Statement of Theological Distinctives
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” Titus 2:1
We live in a pluralistic society that values sincerity and experience above truth. Our culture views truth as relevant to each person’s own experience and preferences, and sadly this way of thinking has crept into the Church as well. As a result, many Christians have a negative view of doctrine, believing that those who insist on doctrinal specifics are divisive and arrogant. As a local church, we strongly believe that truth does matter and that God has spoken to us with authority and clarity in His word. We reject our culture’s dominant worldview and embrace biblical doctrine as necessary for true and lasting unity within the Church. As a result, we have deep-rooted convictions that we are passionate to proclaim and to live out in our daily experience. At the same time, we do believe that it is extremely important for us to have an attitude of humility towards other believers with whom we disagree on secondary doctrinal matters, and to pursue gospel-centered unity for the glory of God. Therefore, we reject both an esoteric and militant mindset in regards to our distinctives and seek to live with humble conviction in light of God’s grace.
Many of the doctrines mentioned in this statement are recognized by all Christians, across denominational and camp lines, but some of them are secondary doctrines over which genuine believers are not always in complete agreement. While we believe that God has revealed Himself with clarity in His word and that our failure to understand is often the result of our sinfulness and/or lack of study, we also recognize that there is much that will remain a mystery until we see Him face to face, and know as we are known. If you are seeking to become a member of Kaleo, complete agreement with every secondary doctrine in our distinctives is not required, but you should know that you will be submitting yourself to leaders who preach, teach and shepherd in accordance with these convictions.
GOD-CENTERED UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL
We believe that God gets all the glory for the work of our salvation and that the greatest gift of the gospel is God Himself
The gospel is the good news of what God has graciously accomplished for sinners in and through the sinless life, sacrificial death, and bodily resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ, and is applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit. This gospel provides forgiveness from sin, and complete justification before God, and is the foundation for our confidence in the ultimate triumph of God’s kingdom and the consummation of His purpose for all creation in the new heavens and new earth so that we can eternally delight in Him and dwell together as His people in His glorious presence. All of Scripture points to and is connected to this good news of the gospel of Christ, it is the foundation for the life of the Church and is our only hope for eternal life.
We believe that Christ Jesus is our representative and substitute. On the cross, he canceled sin, satisfied the wrath of God, and, by taking on Himself the full penalty of our sins, reconciled us to the Father. By his resurrection, Jesus was vindicated by God, broke the power of death, defeated Satan, and brought everlasting life to all His people. This good news proclamation is not only the means by which people are saved, but also the truth and power by which we are sanctified; it is the truth of the gospel that enables us to do what is pleasing to God genuinely and joyfully, and to grow in progressive conformity to the image of Christ.
Jesus is the initiator and completer of our faith. He saves and secures us and we respond and persevere only because of and by his grace. We believe that our loving and sinless God reigns in sovereign control over all things, including our salvation, and that this in no way diminishes a person’s responsibility to believe in Christ or marginalizes the necessity and power of prayer, perseverance in loving-obedience, and gospel-proclamation, but rather reinforces and establishes them as the ordained means by which God accomplishes His eternal purposes. The gospel is a free and bona fide offer of salvation to every human being, and should be preached to all without exception or qualification. Because God chose the lowly things of this world, the despised things, the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, no human being can ever boast before Him—Christ Jesus has become our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. God gets all the glory and our eternal joy is found in Him. (Mark 1:1; Luke 24:46–47; John 3:16–18; Romans 1:16–25; 1 Corinthians 1:18–31; 2:2; 15:1–4; 2 Corinthians 4:1–6;9:13; Galatians 1:6–9; Ephesians 1:7–10; Colossians 1:19–20; 2 Timothy 1:8–14; 2 Peter 3:11–13; Jude 1:3–4; John 1:12–13;6:37–44; 10:25–30; Acts 13:48; 16:30–31; Hebrews 12:2; Romans 3:1–4:25; 8:1–17, 31–39; 9:1–23; 10:8–10; Ephesians 1:4–5; 2:8–10; Philippians 2:12–13; Titus 3:3–7; 1 John 1:7,9)
