DOCTRINAL GUIDELINES FOR TEACHING AT MISSION CHURCH
The following are the doctrinal positions that those who teach at Mission Church need to agree to as the unifying theological statement for all leaders.
A) Systematic Theology
1. The Scriptures
We teach that the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired, infallible Word of God, without error in the original writings. We believe that this inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts of the Scriptures, and that they are the complete revelation of God’s will for the salvation of men, and are the supreme and final authority in every area of faith and life. We further believe that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal, contextual, grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; James 1:22-25; Psalm 119:105; John 7:17, 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20, 27)
2. The Godhead
We teach that there is one God eternally existing in three persons (the Trinity): the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each having precisely the same nature, divine attributes, and perfections, and worthy of the same worship and obedience.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Matthew 28:19-20; John 1:1-4; 2 Corinthians 13:14)
3. God the Father
We teach that God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace. He is the only absolute and omnipotent (all-powerful) ruler of the universe, Who has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass. He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption. He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own.
(Psalm 145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36; Ephesians 1:3-12)
4. The Person of Jesus Christ
We teach that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, is fully God and fully man with indivisible oneness with God the Father. He is eternally coexisting with the Father, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary and became flesh and dwelt among us as God incarnate. In his incarnation he laid aside his right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God and took on an existence appropriate to a servant to humankind never divesting his divine attributes, assuring in his humanity his impeccability and his immutability.
(Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 4:15, 13:8; Luke 1:35; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-16; Acts 1:9-11)
5. The Work of Jesus Christ
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophesied Messiah, performed miracles while on earth, died on the cross as the only sufficient substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all mankind, that his crucified body was buried and raised form the dead, and He appeared to many before ascending into heaven where he is seated at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest, Advocate, and Mediator. We also believe in the imminent return of Jesus Christ for His church. The Lord Jesus Christ is the one through whom God will judge all mankind.
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 1 Peter 1:18-20; Hebrews 8:1, 9:28, 10:10-14; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 2:1; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; John 5:22-23; Revelation 20:11-15)
6. The Holy Spirit
We teach that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, eternally active, began a unique work in the world on the Day of Pentecost, when He came as promised by the Son to initiate and complete the building of the body of Christ, the Church universal. His activities include convicting the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment; regenerating, indwelling, sanctifying, instructing, giving spiritual gifts, and transforming believers into the image of Christ thus glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that at the moment of salvation every believer is indwelt and baptized by the Holy Spirit. As a result every believer is responsible to yield to the control of the Holy Spirit, so that he may experience the filling of the Spirit for direction and empowerment for service.
(John 14:16-17, 15:26, 16:7-15; Acts 1:5, 2:4; Romans 8:9-11, 29, 12:6-8; Ephesians 1:13, 2:22, 4:7-16, 5:18; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 13; 1 John 2:20, 27; 1 Peter 4:10)
We teach that man (male and female) was created in the image of God for the glory of God and for eternal fellowship with God. However, man sinned, thereby severing fellowship with God and incurring God’s enmity, wrath, and curse on all creation, resulting in physical and spiritual death. All human beings are born with a sin nature, are sinners by choice, are totally depraved, and man’s only hope is found in the grace of God through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Genesis 1:27, 3:1-24; Isaiah 43:7; Romans 3:23, 5:12, 19, 6:23, 7:18, 8:7-8, 19-22; Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 2:1-3, 14-16; 1 Corinthians 1:9, 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 3:3-7, 36)
We teach salvation is the work of God where sinful man is delivered from condemnation and receives eternal life. It is accomplished by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone and cannot be earned or maintained by human effort; it results in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ when a person repents of their sin and believes in the sinless life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for their sin. Those entering into this relationship by faith are eternally born-again, justified, and have become children of God.
(Ephesians 2:8-10, 1:13-14, 4:30; Romans 3:21-28, 5:1, 6:23, 8:16, 10:8-13, 14:9; John 1:12-13, 3:5-6, 16, 10:27-28, 17:3, 20:30-31; Acts 2:36, 4:10-12; James 1:19-27, 2:14-26)
9. The Christian Life (Sanctification)
We teach that Christian sanctification is the continuing work of God where the individual believer perseveres in his salvation by conscientiously and constantly pursuing Christlikeness under the power of the Holy Spirit. This occurs through the transformation of the inner man by the renewing of the mind with the Word of God; the replacing of habits of the old man with the disciplines of the new man; and by abiding in the love of God. The result is God being glorified through a holy life and the expansion of the visible local church. This process does not lead to perfection while in mortality but will conclude at the believer’s glorification into eternity.
