In our day there are many different opinions as to what a local church should be like and look like. Orwell Bible Church believes that the following convictions are essential to being a church where Christ is preeminent (Colossians 1:18) and God’s Word is ministered to all (Colossians 1:28).
God-Centered—A local church should recognize that God is entirely sovereign in the salvation of sinners. For evangelism this should result in a total dependence upon God through biblical evangelism rather than gimmickry and pragmatism. A local church with this conviction is committed to faithful obedience, recognizing that Christ builds His church.
Evangelistic—A local church should be committed to aggressively spreading the gospel with the objective of making and maturing disciples and establishing local churches. Biblical evangelism seeks to lovingly and purposefully take the gospel to those who have not heard it, make its message as clear as possible so that God might use it to save the sinner, and call the sinner to repentance and faith.
Edifying—A local church should be committed to building up its members. This is accomplished through the ministry of the Word, prayer, fellowship, worship, and Christian service. The end result is the protection, proper functioning, strengthening, and increase of the body.
The next four convictions specify the means of accomplishing evangelism and edification—
Word-Centered—A local church should be committed to preaching and teaching the Bible. As God has given His Word in written form for the purposes of salvation and sanctification, it should use a translation that is orthodox and understandable. This means that a local church should not use in its public ministry of the Word liberal (RSV, NRSV, etc.) and gender-neutral translations (NLT, NRSV, CEV) and paraphrases (Living Bible). It should use translations faithful to the text of the original manuscripts, such as the NKJV, NASB, ESV, KJV, or NIV.
Worship—A local church is committed to worshiping God together in spirit and truth (John 4:24). It worships on the Lord’s Day through singing, preaching, praying, and giving. As worship is the believer’s magnification of God’s person and works, a local church should utilize music that is consistent with and supportive of this, rather than use music that was created to appease man’s carnal desires (musical forms such as rock, pop, jazz, alternative, etc.). A holy God must be worshiped by a holy people. The purposes of sacred music, in this order, are 1) praise and glorify God, 2) teach doctrine and admonish believers, 3) unify believers, and 4) testify of believers’ holy God and their changed lives.
Prayer—A local church must be committed to personal and corporate prayer. Through prayer believers seek God’s help and blessing, and ask God to save sinners and sanctify Christians. A local church realizes that prayer is an essential ministry and part of God’s plan for fulfilling the Great Commission.
Fellowship—A local church should be committed to strengthening members’ lives and relationships through regular and meaningful contact. Christians must exemplify, encourage, and exhort one another to live godly lives. Believers must also help one another with whatever needs may arise in their lives.
The next three convictions tell how we seek to glorify God through evangelism and edification via the means of the Word, prayer, fellowship, and worship—
Every Member Ministry—All the members of a local church should be committed to serving the Lord in their local church according to their Spirit given gifts, following the example and teaching of their leadership.
Unity—A local church should be committed to strengthening and maintaining the unity that its members have as a result of Spirit baptism. Such unity is based on Scripture and expressed through love, corporate worship, and ministry. This means that personal problems and/or differences will be solved by biblical procedures; that gossip, backbiting, or slander will not be tolerated; and that such activities which would destroy the unity of the body will be dealt with as matters requiring church discipline.
Personal and Church Holiness, or, Separation—A local church should be committed to both personal and ecclesiastical separation. Separation is an essential aspect of Christianity (Heb 12:14), for the sinner has been separated from the power, penalty, and realm of sin and put in the body of Christ which is characterized by holiness and righteousness. Accordingly, the members of a local church will evidence a commitment to holiness and godliness by rejecting all forms of worldliness. These forms manifest themselves in many ways in our culture, whether entertainments (most Hollywood movies, rock music, most television programs, pornography, social drinking, tobacco use, gambling, illicit drug use), evil speech (profanity, gossip, vulgar jokes), immodest clothing, or sensuality (modern sexual license).
The last two convictions describe the direction and organization of Orwell Bible Church as we seek to glorify God by making and maturing disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ—
Conservative, or, “fundamental”—A local church should be committed to faithfully teaching and militantly defending those doctrines that are basic (fundamental) to the Christian faith. It also should be committed to ecclesiastical separation, avoiding and refusing to cooperate with individuals or organizations that deny these fundamentals as well as separating from those who identify or walk with those who deny the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.
Biblically Ordered—A local church should be committed to believing and practicing the following distinctives: the Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice; the autonomy of the local church; the priesthood of the believers; two ordinances, baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper; individual soul liberty; a saved, baptized church membership; two offices, pastor (also called elder and overseer) and deacon; and separation from ungodly alliances (church and state; ecclesiastical apostasy and compromise; sinful behavior).