We believe that faithful preaching takes the main point of a biblical passage and makes it the main point of the sermon, and applies it to life today
Expositional (or expository) preaching is essential because it is through the word of God that the Holy Spirit convicts, converts, builds up, and sanctifies God’s people. It is not simply teaching verse-by-verse through a book of the Bible, it is understanding the main point of a text within the context of that book and within the larger framework of the biblical story of redemption and making the thrust of the sermon the same as that of the text. We are convicted that this is best accomplished by preaching through entire books of the Bible. However, we may also employ topical series for the benefit of the church for particular seasons, but even then, each sermon is to be grounded in biblical exposition as defined above. Preaching that uses the biblical text’s main points as the main points of the sermon, makes God’s agenda rule the church, not the preacher’s. The Bible has many examples of this kind of preaching and teaching: Levitical priests taught the law, Ezra and the Levites read from the law and explained its meaning to the people, and Peter and the apostles expounded Scripture and urged their hearers to respond with repentance and faith. Also, because God’s transforming glory is supremely displayed in the gospel, all faithful preaching should point to Jesus in one way or another (Deuteronomy 33:10; Nehemiah 8:8; Acts 2:14-41, 13:16-47; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 4:1-2, 2 Corinthians 3:17-4:6).
We recognize and rest upon the necessity of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit for all life and ministry
The Holy Spirit is fully God, equal with the Father and Son, whose primary ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. He also convicts unbelievers of their need for Christ and imparts spiritual life through regeneration (the new birth). The Spirit baptizes, permanently indwells, graciously sanctifies, lovingly leads, and empowers all who are brought to faith in Christ so they might live in obedience to the inerrant Scriptures. The Holy Spirit lives in all those who truly belong to Christ. However, all believers should seek to be filled with the Spirit; coming under His influence in their ongoing daily experience. The Spirit also empowers all believers through spiritual gifts. We do not see sufficient evidence in Scripture to conclude that any of the gifts mentioned in the New Testament have ceased to operate today within the church. However, we do not endorse or condone the abuses, overemphasis, and fabrication of miraculous gifts that are seen in some present-day movements and denominations. The Spirit has bestowed the gifts for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. Therefore, authentic spiritual gifts will always bring glory to God and not to man. The gifts are divine provisions central to spiritual growth and effective ministry and are to be eagerly desired, faithfully developed, and lovingly exercised; always in accordance with biblical guidelines. (Luke 4:1,14;5:17; 10:21; John 1:12–13; 3:1–15, 34; 14:12; 15:26–27; 16:7–15; Acts 2:14–21;4:29–30;10:38; Romans 8:9;12:3–8; 1 Corinthians 12:7–13; 12:28–31; 14:1–33; 2 Corinthians 1:21–22; Galatians 3:1–5; Ephesians 1:13–14;5:18) See this video from Sam Storms and Desiring God
EQUALITY AND COMPLEMENTARITY OF MEN AND WOMEN
We are committed to the fundamental spiritual and moral equality and complementarity of men and women
We believe men and women are created equally in the image of God, yet with distinct roles in the family and church that are complementary in nature. This design of God for men and women is ultimately a beautiful gift that is intended for their happiness and for His glory. Both men and women are called to use their gifts fully in the ministry of the church under the servant leadership of biblically qualified men who serve as elders. While we hold the biblical conviction that the office of elder is reserved for men, we believe that the scriptures do speak of both deacons and deaconesses and therefore we extend the opportunity to serve in this capacity to both qualified men and women.
