Distinctions

Scripture-centered
We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament is the only sufficient, certain, infallible and sufficient rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.  The Bible is not merely a collection of inspirational stories, morals or proverbial principles to help you attain riches and health.  The Bible is the special revelation of God and the authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, does not depend upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God who is truth itself, and the author thereof.  Therefore, we believe and receive it because it is the Word of God.

Through God’s Word we will contend for the faith by showing the philosophies of man to be foolish.  We will preach the whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, which is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture.  Our purpose is to preach the Word for it is only through the Word that men will be convicted of sin and illuminated and regenerated by the Spirit of God.

We believe the canon of Scripture is closed, which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.  The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself.

All controversies of religion, all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined and determined by the Word of God delivered to the Church and in which our faith is finally resolved.

“Whatever God teaches or commands is of sovereign authority. Whatever conveys to us an infallible knowledge of his teachings and commands is an infallible rule. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the only organs through which, during the present dispensation, God conveys to us a knowledge of his will about what we are to believe concerning himself, and what duties he requires of us.” –A.A. Hodge, 1860

Reformed
Reformed churches are distinct from other evangelical churches in that we are descendants in heritage, doctrine and practice from the Reformation.  Many evangelicals have rejected our Reformed heritage and as a result have made shipwreck of the faith, not because they reject tradition but in rejecting the truth of Scripture faithfully expressed through the Reformers.

The general consensus of reformed theology is the essence of semper reformada, or always reforming back to the Bible.   We agree with the Reformers, and therefore take our place with them as Reformers in our day, concerning the 5 sola’s of the Reformation.  These five distinct foundations of Reformed theology returned the Church back to its ancient and Apostolic faith.  Therefore, when we say we are Reformed we also mean that we are apostolic and catholic.  The 5 Sola’s are:
  • Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
  • Solus Christus - Christ Alone
  • Sola Gratia - Grace Alone
  • Sola Fide - Faith Alone
  • Soli Deo Gloria - The Glory of God Alone

“A reformation is as much needed now as in Luther's day, and by God's grace we shall have it, if we trust in Him and publish His truth...We want such a one as Martin Luther to rise from his tomb. If Martin were now to visit our so-called reformed churches, he would say with all his holy boldness ‘I was not half a reformer when I was alive before, now I will make a thorough work of it.’”  –Charles Hadden Spurgeon, Former Pastor, Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England

Covenantal
The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.  Therefore, we hold to what is known as Covenant Theology.

Because man brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace, wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved.  This requirement of the Covenant of Grace was fulfilled for us by Christ.  Because of the weakness of man’s flesh, Christ was manifested in the flesh to exercise true faith in God by living a sinless life to be offered as our sacrifice for sins.  As our sacrifice His righteousness and faith is imputed unto us.  Therefore, those who are ordained unto eternal life, and for whom Christ died, are given this faith required for salvation.  We are enabled to will and to believe through the operation of the Holy Spirit.

This covenant is revealed in the gospel beginning with Adam in the promise of salvation through the seed of the woman.  This covenant was continually and progressively revealed until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament.

This complete discovery is summarized in that the eternal covenant was a transaction between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect; and it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.  Therefore, we reject the rampant individualism and dualism of dispensationalism.

Because the promise of this covenant is unto us, our children and those afar off, we encourage and equip parents to train up their children in the ways of the Lord.  We worship together as families in the church and practice family worship in our homes.

Confessional
As Reformed Christians, we profess to believe that the confessions of the Reformation are a faithful summary and interpretation of the main tenets of the Word of God.  At Holy Trinity our confessional standard is the 1689 Second London Confession of Faith.  However, we utilize the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith and its Shorter and Larger Catechism for additional insight for our growth in knowledge.  The only difference being our practice of the immersion of believers as proclaimed in Scripture and explained in the London confession.  By a creed or confession of faith, we mean a human expression of those great doctrines in the Holy Scriptures which are believed by the framers of it to be taught; and which are drawn out in regular order, for the purpose of ascertaining how far those who wish to unite in church fellowship are really agreed in the fundamental principles of Christianity.

