THE LORD'S CHILDREN FELLOWSHIP DOCTRINAL STATEMENT
Table of Contents
ARTICLE 1 PURPOSE
SECTION 1 EVANGELISM MISSIONS PLANTING
SECTION 2 RELATIONSHIP
SECTION 3 EDUCATION
SECTION 4 WORSHIP
SECTION 5 MINISTRY SERVICE
SECTION 6 FELLOWSHIP
ARTICLE 2 STATEMENT OF FAITH
ARTICLE 3 CORE DOCTRINES
SECTION 1 - BIBLIOLOGY THE HOLY BIBLE
1.1 THE OLD TESTAMENT
1.2 THE NEW TESTAMENT
SECTION 2 - THEOLOGY PROPER GOD
2.1 THEOPATEROLOGY THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE FATHER
2.2 CHRISTOLOGY THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE SON
2.3 PNEUMATOLOGY THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SECTION 3 ANTHROPOLOGY - THE STATE OF HUMANITY
SECTION 4 - SOTERIOLOGY SALVATION
4.6 PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION
SECTION 5 - ANGELOLOGY
5.1 SATAN AND HIS DEMONS FALLEN ANGELS
5.2 HOLY ANGELS
SECTION 6 ECCLESIOLOGY - THE CHURCH
6.2 THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH
6.3 THE LOCAL CHURCH
6.3.1 LOCAL CHURCH OFFICES
6.4 GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
6.4.8 WORD OF WISDOM
6.4.9 WORD OF KNOWLEDGE ILLUMINATION
6.4.13 DISTINGUISHING OF SPIRITS
6.4.15 INTERPRETER OF TONGUES
6.5 THE GOSPEL THE PERSON AND MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST
6.5.1 THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST
6.5.2 THE MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST
6.6 ORDINANCES BAPTISM COMMUNION LAYING ON OF HANDS
6.6.1 THE LORD'S SUPPER COMMUNION
6.6.2 WATER BAPTISM
6.6.3 LAYING ON OF HANDS
SECTION 7 ESCHATOLOGY - THE STUDY OF LAST THINGS
7.1 INDIVIDUAL ESCHATOLOGY
7.1.1 SPIRITUAL DEATH
7.1.2 PHYSICAL DEATH
7.1.3 ETERNAL DEATH
7.1.4 INTERMEDIATE STATE
7.1.5 RESURRECTION OF THE JUST
7.1.6 RESURRECTION OF THE UNJUST
7.2 GLOBAL ESCHATOLOGY
7.2.1 THE GREAT TRIBULATION
7.2.2 THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST
7.2.3 THE MILLENNIUM
7.2.4 FINAL JUDGMENT
ARTICLE 4 - AFFILIATION
ARTICLE 5 - FELLOWSHIP
SECTION 1 GENERAL
SECTION 2 PRINCIPLES FOR FELLOWSHIP
SECTION 3 NO DESIGNATION OF MEMBERSHIP FOR FELLOWSHIP
SECTION 4 RESPONSIBILITIES FOR FELLOWSHIP
SECTION 5 NO VOTING RIGHTS
SECTION 6 TERMINATION DISMISSAL OF FELLOWSHIP
SECTION 7 RESTORATION OF FELLOWSHIP
ARTICLE 6 - COUNCIL OF ELDERS
SECTION 1 PRINCIPLES OF ELDERSHIP CONTROL
SECTION 2 COMPOSITION OF THE COUNCIL
SECTION 3 QUALIFICATIONS FOR ELDER
3.1 An ELDER - 1 TIMOTHY 3:1-7
SECTION 4 POWERS
SECTION 5 APPOINTMENT OF DEACONS
5.1 QUALIFICATIONS FOR DEACONS - 1 TIMOTHY 3:8-13
ARTICLE 1 - PURPOSE
The purpose of this church is to glorify God by (a) fulfilling the
Great Commandment of Matthew 22:36-40, namely, bringing those He is
calling into a deep and abiding personal relationship with Himself and (b) the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 which is to Go and make disciples.
Section 1 - Evangelism / Missions / Planting
To share the good news of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible in our community and throughout the world. To accomplish this, we will plant house churches, also known as cell churches worldwide wherever the Spirit of the Lord leads us. (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, 2 Peter 3:9)
Section 2 - Relationship
To help and teach members to develop their personal relationship with God, each other and those outside the body of Christ through bible study, prayer, worship and praise. (Galatians 6:10)
Section 3 - Education
To educate those being called by God toward full Christian maturity
and to train them for effective ministry. To promote personal and spiritual growth and discipleship through Bible teaching. (Ephesians 4: 11-13, Matthew 18:20, Timothy 2:2)
Section 4 - Worship
To participate in public worship and prayer services together and to
promote and maintain personal daily devotions. (John 4:24)
Section 5 - Ministry/ Service
To humbly serve unselfishly, in Jesus' name, meeting the physical,
emotional, and spiritual needs of those in our Church, community and in the world. (1 Peter 4: 10-11, Matthew 25: 34-40, 1 Thessalonians 5: 11, Galatians 5: 13, 6: 10)
Section 6 - Fellowship
To draw closer in fellowship with God primarily and then with each
other as we share our lives together and encourage, support and pray for each other as members of the family of God. (1
Corinthians 1:9, 2 Corinthians 8:4, I John 1:3-7, Acts 2:44-47, Hebrews 10:23-25, Romans 15:5, 7; John 13:34-35)
The Church seeks to benefit the people of the communities it serves by providing opportunities for spiritual, intellectual, social and cultural development. (Luke 2:52)
ARTICLE 2 - STATEMENT OF FAITH
This Church provides the following paragraphs as a summary statement of our core beliefs.
We affirm the 66 books of the Holy Bible to be the inspired, infallible and authoritative Word of God, and the only basis and source for our beliefs. The Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice. (Matthew 5:18; 24: 35, John 10:35, 16:12-13, 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
We believe God is One Divine Being who exists in three eternal, co-essential persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God is Creator of heaven and earth, sustainer of the universe and the source of human salvation.
Jesus is the Word, The Son of God, by whom and for whom God created all things. Jesus is God manifest in the flesh for the salvation of all humankind, begotten of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus is the Son of God, the prophesied Messiah and Savior of humanity. Jesus Christ's substitutionary death paid the penalty for all the sins for all humans that come to Jesus as their Lord and Savior, thereby justifying them before God. Justification is God's gracious act of pronouncing a believer righteous in His sight. It is made possible through repentance and faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ by acceptance of Him as Lord and Savior.
Jesus willingly offered Himself to death on the cross, was buried and resurrected from the dead by God on the third day. He ascended to heaven, was glorified and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus will come again to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords over all nations and peoples of the earth when He returns again in power and glory.
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter promised by Jesus Christ, sent from God to His church on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit abides in all those called by God who have repented from sin, are turned completely toward God and baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Although water baptism is not a requirement for salvation it signifies a resolute commitment to obey God and His commandments, and to live a new way of life governed by the spiritual laws of God. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit the Christian is sanctified and regenerated or born again. Sanctification is the state of holiness imparted to the believer through the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit. Though all Christians sin, God's Holy Spirit leads them to repentance, obedience, and helps them maintain a right relationship with God and their fellow human beings through a life of love and service.
It is the destiny of human beings to inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God through salvation. Salvation is the eternal deliverance from the bondage and ultimate penalty of sin which is eternal separation from God. Salvation is a gift of God, given by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and cannot be earned nor sustained by personal merit or good works. Through faith, the Christian remains in a perpetual state of saving grace. Saving grace is the free, unmerited favor God bestows upon all repentant sinners who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and can never be lost. It is through grace that a person comes to know God, is justified, and saved.
