Grace Community Church

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Practice and Position

*GCC Practice and Position as adopted by the Northern Light Association of Churches Statement of Practice and Position


1. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER CHURCHES

We believe that local gatherings of believers benefit from a larger association with other like-minded churches for the purposes of accountability, oversight, and perspective that protects against the development of isolated independent groups. The congregations of the Association will be self- governing within the guidelines of the Association.


2. LEADERSHIP

The local congregations will take steps to raise up Godly leaders with evident giftings and demonstrated integrity and maturity to direct the affairs of the church. Ordination will be at the request of the local body of believers and done with respect for the leadership values and guidelines of the Association.


3. THE ROLES OF MEN AND WOMEN IN MINISTRY

We believe redemption in Christ gives men and women equal share in the blessings of the Christian life in the church. Both men and women are equipped for ministry by the Spirit of God who imparts to them the gifts of the Spirit. A distinction in masculine and feminine leadership roles is indicated by the principle of male headship, established in creation and continued as part of God's redemptive order in the church. 

To honour the principle of male headship, the Association reserves ministerial license and ordination for men. The spiritual giftedness of women and men should be sought out and cultivated for the common good of the church within the clear boundaries of scripture.

1 Corinthians 11:3-16; Galatians 3:28; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 3:2; Titus 1:5; 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:7


4. CEREMONIES AND SYMBOLS OF CHRISTIAN FAITH

Water Baptism

We believe in observing water baptism as taught by Jesus Christ and as practiced by the early church. The church is commanded to baptize believers in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 


Water baptism is an external symbol of internal spiritual baptism. The external symbol may be administered by the pouring of water upon the head. This symbolizes the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual baptism may also be symbolized by immersing the believer in water. This symbolizes that the believer is buried with Christ in His death and raised with Christ in His resurrection to the newness of life. Water, as an agent of cleansing, also symbolizes the divine cleansing from sin and guilt.


Water baptism is administered upon repentance from sin and personal confession of faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord. 


While faith is very personal, it is not private. Water baptism, conducted in the presence of the church community, is a public confession of faith. Membership in a local church normally accompanies water baptism as an important step of accountability in which the new believer is making a commitment to the church and the church is making a commitment to the new believer.

Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:16-21; Acts 10:44-48; Romans 6:2-6; I Corinthians 12:13; I Peter 3:21


The Lord’s Supper

We believe in observing the Lord's Supper as taught by Christ and as practiced by the early church. While observing the Passover meal, Jesus instituted the New Covenant sealed in His blood. 

Life in the New Covenant is initiated by faith in Christ and His work of reconciliation on the cross. His sacrificial death is the supreme act of God's love in giving His only Son for the salvation of the world. The Passover reached its fulfillment through the atoning death of Christ as the Lamb of God whose death restored our communion with God and with each other.


We recognize the bread and the cup as symbols commemorating Christ's body and blood. The Scripture commands self-examination to ensure not taking the symbols in an unworthy manner. Those who do take the symbols in an unworthy manner, by violating their relationship with Christ and others, are in danger of God's judgment.

Communion on earth anticipates the perfect communion of heaven where once again Jesus will drink anew the fruit of the vine in the fullness of the kingdom.

Matthew 26:17-29; Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 10:16-17; 11:17-34

Anointing the Sick with Oil (Section on Divine Healing was combined with this)

We believe that anointing the sick with oil is a symbol of healing established in Scripture. It is not the oil that heals, but the prayer of faith offered in accordance with God's will. The object of that faith is the Lord who has the ability to bring the healing whether physical, emotional or spiritual. The oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit and of the healing power of the Lord who may heal by miraculous or medical intervention.


The sick person is to call for the leaders of the church to anoint with oil. Together with these leaders the sick person commits his or her entire situation into the hands of the Lord. If healing does occur as requested, it is a sign pointing toward the complete healing and redemption of the body at the resurrection of the saints at the end of the age. If healing does not occur as requested, it is a sign pointing toward the all-sufficiency of God's grace in this present age.


We believe that the redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ is for the whole person. God may choose to bring healing and encouragement through medical care, through prayer or through the anointing of oil and prayer by the elders of the church. However, God often achieves his purposes through permitting suffering. Believers who find help and hope in suffering by faith in a sufficient God are valuable witnesses. Through faithfully enduring suffering, believers may experience a healing of the spirit. We should leave to God the results of all prayers and the means used. Our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus when he said, “Not my will but thine be done.”

Matthew 8:1–17; 26:39; 2 Corinthians 12:7–10; James 5:13–18; Isaiah 38:21; John 5:14; 9:3; Romans 8:23; James 5:13-16


5. THE LORD’S DAY

We believe that in the fourth commandment we have the principle of one day of rest in seven. During the New Testament period, the first day of the week was designated as the Lord’s Day. It commemorated the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. On the Lord’s Day, Christians worship the Lord, teach the Scriptures, have fellowship and refresh themselves in body and spirit.

