Universal Church

I believe there is one universal that church is consists of all baptized believers (Rom 3:22; Gal 3:28) throughout the world for all times (Rom 11:17-24; 1 Peter 2:9-10) who have confessed Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Rom 10:13). The body of Christ is consists of people whom the Holy Spirit has incorporated them into one universal, holy, and spiritual body (Eph 4:4-6) who have turned their living bodies outward in action (Rom 6:12-13; 12:1).

I believe the purpose of the church is to love (Matt 22:37) and to glorify (Eph 3:20-21) the Lord God through worship (John 4:23-24), prayer (Matt 6:9-13), sacraments (Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 11:17-34), and faithful obedience (Matt 28:20) to the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:16) and the Bible (2 Tim 3:16-17). The mission of the church include worshipping the Lord (Col 3:16), proclaiming the word of God (1 Cor 14:3-5), edifying disciples (1 Thess 4:18), equipping disciples for the work of ministry (Eph 4:11-13), and evangelizing the lost (Acts 2:14-41).

I believe that Christ is the builder of the church (Matt 16:18; Acts 2:47), is the head of the church (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:23), and is the church’s bridegroom (Matt 25:1-13). The church is the primary means by which Christ works in the world (Eph 2:10; 4:12).

I believe that the church was a mystery (Rom 16:25-26; Eph 3:5-7) long hidden and unknown to the nation of Israel under the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 12:1-3). Christ inaugurated the New Covenant with the disciples (Matt 26:26-29) and would include Gentiles (Rom 1:16). Israel’s rejection of Christ caused Israel to be broken off (Rom 11:17) and allowed the church to be grafted into (Rom 11:19) the promises to the people of God. A remnant of believing Israel remains (Rom 11:5) today, and the distinctions between the church and Israel will disappear after the millennium (Rev 7:9).

Local Church

I believe the local church is the localized (Acts 11:22; 13:1) and organized (1 Cor 14:40) gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:27), and is the incarnational and visible manifestation of the universal church (1 Cor 1:2; Eph 1:1; Gal 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1) whereby the purpose and mission of the universal church is carried out in its location.

I believe the local church is characterized by defending sound doctrine (Rom 16:17; 1 Tim 6:20-21), corporate and personal holiness (1 Cor 5:1-8; Eph 5:27) where all believers are priests before God (Eph 4:12-16; 1 Peter 2:5, 10), unity in diversity (1 Cor 12; Rom 12:4-8), lovingly discipline those who have embraced false teaching or sin (Matt 7:15-20; 18:15-20; Gal 6:1-2), baptized disciples of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:2) meet regularly (Acts 2:38-42; Heb 10:24-25) where spiritual gifts are exercised for the benefit of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12) and has a deep love for one another (John 13:34; Rom 12:10).

I believe the local church is an autonomous, interdependent assembly (2 Cor 9:1-5; Phil 4:15; 3 John 5-8) that has the office of elders, also known as overseers or pastors, (Eph 4:11; 1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) who are males whose primary responsibility is the shepherding (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2), leading and teaching by example (1 Thes 5:12; 1 Tim 3:2; 1 Pet 5:3), and equipping the saints for service (Eph 4:11). There is also the office of deacon, who are both males and females, whose primary responsibility is assisting the elders and leading in ministries of the body. All those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord (Rom 10:5-13) are eligible for membership.

I believe the ordinances of the church includes public identification through water immersion baptism (Rom 6:1-14) of repentant believers (Acts 2:38) as a symbol of a spiritual reality of their identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and with Christ’s church (Acts 2:41; Gal 3:27-28). Baptism is best done as closely as possible after conversion (Acts 8:38), and need only be done once per believer. Holy Communion is the ongoing regular symbolic memorial of Christ’s redeeming work (Luke 22:17-20), and is a time of thankfulness, confession (1 Cor 11:28), forgiveness, and a time of looking forward to Christ’s return (1 Cor 11:26). The bread represents the Lord’s body that was broken for us (1 Cor 11:23-24). The cup of wine represents the Lord’s blood that was shed for us (1 Cor 11:25).