|Come, Lord Jesus!||
At Maranatha Church we believe the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We use the Holy Bible of Christianity as a final rule of faith (orthodoxy) and practice (orthopraxy). We affirm the 5 “solas” of the Reformation:
Sola Gratia - By Grace Alone
Sola Fide - By Faith Alone
Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
Solus Christus - In Christ Alone
Soli Deo Gloria - Glory to God Alone
The following paragraphs are brief, theologically precise, statements of what we believe and teach as a local church regarding the fundamentals of the Christian Faith.
We accept the Bible, consisting of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, as the written Word of God. The Bible is the only essential and infallible record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind. It leads us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The
Scriptures are fully and verbally inspired by God; therefore, the Bible, in the original manuscripts and wherever God has preserved His Word according to Matthew 5:18, is free of error in all that it teaches, and - rightly interpreted - will not lead you into error. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
There is one God: infinite, eternal, almighty, and perfect in holiness, truth, and love. In the unity of the one godhead there are three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These are coexistent, coequal, and coeternal, yet loving one another in distinct roles of headship and submission.
GOD THE FATHER – God the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth. By His Word and for His glory, He freely and supernaturally created the world out of nothing. Through the same Word He daily sustains all His creatures. He rules over all and is the only Sovereign. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is good and faithful to every promise, working all things together for good to those who love Him. In His unfathomable grace He gave His Son Jesus for the redemption of His elect. He decrees that all creation will exist for the praise of His glory. He is to be loved, honored, and worshiped as God the First Person of the Trinity.
JESUS CHRIST THE SON – Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God the Father, is the eternal Word of God made flesh, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, just as the Old Testament prophets foretold. He is perfect in nature, teaching, and obedience. He is fully God and fully man. He was always with God and is Himself God. Through Him all things came into being and were created. He was before all things and in Him all things hold together by the word of His power. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation and in Him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily. He is the only Savior for the sins of the world, having shed His own blood and died a vicarious death on Calvary’s cross. By His death in our place, He revealed the divine love and upheld the divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having redeemed us from sin, He rose bodily from the grave on the third day, victorious over death and all the powers of darkness and He appeared to many witnesses performing many convincing proofs of His resurrection. He ascended into heaven where, at God’s right hand, He intercedes for His people and rules as Lord over all and one day He will return. Jesus is the Head of His body the Church and should be loved, adored, served, obeyed, and worshiped as God the Second Person of the Trinity.
HOLY SPIRIT – The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Through the proclamation of the Gospel He brings about the new birth and indwells the regenerate, granting the desire and ability to believe the truth, repent of their sins, trust in God’s mercy and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. He unites all believers in faith to Jesus Christ whom alone He has come to reveal and glorify. He is the Comforter who is neither to be grieved nor quenched as He leads the Church into the one right understanding and application of God’s Word. He empowers God’s people to bear spiritual fruit as they walk in the obedience of faith. He is to be loved, obeyed, and worshiped as God the Third Person of the Trinity.
God made man (male and female) in His own image, as the crown of creation, that man might enjoy loving fellowship with Himself. Tempted by Satan, man distrusted God’s goodness and rebelled against God's righteousness. Being estranged from his Maker, yet still responsible to Him, man became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and -apart from a special work of grace – utterly incapable of returning to God. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to his mind, will, and affections. Unregenerate man lives in slavery to sin and Satan as an enemy of God. Fallen, sinful man, whatever his attainments in this world, is lost and without hope apart
from salvation by faith in Christ.
THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION
The Gospel is the good news that the death of Jesus Christ was a once for all substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. Christ satisfied the demands of God’s holy justice and appeased His holy wrath. He purchased God’s saving grace for all who believe and justified God for His common grace of kindness toward all sinners who do not believe. Jesus Christ is therefore the only mediator between God and man. There is no other name under Heaven by which anyone can be saved. Our ability to respond in faith to this Gospel is itself provided by the free and unconditional selection of God. The Gospel is therefore effective only in those who, by the grace of God, are born again and thereby willing and able to genuinely repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ alone to save them. This Gospel is to be sincerely preached to all people in all nations without bias or prejudice. True conversion is characterized by a new life of love that delights to walk in the obedience of faith and is zealous to do good works that are pleasing to God.
