Monday, June 22, 2009

The foundational values of the church

1) All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for training and correction. In this regard, all Scripture is reliable and authoritative, as well as being inerrant and infallible. The Bible is basis of all doctrine and teaching in the church.

2) Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God. In this regard, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. Also, Christ is the "Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but through Him" – Christ is the only way to God, and there is no access to God apart from Him. We're not into "religious diversity."

3) The purpose of the redemption accomplished by Christ wasn't simply to get us to heaven, but to get God back into us – to reestablish the relationship that existed in the beginning with Adam. Because of Christ in us, we now have complete and free access to God.

4) Christ accomplishes His work in the world through the church universal.

5) The basic mission of all Christian ministry is to proclaim the unfathomable riches and resources we have by virtue of being in Christ, the resources we have by being united with Him, and to explain and demonstrate to believers what is the administration of these riches and resources in our lives (i.e., how "Christ in you" works itself out into our personal lives). (Eph. 3:8-9)

6) Christ accomplishes His work through the members of the body of Christ, since He has equipped each member with a gift of the Spirit.

7) To accomplish the work of Christ, when we meet together, all believers have something to provide or give, according to the gifts they are given. (Simply sitting in a large congregational meeting, staring at the back of someone's head, doesn't fulfill Christ's purpose for the church when it is gathered.)

8) Christ is the head of the church. He directs it's ministries and activities. But He delegates His authority to elders, who are the leaders of the church. The pastor functions under the authority of the elders. Just as the perfect will of God can best be discerned as a group of people pray together, sharing their thoughts and insights over a given prayer concern, and just as the work of Christ can more perfectly be performed as everyone exercises their gifts together, so the mind and will of Christ for a church in terms of vision and direction cannot be discerned solely through the mind and heart of one man. God will more perfectly manifest Himself, His mind and heart, through the larger group of elders, as each may receive or perceive one facet of God's larger will or plan for the church. A pastor only has one perspective – that which God has given him, as one person. The elder board has as many perspectives as there are members, and the fuller will of God is better understood through the sharing of these multiple perspectives.

9) The small group – not the large Sunday meeting – is the foundation of the church. While small group ministries tend to be encouraged in the church, they actually should be presented as essential for every attendee of the church. Small group meetings should be promoted as mandatory or at the very least essential for the growth and development of the individual Christian's maturity – participation in small groups should not be considered only an “option". Small group participation should not be seen as secondary or less important than the Sunday morning service. It's in the small group that real fellowship, prayer, study, discussion, challenging, and ministry to individual needs have the best opportunity to take place.

10) The Body of Christ is more than the single congregation. Each congregation in a region or in a city should see itself as one member of the larger body, with each congregation in the city having something to bring or give to the ministry of the Body of Christ to the local community. This would mean much more cooperation between the Bible-believing churches of a city or town; it means an identification of the particular and unique strengths of each congregation; perhaps some greater intermixing of church congregations, so that we see ourselves not as a little island, but as only one part of a larger whole.

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