STATEMENT OF FAITH
With a basic understanding that the Holy Spirit has been sent into the world, in one aspect, to lead the church into all truth, (John 16:13) we humbly submit to His leading and guidance for understanding. As God is taking us from glory to glory our heart is set on learning and growing in grace. Though our heart is not bent on doctrinal disputes, we do believe there are certain doctrines that we as believers must agree. The following denotes our stance and teaching.
God the Father
True Christian doctrine begins with the fact that God is and that that He is the living God. He is the I AM (Yahweh) of biblical revelation (John 1:1). As the living God, enduring forever, His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and His dominion has no end (Daniel 6:26). As stated by the theologian Francis Schaeffer, "He is the God who is there." God is Spirit. As Spirit, He infinitely transcends the created order. He is present everywhere. He is invisible. God is uncreated, uncaused, independent, and self-sufficient. Everything in our existence is contingent upon His being. God is, by His very nature, self-existent, and He causes all other existence. He presents Himself as Triune (three distinct Persons, but One in essence).
Jesus, Lord Savior, and the Christ
"By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth," (Colossians 1:16). Jesus is not only the Christ, but also the Creator of all that exist. Jesus is the purpose of God in all creation; He is our heavenly Father’s desire for creation. Our heavenly Father’s desire is to see Him in all things (Ephesians 1:10), even in the face of redeemed humankind (Colossians 3:9-11). He was before all; not created, but with our heavenly Father from the beginning, the very Word of God (John 1:1-3, 14).
Jesus Christ, who pre-existed with God in the form of God, emptied Himself to become fully a man that He might be the propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of mankind (Philippians 2:5-11). Through His propitiatory sacrifice made on the cross, all who believe in Him and His sacrifice have their sins remitted and are restored to fellowship with God (Hebrews 9:11-15). As a result of this grace, all humankind also becomes a partaker of His very nature (2 Peter 1:4). Jesus Christ is (1) the Messiah of Jewish hopes; (2) He is the Son of the living God; (3) God is His Father; (4) the church is His special creation; and (5) the Gospel of Jesus Christ serves as the keys of entrance into the Kingdom of God.
Jesus was born of a virgin, by the seed of the Holy Spirit. His virgin birth is a testimony that only the Spirit can beget that, which is Spirit. Those of the new creation are not solely of human origin, but are born from above by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we are partakers of God’s nature by virtue of Jesus Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:17). The resurrection of Jesus' physical body after His crucifixion was literal, as will be the resurrection of both the just and the unjust on the Day of Judgment.
"There is one God, and one Mediator between God and humankind; the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the gateway to God, and the only way given by God for restored fellowship and communion. It is an extreme presumption for any person or institution to seek to be mediator for others in place of Christ Jesus Himself (Hebrews 5:4-6). Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation (John 10:1-10). He is God in the flesh manifested to all humankind (Colossians 1:15).
The apostolic commission was for the church to labor until Christ was formed in His church (Galatians 4:19-20). In order to demonstrate the knowledge of Him in every place and to represent Him in all things, we consider it our primary responsibility to evangelize the world, to train, send, and multiply disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. . The Center of Praise Ministries is committed to serving the Lord earnestly through the visionary mandate of Redemption (through Jesus Christ), Justice (through our acts of intervention and service), and Empowerment (through our lifestyle and daily interaction with others).
We believe that God created humankind from the dust of the earth, without sin or the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:7-8). The first human, Adam, transgressed the command of God, and as God had warned the process of death entered him and all of his descendents because of that one transgression. Therefore, all have sinned and are subject to spiritual and physical death. Our unrighteousness keeps us from approaching a Holy God; therefore we are in need of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ, we not only can come before the Throne of Grace boldly, but we may approach it boldly because our confidence is not in us, but in Him (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Those who trust in Jesus Christ have access to the Throne of Grace by His sacrifice alone (Hebrews 4:14-16). Good works offered for the purpose of acceptance, standing or approval is therefore an affront to the cross by which all of these things were gained for us by Jesus Christ. Good works are not offered for His approval, but for His joy and glory, and must be offered through His Son in obedience to Him (Ephesians 2:8-10). Therefore, the goal of our service is obedience. (1 Samuel 15:22-23). We therefore work because of salvation; not in order to gain salvation.
The New Birth
We believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that death facilitated propitiation for our salvation; resulting in regeneration and renewal that constitutes our new birth into new creations (Romans 10:8-13). Although immediate perfection is not realized, we by faith do journey from glory to glory; believing God to transform us into Christ’s image (2 Corinthians 3:18). Being born again implies a new beginning not an ending (2 Corinthians 5:14-17). Our belief is that as we trust God and obey Him, He is able to make us what we could never be; transforming us by His power. It is true that we may be able to change our outward behavior for limited periods of time, but only God can change humankind’s heart and nature.
