The chief objective of Calvary Community Church will be to pursue the glory of the Triune God (Eph. 1:3-14; 3:21). In recognition of this purpose, we will endeavor to conduct our lives and services in joyful worship and fellowship of God through our Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We will seek to spread His fame and reflect back to Him, as He enables, the characteristics of Who He is, especially His truth, holiness and goodness. We understand that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. Because God's mercy to His people is the apex of His glory, enjoying the benefits of that mercy in faith honors and glorifies God. The faith that glorifies God is a happy, hearty trust. Therefore, joy in God is essential to honoring God. "Joy in God is a Christian duty" C.S. Lewis.
A consequent purpose of Calvary Community Church will be to love one another as Christ has loved us. Our goal is to build one another up toward Christ-like maturity (I Cor. 14:26; Eph. 4:16). In order for the church to mature in Christ the evangelists, pastor and teachers must be equipping the saints for ministry, the members must be doing the work of the ministry, and everyone must be speaking the truth in love (Eph 4). This will call for mutual encouragement, teaching, helping, admonishing, giving and forgiving. We must have the mindset of Jesus Christ "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but poured Himself out" for us. (Phil 2:6-7).
A third purpose that flows out of the first two is spread of His fame through the advance of the gospel. We will do this by involving ourselves in world-wide evangelism (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8). This will be accomplished through Spirit-empowered preaching of Christ in our meetings, demonstrating the gospel in our community, proclaiming Christ to our friends, neighbors and co-workers and by sending missionaries under God's direction to do the same in other places across the world. We will endeavor by God's power to "live" the gospel in all our relationships and to show Christ's compassion wherever people are needy and suffering.
The following statement of faith is not intended to define our boundaries of fellowship. Some Christians will certainly differ with some of what is set forth here. Such Christians are nevertheless welcome to fellowship together with us. Our basis for fellowship is a biblical confession of the lordship of Jesus Christ, and the absence of a scandalous lifestyle.
This statement of faith does represent the doctrinal understanding of the leadership of CCC, and it is our intention that the teaching and preaching at CCC reflect this understanding. Procedural standards for our church government can be found in Articles IV and following.
We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was born of a virgin, Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hades, and on the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From Heaven he shall come to earth again to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, one holy Christian church, the communion of all true saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the gift of everlasting life.
We believe the Bible to be the only inerrant Word of God. It is our only authoritative rule for faith and practice.
We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three Persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is omnipotent, that is, He is all-powerful. He is omnipresent, that is, He is present throughout Creation but not limited by it. He is omniscient, that is, nothing is hidden from His sight. In all things He is limited by nothing other than His own nature and character. We believe the God we serve is holy, righteous, good, truth, loving, omnipotent and omniscient. He is the Creator, Sustainer, and Governor of everything that has been made.
We believe in the true deity and full humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father and in His personal return in power and glory.
We believe in the full deity of the Holy Spirit, acknowledging Him together with the Father and the Son as Creator and Redeemer.
We believe that because of Adam's sin all mankind is in rebellion against God. For the salvation of such lost and sinful men, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary.
We believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone, and that faith without works is dead.
We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and lost; those who are saved to the resurrection of life, and those who are lost to the resurrection of damnation.
We believe in the spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures teach and we believe that the Old and New Testaments are the divine revelation of God (1 Tim 5:18), and thus constitute the Word of God. Men chosen by God wrote the Bible under the guidance and enabling of the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:21). Therefore, every word of the original documents is God-breathed (this is commonly called verbal plenary inspiration) (2 Tim 3:16). Therefore the whole of Scripture is both inerrant and authoritative for the faith of the believer. We also believe that the Scriptures are sufficient, entirely adequate, in conjunction with the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ for every spiritual or emotional problem. We also believe that the Scripture is the fresh and present voice of Christ by which He communicates through the Holy Spirit to His people. Therefore, no current prophetic word is necessary for Christ to communicate His present voice and will to His people (2 Tim 3:16,17; 1 Cor 10:6-12; I Tim 3:14,15; 2 Petr 1:3, 4, 20, 21; Psalms 19:7-14; Hebrews 4:12, 13; 3:7; Matthew 4:4).
