Our Distinctives are something we found to be helpful in communicating what really makes us "distinct" from other churches. It's not that other churches do not believe these same things, but these are the items we have found as a body and leadership that we major in. If you really want to know what to expect from a church and community like ours, this is what to look for.

We have four Distinctives at Christ the Lord:

  • Historical Biblical Christianity
  • Sufficiency and Authority of Scripture
  • Theological and Cultural Maximalism
  • Biblical Anthropology and Gender Roles

Historical Biblical Christianity

We believe that the Christian faith is founded upon the objective and declarative realities of Jesus and his work, as described in Holy Scripture, and that those realities are to be confessed and believed as the only normative rule for the Christian.  When we say declarative we mean that they are finished.  When we say objective, we mean it is factual and not influenced by feelings, personal opinions, life experiences, and certainly not by the pagan culture surrounding the church.  When we say historical, we mean a reformed understanding of the scriptures whereby the glory of God displayed through his sovereign rule over everything without exception is embraced and celebrated. We recognize that we are not innovators but stand on the shoulders of the church historic, through tradition as is cogent with the scriptures, and in faith with those we are united together with in Christ. We are striving to be your grandma’s church, maybe not your grandma’s, but grandma’s church none the less. We are but one local expression, a microcosm, of the Church of Jesus Christ, the bride he has been preparing for himself.

  • Reformed - While there are subtle nuances between Calvinistic/Reformed traditions, they largely overlap and we use them rather synonymously. A reformed congregation moves to deeper levels of specificity beyond the catholic (Nicene Creed) tradition, as well as the protestant (four solas) tradition, to further affirm some reformed creed (Westminster Confession of Faith, London Baptist Confession of Faith). As a church we would go so far as to affirm the London Baptist Confession of Faith and much of the Westminster Confession of Faith. We speak of being reformed in that it impacts more than our soteriology (TULIP), but also our understanding of our ecclesiology, liturgy, eschatology, etc. We do not expect every member to be in agreement on all such matters, but to agree to be taught these truths by the elders from the scriptures.
  • Confessional - “A confessional framework begins with the understanding that the Christian faith is founded upon the objective and declarative realities of Jesus and his work in the place of sinners, and those realities are to be confessed, they are to be believed and trusted in. When we say that the realities of Christ and his work in the place of sinners are objective, we mean that they stand outside of us. When we say that they are declarative, we mean that they’re done. They’re finished, and so, in a confessional context, we are always looking outside of ourselves to Jesus and his work, which stand unaffected by us. His work is unaffected by how we’re doing, how we’re feeling, or even by our circumstance. He has accomplished our redemption. He has secured our salvation, and so we trust in him because there’s nothing left to be done that is necessary. That’s the lifeblood and the heartbeat of a confessional perspective.”

Heb 10:11-14, 12:1-3 (ch 11); John 16:8-15; Col 1:15-23; Eph 1

Sufficiency and Authority of Scriptures

As the divinely inspired Word of God, we believe that the Scriptures are without any error and are in absolute authority over every human being whether they realize it or not. We therefore submit to it as the final authority in all matters. We also believe that the Lord has prepared works for us to walk in as Christians in order to bring glory to the Father, meaning everything we say, do and think is a part of the works he has created for us to walk in. As such, we also believe that the Scriptures alone are sufficient to instruct us in every good work that he has called us to. We are in need of no other revelation, especially your enneagram number.

Sufficiency of Scripture - We believe that the scriptures are sufficient for everything we need to know for life of godliness. Beyond the explicit and implicit commands of the scriptures, the scriptures themselves instruct each believer to lean into wisdom, given from the scriptures and aided by the Spirit as they walk under the guidance and in submission to the elders that God has given them to walk this life of godliness.

Authority of Scripture - We believe that God is in authority over all creation and as such he has given his expressed and clear commands to rule over all of creation through his Words. Where man’s word are in opposition to God’s words we reject them and call them to repentance.

Current Culture and the Sufficiency of the Word - Many “Christians” today are the product of the legalist/fundamentalist movement and/or the church growth movement and/or what we call the soft Jesus movement. In the legalist/fundamentalist movement, with the aim to earn their righteousness they create laws in addition to the scriptures - denying the sufficiency of the scriptures. In the church growth movement, with the aim to get baptism numbers or get people in the pews, they relegate the scriptures to a tool on the side, but it’s really about lights, cameras and action. The soft Jesus movement is churches of all theological stripes who love promoting the softer side of Jesus. Neglecting much of the Scriptures for the ones more smooth to the ears of the listeners and more palatable for those more dainty. These three groups make up the majority of Christianity in America and make for a very potent group of people who care very little about submitting to the actual Words of God. These kinds of people will not find a good home at CTL. However, good news for them…most churches around here fit one of those three categories. 

Expository preaching - passage by passage - our general diet of teaching will be passage by passage exposition through the scriptures. By exposition, we mean that the content and intent of the passage will determine the content and intent of the sermon.

