The Christian ordinances are two in number, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are the outward rites appointed by Christ to be administered in each local church, not as means of salvation, but as visible signs and seals of its reality.
a. Baptism. We believe that baptism by water is the symbol of one’s union by faith with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection, and constitutes the public confession of these spiritual realities to the world and is the answer of a good conscience toward God. Baptism is therefore to be administered by immersion to those who have been born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and who give evidence of the genuineness of their salvation.
Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38‑41, 8:36‑39; Rom. 6:3‑5; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21; compare Mark 16:16
b. The Lord’s Supper. We believe the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ Himself on the night of His betrayal. We believe that it is as a memorial of Christ’s death, a center of communion and fellowship, a testimony to saving faith, and a visible seal of Christ’s redemptive covenant. It is to be observed only by the children of God and consists in partaking of the consecrated emblems of bread and the fruit of the vine, which symbolize the death of Christ for the remission of our sins and our continual dependence upon Him for life and sustenance until He comes. While the Lord’s Supper is open to all true believers regardless of denomination, each one is strongly exhorted to “examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup."
Matt. 26:26‑30; Luke 22:15‑20; 1 Cor. 10:16, 11:23-24
2. Marriage and the Home
a. Marriage is a sacred institution ordained of God and is an indissoluble union of one husband (born male) and one wife (born female) until parted by death. Marriage, which is the foundation of the family and the Christian home, should only be entered into in the fear and will of God. Accordingly, a believer should not be united in holy matrimony with an unbeliever.
Gen. 2:24; Deut. 7:3; Matt. 19:4‑6; 1 Cor. 7:7, 39; 2 Cor. 6:14‑17
b. Ministers and parents have an obligation to teach the sanctity of marriage and to warn against believers being yoked with unbelievers. Ministers should not knowingly officiate at the marriage of a believer and an unbeliever.
c. Ministers are forbidden from encouraging, blessing, or officiating same sex “marriages” or unions.
Gen. 2:24; Lev. 18:22; Matt. 19:4,5; Rom. 1:26,27; 1 Cor. 6:9,10
d. The home is a divinely ordained institution in which the husband is the head but serves its members by the law of love. Filial obedience is to be rendered by children in the spirit of mutual respect and love. The home is the most important institution in which to nurture children in the faith, and great care is to be exercised by pastors and parents in building homes that are genuinely and consistently Christian.
Deut. 6:4‑9; Ps. 78:4‑6; Eph. 5:22 and 25, 6:1‑4; Col. 3:18‑21
Divorce is viewed in the Scripture as contrary to God’s will. Christians shall seek by forbearance and forgiveness to preserve the marriage bond.
Gen. 2:24; Mal. 2:15-16; Matt. 5:31-32, 19:3‑12; Mark 10:11-12; 1 Cor. 7:10‑16
a. Persons divorced and remarried who give evidence of being genuinely born again are eligible to be received into membership of the church.
b. Divorce between members of the church is an occasion of great tragedy. Such conduct brings the teaching and reality of Christian reconciliation under reproach and offenders are to be disciplined.
The church board shall direct the deacons or a special commission to counsel with the offenders and recommend proper disciplinary action to the church board, giving consideration to appropriate aspects.
Care should be exercised that such action be as redemptive as possible for all parties involved.
c. Ministers are to refrain from performing marriage ceremonies where one or both parties are divorced, except where adultery of the previous marriage partner is involved. Where such persons are recognized as living genuine Christian lives, and where there is good evidence that a true Christian marriage is intended, ministers are permitted at their discretion to solemnize the marriage.
d. See qualifications of ministers.
4. Practices and Conduct
The Scriptures clearly command that believers are not to be conformed to the worldview and lifestyle of the world of which they are a part, but, on the contrary, are to function as salt to prevent the spread of moral corruption and as light to dispel spiritual darkness. It is therefore imperative that they set high standards for their personal and collective life including the following:
a. Their disposition and attitudes be characterized by godliness and the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self‑control;
b. Their social relationships bear witness to Christ, their entire conduct reflecting the spiritual ideals of Christianity rather than the world; they shall not marry unbelievers, shall not hold membership in oath‑bound, secret societies and shall not compromise Christian principles in partnerships; and
c. Their bodies be treated as temples of the Holy Spirit thus making it inconsistent with both Christian testimony and sound principles of health to injure their influence or bodies by the use of tobacco, intoxicating beverages, narcotics and other harmful products.
Isa. 5:22; 1 Cor. 6:12, 19-20; 2 Cor. 6:14‑7:1; Gal. 5:18‑26; 1 Tim. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:2‑4
5. Attitude Toward Civil Government
We believe that civil government is ordained of God for the welfare of society to promote and protect the good and to restrain and punish evil. Therefore, we consider it the duty of Christians to pray for rulers and for those that are in authority over them and to give due loyalty, respect, and obedience to them. Christians are also encouraged to take an active interest in government at all levels. Where the demands of civil law would militate against the supreme law and will of God, Christians should “obey God rather than men.”
Dan. 4:17; Matt. 22:17‑21; Acts 4:19, 5:29; Rom. 13:1‑4; 1 Tim. 2:1‑4; Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-14