Sovereign Grace Fellowship is an independent Evangelical Church in the broader Reformed and Baptist traditions. We strive to be humble in our orthodoxy.
Sovereign Grace Fellowship is part of the “Gospel Coalition” and “9 Marks” Church networks. We also support the ministry network flowing out of the “Together for the Gospel” movement. Though we bear many similarities to “Sovereign Grace Ministries” in doctrine and ethos, we are not officially part of their network of Churches.
Gospel Coalition – We are a fellowship of evangelical churches deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures. We have become deeply concerned about some movements within traditional evangelicalism that seem to be diminishing the church’s life and leading us away from our historic beliefs and practices. On the one hand, we are troubled by the idolatry of personal consumerism and the politicization of faith; on the other hand, we are distressed by the unchallenged acceptance of theological and moral relativism. These movements have led to the easy abandonment of both biblical truth and the transformed living mandated by our historic faith. We not only hear of these influences, we see their effects. We have committed ourselves to invigorating churches with new hope and compelling joy based on the promises received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
We believe that in many evangelical churches a deep and broad consensus exists regarding the truths of the gospel. Yet we often see the celebration of our union with Christ replaced by the age-old attractions of power and affluence, or by monastic retreats into ritual, liturgy, and sacrament. What replaces the gospel will never promote a mission-hearted faith anchored in enduring truth working itself out in unashamed discipleship eager to stand the tests of kingdom-calling and sacrifice. We desire to advance along the King’s highway, always aiming to provide gospel advocacy, encouragement, and education so that current- and next-generation church leaders are better equipped to fuel their ministries with principles and practices that glorify the Savior and do good to those for whom he shed his life’s blood.
We want to generate a unified effort among all peoples—an effort that is zealous to honor Christ and multiply his disciples, joining in a true coalition for Jesus. Such a biblically grounded and united mission is the only enduring future for the church. This reality compels us to stand with others who are stirred by the conviction that the mercy of God in Jesus Christ is our only hope of eternal salvation. We desire to champion this gospel with clarity, compassion, courage, and joy—gladly linking hearts with fellow believers across denominational, ethnic, and class lines.
Our desire is to serve the church we love by inviting all of our brothers and sisters to join us in an effort to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Christ so that we truly speak and live for him in a way that clearly communicates to our age. We intend to do this through the ordinary means of his grace: prayer, the ministry of the Word, baptism and the Lord’s supper, and the fellowship of the saints. We yearn to work with all who, in addition to embracing the confession and vision set out here, seek the lordship of Christ over the whole of life with unabashed hope in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform individuals, communities, and cultures.
Together for the Gospel (T4G) began as a friendship between four pastors. These friends differed on a number of theological issues, like baptism and the charismatic gifts. But they were committed to standing together for the main thing—the gospel of Jesus Christ..
So they began a conference which occurs every two years and aims principally at encouraging other pastors to do the same—to stand together for the gospel. And now this conference is evolving, as God pleases, into an informal network of church leaders who all share this ambition and who intend to encourage one another to do the same.
T4G is convinced that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized in many churches and among those who proclaim the name of Christ. The goal of these friendships, conferences, and networks is therefore to reaffirm this central doctrine of the Christian faith and to encourage local churches to do the same.
The four long-time friends, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney, and Albert Mohler, also asked their friends Thabiti Anyabwile, John MacArthur, John Piper, and R. C. Sproul to join them for these conferences, since each of these men has been contributing so valuably to the church today.
9Marks of a Healthy Church
9Marks exists to equip church leaders with a biblical vision and practical resources for displaying God’s glory to the nations through healthy churches.
The organization has its roots in the pastoral work of Mark Dever and Matt Schmucker at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. This congregation had been in decline for several decades when Mark (pastor) and Matt (administrator/elder) began to reform it in the early 1990s. The two didn’t follow the conventional wisdom of church growth literature—conduct surveys, establish new programs, or cultivate the right culture. They just opened their Bibles. Mark preached, and both men worked to structure the church after the Scriptures.
At Matt’s prompting, Mark wrote the self-published booklet “9 Marks of a Healthy Church,” which several years later became the Crossway published book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. As more and more pastors found the conversations begun by Mark and Matt helpful, an organization was birthed in the late nineties, which has grown little by little since then.
9Marks believes the local church is the focal point of God’s plan for displaying his glory to the nations, and that the Bible is sufficient for the life of the church. As an organization, therefore, we are church-focused, scripture-focused, and pastor-focused. We value a multiplicity of voices and styles as well as like-minded partnerships. We hope to continue growing in our own knowledge of God’s Word and its application to the local congregation. And we intend to spread our content through existing venues, platforms, and institutions, not to create new ones.
The nine marks are (1) expositional preaching, (2) biblical theology, (3) a biblical understanding of the good news, (4) a biblical understanding of conversion, (5) a biblical understanding of evangelism, (6) biblical church membership, (7) biblical church discipline, (8) biblical discipleship and growth, and (9) biblical church leadership. These are not the only things which are necessary for building healthy churches, they are nine practices which many churches today overlook and that need to be emphasized once again.