Article 3 - CORE DOCTRINES
Section 1 - Bibliology: The Holy Bible
We believe the Bible to be the written and inspired Word of God, authoritative, without error, infallible, God-breathed, and therefore the only true and reliable rule of faith and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12-13)
All Scripture comes from God (2 Timothy 3: 16) through men as His
(2 Peter 1:21)
The bible is recognized as the Very Word of God because the Holy Spirit gives His personal witness to the hearer (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
The bible is the authoritative, infallible and inerrant Word of God in its original languages
and the means by which God uses to save, teach, rebuke, correct and ultimately to judge men. (Luke 8:11b; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 12:48; Revelation 20:12)
We believe that God spoke in His written Word by a process of
"dual authorship," that being the Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they
accurately composed and recorded God's Word to man (2 Peter 1:20-21)
without error in the whole or in the part (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16)
and that the following 66 inspired books of the Holy Bible represent in
whole the entirety of the inspired canon of Scripture: (1 Corinthians
2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
1.1 The Old Testament
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
1.2 The New Testament
The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Acts
of the Apostles, Paul's Epistles to the Romans, to the Corinthians 1 and 2, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians 1 and 2, to Timothy 1 and 2, to Titus, and to Philemon, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistle of James, the First and Second Epistles of Peter, the First, Second and Third Epistles of John, the Epistle of Jude, and the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
We also believe that while there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but
ONE TRUE INTERPRETATION. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal, grammatical, and exegetical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. (John 7:17, 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20)
It is the responsibility of every believer to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture is thus: Holy Scripture stands in judgment of men ... never do men stand in judgment of Holy Scripture.
Section 2 - Theology Proper: God
We believe in the Triune God, and that the Godhead eternally exists in three Persons - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:2.) Each is eternal in being, identical in essence, equal in power and glory, and each has the same attributes and perfection of the others (Matthew 28:19; Isaiah 48:16; Deuteronomy 6:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14.)
Among the attributes of the eternal God are those of omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, righteousness, wisdom, love, faithfulness, mercy, and holiness. (1 Timothy 1:17; Psalms 86:5; 139:7; 145:17; Exodus 6:3; 1 John 4:8; 1 Peter 4:19; Isaiah 5:16)
2.1 Theopaterology: The Person and Work of The Father
God the Father is the sovereign authority, the first person of the Triune, who is the Father of all creation, who authored the divine decrees, who gave His Son for our redemption and His Holy Spirit for our sanctification, in order to glorify Himself. He is loving and just, not
willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (Psalms 139; Deuteronomy 10:14-15; John 17:1-6, 15:26; 1 Peter 1:16; 2 Peter 3:9)
2.2 Christology: The Person and Work of The Son
The Son of God eternally exists as the Word, the second person of the Triune, who is Creator of the universe and everything within the universe, both seen and unseen. The Son of God became man, the incarnate Messiah, Jesus the Christ, born of the virgin Mary, thus becoming God in the flesh,
Theanthropos the God-man (John 1:1-2, 14.) Jesus is 100% God and 100% man, was tested in all aspects of the flesh and humanity, just as we are - and yet was without sin. He willingly sacrificed Himself on the cross and died a substitutionary death for all the sins of a repentant humanity, was buried three days in the grave, then bodily resurrected and ascended into heaven where He now sits with God in Heaven, mediating on behalf of humanity and will bodily return to the earth. (Matthew 1:23; 3:17; Luke 1: 35; John 1:14; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 3:24-25, 8:34; 1 Corinthians 15:20; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25, 9:24-26; 1 John 2:1-2, 5:20; 1 Peter 1:3-5, 2:24)
2.3 Pneumatology: The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Triune Godhead, who convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He permanently indwells all born-again believers, that is, those who have repented and have turned their minds away from sin and toward Jesus Christ, their personal Lord and Savior, Baptizes believers into the body of Christ, His
church, and seals them as the guarantee of their salvation until the day of redemption. The Holy Spirit bestows one or more spiritual gifts upon all believers, and fills believers who are yielded to Him with the fullness of His presence. He is our Comforter, Teacher of righteousness, and interpreter of the Scriptures. (John 14:26, 16:7-15; Romans 8:26-27; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19-20, 12:4-14; Ephesians 1:13-14, 5:18; Titus 3:5-6; 1 John 2:27)
Section 3 - Anthropology: The State of Humanity
God created humanity as man and woman and the bearers of the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-28.) God created man from the dust of the ground to be the glory of God and He created woman from the rib of man to be the glory of man (Genesis 2:18, 21-23; 1 Corinthians 11:7.) Man and woman were created by God in innocence, free of sin, with a rational nature, intelligence, volition and with moral responsibility to God, and declared good by God at creation (Genesis 1:31, 2:7, 5:25; James 3:9.) God's purpose in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God's fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God's purpose for man in
creation. (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11)
However, by volitional transgression, humanity fell from their sinless state and subsequently took on a sinful nature. In Adam's sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man
altered his nature to that of sin and evil; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject to the wrath of God; and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine intervention and grace. Man has no recuperative powers
within himself that can enable him to recover himself, and is therefore hopelessly lost. Man's salvation is thereby wholly the work of God's grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8)
Consequently, all men are reprobate and sinners by choice, nature, and divine declaration; incapable of pleasing God and therefore under just condemnation, bound to Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, Tartaroo
or the Abyss ... places of eternal punishment and separation from God. (Psalms 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18,23; 5:10-12)
Section 4 - Soteriology: Salvation
Salvation is a gift of God, received by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and repentance (2 Peter 3:9,) and results in a new nature which is nothing less than participation in the life of God, who makes all things new (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17.) Salvation is wholly the work of God by grace through faith in the redemptive and propitiatory work of Jesus Christ by His shed blood alone. Salvation is absolutely not on the basis of any human merit or works. Human merit and works has absolutely no role in Salvation whatsoever. Human merit and good works has its rightful place in Progressive Sanctification ... but not in Salvation. (John 1:12; Acts 15:11; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19)
Election is the act of God by which, before the creation or foundation of the world, God chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8: 28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2.) This sovereign election by God does not in any way contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. (Ezekiel 18:23, 32, 33:1l; John 3:18-19, 36, 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17)
Since sovereign grace includes the "means" of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive. (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8)
Election is not based, nor should it be looked upon as mere abstract sovereignty. God is truly and absolutely sovereign but He exercises His sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16.) God's sovereignty will always exalt His will in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9)
Repentance is a gift of God, a ministry of the Holy Spirit and always a precedence to regeneration (Romans 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25; 2 Peter 3:9; Acts 2:38, 11:17-18.) The fullness of the Holy Spirit's ministry is to bring a sinner to true repentance that encompasses a firm resolution to turn ones mind away from sin and toward God. (Acts 20:21; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.) Repentance reaches well beyond simple remorse. True repentance will lead a person to a resolute change of mind, heart and purpose in life, to which the remission of sin is promised (Acts 26: 20) and eternal death if not (2 Corinthians 12:21.)
Jesus began His earthly ministry with the message of repentance (Matthew 4:17, 11:20-21, 12:41; Mark 1:14-15, Luke 5:31-32, 13:1-5) as did His Apostles and disciples. (Mark 6:10-12, Acts 20:21) The elements of true repentance consists of:
The Holy Spirit convicts sinners with a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness. (Acts 2:36-38, 8:21-22, 17:30; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, Revelation 3:19)
The sinner now is able to comprehend God's mercy in Christ.
