1. We Stand on the Pre-Eminence of Christ
We believe that Jesus is the Eternal Son of God and both the Savior and Lord of all who believe and trust Him (Acts 2:36)
The facts of Jesus’ life are simple. He was foretold by the Prophets (Isa. 7:14); born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18-23; lived a life of perfect obedience to God (Hebrews 4:15). He preached with authority (Matthew 8:28, 29); performed miracles (Acts 2:22); died to pay for our sins (1 Peter 3:18); was raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:5-9). He ascended to heaven to be the mediator (peacemaker) between God and man (1 Timothy 2: 5, 6). He will return one day to judge the earth (Romans 14:10-12). Until then, He dwells in the hearts of all believers as the living and ever present Lord. His death on the cross was the payment for our sins and the means by which we are forgiven and brought into a saving relationship with God (saved, born again) (Romans 3: 25-26).
The basis of this forgiveness of sin is through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Unless the sinner is cleansed from sin by the blood of God the Son, there is no remission (forgiveness) at all. (Hebrews 9:21, 22; Romans 3:23-26; Col. 1:14; Eph. 1:7; Hebrews 13:12; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5).
By virtue of His life, death, and resurrection, He is the master and ruler of Life (Philippians 2:5-11). The right to rule our lives now belongs to Him (Matthew 28:18). People have no right to sit in judgment upon His teaching or to choose what teaching they will obey. Christ is due complete obedience.
To be a Christian is not just to accept a philosophy of life, nor to seek to live up to a code of ethics, not to observe certain ceremonies. Rather, to be a Christian is to have a personal relationship with the Lord of Life. He is the object of faith and devotion. It is He whom we worship, trust, serve, and obey.
Jesus is both Savior and Lord (Acts 2:36). We stand on that!
2. We Stand on the Total Depravity of Natural Man
When God created mankind, Adam and Eve, He gave them the freedom and power of choice. They could choose to obey the holy, righteous God, leading to eternal life or they could choose their own way, leading to eternal separation from God. Sin entered into the human race by Adam and Eve’s choosing to eat of the forbidden tree in disobedience to God’s explicit instructions. Sin has dominated mankind since that rebellious choice by Adam and Eve. Although we regret their choice, we stand on the total depravity of man (Gen. 3:17-21; Romans 3:10-18, 23; 5:12; 7:18; 8:8; Gal 5:19).
3. We Stand on the Free Gift of Salvation
We believe that salvation is a gift of God that comes through faith in Jesus Christ and cannot be earned. Salvation means the redemption, or recovery, of the whole person from the power and consequences of sin, bringing that person into a right relationship with God. For the past, it means forgiveness from the guilt of sin. For the present, it means deliverance from the control of sin. For the future, it means deliverance from the punishment of sin. This salvation is called eternal life. It is a life that begins the moment we believe in Jesus, and continues into eternity.
We are saved by faith in Jesus who died as the substitute for our sins (Hebrews 9:12). We are not saved by being good (Moral, honest, kind) nor are we saved by being religious (being baptized, going to church, giving money, etc.). While these things should be the outgrowth of our salvation, they are not the means to it. We are saved by grace (the unmerited and unearned favor of God through faith) and not be our own good works (Eph. 2:8,9).
There are at least three kinds of faith. One kind is intellectual faith, which is believing facts with the mind, such as believing in George Washington or any other historical person. A second kind of faith is temporary faith, which is believing with your emotions, such as in a time of crisis or emergency. At such times, almost everyone believes enough to pray. However, the prayers and trust cease when the crisis has passed. The third kind is saving faith, which is trusting in Jesus and Jesus alone to make you right with God. It is our commitment to Him that gives us the only hope of forgiveness.
There is but one way to Jesus and that is through faith in Him. There are not many roads to Christ. It is through faith (commitment) alone that we come to Him. Without faith we cannot come to God (Hebrews 11:6).
