Our Distinctives

How God has defined Woodland Park.

Philosophical Distinctives

1. Exegetical / Expositional Preaching – Proper preaching of the Word of God must be communicated verse by verse, through books of the Bible. Expositional preaching differs from the norm in that the goal is not to present the preacher’s ideas about spirituality. Rather, the goal is to EXPOSE the text with thorough exegesis in the original languages, and let the Bible speak for itself, communicating the author’s intent (2 Timothy 4:2; Ezra 7:10). While it is appropriate to deal with selected topics and character studies from time to time, the objective of “exposing” the text, is still the same. Topical studies should represent the whole counsel of Scripture on a topic, and must still respect the values of context and theological consistency.

2. Biblically Defined – WPBC has historically sought to define itself according to the Scriptures, even if this means taking on a different structure or practice than the dominant model of modern church culture (Romans 12:2). This requires first identifying the Biblical values relevant to a particular area, and then developing a practical plan to insure those values are lived out (Luke 6:46; Joshua 1:7-8).

3. Elder Directed / Deacon Service - Our form of church government is not based on a congregational democracy, but on Biblically qualified and God called men in the church being entrusted with the responsibility to hear from God and lead the congregation in followingHim. Our deacons do not function as a decision making body of the church, but rather, as those whom God raises up to serve at specific tasks and assist in the decisions of their ministry under the leadership of the elders and pastoral staff. The congregation participates through expressing their voice to elders and through affirmation of major decisions.

4. Missions Emphasis - Sending Church – We believe missions begins across the street through lifestyle evangelism of our body, and extends to the whole world (Acts 1:8; 20:28; Matthew 28:18-20) through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. We recognize that the local church does not exist as an end in itself, but has a responsibility to the larger needs of the body of Christ worldwide. We believe in personal involvement in missions through sending our own Biblically qualified people, direct personal support of individual missionaries through recognized mission agencies, and through commissioned short-term projects. This commitment is reflected in our stewardship of all our resources: our finances, our leaders, our time and attention, and most of all, our message concerning Christ.

5. Discipleship Focus - The primary task of the church is making disciples (Mt. 28:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:2). Our programs, which are constantly changing, are designed to make us as effective as we can be at producing the product which never changes "Disciples" those who abide in Christ and allow His Word to abide in them, who pray according to the will of God and see those prayers answered, who bring glory to God, and who bear much fruit (John 15:7, 8). From our youngest children to our oldest adults, we are committed to providing opportunities for our people to get into the Word for themselves and to be discipled in a growth appropriate manner. Small group interaction is an important component of this (Acts 2:42-47).

6. Equipping the Saints - God has not given the church leadership the responsibility of doing all the work of service, but rather, of equipping the saints (Eph. 4:11–16). This means that they must be trained not only in how to walk with God, but also in the practical aspects of having a personal ministry (2 Timothy 2:1-2; 3:15-17). This is the most important function of our pastoral roles. Along with this comes a commitment to unleashing our laity to do works of service according to their spiritual giftedness.

7. Christ Life (grace / obedience) - Our message is not us trying in our own power to live a life that pleases Christ, but yielding control of our life and allowing Christ to live through us (Jesus being Jesus in us – Galatians 2:20). For this to be a reality, one must cultivate the habit of regularly going to the cross in a lifestyle of repentance and surrender through the Holy Spirit’s empowering (Colossians 1:27; Philippians 3:3; Acts 20:24).

8. Received Ministry - We recognize that true ministry is initiated by God (John 3:26-27; 17:4-8), and that He anoints only what He initiates. This true ministry is not the result of human commitment and striving (Psalm 127:1), but of his surrender (John 7:37-39; Ephesians 5:18) and faithful obedience to God’s leading. This places the emphasis not on a person’s qualifications or degrees, but on God’s progressively revealed call for his or her life and ministry (Romans 1:4b-5; Hebrews 5:4; Colossians 4:17).

9. Berean Mentality / getting people into the Word - We recognize that the greatest accomplishment of the Reformation was taking the Word of God out of the exclusive domain of the leadership and placing it into the hands of the laity as well. Therefore, for the church to be what it should be, all members need to be encouraged to receive the Word with great eagerness, and to be equipped to study the Word for themselves so that their beliefs and behavior are shaped by the Scriptures instead of man’s opinions (Acts 17:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).

10. Leadership Development Commitment - We recognize that the church must take responsibility to train and develop its own leaders from within Ephesians 4:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:2). It must make sure that the leader is adequately equipped to walk with God, to handle the Word accurately, and cannot merely place those with leadership ability shaped in the business community or other churches (Matthew 10:25-28). This is primarily accomplished through our SALT Institute (Servant Approach Leadership Training), and the equipping work of our pastors and teachers.

11. Glory to God - The functioning of the church is never to bring glory to itself or a preacher, a program or a denomination, but as 1 Peter 4:11 states, “Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 15:6; Colossians 3:17, 23-24).

12. Leader/Model Church – Throughout the past quarter century, God has called Woodland Park to define itself not by what other churches do, but by searching the Scriptures diligently in order to align itself with what God’s Word says. As a result, we have sought to be a model to other churches in areas where this has been undertaken (elder leadership – 1 Peter 5:1-5; church discipline – Matthew 18:15-21, etc). This dynamic expresses itself in a commitment to partnering with and assisting other churches

Doctrinal Distinctives

1. Inerrancy / Authority of Scripture - We believe the Bible to be the pure Word of God (Ps. 12:6), wholly true (John 17:17), from which nothing can be subtracted and to which nothing can be added. We believe in the plenary, verbal inspiration of the Scriptures in their original manuscripts (2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17).

