We at Covenant Community Church are bound together in the bonds of brotherly love which is expressed in our "Covenant of Membership".†Our Constitution sets forth our style of government and the boundaries of our fellowship are†marked out in our "Creed & Confession"† (Or our "primary" statement of belief).† Our "Worldview Statement" is† intended†to set forth or describe what†we generally teach regarding the application of God's Word to particular areas of life. (Our "secondary" statement of belief).† We have not incorporated these matters in our Creedal Statement for these reasons;
Many divisive issues have separated believers and†can be understood better within the framework of† a "covenantal" context. As the Spirit of God leads us all into a greater knowledge and understanding, we expect to grow into greater unity with one another.
Since our boundaries of fellowship are not defined by secondary doctrinal beliefs, and since we encourage every believer to grow in lnowledge, wisdom and understanding. moving on to maturity. We want to see a natural unity develop through spiritual exercise rather than one produced by a tyrannical rigidity.
We believe that Christian liberty is a real dimension of the life of faith so we want to exercise a freedom and responsibility that is sadly too rare in the church.
We leave these "secondary" teachings up to the respective head of each household as he is the priest over his tiny flock according to 1 Peter 2:9, having the responsibility to grow as he leads and instructs his own household.
If God created all that is, it follows then, that He owns and has authority over all. Man in his sin attempts to usurp God's authority but does so at his own peril. The church has given over great and important areas of human endeavor to autonomous men . We think it is time to repent and once again put on the whole armor of God and press forward the crown rights of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. We have been in rebellion too long. Let us, with the help of our God, gird up our loins and walk again as Christian soldiers. The positions stated herein are prayerfully offered toward that end.
To God alone be the glory!
The Biblical Worldview of Covenant Community Church
(Our general application of God's Word to Life)
All of life is to be governed by the Word of God. God has set before his people two tasks to accomplish by the power of His Spirit. The cultural mandate is designed to extend Christ's dominion throughout the world (Genesis 1:28). The evangelistic mandate is designed to extend Christ's salvation throughout the world (Matthew 28:18-20). These two mandates rely upon each other to be fulfilled. God extends his rule and blessing to earth when his people obey him in both word and example.
God has established†three separate and distinct spheres of sovereignty by which man is to fulfill these mandates. These are:
The civil magistrate
Each sphere is to be maintained in its right relationship with the other two. The limited sovereignty of each of these spheres is derived from God's sovereignty over all things. Their powers, responsibilities and limitations are defined by God in his Word.
Each member of Covenant Community Church is called of God to faithfully conform his conduct within and regulate his relationship to each of these spheres according to the Word of God to the best of his ability and understanding. The community,†called "the church" exists to mutually exhort and foster growth in all it's members. The church's goal is to assist its members both spiritually and physically as we practice righteousness and obedience to Christ in all things.
Our "Worldview" document represents the leading of our elders in the applications of the Word of God to the culture and times in which we live. It is available to anyone by request. This document speaks to the practical application of what we believe the Scriptures to teach. It will not define the boundaries of our fellowship with other believers. It represents the details of faithful discipleship to our Lord Jesus Christ in our day. The elders will make necessary amendments from time to time as they gain maturity in knowledge and understanding.
The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century brought sweeping biblical reforms into the life of the Church. The Bible was given its proper place as the only infallible authority for faith and life. Our Lord Jesus Christ was given his proper place as the only Mediator between God and men. And the death and resurrection of Christ was proclaimed as the sole ground of justification, apart from meritorious works. The Calvinistic Reformers stressed the sovereignty of God in salvation and history in opposition to those who limited God by chance and the idea of manís autonomous free will. As heirs of the Reformation, we believe that the church should be "always reforming." Since the Churchís growth and maturity implies progress in our biblical understanding, we must challenge unbiblical doctrines and traditions, retaining only those beliefs and practices that are compatible with biblical teaching.
