A. The Universal Church
All who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body which is the Church, the bride of Christ of which Christ is the head.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22, 4:15, 5:23-32; Colossians 1:18; Revelation 19:7-8
The formation of the Church, the body of Christ, began on the day of Pentecost and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture. Acts 2:1-21; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The Church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ and made up of all born again believers in this present age. The Church is distinct from Israel and is the mystery not revealed until this age. 1 Corinthians 10:32; Ephesians 2:11-3:6, 5:32
The one supreme authority for the Church is Christ. The Church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are overseers and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications. Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22, 4:11;
Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5
B. The Local Church
The establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament. The members of the one spiritual body, the Church, are to associate themselves together in local assemblies. Acts 14:23-27, 20:17, 28; 1 Corinthians 11:18-20;
Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; Hebrews 10:25
The local church is free from any external authority or control. It has the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations. It is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church, however, through its leadership and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. The leadership should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government. Acts 15:19-31, 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7, 13; Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1-4
C. The Ordinances
Two ordinances have been committed to the local church: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Christian baptism by immersion is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer exhibiting his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life. It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ.
Acts 2:38-42, 8:36-39; Romans 6:1-11
The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes again and should always be preceded by self-examination. The elements of communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ. The Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshiping with His people.
1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:28-32
Separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Bible which indicates that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase.
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Out of deep gratitude for undeserved grace and because the Lord is worthy of our total consecration to Him, all believers should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our love to God. We must not bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior. Separation from religious apostasy, heresy and worldly and sinful practices is commanded 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 should be separated unto the Lord Jesus Christ and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness demonstrated by godly attitudes and a continual pursuit of holiness. Matthew 5:2-12; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12;
Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 12:1-2, 14; 1 John 3:1-10
D. Civil Government
Civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of society. Governmental authorities are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed – except in things opposed to the will of God as contained in His Word, the Bible.
Proverbs 8:15-16; Ecclesiastes 10:20; Matthew 22:18-21; Acts 4:17-21, 5:27-29; Titus 3:1-2; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; 1 Peter 2:12-17