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Statement of Beliefs

The Center Church – Core Creed and Distinctive

Beliefs

Core Creed

The following statements constitute the Core Creed of The Center Church. They are central to our understanding of Scripture regarding the Christian faith and must be agreed upon by all members of The Center Church.

Revelation

We believe that it is possible for man to know God (1) but only to the extent God reveals Himself to man, for apart from the divine self-revelation, finite man cannot know the infinite God (2). We believe that God reveals Himself to all people through creation and conscience. This gives them a general sense of God’s existence (3); a general awareness of His power (4), wisdom (5), majesty (6), and goodness (7); and a sense of man’s ultimate accountability to God (8). We believe that God has further revealed Himself through the incarnation of His Son (9), and through the Holy Scripture (10).

Scripture

We believe that the Bible is the final, complete, inerrant in its original autographs and infallible authority for our lives; that the Bible consists of sixty-six Old Testament and New Testament books; that as originally written it is in its entirety verbally inspired by God; and that it is indeed the Word of God (11).

God

We believe that there exists one living and true God (12); that in His being He is infinite (13), eternal (14), self-existent (15), unchanging (16), and ever-present (17); that in His nature He is spirit (18); that He is personal (19); that He is perfect and absolute in all of His attributes (20), including those of His holiness (21), His power (22), and His knowledge (23); that He is therefore sovereign in His position, just in all His decrees, and righteous in all His actions; that He is the cause of all existence beside Himself (24); and that the full comprehension of His person is beyond the capacity of finite man (25). We further believe that in His divine and infinite being there is a trinity of personal distinctions, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (26), sharing equally in every divine perfection while executing distinct but harmonious offices in every divine work (27). God the Father. We believe that the Father is truly God, and that in the Godhead He occupies a functional but not a positional superiority (28). These functions include, but are not limited to, creation (29), planning redemption (30), sending the Son (31), sending the Holy Spirit (32), raising the Son from the dead (33), and giving authority to the Son to judge the world (34). It is to the glory of the Father that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (35). God the Son. We believe that Jesus Christ is truly God (36); that He is eternal (37), was active in the creation (38), and entered the realm of humanity by means of birth from a virgin, human mother, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit (39); and that although in His humanity He possessed a human nature and human limitations (40), yet without sin (41), He nevertheless did not cease to be God. We believe that the purpose of the incarnation was to provide redemption for men (42) by means of a predetermined (43), substitutionary (44), propitiatory (45) death on the cross; that Christ bodily rose from the dead (46) and ascended into heaven (47); and that He will one day return to earth (48). Furthermore, we believe that Jesus is presently the Advocate (49) and Great High Priest (50) of His people, the exalted Head of His Church (51), and the only Mediator between God and man (52). God the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Holy Spirit is truly God (53); that Scripture was given by Him (54); that He convicts of sin; that He bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony (55); that He is the regenerating agent in the new birth (56); that He seals (57), indwells (58), guides (59), gifts (60), teaches (61), confirms (62), sanctifies (63), and comforts (64) believers.

Satan

We believe in the spirit being of Satan, the unholy and temporary god of this world and ruler of all powers of darkness and sin (65).

Sin

We believe in the reality of sin, that sin is departure from the purpose and will of God, and that the active originator of sin in the universe was Satan (66).

Creation and Man

We believe that God created all things (67) and that man was created and is made in the image of God (68). Man was originally created sinless (69) but by choice fell from his sinless state (70). All of mankind are now sinners by nature and by choice (71), naturally inclined to evil (72), utterly devoid of the righteousness required by the law of God (73), under just condemnation without defense or excuse (74), and separated from communion with God.

Salvation

Grace. We believe that it is by Grace, God’s unmerited favor, we are saved through faith, and this is not from ourselves, but it is a gift of God. It is not on the basis of works (75). New Birth. We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again (76); though formerly dead in sin, we are made alive in Christ (77). Repentance and Faith. We believe that repentance, a change of mind and purpose from sin and toward God, is an integral part of saving faith (78), and that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only condition of salvation (79). We believe that saving faith is trusting in Christ alone for salvation. Justification. We believe that justification, occurring at the time of new birth, is that judicial act of God whereby He imputes the righteousness of Christ to the believer and therefore declares the believer righteous; that it includes the forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life, not in consideration of any works of righteousness we have done, but solely by The Center through faith in Christ (80). Sanctification. We believe that sanctification is the work of God in all believers by which He changes our hearts and minds, and He continues making our character more and more like Jesus Christ (81). Eternal Destiny. We believe that death seals the eternal destiny of each person. At the final judgment, each unbeliever will be separated from God and condemned to the lake of fire. Each believer will be received into God’s loving presence and rewarded for their faithfulness to Him in this life. Believers will spend eternity with God in the new Heaven and the new Earth (82).