God is glorious (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 145:5). His glory consists in the overwhelming and overflowing beauty which stems from the sum total of all His attributes working together in perfect harmony. He is infinite, self-existent, Spirit, unchangeable in His nature, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, holy, righteous, good, love and truth (Eph 1:11; Isa 57:15; John 4:24; James 1:17; Rev 4:8; Isa 46:10; Psalms 139:1-16; 2 Tim 4:8; Matt 19:17; 1 John 4:8-16; John 14:6). God existed eternally as three distinct, yet inseparable persons known to us as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Psalms 2:2; Hab. 1:12; Ps. 2:7; Isa. 63:10). These three are one as to their nature, essence and attributes (Deut.6:4; Mark 12:29; John 10:30; Matt. 28:19). Each is equally worthy of worship, trust and obedience (2 Cor. 13:14). Each of these divine persons has a distinct function in the execution of God's purpose of the ages (1 Cor. 8:6; 12:4-6; John 16:7; 15:26; 1 John 1:9).
The Scriptures teach that God the Father is the ultimate source of all things (1 Cor. 8:6). His Fatherhood relationship to the Son denotes their intimacy of relationship and equality of nature, while at the same time it expresses the subordination of the Son to the Father in the execution of the divine purpose (John 1:1,2). He also has a Fatherhood relationship to spirit beings, thus expressing His authoritative headship (Job 1:6). He now forgives the sins of believers, entering a Fatherhood relationship with them through their spiritual birth, by which He indwells them, thus making them partakers of the divine nature, and calling them His children (1 John 3:9; Eph. 4:6; 2 Pet. 1:4). The Father is the one who sent the Son as his gift into the world (John 3:16). The Father in partnership with the Son, sent the Holy Spirit to be resident in the world on the Day of Pentecost (John 14:26;15:26).
The Scriptures teach that the second person of the Triune God is the Son whose name is the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1,2;Rom. 9:5; 2 Pet. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:16,17). In the incarnation He became a man through the miracle of His divine conception and virgin birth (John 1:14; Luke 1:31-35; I Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:14) without change in His deity (Phil. 2:6-8). While on earth He lived a perfectly obedient, sinless life, (Heb. 4:15) died a propitiatory death for His people (2 Cor. 5:14,15), was buried and arose bodily from the grave the third day. (1 Cor. 15:1-4). He then ascended bodily into heaven and is presently fulfilling his intercessory and mediatorial ministry. (Acts 1:9-11; Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1Thess. 5:1-10; II Thess. 2:1-3; Dan. 9:24-27). At the end of the age, He will return personally, gloriously, and bodily with his holy angels, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated (Matt. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; Rev.20:4).
The Holy Spirit
The Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead, co-eternal and co-equal with the Father and the Son (Acts 5:3-4; Heb. 9:14; Matt. 28:19). The Holy Spirit was co-agent in creation, the divine author of the revelation of God, and the divine agent in the supernatural conception of the humanity of the Son (Job 26:13; 2 Pet. 1:21; Luke 1:35; Matt. 1:18). Although, omnipresent, He became resident in the world on the Day of Pentecost as a result of being sent by the Father and the Son (John 14:26; 15:26). Since that time He is the co-witness through the believer concerning Christ; He takes the things of Christ and glorifies Him (John 15:26; 16:13-14). He brings sinners into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ by convicting them of their need of Christ, regenerating, baptizing, indwelling, and sealing them in Christ (John 16:6-11;3:5; 1 Cor 12:13; Rom. 8:9; I Cor. 6:19; Eph. 4:30). He is the anointer or divine teacher of the believer whom He leads into spiritual maturity through the knowledge of Christ, and empowers for life and ministry through His filling ministry (I John 2:20,27; 1 Cor.2:10-12; Eph. 5:18).
The Motive of God
God not only is glorious, He loves His glory with infinite intensity (Isaiah 48:9-11) and therein lies His righteousness (Romans 9:14,15; Exodus 33:18,19). For God to be righteous, He must love what is best; therefore His ultimate loyalty must be to the maintenance and manifestation of His own glory. In other words, all that God does, He does for His own name's sake (Ezekiel 36:20-23). God created humanity for His glory (Isaiah 43:7,21); God redeems sinners for the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:5-6, 12, 14; Romans 3:26; 15:7); God empowers Christians to live for His glory, both individually (I Corinthians 10:31; I Peter 4:11) and corporately (Ephesians 3:10); and God's ultimate goal for His people is that they might see and enjoy His glory forever (John 17:24). His ultimate will or plan for history is that "the earth will be filled with the knowledge and the glory of God as the waters cover the sea" (Hebrews 2:14,cf. Numbers 14:21). But God's unswerving zeal for His own glory does not mean that God is unconcerned about man's welfare. No, God's mercy and grace toward undeserving sinners is the apex of His glory (Romans (9:22-23). And the greatest possible good for man is to see God face to face, just as He is (I Corinthians 13:12; I John 3:2) and to behold the beauty of the Lord (Psalm 27:4). In fact, God's absolute faithfulness to His own glory manifests itself in God's absolute faithfulness to His covenant promises (His glory is at stake in whether He keeps His word or not) and thus it becomes the ultimate ground of our assurance (Psalm 143:1, 11; Daniel 9:14-19).