"There never was a man in the world without a creed. What is a creed? A creed is what you believe. What is a confession? It is a declaration of what you believe. That declaration may be oral or it may be committed to writing, but the creed is there either expressed or implied."  –B.H. Carroll

"I am persuaded that the use of a good Catechism in all our families will be a great safeguard against the increasing errors of the times..."  —C. H. Spurgeon

Baptist
In stating our Baptist affinity, this is not to be understood in the modern sense.  Our Baptist distinctive is with the English Baptists of the Reformation.  The English Baptists were being slanderously accused of association with the Anabaptists and in reply issued the London Confession of Faith in 1644 and 1689.  These confessions were issued to show they were falsely being called Anabaptists.  Because Baptists have lost their true doctrinal heritage, most claim secession from the Anabaptists.   This causes great confusion with our usage of the term.  Like our predecessors, we too must guard against and answer any false accusations that we are part of these non-Reformed Anabaptists who have usurped the name Baptist.  In spite of these misunderstandings or slanderous accusations, we do affirm our belief in a regenerate church membership, baptism for believers, immersion as baptism’s mode, and the self-governance of churches in voluntary association.  However, as the Calvinist Southern Baptist, Dr. B.H. Carrol, wrote, “Immersion is not disclaimed as a Baptist doctrine, but it is disclaimed as a distinctive tenet.”  Baptism is not our distinguishing doctrine.  Most of our beliefs regarding baptism does not differ in principle from other Reformed churches.  The difference essentially lies in the mode and the timing.  All Reformed churches reject baptismal regeneration and the padeo-Baptists view infant baptism as dedication and not salvific.  To this we agree with our Reformed brethren in the signs and seals of the sacramental means of grace.  These things define us more than the mode of baptism.  Yet, we affirm that immersion is the true symbol of this sign of grace and the baptism of believers the only true symbolic seal.

Catholic
We are reformed because our doctrine and practice is rooted in the reformed confessions of faith.  We are Catholic because we believe and practice the universal (Catholic) faith as expressed in the ancient creeds.

The term “Catholic” is often misunderstood and maligned by many thinking “Catholic” and “Protestant” are antonyms.  However, this view is strictly a modern and American understanding of the word “Catholic.”  The ancient Church understood “Catholic” to mean orthodox and apostolic.  Catholic was the opposite of heresy.

Today, many Americans, especially Evangelicals, associate the word Catholic as synonymous with Roman Catholic.  This is not the case.  The word Catholic was first used as early as the 2nd Century to show the universal scope of the Church.

Obviously, the English word “Catholic” was not specifically used since English was not even in existence.  However, the Greek and Latin equivalent was used, meaning the Greek and Latin words have been translated “catholic” in English because of the meaning of the words.  The reason the “catholic” equivalent was used by Christians in the 2nd Century was not because they were Roman Catholics but because they believed in and was conveying the universal and apostolic nature of the Church.  This is the context of our use of the word “Catholic.”

The Baptist confession of 1689 and the Presbyterian confession of 1646 both attest to the catholicity of the Church.

“The catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” –Second London Confession of Faith, 1689

“The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” –The Westminster Confession of Faith, 1646

Historical
That which is old or historical does not make it true but that which is new must be looked upon with skepticism.  Solomon declares there is nothing new under the sun and so anything declared to be trendy or cutting edge is always a revision of some ancient heresy.  We do not look at our heritage as proof of our orthodoxy but we can follow the orthodoxy of the Apostles and prophets through our heritage.  We are a historical church in that we can trace our Reformed heritage back to the Reformation.  Included in this great cloud of witnesses is the Regular Baptists, Southern Presbyterians, American Puritans and Separatists, English Baptists, Scottish Presbyterians finding their roots in Wittenburg and Geneva.  This Great Reformation was the revival of the Augustinian orthodoxy that preceded the apostasy of the medieval period.  This Augustinian period was the continuation of the Apostolic faith and practice upon which the Church is governed.  Therefore, in ongoing proclamation and advancement of this faith we are historically united with the endless chain of the ancient Church of Jesus Christ.

Liturgical
Liturgy is simply one’s order of worship and the elements involved.  Liturgy means service or work of the people.  A liturgy is the pattern or customary form of public worship.  Even those who claim to be non-liturgical have a liturgy.  If you go to most fundamental type churches they usually have some form as of the following:
  • Welcome
  • Hymn
  • Invocation/Opening Prayer
  • Announcements
  • Hymn
  • Offering
  • Hymn/Special Music
  • Sermon
  • Invitation
  • Benediction/Closing Prayer

Our liturgy comes from our doctrine and our doctrine from our liturgy.  What we mean by that is our liturgy is an expression of our beliefs.  Our form of worship comes from the Holy Scriptures.  While our liturgy comes from our doctrine it is also true that our doctrine comes from our liturgy.  We do not mean that our doctrine is based off our liturgy but that our liturgy proclaims doctrine.  Our call to worship proclaims the call for all men to worship and serve the Triune God.  Our confession proclaims the sinfulness of man and his inability to worship and serve God as commanded.  This requires atonement or the cleansing of sin through the mediator sent by the Father to reconcile man to God.  Our consecration proclaims the need of the believer to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.  Our communion proclaims the fellowship we have with God and His saints through the body and blood of Christ.  Our commission proclaims the purpose for which we have been called into this fellowship, which is to work through and in Christ’s Church in reconciling the world to God.  Therefore, our liturgy comes from God’s redemptive work in creation and proclaims God sovereign redemption of His people.  Our liturgy consists of the following doctrinal premise and proclamation.
  • God Calls Us to Worship
  • God Cleanses Us
  • God Consecrates Us by His Word
  • God Communes with Us
  • God Commissions Us

Our liturgy is filled with Scripture to proclaim man’s depravity and to show that salvation is of the Lord.  Therefore, our worship services are not designed to find good in man, elevate man, focus on man or provide some kind of works to ease men’s conscious.  Our liturgy proclaims the Word in songs, prayers, reading, preaching, and pictorially showing Christ’s death.  The general message to sinners is to look to Jesus and live.

“Those who set up a fictitious worship, merely worship and adore their own delirious fancies; indeed, they would never dare so to trifle with God, had they not previously fashioned him after their own childish conceits.”  ―John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

“Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through Music.”  ―Martin Luther

“The worship to which we are called in our renewed state is far too important to be left to personal preferences, to whims, or to marketing strategies. It is the pleasing of God that is at the heart of worship. Therefore, our worship must be informed at every point by the Word of God as we seek God’s own instructions for worship that is pleasing to Him.”  ―R.C. Sproul, A Taste of Heaven: Worship in the Light of Eternity

Evangelistic
As we worship together as God’s people, we desire others to join in the fellowship of Christ. Therefore, we preach Christ and Him crucified because there is no fellowship outside of Christ.  Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Therefore, we preach the hidden wisdom of the cross, which is foolishness to those who are perishing but to those who are being saved it is the power of God unto salvation. However, we do not stop with the gospel call, we seek to disciple them (Matt. 28:19) and seek to offer opportunities where we may grow as disciples. However, we do not rely upon programs or techniques, but rest on God’s unchanging grace. We believe the best advertisement is in changed lives, and we are excited to tell others of this life-changing power of the Gospel. We strongly want Jesus’ statement to be true of us, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn. 13:35).

"Evangelism that does not lead to purity of life and purity of doctrine is just as faulty and incomplete as an orthodoxy which does not lead to a concern for, and communication with, the lost."  –Francis Schaeffer

It is this Reformed, Trinitarian-centered theology that will provide Mooresville and the southwestern metropolitan area of Indianapolis with a church that will contend for the ancient and historic faith of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, Holy Trinity provides central Indiana with a Biblical alternative to the self-righteous philosophy of man-centered moralistic works salvation and the relativism of liberal churches conforming to the spirit of the age.  Our Reformed philosophy declares that without union with Christ, who alone fulfilled the Law, there is no true Christianity.

"We believe also in the holy Church, that is, the Catholic Church. For heretics violate the faith itself by a false opinion about God; schismatics, however, withdraw from fraternal love by hostile separations, although they believe the same things we do. Consequently, neither heretics nor schismatics belong to the Catholic Church; not heretics, because the Church loves God; and not schismatics, because the Church loves neighbor" –Augustine (Faith and the Creed 10:21; A.D. 393).

"Be not deceived, my brethren: If anyone follows a maker of schism [i.e., is a schismatic], he does not inherit the kingdom of God; if anyone walks in strange doctrine [i.e., is a heretic], he has no part in the passion [of Christ]. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of his blood; one altar, as there is one bishop, with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons" – Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to the Philadelphians 3:3–4:1; A.D. 110).
"In the Church God has placed apostles, prophets, teachers, and every other working of the Spirit, of whom none of those are sharers who do not conform to the Church, but who defraud themselves of life by an evil mind and even worse way of acting. Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and all grace" – Irenaeus (Against Heresies3:24:1; A.D. 189).

"[The spiritual man] shall also judge those who give rise to schisms, who are destitute of the love of God, and who look to their own special advantage rather than to the unity of the Church; and who for trifling reasons, or any kind of reason which occurs to them, cut in pieces and divide the great and glorious body of Christ, and so far as in them lies, destroy it—men who prate of peace while they give rise to war, and do in truth strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel. For they can bring about no ‘reformation’ of enough importance to compensate for the evil arising from their schism. . . . True knowledge is that which consists in the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place [i.e., the Catholic Church]" – Irenaeus (ibid., 4:33:7–8).
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”  Ephesians 5:23

“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” –Ephesians 1:22-23

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” –Ephesians 5:25-26

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” –Acts 20:28

“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” –Ephesians 3:21 

If you confess these same truths of Scripture or if you are wanting to learn more, we invite you to worship with us and to participate in establishing a community of worshipers for the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

And to Him, my Redeemer,
with the Father,
and the Holy Spirit,
Three Persons, one God,
be glory forever, world without end,
Amen, and Amen.