In the marriage relationship, husbands and wives are called to display the Gospel story of Christ laying down His life for His bride the church and the church respectfully submitting to Christ. As such, husbands are called to sacrificially love their wives, while the wife is called to respectfully submit to her husband. Both husbands and wives are responsible to God for spiritual nurture and vitality in the home, but God has given to the man primary responsibility to lead his wife and family in accordance with the servant-leadership and sacrificial love characterized by Jesus Christ. The principle of male headship should not be confused with, nor give any hint of, domineering control. Rather it is to be the loving, tender, and nurturing care of a godly man who is himself under the kind and gentle authority of Jesus Christ. God has uniquely designed each gender to represent his image in the household and since the church is the household of God, its order should be an example of the order in the household. Therefore, men are called to humbly and sacrificially lead the church, while partnering in ministry with women. (Genesis 1:26–27; 2:18; Acts 18:24–26; 1 Corinthians 11:2–16; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:22–33; Colossians 3:18–19; 1 Timothy 2:11–15; 3:1–11; Titus 2:3–5; 1 Peter 3:1–7) Watch this video from The Gospel Coalition for more on this doctrine.
The Kingdom of God has already been inaugurated but will not be consummated until the second coming of Christ
We believe the kingdom of God is where the rule and reign of Jesus Christ is expressed and experienced. Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God in His bodily ministry on the earth and continues to establish it by His Spirit through His body, the church, today. We believe the consummation of the Kingdom will be fulfilled when Jesus returns.
So we live in between the inauguration and consummation of Jesus’ Kingdom. Presently, we as the Church serve as a foretaste of the future reality when all will recognize the authority of Christ. As the Church submits to and serves Christ today, the world gets to see and experience a preview of the future under the full rule and reign of Jesus Christ. (Mark 1:15; Luke 17:20-21; Acts 2:16-36; Ephesians 1:10; 22-23; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 20-21)
We acknowledge the variety of views (including different interpretations of the millennium) within inaugurated eschatology and allow for this variety within our leadership. We believe that all Christians should eagerly expect the imminent return of Jesus and should not necessarily divide over the specific details and timing of events surrounding His second coming. However, we believe it is important to study and teach on these matters as they are addressed in Scripture, striving to accurately interpret these passages while humbly interacting with the various viewpoints held by devout believers over the centuries.
Kaleo embraces a missionary understanding of the local church and its role as the primary means by which God chooses to establish his kingdom
The church has a clear biblical mandate to look beyond its own community to the neighborhood, the nation, and the world as a whole; thus mission is not an optional program in the church but an essential element in the identity of the church. We are called to make Christ known through the Gospel and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring His lordship to bear on every dimension of life. The primary way we fulfill this mission is through the equipping of the saints for ministry in our local church and seeking to make Jesus known in our local communities. Our aim is that Jesus Christ would be more fully formed in each person through the ministry of Kaleo and that God would empower us to share the good news of Jesus Christ in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and families, sharing in and celebrating His redemptive work together. We also believe we are responsible neither to retreat from our culture nor to conform to it, but with humility, through the Spirit and the truth of the gospel, to engage it boldly as we seek to see lives transformed and brought into submission to the lordship of Christ.
In order to accomplish this mission, we strive to make disciples by being intentional about cultivating environments where life on life, life in community and life on mission can take place. Life on life allows for visibility and accessibility. We see each other’s lives in the normal everyday stuff so that people know what it looks like to follow Jesus in all of life, and we can assess whether people are truly growing in obedience or simply in head knowledge. Life in community is crucial for a disciple to grow in the likeness of Jesus. One-on-one discipleship alone will often lead to a disciple looking a lot like the one who discipled them. Community discipleship will lead to disciples looking more like Christ as He works through His body and uses their diverse giftings and areas of maturity to conform believers to His image. And Life on Mission is a great way for areas of life that need gospel-led repentance and faith to be brought to the surface while equipping the church with hands on disciple-making experience. (Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 10:5–25; 28:18–20; Luke 4:18–19; 24:46–47; Acts 28:31; Romans 10:14–15; 2 Corinthians 10:4–5; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 3:10; 4:11–16; 2 Timothy 4:1–5;Hebrews 10:23–25;1 Peter 2:4–5, 9–10)
With whom are we affiliated?
Kaleo is a non-denominational local congregation. However, we gladly band together with any other congregations or organizations that make the gospel of Jesus the central point of their mission and activity.