(Luke 15:7,10, 24:44-47; Acts 3:19, 5:31, 11:17-18)
The penitent individual will begin to manifest a true and actual
conversion by the hatred of sin while simultaneously turning the mind from sin and toward God. (Psalms 119:128; Job 42:5-6; 2 Corinthians 7:10)
The converted mind embarks upon a persistent endeavor to live a holy
life in walking with God in joyful obedience to The Way of the Cross of Christ. The true penitent is conscious of ... guilt (Psalms 51:4, 9) ... the pollution of sin (Psalms 51:5,7,10) ... and helplessness (Palms 51:11, 109:21-22.) Thus the penitent soul apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance. (Psalms 51:1, 130:4; Revelation 2:5)
Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the Divine nature and Divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5.) It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24.) Following regeneration, the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation.
Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10) and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God. (Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10)
This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3: 18.) Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer's glorification at the second advent of Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3)
Justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Jesus Christ alone, repent of their sins (Isaiah 55:6-7; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10) and confess Jesus as sovereign Lord for the forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11.) This righteousness imparted to man is apart from and unrelated to any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20, 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21.) By this process, God has redeemed that which was lost and yet is still enabled to be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus, the propitiation to God for sin. (Romans 3:25-26.)
Sanctification is the act by which God sets apart every believer unto Himself through justification. God immediately declares the justified sinner as holy and adopted into the family of God and identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional, instantaneous and progressive. Sanctification has to do with the believer's standing
or position before God, not his present walk or condition. (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30, 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11, 3:1, 10:10, 14, 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2)
4.6 Progressive Sanctification
Progressive Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit by which the works, behavior, mindset and walk of the believer is being brought closer to the sanctified standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more obedient to and like-minded with our Lord Jesus Christ. (John 17:17,19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 5:23)
It is the process of progressive sanctification that brings every saved person into a daily conflict -- an internal war -- with the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh (Romans 7:23.) With progressive sanctification comes the choice of accepting and acting upon the adequate provisions for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit or returning to that which we have been
commanded to remove ourselves from (2 Corinthians 6:14 - 7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5.) Out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace God grants to us and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and to not bring reproach upon the name of our Lord and Savior. We are to separate ourselves from the many forms of religious apostasy, worldliness and sinful practices as commanded to us by God. (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11)
Believers are sanctified in and to our Lord Jesus Christ (2
Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2) and thereby removed from sinful habits, lifestyles, and attitudes. We affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness demonstrated by a
godly attitude (Matthew 5: 2-12) and a perpetual pursuit of holiness. (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10)
The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin while the saint remains in his tent of flesh -- this body -- are completely unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible during the lifetime of the believer, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin. (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9)
4.7 Eternal Security
All the saints are called, redeemed, saved, preserved and kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever. (John 5:24, 6:37-50, 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10, 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25, 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24)
It is the gracious privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word. However, His Word clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality. (Romans 6:15-22, 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14) God's Word also makes clear provisions for how a born-again believer involved in persistent sinful living is to be handled (1 Corinthians 3:15, 5:5,11-13; 1 Peter 4:17; Acts 5:1-11; Heb 2:1-3, 3:12-14)
Section 5 - Angelology
Both Old and New Testaments testify that God created angels to glorify Himself and to be ministers
to and for Him (Psalms 148:2,5; Hebrews 1:14.) Angels pre-existed creation
of the heavens and the earth for they rejoiced when God created. (Job 38:4-7)
5.1 Satan and His Demons: Fallen Angels
Satan was the highest created angel until he was cast down because of his desire to put himself in God's place. Satan is the author of sin yet, temporarily, allowed to rule our world. Satan suffered defeat at the cross and will ultimately be cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment (Matthew 25:41; John 14:30; Isaiah 14:12-20.) He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19,) taking one third of the angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25: 41; Revelation 12:1-14) and by introducing sin into the human race by his successful temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-15.)
Satan and his demons are the open and declared enemy of God and man (Isaiah 14:13-14; Matthew 4:1-11; Revelation 12:9-10.) Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 16:20.) Satan shall be eternally punished and thrown into the lake of fire. (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10)
5.2 Holy Angels
All angels including the holy angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10.) Although all angels temporarily
occupy a higher order of creation than man, they nonetheless were created to serve God and to worship Him. Angels are unable to reproduce. Man will ultimately be above and judge the angels when man enters his glorified state. (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7,14; 2:6-7;Revelation 5:11-14, 22:9)
Section 6 - Ecclesiology: The Church
Jesus said "... Upon this rock I will build my church ..." (Matthew 16:18.) Many falsely presume this to mean that Jesus would build His church upon Peter. That is a
clear mis-interpretation of scripture for Jesus is the Rock, and upon Him - Jesus - is the church built. (1 Corinthians 10:4, Matthew 7:25-25, Luke 6:48, Romans 9:23, 1 Peter 2:8)
The church is clearly built upon God for the benefit of man. Therefore, this church will emphasize who and what God is over what He is doing and how He may be working. So much confusion on the nature and role of the church exists in contemporary Christian theology that the emphasis of many local churches is now upon social change rather than spiritual transformation. This over-emphasis on social change has resulted in a turn toward secularism for a great number of professing Christian churches. As a result, many Christians now falsely believe that God is (a) working in the world APART from the universal church structure that God created and established and (b) that God is accomplishing His purpose with and through people and institutions not avowedly Christian. This view serves to alter the nature and means of Salvation to something other than what the bible discloses as the only way to Salvation ... Jesus.
Secularism serves to further displace the church from a spiritual body of believers into a socio-secular institution of social engineering. Such a trend is categorically rejected by The Lord's Children. Transformation is the fruit of the work of God's Holy Spirit and not the means by which God works. The indwelling of God's Holy Spirit immediately transforms an individual into a new Spiritual Creation. Transformation is therefore the fruit of God's work, not the means or focus of His work. The regenerate Christian becomes a new
creation, no longer a carnally minded man sold under sin, but a spiritually minded man
in subjection to the living God. The church is therefore a spiritual creation,
and a living organism. For those members of the body of Christ who are alive and living on the earth, the church is composed of flesh and blood, not brick and mortar.
The church of Jesus Christ may be defined theologically as the whole body of those who through Jesus Christ's death have been savingly reconciled to God and through His resurrection have received new life. It includes all such persons in heaven and on earth. While the church is Universal in nature, it finds its expression in local fellowships.
6.2 The Universal Church
The above definition brings into focus several clear aspects of the church's nature: it is both Universal and Local, and
is both Visible and Invisible. All who profess to know and place their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, regardless of where
they may live or which local church they may attend, are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the universal church of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13.)
Attendance at a local church is not required for Salvation (Ephesians 2: 8.) It is not just possible but probable that there are members of the universal church that do not attend any local church fellowship. That being said, non-fellowship with other saints is due more to extenuating circumstances rather than choice. Scriptures implicitly and explicitly teach local church fellowship and that fellowship with
God together with other believers is not to be forsaken. (Acts 5:11, 8:1, 15:41; Romans 16:5; Hebrews 10:25)
A mystery that Paul reveals is the local church is as "whole and full" in qualities equal to the universal body of Christ as a whole. Local fellowships, regardless of their size, are wholly the church, and NOT to be looked upon as a "part or component" of the universal church (Matthew 18:20.) The universal church is not the sum or composite of the local fellowships but instead, the whole is found in each place. Each fellowship represents the totality of the church. The fullness of the body of Christ is throughout heaven and the whole world and at the same time fully present in each individual assembly or fellowship.
One becomes a member of the one spiritual body of Jesus Christ (the universal church) immediately upon acceptance of Jesus as
Lord. The new believer is then directed to associate themselves together in a local church fellowship. (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25)
In the New Testament, the formation of the Universal church, the body of Christ, began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47.) The church is a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present age (Ephesians 2:11 - 3:6) ... and of all the faithful of past ages (Romans 4:1-8, 16, 21-25, 8:29-30) ... is the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8) ... with Christ as the head. (Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:15; Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 10:32)
God makes no distinction among "His People," those He predestined for Salvation through Jesus that died prior to the Day of Pentecost with those He calls into the body of Christ since the day of Pentecost. God's people comprise the church based upon God's choosing (Romans 8:29.) God does not exclude His faithful people of ancient Israel
from inclusion to the universal church, the body of Christ which is spiritual Israel (Romans 8:29 - 11:36; Ephesians 3:1-6.)