(Romans 12:1,2; John 15; 1 John 1:1-9; Galatians 5:16-26; Colossians 3:1-4; 12-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-4: Philippians 3:13-16; Ephesians 5:1-20)
10. Marriage and Family
We teach that marriage was ordained by God at creation as the sacred union of one man and one woman. All sexual relations must therefore be reserved for that union. Christian marriage is a representation of Christ’s relationship to His church. We also believe that children are a blessing from the Lord. Thus all human life is sacred and worthy of protection from the moment of conception.
(Genesis 1:26-28; 2:24; Psalm 127 and 128; 139:13-16; Matthew 19:1-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 5:22-33; Hebrew 13:4)
11. The Church
We teach that the Church is a unique spiritual organism made up of all born again believers which began on the Day of Pentecost. The Church is the body and the bride of Christ, of which Christ is the head. The purpose of the Church is to make disciples, which will bring glory to God. We believe every Christian is called to be vitally connected and committed to the local church, so that they can minister according to his or her spiritual giftedness and to practice the “one anothers” as commanded in the New Testament for the building up of the body in love while maintaining the unity of the Spirit. We believe in the autonomy of the visible local church with the right to self-government by a plurality of biblically qualified Elders, under Christ and over the congregation, as servant leaders.
(Matthew 28:18-20; John 13:34-35; Acts 1:8, 2:1-21, 2:38-47, 14:23, 20:17, 20:28; 1 Corinthians 10:32, 11:23-25, 12:12-13, 15:58; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22, 3:1-6, 21, 4:7-16, 5:23-32; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 5:17-22; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 10:25, 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:1-5; 1 John 1:3)
12. The Ordinances
We teach that there are only two ordinances to be observed by the Church: Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that water baptism is an outward testimony of God’s work in the believer, and it portrays the believer’s union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, which is demonstrated best through immersion. It serves as an initial step of identification and fellowship into the visible local church. We believe that Jesus Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper to commemorate and proclaim His death until His return. Neither ordinance is a means of earning or maintaining salvation.
(Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 8:36-39; Romans 6:3-4; Matthew 26:26-30; 1 Corinthians 11:17-30; Mark 15:16; Ephesians 2:8-9)
13. The Future
We teach the personal, imminent pre-tribulational coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to rapture His Church, who subsequently will be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We also teach Christ’s premillennial return to earth, following the Tribulation, with His saints to establish His Millennial Kingdom in fulfillment of the Davidic and New Covenants, in which they will reign for a literal 1000-year. We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. Whereby, the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, as they consciously await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. In addition, the souls of the unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious misery until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and then shall be cast into the Lake of Fire to suffer everlasting, conscious punishment.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:9; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-15, 21:1-8; Luke 16:19-28; Matthew 25:41-46; John 14:1-3; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Titus 2:11-1; Jude 6,7)
B) Practical Theology
Realizing that the cause of Christ extends beyond any one local fellowship, we commit ourselves to an ongoing ministry of extending the call of Christ to make disciples around the world (Matthew 28:19-20). The mission of the church is missions; the mission of missions is the church.
2. Assimilation and Church Membership
We believe in the importance of serving the body of Christ by offering clear paths for people to start and develop healthy and growing relationships with others in the church body. We value an intentional plan to help every interested person enjoy godly relationships in the church. Church membership is a byproduct of people who are growing in Christ, are committed to this mission, and who grasp the importance of serving the Lord by using their gifts to serve others in the local church.
3. Baptism and Communion
Baptism and communion are the two ordinances required in the church. We believe that Christian baptism by immersion in water is a public identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Although baptism is not required for salvation, it is commanded of all believers and is for believers only (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 18:8). Scripture shows that a person was baptized after personally receiving forgiveness of sin through accepting Jesus Christ. The waters of baptism are a symbol of our death, burial, and resurrection to newness of life that happens when we become new creations in Christ (Colossians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:1-4).
Communion is the commemoration by believers of Christ’s death, and a reminder—through the bread and the juice—of the Savior’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is to be a time of confession of our sin and should be preceded by careful self-examination according to Acts 4:13, Romans 6:3-6,
1 Corinthians 11:20-29.
4. Charismatic Movement
Mission Church is a non-charismatic, conservative, evangelical fellowship that welcomes all who know Jesus Christ as their Savior and all who are seeking Him. Those who claim to possess the gift of tongues and other sign gifts are welcome to worship and fellowship with us if they are willing to be a source of unity rather than division within our church body. We believe that the Christian life is supernatural and that the Lord continues to perform miracles. We also believe that current displays of the gift of tongues distract from the main task of the local church, which is to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
Current displays of the gift of tongues:
- Give unwarranted prominence to the gift, which is described in the New Testament as being only one of many spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12).