Sin in the room - For the sins that the elders are aware of, they will seek to preach the word in such a way that speaks to these sins. They will not call out names or unnecessarily draw attention to particular people, but you should expect to hear from any teaching platform the word taught in a way that feels personal and even oftentimes offensive to your flesh. We will move beyond generalities and into the nitty gritty of the flocks life. You should consider this a blessing and a gift of God’s grace. We live in a culture that cannot stand preaching that does anything but tickle the ears. (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor 5:1-13; Neh 8:1-8)

Equipping the saints to do the work of ministry - The elders are responsible for equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry (Eph 4:11-16). For example: The elders will not attend every hospital visit, do all the counseling, have a direct part in all discipleship, etc, but instead you should expect them to teach you the word and pray for you (Acts 6:4) so that you are equipped to do your part in the work of the ministry. The church is healthier when all members are doing the work of ministry to each other. The work of ministry means helping each other know, love and obey Jesus as Lord over all. 

Crucify your preferences - Its amazingly easy to develop your preferred way doing and baptize it as law. Anything from your preferred tone when being talked to, how often you are talked to, how soon a person checks on you when sick, how many people check on you or whether or not they give you flowers when grandma dies. It could be your preference on the tone in preaching or how someone is dressed. It is fine to have these preferences but it is sin to require them of others and consider a relationship broken when others don’t meet them. You cannot bind other people’s conscience to your preferences. To do so is to say that the Scriptures are not sufficient and that we need to add my laws to the canon of scriptures. 

Counseling philosophy - We have been saved to do good works that the Lord has prepared for us before hand (Eph 2:10). This isn’t simply the “good moral acts” that we do every now and then, but instead every thing we think, say and do each and every day. We don’t “move on from the gospel,” but we live a life of repentance and faith in the gospel. And in order to do these good works, the Lord has provided us the scriptures that are fully sufficient to instruct us in every good work that he has prepared for us. We recognize, confess, and repent from unbelief and turn in faith to what is good, true, and beautiful. We will counsel every situation from the word of God believing it to be sufficient for a life of holiness which is living out the good works he has prepared for us to live (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3).

Church governing documents - we have by-laws and constitutional documents, however, they are fallible and contain errors unlike the holy scriptures. As we encounter those errors, the scriptures govern and correct the writings of man and we shall submit ultimately to His words.

Theological and Cultural Maximalism

While it's essential to set the minimal doctrinal standards that align with the universal Christian Church, our goal goes beyond just meeting these standards. We aim to delve into the scriptures with reverence and diligent study, embracing every truth we uncover. Our objective is to align all aspects of our lives with the teachings of the Bible, through faith and grace. This means we use the scriptures as a guide not just in preaching, teaching, and counseling, but also in our day-to-day lives. At our church, you can expect to learn how to apply the teachings of Christ's Word in every facet of your life—be it emotional, mental, spiritual, social, political, relational, or physical.

This means that in all teaching opportunity, especially Sunday preaching, we will intentionally move beyond theoretical and and lofty speech into practical life examples. For example: When teaching through 1 Peter or Ephesians, we will not simply mention that husbands are the leaders of the homes and their wives are to be follow and respect them, we will spend time discussing exactly what those items mean and looks like. We will even address how the world and culture around us hates these things and how to fight against their influence.

Psalm 1; Psalm 119; Proverbs 9:10; Colossians 2:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; Matt 28:18-20; Romans 12:2

The exaltation of Jesus as Lord over all - We understand that the world hasn’t quite grasped this yet, but Jesus is Lord and that the entire cosmos, by God’s sovereign decree and providential governing, is slowly and steadily marching toward serving as a footstool for Christ’s Lordship. We desire, because he is most glorious, to see our lives and the world around us living joyfully under the Lordship of Jesus!

Pursuit of Holiness - We believe that what brings God most glory and us more joy is a life lived knowing all of Christ as he has revealed himself to us, loving all of Christ and obeying all that Christ has said.  Which means, in part, that all sin comes back to wrong belief concerning what Jesus has said about himself and his creation.  The only suitable response to this wrong belief is faith and repentance. This is what it means to pursue holiness.   Therefore, everyday, even in the mundane moments of life, we should turn our minds toward the Lord, asking him to forgive us of our wrong belief and to give us faith to believe the right thing.  We should not repent for just the sins at the surface, but for the wrong belief that led to the further fruit of sin.

All of Christ for all of Life - There is such a thing as a Christian view of everything. We believe that we should apply the scriptures to the furthest reaches of your life. When we preach the good news of Christ Jesus we are fundamentally preaching that the King has ransomed us from the futile way of sin and death which infect every aspect of what it means to be human, even the way you cook dinner or the way you look at your spouse. Everywhere we go, we bring death, but because the king has come, not only has he forgiven our sin through his substitutionary atonement but he has actually brought about new birth and new creation. He is making a new humanity, redeeming and transforming every aspect of what it means to be a human being. Believe it or not, we actually want to see people become new humans.

Rejection of this pietistic/emotional/therapeutic emphasis - A life centered upon Christ is more than a warm hearted feeling toward God. In our day, following Christ has been relegated to a sort of therapy for the emotionally distraught or weak. Instead, love and obedience are necessary sides of the same coin. They can be discussed as distinct realities but they are inseparable realities none the less. If you love God, you will obey God. If you rightly obey God, it will be because you love God. The more you obey God, the more you will love him and the more you love him, the more you will obey him.

Rejection of a narrow “Gospel Centeredness” - We believe the Gospel of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus under whose feet all will be made a footstool. In our day, there is a desire to discern what is a “gospel doctrine” and what isn’t in order to find some sort of unity amidst people and churches. This gospel centeredness movement (beginning with great intentions and many still having these good intentions) often relegates as important only matters of salvation. But as we said before, The good news is first that Jesus is Lord and because he is Lord, he was able to come as our savior. And if he is Lord, then all that he has said about all of creation matters. Certainly, there are very minor things that we can disagree on, however, we should be swimming in a large stream of doctrinal agreement and not some trickle of doctrinal agreement. If we lose the battle on the less important doctrines we will eventually lose the Gospel itself.

Legalism vs. Antinomianism vs. Grace (for a fuller treatment, see The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson) - We believe that God’s law, when used properly is good, necessary and an amazing measure of grace for God’s people. The law proceeds intimately from the creator’s character and if he is all loving then his law is loving. So we deny the claim that accountability to God’s law is legalism nor that being zealous to keep the law is necessarily legalism. Legalism is the act of using God’s standards or our own standards as a means to prove our self-righteousness to ourselves, others and ultimately to God. Living by grace is a redeemed soul, trusting the mercies of God through the cross of Christ, then, out of love for our Savior, living in obedience to all that he has said, namely, his law. And his law being defined here as the entire written Word of God.

Biblical Anthropology and Gender Roles

We believe that God created men and women in the image of God and therefore absolutely equal in dignity, worth, and value. We also believe that men and women are divinely designed to be different and thus to occupy different—yet complementary—roles within the Church and the home, specifically in the areas of teaching and authority. Because of this, only men may serve as Elders at Christ the Lord. We affirm a Christlike father-rule within the home, often referred to as biblical patriarchy. And we affirm the reality that men and women are distinct in more ways than simple biology and role designations. For example: Men were created to be strong and conquer in the mission to subdue the earth as where women were created to be gentle and nurturing, bringing life and community in the mission to subdue the earth (Gen 1-3)

Biblical Sexuality - God created humanity male and female.
When God created humanity, He did not make us sexless monads. He made humanity in male and female forms. This means that gender, and gender identity—if such a construct is at all intelligible—is an embodied reality. Male and female self-conception are not constructed from psychology alone. Male and female, according to the biblical portrait, are fixed, bodily realities; meaning they are not interchangeable or eradicable. They are objectively known; such that the identity of who we are as sexed humans is not a mystery. Lastly, male and female imply substantive differentiation. This differentiation is observed down to the chromosomal, anatomical, reproductive, physiological, and emotive levels. This physical difference starkly manifests itself in the anatomical design of male and female, which makes procreation possible and the fulfillment of the cultural mandate actionable. 
An Essay on Gender & Sexuality: Andrew Walker)

We reject as sinful any sexual activity outside of the covenant marriage of one man and one woman, including, but not limited to: pre-marital sexual activity (fornication), consumption of pornographic material or erotic literature, homosexual sexual activity (including monogamous homosexual activity within a so-called “gay marriage”), bestiality, the sexual abuse of a child, adultery (whether physical, mental, emotional, actual or digital), sexual violence, and polyamory of any kind. (Refuge Utah)

We further reject as sinful any attempt (or claim to the possibility of) at sex alteration, including the practice of portraying oneself as a sex incongruent with ones biological sex. This includes, but is not limited to, transgenderism, transvestitism, cross-dressing, gender reassignment surgery, or the promotion of such practices as healthy. As with all sinful activities, one who makes a practice of these things—apart from repentance and faith in the work of Christ on the cross—will be found in their sin on the last day and condemned to eternal judgement.

(Refuge Utah)

Christlike Father-Rule often referred to as Biblical patriarchy - The husband is the leader in the home, whether he actively, intentionally, appropriately or inappropriately uses that position or not. Paul says in Ephesians that the husband is the head, not that he should be the head. This is an inescapable reality. At the same time, his headship must be Christlike in that he is willing to lay his life down for the good of his wife, namely, helping her become more like Christ. The husband is not simply the rule maker or decisions maker, but is to be the spiritual and physical leader of his home, leading his wife and children on the mission of God. The wife is the helper of the home and is to follow the lead of her husband as he follows the lead of the Father by submitting to the word of God and to his church elders.

Life on Mission - Household - Church - Community - Nations - All of life is to be lived on mission for the glory of God. We believe that this begins is biblically ordered households where husbands and fathers lead their home to be on mission for the glory of God.  Then as biblical households are built, they gathering together into healthy churches to impact their community and the nations.  This is true for those who are single and maybe even called to be single the rest of their lives.