A mystery revealed by Paul is the Gentiles have been "grafted in" and
are of the ONE spiritual body and co-inheritors of the Abrahamic promises. (Galatians 3:5-9, 14-17, 29; Romans 4:1-25, 8:29-30; Ephesians 3:1-6; 5:32)
6.3 The Local Church
The establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) with the one supreme authority for the church being Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18.)
Scriptures teach both "autonomy" and "dependence" of the local church. It is
autonomous in the sense it is free from any external authority or control
of man. Local churches have the responsibility to govern themselves by a Council of Elders and not solely by an individual (Titus 1:5-9.)
The local church is dependent in the sense it subjects itself to biblically sound rulings and decisions by Apostles and Overseers that are of the universal church
... those distinct from or not participants in their local fellowship of the saints (Acts 15, Galatians 3, 1 Corinthians 14:37, 1 Thessalonians 4:2.) The local church is required to be subject to God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world.
Scriptures encourage the cooperation of local churches within the body of Christ. The Universal Church is of one mind, and one spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17, 12:13; Ephesians 4:4; Philippians 1:27) Each local church is to determine for itself the measure, degree and method of its cooperation with other local churches. Local church elders should, consistent with Scriptures, determine all spiritual and administrative matters of fellowship, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government. (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7,13; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
Church fellowship, leadership, gifts, and discipline are all appointed by our Sovereign Head, Jesus Christ as found in the Scriptures. There is a strong correlation between the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the offices of the church as one would expect. Gifts of the Holy Spirit are distributed by God to the saints. The receipt of Spiritual gifts does not necessarily relate to a specific formal or ordained office within the church. It does, however, come with a responsibility and accountability to God and incumbent upon each saint who has received gifts from the Holy Spirit, to judicially use all gifts received for the greater glory of God and
6.3.1 Local Church Offices
The biblically designated offices/gifts, appointed by Christ to serve in local church fellowships are as follows:
188.8.131.52 Apostle/Missionary - 1 Corinthians 12:28; Acts 1:26
184.108.40.206 Prophet - 1 Corinthians 12:28,
220.127.116.11 Teacher - 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4: 11
18.104.22.168 Simeion (Miracles) - 1 Corinthians 12:28
22.214.171.124 Elders -
Also called Shepherds, Overseers, Ministers, Priests, Stewards, Pastors, Teachers, Pastor-Teachers, Preachers, Preacher-Teachers,
and Servants. Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:11
126.96.36.199 Overseer (Bishop) - Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1
188.8.131.52 Pastor - Ephesians 4:11
184.108.40.206 Herald/Preacher - 1 Timothy 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:11
220.127.116.11 Evangelist - Ephesians 4:11
18.104.22.168 Charismaon (Gifts) - 1 Corinthians 12:28
22.214.171.124 Administrators - 1 Corinthians 12:28
126.96.36.199 Deacons - Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:8-13
There are biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5) that must be met for most of the offices listed above. These qualifications are listed under ARTICLE 6: Council of Elders.
6.4 Gifts of The Holy Spirit
The biblically ordained gifts of the Holy Spirit are distributed to the saints by God, to edify the body of Christ for the equipping of the saints for the high calling of ministry (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:12) as it pleases and glorifies God. God bestows upon the chosen men specific gifts for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12.) God gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the body of Christ, both male and female (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11.) The application and function of these gifts must be consistent with the biblical instruction before this church will recognize a declared or stated gift by a saint to be a "true" spiritual gift confirmed by the laying on of hands. The biblically based gifts of the Holy Spirit in use today by the church are as follows:
The ability to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a Divinely anointed utterance. (Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:10)
The ability to identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God's work, and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired goals. (Romans 12:7)
The special ability that God grants to communicate doctrine, biblical information, the Word of God, and spiritual truths relevant to the health and ministry of the church and its members in such a way that others will learn and be edified. (Romans 12:7)
A gift that enables someone to consistently minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement, counsel, and reproof to other people in such a way that they are helped or convicted to turn from sin. (Romans 12:8)
The ability of someone to be willing to cheerfully contribute their
material resources to the work of God with liberality and without any desire for self benefit. (Romans 12:8)
The ability to set goals and yield to God's authority in deference to God's purpose for the direction of His work; and to communicate and motivate others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together toward the fulfillment of God's purpose.
The ability to have genuine empathy and compassion for individuals
within and without the church, who suffer distressing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual problems; and then to apply that deep compassion into deeds that will alleviate and comfort their suffering. (Romans 12:8)
6.4.8 Word of Wisdom
The ability to know and apply biblical truths and knowledge in such a way as to make spiritual truths relevant and practical in proper decision-making in daily life situations. (1 Corinthians 12:8)
6.4.9 Word of Knowledge: Illumination
The ability to discover, accumulate, analyze and clarify information
and ideas gleaned from the Word of God that are pertinent to the growth, understanding and general well-being of the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:8)
The ability to be firmly and correctly persuaded of God's power and promises to
accomplish His will and purpose (Intellect.) The gifted individual will display and "act" upon such
true persuasion with total confidence in God and in His Word that circumstances and obstacles do not shake the conviction, nor the actions and deeds of such faith even when the obstacles and circumstances are in direct opposition to the implementation or action of faith (Ethics.) This person possesses a deep insight into
the true and proper understanding of God's will and His plan. (1 Corinthians 12:8)
The ability of a person to act as a conduit of God's healing power and God's will to heal in such a way as to effectively allow the healing of people's sicknesses and deformities to full restoration and health apart from natural and medical means. (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30)
The ability of a person to act as a conduit of God's supernatural
powers and to demonstrate God's power, acts, and deeds that are unexplainable except by the Divine intervention of God. These acts of God are observable, immediate, and beyond the realm of human manipulation, experimentation and explanation. (1 Corinthians 12:10)
6.4.13 Distinguishing of Spirits
The ability that enables a person to accurately assess and judge inner motives, hidden errors, or corrupting doctrines; Can distinguish between doctrine and behaviors that are from God,
from the flesh or from Satan. (1 Corinthians 12:10)
This is the ability to speak in a previously unknown "human" language, that was not previously learned
or taught so unbelievers can hear God's message in their native language; believers can be edified and encouraged and God can be praised beyond our understanding. It is also the language that one should use in private devotions to God. (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 30)
6.4.15 Interpreter of Tongues
The ability to make known in the vernacular (common language) to the assembly the message of one who speaks in a tongue
not known or understood by most people present within the assembly. (1 Corinthians 12:10, 30)
The office of Apostle is the highest office in the church (Romans 12:8.) Apostleship is the special ability that God grants selected men of the body of Christ that enables them to go out and create disciples by planting church fellowships, to exercise godly leadership in spiritual matters over a number of local churches, and to posses the ability to perform certain signs, wonders and miracles in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Another qualification for Apostleship is one had to be an "eye witness" to the resurrected Jesus Christ (Acts 1:22.) Since that qualification is highly unlikely in contemporary Christendom, many of these functions are performed by Missionaries and church planters.
