Why do we need a confession of faith?
“Why do we need any doctrine at all? Why don’t we just love Jesus?” It sounds right, but just ask the person to clarify what he means. Ask him a simple question like, “Who is Jesus?” If he answers, “The Jesus of the Bible” ask in return, “What does the Bible say about Jesus?” Any answer we give to these questions is some form of a doctrine or theology about the person of Christ. Even the Statement, “no doctrine but love, no creed but Christ” is a theology. So, the fact is, all believers in Christ have a doctrine or theology. Our doctrine may be either homemade or learned from someone else, but we all have one. What we should do is search the scriptures and the ideas of the Church through the ages to see how our own beliefs compare. We should make sure our theology is sound.
Christians have always struggled with theology. In the early centuries of the Church, there were many views concerning the covenant and the person of Christ. Some of these robbed Christ of His deity. Others robbed Him of His humanity. There were also differences about which writings should be included in the “canon” (officially recognized as scripture), differences about church government and differences about many other things.
The early Church had several councils to define what the people of God believed. The first of these councils is recorded in the Bible itself, in the Book of Acts. More councils followed in the next few centuries as Christians sought to define their faith. Through the ages, the overwhelming majority of Christians have agreed with the decisions of these councils. They have stood the test of time. The most important have been repeated in poetical forms called “creeds” (from the Latin word credo meaning “I believe”).
The most important of these was the Apostles’ Creed. No one knows for sure when it was written. We do know it was being quoted as early as the second century, in a form very similar to what we recite now. There are almost no Christians anywhere, with all our differences, who do not accept the doctrines that this creed teaches. It is a core of faith that believers in Christ everywhere hold as a common heritage. It is that common heritage we will discuss here because that is the source of the Celebration Church doctrine.
The real focus of Christian unity is centered around the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the truth. All other truths, even time-honored, highly treasured Christian truths, must be written with a lower case “t,” and be preceded by the article “a.” To enshrine anything else as the Truth apart from Him, who claimed that title, is idolatry. We certainly do not wish to make an idol of this confession of our faith.
Our Confession of Faith, like all doctrine and theology, is a declaration of truths about “The Truth.” It is an attempt to give us a handle on His Gospel, as we understand it.
We believe that man was made in the image of God and is the crown of creation. He is now, by reason of the fall, spiritually depraved and alienated from his Creator. Apart from God’s grace, he has no ability to attain to his high calling.
Psalm 8, Ephesians 2:8-9
- Man is created in the image of God. Man is spirit, he has a soul (mind, will, emotions) and lives in a body (house or shell for the spirit).
- Man does not come from an animal or single cell amoeba.
- Man is not inherently good by nature; because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, we are alienated from God and can never measure up to God’s standard of right standing with Him.
- This alienation is called “sin.” Sin means to miss or not come up to the established standard.
- We can never satisfy the established standard without intervention from God. No amount of good deeds on our part could satisfy His requirements to be just in His eyes.
We believe that justification by grace through faith in our Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary.
- The souls that sins shall surely die. This death is a spiritual death first and a natural death second.
- This alienation from God because of sin can only be corrected by grace through faith in what Jesus did in His death, burial and resurrection.
- Jesus Christ, through His death , satisfied the requirement, or standards, established by God. He becomes our substitution.
- God’s entire wrath against disobedience (sin) was taken out on Jesus on the cross. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
We believe that all of God’s people are to be buried with our Lord Jesus Christ in the waters of baptism, subsequent to conversion.
Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38, Romans 6:4
- Baptism is a command. Everyone who confesses Christ should be baptized.
- Baptism comes from the word “baptize” which mean to immerse.
- Baptism represents a burial of the old ways of life and mindset.
- Baptism is not a prerequisite to salvation.
- Celebration Church does not baptize infants.
- Baptism is to be participated in when the concept it represents can be fully understood by the participant.
- We baptize in the name of Jesus Christ in accordance with the scriptural record.
- Jesus was baptized as a way of identifying with us as sinners.
We believe there is only one God, revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Deuteronomy 6:4, 2 Corinthians 13:14, John 1:1
- In the New Testament, time and time again we see the expression of God the Father, Jesus the Son of God and the Holy Spirit.
- God as Father, Jesus as Son and the Holy Spirit are in complete unity. All are a part of creation and vital to the salvation of the cosmos with specific functions.
- God as Father being the master architect of the entire plan of creation.
- Jesus as the expression of God’s bridge between Himself and man (the Chief Minister).
- The Holy Spirit as the Revealer of Truth and serving as a down payment for salvation for eternity (the gift).
- God is in Jesus and Jesus is in God with the Holy Spirit as the Divine Interpreter. They are equal in purpose, equal in power, and equal in authority. Complete and totally unified.
Therefore, we conclude that there is one God manifest in three persons.
We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was begotten, not created, He is truly God, and truly Man. He was born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died a vicarious and atoning death for the sins of the world, was resurrected bodily for our justification, and now reigns in glory until all things be put under His feet.
There are six things essential to your belief as a Christian:
- You must believe that Jesus was both 100 % God, because almighty God was His father and He was 100% human because Mary was His mother.
- You must believe that Mary was a virgin as the scripture records. This means that in order for her to conceive it had to be supernatural, beyond natural. This is no different than Abraham and Sarah believing God that they could have children after their time of life had passed.
