What We Teach

Outline of Teachings

The Chapel is serious about the Word of God and Christ's glory. We seeks to make it plain to all what we believe and teach. The following is a helpful outline of what you will hear at the Chapel in the Hills church.

Here is what follows:

  • Distinctives
  • The Doctrines of Grace
  • The Creeds and Confessions
  • Modern Church Statements
  • Affiliations

It is our hope that you carefully read through these sections and hope you are impacted by the truth therein. If you have any questions please email our office at [email protected] 

Distinctives 

Chapel in the Hills Statement of Faith
Believers Baptism

Believer’s Baptism
Before ascending into heaven, the risen Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church in Matthew 28:18-20 with the following statement of purpose:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Obedience to that single command, to make disciples, requires the church to baptize new converts and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded. Thus, the ordinance of baptism is the ritual that provides entry into the church. Since only someone who is baptized may become a member of a local church, it’s important to understand what the Bible teaches about baptism.

Defining Baptism
The word baptize is first used in the New Testament in Matthew 3:1-17 in association with the ministry of John the Baptist. John’s baptism was based on the religious symbolism of Gentile proselyte baptism, whereby a Gentile sought to associate himself with the Jewish community. Gentile proselytes submitted to a ritual washing (a full-body, ceremonial bath) called proselyte baptism. The ritual testified to the defilement of being a Gentile; his sin and ignorance needed to be washed away so he could receive a new identity and enter into new life in the Jewish community.

Proselyte baptism provided John the Baptist with the conceptual imagery for his baptism ministry. John called all people to repent of their sins, Jew and Gentile alike, to prepare themselves for the Messiah’s arrival (cf. Acts 19:4). His baptism symbolized disassociation with the former life, which meant, like a Gentile proselyte, a person had to acknowledge his sin and defilement, his need for cleansing.

John the Baptist baptized those who humbled themselves by immersing them in water. The word baptize comes from the Greek verb baptizō, which originally referred to the sinking of a ship, or to drowning at sea. The concept of full immersion in water stayed with the word baptizō from the classical era into New Testament times. That’s why John baptized in the Jordan River where “water was plentiful” (John 3:23).

Just as proselyte baptism provided the conceptual imagery for the baptism ministry of John the Baptist, John’s baptism likewise provided the conceptual framework for Christian baptism. Christian baptism is practiced in the same manner, by full immersion in water. Luke records Philip’s baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch following his profession of faith in Christ in Acts 8:38-39: “they both went down into the water…he baptized him…they came up out of the water.”

Understanding Baptism
Christian baptism is an external symbol to illustrate internal spiritual realities. At its essence, the picture is of a death, burial, and resurrection, and as such it points to several realities that are true for every Christian.

  • Baptism pictures the washing away of sins and the commitment to break with the old life and pursue new life in Christ (Acts 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).
  • Baptism points to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, promised in the New Covenant (Matt. 3:11; John 1:33).
  • Baptism symbolizes the union with Christ, by the Holy Spirit, in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27).
  • Baptism points to the incorporation of every believer into the body of Christ, uniting him with every other believer (1 Cor. 12:12-13; Eph. 4:5).

Everything illustrated by water baptism happened prior to the realities symbolized. That is why the risen Lord Jesus Christ chose baptism as the professing Christian’s first act of obedience; it’s the perfect ritual to symbolize the rich truths of his conversion.

Clarifying Baptism
HOW IS SALVATION ACCOMPLISHED?
Salvation is wholly of God, by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9). Since sinners are dead in trespasses and sins, no spiritual life exists (Eph. 2:1-3). The sinner is therefore unable and unwilling to seek God (Rom. 8:5-8). Therefore, God must initiate and accomplish the sinner’s salvation.

The work of salvation begins by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8; Tit. 3:5). The Spirit causes the sinner to be born again, imparting new spiritual life that enables him to discern his true condition, repent of his sin, and seek Jesus Christ in faith. Faith is the first breath of his new spiritual life, and by faith all the spiritual blessings of God’s saving grace flow to the repentant sinner.