This literally means to take a burden upon oneself. It is the
hallmark of people who choose to invest their talents and resources into the life and ministry of other members of the church, thus enabling the person helped to increase the effectiveness of their ministry. (1
The Greek translation is to pilot or steer. It was the helmsman whose chief task was to keep the ship on course, and to correct or modify the course whenever dangers would arise in navigation through rocks, storms, ice etc. Similar to leadership, it is the gift that enables one to assess and organize resources and personnel in line with the project, plan
and goals of the church. (1 Corinthians 12:28)
This gift enables a person to preach, present and proclaim the gospel with simplicity, clarity and effectiveness. The individual will have a burden for the lost and is comfortable and able to share the gospel in any situation and at any time. (Ephesians 4:11)
The bible uses the terms Shepherd, Overseer, Apostle, Elder, Pastor,
Minister, Steward and Priest interchangeably. It is primarily the duty of the Shepherds to spiritually feed the flock of believers the Gospel and the Word of God, to minister, serve, protect, care for, and to guide those saints entrusted to their care. (Ephesians 4:11)
6.5 The Gospel: The Person and Message of Jesus Christ
The gospel is "proclamation of good news" (Matthew 11: 5, 26:
13; Mark 16:15; Luke 4:18, 20:1; Acts 8:12, 14:7,15, 15:35; Romans 15:20; 1 Corinthians 1:17, 9:16; 2 Corinthians 10:16, 11:7; Galatians 4:13; Ephesians 4:11; Hebrews 4:2,6; 1 Peter 1:2, 1:25, 4:6; Revelation 10:7, 14:6) and is expressed several ways in Scripture:
Mark 8:35, 10:29, 13:10; Luke 1:19, 2:10; Acts 8:25, 35, 40, 14:7, 15, 15:7, Acts 16:10; Romans 1:15; 1 Corinthians 4:15, 9:14,16,18,23, 15:1; 2 Corinthians 8:8, 11:4; Galatians 1:6, 8-11, 2:2,5,7,14, 3:8; Ephesians 3:8; Philippians 1:5,7,12,16, 2:22, 4:3,15; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; Philemon 1:13
The Gospel is ...
... The Kingdom / Kingdom of God:
Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 24:14; Mark 1:15; Luke 4:43, 8:1, 16:16; Acts 8:12
... Lord Jesus the Messiah, the Glory of Christ:
Mark 1:1; Acts 5:2, 8:12, 11:20; Romans 15:19, 16:25; 1 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 2:12, 4:4, 9:13, 10:14; Galatians 1:7,16; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:8
... the Resurrected Jesus: Acts 17:18; 2 Timothy 1:10, 2:8
... His Son: Romans 1: 9
... God: Mark 1:14; Romans 1:1, 15:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:2,8,9; 1 Timothy 1:11
... the Grace of God: Acts 20:24
... the Power of God: Romans 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:8
... The Word of Truth: Acts 8:4; Colossians 1:5
...Peace: Acts 10:36; Ephesians 2:17, 6:15
... Hope: Colossians 1:23
... Good News: Acts 8:12, Romans 10:15,16
... the Promise: Acts 13:32; Ephesians 3:6
... the faith: Galatians 1:23; Philippians 1:27
... a Mystery: Ephesians 6:19
... Salvation and Judgment:
Romans 1:16, 2:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Peter 4:17
... Veiled to those who are perishing: 2 Corinthians 4:3
... Ours: 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:14
6.5.1 The Person of Jesus Christ
The gospel is the central message of the local and universal church.
The gospel means good news and the good news is the person of Jesus Christ
and the message of Jesus Christ which is the whole Word of God. The gospel of the person and message of Jesus Christ is the core of Christianity and the church. You cannot separate the message of Jesus from the person of Jesus as the above Scripture point out.
The Message does not exist independent from the Messenger - Jesus the Messiah.
6.5.2 The Message of Jesus Christ
For the local church to effectively glorify God through the
proclamation of the gospel, (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42; Ephesians 3:21) it must build itself up in the faith, (Ephesians 4:13-16) by instruction of and in the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:2,15; 3:16-17) ... through fellowship with God and each other (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3) ... by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) ... and by advancing and communicating the gospel.
Discipleship is a critical function of the church (Matthew 28: 19-20;2 Timothy 2:2) as is mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matt. 18:5-14) and when necessary, discipline of a sinning member of the fellowship in accordance with the standards of Scripture. (Matthew 18:25-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16)
6.6 Ordinances: Baptism, Communion, Laying on of Hands
The bible appears to demonstrate three ordinances be committed to the local church:
Water Baptism, The Lord's Supper and the Laying on of Hands (Acts 2:38-42, Luke 22:19, Hebrews 6:2.) Though some may question Laying on of Hands as a church ordinance, The Lord's Children Fellowship includes it as a rite of the church.
Water baptism, the Lord's Supper and the laying on of hands are ordinances to be observed by the church during the present age. They are not, however, to be regarded as a means of salvation. (1 Corinthians 11:26; Rom. 6:3-4)
6.6.1 The Lord's Supper (Communion)
We teach that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32.) We also teach that the elements of communion (unleavened bread and wine) are symbolic representations of the flesh and blood of Christ. The Lord's Supper is nevertheless actual fellowship (koinonia) with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, in fellowship with His people. (1 Corinthians 10:16)
The Lord's Supper is to be commemorated once a month on a day of the pastor's, cell group leader or Council of Elders choosing and at other special times of the year as may be deemed appropriate. The Lord's Supper is open to all saints, that is, members of the body of Christ, the universal church, who have confessed Jesus as their Messiah and their personal Lord and Savior regardless of local church affiliation or local fellowship. Saints are to examine themselves to see if they are living in the faith so as to avoid taking the elements of the bread and wine which represent the broken body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus in an unworthy manner. Those who are not true believers are welcome to witness the ordinance but are discouraged from taking the elements. (1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:20-34)
6.6.2 Water Baptism
Water baptism is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior. Water baptism signifies a believers union with Christ in death to sin ... and in the resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11.) It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ, the Local Church. (Acts 2:41-42)
The Scriptures teach that Christian Baptism by water occurs after repentance and the acceptance of Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. It is full immersion in water of a believer in Christ in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. A candidate for baptism must have REPENTED - that is, turned away from their sinful lifestyle and toward Jesus and obedience and have made a personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In accordance with New Testament practice, newly baptized people will have hands laid upon them and are expected to be welcomed into local church fellowship. (Matthew 3:16, 28:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41, 8:38)
6.6.3 Laying On of Hands
The laying on of hands is an ordinance to be used by church leaders and elders during or after prayer to signify the blessings and the full and formal sanctioning of the church for the receipt of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19: 6) and the Divine gifts of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:6.) The laying on of hands is specifically used in the bible by Jesus, the Apostles and those divinely ordained by God to ... bless the little children, (Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10:16) ... For Healing (Matthew 8:3, 15, 9:18, 25, Mark 1:31, 41, 5:23, 41-42, 6:5, 7:32, 8:23-25, 16:18; Luke 4:40, 5:13, 13:11-13; Acts 3:7, 9:12, 17, 28:8) ... Raising the dead (Luke 8:53-55) ... To receive the gift of Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-19, 9:17, 19:5-6) ... To seek the bestowal of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6) ... and to signify the appointment, consecration or ordination of persons set apart for the work of ministry (Acts 6:5-6, 13:2-4, 1 Timothy 5:22.) The Holy Spirit indwells a person immediately upon acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior. The laying on of hands signifies or confirms as a public testimony and sanctioning of the church.
God in His infinite wisdom and in accordance to His grace may ordain/call Spirit-filled men out from among us to proclaim the gospel of the grace of God. Such men that have received a commission by God to preach and administer the ordinances will be confirmed of their ordination from an elder through the Council of Elders who are unanimous in their conviction that the candidate has indeed received suitable gifts and the ordination from God for the high call of ministry. The ordaining elder/pastor and/or The Council shall thoroughly examine all applicants before confirming their ordination to Christian ministry, by examining the candidates experience, reputation, character, education, doctrinal belief, and demonstrated effectiveness in Christian service.
