We are Evangelical
Essentially, an evangelical is one who believes in two central truths: (1) the Bible is the sole, sufficient, and absolute authoritative rule of faith and practice; and (2) the gospel alone saves—the message that to be made right with God, a sinner must trust Christ alone, through grace alone.
At the time of the Reformation in the 16th century, Luther and the Protestant evangelicals believed in two truths that stood at the very center of their reforming effort. (1) First was called the formal principle of the Reformation—sola Scriptura (Scripture alone). This meant that the Bible alone forms, shapes and determines what Christians should believe and practice. (2) The other was what was called the material principle of the Reformation—sola fide (faith alone). This meant God saves sinners solely on basis of the person and work of Christ and the means to receive salvation is through trust in the merits of Christ alone.
As Evangelicals, we affirm the great central truths set forth in the historic creeds of the Christian church, i.e., the Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds. We also affirm the five “solas” of the 16th century Protestant Reformation. We are committed to see those truths embodied in our doctrine, worship, and life and to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
We reproduce here the affirmations found in the Cambridge Declaration of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals in connection with the five “solas” of the Reformation:
We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.
We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father. We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.
We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life. We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation.
We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice. We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.
Soli Deo Gloria
We reaffirm that because salvation is of God, and has indeed been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone. We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.
We Are Non-Ecumenical
We do not subscribe to the belief that all faiths are acceptable to God and that each has his own way to God and salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The result of such a belief is an open acceptance to work especially in spiritual matters with others whose faith may be quite contrary to Scripture. Therefore, we do not support the modern ecumenical movement, especially in instances where they call people of different faiths to pray together for some concern for the world at large (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
We do not believe in unity just for unity’s sake but rather in biblical unity (Ephesians 4:13) and in biblical separation (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). Therefore, we also believe that those who are not of the true Christian faith are objects of evangelism.”
(more distinctives are detailed out in the SDGCC Church Manual and Philosophy of Ministry…)