WHAT ABOUT ACTS 2:38?
Because of what the Bible teaches about the nature of salvation—it is an internal work of the Spirit, wholly by God’s grace, apart from human work—baptism is a physical act of obedience that pictures salvation, but it in no way contributes to salvation. Some have mistakenly interpreted Peter’s words in Acts 2:38 to teach the opposite (i.e., that it results in salvation). To a remorseful crowd, under conviction for the sin of crucifying Christ, Peter commanded in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Peter was not teaching salvation by human works, that repentance and baptism resulted in salvation. Rather, he was calling the repentant to follow through with repentance and baptism, external evidences of internal repentance. By their complete change of mind regarding Jesus Christ (i.e., repentance), they were demonstrating a heart of faith, the channel of God’s gracious forgiveness. Salvation came to them, as those called of God (v. 39), by sovereign grace; their baptism demonstrated their true conversion, a total change of heart.
By way of example, the conversion of the Gentiles through Peter’s ministry illustrates the proper order of salvation and water baptism. In Acts 10, the spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles at the moment of their salvation (vv. 34-46), and in response to their salvation, Peter commanded that they be physically baptized in water (vv. 47-48).

WHAT ABOUT OTHER “BAPTISMS”?
The concept of baptism (i.e., full immersion) is used as a metaphor throughout the New Testament to picture spiritual realities. In fact, most uses of the term baptism don’t refer to water baptism, but rather as a metaphor to portray union or close association.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Matt. 3:11 John tells the crowd Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Neither of those are references to water baptism. The baptism of fire is for unrepentant sinners who reject Christ and will one day be immersed in fiery judgment of eternal hell (v. 12). But the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5) is for repentant believers who receive the New Covenant promise of the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation.

Baptized into Someone. To be baptized into someone, or in someone’s name, means to be in union with that person, becoming a full beneficiary of his ministry. Three people are mentioned in that regard—Moses (1 Cor. 10:2), Paul, (1 Cor. 1:13, 15), and Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27). Union with Moses was limited by the nature of his mediatorial role, as union with Paul would be limited to the nature of his role (although Paul eschewed baptism into his name). To be immersed into Christ, however, means spiritual union with Him that guarantees every spiritual blessing (cf. Eph. 1:3).

Baptized into Something. In Mark 10:38-39 (cf. Luke 12:50) Jesus discussed with James and John the suffering He would soon endure through the cross. He used metaphors to indicate the thoroughness of His suffering; it would be both a cup He would drink (internal) as well as a baptism He would undergo (external). Another reference to being baptized into something is in 1 Cor. 12:13, where Paul says the Holy Spirit baptizes believers into one body. That refers to the common union every believer shares with one another in Christ through the church.

Practicing Baptism

The New Testament clearly portrays both John’s baptism and Christian baptism as an immersion into water (cf. John 3:23; Acts 8:38-39). The symbol of Christian baptism was fitting only for those who had believed and by the Holy Spirit had been united to Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. That was the pattern practiced by the early church in obedience to Christ’s command in Matt. 28:19 (cf. Acts 2:41; 8:12, 38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 1 Cor. 1:16).

According to Matt. 28:18-20, those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and come forward for baptism are those who have apprehended the authority and exclusivity of Jesus Christ (v. 18), the triune nature of God (v. 19), and the fundamental nature of Christian discipleship (v. 20). By obedience to this clear command, a new convert gives public testimony to salvation by faith in Jesus’ name, and to his commitment to a life of repentance and obedience to His lordship.

*This article was borrowed from our friends at Grace Church in Greeley. 
Biblical Eldership
Summary Statement
  1. Biblical Eldership is Eldership by the Book.
The reason we call this “biblical eldership” is that the view of eldership presented here honestly and accurately represents the biblical teaching of eldership.

  1. Biblical Eldership is Pastoral Eldership.
Both apostles Paul and Peter use shepherd-sheep imagery when defining the work of the elders. Thus biblical elders are shepherd (pastor) elders.

  1. Biblical Eldership is Biblically Qualified Eldership.
Biblical elders are required to meet certain moral and spiritual qualifications, as well as, be able to teach sound doctrine and protect the church from false teachers.