Consistent with scripture, no person engaged in a sinful lifestyle or behavior contrary to sound biblical teaching like but not limited to unrighteousness, drunkenness, immorality, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, effeminism, idolatry, abortionists, liars, perjurers, and cowardice will not be considered for ordination in the church. (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10, 3:12)
Divorced men are generally not to be considered for ordination. However, there may specific biblically based circumstances where a
divorced man may be considered for ordination. It is the duty and responsibility of the Council of Elders to very carefully scrutinize such circumstances in light of Scripture before confirming ordination to a divorced man.
Women may not be ordained to any preaching, teaching or any other church office that exercises authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:12.) Women may be ordained to the office of Deacon. (Romans 16:1)
Section 7 - Eschatology: The Study of Last Things
Eschatology is the study of the last things or the end of the age of man. The bible has much to say about this period of time with thousands of Scriptures addressing the issue in both Old and New Testaments. Recently, much attention is being devoted to various end time scenarios in both religious and secular environments. Due to the increased attention on end times and the myriad of scenarios being bantered about, many people have been prone to develop conditions of eschatophobia - a fear or aversion to eschatology, or eschatomania - an intensive preoccupation with eschatology. Both these extremes are problematic. The truth is eschatology is neither an unimportant nor an optional topic ... nor should it be the sole subject of significance and interest to the Christian. Eschatology is a major topic of systematic theology and deserving of careful, intense, and thorough attention and study. It is important to understand that eschatology does not exclusively pertain to the future. We have been in the end time since the first advent of Jesus and must realize that some prophetic certainties have already been fulfilled through the person and work of Jesus, while others are unfolding now and will continue to unfold in the future.
We believe all the saints have a role and part in the unfolding eschatological reality. We are commanded to be watchful, alert and expectant of the future while understanding that the Kingdom of God will be ushered in by a supernatural work of God, and not accomplished by human efforts. The Lord's Children Fellowship stresses the spiritual significance and practical applications concerning the study of the biblical doctrines of eschatology.
There are two distinct ways to look at Eschatology. One is from the Global perspective and the other is a Personal/Individual view.
7.1 Personal Eschatology
For all people there exists the personal eschatological reality of death. All people die a physical death (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 1:19-26.) Nonbelievers are in a state of spiritual death that may ultimately lead to eternal death. If physical death occurs while a person is in the state of spiritual death, eternal death is the outcome. Life, therefore, if it is to be lived to it's fullest, must include the acceptance and apprehension of the reality of death. (2 Corinthians 4:11-12)
The bible teaches that all death is separation. Life and death according to Scripture is not to be viewed as existence and non-existence but as two different states of existence. Life and Death is simply the transition to a different modes of existence, not extinction (Ecclesiastes 12:7, James 2:26.) Life brings you closer to God while death separates you further and further from God. (2 Corinthians 4:11-12; Matthew 10:28, Luke 12:4-5)
7.1.1 Spiritual Death
Spiritual death is the separation of the of the person from God. Spiritual death first occurred in the Garden with the sin of Adam and Eve. The day they sinned they experienced spiritual death - a separation from God (Genesis 2:17.) Concurrent with that sin they now took upon themselves physical death as well (Genesis 3:3.) All flesh since that sin of Adam and Eve is conceived in the state of spiritual death because of a new sin nature inherited from Adam.
While in the state of spiritual death, humans are unable to respond to spiritual matters. For some, it may even include the total loss of sensitivity to ever respond to spiritual matters. (Ephesians 2:1-2; Matthew 8:22)
7.1.2 Physical Death
Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body (James 2:26.) The body dies yet the spirit lives. Man was created from the dust of the ground when God breathed the breath of life into man (Genesis 2:7.) The body, as a result of sin, will also return to the dust of the ground when breath ceases to sustain life (Genesis 3:19.) It appears that physical death was not an original part of the human condition, but the result of disobedience to God (1 Corinthians 15:20-22.) Though physical death due to sin was not immediate, spiritual death for sin was immediate.
It is appointed for all men to die (Hebrews 9:27) both saints and sinners. Physical death is now part of the human condition. However, for the unregenerate, physical death is a curse, a penalty and an enemy. At physical death, the unregenerate soul goes to Hades where they await Final Judgment. For the believer, the curse of death is gone because
the substitutionary death of Jesus defeated the enemy (death and Satan) at the cross of Jesus our Messiah. Physical death for the regenerate Christian is to immediately be with the Lord. (1 Corinthians 14:26; Galatians 3:13; Isaiah 25:8; Hosea 13:14; Revelation 20:14)
7.1.3 Eternal Death
Eternal death is the finalizing state of spiritual and physical death. If physical death occurs while a person is in the state of spiritual death, eternal death is the result. One is separated from the presence of God for all eternity - lost in his or her sinful condition.
Scriptures refer to this state as the second death (Revelation 21:8.) Those who are in Christ shall never experience the second death (1 Corinthians 15:51-57; Revelation 20:6.) Eternal death is reserved for the unbeliever. (Revelation 20:11-12, 21: 8)
7.1.4 Intermediate State
The intermediate state may be defined as the state of consciousness that exists between physical death and bodily resurrection (Matthew 22:32; Mark 12:26-27; Psalm 49:15.) The intermediate state is not the same for all the dead. The spirit of both believers and non-believers continue to live a conscious personal existence while the body of flesh decomposes. For the regenerate believers, the individual will immediately be in the
presence of the Lord after physical death (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, 1 Thessalonians 4:14) while the unregenerate person will be in Hades awaiting final judgment. (Luke 16: 23)
7.1.5 Resurrection of the Just
There is a bodily resurrection (Romans 8: 22-23) of the Just (Luke 14:14) and the Unjust (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; John 5:25,28-29; Acts 24:15.) The resurrection of the just will occur at the second coming of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15: 23.) Jesus will return from heaven with the spirits of the saved physically dead (1 Thessalonians 4:14) where their eternal bodies will be resurrected and
united with their spirit (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-54.) Those in Jesus who are alive at His coming will miraculously and instantaneously be transformed from a fleshly body into their eternal body. This will take place at the physical
second coming of Jesus. The bible refers to this as the first resurrection to Eternal Life.
7.1.6 Resurrection of the Unjust
The bodily resurrection of the unjust (Daniel 12:2) the unregenerate humanity, occurs at the conclusion of the millennial reign of Christ on the earth (Revelation 20:5; John 5:28-29.) The unrighteous dead will stand before God at The Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-12.) Those not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire and separated from God for all eternity - Eternal Death. The bible also refers to this as the second death. (Revelation 2:11, 20:14, 21:8)
7.2 Global Eschatology
Global or world eschatology refers to events that will impact the entire planet as a whole. It is inclusive of the events referred to as the Great Tribulation, The Wrath of Satan, The Return of Jesus Christ to the earth in bodily form, The Wrath of The Lamb, The Millennium - the
thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth, The Gog and Magog Rebellion,
The Wrath of God, and The Great White Throne Judgment - Final Judgment.
7.2.1 The Great Tribulation
The Great Tribulation is a period of time that involves a complex of events all prophesied by God to occur in the latter days. We believe the church must be present upon the earth during this period of time (Matthew 25:9; Revelation 2:18-29, 7:14.) Many saints of God will be martyred (the wrath of Satan) during the Great Tribulation. We believe that Jesus will return to the earth and harpazo His church between the sixth and seventh seals as described in the book of Revelation, chapters 7
and 8. The harpazo of His church, which some refer to as rapture,
is a singular event that occurs at the bodily return of Jesus when He comes with His saints (those who have died and are in heaven) and for His saints (those who are alive and remain on the earth.) His saints are
all the "saved" who are in Jesus. This event marks the end of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of the Wrath of the Lamb - Armageddon.
