"If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness." St. Paul to young Timothy -- (1 Timothy 4:6-7) NKJV
Theology of The Church
ARTICLE I - SCRIPTURES
We believe the sixty-six canonical books of the Old and New Testaments are the divinely inspired, infallible, innerant Word of God without error in the original autographs, and God’s preserved, written revelation to humanity. The Bible is sufficient and trustworthy for life, faith, conduct, and practice, and it presides over all ecclesiastical matters. As the divinely inspired Word of God (II Timothy 3:16), the Bible is a crucial part of God's self-revelation to the human race. The Old Testament tells the history of that revelation from Creation through the Age of the judges and Prophets; the New Testament records the birth and life of Jesus as well as the writings of His Apostles. It also includes some of the history of the early Church and especially sets forth the Church's apostolic doctrine. Though these writings were read in the Churches from the time they first appeared, the earliest listings of all the New Testament books exactly as we know them today, is found in the 33rd Canon of a local council held at Carthage in 318, and in a fragment of St. Athanasius of Alexandria's Festal Letter in 367. Both sources list all of the books of the New Testament without exception. A local council, probably held at Rome in 382, set forth a complete list of the canonical books of both the Old and New Testaments. The Scriptures are at the very heart of worship and devotion at THE CHURCH. God uses the Scriptures as the means of forging the "new man" or "new creature" through faith and obedience; to train us in virtue and produce Christ-like holiness in us. At every Eucharistic Liturgy there is at least one reading from the Epistles; one reading from the Gospels and the singing of a Hallel Psalm. (Psalm 19:7-14; Psalm 119; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 24:44; Matthew 5:18, 24:35; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Ephesians 2:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21) ARTICLE II - GOD The Trinity
We believe in one true God, the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things; eternally divine, existing in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe these Persons to be One in essence or Being and are thus equal in every distinct perfection as they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence, redemption, and judgment.
We believe in God the Father: an infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, sovereignty, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of humanity, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all that come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. We believe God’s knowledge is limitless, inscrutable, and that He fully knows the past, present, and future independent of human decisions and actions.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God’s eternal Son. God the Son has precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. We believe further that He is not only true God, but true, sinless man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. We also believe in His sinless life, His substitutionary atonement, His bodily resurrection from the dead, His ascension into heaven, His priestly intercession on behalf of His people, and His personal, visible, return from heaven.
St. Cyril of Alexandria - Letter to John of Antioch "We confess therefore our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only Begotten, Perfect God and Perfect Man of reasonable Soul and Body, Begotten before the ages of His Father according to His Godhead, the Same in the last days for us and for our salvation of the Virgin Mary according to the Manhood: Consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead and Consubstantial with us according to the Manhood: for an Union hath taken place of two natures, wherefore we confess one Christ, One Son, One Lord."
God, the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is essentially One in his eternal existence with the Father and the Son; and so, in every action of God toward the world, the Holy Spirit is necessarily acting, (e.g., as reveled in the Genesis account of creation) it is written: “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). It is this same Spirit who is the “breath of life” for all living things and particularly for man, made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:30; 2:7). Generally speaking the Spirit in Hebrew is called the “breath” or the “wind” of Yahweh. It is He who makes everything alive, the “Giver of life” Who upholds and sustains the universe in its existence and life (Psalm 104.29; Job 33.4). We believe in the Holy Spirit, His personality and His sovereign work in regeneration, faith, sanctification, and the perseverance and preservation of God's elect. His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, to implement Christ’s work of redeeming the lost, and to empower the believer for godly living and service. We believe the Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts to believers as He wills for the common good. No ecstatic gift signifies His baptism or filling, nor does any gift provide authoritative revelation beyond what is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Life in the Spirit includes trials and does not guarantee physical health, material wealth, or confirming outward signs, except for the virtues called the "fruit of the Spirit" mentioned by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23.