The Sovereignty of God
The God of the Bible is the creator of the whole visible and invisible universe and He is the sovereign ruler of it. From all eternity, He freely and unchangeably, in His most holy wisdom, ordained whatsoever comes to pass. To use the words of Paul, God does "all things according to the counsel of His will" (Ephesians 1:11), having sovereign control of all events from the events of rulers and nations ( Daniel 4:25, 32, 34-35) to the flight of a sparrow (Matthew 10:29). In particular, God's sovereignty is worked out in the area of salvation. To ensure that the salvation of sinners abounds to the praise of God's glory, God saves His people by grace alone apart from works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). The sovereignty of God's grace is seen in God's unconditional election of His people out of the mass of sinful humanity for salvation (Romans 8:29, 9:6-23; Ephesians 1:4), the glorious atonement of Christ which actually accomplishes the salvation of God's people (I Peter 3:18), the irresistible grace of God's effectual call (Romans 8:30; I Peter 2:9) and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:26ff, John 3:4; Titus 3:5) which enable and move a person to respond to the gospel of Christ in saving faith, and God's persevering in grace with his saints (I Peter 1:5; Jude 1; John 10:28-30; Philippians 1:6) so that His people will in fact persevere to the end and be saved.
Adam was created in the image and likeness of God immediately and apart from any process of evolution (Gen.1:26-27). Adam, by a personal disobedience to the will of God, became a sinner (Gen. 3:5-7), guilty, depraved in nature and subject to Satan's power (Eph. 2:2-3; 2 Cor. 4:3-4). This guilt, sin nature and depravity has been transmitted to the entire human race (Rom.5:19; Ps. 51:5) so that man is a sinner by nature, choice and practice, and is guilty before God, possessing within himself no means of recovery or salvation (Rom. 3:10-12). Since man was created for Christ (Col. 1:16), he can find no real purpose or meaning in life until he comes to have a living relationship to Jesus Christ.
Salvation is by the grace of God through His free gift which is neither merited nor secured in part or in whole by any virtue or work of man (Eph. 2:8,9). The sole ground or basis of salvation is the perfect obedience and death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. He became our substitutionary curse-bearer when the Father made the Son's soul an offering for sin. Thereby God's outraged holiness was propitiated (Isa. 53:10; Rom. 6:10; 1 John 2:2). Because of Christ's infinite character, His death on the cross was a sufficient redemption for all men (2 Pet. 2:1; Rom. 3:24), but is efficient for His elect from every "tribe, tongue, people and nation" (Rev 5:9). The single condition whereby the value of these propitiatory, redemptive and reconciliatory works of the cross may be applied to the individual is by a personal faith in the crucified and risen Son of God (Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8,9). In salvation, the believer is called, regenerated, baptized, forgiven all sin, justified, made eternally secure and endowed with every spiritual blessing (Titus 3:5; Rom. 3:24; 5:1; Eph. 1:3, 13-14).
We believe that God, under no obligation whatsoever to provide salvation for anyone, before the foundation of the world unconditionally elected certain individuals for salvation. His election was not based on any foreseen act or response on the part of those chosen, but was based solely on His own good pleasures and sovereign will. We do not believe that God elected others to hell but passed by them, leaving them to their preference, which is self-glorification, sin and a Christless life. We also believe that by effectual calling the elect are convicted and regenerated thus enabling them to exercise saving faith (Matthew 1:21; Ephesians 1:4; Acts 13:48; Romans 9:11-17, 22, 23; 2 Corinthians 4:4, 5; Acts 16:31; John 1:12, 13; 6:44; 3:3; 16:7-11). Those who are given the gift of repentant faith are united with Christ, justified and forgiven of all sins, adopted, made eternally secure and blessed with every spiritual blessing (2 Peter 1:1; Ephesians 1:3, 5; 2:8; Acts 11:18; Romans 6:3-6; 5:1; Colossians 2:13; Romans 8:34-39).
