The goal of the Great Commission–our goal–is to reconcile the world to the Father, through Christ, that people everywhere would know God personally and experience eternal life (2 Corinthians 5:18-20, John 17:3). This includes seeing every disciple of Jesus Christ walking even as He walked (1 John 2:6).
The Great Commission is split into two basic parts: The Multiplication of the Church (expansion of the kingdom) (Acts 2:47) and The Edification of the Church (Acts 9:31, Ephesians 4:12). The Multiplication of the Church–expanding the kingdom–is the work of seeing people converted to Christ and discipled, while The Edification of the Church is the work of bringing those disciples to maturity in Christ.
Steps to Fulfill the Great Commission
1.Send apostles (and evangelists) to make disciples (produce converts and students of Jesus) and establish them as a church (Acts 13:1-4).
2.Train and appoint leaders (elders/pastors) over these disciples to teach, encourage, warn, set the example, and to watch over them (Acts 14:21-23, 20:28-31, 1 Peter 5:1-3).
3.Equip the Church (disciples) to edify one another and preach the gospel continually through the many gifts of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:11-12, Romans 12:4-8, 1 Peter 4:8-11).
4.Repeat the process by sending out the same apostles and evangelists or by sending those who emerge from within the church. The apostles who planted churches, if they are sent out, should periodically return to those churches to strengthen and sharpen them (Acts 14:22)
Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible we regard as the inspired Word of God. The entire Bible is inerrant, infallible, and immutable; it is our first and final authority. Every word is true and relevant for today. We must accept all of the Bible or none of it. It trumps every other word, every feeling, every prophecy, every opinion, every vision, and every dream. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21, Joshua 21:45, Psalm 33:4, 138:2, John 17:17.
We believe in one eternal God (Deuteronomy 6:4, 1 Kings 8:60, Isaiah 43:10-11, 1 Corinthians 8:6) who is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1, Nehemiah 9:6, Isaiah 66:2, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:16) and is revealed in three unique expressions: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three are equal expressions of one God, but each serve a unique purpose. Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14, 1 John 5:7, 1 Peter 1:2.
Jesus of Nazareth is a real man who is truly the Christ and the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16-17). He lived as a man, died, was buried, and rose again in a physical, glorified body (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Luke 24:51, Ephesians 1:20, Philippians 3:20-21, Acts 3:20-21). He is now in heaven, physically, and awaiting His return to this earth to reign as King forevermore. He is fully God and fully Man (Philippians 2:5-11, 1 Timothy 2:5, John 1:1-3,14, Titus 2:13, John 20:28, Revelation 1:8, John 8:58,14:7-9, Colossians 1:15-17). Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father and to eternal life (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). See also 1 John 4:2-3.
The Holy Spirit
He is also known as the Spirit of the Lord and the Spirit of Christ. The Holy Spirit is received by the disciple of Jesus in two separate manifestations. First, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within the believer upon his/her salvation, sealing him/her for eternal life (Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:13-14). Second, the Holy Spirit baptizes, infills, or falls upon the believer to empower him/her. This second manifestation is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit or the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5, 2:38-39, 8:14-17, 9:17, 10:45-46, 19:5-6, Luke 11:13).
The Church of Jesus Christ
The Church is Christ’s body and His physical presence on earth (Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:26-30), for this dispensation of time. The true Church is built by Christ (Matthew 16:18) and it is made up of all whom Christ names His own (2 Timothy 2:19, John 10:26-29, John 17:6-11). The chief leader and head of the Church is Christ Himself, not any man (Ephesians 5:23). The Church is built upon the rock and foundation of the apostles’ teachings (Matthew 16:16-18), with Christ as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-22).
The Gifts of the Spirit
All the supernatural gifts of the Spirit are still in operation today, and are effective for the edifying of the Church and the preaching of the gospel to the lost. 1 Corinthians 1:4-8, 12:1-11, Mark 16:15-19.
The physical healing of all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease is provided in the atonement of Jesus’ blood (Isaiah 53:4-5, Matthew 8:16-17). By the power of the Holy Spirit and faith, we can receive healing for our bodies and heal the bodies of others. It is God’s will to heal. With sufficient faith in God and obedience to the Spirit, any form of healing can occur. If healing does not occur, we can only grow and trust the will of God. Acts 3:6, 10:38, Luke 9:11, Matthew 14:36, Mark 1:40-41, James 5:14-15, Matthew 17:19-20.
The Human Leadership of the Church
Christ appoints certain men and women to equip the saints for the work of ministry. Among these persons, there will be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. All five of these functions are still active today. Ephesians 4:11-12, 1 Corinthians 12:28-29.
