Cornerstone Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief Cornerstone. In our doctrine and principles of life, we respond to the work of the Holy Spirit from the time of His coming at Pentecost by identifying with true believers down through the centuries of historic Christianity. We are convinced that the Sixteenth Century Reformation of the Church recovered the pure, biblical gospel. In the 21st century we do not attempt to re-live the Reformation, but we must faithfully recover, confess and contend for the same great biblical principles of “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).
With all the passion of our hearts and minds we affirm the ‘Solas’ (“onlys”) of the Reformation for the 21st Century Reformation – the return of the Church to the Bible.
It is the Word which changes and touches hearts; revelations, however, puff people up and make them arrogant … God speaks to us through Scripture and through the man who teaches Scripture. He who hears these is not deceived. But we are to flee from special revelations concerning the faith, for they are satanic impostures — from Martin Luther’s comments on Isaiah 8:20
Scripture alone, in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, is the only inspired and infallible authority for faith and life; therefore, it is our sole and final authority. Our consciences, hearts and minds are captive to the Word of God alone! We affirm with historic Christianity that “Scripture alone” is God’s written revelation for our salvation and the divine standard for our lives.
We deny that any creed, council, or confession of faith may bind our conscience. We deny that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or in addition to what is written in Holy Scripture. We also deny the position that personal experiences are a vehicle for extra–biblical revelation.
We are passionately committed to the apostolic saying, “Do not go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6). This “formal principle” of the Reformation, “Sola Scriptura,” is one of our rallying cries for a new Reformation of the Church in the 21st Century.
So completely does everything depend on the Son that no one can really know anything about God unless the Son, Who thoroughly knows the Father’s heart, reveals it to him. All the world must be drawn under the Lord Christ and made subject to Him, for without Him no one can be saved — from Martin Luther’s sermon on John 1:29
By beginning with “Sola Scriptura” we are driven but to cling to “Solus Christus” – Christ alone. Is there salvation from eternal punishment for anyone apart from Christ? Scripture alone gives us the unambiguous answer to this crucial question: “Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ ” (John 14:6). John 3:36 puts it just as clearly, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” There is no other savior – only Christ: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
The truth of Christ’s exclusive claims is the very heart of the Bible. After Christ’s resurrection, He opened up the Scripture to two disciples as they walked together on the Emmaus road. “Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). Christ alone is the Prophet Who reveals to us the Father; Christ alone is the Priest Who reconciles us to God by the sacrifice of Himself, and Who intercedes for us continually; Christ alone is the King Who subdues us to Himself, Who rules and defends us, and conquers all His and our enemies. Christ alone is the one Mediator between God and His people (2 Tim. 2:5). We cannot remove ourselves from Jesus Christ without destroying our redemption, since it resides in Christ alone
Faith holds out the hand and … is content to receive nothing but blessings … we are recipients through faith, which does nothing but accept the gift. For salvation is not our doing … — Martin Luther
Justification by grace alone (Sola Gratia) through faith alone (Sola Fide) embodies the very crux of the Reformation. This is the main hinge upon which Christianity turns. We are united to Christ by faith alone. In Christ we are considered to be righteous before God. He assures us that our legal standing in His holy presence is based upon the righteous character of Jesus Christ Himself. The Father imputes Christ’s righteousness to us and lays our sins on Christ. The New Testament makes it crystal clear that the Lord Christ died an innocent substitute for us and in our place.
Faith is not just a part of our salvation — it is the instrument through which we receive Christ without our meriting God’s redemption in any way. The great Reformed theologian of Princeton, Benjamin B. Warfield, wrote in the 20th Century: “The saving power of faith resides thus not in itself, but in the Almighty Savior on whom it rests. It is not faith that saves, but faith in Jesus Christ. It is not, strictly speaking, even faith in Christ that saves, but Christ that saves through faith. The saving power resides exclusively, not in the act of faith or the attitude of faith, or the nature of faith, but in the object of faith. We could not more radically misconceive it than by transferring to faith even the smallest fraction of that saving energy which is attributed in the Scriptures wholly to Christ Himself.” By faith alone we embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
G. F. Handel, composer of the immortal Messiah, said:
What a wonderful thing it is to be sure of one’s faith! How wonderful to be a member of the evangelical church, which preaches the free grace of God through Christ as the hope of sinners! If we were to rely on our works — my God, what would become of us?
This revolutionary cry of the Reformation is the heart of the gospel! “It is by grace you have been saved,” says the Scripture (Eph 2:5), so “Grace Alone” must be the battle cry of the Reformation in the 21st Century also! The flower of grace wilts when we attempt to add anything to it. Anything at all that is added to grace spoils it! God says, “My grace is sufficient” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Churches today are preaching a gospel of self-confidence, self-esteem, health and wealth—a product sold to self-gratifying consumers. Sola Gratia teaches us that salvation is not in any sense a human work. None of our efforts at good works nor all our techniques and strategies for favor with God can accomplish our salvation. Nothing we do can merit God’s forgiveness or redemption. We are saved by grace alone!
Soli Deo Gloria
There is not one of us who can take to himself the least jot of the glory without sacrilegiously robbing God. There is no duty more becoming the faithful than that of earnestly seeking for the advance of His Glory— John Calvin
The revolution that God caused in the Church of the 16th Century has been compared to the revolution that Copernicus brought about at the same time in cosmology. At that time, the common belief was that the sun revolved around the earth as the center of the universe. Copernicus proved, rather, that the earth actually traveled around the sun. The whole understanding of the universe changed with that radical concept. In like manner, the Reformation removed man (his needs and religious feelings) from the center of religion and restored the true center: God. Soli Deo Gloria (To God alone be all the glory) is the heartbeat of biblical Christianity.
Soli Deo Gloria is fundamental to created reality. “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Rev. 4:11).
God’s glory is fundamental to redemptive reality (Eph. 1:3-14). We are chosen, redeemed and sealed for the praise of His glory alone. It is no wonder C. H. Spurgeon printed in the preface to all 62 volumes of his sermons,
To the one God of heaven and earth, in the trinity of His sacred Persons, be all honor and glory world without end, Amen. To the glorious Father, as the covenant God of Israel; to the gracious Son, the Redeemer of His people; to the Holy Spirit, the Author of sanctification; be everlasting praise for that gospel of the free grace of God, herein proclaimed unto man.
Fundamental to biblical theology is God’s glory. The defining principle of our faith is not found in the differences among Christians, but rather in the reality of Who God is. It is the vision of God in His majesty in Jesus Christ that gives all glory to God. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:13).