We wholeheartedly note that our salvation is secure in the One that provided it. Our spiritual birth, just as our physical birth, cannot be revoked nor reversed (Jude 24 and 25).
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). In essence faith is when those things we can’t see with our natural eye become a reality or (substance) to us. Though we can’t see them with our natural eye, the eyes of our understanding (heart) are illuminated (Ephesians 1:15-21). True faith opens the door for men and women to release their trust, belief, confidence, expectation and full persuasion. All humans came into this world with a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). All believers are benefactors of the faith administered through the High Priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:2). God's desire is that we release our faith in Him and not ourselves for hope and assurance. True faith should point us to Him, never to other people. Paul the apostle said, "and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of mans wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
The Authority of Scripture
We endeavor to maintain the simplicity of the biblical testimony and its stated practices as we are given grace to perceive them. We do not accept any experience as having come from the Holy Spirit that doesn't have a precedent in Scripture. We do not accept any revelation, vision, dream, prophecy or discernment as truth, which contradicts Scripture; or cannot be verified by it. We do not believe that any other writings have the same authority as the Holy Canon of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17)-(2 Peter 1:16-21). We believe that the Old Testament must always be taught in light of the revelation provided in the New Testament.
The Lord's Supper
We acknowledge the ordinance of the Lord's Supper in remembrance of Jesus Christ; as a testimony of our communion [common-union] with Him in His body; the church (1 Corinthians 11:23-29). We consider it a holy ordinance, but we do not accept the teaching that communion is for the purpose of remitting sins which Scripture testifies is based solely in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross (Hebrews 9:25-28). We therefore understand that this ordinance is practiced in remembrance of Christ finished work on the cross. The Body, which was for us, carried away our sins. The Cup entered us into a new covenant, a covenant of life (1 Corinthians 11:23-25). This life comes as a result of Him abiding in us by faith. Therefore, if we have become partakers of His Body and Blood [life], see (Leviticus 17:11), our lives should reflect what was given on our behalf (Romans 6: 4-11). Water Baptism We believe that water baptism should be by immersion and accomplished immediately after commitment to the Lordship of Jesus (Matthew 28:19) and His atoning sacrifice for sin (Acts 2:38-39). This ordinance is a personal and public statement of faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a commitment to lay down our lives to be one with and identified with Him in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:4-6).
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God and the Spirit of Christ. He has always existed with Father and the Son. He proceeds from the Father and glorifies the Son. Humankind is filled with the Spirit of Christ upon the new birth and regeneration experience. Subsequently, Jesus Christ facilitates the baptizing of the Holy Spirit upon the believer (Matthew 3:11). This baptism is accompanied by speaking in tongues as a sign (Acts 2:4 10:44-46 19:6), but the clear revelation of Christ’s nature (fruit of the Spirit) and life within serves as the evidence. We believe that this gift is available to all who believe, but not essential for salvation or regeneration. The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is to impart spiritual power to the believer to be a witness (Acts 1:8).
The Present Ministry of the Holy Spirit
We affirm in our belief that "Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) and that His ministry through the church by the Holy Spirit has not changed from the beginning. Jesus stated, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7). We accept all gifts of the Holy Spirit as stated in (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) and seek them diligently as another means of edification for the church.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
The Center of Praise Ministries holds the distinct position of Amillennialsm thinking. The Amillennialists perspective holds that the promises made to Israel, David and Abraham in the Old Testament are fulfilled by Jesus Christ and his church during this present age. The millennium is the period of time between the two advents of our Lord; with the thousand years of Revelation 20 being symbolic of the entire interadvential age. Through the declaration of the gospel, Satan is no longer free to deceive the nations. Christ is presently and physically reigning in heaven. At the end of this millennial age it is our belief that Satan will launch a great apostasy. However the physical appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ shall bring about the resurrection of the dead and final judgment for all people. Satan will be judged and humankind’s enemy (death) shall be destroyed. It is then that the Lord shall establish a new heaven and new earth. We believe in the literal, physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ to take authority and rule on the earth (Acts 1: 9-11). We believe that those who are alive at His return shall be translated up to meet Him in the air. Those who have died in the faith will be resurrected and precede those who are alive. We shall all be changed and caught up to be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). For those of us who believe and are justified by faith in Christ, His sacrifice on our behalf assures a resurrection and eternal fellowship with God. Those who are not justified face resurrection of eternal separation from God (John 5:28-30).
Marriage and the Family
We believe marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.
We believe children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage, parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
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