- Jesus lived His life without sin. If He sinned in any way, then His life nor His blood would have qualified to be poured on the mercy seat in heaven. The scripture says that there can be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood.
- His death was for the sins of the world. My sin and your sin caused His death.
- He was raised from the dead. This signified His supreme Lordship over the very thing that resulted naturally from our separation from God. Natural, physical death was a shadow or type of spiritual death.
- He now reigns as the immortal, invisible King who will one day establish his rule on earth at the appointed time.
We believe that the Holy Spirit dwells in all believers, conforming them to the image of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 8:16-17
- The Holy Spirit sanctifies – sets us apart to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.
- The Holy Spirit preserves – He keeps us until the day that Christ returns.
- The Holy Spirit comes within you when you accept Christ into your heart.
- The scriptures identify Him as “the one called alongside to help provide comfort, revelation regarding the will of God and teaching.”
We believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an endowment of power, subsequent to conversion, given by God to anoint the believer for sanctification and evangelism. It is our understanding that the supernatural charisma of the Holy Spirit is active with the Body of Christ until the coming of the Lord. Furthermore, we believe the development of the charismatic gifts ought to be encouraged under the guidance of local church authorities.
Acts 8:14-17, Acts 19:1-2, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
- The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a subsequent experience to salvation.
- The Holy Spirit within us produces fruit for an internal work.
- The Holy Spirit upon us produces power for external work.
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a requirement of salvation.
- We encourage you to ask Jesus to baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
We believe in the Holy Christian Church, imperfectly represented on earth, by the various Christian institutions. Her unity is spiritual, her culture diverse and transitional, and her mission eternal.
- There’s only one church body in the earth. There are many Christian institutions.
- Church can be referred to in two ways: (1) universal and (2) local.
- The universal church or “catholic” (which means universal) was birthed by Jesus Christ. The universal church cannot be institutionalized – it is a spiritual organism whose life and activity is under the authority and control of Jesus Christ.
We believe in the absolute inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, given by the Holy Spirit without error, as He moved upon holy men of old. Furthermore, we believe that the Church has no authority to establish doctrine or practice contrary to these same Scriptures, which were subsequently accepted as canon by the early Christian Church.
2 Timothy 3:16
- The Holy Bible is the word of God, written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
- All that we believe has its basis in the entirety of the scripture and the absolute truths that it contains. Absolutes are principles that stand alone.
- The Holy Scripture is our highest authority for establishing doctrine, reproving, instructing, convicting of sin, correction of error, and training in righteousness.
- The canon of scripture was established prior to the universal church fragmented into denominations, which at that time were still an organic body and not an institutional one.
We believe that the calling of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher are functional within the Body of Christ until the Lord’s return. Furthermore, these ministries are gifts to the Church for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, that the Body of Christ be edified.
- We believe that the ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4 are still in operation today. (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher).
- The role of these gifts is the equipping of the believers for the work of the ministry.
- These are expressed within the context of a local community of believers.
We believe the identity of the Body of Christ on the earth is primarily perceived through the local church. While encouraging the voluntary association of local churches, and recognizing the need of consensus on matters of fundamental doctrine and conduct, we strongly confess the local church to be sovereign and autonomous.
- Every individual who professes relationship with Jesus Christ should be involved in a local community of believers.
- The local church should represent Jesus Christ to the community.
- The local church is a place of accountability and covering.
We believe in the right of local churches and ministries to form temporal institutions to assist them in carrying out the work of God. At the same time, we reject sectarianism and divisiveness as great evils.
- Local churches should work with each other to establish the rule of God in the earth.
We believe in the priesthood of the believer. That is to say, all people born of God have equal status before, and direct access to, their Lord.
1 Peter 2:5
- You can have relationship with God without having human mediator.
- Jesus is our mediator to God.
- We all have equal status and access to God through Jesus Christ.
- We have responsibility as priest to minister to those who don’t have relationship with the Lord and to fellow believers.
We believe in the spiritual unity of all who are born of God. We confess even those with whom we disagree, those who do not confess us, and others who we exclude because of our willful ignorance.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14
- We do not disassociate from other churches that profess Jesus Christ but may have different doctrinal beliefs or cultural ways of worshipping the Lord.
- We don’t major on the minors.
- We want to build bridges, not walls.
We believe that those who are called by the name of Christ should depart from iniquity. Understanding that salvation from the penalty of sin only begins the process of redemption, we acknowledge that one work of the Holy Spirit is to create in us the character of Christ.
2 Timothy 2:19
- Your walk matches your talk.
- Freedom from the power of sin.
- Complete restoration, not just redemption.
- A lifestyle change in every arena of life: mental, spiritual, and physical.
- A life that reflects the nature and character of Jesus Christ.
We believe in the literal coming of our Lord, the literal rule of Christ upon the earth, the resurrection of the regenerate to eternal life and the unregenerate to eternal damnation, and the ultimate victory of the eternal Kingdom of God.
Acts 1:9-11, Daniel 12:2, Revelation 22:1-7
- Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead, is still alive today.
- Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God and He is interceding on our behalf daily.
- John 3:16 says that God so loved the world. The word “world” is translated cosmos, which means the earth and the entire universe.
- God is not just in love with His highest creation called man, but He is in love with His creation.
- Jesus Christ’s rule (government) will literally be established in the earth.
- We await His literal return to the earth.