However, there are many ways to faith. We can come to faith in nearly any church (denomination) or in no church at all. The important thing is not the church attended, but the faith possessed. We recognize as fellow Christians all people who follow Christ, regardless of their denominational alignment.
The simple conditions of salvation revealed in the New Testament are as follows: (1) conviction of Sin (John 16:8), (2) repentance from sin, a change of attitude that leads to a change in action (Acts 3:19; Matthew 19: 28-31), (3) faith in Jesus Christ, and (4) confession of that faith (Romans 10:9,10).
Salvation is a gift of God to all who commit themselves to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We stand on that!
4. We Stand on the Bible as the Word of God
We believe that the Scriptures, embracing both the Old and the New Testaments, are the innerant, inspired Word of God and are the sole authority for our faith and practice. Scriptures have God as their author, salvation as their end and truth for their substance. The Scriptures reveal God’s precept of what is right and the principles by which God shall judge us all. Therefore, they will remain until the end of the world.
The Bible is verbally inspired, which means that God revealed Himself and His message to His messengers (Heb. 1:1). The Holy Spirit enlightened their minds so they could grasp or comprehend the revealed truth (1John 16:13-15). God moved upon these men like a mighty wind to guide them to deliver or record that message for all ages 2 Peter 1:20,21). The evidence of inspiration is many: the Bible’s own claims, fulfilled prophecy, its amazing unity, its endurance of criticism and persecution, and the truthfulness of its message. It contains truth found nowhere else, and this truth could not be discovered by human reasoning. Since Scriptures’ teachings are God given, it is fully reliable and adequate for all of our spiritual needs.
The Bible is eternal, which means that its message is never out-of-date. Other books come and go, but the truth of the Bible is timeless. It was true yesterday. It is true today. It shall be true tomorrow, and if the earth shall last a thousand years, it shall still be true (1 peter 1:23-25)
The Bible is sufficient, which means it contains all the redemptive truth that we need. Other books may be helpful, but no other is necessary. It is completely adequate to teach us what to believe and how to live (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
The central theme of the Bible is redemption (bringing people into a right relationship with God). Its primary purpose is to introduce lost people (those alienated from God because of their sins) to Christ and lead them to spiritual maturity in their daily lives. It makes no claims to being a book of science, history, philosophy or psychology, yet, it contains true elements of all of these and more. It was given to show us how to become right with God. This is evidenced by the fact that only two brief chapters deal with the creation of the entire universe and fully one-third of each of the four Gospels deals with the last week of Jesus’ life. His death on the cross and the events surrounding it are described in vivid detail. The central purpose of the Gospels and all the Scriptures is to tell us that Christ died to bring us into a right relationship with God. Through a study of the Scriptures, we learn the way to salvation (2 Timothy 3:15).
The Bible is the inerrant, inspired, authoritative, eternal, sufficient and reliable Word of God. We stand on that!
5. We Stand on the Trinity of God
God is three persons in one Being. The Trinity is His tri-personal existence in one Godhead as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, (Gen. 1:1,2,26,27; Luke 3:21,22; 1 John 5:7; Matthew 3:16,17; 28:19; Hebrews 1:10). We stand on that!
6. We Stand on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
It is most important to realize that the Holy Spirit is fully God. The deity of the Holy Spirit is affirmed in the Scriptures. He convinces of sin 9John 16:7-11). He performs the new birth (2 Cor. 5:17; John 3:3-7). He teaches the truth (John 14:26). He indwells believers from the moment of their salvation (Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 3:16). He seals (holds secure) believers until the day of their redemption (Eph. 4:30). He provides power (Acts 1:8). He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30). He can be quenched )1 thess. 5:19). Christ commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of equipping the entire church. (1 Cor. 12). We stand on that!
7. We stand on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ
Jesus promised His return in John 14:3. In Acts 1:10, He went up to heaven. We are told, in verse 11, He will come again in like manner. He is our blessed hope, and we await His glorious appearance (Titus 2:13).
The first stage of His Second Coming is referred to as the “Rapture”. The word rapture means to be caught up or snatched away. Christ will “rapture” His church (1 Thess. 4:13-17). The believer achieves his ultimate victory when the final trumpet shall sound and the dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible, and we who are alive shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:50-54). The time of His Second Coming is not known, but we, as believers, are to be ready (Matthew 24:42). When Jesus does appear to believers, we shall meet the Lord in the air and shall always be with Him (1 Thess. 4:17).
The second stage is the “Revelation”. Jesus will physically return to the earth (Revelation 19:11-21; 20; 21; 22) on the Mount of Olives )Zech. 14:4). His physical return is for judgment (II Thess. 1:7-9) and to set up His Kingdom. We stand on that!
8. The first church ordinance is the baptism of believers.
We believe three key truths about baptism:
1. Baptism is a symbolic action of confession and identification. It has no power in itself to take away our sins or make us right with God. Just as a wedding ring is an identifying symbol of our marriage commitment, so baptism is an identifying symbol of our Christian commitment. What does baptism symbolize? It symbolizes the death, burial, and the resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:3,4). The water represents a grave. Lowering a person into the water symbolizes burial. Raising that person from the water symbolizes resurrection. When a person is baptized, he is saying “I believe in Christ who died, was buried, and rose again.” At the same time, it symbolizes the believer’s death to sin, burial of the old life, and the resurrection to a new life in Christ. When a person has come to faith in Christ, he should then be baptized (Acts 2:41, 42; 8:35-39).
2. We believe that baptism is for believers only. It is reserved for those who have first trusted Christ as their Savior. There is no record in the Bible of anyone except a believer being baptized. Of the scores of times the Bible tells us about people being baptized, it always emphasizes that they first believed in Christ. For this reason we do not baptize babies. Babies do not believe, nor do they need to. They have no awareness of God and no guilt of sin. They inherit a nature and environment inclined towards rebellion and disobedience against God, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become sinners by choice and are under condemnation. When that time comes, the child needs to trust Christ personally for salvation and then be baptized in the profession of that faith.
3. We believe baptism is to be by immersion. The word immerse means to put under water. The word baptize meant “immerse: in Jesus’ day. This was the form of baptism used in the early New Testament church. Since Jesus meant immersion when He taught us to go and baptize, we believe we have no right to practice it in any other way.
Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples, immersing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19,20). We stand on that!
9. We Stand on the Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is the second church ordinance (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). We believe that it also is symbolic. The elements merely symbolize the body and blood of Jesus. There is no saving power in receiving them.
Like the meaning in baptism, the elements of the Lord’s Supper portray what Jesus did for our salvation. Both are visual aides whereby believers portray the basis and experience of their saving relationship with Jesus.
Jesus did not say when or how often believers should observe the Lord’s Supper. New Testament Christians observe it on the Lord’s Day. Jesus did say that as often as we take the Lord’s Supper we proclaim to the world how He died until He comes again (1 Cor. 11:26). Both the bread and the cup are to be taken to remember His death (1 Cor. 11: 24-25). So both baptism and the Lord’s Supper look back to what Jesus has done to make us right with God and look forward to His second coming.
Both ordinances are symbols of Jesus’ redeeming work and promised return. Baptism is an initiatory ordinance to be administered to the believer only one time. The Lord’s Supper is a continuing ordinance to be observed throughout the believer’s life until Jesus comes again. We stand on that!
10. We Stand on the Fellowship of the Church
We believe that the church is a local assembly of believers who, in mutual love for one another in Christ, meet for the common purpose of worship, service and encouragement.
1. The church is divine in its origin. It is not just another fraternal order or a service club. It was founded by Christ himself (Matthew 16:18) and belongs to God (1 Timothy 3:15). Christ is its head and leader (Eph. 5:23). That is why our church is completely independent and self-governing under Christ’s rule. Each member has equal right and responsibilities. We are not ruled by boards, committees or conventions. Christ alone is our head.
Celebration Church has no affiliation with the World Council of Churches or any such organization. No one speaks for us, dictates to us, or rules over us. We are completely free and independent. We believe it is imperative for the separation of Church and State as Christ is the head of the Church (Acts 5:29; Matthew 22:19-21; Col. 1:18; 2Timothy 3:15-17).
2. The church is spiritual in its mission. It is our responsibility at Celebration Church to spread the message of Christ to the ends of the earth, bringing people to a personal relationship with Christ, telling them of their need for the forgiveness of their sin, teaching God’s word and baptizing them as commanded in Matthew 28:18-20. Celebration Church is to be the pillar and support of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). We also see the need to use non-traditional methods as necessary to accomplish these goals, always in accordance with God’s Word (1 OCR. 9:19-27).
3. The church is like a family in nature 1 Timothy 3:15). It is not a building or an organization, but a family of God’s people. It is composed of those who have entered God’s family by following Christ (new birth) (John 1:12, 13, 3:3). It is a place where brothers and sisters in Christ can be helped and brought into spiritual maturity through worship, prayer, study, fellowship, and encouragement (Acts 2:42-47).
In God’s family, like most families, we will find people of all ages and all levels of maturity. People at Celebration Church are not rejected nor condemned because they don’t measure up to a certain standard. Each person is nurtured, loved and encouraged to become a mature child of the Father.
Some people condemn the church because its members aren’t perfect. The church is not a place for perfect people to go any more than a hospital is a place for well people to go. As the hospital is for the sick, so the church is for sinners who fall short of God’s ideal, but need and want help. The church provides love, acceptance, encouragement and teaching to help you grow to spiritual maturity (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 10:25).
Church attendance is vital to every Christian. Those who neglect it do so in violation of the clear command of God and to their own spiritual detriment (Hebrews 10:25). We do not go to church to score points with God. He does not check the roll every Sunday to see if we are there. There will be no perfect attendance awards in heaven. We go to church to study God’s word. We offer and receive inspiration and encouragement in the church family.
The church is a local fellowship of God’s people who, in Christ’s love for one another, meet for the common purpose of worship, service and encouragement. We stand on that!
11. We Stand on the Stewardship of Life
We believe that God is the source of all blessings, both spiritual and physical. All that we are and all that we have are due Him. We are merely trustees of our possessions. We should recognize that our resources are entrusted to us to be used for the glory of God. We should contribute of ourselves and our money cheerfully, regularly, and systematically to spread the good news of Christ around the world (1 Cor. 16:1,2; 1 Cor. 9: 6-10; Acts 20:35).
Celebration Church is supported by freewill offerings. We consider giving a wonderful privilege as well as a sacred duty. As we support God’s work financially, we become fellow-helpers or allies in the truth of God’s word. There are no dues or membership assets in our church. We simply encourage and trust our people to give as God has blessed them (Lev. 27:11,30; Malachi 3:10; Matthew 23:23).
“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein”)Psalm 24:1). All we have is a trust from Him to be used in His service. We stand on that!
12. We Stand on the Necessity of Christian Living
Christians should live their lives in loving obedience to Christ (John 14:15). This involves more than prayer, Bible study and worship. It involves both right living and practical goodness.
While we aren’t saved by being good or by doing good works, God does expect our lives to be characterized by goodness. This is His purpose in both creation and redemption (Eph. 2:8-10). Jesus went about doing good and so should we (Acts 10:38). We are to do good to all people at every opportunity (Gal. 6:10), with great enthusiasm (Titus 2:14), and without ceasing (Gal. 6:9). Jesus also lived in perfect obedience to God’s will (John 4:34) and so should we (Romans 12:1,2).