- Emphasize speaking in tongues as the primary manifestation of the Spirit’s work in a person’s life, while minimizing the Spirit’s work in producing a holy life (2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 2 Timothy 1:9), and a life that displays the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
- Often suggest that speaking in tongues is a required proof of being Spirit-filled or of possessing salvation in Christ, even though the Scriptures do not teach this.
Mission Church seeks to prevent the propagation of doctrines that would cause divisions within an individual church. Therefore, members of and adherents of Mission Church are not to propagate the teachings and emphases of the current charismatic movement. Although we do not control personal, individual interactions with the Lord, the expression of tongues and other sign gifts are not to be overtly expressed at meetings that are under the organization and authority of Mission Church.
5. Church Planting
The church exists to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and in the spirit of the Great Commandment (Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 22:37-38).
The Great Commission is fulfilled as disciples of Jesus Christ are made and grow in their relationship with Him and likeness to Him. God is glorified as we manifest His presence as we do His work (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
In seeking to act upon the church’s purpose, we recognize the extraordinary value in multiplying the reach of His ministry by planting local churches and by associating with existing, like-minded local churches. God is glorified when like-minded churches associate with one another in order to foster relationships that edify, protect, encourage, support, and admonish.
6. Counseling Philosophy
The Lord changes lives and accomplishes His purposes directly through reading and applying the Scriptures, meditating on the truths of the Scriptures, and prayer. The Lord also uses those who minister His Word as they encourage, exhort, admonish, edify, implore, reprove, rebuke, and console others toward godliness. God needs no new or unique insight into the human condition in order to change lives, regardless of whether that insight is gained through psychology or some other tool of human origin. Problems that are approached by integrating the Scriptures with psychological theories tend to deceive individuals into diminishing the God of the Scriptures and into believing that He has not provided and cannot provide sufficient truth, insight, and wisdom that will change their lives (Colossians 2:8-10).
When psychology and other social sciences step beyond observing human behavior and seek to explain the causes of human behavior, they enter spiritual territory. Only the God of the Scriptures can explain causes and offer solutions that lead to godliness and a fruitful, joyful life. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). He changes us as we discipline ourselves through obedience to the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Peter 1:5-11).
Each Christian’s passion should be to become more like Christ and fulfill the Great Commandment to love the Lord with the entire heart, soul, mind, and strength (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2, Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30; Matthew 22:37-38).
The Christian who learns and applies the Word becomes mature and, in turn, can help others mature (2 Timothy 2:2).
7. Creation, Evolution, and God’s Sovereignty
We believe God created the universe in six twenty-four hour days and that before He created the universe, nothing except God existed (Genesis 1; Exodus 31:17; Psalm 33:6-9; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 11:3; Colossians 1:16).
God chose to create the universe and all that is in it to reveal His glory, divine nature, eternal power, infinite wisdom, and supreme authority (Isaiah 43:7; Psalm 19:1-2; Jeremiah 10:12; Romans 1:20; Revelation 4:11).
We deny the theory of evolution, which states that nonliving substances gave rise to the first living material, which then reproduced and diversified to produce all living creatures. We believe that all people are descendants of Adam and Eve, whom God created personally and individually and as complete human beings (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9). The fall of Adam and Eve infected all people with sin and death, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives the opportunity to receive God’s gift of eternal life (Romans 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
God rules over His creation and cares about and is involved in the lives of individual people (Job 12:10; Acts 17:25; Acts 25:28; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:13; Ephesians 4:6).
8. Eternal Security of the Believer
The Lord keeps those who are His own. (John 10:27-30) The assurance of salvation is not a prayer, but the fruit of the spirit in a person’s life (Galatians 5). It is God’s divine decision to save a person and it is God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience that lead that person to repentance (Romans 2:4). All glory for the salvation and security of every believer belongs to God alone (Romans 3:21-31; Ephesians 1:7-9; Ephesians 2:8-9, Jude 1:24-25). We believe that everyone who is born again by the Spirit through Jesus Christ is eternally assured of salvation from the moment of conversion. This assurance relies on God’s decisive grace rather than on the works of the Christian. Obedience, good works, and fruit-bearing do not earn or retain the believer’s salvation but indicate the reality of the person’s love of Christ and profession of faith (Luke 6:46; John 14:21; James 2:17-18).
Eternal security in salvation relies on the Lord’s guarantee of each believer’s adoption as His son or daughter (Galatians 4:4-7), His seal of the believer by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14), and the conviction that God gives the Holy Spirit to each believer as a down payment toward future bliss in heaven (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). A person who professes genuine faith in Christ immediately becomes His possession (Luke 23:42-43; Acts 2:40-41; Acts 16: 30-34), and nothing can snatch that person out of His hands (John 10:27-29). Having been bought with the price of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion as complete payment for sin, Christians are not their own. They are Christ’s possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This assurance is absolutely certain, reserved in heaven, protected by God’s unlimited power (1 Peter 1:4-5).