The biblical doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints has two parts: (1) God will so work with His people in His grace that they will inevitably persevere to the end and be saved (I Peter 1:5; Jude 1; John 10:28-30; Philippians 1:6). Thus no true child of God, born of the Holy Spirit, will ever be lost (Romans 8:29-30). True believers are eternally secure because God has ordained that they be eternally secure and so will work as to bring it to pass. (2) It is equally true, however, that no person will be saved without persevering to the end. In order to be saved, believers must persevere to the end in faith and obedience (Mark 13:13; Colossians 1:22-23; Hebrews 3:14; 12:14). Future and final perseverance is the ultimate test of past participation in Christ. Those who make some kind of beginning in the Christian faith but do not continue give evidence that they never really had saving faith (I John 2:19; Hebrews 3:14; 6:4-9). The means God uses to bring about our perseverance are His magnificent promises (II Peter 1:3-4) which will be ours if we persevere, and His terrifying warnings which will come true if we fall away (Hebrews 10:26ff). God causes His people to persevere by giving them a deep longing for His promises and a healthy fear of His threats through His Spirit and through the exhortation, admonition, and encouragement of His people (Hebrews 3:12-13; 10:23-24). Thus, in a very real sense, eternal security is a community project, which is a big part of why small groups are so crucial to the people of Calvary Community Church.
Obedience of Faith
The attitude of the human heart that most glorifies God is faith. Faith is the wholehearted turning to God in heartfelt assurance (Hebrews 11:1) that God will keep His promises to those who set their hope on Him (Romans 4:20-21) and that to seek after God will result in our eternal benefit (Hebrews 11:6). Faith glorifies God because it magnifies His power, wisdom, grace and faithfulness to work for us the good that we cannot do for ourselves. Saving faith is of such a dynamic quality that it inevitably produces "the work of faith" (I Thessalonians 1:3; II Thessalonians 1:11), that is, works of love. Saving faith inevitably "works through love" (Galatians 5:6). Faith without works is not saving faith (James 2:14).
Pursuit of Joy in God
The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. Because God's mercy to His people is the apex of His glory, enjoying the benefits of that mercy in faith honors and glorifies God. The faith that glorifies God is a happy, hearty trust. Therefore, joy in God is essential to honoring God (as C.S. Lewis states, "Joy in God is a Christian duty"). If faith earnestly believes that "God rewards those who seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6) and if obedience flows from faith, then all obedience must be a pursuit of God's reward and of joy in God. This follows the example of Jesus "who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2; cf. the example of Moses in Hebrews 11:25-26). All people instinctively long to be happy and filled with joy. The Christian is the one who by the grace of God has discovered that God is the only source of satisfying and enduring joy. Thus God is honored as the only one who can fully meet our needs. In the wisdom of God, the glory of God and the eternal joy and well-being of His people always coincide. Therefore, to pursue one is to pursue the other.
Head and Heart
In the Christian life, emotions are crucial and thinking is crucial. God is not honored by either an unfeeling, joyless, loveless intellectualism or by an unthinking, uncritical emotionalism. Both are needed: minds that are gripped by the truth of God acquired through the serious and rigorous study of Scripture, and hearts that are on fire with intense emotions of love for God and His glory, awe of His majestic holiness, gratitude for His mercy, fear of His wrath. In the final analysis, what God wants most is our hearts. That was the problem with the Pharisees-they honored God with their lips but their hearts were far from Him (Matthew 15:8). One of Jesus' most chilling threats was to professing believers who had no emotions toward God. They were neither hot nor cold-they were lukewarm. And Jesus promised to spit them out of His mouth (Revelation 3:15-16). But the way God longs to reach our hearts is through our minds. it is through the truth of Scripture that we become transformed people through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). This truth comes through the discipline of careful reading of the text (Ephesians 3:4) seeking to find the author's intended meaning. The role of the Holy Spirit is not to add anything to the text but to make the heart of the reader humble so that he or she will welcome and embrace the truth (I Corinthians 2:14). Thus our position could be summed up as follows: "The heart is crucial, through the head."
