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Articles of Faith - The Church

Of The Church

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 We believe that the church of Jesus Christ is a visible, localized assembly or body of baptized believers, having gladly received the Word of God, and continuing with one accord in the apostolic doctrine which is the basis of fellowship as set forth in the Scriptures, and observing the ordinances in a scriptural manner (Acts 2:41, 42) as delivered to the church by the Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 11:23);

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that the church was founded by Christ to propagate the message of redemption to the entire world, to teach all things He has commanded (Matt. 16:18, 19; 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8), to be the custodian of the affairs of the kingdom of God on earth (Matt. 16:19; 18:17, 18; Luke 12:32), and to perpetually remain the citadel and pillar of Scripture truth (I Tim. 3:15) until the end of the age;

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that no person or institution has Scriptural authority to assume these functions apart from the church;

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hence every believer has the solemn obligation to identify with a church of Jesus Christ.

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We also believe that the church is an autonomous, self-governing, democratic body, answerable to Christ, as Head, and bound by His Word, the Scriptures.

 
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Baptism
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We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer (Matt. 3:5,6; Mark 1:9, 10; Acts 8:36-39) in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 28:19), by a scripturally ordained administrator with the authority of the church to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savious, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12);

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that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation (Acts 2:41) and is the voluntary response of a clear conscience toward God (I Peter 3:21);

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that baptism has no saving efficacy, yet the rejection of this commandment is in no way characteristic of a true believer.

 

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The Lord's Supper
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We believe that the Lord's Supper is the provision of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine which are respectively symbolic of Christ's broken body and shet blood (Matt. 26:26-31; Mark 24:22-26; Luke 22:19, 20);

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that this ordinance was delivered and entrusted to the church (I Cor. 11:23) to be administered to church members whose outward lives are consistent with Scripture (I Cor. 5:1, 12) and who will examine their own secret hearts for sins (I Cor. 11:28, 31);

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that this ordinance is a testimony to the common faith and fellowship of the church (I Cor. 10:16, 17);

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that it is a perpetual rememberance of the Lord's death until He comes (I Cor. 11:25, 26).

 

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Church Officers
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We believe the Scriptures set forth two and only two types of officers within the church;

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that these are the offices of elder (bishop, pastor) and deacon;

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that in each New Testament church there was a plurality of both deacons and elders (Acts 6:3; 11:30; 14:23; 20:17, 28; I Tim. 5:17; Phil. 1:1; James 5:14; I Peter 5:1) each meeting the specific qualifications set forth in the Scriptures for these offices (I Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9);

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that the officers, as all Christians, are to fill their positions in a spirit of humility as Christ commanded of all those who would be leaders (Matt. 20:25-28; Mark 10:43; I Peter 5:2);

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that the elders are overseers of the church in spiritual matters (Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:7, 17), and the deacons labor in practical matters (Acts 6:2-4).

 

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Church Discipline
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We believe the church has the grave responsibility to judge and discipline the lives and doctrines of those within its communion or fellowship (I Cor. 5:1-13; Matt. 18:17, 18; Rom. 16:17; I Thess. 5:14; II Thess. 3:6-15; I Tim. 5:20, 21; 6:3-5; Titus 3:10);

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that this discipline is to be firmly and consistently done, but always in a spirit of tenderness and longsuffering, ever seeking to help and admonish the offending party (II Cor. 2:6, 7; Gal. 6:1).

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