The Congregational churches represent one branch of the Reformational tradition, the others being the Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Anabaptist, and Quaker traditions. Congregationalists believe that the local church is to govern itself according to Godís Word and is directly responsible to Christ, the Chief Shepherd. In separating from all church authorities that seek to lord it over the local church, Congregationalists stress church associations and the spiritual unity of all Christian churches. Denominational relationships must be governed by the principle of common consent (Acts 15:28) and not by the principle of majority rule, which violates the consciences of minorities and local churches.
The covenantal principle is at the heart of all redemptive history from Genesis to Revelation. In the Bible, our relationship with God is a bond of union and communion based or Christís death, burial, and resurrection for us. God Ďs promise to be God to us and to our children (Gen. 17:7) is realized through "the obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:5). As covenant keepers, we continue in repentance, faith, and obedience, knowing that God is at work in us (Phil. 2:12-13).† Believers and their children are members of the church because Godís covenant is a family covenant, not a purely individual relationship that excludes children or infants (Ps. 22:10; 71:6; 1 Cor. 7:14). The visible church is not a body of "regenerate members" only, since†God alone truly knows who belongs to Him.
The Bibleís prophetic teachings are†somewhat difficult to understand and therefore have been interpreted in various ways. These different approaches may be reduced to two main schools of interpretation: the Futurist and the Preterist (preter = past> past fulfillment). Futurist believe that the Bible prophecy is focused on the end of the physical world. Preterists believe that Bible prophecy is focused on the end of the old covenant world or the Jewish age culminating†in 70 A.D. (Matt 24:3) The destruction of Jerusalem is the central prophetic event of the New Testament according to the Olivet Discourse of Jesus and the book of Revelation. Preterism alone does justice to the apostlesí teaching that Christ was to come within†the lifetimes of the Apostles.†(Matt 16:27 - 28, 24:34) With the establishment of the Messianic Age in 70 A.D. the old covenant and its age or "world" disappeared (Heb. 8 - 13).
The Bible contains two mandates.
These two mandates require each other to be fulfilled. The Bible assures us that Christís kingdom will gradually increase and that the earth will one day be full of the knowledge of the Lord. (Is 9:6 - 7;11:4 - 11). Since Godís purpose is to "make disciples of all nations" the Bible must be applied to every aspect of life, both personal and social, so that Godís word may be the standard of righteousness in every area. The ideals and goals of secular governments are contrary to Godís plan for history (Ps. 2), Christians must search the scriptures to develop principles for†establishing†godly government and work toward that end as God in his providence gives opportunity. This does not mean that every law and penalty of the Old Testament remains in effect. But it does require that we use the principles and penalties appropriate to the Church age. Theocracy means that God rules (theos = God) Democracy means that man rules (demos = the people). The Christian ideal is that man rules under God.†
The family is the foundational basis for all society. It is defined by God. Its purpose, government, duties and limitations are set forth in detail for us in God's Word. To the extent that man denies God's authority over this crucial aspect of life and civilization the social order is subverted and chaos reigns.
Concern for education begins in the home. Scripture invests parents with the responsibility for the discipline and instruction of their children ( Deut. 6:6-9; 11:18-21; Eph. 6:4). Therefore, Christian parents should diligently instruct their children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord ( Prov. 2:1-5). Educational programs for children should be under the authority and direction of a Christian parentsí association and not the eldership or the state.
The involvement of the civil authority in the education of children is unbiblical and therefore is to be despised by Christians.
Parents are given the responsibility to train and educate their own children. This education is for the purpose of preparing children for productive service in the kingdom of God and the extension thereof. It may be accomplished individually or through cooperation with other families. Covenant Cmmunity Church stands ready to assist members in physical or spiritual support toward this end.
The†Marriage Covenant:† Marriage symbolizes Christís relationship to the Church ( Eph. 5:22-33). As a covenant of fidelity, a marriage may not be severed, except on the ground of sexual immorality ( Matt. 19:1-9). Desertion by an unbeliever involves defrauding, which is also a form of sexual immorality ( 1 Cor. 7:3-5, 10-15). Marriage is to be solemnized by an oath, and biblical divorce is to be certified by the presbytery.