Marriage

We believe that the Bible teaches that marriage is to be exclusively the lifelong union of a man and a woman. We furthermore accept the Biblical prohibition of sexual union outside of marriage (83), and the Biblical directives concerning husband, wife, and family as fully applicable to believers in our time (84).

Distinctive Beliefs

The following Distinctive Beliefs demonstrate our particular interpretation of the Bible in several areas. These Distinctive Beliefs are not universally held by all followers of Christ. Members of The Center Church may differ in their interpretation of Scripture regarding our Distinctive Beliefs yet for the sake of unity may not cause division or recruit others to their position.

The Church

We believe that born-again believers everywhere compose the Church in the universal sense, but the church is always expressed locally. The local church consists of a group of born-again believers who are organized according to Scripture; independent; self-governing; meeting together for the worship of God, fellowship, equipping believers, serving each other, and reaching the lost (85). The Ordinances. We believe that the following acts of obedience are symbolic in nature and provide a vivid picture of the love and grace of God. Baptism. Baptism is an outward sign of a person’s internal faith in Jesus Christ. This physical demonstration symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but more importantly, communicates a believer’s loyalty and allegiance to Jesus Christ in a public way. Baptism is commanded in Scripture as an initial act of obedience by disciples of Jesus Christ. We believe in baptism by immersion in water (86). The Lord’s Table. The Lord’s Table (or Communion) is a physical act in which believers remember the death of Jesus. Jesus created this expression during an intimate moment with his closest followers, and we are instructed to continue observing this act of worship (87).

Civil Government

We believe that human government is ordained by God for the good of mankind and that believers are to obey civil law unless such law contradicts the commands of the Word of God (88). In the event of such conflict, we believe that we must obey God rather than man, and that we must not renounce our profession or Christian practice, even in the face of trials, afflictions, persecutions, or imprisonments (89). We furthermore believe that the affairs of the church must be kept distinct from the civil government.

Election

We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God according to which He graciously chooses to regenerate and save sinners. It is a glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness. We also believe this election is done in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel. Election is evidenced by repentance, faith, and newness of life (90).

Perseverance of Believers

We believe that all who are truly born again are eternally secure in God’s salvation and that they will persevere by the power of God, through faith (91).

Last Things (Eschatology)

We believe in the personal, premillennial return of Christ (92), the resurrection of the righteous dead (93), the change of the living in Christ (94), His millennial reign on earth (95), the resurrection of the unrighteous (96), and their judgment at the Great White Throne (97) and a new heaven and new earth. (106)

Supernatural Gifts

We believe that the Holy Spirit empowers and gifts believers for their ministry (98). Some of these gifts can be categorized as “supernatural” gifts because their expression overrides natural laws and ordinary human abilities. These gifts have included speaking in unlearned foreign languages, the ability to miraculously heal, and speaking prophetically of future events (99). Although we believe that God is no less capable of working through His people in these same ways today, there is evidence from Scripture that these gifts were linked specifically to the birth of the early church as a way of confirming the message (100), and so for the sake of unity within this church family we do not practice or teach these supernatural gifts. We do encourage believers to focus on loving one another and to pursue the gifts that are certain to edify the church (101).

Role of Women

We believe the Bible clearly says that there is equality between men and women before God (102), yet there are distinctions in roles for men and women in the home and in the church (103). Every leadership opportunity is open to women except those that are excluded by Scripture. Therefore, women are not permitted to serve as elders on the Oversight Team (104). Additionally, because Paul reasons from Creation as opposed to a specific cultural context, we believe women are not permitted to serve as corporate instructors of truth to men within the context of the local church (105). Qualified women may serve in any leadership position that is not directly forbidden in the Scriptures.

