we put a box in the back for any offering you feel led to give. Where God guides, He provides. We teach the Word on giving when it comes up in Scripture, but we will never guilt, shame, pressure, or manipulate you into giving, or into anything else for that matter. Jesus doesn’t do that, and neither should we. If God is calling you to give to The Vine, listen to Him! If God is calling you to give somewhere else instead of The Vine, listen to Him! If you don’t feel God calling you to give anywhere to support the work of building Jesus’ Kingdom, it’s time to start listening to Him!
• It’s our opinion that we prefer contemporary Worship music over traditional Worship music. We may include a hymn here or there, and we certainly believe that any style of worship of Jesus is worthy and honors Him! We know the Lord cares about our hearts in worship much more than the style of Worship music we choose to sing.
• It’s our opinion that we teach verse by verse out of the New King James Version translation of the Word of God. However, the best version of the Bible is whichever version you are willing to read faithfully. Whether that is the NIV, NASB, ESV, KJV, NLT, the NKJV, or something else, the most important thing for a follower of Christ is to regularly abide in Jesus and spend time with Him often in His Word and Prayer.
○ There are a few translations that we would caution you against. If you have a particular question about our opinion on a translation, please feel free to ask!
These convictions, persuasions, and opinions are in no way meant to be an exhaustive list of every topic or position found in the Word of God. Instead, the goal here is to give you a sense of our heart and what you could expect by plugging in at The Vine Calvary Chapel. If you have any questions on what’s included here, or any questions on a topic that isn’t, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to talk more!
The best part about our Church will not be found in a statement of Faith or in a doctrinal statement. The best part of The Vine Calvary Chapel is our people. We hope we get a chance to meet you soon!
Peace in Him,
Pastor Adam Kern