Christian living begins when we become a new creation though faith in Christ (John 3:1-14; 2 Cor. 5:17). From there we grow into the full likeness of Christ in our relationship to both God and man (Eph. 4:13).
All Christians are under obligation to make the teaching of Christ supreme in their own lives, to win the lost to faith in Christ, and to work for the social good of all mankind. We believe in the priesthood of the believer. We each have personal access to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:9; John 14:6). A true priest has an uncompromising allegiance to God’s word. (Ps. 119:74).
The believer’s life should be characterized by such virtues as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self control (Gal. 5:22). Believers should work to provide for the poor, the orphans, the needy, the aged, the sick and the helpless (James 1:27; Matthew 25:34-40). They should bring the principles of Christ to bear on government, industry, the home and all of society as they have opportunity to do so (Matthew 23:23; 1 Cor. 7:23, 24).
The primary role of the church is to provide both the necessary stimulus and the primary avenue for Christian living. In cooperation with other Christians we can do so much more for the cause of Christ than we can do alone. Through the church we receive the encouragement to follow Christ that we could not obtain in any other way. Anyone who takes Christian living seriously will take the church seriously also.
So vital is this Christian living that we can question the claims of people who do not live for Christ in their daily lives (Matthew 7:16:20; 1 John 1:7-9). A genuine Christian experience will result in a Christlike character and good works.
Christian living is the natural outgrowth of following Christ. We stand on that!
13. We Stand on Biblical Teaching in the areas of Marriage and Sexuality
We believe that term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.
We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. (Hebrews 13:4, Genesis 2:22-24, Matthew 19:4-6)
We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and wrong in the eyes of God. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Matthew 5:28, Galatians 5:19, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Colossians 3:5, Ephesians 5:5, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Revelation 21:8, 1 Corinthians 5:1, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Jude 1:7, Mark 7:20-23)
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a Biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as leaders, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity.
Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the church.
14. We Stand on the Security of the Believer
Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that a person becomes perfect. Being a follower of Christ does not keep a person from temptation or sin. Christians do sin. If people say otherwise, they deceive themselves and contradict God (1 John 1: 8-10); however, Christians will not knowingly or purposely continue to live in sin. They will confess and repent of their disobedience to God. All true believers endure to the end. Those who have accepted Christ may fall into sin through neglect and temptation and thereby grieve the Holy Spirit, bring reproach on the name of Christ, and even punishment on themselves, yet they will be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (2 Timothy 1:12; Jude 24-25; John 10:17-29; 1 Peter 1:5).
We don’t earn our salvation by being good, nor do we lose it by being bad. Our salvation depends on God’s love, power and forgiveness from start to finish. He keeps us secure (Phil. 1:6).
The Christian life is a life of faith, endurance and assurance. We stand on that!
14. We Stand on the Reality of Satan
Satan is an enemy to both God and saved people. Satan is a being created by God and is a very personal devil. He has been given many names and titles in the Bible. He does not have the capacity to love nor show mercy. He is the rebellious fallen angel known as Lucifer and is called Satan 50 times in the Bible.
The Bible tells us of his origin (Ex. 28:11-19), his work (1 Peter 5:8), his present and eternal abodes (Job 1:6-12; Revelation 20: 9,10), his fall (Is. 14: 12-15), and most importantly, his defeat at the cross (John 12:31). Satan is called the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:3,4; 1 John 2:15-17), the father of lies (John 8:44) and the tempter (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan is powerful, but saved people have the power of Jesus in them to resist and refuse what the devil offers. We stand on that!
15. We Stand on the Reality of Heaven and Hell
God created both Heaven and hell (John 14: 1-6; Psalms 9:17). Heaven is an eternal place (Is. 65:15) for saints (Col. 3: 1-4). Hell is an eternal place (Matthew 25:41) for sinners (Acts 1:25). God has given to each person the choice of where their spirit will spend eternity (Luke 16: 19-31). We stand on that!