The Church is a spiritual body begun on the Day of Pentecost, into which all true believers of this dispensation are baptized by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 1:5; Acts 11:15-17). Accompanying this baptism is the giving of spiritual gifts which are used for the edification of the Church (1 Cor.12:1-14; Eph. 4:7-13). The exalted Christ is the only Head of the Church (Eph. 1:22; 5:23,24). The local church is to practice the ordinances of water baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism, an act of obedience not a basis of salvation, is by immersion in water "in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit." It is obligatory on the believer and is a sign of identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, and is a prerequisite for membership (Matt. 28:19; Acts 8:35-39; 1 Pet. 3:21). The Lord's Supper is a commemoration of the death of Christ until He comes (1 Cor. 11:26). The officers of the local church are elders (the term is used interchangeably with bishop) and deacons (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9; Acts 20:17,28). The local churches have the responsibility of worship of the Father and of the building up of themselves in love through the teaching and preaching of the Gospel by the evangelists, pastors and teachers and through the functioning of each member of the body by means of their gift (Matt. 28:20; Eph. 4:11-16; Heb. 10:25).
Although the three ministry priorities of Calvary Community Church (worship, nurture and outreach) are all crucial and are all intertwined, nevertheless, worship stands at the top of the pyramid. The ultimate end for which God created man is to see God's glory and worship Him fully. Worship is the motive and the goal of all our deeds of love done to fellow believers (nurture) or to unbelievers (outreach). Seeing and being captivated by the glory of God makes us long to align ourselves with God's purposes of love. And the goal of our loving others is to build believers and unbelievers alike into people with greater and greater capacities and desires to praise the glory of God's grace.
The Scriptures teach that prior to the creation of the material universe, the triune God created a great host of varied spirit beings (Job 38:4-7; Col. 1:16,17). The holy angels serve God as His messengers, and minister to those who are the elect among the human race (Heb. 1:14). Lucifer, the highest Cherubim, fell by sinning against the most high God and took with him a large number of angels (Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:14; Rev. 12:7). Satan is the author of sin and the one who brought about the fall of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:5). Satan is the enemy of God, the accuser of God's people and is constantly active in opposing the works and people of God (Rev. 12:11; 1 Pet. 5:8). Satan was judged at the cross (John 12:31; John 16:11), and his ultimate destiny is the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:7,10).
We believe and teach that the study of eschatology is to have primarily an ethical effect on the people of God (e.g. 1 John 2:28-3:3; 2 Peter 3:10-14). This effect is manifested in a heart that longs for the appearance of our blessed hope (Titus 2:13), a spirit that seeks to encourage the brethren with these truths (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18), and holy lives that reflect the values of the knowledge that this present world is passing away and will give way to eternity (2 Peter 3:11-14). Although it is difficult to organize and interrelate the biblical references to many eschatological events (i.e. resurrections and the various judgments, etc.), there are several overarching facts which are transparently clear and agreed upon by most evangelicals.
We believe and teach that personal conscious being is not interrupted by physical death (e.g. Luke 16:19-31). For the believer his soul/spirit is ushered immediately into the presence of Christ at physical death (e.g. 2 Corinthians 5:1-8). The souls/spirits of the unregenerate at physical death also continue, but in conscious torment until the day of judgment (e.g. Revelation 20:13-15). All men will experience a bodily resurrection, the saved to eternal life and overwhelming joy, and the unsaved to eternal separation and everlasting punishment (e.g. Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:19-29; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-11).
We believe and teach that the Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Acts 1:11). His second coming is presented in the New Testament as being near or imminent, although its timing is unknown to men (e.g. Mark 13:33-37; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11). The two elements of His Final coming, normally designated as Rapture and Revelation, are most often mentioned side-by-side without clear distinctions in New Testament contexts (e.g. 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; 2:8; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13). Furthermore, as clear as the fact of the Rapture is, its timing in relationship to Daniel's Seventieth Week or the Tribulation remains open to at least four theological interpretations (i.e. pre-, mid-, and post-tribulation as well as pre-wrath), each exhibiting some strengths and some weaknesses.
Within the broader spectrum of orthodox teaching on last things, we believe and teach that although significant spiritual dimensions of the Kingdom have been inaugurated in conjunction with the first coming of Christ (Colossians 1:13), the King will return again to fulfill God's many promises regarding the nation of Israel. Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31 33; Acts 1:10 11; 2:29 30) and establish His Messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth (Revelation 20:1 7). The kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel (Isaiah 65:17 25; Ezekiel 37:21 28; Zechariah 8:1 17). After the closing of the millennium, (Revelation 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21 22). Following this, the saints will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21, 22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 13: 24 28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).