Salvation is the free gift of God. In it, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the sinner by God’s judicial decree. Thus justified by faith alone he is accepted by God and his debt for sin is forgiven. The believer is thus reconciled to God as Father and adopted as His child into His eternal family. He is liberated from the law of sin and death and empowered by the Spirit of God to walk in new life.
The Holy Spirit is the indwelling agent in our progressive sanctification. As He shines God’s love in our hearts He produces His fruit in our lives. Our minds are renewed and our actions are conformed to the image of Christ. Though our battle with indwelling sin continues throughout our lives, as we are led by the Spirit, we are enabled to walk in the Spirit and so delight in God’s commandments that we truly endeavor to live in this world for the glory of God. All believers are warned by God to persevere in their faith, knowing that they will give an account to God for their every word and deed. The spiritual disciplines of Bible study, prayer, worship, giving, fellowship, and confession of sin are provided by God as effective means of grace to assist us in our pursuit of holiness. Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence that he will persevere in the faith is based on the sure promise of God to keep all those who are His to the end.
EMPOWERING OF THE SPIRIT
In addition to effecting regeneration and sanctification, the Holy Spirit also empowers believers for Christian witness and service. All genuine believers are baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ at conversion. However, subsequent to conversion, believers are also made to drink of the same Spirit in order to be repeatedly filled with the Spirit. Though the Holy Spirit may be resisted, grieved, and quenched by our sin and unbelief, by God’s grace He readily fills all who thirst with God’s love, joy, peace, wisdom and power. In this way He also imparts to His people supernatural gifts for the building up of the Body and witness to the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit described in the Bible are still available for us today. They are vital for the mission of the church, and are to be desired and used within the guidelines of Scripture.
God by His Word and Spirit builds His Church, calling sinful men out of every tongue, tribe, and nation of the human race into the holy fellowship of Christ’s Body. By the same Word and Spirit, God guides and preserves His redeemed as a gathered community. It is not limited to any religious institutions or denominations. Rather, the Church Universal is made up of all who are born again followers of Jesus. The Church exists in the world to worship God, nurture fellow believers, and bear witness to the Gospel. New local churches are to be planted in the world for a visible evidence of God’s salvation. The Church’s mission is to make disciples through the preaching of the Gospel. Though social transformation is an indirect benefit of changed lives, it is not the primary focus of the ministry. All members of the Body of Christ function as committed members of a local church. In this context they are able to walk in the obedience of faith working through love, as they show their love for God by the way they keep His commandment to love one another.
GENDER ROLES - COMPLEMENTARIAN
We believe and support the equality of men and women before God in their worth, wisdom, personhood, and dignity as all were made in the image of God. While that is true, it is also true that they were made differently for different roles in society, church, and family. Genesis 1-3 is the basis for this belief. The nature of some relations between men and women was altered because of the fall. Men are designated by God to be the head of the woman both at home and at church. The woman is an aide to the man in fulfilling the calling of God on his life. Men are called to lay down their lives in servant leadership for their wives, just as Christ laid down his life for the church. Eph 5:25-28.
SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE
We believe and adhere to the Scriptures in their teaching on marriage being an institution originated by God from the beginning in Genesis 1-3. We assert that it teaches marriage is between one man and one woman for life. Marriage is a covenant entered into with wisdom, direction and counseling. We do not promote alternate relationships. We believe other definitions, whatever source, are unsound for society and unbiblical. We believe Homosexuality, Sodomy, Fornication, Bestiality, Transsexualism, Multiple person relationships and any other relationships other than one man and one woman until death parts them is an abomination to God and to be avoided and forsaken. The requirements for membership include a definite affirmation of this subject. Elders are forbidden as representatives of this church to perform weddings outside the realm of this statement.