2. Total Depravity of Man - Man’s natural condition—apart from any grace exerted by God to restrain or transform man—is one of total depravity. Apart from redemption, our rebellion against God is total. While in rebellion, everything done, even those things society deems “good,” is unacceptable to God. Unregenerate man is completely unable to submit to God and do good, and, as such, is deserving of eternal punishment (Ps. 14; Rom. 1-3).

3. Jesus - God in Flesh / incapable of sinning - We believe in Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, co-equal and co-eternal with God (Is. 7:14; 9:10; Mic. 5:2; Zech. 12:10; Jn. 1:1-3, 14; 1 Tim. 3:16), sinless in His earthly life, and, as God in the flesh, incapable of sinning (Heb. 4:15; 1 John 1:5).

4. Unlimited Atonement - God so loved the world, not the elect only, that He gave His only Son that whoever believes should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Christ died not simply for the elect, but for “the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

5. Irresistible Grace - We believe that no man seeks after God unless the Father draws him (John 6:37). Irresistible grace does not mean that the influence of the Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, but that He is able to overcome our resistance. Since man is totally depraved, he will never believe in Christ unless God overcomes his rebellion (Acts 13:48).

6. Salvation by Grace through Faith - We believe that salvation is by grace through faith, a gift of God, not as a result of works (Eph. 2:8, 9). We believe that we were saved unto good works (Eph. 2:10; Titus 2:11-12), but not by them. Nor is our salvation sustained in any way by good works (Rom. 3:27-28).

7. Unconditional Election - When a person believes, he must recognize the sovereign election of God working hand-in-hand with his exercise of choice (Eph. 1:4; Rom. 8:28-29). Election is unconditional in that there is no condition he must meet before God chooses to save him. While election is unconditional, final salvation is not. We must meet the condition of faith in Christ in order to inherit eternal life (John 6:37).

8. Believer’s Baptism by Immersion - We believe that baptism is an act of obedience required of believers (Mt. 28:19-20), and to be performed after salvation, not for salvation (1 Pt. 3:21). Therefore, we do not accept infant baptismor baptism prior to belief as Scriptural or appropriate. We see immersion as the method embraced and modeled in the Scriptures (e.g. the Ethiopian eunuch – Acts 8:38-39) and in early church history, consistent with the principles it is to represent, namely the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:3-5).

9. Eternal Security - Since true salvation is by grace through faith, it cannot be “undone” by sin. True believers are indwelt by Christ, and sealed by His Spirit (Eph. 1:13), who is the “pledge” of our redemption (Eph. 1:14). For our salvation to fail, He must fail. God’s conviction of sin and wooing grace toward repentance will always abide with the genuine believer. One who continues in sin must question if he has ever experienced saving faith (1 John 3:6–10).

10. Pre-Millennial / Pre-Tribulation - We believe in a distinction between God’s dealings with the church and with Israel (Rom. 9-11), that the rapture of the church will precede the “70th Week of Daniel,” (Dan. 9:27) that a seven year period will occur prior to the Lord’s return (1 Th. 4:13-5:10), and that a literal reign of Christ on earth of 1,000 years will follow (Rev. 20:1-6).

In addition to these Doctrinal positions, and those further explained in our Church Constitution, we recognize the following views as divergent:

1. Christian Reconstructionism - Christian Reconstructionism (similar to Post Millennialism and Dominion Theology) states that the church’s task and responsibility is to usher in the Kingdom of God through the reconstruction of secular society to fit Christian standards and norms by the church’s being involved in social issues and services.  While we recognize that the Bible commands that we feed the hungry, provide for widows, orphans, the sick, and stand against evil as found in the killing of the innocent (abortion, the holocaust, euthanasia, etc.), the second coming of Christ and His ushering in the Kingdom are not dependent upon the action of the church, but will happen as God promised in the Scriptures.

2. Deliverance - By this we mean, not the casting out of demons per se, but the practice of casting demons out of Christians. It is our understanding of the teaching of Scripture that demonic habitation of a believer is incompatible with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the idea of a needed mediary to cast out such a demon, whether internal or clinging to the outside of a believer, is not substantiated in Scripture.

3. Health/Wealth/Prosperity Gospel - the view that God’s will is always our healing, and walking with Him leads to financial blessing—a focus on the gifts instead of the giver.

4. Psychology - Not all that is said by psychology is wrong, but God’s Word, not psychology, has the final say. Contemporary psychology may be helpful in understanding ourselves, but only God, by His Spirit can change us. We must be careful not to move into a mentality of change only occurring on a human, self-effort level. Any message from contemporary psychology, Secular or Christian, that affirms or suggests the inadequacy of the accurate handling of God’s Word to address and resolve the problems of life is divergent and unacceptable.

5. New Age Mysticism - Christianity is in danger of adopting New Age ideologies in many areas such as Holistic Health and medicine, subjective mysticism, meditation involving emptying the mind instead of filling it with Scripture, and other Eastern concepts.

6. Tongues/Baptism in the Spirit - We see the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues as an evangelistic gift (1 Cor. 14:22), not to be made prominent, not to be sought after, not a prayer language (1 Cor. 12:30, 31), not an evidence of salvation or “second blessing.” We see the baptism of the Spirit as occurring only once for all time (1 Cor. 12:13: For by [lit. “in”] one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…), our identification by the Spirit with Christ at salvation.