Human nature was created good, even in communion with the blessed Trinity which made "him." Male and female were created "in the likeness and image of God" (Genesis 1:26): "likeness" in virtue; "image" meaning to rule the earth rationally, to act wisely and freely. The woman was made as a "help-meet" to the man (Genesis 2:18; I Cor. 11:8-9). We believe God created people, male and female, in His image, innocent and free from sin, but they became sinners and fell from innocence to guilt and from life to death. Adam's rebellion brought ruin upon himself and the creation which he was given to care for and to cultivate. By his sin—Adam brought himself and all creation under the rule of evil and death. The Scriptures reveal that these elements always go together: sin, evil, the devil, misery, and death, nonetheless, man still remains the created image of God—this cannot be changed—but the Divine image is shrouded by the likeness of fallen creatures. Without God regenerating and converting us, man continues to defile his humanity with evil, perverts it, and distorts it so that it cannot be the pure reflection of God that it was meant to be. From this fall into sin and death, the whole world now is under the rule of Satan and “lies in wickedness” (1 John 5:19; see also Romans 5:12). We also believe that those who are called to eternal life repent of their sin of unbelief and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, having been regenerated and enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
We believe that salvation is a gift of God based upon His mercy and love for us, His people, and that this salvation is received by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Justification is given freely by God apart from human merit, moral works, or rituals. This justification however is neveralone because it always results in works that correspond to God's righteous, justifying work. On the cross, Christ was our substitution in divine judgment and wrath thus, He procured reconciliation with God for His people by paying for all their sins. We further believe that salvation, being the effect of conversion and regeneration by the Spirit and the Word, results in righteous living, good works, and proper social concern. (John 3:16-18, 3:36, 5:24, 10:29-30; Romans 3:24-28, 6:23, 8:33-39, 10:8-12; Ephesians 1:3-11, 2:4-9; Philippians 1:3-6; 2 Timothy 1:8-14)
ARTICLE V - THE CHURCH In one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church . . . "Church," in the strict sense of the word, ekklēsía, means the "called out ones." The church is comprised of the whole number of the elect called by God from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation; chosen by God and purchased for Him with Christ's blood. The church is the one holy, spiritual body of Christ (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 10, 12); a living Temple (Ephesians 2; 1 Peter 2:1-5) of which Christ is the head over a diverse multitude who unite in reverent, orderly worship in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The church is a new covenant community made holy by the Holy Spirit and the “. . . pillar and bulwark of Truth” (1 Timothy 3.15). The Holy Spirit empowers qualified men to oversee the church, its worship, the solemn administration of religious rites, the teaching of Scripture and protection its doctrines, the defense of the faith against heresies, the enforcement of Christian integrity, and the spiritual and practical care of God's people. The church is catholic or "universal," because it is present in heaven (Revelation) and on earth (across the globe) and exists wherever the truth and power of the Gospel has conquered souls for Christ. The unified, sanctified church of Christ is also"Apostolic" when its teachings and worship find no contradiction to the sacred Scriptures. The Christian Church is the unified assembly called out of the world for sanctification and sent back into the world to share the good news of forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus' Name.
ARTICLE VI - THE ORDINANCES The church ordinances also called Sacraments are new covenant signs and seals of our faith and are vibrant, lively types or shadows, ordained by Jesus Christ for His church which point to wonderful spiritual, theological, eternal truths. Sacraments describe the meaning and importance of liturgical life and we believe Jesus ordained two: Water Baptism and The Lord Supper. The physical substances used in these ordinances are water and bread and fruit of the vine, of which Jesus Christ is the substance and reality.
The word "baptism" means immersion or submersion in water. Concerning Baptism, we believe in credobaptismbyimmersion, which reflects of our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection. The way of entry into the spiritual entity called the "church" is by the gracious work of God the Holy Spirit; the way of entry into the local church proper is through receiving the covenant sign and seal, baptism by immersion, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Water is a natural symbol of cleansing and newness of life. Through the three-fold immersion in the waters of Baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity, one portrays death to the old ways of sin and being born to a new life in Christ. Baptism is one's public identification with Christ Death and victorious Resurrection. Biblically, only those who have demonstrated genuine conversion and repentance are fitting candidates for the covenant sign and seal of our faith, Baptism.
The Lord's Supper too, is highly symbolic of the torn body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we remember this eternal theological truth by eating broken bread and drinking fruit of the vine. The Holy Eucharist (the sanctified bread) and the Word of God is at the center of the Church’s life and Word in the Church leads to the Eucharist because it is a living, eternal portrait of Christ and His Gospel. The Christian Eucharist is a ceremonial meal that emerged from the Passover meal of the Old Testament. The Passover meal was transformed by Christ into an act done in remembrance of Him: of His life, death, and resurrection as the new and eternal Passover Lamb who frees His people from slavery of sin and death and transfers them into the everlasting Kingdom of God.
At the supper Christ took the bread and the wine and ordered his disciples to eat and drink it as His own Body and Blood. This sacrament became the center of the Christian life as the experience of the real presence of the Risen Christ in the midst of his People (see Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 6 and 13; Acts 2:41–47; 1 Cor 10–11). Thus, by eating and drinking the bread and wine which are mystically consecrated by the Holy Spirit, we have genuine communion with God through Christ who is himself “the bread of life” (John 6.34, 41). The supper of the Lord Jesus is a perpetual remembrance and portrait of the sacrifice of himself in his death, and is practiced the last Sunday of each month. The supper is to be a bond and pledge of our communion with Christ and each other. ARTICLE VI - THE END TIMES ". . . He [Christ] shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end." The Nicene Creed
"To Thee is due all glory, honor, and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen."
THE CHURCH - A Biblical House of Worship
Meetings Orthros (Ὄρθρος) - Sunday Mornings Scripture meditation begins @ 1015 AM followed by Congregational Worship @ 11:00 AM ~ Wednesday Evening Bible & Prayer @ 6:30 PM