The Human Condition (Before and After Salvation)
We believe that each person is a spirit, a soul (mind), and a body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Man was originally created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28, 9:6). Adam and Eve were the first humans to exist, created by God. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. That first sin had several repercussions that affect us today. Among them, the process of physical death began, and man died spiritually – causing separation from God. All humans are born with a sin-nature and estranged from God because of sin. Romans 3:23, 5:12-19, Psalm 51:5, Ephesians 2:3. Before knowing Christ, all humans are fallen sinners, dead in sin, darkness itself, and children of the devil (Ephesians 2:1-3, 5:8, 1 John 3:10). After knowing Christ and being saved by faith in Him, man becomes a new creation, now indwelled by the Spirit of God. While his body is fallen, he can renew his mind and submit his body in obedience to the Word of God. Our bodies will one day be transformed to become just like Christ’s glorified body. 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 3:9-10, Hebrews 10:14, 12:23, Romans 12:2, Romans 8:23, 2 Corinthians 5:4. Reconciliation with God is the eternal life that a saved individual receives (John 17:3, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Romans 5:8-10).
Salvation and Repentance
Salvation and/or forgiveness of sin is a gift from God, given by His grace and received through faith in Christ alone (Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:8-9). No man can earn his salvation. Upon genuine faith, corresponding works will follow, as to confirm the authenticity of one’s faith (James 2:20-26). Repentance from sin is a critical component of genuine faith. Repentance is the change of heart that causes a person to turn away from sin. Upon belief and repentance a person must be baptized in water (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38). Salvation is sustained through continuing faith (Colossians 1:22-23).
Heaven and Hell
Heaven and Hell are both real places. Ultimately, Heaven represents an eternity with God, while Hell represents an eternity of separation from God (i.e. the difference between life and death). All who refuse obedience to the gospel will be separated from God forever, and those who do obey will be joined with God forever. Since God is just, sin must be judged. Matthew 25:46, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10, Revelation 20:14-15.
Satan/Lucifer & Demons
Satan is real, and he is our enemy. He was originally created as a perfect angel of God (Lucifer), but he chose rebellion and became the devil. The devil is the one ultimately responsible for the entrance of sin and death into this world. Satan was the first to sin against God. Ezekiel 28:12-19, Isaiah 14:12-15, Genesis 3, 1 John 3:8. Demons are also real, and disciples of Jesus ought to cast them out of people who are possessed by them!
Marriage & Sexuality
The only legitimate marriage is that which is between one biological man and one biological woman. Anything else is immoral. The only kind of sexual relationship that’s moral and good in God’s sight is that which is between a married, monogamous, and heterosexual couple. Genesis 1:26, Genesis 2:24-25, Mark 10:6-12, Hebrews 13:4, Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Jude 1:7, 2 Peter 2:6.
The Sanctity of Life
Life begins at the moment of conception. God knows us before we’re formed in our mother’s wombs, and He has a plan for us all. Abortion is the termination of a life that God has sanctified, making abortion an act of murder, no matter the reason. Galatians 1:15, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Psalm 139:13-16, Exodus 21:22-25.
Why are the following listed among our essential doctrines? The Roles of Men and Women and the Corporate Practice of Tongues and Prophecy are part of biblical order, and Paul teaches us to withdraw from people who “walk disorderly” — who don’t submit to biblical order and apostolic tradition (2 Thessalonians 3:6).
The Roles of Men and Women in the Church
Men and women are equal in value, worth, and rank (Galatians 3:28), but differ in regards to nature, role, and responsibility. “From the beginning…God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6); male and female are still distinct from one another. They do not share exactly the same function.
The Bible’s General Ordinance for Biblical Order in Teaching (which is the authoritative delivery of doctrine) – Women should not exercise teaching authority over men (1 Timothy 2:11-15), whether to one or to many. Due to the features of headship (Ephesians 5:23,26), qualified men–fathers of the church–should lead in the teaching/doctrine that’s delivered to the church, while they are encouraged to cooperate with their wives in this work. Therefore, married women may help their husbands teach men and women if they are in evident agreement and cooperation with their husbands (Acts 18:26). Titus 1:5-6, 2:1-5, 1 Timothy 2:8-15, 3:1-2, Acts 18:26, 1 Corinthians 11:2-3.
The Married Man’s Role – A husband must function as the head of his wife (Ephesians 5:22-33), leading and nourishing her, and exercising authority in his home with truth and love, not force or intimidation. He is to maintain headship in every area of he and his wife’s activities, his wife taking the role of supporter and helper. Also see 1 Corinthians 11:2-3, Genesis 2:18-23.
Heart of the Matter (The WHY) – We need to keep looking to God’s best – a married man pastoring with his wife, being the leader in his home and in his church. We need to persevere for what is best–to provide a godly example to both men and women. Yes, both single men and single women have the ability to teach sound doctrine. For women, however, what is most proper for sound doctrine (what builds up and supports sound doctrine) is that mature women teach less mature women. Men need a male example, and women need a female example. Leaders are expected to serve as examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3) as their primary mode of teaching.
The Mature Woman’s Primary Role – Management of the home, faithfulness to a husband, childbearing, and teaching younger women to do the same things…these are responsibilities highlighted to women as being especially important for them to obey (Titus 2:3-5, 1 Timothy 5:14). Before anything else (regarding service to the church), a woman should endeavor to obey this command of God. Let her not neglect this call and be faithful to it before moving on to other activities. Titus 2:1 says that older women teaching younger women is what’s “proper for sound doctrine” in the church. Therefore, it is God’s best that more mature women teach less mature women first.
The Mature, Single Woman’s Primary Role (especially if she is a widow) – Older women are commanded to teach “younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:4-5). Before anything else (regarding service to the church), a single woman (especially if she is older and widowed) should endeavor to obey this command of God. Let her not neglect this call and be faithful to it before moving on to other activities. In addition, widows are commanded to observe these commands: “…lodge strangers, wash the saints’ feet, relieve the afflicted, diligently follow every good work” (1 Timothy 5:10).
The Woman’s Freedom to Speak – Just as men, women in the church should pray, prophesy, exhort, encourage, share words of wisdom and knowledge, give tongues and interpretations, etc.
Practical Qualifications for Leaders
Churches & Pastors: Groups of believers that gather with established leadership are to be pastored and/or taught by a married couple. We do not permit any single person to pastor a general assembly because the Word of God commands us that a bishop/pastor “must be the husband of one wife” (married, and to one spouse) and must “rule his own house well”, which includes being in unity with his spouse (1 Timothy 3:1-2). In addition to this, every pastoring couple must meet all of the qualifications spelled out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. If a pastoring couple has children who are old enough to exercise their own free will, they must be proven to be submissive.
If believers (men and women) gather to study and discuss Scripture in a group that is to be facilitated and taught by a leader (a Bible-study group, for instance), that leadership should also be a married couple (the husband and wife should teach together, or the husband should teach). Why? Men should teach and be an example to other men (1 Timothy 2:12, Titus 2:6-8); and women should teach and be an example to other women (Titus 2:3-5). In groups of both men and women, there should be a unified, married man and woman leading (Acts 18:26).
Teachers: All those who teach (explain doctrine) to groups of believers, whether they are a man or woman, must be more mature in the faith than those they are teaching (Titus 2:3), and they must be found to be trustworthy and faithful people (2 Timothy 2:2) who have also “studied to show themselves approved, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We will not quickly appoint anyone to teach, because the Word of God says, “Let not many of us become teachers, for we shall undergo a stricter judgment” (James 3:1).
The Corporate Practice of Tongues and Prophecy
The believer’s first responsibility is to love his brothers and sisters in Christ. All that we do should be done with love. When we gather, we should endeavor to edify each other and encourage the participation of every member in this task. However, when believers assemble together, there must be order and decency (1 Corinthians 14:26-33). This order and decency looks like:
Taking Turns in Speaking – No one demanding to be heard, speaking insubordinately, and no one speaking over someone else.
Using the Gifts of Tongues and Prophecy Properly – Tongues and prophecies must be given one person at a time (not everyone at once); and tongues must always be given with an interpretation. Prophecies must be judged. If any person does not walk in submission to these principles of biblical order, they are rejecting the apostolic tradition.
The responsibility to work and to provide for one’s own
Every individual in the church is held responsible to provide for their own, through faithful labor/work. Anyone who refuses to work and provide for their own has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever and they are to be withdrawn from (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, 1 Timothy 5:7-8). Also see Ephesians 4:28.
Policy for Church Discipline
We put into practice what Jesus commanded us in Matthew 18:15-17. In our church community, whenever there is apparent sin in an individual’s life, a brother will confront him/her privately. If, after this first rebuke, there is no repentance, two or three will confront. Still, if there is no repentance, the church will confront. If, after these three rebukes, there is no repentance, we will remove the sinning disciple from fellowship until he/she stops the sin. This practice of church discipline is motivated by love only. See also 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.