A "Covenant†of Marriage" is what binds one spouse to the other. A "Marriage License" like any license is a grant of authority by a sovereign. It brings the "state"† into a three way contract with the husband and wife. Marriage is ordained of God not the "state". The civil authorities are to give legal recognition to and uphold biblical marriage, not participate in it.
For more see "A†Letter to Rachel"
Public Worship: Those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth ( John 4:24). God does not leave it to us to determine our manner of worship. Self-styled worship is unacceptable to God, regardless of good and sincere intentions.
According to apostolic example, the first day of the week, which is Sunday, is the Churchís regular day of worship ( Matt. 28:1; Acts 20:7; Cor. 16:2). Sunday is not the Christian Sabbath. The Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ and is now observed by resting in Christ by faith ( Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 4:1-10).
Discipleship: A disciple is under the discipline of Christ, which is defined in terms of baptism, the teaching ministry of the church, and obedience ( Matt 28:18-20 ). Thus, discipleship is a life-long process, which requires membership in the local church and faithful participation in its public worship.
Evangelism: The Great Commission defines evangelism: To make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28: 18 - 20). This goal cannot be accomplished apart from the local church. Therefore, personal proclamation of the gospel should be combined with the churchís proclamation and teachings so that respondents may be added to the church.
Benevolence: The church has a responsibility to her own poor, who are to be assisted through diaconal office ( Acts 6:1-6). The individual Christian has a responsibility to his needy neighbor ( Luke 10:29-37). Christians are to provide for their own family members so that the church will not be burdened, that it may relieve those who are truly in need ( Tim. 5:8, 16).
The involvement of the civil magistrate in benevolence (welfare) is unbiblical and therefore is to be despised by Christians.
Apostasy: Those who forsake the assembly of Godís people are apostate from the faith ( Heb. 10:25-26 1 John 2:19). Those who leave the church under threat of discipline or by neglecting its public worship excommunicate themselves and have broken their covenant of membership. Members in good standing who leave the church to join another Christian church will be given a letter of recommendation.
Apostolic Gifts: Miraculous signs, wonders, and gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to the infant Church to confirm the salvation first spoken by the Lord and His apostles ( Eph. 2:20; Heb. 2:2-4; Acts 2:43; 2 Cor. 12:12). These sign gifts were given for the founding of the Church and have given way to the completed canonical Scriptures and non-revelatory gifts.
The Civil Magistrate
One of the greatest errors, or downright perversions, of our day is the return to that pernicious doctrine that the Christian owes unqualified obedience to the civil government. The twisted and misapplied view of Romans 13, 1 Peter 2, Titus chapter 2 and similar passages together with the presentation of a "feminized" Jesus has produced a Christianity that is impotent, disobedient and slavish. We are shameful wimps that disgrace the memories of our faithful fathers† who stood boldly in the face of Kings and Potentates who dared to usurp the prerogatives of God and his people.
The authority for all civil government comes from God. The magistrate is a "servant of God for good". He does not bear the sword in vain. The purpose of all legitimate civil government is to promote that which is good and punish that which is evil. Good and evil are defined by God only and revealed to man in the gospel. When the civil magistrate takes it upon himself to define good and evil apart from God he usurps authority and becomes a law-breaker himself. To the degree that he continues in this folly, he relinquishes the right to command obedience. "We will obey God rather than man."
Creation of Wealth and the Distribution thereof: The task of promoting business enterprises has not been given to the civil magistrate. Their task is maintenance of justice and liberty. As the governors serve faithfully toward these ends they obey God and serve mankind.
Law Making Powers are limited in that legislation is only to carry out those specific responsibilities that God has given and none other. Legislatures do not have the authority to define good and evil. When they do, they usurp the authority of God. As usurpers, the Christian owes to them resistance not obedience. The love of God and neighbor requires nothing less.