Our Theological Distinctives mark our convictions on areas that are debated even among Bible-believing, gospel-centered churches. Though agreement with these distinctives isn’t a requirement for membership, we will preach, teach and counsel on the basis of them.
Reformed in our Theology
Divine Sovereignty - God is sovereign over all things such that there is no aspect of reality outside of His ultimate control. Though God’s rule extends to all things, it is particularly His sovereignty over the work of salvation that is a theological distinctive. We believe that it is exceedingly good and glorious news that salvation is not dependent on the desires and deeds of man, but is grounded instead in God’s eternal decree of election. Though man is responsible for his sin, God is ultimately and entirely responsible for drawing those He would save unto Himself and overcoming their natural resistance to the gospel (Psalm 115:3, 135:6; Ephesians 1:3-14, Romans 8:26-9:23; Philippians 1:29; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Elder Led Congregational: in our governance
We are Elder led, congregation governed, and Deacon served. The Elders (Pastors) role is to lead and to teach the congregation according to Scripture. (Acts 14:23, Acts 20:17, 1 Timothy 4:14, 1 Timothy 5:17, and James 5:14) The congregation role is to be the final human authority when it gathers for decision making. (Matt 18:15-17, Acts 6:2-5, 1 Cor 5:4-5) The Deacons come alongside the Elders and serve the body in order to keep the unity.
The Bible teaches that membership in a local church is the normal expectation for a healthy Christian. Christians are called to assemble together regularly to build one another up in Christ (Hebrews 10:23-25), to encourage one another regularly (Hebrews 3:12-14), to work together to get the Gospel to lost people around the world (Matthew 28:18-20), to protect each other from sin (James 5:19-20), to guard the church from hypocrisy (Matthew 18:15-18), and to be built up by the regular teaching of God’s Word through gifted teachers (Hebrews 13:17).
To faithfully follow these commands, Christians lock arms with other believers in a local assembly to foster deep, authentic, God-glorifying, sin-fighting relationships.
Charismatic Sign Gifts
We teach that while God can certainly work miracles today, they were prominent only during certain periods in biblical history, being given to authenticate someone’s ministry as truly speaking or working for God. We teach that the ‘gift’ or ability to perform miracles is not the normal Christian life and no one is performing miraculous gifts at will in the church today (e.g., tongues / languages, prophecy, healing, etc.). Spiritual gifts are ministries given to every Christian to bless and edify others. No specific ‘gift’ is required as evidence of salvation. No ‘word from the Lord,’ feeling or impression will ever contradict or supersede what the Spirit has already said in the Bible He authored. [Gen 1:2; Exod 4:30-31, 7:17; Job 33:4; 1 Kgs 17:24; Pss 33:6, 51:11, 104:30, 115:3, 139:7-10; Isa 6:9-10 (comp. to Acts 28:25-27) 32:14, 44:3, 61:1, 63:10-11; Ezek 36:27, 39:29; Joel 2:28-29; Matt 3:16, 12:28-32, 28:19; Luke 1:35, 7:15-16; John 3:2-8, 6:63, 10:38, 14:11, 14:16-17, 14:26, 15:26-27, 16:7-15; Acts 1:16, 2:22, 5:3-4, 10:38, 15:28, 28:25; Rom 1:4, 8:2-27; 1 Cor 2:10-11, 3:16, 6:11, 6:19, 12:4-13, 13:8-10; 2 Cor 3:17, 12:12, 13:14; Gal 5:16-18, 5:22-23; Eph 1:13-14, 2:18, 2:22, 4:7-12, 4:30, 5:18; 2 Thes 2:6-8; Titus 3:5; Heb 9:14, 10:15-16; 1 Pet 1:10-11, 1:23-25; 2 Pet 1:21; 1 John 4:13].
Baptism is intended only for those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ and can give sufficient testimony to the basics of Christian beliefs. We also baptize by immersion because it is the original meaning of the word and best symbolizes the reality to which baptism points: our death and resurrection in Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-11).
Complementarian: Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Men and women are absolutely equal in essence, dignity and value but are different by divine design. As part of God’s good created order, men and women are to have different yet complementary roles and responsibilities in the home and church, especially as it comes to teaching and authority. These role distinctions are God’s grace to man and woman and are to be protected, preserved and practiced for His glory and our joy (1 Corinthians 11:2-16; 14:33-35; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 1 Peter 3:1-7).
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Gen 2:18-25.) We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4.) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.)
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Orchard Community Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the Orchard Community Church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Orchard Community Church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality. (Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22.)
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11.) We are more than happy to provide counsel and/or resources to help anyone to better understand the Bible, salvation and anything pertaining to a relationship with God.
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Obvious hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Orchard Community Church.
Sanctity of Life
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. (Psalm 139)
Race and Social Justice
We Affirm: that God created every person equally in his own image. As divine image-bearers, all people have inestimable value and dignity before God and deserve honor, respect and protection. Everyone has been created by God and for God.
We Deny that God-given roles, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, gender, or physical condition or any other property of a person either negates or contributes to that individual’s worth as an image bearer of God.
Scripture: Genesis 1:26-30; 2:18-22; 9:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 1:21-22
We Affirm that all people are connected to Adam both naturally and federally. Therefore, because of original sin everyone is born under the curse of God’s law and all break his commandments through sin. There is no difference in the condition of sinners due to age, ethnicity, or gender. All are depraved in all their faculties and all stand condemned before God’s law. All human relationships, systems, and institutions have been affected by sin.
We Deny that, other than the previously stated connection to Adam, any person is morally culpable for another person’s sin. Although families, groups, and nations can sin collectively, and cultures can be predisposed to particular sins, subsequent generations share the collective guilt of their ancestors only if they approve and embrace (or attempt to justify) those sins. Before God each person must repent and confess his or her own sins in order to receive forgiveness. We further deny that one’s ethnicity establishes any necessary connection to any particular sin.
Scripture: Genesis 2:16, 17, 3:12,13-15; Proverbs 29:18; Isaiah 25:7, 60:2-3; Jeremiah 31:27-34; Ezekiel 18:1-9, 14-18; Matthew 23:29-36; Romans 1:16-17, 3:23, 5:12, 10:14-17; 1 Corinthians 15:3-11; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Galatians 1:6-9; Titus 1:12, 13; Revelation 13:8
Affirmations & Denials cited from The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel.