The focus of the ministry at Hope Church Toronto West is to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) in the spirit of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37–39). This is fulfilled as disciples of Jesus Christ are made. God is glorified as we manifest His presence in doing so (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Our obedience to the Lord’s command is revealed in our lives as we worship Christ, walk with Him, and work for Him.

We believe the disciples of Jesus Christ should minister to one another in the local church. It’s not about one or a small number of pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. It’s about all disciples using their God-given spiritual gifts to provide mutual ministry in the context of the vibrant and strong local church. (Ephesians 4:11-12)

Hope Church Toronto West offers many opportunities for every disciple to grow in relationship to Jesus Christ and connect with others. These opportunities include dynamic weekend worship services, church-wide prayer meetings, special events as well as small groups and other fellowshipping activities.



We believe the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments to be the full record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind.  Different men, while writing according to their own styles and personalities, were supernaturally moved along by the Holy Spirit to record God’s very words, inerrant in the original writings.  Therefore, those applying themselves to study its literal, historical-grammatical context can accurately understand God’s Word.  Scripture is fully trustworthy as our final and sufficient authority for all of life (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).


We believe in the one living and true God, eternally (John 17:3) existing in perfect unity as three equally and fully divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20).  Each member of the Godhead, while executing distinct but complementary roles in redemptive history, has precisely the same nature, attributes, and being, and is equally worthy of the same glory and honour and obedience (John 1:1-4; Acts 5:3-4).


We believe God the Father created all things in six literal days for His glory according to His own will (Revelation 4:11), through His Son, Jesus Christ.  He upholds all things by the Word of His power and grace, exercising sovereign headship over all creation, providence, and redemption (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).


We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, moved by love in accordance with the will of the Father, took on human flesh (John 1:1, 14, 18).  Conceived through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the virgin Mary.  He, being fully God and fully man (John 14:8-9), lived a sinless life and sacrificially shed His blood and died on the cross in our place accomplishing redemption for all who place their faith in Him.  He arose visibly and bodily from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven, where, at the Father’s right hand, He is now Head of His Body the Church, the only Savior and Mediator between God and man, and will return to earth in power and glory to consummate His redemptive mission (1 Timothy 3:16).


We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ during this age.  He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  He draws the unredeemed to repentance and faith, and at salvation imparts new spiritual life to the believer, bringing that person into union with Christ and the Body of Christ.  The Holy Spirit sanctifies, seals, fills, guides, instructs, comforts, equips, empowers, permanently indwells at salvation, and bestows spiritual gifts to the believer for Christ-like living and service (John 16:8; 13:15; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 1:22; 4:11-12; Romans 8:9-17; 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:4-5, 11-13, 19; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 2:1-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12).


We believe that God created mankind-—male and female—in His own image and likeness, free of sin, to glorify Himself and enjoy His fellowship.  Tempted by Satan, but in the sovereign plan of God, man freely chose to disobey God, bringing sin, death and condemnation to all mankind.  All human beings, therefore, are totally depraved by nature and by choice.  Alienated from God without defense or excuse, and subject to God’s righteous wrath, all of mankind is in desperate need of the Savior (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-19; Romans 1:18, 32).


We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as the substitutionary atonement in our place, and that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ.  Before Creation, God chose those who would be saved and granted this unearned grace solely based on His sovereign good pleasure.  Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was the sole and complete payment for sins, fully satisfying God’s righteous wrath, for each person that turns from sin in repentance and places their faith in Christ alone by grace alone.  At salvation each person is made a new creation by the Holy Spirit, declared righteous before God, and secured as an adopted child of God forever.  Genuine faith continues in obedience and love for Jesus Christ with a life eager to glorify God and persevere to the end (Romans 8:37-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13).


We believe that upon placing one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, the believer is made part of the Body of Christ, the one universal Church, of which Jesus Christ is the Head.  The Scriptures command believers to gather locally in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, fellowship, the ordinances of baptism and communion, service to the local body through the development and use of talents and spiritual gifts, and outreach to the world to make disciples (Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 2:42-46; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18-20).  Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the Church under the watchful care of a plurality of elders.  A church’s members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Ephesians 4:16).


We believe that Christian baptism is a public declaration of the believer’s salvation in Christ, identifying with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection symbolized by immersion in water.  The Lord’s Supper is the united commemoration by believers of Christ’s death until He comes and should be preceded by a careful self-examination (Acts 2:41; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29).


We believe it is the aim, duty, and privilege of every believer and local church fellowship to glorify God by responding as active participants in the Great Commission call of Jesus Christ to go and make disciples of all nations.  We believe the primary focus and priority of this call is centered on efforts that establish, strengthen, and reproduce biblically-based churches, which will then plant churches that plant churches for future generations and God’s glory (Matthew 28:18-20).


We believe that marriage is created by God to be shared between one biological man and one biological woman, in a lifelong holy covenant, for the purpose of companionship, sexual intimacy, and procreation. Our created gender, sexuality, and sexual fulfillment are gifts from the Creator and are to be embraced with gratitude and worship. God designed sexual intimacy to be expressed and consummated only between a man and a woman when they are united as one flesh in marriage (Genesis 1:27–28, 2:24; Matthew 19:4–6).

Men and women are created in the image of God and stand equal in dignity and worth. (Gen 1:27; 9:6; Gal 3:28; James 3:9.) God designed gender, recognized through our biological sex, as an immutable reality essential to our identity as male and female. While the fall distorts God’s design for men and women (Gen. 3:16-19), Jesus makes men and women fellow heirs of God’s eternal grace (1 Peter 3:7) who differ in complementary and mutually beneficial ways.

We affirm the significant role women should play in the local church and that every leadership opportunity is open to women except those excluded by Scripture in the home and church. Specifically, the Scriptures state that husbands are called to lead and love in the home as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:22-33) and that a plurality of men are to serve the church as elders/pastors (1 Timothy 3:2).

As a church, we adopt the Nashville Statement on Biblical Sexuality and Gender. You can read the full text of the statement HERE.


We believe in and expectantly await the glorious, visible, personal, return of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The blessed hope of His return has vital bearing on the personal life, service, and mission of the believer (1 Thessalonians 4:1-18).  We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost.  The lost will be raised to judgment and experience eternal wrath in hell.  The saved will be raised to eternal joy in the new heaven and new earth in the manifested presence of God (Acts 1:3, 9; Hebrews 7:25-26).




Proclaiming the authority of God’s Word without apology


“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
2 Timothy 4:2



Lifting high the name of Jesus through worship


“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 4:24



Believing firmly in the power of prayer


“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
Ephesians 6:18



Sharing the good news of Jesus with boldness


“And also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Ephesians 6:19-20



The biblical teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in I Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9. Though there are three terms used for the offices of the church, i.e. bishop, elder, and deacon, a careful analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably.



The Scriptures are clear that the elder’s responsibility is the spiritual oversight of the congregation. The elder’s responsibility can be broken down into three main areas:

  • Ensuring that the doctrine of the church remains purely biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Board of Elders.
  • Ensuring that the direction of the church remains consistent with our statement of purpose and the four pillars statement as outlined in the Constitution.
  • Administering in love and humility the biblical process of church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6:1-4.

All decisions affecting the overall doctrine, direction, and discipline of the church will be the responsibility of the Board of Elders.


Scripture teaches a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1). Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor and leader. A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual giftedness, squares with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counsellors (Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 24:6). This truth does not eliminate the fact that all the elders may not serve in precisely the same way. In 1 Timothy 5:17, Paul allows for some distinction in focus and intensity of role. This means that one or more elders may stand out from the others as more public or influential in their ministries.

Qualifications (Titus 1:6-9)

  • Above reproach
  • Able to teach
  • Husband to one wife
  • Not addicted to wine
  • Temperate
  • Not antagonistic
  • Prudent
  • Uncontentious
  • Respectable
  • Free from the love of money
  • Hospitable
  • Manage own household
  • Not a new convert


The office of deacon is one that exists biblically to give leadership to the serving and belevolent functions of the church (Acts 6). The qualification for deacons are the same as elders in the area of character, but different in aptitude. The elders are to be “apt to teach” while the deacons are to be “able and proved as servants”.

Qualifications (I Timothy 3:8-12)

  • Individual of dignity
  • Above reproach
  • Not double-tongued
  • First tested as servants
  • Not addicted to wine
  • Spouses must be faithful
  • Dignified Temperate
  • Not fond of sordid gain
  • Holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience
  • Husband of one wife
  • Manages household well



We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, and that they contain all the words of God that we need in order to completely trust and obey Him. The Scriptures are inerrant in their original writings (Psalm 119:97-104Psalm 119:160Matthew 5:18John 5:46-47John 10:352 Timothy 3:15-16), and are infallible in their instruction (2 Peter 1:19), eternal in duration (Isaiah 40:81 Peter 1:23-25), the final authority and the standard for faith and practice (Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119), and sufficient for counsel in every issue of life (Psalm 19:14-172 Timothy 3:16). We believe the words of Scripture in the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic are inspired by God. Therefore we believe the Bible versions which translate God’s Word most literally into modern English should be preferred.


It is God’s divine decision to save a person (John 6:37John 6:44John 6:65Romans 8:29-30Romans 9:11-18Acts 13:48Acts 16:14Ephesians 1:4-6Ephesians 2:8-91 Peter 1:3) and it is God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience that lead that person to repentance (Romans 2:4). The Bible also teaches that each person is responsible to embrace or reject Jesus as Saviour and Lord, and God welcomes all who come to Him by faith apart from works (Matthew 22:1-14Luke 15:7Luke 20:9-18John 6:37John 7:37Romans 10:9-13Acts 16:30-34Acts 17:30.) Both of these truths—God’s sovereignty in salvation and man’s decision to embrace Christ—are taught in Scripture. Their co-existence is a mystery and is completely understood only in the mind of our omniscient God. All glory for the salvation of every believer belongs to God alone (Romans 3:21-31Ephesians 1:7-9Ephesians 2:8-9Jude 1:24-25).

Those who are born of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ persevere in the faith (Matthew 13:13John 15:4-82 Thessalonians 1:41 Timothy 4:162 Timothy 2:10-131 John 4:132 John 9). God is faithful to His people, and empowers them to persevere in the faith (1 Corinthians 1:91 Corinthians 10:132 Corinthians 1:21-221 John 2:19-20). We believe everyone who is born of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ is assured of salvation from the moment of conversion (Ephesians 1:13-14). This assurance relies on God’s decisive and faithful grace rather than on the works of the Christian. Obedience, good works, and fruit-bearing do not earn or retain the believer’s salvation, but indicate the reality of the person’s love of Christ and profession of faith (Luke 6:46John 14:21James 2:17-18).

Eternal security in salvation relies on the Lord’s guarantee of each believer’s adoption as His son or daughter (Galatians 4:4-7), His seal of the believer by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22Ephesians 1:13-14), and the conviction God gives the Holy Spirit to each believer as a down payment toward future bliss in heaven (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

A person who professes genuine faith in Christ immediately becomes His possession (Luke 23:42-43; Acts 2:40-41Acts 16:30-34) and nothing can snatch that person out of His hands (John 10:27-29). Having been bought with the price of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion as complete payment for sin, Christians are not their own, they are Christ’s possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This assurance is absolutely certain, reserved in heaven, protected by God’s unlimited power (1 Peter 1:4-5).


The chief purpose of mankind is to glorify God by loving Him with the entire heart, soul, mind and might (Deuteronomy 6:5; Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 22:37). All believing men, women and children are to glorify God and thus fulfill the purpose of their existence.

Worship glorifies God through adoration (Psalm 95:6), praise (Psalm 99:5), prayer (Daniel 6:10-11), thanksgiving (Nehemiah 12:46) and a complete yielding to Him (Romans 12:1). Worship declares His worth, pays Him homage and celebrates Him in a life of devotion.

We seek to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (Exodus 15:1-21; 2 Samuel 6:14-16; Psalm 5:7; John 4:23-24; Revelation 4:11; 5:12).

Several tenets guide our worship. We seek to:

  • Lift high the name of Jesus Christ (John 4:22-26; John 12:32; John 14:6);
  • Lead God’s people to lift their hearts and voices to Him, giving Him praise and thanks in music and lyric (Nehemiah 12:45-46; Psalm 66:1-4; Psalm 95:1-2);
  • Prepare hearts to hear the Lord speak through the proclamation of Scripture (Psalm 95:6-9; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42);
  • Emphasize fresh and contemporary expressions while retaining traditional elements that recognize the richness of our heritage in the faith (Deuteronomy 32:7; Psalm 33:3; Isaiah 46:8-9; Matthew 13:32, Ephesians 5:19; Revelation 5:9);
  • Pursue excellence in worship, knowing that God is worthy of our best (Exodus 12; Deuteronomy 17:1; Psalm 33:3, 1 Timothy 4:14-15; Hebrews 11:4).

We believe all of the Christian life is supernatural. The Holy spirit empowers every believer with spiritual gifts for the purpose of building up the church. (1 Peter 4:10-11, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7,12)

Much debate surrounds the question of whether certain gifts we read about in the New Testament are still in operation today. We see nothing in scripture that would convince us that these gifts have ceased. We believe the spiritual gifts we see on display in the New Testament are still active today in varying degrees. Unfortunately, we live in an age where spiritual gifts have been abused. When spiritual gifts are not exercised biblically, the church can drift into extreme forms of subjective personal experience that detract from the clarity of the gospel. For this reason, all expressions of spiritual gifts exercised in meetings of Hope Church are to be characterized by clarity and order.

We also recognize that spiritual gifts are often neglected in the church. We encourage every believer to use their Spirit-given gifts for the upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation of others in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3) while recognizing the God-given role of spiritual leaders to ensure that all things are done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40) By God’s grace, the application of our various spiritual gifts will not be a source of division at Hope Church. Rather, we will be a church that loves one another as we experience the power of the Holy Spirit on display in spiritual people using their spiritual gifts to make disciples to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2).


Baptism and communion are the two ordinances required in the church. We believe that Christian baptism by immersion in water is a public identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.

Although baptism is not required for salvation, it is commanded of all believers and is for believers only (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 18:8). Scripture shows that a person was baptized after personally receiving forgiveness of sin by accepting Jesus Christ. The waters of baptism are a symbol of death, burial, and resurrection to newness of life that happens when a person becomes a new creation in Christ (Colossians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:1-4).

Communion is the commemoration by believers of Christ’s death and a reminder—through the bread and the juice—of the Savior’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is to be a time of confession of sin and should be preceded by careful self-examination (Acts 4:13; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29).


Since the days of the early church, the New Testament recorded groups of baptized Christ-followers identifying themselves with and committing themselves to a particular local body. In order to implement the principles of accountability and commitment to the local body of Christ, as defined in the New Testament and practiced in the early church, Hope Church Toronto West recognizes the need for formal membership.

Specifically, formal membership enables:

1. The church to live out the New Testament IMAGES of the church as a body (1 Corinthians 12:27), as God’s household (1 Timothy 3:15), as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5) and as God’s flock (1 Peter 2:25, 5:2).

2. The elders to SHEPHERD responsibly (1 Peter 5:1-3)

3. The members to joyfully SUBMIT to their elders (Hebrews 13:17)

4. The church to exercise DISCIPLINE where there is verifiable, significant and unrepentant sin (1 Corinthians 5:1-13)


We believe the Bible possesses supreme authority (2 Tim 3:16-17) as it regards mankind, human nature and motivation (Heb 4:12), the purpose and process of change (Ps 119:9-11), and man’s relationship to God (Is 53:6). We recognize that secular attempts to answer the ultimate questions of psychology and counselling (i.e., Who is man? Why do people do what they do? How do people change? Why should a person change?) fall short in their answers since they do not acknowledge the reality of a personal God in whose presence mankind is always functioning and developing (Rom 1:18-23, Col 2:8-10). The Bible is sufficient in constructing a comprehensive model of biblical counselling (Psalm 19:7-14, 2 Pet 1:3). The work of biblical counselling is an endeavour in which all believers should participate (Col 3:16) and it is a work to be shared by the entire body of Christ (Eph 4:11-25).

*Adapted from the Association of Biblical Counselors – “Our Philosophy” section: https://christiancounseling.com/mission-beliefs


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Matt. 5:9).

Our church desires to build a “culture of peace” that reflects God’s peace and the power of the gospel of Christ in our lives. As we stand in the light of the cross, we realize that bitterness, unforgiveness, and broken relationships are not appropriate for the people whom God has reconciled to Himself through the sacrifice of His only Son (John 13:34-35Eph. 4:29-32Col. 3:12-14). 

Therefore, out of love for Christ and in reliance on the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we are committed to resolving our differences according to the following principles of peacemaking:

  • Whenever we are faced with conflict, our primary goal will be to glorify God with our thoughts, words, and actions (1 Cor. 10:31).
  • We will try to get the “logs” out of our own eyes before focusing on what others may have done wrong (Matt. 7:3-5).
  • We will seek to overlook minor offenses (Prov. 19:11).
  • We will seek to refrain from all gossip, backbiting, and slander (Eph. 4:29-32). If we have a problem with others, we intend to talk to them, not about them.
  • We will endeavor to make charitable judgments toward one another by believing the best about each other until we have facts that prove otherwise (1 Cor. 13:7).
  • If an offense is too serious to overlook, or if we think someone may have something against us, we will seek reconciliation without delay (Matt. 5:23-2418:15).
  • When we offer a word of correction to others, we will do so graciously and gently, with the goal of serving and restoring them, rather than beating them down (Prov. 12:18Eph. 4:29Gal. 6:1).
  • When someone tries to correct us, we will ask God to help us resist prideful defensiveness and to welcome correction with humility (Ps. 141:5Prov. 15:32).
  • As we seek to resolve differences with others, we will look out for their concerns and interests as well as our own (Phil. 2:3-4).
  • When others repent, we will ask God to give us grace to forgive them freely and fully as He has forgiven us so that we might glorify His reconciling grace (Eph. 4:32).

*Adapted from Bethlehem Baptist Church – “Commitment to Peacemaking & Reconciliation” section: https://bethlehem.church/relational-commitments/


We believe God created the universe in six 24-hour days and that, before He created the universe, nothing except God existed (Genesis 1; Exodus 31:17; Psalm 33:6-9; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 11:3; Colossians 1:16).

God chose to create the universe and all that is in it to reveal His glory, divine nature, eternal power, infinite wisdom and supreme authority. (Isaiah 43:7; Psalm 19:1-2; Jeremiah 10:12; Romans 1:20; Revelation 4:11). We deny the theory of evolution, which states that nonliving substances gave rise to the first living material, which then reproduced and diversified to produce all living creatures.

We believe that all people are descendants of Adam and Eve, whom God created personally and individually and as complete human beings (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9). The fall of Adam and Eve infected all people with sin and death, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives the opportunity to receive God’s gift of eternal life. (Romans 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

God rules over His creation and cares about and is involved in the lives of individual people (Job 12:10; Acts 17:25; Acts 25:28; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:13; Ephesians 4:6).


We believe that marriage is created by God to be shared between one biological man and one biological woman, in a lifelong holy covenant, for the purpose of companionship, sexual intimacy, and procreation. Our created gender, sexuality, and sexual fulfillment are gifts from the Creator and are to be embraced with gratitude and worship. God designed sexual intimacy to be expressed and consummated only between a man and a woman when they are united as one flesh in marriage (Genesis 1:27–28, 2:24; Matthew 19:4–6).

Men and women are created in the image of God and stand equal in dignity and worth. (Gen 1:27; 9:6; Gal 3:28; James 3:9.) God designed gender, recognized through our biological sex, as an immutable reality essential to our identity as male and female. While the fall distorts God’s design for men and women (Gen. 3:16-19), Jesus makes men and women fellow heirs of God’s eternal grace (1 Peter 3:7) who differ in complementary and mutually beneficial ways.

We affirm the significant role women should play in the local church and that every leadership opportunity is open to women except those excluded by Scripture in the home and church. Specifically, the Scriptures state that husbands are called to lead and love in the home as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:22-33) and that a plurality of men are to serve the church as elders/pastors (1 Timothy 3:2).

As a church, we adopt the Nashville Statement on Biblical Sexuality and Gender. You can read the full text of the statement HERE.


God designed marriage to reflect the beauty and permanence of Christ’s loving relationship with His bride, the church (Eph. 5:22-33Rev. 19:7). Therefore, He established marriage to be a life-long, exclusive covenant relationship between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24Mal. 2:14Matt. 19:4-6). God also designed it to provide mutual companionship through life’s joys and difficulties, to create stability for raising and nurturing children, and to give strength and cohesiveness to society in general.

In our society, marriages fail under a wide range of circumstances. Many people have gone through a divorce before having a relationship with Christ and have found repentance and forgiveness in coming to Christ. Others have experienced divorce through no desire or decision of their own. Still others, even after professing faith in Christ, may have divorced because of their own wrongful choices, but have since repented and received the forgiveness offered through our Lord Jesus. Whatever the circumstances, we welcome everyone to Hope Church—single, married, and divorced.

Because our church recognizes both the divine origin of marriage and the devastating effects of divorce, we are deeply committed to preserving marriages and preventing divorce. Toward this end, we devote regular teaching and significant ministry resources to strengthening marriages and families. We require and provide premarital counseling to help couples enter into marriage advisedly, and be well-prepared for its many challenges.

As members of Hope Church, we agree to live by the following guidelines concerning marriage and divorce.

  1. A believer and unbeliever should not marry [1 Cor. 7:392 Cor. 6:14-15].
  2. Since death breaks the marriage bond [ 7:2-31 Cor. 7:39], remarriage is permissible without sin for a believing widow or widower, if the marriage is with another believer.
  3. Divorce may be permitted when a spouse breaks the marriage covenant by committing sexual immorality or abandoning the other spouse [ 19:91 Cor. 7:11151 Tim. 5:8]. Covenant-breaking sexual immorality here refers to adultery or other serious sinful sexual acts, which dishonor God and one’s spouse [1 Cor 6:913]. Covenant-breaking abandonment here refers to deserting, actively harming, or endangering one’s spouse [1 Cor 7:15, Ex 21:10].
  4. The aggrieved partner in a biblically permissible divorce should guard against bitterness and be willing to forgive the offending spouse [ 4:31–32]. The aggrieved spouse may pursue restoration of the broken marriage if the offending spouse proves to be repentant and if neither party has remarried. The aggrieved party in a biblically permissible divorce may remarry a believer [1 Cor. 7:15].
  5. The spouse who has broken the marriage covenant by committing sexual immorality or abandoning their spouse or who has divorced without biblical grounds should repent and be reconciled to God and, if possible, to their spouse [1 Cor. 7:111 John 1:9].

We affirm that all individuals, being created in the image of God and descending from a historical Adam, share a fundamental unity transcending racial or ethnic distinctions (Genesis 1:26-27). We deny the elevation of racial or ethnic identity over this shared humanity. We acknowledge the fallen nature of all persons following Adam, rejecting the notion of varying virtue or worth based on race or ethnicity (Romans 5:12).

We affirm the fundamental antithesis between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman (Gen 3:15) and recognize Christ as the ultimate victor over sin and evil (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 12:7-9). We reject any worldview placing the fundamental antithesis elsewhere, such as between oppressor and oppressed or between different races.

We affirm the shared identity of Christians “in Christ”, rejecting the prioritization of differences over the church’s unity in Christ (Rom 12:5, Ephesians 2:6). We acknowledge the universal human condition of guilt and corruption and deny the attribution of any sin, including the sin of racism, solely based on racial or ethnic identity (Romans 3:23). 

We recognize sin’s pervasive impact on human life, denying that sin – including racism – is always inherently part of every created system or structure (Romans 5:12). We affirm the biblical model of repentance and personal culpability for sin, but deny that the biblical pattern teaches moral or spiritual culpability for sins committed by others in a different era (Jeremiah 31:30; Ezekiel 18:1–4, 19–20).

We affirm that God extends forgiveness upon the confession of sin, refuting the notion that repeated confessions (of the same sin) after forgiveness are necessary, as such a belief contradicts the essence of the gospel (1 John 1:9).We affirm the importance of individuals in God’s world while denying the complete inviolability of lived experiences over the authority of God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

For a full treatment on how we view race and social justice issues, see the Augustine School Statement on Social Theory (2022).


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