SANCTITY OF LIFE
We believe and adhere to the Scriptures in their teachings on the sanctity of life. From conception a baby is alive and a full person designed and made by God throughout its natural life until death. We oppose euthanasia at any age for any reason. We affirm that abortion or euthanasia is the murder of human life and should be avoided at all costs. God is the sole determiner of who is to live and who is to die and when. We believe God extends forgiveness for all sin, even abortion. As with all sin, we should never enter a sin presuming upon Godʼs future grace.
ELDERS, DEACONS, AND MINISTRY GIFTS
The ascended Christ has given gift ministries to His Church (including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) for the equipping of Christ’s body for works of service. Thankfully, these gifts continue to function. However, the closed canon of Scripture now fulfills the place of authority originally held by its authors. No church leader is ever exempt from the biblical qualifications for church office (1 Tim 3:1-13). Those with gift ministries do not hold special authority over the local churches and to function in any official capacity, every minister must meet the biblical qualifications of an Elder or a Deacon.
Likewise, though women play a vital role in the life of the church, in keeping with the teaching of Scripture, women are not permitted to “teach or to have authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12). All church officers must therefore be men.
Decisions will be made by a consensus.
WATER BAPTISM is an initial act of the obedience of faith in Jesus Christ. It is intended only for those who have been born again. As a public testimony of one’s faith, it may be performed for the new believer by any trusted fellow believer – ideally in the presence of fellow church and community members. In it, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit as a visual demonstration of the believer’s union with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. It signifies that one’s former way of life has been put to death, and that one has now been raised to new life.
LORD’S SUPPER – As with water baptism, the Lord’s Supper is to be partaken of only by those who are genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the New Covenant sealed by the shedding of His blood on behalf of His people. It is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of participation in the atoning benefits of
Christ’s death. As the believer partakes of the Lord’s Supper with an attitude of faith and self-examination, he remembers and proclaims the death of Christ, receives spiritual nourishment for his soul, and signifies his unity with other members of Christ’s body. A common misunderstanding has been that this ordinance can only be effectively served in formal services by officers of the church. In the Bible we find believers often “breaking bread from house to house” (Acts 2:46). We therefore encourage all our members to rejoice in the priesthood of all believers by serving and partaking of the Lord’s Supper with one another whenever and wherever desired.
The Consummation of all things includes the visible, personal, and glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the transformation of those alive in Christ into glorified bodies, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom
in the new heaven and the new earth. In the Consummation, Satan with his hosts and all those outside of Christ will be finally separated from the benevolent presence of God to justly endure eternal punishment in hell; but the righteous, in glorified bodies, shall live and reign with Him
forever in heaven. Married to Christ as His Bride, the Church will live in the holy presence of God, giving Him unending glory by praising and enjoying Him forever.
Doctrine, Devotion, Discipleship
1. A High View of Sovereignty
We recognize God’s sovereignty as the key factor in Salvation. It is always God that takes the initiative in the salvation of man. John 6:44, 65, Ro. 10:14
2. The 5 “Solas” of Reformed Doctrine
We embrace the biblical, gospel truths restored by God through the reformers of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation in the following five areas: Col. 2:8, 2 Th. 2:15
1. “Sola Scriptura” – On Authority of the Bible Alone
2. “Solus Christus” – Christ Alone Is Our Mediator
3. “Sola Gratia” – Saved By God’s Grace Alone
4. “Sola Fide” – Justified by Faith Alone
5. “Soli Deo Gloria” – For the Glory of God Alone
3. Spirit and Truth in Worship
We endeavor to be the kind of worshipers that our heavenly Father seeks - unlimited by place or ceremony, yet faithful to the Bible. True worshipers do worship the Father in both Spirit and Truth. John 4:23-24, 1 Co. 14:15.
We believe that the supernatural power and gifts of the Holy Spirit continue to operate in and through individual believers in Christ’s church today. And to keep all things in order, we strive to keep the emotional fire of the gifts inside the fireplace of sound doctrine.