References

  1. John 17:3; 1 John 5:20
  2. Psalm 145:3; Romans 1:19, 11:33-34; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
  3. Acts 17:24-28; Romans 1:19-20
  4. Isaiah 40:26; Romans 1:20
  5. Psalm 19:2
  6. Psalm 19:1
  7. Acts 14:17
  8. Romans 1:20
  9. John 1:1-5, 14; Hebrews 1:1-3
  10. John 5:39
  11. Psalm 33:11, 119:89; Matthew 24:35; John 10:35, 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-20
  12. Isaiah 45:21-22; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; I Timothy 2:5
  13. 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 147:5
  14. Genesis 21:33; Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 57:15; I Timothy 1:17
  15. Exodus 3:14; John 5:26
  16. Malachi 3:6; James 1:17
  17. Psalm 139:7-10
  18. John 4:24
  19. Exodus 3:14; 1 Corinthians 2:11; Hebrews 1:3
  20. Matthew 5:48
  21. Isaiah 6:3, 57:15; Psalm 47:8; Habakkuk 1:13; 1 Peter 1:15-16
  22. Job 42:2; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 19:26
  23. Psalm 147:5
  24. Genesis 1:1; John 1:3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16-17
  25. Romans 11:33-34
  26. Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14
  27. John 14:26; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2;6-9
  28. John 3:35; 5:19; 14:10
  29. Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 32:6; Isaiah 40:28; Matthew 19:4
  30. John 3:15; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:7-10
  31. John 5:36-38; 1 John 4:14
  32. John 14:26
  33. 1 Corinthians 6:14; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20
  34. John 5:22, 27
  35. John 5:37, 14:16-17; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:10-11
  36. Isaiah 9:16; Matthew 1:23; John 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:15-16
  37. John 1:1-5, 8:58
  38. John: 1:3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2
  39. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:27-31
  40. Matthew 8:24; John 4:6, 19:28
  41. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15, 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 3:3
  42. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Revelation 5:9-10
  43. Acts 2:23; Revelation 13:8
  44. 1 Peter 2:24
  45. 1 John 4:10
  46. Matthew 28:5-7; 1 Corinthians 15:4; 2 Timothy 2:8
  47. Acts 1:9
  48. John 14:3; Acts 1:11
  49. 1 John 2:11
  50. Hebrews 4:14
  51. Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:15-16, 5:23
  52. 1 Timothy 2:5
  53. Acts 5:3-4
  54. 2 Peter 1:21
  55. Acts 5:32
  56. John 3:3-6
  57. 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 4:30
  58. Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16
  59. Acts 16:6-7; Romans 8:14
  60. 1 Corinthians 12:4
  61. John 14:26, 16:13-14
  62. Romans 8:16
  63. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Galatians 5:22-23
  64. John 16:7; Acts 9:31
  65. 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:26; Hebrews 2:14; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9-10
  66. Proverbs 15:19; Isaiah 14:12-15, 59:1-2; John 1:29, 8:44; 1 John 3:4, 8
  67. Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11; Colossians 1:16
  68. Genesis 1:27
  69. Ecclesiastes 7:29; Romans 5:l2
  70. Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 5:12-19
  71. Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:9-12, 23, 5:12
  72. Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 7:14-17; Galatians 5:19-21
  73. Isaiah 64:6-7; Galatians 3:22-24
  74. Romans 1:19-21, 2:14-16
  75. Ephesians 2:8-9
  76. John 3:3, 6-7
  77. Ephesians 2:1-3
  78. Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 3:19, 17:30
  79. John 1:12, 3:16; Acts 16:31
  80. Romans 5:15-21; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21
  81. Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 6:11; Hebrews 10:10; Jude 1
  82. Psalm 9:17; Proverbs 14:32; Malachi 3:18; Matthew 25:34-41; Luke 16:19-31; John 8:21; Romans 6:23
  83. Exodus 20:14; Proverbs 6:24-33; Matthew 5:27-28; Acts 15:20; Romans 7:3, 13:9; 1 Corinthians 5:9, 6:15- 20, 10:8; Galatians 5:19-21; James 2:10-11
  84. Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4; Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Colossians 3:17-21; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Peter 3:1-8
  85. Acts 2:41-42, 20:28; Romans 6:1, 4-5, 16; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 5:12, 11:2, 16:1-3; Philippians 1:1, 4:15; 1 Timothy 3.1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:14
  86. Matthew 28:19; Acts 8:12-13, 36, 38; Romans 6:1-10
  87. Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-23; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
  88. Exodus 18:21-22; Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-3; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17
  89. Daniel 3:17-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:17-20, 29
  90. Matthew 22:14; John 15:16; Romans 8:33, 9:16, 20-24, 16:13; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:2, 2:9
  91. Psalm 89:30-34; Matthew 16:18; John 5:24, 6:3-7, 10:28-29, 14:19, 17:2; Romans 8:1, 29-31, 38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:12, 2:13; Hebrews 5:9, 9:12, 13:5
  92. John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; James 5:8
  93. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20:5-6
  94. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  95. Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-9, 32:1; Luke 1:32; Acts 2:29-30; Revelation 20:6-7
  96. John 5:29; Revelation 20:5
  97. Revelation 20:11-15
  98. Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:11-16
  99. 1 Corinthians 12:28
  100. Hebrews 2:4; 2 Corinthians 12:12
  101. 1 Corinthians 12:31
  102. Galatians 3:28
  103. Ephesians 5:23-24; 1 Timothy 2:11-12
  104. 1 Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:6-9
  105. 1 Timothy 2:12-14
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