Who we are
Whitton Avenue Bible Church exists by the grace of God for the glory of God, which shall be the ultimate purpose in all its activities:
Statements of belief such as the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds were crafted to identify those elements of Christianity without which Christianity would not exist. Through these essentials, Christians of all traditions and ethnicities find unity under their common Savior.
However, while transcending cultural, linguistic or social barriers, the Church has also enjoyed a rich diversity of geographical, national, and cultural expressions. Whitton Avenue Bible Church is one such expression. Seeking to be faithful to the Scriptures, and sensitive to the setting of our time and place, we are marked by the following distinctives:
God is the center of the Bible’s story. The Bible begins with the glorious God creating the universe and the Bible ends with the glorious God at the center of the new creation. “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:24-25). The central priority of a Reformed understanding of the Bible is the glory of God. Everything revolves around him. He is Head of all things. He is sovereign over all things and this is most gloriously displayed in the salvation of sinners. This radical orientation to God is captured with one short, potent verse, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
The New Testament repeatedly calls on the new believers to be baptized and so publicly profess their faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:38) It is a central component to the Great Commission that still defines the church’s mission, “Go therefore…. (Matthew 28:19-20). The main verb of the commission is to “make disciples,” and this is clarified by two participles: baptizing and teaching. This gives us deeper insight into the nature of baptism. It is an initiation into the people of God, the effects of which are worked out as new believers learn from mature believers how to live in obedience to Jesus. This is why we believe that baptism should only be administered to those who have a credible testimony of repentance from sin and trust in Jesus Christ. It also explains why we see baptism as a necessity for church membership, as it is Christ’s commanded means of enfolding repentant sinners into the church family.
Men and women are created as image-bearers of God, absolutely equal in essence, dignity and value but are different by divine design. “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” …So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27). This is God’s good and perfect plan for his creation. Specifically, God’s created order for human families describes equally important, complementary roles, yet ascribes leadership roles to males (Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 9). Furthermore, God has ordained that gender distinctions and male leadership should be maintained and reflected in the leadership of the Christian church, especially as it comes to teaching and authority (1Timothy 2:12; 3:2-7). When men and women embrace their God-given roles, they reflect the image of God more completely than they would otherwise and enjoy the blessings that come from living in line with God’s perfect plan.
God created us in his likeness as male and female, so that we would reflect the loving complementarity and intimate relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (John 1:1-2; 17:5, 24). When God created us as male and female, He also instituted the covenant of marriage in which one man and one woman are bound together for life in a relationship of oneness: relationally, emotionally, and physically (Genesis 2:24-25). Human sexuality is a gift from God and His design for sexual expression within marriage between a man and a woman is fundamental to human flourishing. This design for marriage beautifully illustrates God’s covenantal relationship with His chosen people. (Hosea 2:19-20; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:31-32).
Throughout every sector of our society the reality of abuse, the sinful use of power, and various forms of trauma are heart-breakingly evident. Yet, throughout Scripture there is thread that God’s people ought to be different. (Exodus 22:21-24; Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:29; 24:17-22; Ruth 2:8-9; Isaiah 1:17; Luke 4:18; 10:29-37)Where some abuse – God’s people are called to protect. While some use their power as a weapon – God’s people are called to selflessly serve. While some neglect the vulnerable – God’s people step toward and embrace them. Jesus’ own life and ministry is the ultimate expression of these upside-down realities. So, at Whitton we have been actively engaged in the care and healing of the vulnerable and the abused through a variety of ministries both internally and through partnership with specialized, gospel-centered ministries. Through tangible displays of mercy and justice, we desire to both proclaim and portray the gospel of the kingdom. We want to declare and display the glorious reign of our God in all of life.
Under the ultimate headship of Christ, we believe that the Biblical model for local church government can be summarized in this way: Elder-led, Deacon-served, Congregationalism. A plurality of elders are called by God and affirmed by the members for the purpose of shepherding, teaching, and overseeing the flock of God (1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:17; James 5:14; Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:1-7). Deacons are set apart to be pace-setting servants amongst the flock (Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:8-13). They help to lead certain ministries, lead in unity-building, care for the physical needs of the facilities, and oversee our benevolence ministry. Finally, we also believe that the Bible teaches that, in some specific matters, the members of the congregation are called to provide the final action (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-4; Galatians 1:6-9). In all such matters, we strive to obey the Scriptures and do in a spirit of love, unity, and order.
Whitton Avenue Bible Church is affiliated with the Arizona chapter of The Gospel Coalition. We have found both theological resonance and ministerial encouragement from our fellowship with the pastors and people from these Gospel Coalition churches.
We are also one of the founding churches of The Grove Church Planting Network and have close friendship and cooperation with IX Marks Ministries.