  1. Biblical Eldership is Spirit-appointed Eldership.
Biblical elders must be Spirit-appointed, not self-appointed.

  1. Biblical Eldership is Pastoral Oversight of the Local Church by a Plurality of Qualified Elders.
As 1 Timothy 5:17-18 demonstrates, the plurality of elders entails both equality of authority and diversity of giftedness, knowledge, and experience.

Pastoral Leadership
The two preeminent apostles, Paul and Peter, directly exhort the local church elders to shepherd (or pastor) God’s flock. They assign the task of shepherding/pastoring the local church to no other group or single person, but to the elders. As keepers of sheep, shepherd elders protect, feed, lead, and care for God’s flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2). Thus we can confidently affirm that the Scriptures teach that the pastoral oversight of the local church is the responsibility of the church elders.

Shared Leadership
Jesus Christ gave the church plurality of leadership. Jesus Christ our Lord did not appoint one man to lead his Church, but a team of twelve men to lead and teach his Church.

The New Testament Scriptures also reveal plural leadership in all the first churches (Acts 11:30; 14:23; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; Titus 1:5; James 5:14-15; 1 Peter 5:1-5).

Although the elders are to act jointly as a council and share equally the authority and responsibility for the leadership of the church, all elders are not equal in their giftedness, biblical knowledge, leadership ability, experience, and dedication. So both equality and diversity exists within the eldership: “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,’ and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages’” (1 Tim. 5:17, 18). The advantage of equality and diversity within the eldership is the functional, gift-based diversity within the eldership team without creating a superior office over the eldership.

Male Leadership
The Scripture informs us that before choosing the twelve apostles, Jesus Christ spent the entire night in prayer with his Father (Luke 6:12). These twelve men were God the Father’s choice. Jesus’ choice of male apostles was based on divine principles and guidance, not human traditions or cowardly accommodation to local Jewish customs.

The biblical pattern of male leadership of the local church continues throughout the New Testament Scriptures. The apostle Paul especially makes this point emphatic in 1 Timothy 2:11-3:5, when listing the qualifications for overseers/elders and the differing roles of men and women in the gathered congregation.

Although male pastoral leadership of the local church is completely out-of-line with 21-century popular beliefs and practices, an honest interpreter of Scripture must allow the Scripture’s teaching precedence over secular society’s philosophy.

Qualified Leadership
A biblical eldership requires biblically qualified elders. The New Testament provides more instruction concerning the qualifications for eldership than on any other aspect of eldership. The scriptural requirements for elders can be divided into three broad categories: (1) the moral and spiritual character of an elder, (2) teaching and leading abilities, and (3) Spirit-given motivation to serve as a pastor elder (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:28).

Servant Leadership
Christlike elders are to be servant leaders, not rulers or dictators. Christ’s principles of brotherly community, love, humility, and servanthood are at the very heart of Christian leadership.

Like the servant Christ, elders are to sacrifice their time and energy for the good of others. Only elders who are loving, humble servants can genuinely manifest the incomparable life of Jesus Christ to their congregations and a watching world.

The humble-servant character of the eldership does not imply, however, an absence of authority. It demonstrates how Christian leadership authority is to be exercised in Christ’s Church.
Importance of This Subject?

  1. God’s Word Teaches Pastoral Eldership.
Many of our church problems are the result of outright disobedience to the clear instructions of Scripture.

  1. Biblical Eldership Promotes the True Nature of the New Testament Church.
The church is the family of God, and thus its leadership structure should harmonize with and promote the family nature of the church.

  1. Biblical Eldership Provides the Leaders of the Church with Genuine Accountability.
Because of our beliefs in the realities of sin, human depravity, and Satan, we should require that people in positions of authority within the church have genuine peer accountability.

  1. Biblical Eldership Provides True Peer Relationships.
Having true peer relationships within the leadership body of elders, sharpens, balances, comforts, protects, and strengthens the elders themselves.

  1. Biblical Eldership Provides More Balanced Pastoral Care for the Church.
Each elder contributes his own wisdom, perspective, knowledge, and experience to group decision making and the care of God’s people. This provides the local church with a more balanced leadership body, and protects the church from one person’s extremes and imbalances.