1 Co. 14:26-27, Eph 4:11-14
4. The Church Ministering to Itself In Love
Every believer accepts responsibility for playing their personal, God-appointed roles in ministering to the Body of Christ. Ministry is not left only for “pastors” and “deacons” – but ministry is performed by all members. Eph. 4:11-14, 1 Co. 12:21-26
5. Jurisdictional in God’s Kingdom
God has appointed 4 “jurisdictions” of government among men. These areas of jurisdiction are the individual, the family, the church, and the state. We demonstrate His goodness & wisdom when we obey Him in each of these.
6. Complementarian in Gender Roles
We believe that men & women are equal before God in value and purpose, but have been designed by God to be different from one another in nature & roles, complementing one another in every way. It is not that women lack the ability to operate in men’s roles, but that our good and wise God has other specific roles for them in which to carry out their callings and ministries. 1 Co. 11:3, 1 Tim. 3:2, 1 Tim. 3:12
7. Biblical in Qualifications of Elders
We strictly consider the biblical qualifications of every candidate for the office of elder and deacon, while endeavoring to uphold a biblical methodology of church polity and culture. A plurality of elders is where two or more elders oversee any local congregation with all elders being equal in position and authority. We believe from experience that three or more would serve the church the best. Each elder will have an equal say in issues before the elder team. I Tim 5:17, Tit 1:5
8. Called to the Great Commission
Fulfilling the Great Commission by taking the Gospel to the entire world takes priority in the lifestyle decisions of our members. As we devote ourselves to serve as Ambassadors for Christ right where we are, God may open the door for wider ministry in other places. Matt 28:18, Acts
9. Aggressive in Church Planting
We believe that the best thing that you can do for any community is to plant a bible-believing, evangelical church in their neighborhood. Acts 11:19, 1 Co. 16:19, Col. 4:15
10. Supportive of Local & Foreign Missions
While all are called to engage in personal evangelism, we recognize the callings of some to go; even then, all are encouraged to support those who have been sent to take the gospel to other people groups. The NT mission’s strategies include meeting practical needs and presenting the gospel.
We recognize that for the believer the most basic way to demonstrate devotion to Christ is to walk in the obedience of faith. John 15:14-15, Mark 8:35-36, 2 Pet. 1:3
We rejoice in the liberty God has given us to live under the Lordship of Christ, each doing as he believes will most glorify Him. Though God demands fruitfulness from us all, we are free in Christ to “plant and weed our own garden” according to what we truly believe is most fruitful for Him.
Ga. 5:13, 1 Pe. 2:16, 1 Co. 10:23, Ro. 14:4-5
(“our own garden” referring to our personal life and family)
1. Fruitful in Family, Church & Society
We recognize that devotion to God includes being responsible for efficiency and fruitfulness of all other jurisdictions in which one is a part - family, church and community. All jurisdictions flourish when God’s people live with the Character of Christ in view. Ro. 13:7, Acts 2:42-47
2. Relational verses Programmatic in Orientation
We see relationships - as opposed to church-sponsored “programs” - as the fountain from which church life and the Great Commission are fulfilled. Programs should revolve around relationships and kept to a short duration and focused outcome if they are utilized at all 1 Pet. 5:2-3, Phil 2:2-4
3. Multigenerational in Vision
We not only desire to “capture” the next generation for Christ, but actively engage each
generation in every facet of the church’s work today. Discipling children includes making them proficient in every facet of life and ministry into which they are called – this takes mentoring.
We practice and teach the faithful use of finances in both home and church – with the church giving priority to expenses and endeavors that have the clearest biblical mandates. We see at least 3 areas of supply and assistance for the church addressed in scripture which are: Ministers, Members and Missions
2 Co. 9:6-8, 1 Tim. 5:17-18, Acts 4:32-36, 3 John 1:5-8
5. Full Accord Endeavors
When our elders identify a ministry need or opportunity which they believe warrants the full participation of all our members, we will endeavor, as one person and with one heart, to respond enthusiastically in support of their leadership decision. “Full accord” does not mean everyone will do the same thing but rather that every member strives to do something to help accomplish We embrace the loving, authoritative leadership that results from elders being good examples of sound doctrine in action. While we recognize the power of authoritative lifestyles, we reject authoritarian leadership.
