RELATIONSHIP AND VALUES
RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD:
THE CHURCH: The church is both the invisible company of all Christians (known only to God) and the visible church on earth. Every Christian is united to Christ and joined to every other Christian by God, thus constituting the church in its many communities. The church is the spiritual and supernatural Body of Christ, who is the Head of the church. In the life of the one, holy, universal, church, the worship of God, the Holy Scriptures, the sacraments, and mission, are central.
Scripture indicates several ministries which God has given to the church at different times: apostles, prophets, elders, deacons, and evangelists. Today, in each local church there are to be elders and deacons. The elders are to be pastors, overseers, and examples and are to devote themselves to preaching and teaching.
The primary responsibility of the church is to worship God. The nature and content of this worship is determined by God Himself, as revealed to us in Scripture. This should include: praise to God, the reading and preaching of Scripture and prayer. Our church recognises two sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (holy Communion). Baptism is not, under any circumstance, a sacrament essential for salvation, but is an outward and external step of obedience to indicate that one has experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Baptism is by immersion in water. The Lord’s Supper points to the death of Christ upon the Cross, using bread and wine as symbols of the body and blood of Christ. It also provides for believers an opportunity for the strengthening of faith, fellowship in Christ and getting spiritual nourishment, while proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes, as He requested.
1 Corinthians 11:17-33
MISSION AND EVANGELISM: Our mission in the world flows from our passion for the glory of God and our assurance of the imminent return of Christ. The church as the community of Christ, is God’s instrument of evangelism, which is the preaching and sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ, through both words and deeds, that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures and that He, as the reigning Lord, now offers forgiveness of sin, eternal life, to all who repent and believe. In obedience to the commission of our God, we have to present two hands to all people: (1) the hand calling them to repentance, faith and eternal reconciliation with God through Christ, and (2) the hand manifesting deeds of mercy and compassion, extending the goodness of God’s kingdom on earth in the name of Christ. This is the example given to us by Christ Himself and proclaims that we are conformed to the image of Christ and have received the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of God’s new creation.
LIFE: Those who trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour are called to live a transformed life and as such we have the responsibility to:
- Encourage other Christians through meeting together for worship and fellowship.
- Uphold moral directives and ethical values contained in the Bible as expressed within their personal life, their married life (the covenantal relationship of Christ and one man and one woman), and their relationship with others.
- Share the good news of Christ to all the world.
- Be active in expressing God’s love through community needs.
ETERNITY: Jesus is the only way to a relationship with God. Those who have received salvation have eternal life as joint heirs with Christ. Those who do not receive salvation in Christ are separated from God for eternity.
Immediately after death, the spirits of human beings return to God, while their bodies are destroyed. They do not fall into a state of sleep. The souls of the saved enter a state of perfect holiness and joy, in the presence of God, and reign with Christ, while they await the resurrection. This happiness is not impeded by the memory of their lives in earth, since now they consider everything in the light of God’s perfect will and plan. Their happiness and salvation are solely by God’s grace. They have no power to intercede for the living or to become mediators between them and God. All experiences attributed to the action of disembodied souls must be attributed either to human imagination or the action of demons. The souls of non-believers will experience eternal judgment for eternity.
RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS
MARRIAGE: Marriage has been divinely established by God and affirmed by Jesus as the voluntary, lifelong union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others, cleaving to one another in a lifelong relationship. This relationship is between God and one man and one woman.
Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 19:6-9.
SEXUALITY: Marriage is the only context in which human sexual intercourse is to be experienced. The Bible teaches that sexual behaviour is to be limited to monogamous, heterosexual, married couples, and that believers are to abstain from sexual immorality. The Bible disallows sexual relationships outside the bond of marriage, as it does same-sex unions.
Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 2:18-25; Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:22; Matthew 5:27-28; Matthew 15:18-20; Acts 15:20; Romans 1:20-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 13:4.
GENDER IDENTITY: The two distinct, complementary genders (sexes) of male and female together reflect the image and nature of God (Genesis 1:26-27). The Bible ties gender identity to biological sex (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:22-24) and does not make a distinction between the two. God’s intended best for humankind is that we live in accordance with our biological gender. According to Scripture, our gender identity is to align with our biological gender, as designed by God. The determination of biological gender commences in the womb and is recognised at birth (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 5:1-2; Psalm 139:13-14; Mark 10:6). We therefore acknowledge the biological gender of a person as recognised at birth and require practices consistent with that gender.
Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:22-24; Genesis 3:21; Genesis 5:1-2; Psalm 139:1-5 and 13-16; Matthew 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-7.