*This article was borrowed from our friends at Biblical Eldership Resources. 

The Doctrines of Grace

The central truth of God’s saving grace is succinctly stated in the assertion, “Salvation is of the Lord.” This strong declaration means that every aspect of man’s salvation is from God and is entirely dependent upon God. The only contribution that we make is the sin that was laid upon Jesus Christ at the cross. The Apostle Paul affirmed this when he wrote, “From Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). This is to say, salvation is God determined, God purchased, God applied, and God secured. From start to finish, salvation is of the Lord alone.

This truth is best summarized in the doctrines of grace, which are total depravity, unconditional election, definite atonement, effectual calling, and preserving grace. These truths present the triune God as the author of our salvation from beginning to end. Each member of the Godhead—Father, Son, and Spirit—has a part to play in redemption, and they work together as one God to rescue those perishing under divine wrath. In perfect unity, the three divine persons do the work that hellbound sinners, utterly unable to save themselves, cannot do.

TOTAL DEPRAVITY
The first man, Adam, sinned, and his transgression and guilt were immediately imputed to all mankind (Christ excepted). By this one act of disobedience, he became morally polluted in every part of his being—mind, affections, body, and will. By this sin, death entered the world, and Adam's fellowship with God was broken.
Adam’s guilt and corruption were transmitted to his natural offspring at the moment of conception. In turn, each of his children’s children inherited this same radical fallenness. Subsequently, it has been passed down to each generation to the present day. Adam’s perverse nature has spread to the whole of every person. Apart from grace, our minds are darkened by sin, unable to understand the truth. Our hearts are defiled, unable to love the truth. Our bodies are dying, progressing to physical death. Our wills are dead, unable to choose the good. Moral inability to please God plagues every person from their entrance into the world. In their unregenerate state, no one seeks after God. No one is capable of doing good. All are under the curse of the law, which is eternal death.

UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION
Long before Adam sinned, God had already decreed and determined salvation for sinners. In eternity past, the Father chose a people in Christ who would be saved. Before time began, God elected many from among mankind whom He purposed to save from His wrath. This selection was not based upon any foreseen faith in those whom He chose. Nor was it prompted by their inherent goodness. Instead, according to His infinite love and inscrutable wisdom, God set His affection upon His elect.

The Father gave the elect to His Son to be His bride. Each one chosen was predestined by the Father to be conformed to the image of His Son and to sing His praises forever. The Father commissioned His Son to enter this world and lay down His life to save these same chosen ones. Likewise, the Father commissioned the Spirit to bring these same elect ones to faith in Christ. The Son and the Spirit freely concurred in all these decisions, making salvation the undivided work of the triune God.

DEFINITE ATONEMENT
In the fullness of time, God the Father sent His Son to enter this fallen world on a mission to redeem His people. He was born of a virgin, without a sin nature, to live a sinless life. Jesus was born under the divine law so that He would fully obey it on behalf of disobedient sinners who have repeatedly broken it. This active obedience of Christ fulfilled all the righteous demands of the law. By keeping the law, the Son of God achieved a perfect righteousness, which is reckoned to believing sinners so that they are declared righteous, or justified, before God.
This sinless life of Jesus further qualified Him to go to the cross and die in the place of guilty, hellbound sinners. On the cross, Jesus bore the unmitigated wrath of the Father for the sins of His people. In this vicarious death, the Father transferred to His Son all the sins of all those who would ever believe in Him. As a sin-bearing sacrifice, Jesus died a substitutionary death in the place of God’s elect. On the cross, He propitiated the righteous anger of God toward the elect. By the blood of the cross, Jesus reconciled the holy God to sinful man, establishing peace between the two parties. In His redeeming death, He purchased His bride—His elect people—out of bondage to sin and set her free.

Jesus’ death did not merely make all mankind potentially savable. Nor did His death simply achieve a hypothetical benefit that may or may not be accepted. Neither did His death merely make all mankind redeemable. Instead, Jesus actually redeemed a specific people through His death, securing and guaranteeing their salvation. Not a drop of Jesus’ blood was shed in vain. He truly saved all for whom He died. This doctrine of definite atonement is sometimes called limited atonement.