9. Process of Sanctification and Maturity
Mature disciples walk with Christ, worship Christ, and work for Christ. A person committed to a relationship with Christ focuses on a personal walk with Him, worshipping Him, and working for Him. That person will experience significant growth in personal sanctification and, therefore, will experience a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will become “complete in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). We are committed to multiplying the godly characteristics of leaders’ lives into others (2 Timothy 2:2). This multiplication of ministry is key to the healthy growth of the church. We believe the disciples of Jesus Christ should minister to one another in the local church, rather than one or a small number of professional pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. God has given spiritual gifts to all of His people to provide mutual ministry in the context of the healthy and strong local church (Ephesians 4:11-12).
10. Spiritual Warfare
Satan and his demonic servants viciously oppose the work God performs in and through His people (1 Peter 5:8; Genesis 3:1-7; Ephesians 6:12). God, who by His nature is infinitely more powerful than Satan, in due time will have complete and total victory over Satan (1 John 4:4; Revelation 20:1-10).
Although it is appropriate to pray in Jesus’ name for protection against demonic activity, the Scriptures do not instruct the Christian to “bind Satan in Jesus’ name.” Rather, the Scriptures instruct the Christian to combat Satan by:
- Humbly drawing near to God, knowing that He will give grace, mercy, and strength (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Hebrews 4:15-16; James 4:8; 1 Peter 5:6-10).
- Resisting Satan’s temptations (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9).
- Rightly applying the truth of the Scriptures (Matthew 4:1-11; John 8:44; Ephesians 4:24-27).
- Forgiving offenses (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).
- Putting on the armor of God’s truth, righteousness, readiness to share the Gospel, faith, salvation, and prayer (Ephesians 6:11-20).
- Demonstrating faithfulness to the Lord by enduring trials (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 2:13; Revelation 3:9-10).
11. Sufficiency of Scripture
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and that they contain all the words of God that we need in order to completely trust and obey Him. The Scriptures are inerrant in their original writings (Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16), and are infallible in their instruction (Proverbs 6:32; 2 Peter 1:19), eternal in duration (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25); the final authority and the standard for faith and practice (Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119); and sufficient for counsel in every issue of life (Psalm 19:7-14; 2 Timothy 3:16). We believe that the very words of Scripture in the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic are inspired by God. Therefore, we believe that the Bible versions which translate God’s Word most literally into modern English should be preferred.
12. Women in Ministry
Mission Church affirms the God-ordained and significant role that women should play in establishing and leading the local church. Every leadership opportunity is open to women except those that are excluded by Scripture. The Scriptures clearly state that men are to serve in the office of Elder and that women are not to serve in church positions in which they exercise authority over men or in which they teach doctrine to men (1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:6-9). We do not see this as an issue of equality, for men and women are equal under God. The Bible is clear that men and women do not have the same roles. Qualified women should serve in any leadership position that is not forbidden in the Scriptures.
The chief purpose of mankind is to glorify God by loving Him with the entire heart, soul, mind, and might (Deuteronomy 6:5; Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 22:37). All believing men, women, and children are to glorify God and thus fulfill the purpose of their existence. Worship glorifies God through adoration (Psalm 95:6), praise (Psalm 99:5), prayer (Daniel 6:10-11), thanksgiving (Nehemiah 12:46), and a complete yielding to Him (Romans 12:1). Worship declares His worth, pays Him homage, and celebrates Him in a life of devotion. We seek to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (Exodus 15:1-21; 2 Samuel 6:14-16; Psalm 5:7; John 4:23-24; Revelation 4:11; 5:12).
Several tenets guide our worship. We seek to:
- Lift high the name of Jesus Christ (John 4:22-26; John 12:32; John 14:6).
- Lead God’s people to lift their hearts and voices to Him, giving Him praise and thanks in music and lyrics (Nehemiah 12:45-46; Psalm 66:1-4; Psalm 95:1-2).
- Prepare hearts to hear the Lord speak through the proclamation of Scripture (Psalm 95:6-9; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42).
- Emphasize fresh and contemporary expressions while retaining traditional elements that recognize the richness of our heritage in the faith (Deuteronomy 32:7; Psalm 33:3; Isaiah 46:8-9; Matthew 13:32, Ephesians 5:19; Revelation 5:9).
- Pursue excellence in worship, knowing that God is worthy of our best (Exodus 12; Deuteronomy 17:1; Psalm 33:3; 1 Timothy 4:14-15; Hebrews 11:4).