7.2.2 The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
The one absolute in eschatology is the personal and bodily return of
Jesus Christ to the earth (John 14:3, Matthew 24 and 25, 26:64; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27; Acts 1:11.) His return is visible to all peoples and nations of the earth (Matthew 24:30) ... is unexpected (Matthew 24:36-39, 42-44) ... during a time of Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:6-10, 16-22) ...
and apostasy (Matthew 24:4-5, 23-26) ... is swift and sudden (Matthew 24:27) ... and when He will harpazo (rapture) His church. (Matthew 24:31, 40-41)
7.2.3 The Millennium
The Millennium refers to the earthly reign of Jesus Christ with His saints for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4.) The Lord's Children Fellowship is pre-millennial meaning we believe the Millennium will commence at or shortly after the bodily return of Jesus Christ. Two great wars mark the beginning (Armageddon) and end (Gog and Magog) of the Millennium.
7.2.4 Final Judgment
The purpose of the Final Judgment is not to ascertain the final state of those in Hades, for that is already known by God, but to make known and public the final status. For the unbeliever, there will be a judgment for sin at the Great White Throne Judgment (Romans 2:5; Revelation 20:5, 11-12.) Jesus Christ is the Judge (Matthew 25: 31-33; Hebrews 12:23; John 5:22, 27, 12:48; Acts 10:42, 17:31; Romans 2:16) along with all His saints, those saved in Him (1 Corinthians 6:2-3.) For the believer, their judgment is at the second coming of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:10.) This judgment is not for sin, for that has been atoned for at the cross (Romans 8:1) but for reward (1 Corinthians 3:14; Colossians 3:24; Hebrews 10:35; 2 John 1:8; Revelation 11:18, 22:12.) The final judgment for humanity and the angelic realm is permanent and irrevocable.
ARTICLE 4 AFFILIATION
This Church is autonomous, non-denominational and maintains the right to govern its own affairs, independent of any denominational or governmental control. Recognizing, however, the benefits of cooperation with other local churches in world missions, evangelism, discipleship and fellowship, this Church voluntarily affiliates with the general principles and practices of the evangelical community of believers and other bible believing and practicing local Christian churches. This church also recognizes its spiritual obligations to cooperate with the civil authorities whenever such cooperation does not conflict with the Holy Scriptures. (Romans 13: 1-7)
We also recognize our obligation to be subject to jesus Christ and His
appointed and ordained servants of the Universal Church, the body of
ARTICLE 5 FELLOWSHIP
SECTION 1: General
There will be no formal guidelines for membership in this Church for this Church has no formal membership. Members belongs to God and form the Universal Church, the spiritual body of Jesus Christ in its broadest application. This Church shall consist of persons who are born again believers and share in common the beliefs contained in the bible or are willingly in the process of becoming disciples by learning the teachings and practices of Biblical Christianity. This Church does not have a practice of qualifications for membership, nor does it prepare and / or maintain membership rolls. What this Church has are believers who voluntarily choose to associate and fellowship with other believers and
seekers. The bible generally refers to the members of the body of Christ
as saints, disciples, brethren, brothers, sisters and believers.
SECTION 2: Principles for Fellowship
2.1 A personal commitment of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
2.2 Baptism by immersion as a testimony of salvation.
2.3 Participation in this Church's bible teaching and/ or worship and praise services.
2.4 A commitment to abide by the beliefs and conduct for believers
contained in Holy Scripture even if that person may not currently be a believer.
2.5 A willingness to yield themselves to the authority of the elders and the Council of Elders
SECTION 3: No Designation of Membership for Fellowship
There shall be no effort nor attempts made to reflect a status by membership of believers that choose to fellowship or affiliate themselves within the body of believers at this Church to be or become members. Any person belonging to the Universal Church of Jesus Christ is free and welcome to fellowship at this church.
SECTION 4: Responsibilities for Fellowship
The responsibilities for fellowship with God and each other are clearly contained in the Holy Bible. It is the responsibility of every believer to learn and abide by the biblical tenet's for fellowship and to willingly subject themselves to the leadership of this church by the Council of Elders.
SECTION 5: No Voting Rights
There are no voting rights for there is no membership. However, those who fellowship with the body of believers at this church and / or financially contribute their tithes and offerings have the right to inspect the financial records of this Church. Also, those who currently are in fellowship at this church and using their spiritual gifts received by God for the benefit of the body of believers as a whole may be ordained by God to serve in a spiritual church office outlined in Article 3, Section 6 of this document. The Council of Elders may request and confirm such person in fellowship to serve in that office for the local fellowship.
SECTION 6: Termination / Dismissal of Fellowship
Fellowship within this Church is completely voluntary and as such, believers may choose to come and go, participate or not participate in this church's activities as they deem appropriate and in accordance with any spiritual gifts received.
Believers may be disfellowshipped from Church fellowship by the elder / pastor / cell group leader and / or the Council of Elders for the following reasons and / or conditions:
6.1 The believer's life and conduct is not in accordance with the tenets of Biblical Christianity as defined or understood by this church in Scripture.
6.2 The believer conducts themselves in such a manner or way that hinders the ministerial influence of this church in the communities it serves.
6.3 Procedures for the dismissal of a believer from further fellowship with other believers in this church shall be done in accordance with Matthew 18:15-17.
SECTION 7: Restoration of Fellowship
Disfellowshipped individuals may be restored by the elder, elders, pastors, cell group leader or Council of Elders in accordance to the spirit of 2 Corinthians 2:7-8, when the life-styles and / or behaviors of the disfellowshipped individual are judged to be in accordance with the biblical standards of conduct for regenerate Christians.
ARTICLE 6 COUNCIL OF ELDERS
There is scriptural evidence of the Apostles establishing a specific
type of oversight in nearly every church planted in the New Testament and with detailed instruction concerning local church leadership, management and operations. That standard is through Biblical Eldership. (Acts 14:23, 15:1-41, 16:4, 20:17, 21:18; 1 Timothy 4:14, 5:17; Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1-5; 2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1) The true essence and spirit of biblical Eldership is found in scriptures primarily under the terms shepherd and servant (elder), overseer, minister, priest, steward, pastor, teacher, preacher, pastor-teacher and preacher-teacher.
Section 1 - Principles of Eldership Control
Ironically, there is no specific biblical office called elder. The
three Greek words translated elder are presbuteros, presbuterion, and sumpresbuteros where we get the English presbytery, meaning those in local church leadership or oversight. Elders is the term used to represent the collective body of church offices designated for local church leadership and distinguished only by the different gifts of the Holy Spirit given to each specific office. There is no division made between local lay elders and full time salaried ministers.
Elders are not to be presided over by the local pastor but rather it is
the elders that are to pastor the flock through the gifts of the Holy Spirit that God distributes to the body. The New Testament teaches that elders are established or appointed by Apostles or church planting missionaries, though once appointed, elders become a self governing body.
The congregation, those in fellowship at the local church, are under the authority and rule of, and subject to, the Council of Elders (Hebrews 13:17.) Therefore, it is essential that only men designated by God with one or more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and subject to the authority and teachings of Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd of the church, be selected to humbly serve on the Council of Elders. (1 Peter 5:1-5)
Section 2 - Composition of the Council
Only qualified men of this church have the privilege of being appointed to serve on the Council of Elders (1 Timothy 2:8 - 3:1.) Appointments are made by an Apostle or church planting Missionary. The Council may appoint men to itself upon unanimous consent of the Council members and the approval of an Apostle or the planting Missionary if the Council consists of 3 men or less. Otherwise, the Council may appoint qualified men to serve on the Council at their discretion. There is no fixed number of men that may be included to serve on the Council but those who, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, have been selected by God to shepherd His sheep.