EFFECTUAL CALLING
With oneness of purpose, the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world to apply this salvation to those chosen and redeemed. The Spirit came to convict the elect of sin, righteousness, and judgment and to turn to the Son all whom the Father gave to Him. At the divinely appointed time, the Spirit removes from each elect person his unbelieving heart of stone, hardened and dead in sin, and replaces it with a believing heart of flesh, responsive and alive unto God. The Spirit implants eternal life within the spiritually dead soul. He grants the chosen men and women the gifts of repentance and faith, enabling them to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Suddenly, all things are made new. New life from the Spirit produces new love for God. New desires to obey the Word of God produce a new pursuit of holiness. There is a new life direction, lived with new passion for God. These born-again ones give evidence of their election with the fruit of righteousness This call from the Spirit is effectual, meaning the elect will certainly respond when it is given. They will not finally resist it. Thus, the doctrine of effectual calling is sometimes called the doctrine of irresistible grace.

PRESERVING GRACE
Once converted, every believer is kept eternally secure by all three persons of the Trinity. All whom God foreknew and predestined in eternity past, He will glorify in eternity future. No believer will drop out or fall away. Every believer is firmly held by the sovereign hands of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, never to be lost. None of Jesus’ sheep for whom He laid down His life will perish. The Holy Spirit permanently seals in Christ all whom He draws to faith. Once born again, none can ever be unborn. Once a believer, none can ever become an unbeliever. Once saved, none will ever be-come unsaved. God will preserve them in faith forever, and they will persevere until the end. Thus, the doctrine of preserving grace is often called the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints.

From beginning to end, salvation is of the Lord. In reality, these five doctrines of grace form one comprehensive body of truth concerning salvation. They are inseparably connected and therefore stand or fall together. To embrace any one of the five necessitates embracing all five. To deny one is to deny the others and fracture the Trinity, setting the three persons at odds with one another. These doctrines speak together with one voice in giving the greatest glory to God. Such high theology produces high doxology. When it is rightly understood that God alone—Father, Son, and Spirit—saves sinners, then all glory goes to Him.

*This article was borrowed from our friends at Ligonier Ministries.

The Creeds and Confessions

From the very earliest time in the history of the church, the church has not only proclaimed the truth of sacred Scripture, but also dealt with distortions and radical departures from biblical truth in the appearance of multiple heresies that have threatened the church.

One of the earliest creeds, thought to be the very first Christian creed, was the simple statement, “Jesus is Lord.” This came out of the context of a loyalty oath imposed by the Roman Empire. Christians were required to say publicly, “Kaiser kurios” (“Caesar is Lord”). The Christian church in the first century was quite willing to render civil obedience as much as they possibly could, but they balked at that statement kaiser kurios. They said in response to that, “Jesus ho kurios” (“Jesus is Lord”).

The great creeds of church history, such as the Nicene Creed and the Chalcedonian Creed, were written in response to serious heretical views that were arising and threatening the very essence of the Christian faith.

This is true also of the historic confessions. These confessions were an attempt to crystallize the essence of doctrine found in sacred Scripture. They were never to be seen as a substitute for Scripture or as having authority over Scripture. Rather, they give a summary of what Christians believe as defined in terms of confessional orthodoxy.

*This article was borrowed from our friends at Ligonier Ministries.
We teach on the foundations of the historical church creeds of the Nicene Creed and Chalcedon Creed. To view these two creeds please click on the links below...
We largely subscribe to the London Baptist Confession of 1689. To view the 1689 Confession please clink on the link below...

Statements

We also hold to important modern statements which help to outline our beliefs.
The Cambridge Declaration on Evangelicalism
The Chicago on Biblical Inerrancy 
The Dallas Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel
The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
The Nashville Statement on Gender and Marriage

Church Affiliations

We are happy to be affiliated with the following ministry organizations:
The Master's Fellowship
Founders Ministries
G3 Ministries