Luke 22:24-27, 1 Pet. 5:1-3
6. Equipping Salt & Light Citizens
While every believer’s eternal destiny is heaven, we recognize our responsibility to disciple our families as God’s priestly ambassadors to the world. Our godly lifestyles demonstrate God’s Kingdom order in home, church and community.
2 Co. 5:20, 1 Pe. 2:9-10, 1 Th. 4:11-12
7. Exercising Societal Responsibilities
We recognize that to be good embassies for Christ to the world, each home must fulfill all of its biblical responsibilities. The home’s four primary biblical obligations to society:
8. Exhibiting Household Embassies
We show our love for God by the way we love one another, compelling us to rearrange our schedules and reallocate our finances, if necessary, to practice ministry hospitality. The Household Embassy is among the greatest evangelistic assets available to the church.
Ro. 12:10-14, 21, 1 Pe. 4:8-9, Acts 2:46-47
We recognize that while God is 100% sovereign over the affairs of men individually we are 100% accountable to God for all of our attitudes, deeds and overall spiritual condition. One’s personal accountability and responsibility before God is the driving biblical truth behind both effective evangelism and dynamic discipleship.
Rom. 14:10-12, Jer. 31:30, 2 Chron. 25:4
Regardless of one’s religion, heritage, social standing or volume of good works, to be a child of God and a member of Christ’s invisible Church, one simply must be “born again.” No one can be a disciple unless first, and genuinely, cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Ps. 14:2-3, Ro. 3:23-24
We believe sanctification – the purifying of our souls, affections and motives – is the chief end of discipleship. Discipleship builds hope, purpose and power into the life of believers as their faith grows in their position, experience and future with Christ.
1 Co. 3:10-12, He. 6:1
1) The family as the principal “unit” of the church,
2) The liberty of self-governing household jurisdictions, and
3) The head of each household as its spiritual authority.
By respecting the jurisdictional authority of the family, the church is able to foster the equipping of all of its members without “controlling” them. Acts 5:1-4, Deut. 4:9, 2 Tim. 2:2-3
1. Parent-to-Child Discipleship
Along with the freedom of the home’s self-governing jurisdiction comes the primary responsibility of discipling each family member. Maranatha Church believes in lifestyle discipleship, where every day, every place and every circumstance becomes an opportunity to train our children.
2. Resourcing Household Initiatives
Maranatha Church leadership recognizes the autonomy, callings and giftings in local families and strives to inspire, equip and resource them for church and community ministry initiatives. Acts 6:5-6, 2 Tim. 1:5, Acts 18:26-27
While we recognize every individual as a valuable member of the church, we place great emphasis upon discipling and equipping householders to be leaders and shepherds of their homes.
We show our love for God by the way we love one another – willing to rearrange schedules and reallocate finances to practice ministry hospitality. We should see our homes, time, talents and resources as ministry “equipment,” modeling faithfulness to the children of our own households. Acts 2:46-47, Ro. 12:10-14, 1 Pet. 4:8-9
3. Elders Growing up from Households
While we strictly adhere to biblical qualifications of elders, we embrace the emergence of called, proven, “regular” men as elders within their own local congregations. The first responsibility as elders and deacons is to be examples of sound doctrine in action!
Titus 1:7, 1 Tim. 3:4-6
4. Growing Members
Since the Great Commission is intended for all believers, elders are responsible to establish the atmosphere and means by which members discover their callings and are mentored into effective ministry. Eph. 2:10; 4:11-12, 15-16
We recognize that the Great Commission calls us to intentionality in reaching the lost,
welcoming new converts into the church and, making them into disciples. Salvation and baptism are the beginning of the gospel work in man. Maranatha Church desires to offer a culture wherein every willing person can make the gospel’s work a reality in their own soul.
Matt. 28:19-20, Lev. 19:34, Ex. 12:49, John 10:10, Matt. 28:19-20