Section 3 - Qualifications for Elder
Qualifications for elders are found throughout Scripture. Elders are the oversight body of the local church and is open to all males in local fellowship that are in receipt of one or more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, meet scriptural qualifications for elders and have a sincere desire to jointly oversee the spiritual welfare of God's household of
believers. A woman may not become an elder.
Seminary education and training is not to become a qualification for the service and work of an overseer or elder. The appointment of a full time pastor is not a substitute for - nor a
relinquishment of - the shepherding and pastoral duties God has ordained to His elders. A full time pastor shall not have any specific oversight over this Council nor the local church apart from this Council. A full time pastor is a member of this Council, not the leader of the Council, and shall not have any powers apart from this Council. This Council does not have the power to transfer control of the church nor the powers of control of the church to another individual, entity or entities including the body of believers in fellowship at this church apart from this Council, excepting of course Jesus Christ, the true power and head of this Council and church. In essence, this Council cannot dissolve or dilute it's God ordained purpose to manage this church and it's affairs.
3.1 Elder: 1 Timothy 3:1-7
The following are guidelines and general attributes that must be present in elders in addition to one or more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The qualifications are not to become a legalistic absolute, for to do so would in all probability disqualify all men from servanthood to our Lord and His children. It must also not become so liberal in application that shame and dishonor is brought to the name of our Lord Jesus so that the high call of service becomes nullified. The standards and call of service is high and suitable only to those men called by God to be shepherds of His flock.
3.1.1 Above Reproach
Demonstrating a lifestyle where any accusations of wrongdoing cannot be rightly levied and therefore without merit.
3.1.2 The Husband of One Wife
The meaning of this phrase is not limited exclusively to polygamy as some maintain, nor is it saying that an overseer must be married, for marriage is not a requirement for church office. This church understands this to include the meaning of divorce. Though divorce will not automatically disqualify a man from serving God as an elder, it is a circumstance that must be carefully scrutinized. The circumstances concerning a man married to a divorced woman must equally be scrutinized by The Council
A sober-minded individual. Balanced in understanding and judgment.
Soundness of mind, especially relating to spiritual matters as gauged by the existence of prudence in personal, family, financial and business matters.
Worthy of respect both in and out of the church. Someone who is organized and orderly in mind and spirit.
The man who has a love for strangers as well as for those of the household of faith. A man willing to welcome into the church and his home, those people who have an outward appearance less honorable or desirable then those of similar background, culture and circumstance to himself.
3.1.7 Able to Teach
This means the fundamental ability to teach spiritual matters to the household of faith. Teaching as a gift of the Holy Spirit need not be
present to be considered for an overseer role. However, at least a rudimentary and fundamental ability to teach must be present in all elders.
3.1.8 Not an Alcoholic
Prudence in the use of alcohol is required, not necessarily the abstention from alcohol. Proper use of alcohol is not forbidden in scripture, nor is it sin.
3.1.9 Non-combative, or aggressively hostile
A peaceable, non-pugnacious person, able to reason with others concerning the ways of the Lord - a gentle man.
3.1.10 Not Greedy
One who is not a lover of money, but a lover of God. This is understood to mean a man who does not see the church as a vehicle for profit nor the
accumulation of wealth either for himself or the church. The church of
Jesus Christ is not a business that is to be measured by it's ability to generate profits or wealth but is to be looked upon as a spiritual organism that produces life to the believer and instills a desire for fellowship with God and each other, discipleship, worship, prayer, and
the furtherance of the gospel.
The man is to be a good manager of his family, having a godly wife with
his children under control. His household affairs are generally maintained
in good order.
3.1.12 Spiritually Mature
The man must be spiritually mature and not a new convert to the faith. He must posses a solid understanding of the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith and be literate in the Word of God. Formal theological training at a seminary should never become a pre-requisite for the work and service of an elder.
3.1.13 Good Reputation
The man's standing and reputation within the community and the household of faith should be one consistent with the biblical tenets of Christianity.
Section 4 - Powers
The Council of Elders shall have the following powers and duties:
To provide financial management and counsel on behalf of the church. Such counsel shall be provided at the discretion of the Elders.
Tithing is an ordinance of Mosaic Law that required 10% of a households increase be given to the priests. The tithing ordinance in not binding upon the New Testament church, the Body of Christ, nor shall it be imposed upon any individual in fellowship at this church. Therefore, The Council shall not have the power to require a fixed 10% tithe or any other percentage or fixed amount as a standard to determine the amount of money an individual can or should give to fulfill their biblical requirement to give.
To determine the compensation of the licensed and/or ordained full time and part time elders and other such personnel of this church.
4.4 Other Duties
To conduct such other duties and activities as the Council of Elders may designate from time to time.
4.5 General Management
All activities, business and affairs of this church shall be conducted and all powers shall be exercised by or under the direction of the Elders.
Select and remove all elders, deacons, agents and employees of this church, prescribe any powers and duties for them that are consistent with biblical Christianity and adhere to all such labor laws or other relevant laws that may exist within the jurisdictions of the church
Borrow money and incur indebtedness on behalf of this church and cause to be executed and delivered for the church's purposes and in the church's name, promissory notes and other evidences of debt and securities; and to exercise all other powers conferred by the state nonprofit religious organization's law as they may exist or other applicable laws.
Section 6 -Appointment of Deacons
Deacons are servants much in the same manner as elders, except they
are limited to the "physical" needs of the body as opposed to the spiritual needs. The spiritual needs of the local church is the responsibility of the elders alone. Deacons, by virtue of their office are not appointed members to the Council of Elders. Deacons do however serve a vital role and function within the body of Christ. A woman may serve as and be ordained as deacon. There is to be no distinction in title to distinguish between a male or female serving in this position, i.e. the term "deaconess" is not to be used, but only the office title of deacon may be used.
6.1 Qualifications of Deacons - 1 Timothy 3:8-13
6.1.1 Above Reproach
Deacons must also demonstrate a lifestyle where accusations of wrongdoing may not be levied against them.
6.1.2 Dignified and Temperate
Deacons are to serve the physical and non-spiritual needs of the body of Christ as a dignitary - a position of rank and respect. They dignify the body of Christ in service with a spirit of honor, respect and worthy of the highest esteem. Deacons must also sober-minded individuals, noble in character, mannerism and language, not engaged in double-talk, back-biting nor gossip.
Soundness of mind relating to spiritual matters, not given to double talk
and speaking without thoughtfulness. Deacons are the first line of service and support to those individuals who are in receipt of gifts of the Holy Spirit and holding church offices.
6.1.4 Respectable and Faithful
Worthy of respect both in and out of the church. Someone who is neat and orderly in appearance and spirit. Deacons serve God and His work, not man. Deacons must be faithful to the Lord, and to those they serve. They must also be faithful to the Faith delivered to them.
6.1.5 Not an Alcoholic
Prudence in the use of alcohol is required, not necessarily the abstention from alcohol. Proper use of alcohol is not forbidden in scripture, nor is it sin.
6.1.6 Not Greedy
One who is not a lover of money, but a lover of God. This is understood to mean a man or woman who does not see the church as a vehicle for profit nor the accumulation of wealth either for himself or the church. The church of Jesus Christ is not a business that is to be measured by it's ability to generate profits or wealth but is to be looked upon as a spiritual organism that produces life to the believer and instills a desire for fellowship with God and each other, discipleship, worship, prayer, and the furtherance of the gospel.
6.1.7 Married to One Spouse
The requirements for deacons is the same as it is for elders. This church understands this to mean not divorced. Though divorce will not automatically disqualify a man or woman from serving God as an deacon, it is a circumstance that must be carefully scrutinized. The circumstances concerning a person married to a divorced spouse must be scrutinized by The Council prior to the appointment or ordination of a person to the office of deacon
Deacons must also be good family managers, having their children under control and their household in good order.