The Church

The Church

While there is a sense in which the church is spiritual Israel (Ro.9:6,7), there is also a future for ethnic Israel. One day the nation of Israel will embrace the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and be saved (Ro.11:26-31).

   Spiritual Gifts
We teach that every believer has been given a spiritual gift for the purpose of dispensing grace to the rest of the body (1 Pe.4:10). While the primary purpose of the miracles in the New Testament time was to authenticate the gospel (Heb.2:3-4, Rev. 13:13-14), we remain open to the possibility that God may grant miraculous gifts in our day for other purposes. We do not practice speaking in tongues out loud in the worship service, but we do not discourage the use of tongues in private prayer. For those claiming the gift of prophecy, the standard for a true prophet remains as it was in the Old Testament – 100% accuracy (Dt.18:20-22). Miraculous gifts can be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (1 Cor. 13:13-14:12; Rev. 13:13-14).

We teach that God continues to perform miracles, and He does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (2 Cor. 12:6-10; James 5:13-16; 1 Jn. 5:14-15).

   Communion & Baptism
Baptism is an external picture of what takes place in the heart at conversion. It pictures the entrance into Christ (Acts 19:5, Ga.3:26,27 1 Co.1:13), washing of regeneration (1 Pe.3:21, Acts 22:16), and burial and resurrection with Christ (Ro.6:3,4, Col.2:12). We are commanded to baptize everyone who comes to Christ (Mt.28:18). The act of baptism does not save (nor does any other external action). Rather, baptism is the public declaration of one’s pledge that he or she will pursue a clear conscience toward God by faith in Jesus Christ (1 Pe.3:21).

The Lord’s Supper is an act of worship (1 Cor.10:16-21) in which believers use the elements to remind themselves of Jesus’ work on the cross (Lk.22:19, 1 Co.11:24,25). It is also a sign of the New Covenant (Lk.22:20), a proclamation of Jesus’ death (1 Co.11:26), and an act of fellowship (1 Co.10:16-17), and requires repentance prior to partaking (1 Cor.11:20-22).

Scripture calls for two offices of leadership in the church: Overseer and Deacon (Php.1:1, 1 Tim.3:1-13). Overseers are also called Pastors and Elders – three different titles for the same office (Acts 20:17,28; 1 Pet. 5:1-2). We do not believe in governing the church through congregational vote. However we do believe the eldership should interact with the congregation in the same way a godly husband listens to, confers with, and is sensitive to the wisdom, feelings, and counsel of his wife. We also believe the congregation should have a significant role in the selection of leaders (Acts 15:22, Acts 6:3).

The title “Overseer” indicates the governing role, “Pastor” indicates the teaching and protection role, and “Elder” indicates the role of setting an example of spiritual maturity. While the role of overseer is restricted to men (1 Tim.2:2), we do believe Scripture calls for both male and female Deacons (Ro.16:1).

We teach that the qualifications all refer to current character, and there is therefore no sin that automatically, permanently disqualifies a person from leadership in the church. The norm in Scripture is for fallen leaders to be restored to leadership, and so we are a church that believes in the mighty power of God to restore, even from the most severe past failures. Restoration back into leadership, however, does involve meeting the qualifications mentioned above (1 Tim 3, Titus 2, and 1 Peter 5) and enough time for the congregation to reaffirm the qualifications have been met