Beliefs and History
Statement of Faith
Our statement of faith describes what we believe as a local church. Our beliefs as Christians are merely attempts to explain what we think the Bible teaches about a variety of topics. Biblical beliefs should never be confused with personal opinions, which have no authority in the church. As a local church, we desire to serve our visitors with a straightforward statement of faith, one that clearly explains what our church believes the Bible to teach. We are a church that takes God’s truth seriously. We believe that sound doctrine glorifies God and truly helps people, whereas false doctrine dishonors God and harms people. While taking care to avoid unnecessary doctrinal division, it is necessary to distinguish true doctrine from false doctrine. Our statement of faith is a summary of the biblical doctrines that unite us together in real Christian fellowship. We acknowledge that Jesus has preserved His church in every generation. The church of Jesus Christ has left a rich history of creeds and confessions. This local church stands in the Reformed Baptist tradition and substantially agrees with the historic Baptist confessions. We have leaned heavily on these confessions in order to develop our GBC statement of faith, specifically the the New Hampshire Confession of 1833, as well as the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689, the Abstract of Principles of 1858, and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
Our church covenant describes how we live as a local church. As our statement of faith seeks to clarify what we believe as a church about biblical doctrine, so our membership covenant seeks to clarify what we believe as a church about biblical living. Sound doctrine must be undergirded by holy living, as Paul instructed Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16 to “keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.” Our membership covenant is meant to encourage our members to take responsibility for each other’s holiness, as we seek to live out the "one another" commands of Scripture.
Our constitution describes how we operate as a local church. This includes matters such as how leadership and membership are established and how we make congregational decisions together as a church. In a culture that is increasingly marked by church corruption, we believe that clarity in these matters helps Jesus’ sheep feel safe, especially those who have been affected by ungodly church leadership or church practices.
Statement on Divorce and Remarriage
In January of 2018, the elders of Grace Bible Church adopted a formal position on divorce and remarriage. Please review this statement before you seek to join our church, as it details the church’s position on this sensitive and painful issue and how members will be counseled in this area. We give special thanks to John Piper and Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as much of this statement is adapted from a similar document produced by their church.
A History of Grace Bible Church
Grace Bible Church began in 2005, when several families began to gather in the home of one of the founders of the church to study the Bible and pray for wisdom from God about whether or not to start a new church in the community. The first members saw the need for an elder-led church in Oxford, committed to expository teaching and small group life, and open to a different approach to worship music. The church began holding public worship services in the Oxford Conference Center in the fall of 2005, and remained there for over four years. Every Sunday over those four years, volunteers in the church packed and unpacked all the equipment used in the worship service and in the children’s ministry.
In December of 2009, Grace moved into its first facility on Heritage Drive. Grace remained at that location until January 2015. The church grew from those few families to over 200 members, with 600-800 attending the worship services on Sunday mornings and more children than the facility could handle. After much prayer and conversation, on January 11, 2015, Grace moved its Sunday morning worship to the recently renovated Oxford Middle School. This move dramatically increased our worship space and children ministry capacity. In October of 2018, Grace moved to a facility on West Oxford Loop as an office building.
In August of 2020, Grace moved to a building on University Avenue to serve as an office and meet additional ministry needs. For a couple of years, Grace operated out of this facility, utilizing it for both worship services and office space. In February of 2021, Grace entered into a long-term agreement to lease our facility at 1720a University Avenue. With more than 21,000 square feet of space, we believed this space could serve the needs of our congregation for decades to come. We knew that this renovation project would enable us to enlarge and update audio and visual capabilities in the auditorium, update the kitchen and gymnasium, provide new offices for staff, replace HVAC units, provide a dedicated and secure children’s area, renovate the gymnasium, and create dedicated space for youth and college students.
On April 30, 2023, Grace Bible Church held its first service in the renovated 1720 University Avenue facility, construction having begun in July of 2022 (click here to see photos of the renovation). Grace has grown and many of the faces have changed, yet the mission remains the same: to preach and live out the gospel of Jesus Christ in Oxford, and to make and support disciples who will take that same gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. By God’s grace we hope to continually grow more and more into that mission, and to fulfill the biblical mandate to “present everyone perfect in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).