Deuteronomy 5:12–15; Exodus 20:8–11; Isaiah 58:13–14; Mark 2:23–27; 16:2; Hebrews 10:23–25; Revelation 1:10


6. CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP

We believe God owns and sustains his creation. He calls us, God’s people, to be trustworthy stewards of creation. Stewardship is demonstrated in our lifestyles, in our relations with the poor and the disadvantaged, in our view of possessions, in our concern for all of God’s creation and in our response to global economic injustice. Biblical stewardship includes faithful proclamation of the Gospel, careful exercise of our gifts and abilities and proper use of our powers, possessions and time, to accomplish God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven.”

Genesis 1:1, 20–21, 28; 2:15, 19; Leviticus 25:23–24; Psalm 8:6–8; 24:1; 104:16–18; Micah 2:1–2; Haggai 2:8; Malachi 3:8–10; Matthew 25:14–30; 28:18–20; Romans 12:3–8; 1 Corinthians 4:1–3; 10:26; 2 Corinthians 8–9; Ephesians 4:7–16; 1 Peter 4:7–11


7. COMMITMENT TO SERVICE

We believe Christian disciples seek to serve rather than to be served. They work to relieve suffering and would rather personally suffer than inflict pain on others. Disciples of Christ commit themselves to righteousness, justice, peace and love, in their homeland and in the global community. Foundational to these commitments is the commitment to verbal proclamation of the Gospel.

Matthew 28:18–20; Mark 10:35–45; John 12:26; Acts 1:8; Galatians 4:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 9:14


8. DEVOTIONAL LIFE

We believe Christians should seek to know God better through studying the Scriptures, through prayer, fasting and Christian service. They should refrain from anything that would dishonour God, bring reproach to the church or exert a harmful influence on others or on themselves.

Joshua 1:8; Matthew 4:2; Acts 17:11; 13:2–3; Romans 12:1–2, 9–21; 1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 11:2–3; Colossians 3:1–14; 1 Timothy 2:8–10; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; James 3:17–18; 1 Peter 3:1–6; 1 John 3:1–3


9. INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

We believe people should pattern all their relationships, personal and official, after Christ. He loved others and forgave those who mistreated him. Forgiveness is always possible, though reconciliation may not always be an option.

Matthew 4:16–22; 5–7; Acts 11:26; 26:28; Romans 5:5; 12–13, 2 Corinthians 6:14– 7:1; Ephesians 4:32– 5:2; Colossians 3:1–17; Titus 2:11–14; 1 Peter 2:13–24; 4:16


10. MARRIAGE

We believe that God instituted marriage at the dawn of human history. He has given the church authority to establish, protect, nurture, and build marriage. It is a holy covenant made in the presence of other believers who hold the couple accountable to keep their commitment to God and to each other. Christian marriage between a man and woman for life is a symbol of Christ's self-giving love for the church and of the church's submission to Christ, the Head of the church.

Genesis 1:27; 2:24; Song of Solomon; Isaiah 54-5-7; Hosea 2:19; Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; 1 Corinthians 7:39; Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 19:7


11. THE CHRISTIAN HOME

We believe in the importance of Christian homes. A Christian home is where Christians reside. Both the celibate single and the heterosexual married life are honourable and respectable in the sight of God. In the Christian home, the lordship of Christ is recognized and people worship regularly. It is a place of security and peace; a place to learn to work, play and plan together. In the home, members are to regard one another as equals before the Lord, while recognizing God-given roles.

Genesis 1:27; 2:18, 24; Deuteronomy 6:4–9; Malachi 2:13–16; Matthew 5:31–32; 19:4–12; Mark 10:1– 12; 1 Corinthians 6:12–20; 7:7–9; 32–38; 2 Corinthians 6:14–16; Ephesians 5:21–6:4


12. DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE

We believe that God intends marriage to be a life-long covenant between one man and one woman. The breaking of the marriage covenant is sin, whether it be through divorce, unfaithfulness, adultery, abuse, desertion, or other sins that destroy marriage. Wherever there is sin, the church must call for repentance.


We believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is relevant to all persons, regardless of the sins they have committed or that have been committed against them, including divorce. The transforming message of the gospel includes the grace of God to forgive any sin and the call of God to a new life of holiness and purity, upholding the sanctity of life-long marriage.


We are committed to working redemptively with all persons who have suffered the tragedy of divorce and we are committed to working preventively in the lives of those who have not. We accept people who come to Christ in whatever marital state they are in, whether single, divorced, or remarried.
In our broken world we seek to promote and build stable and godly homes for the testimony of the gospel and the nurture of children. While we do not encourage or promote the remarriage of divorced persons, we acknowledge the diversity of views of remarriage in the church and the difficulty of establishing one concise statement that will answer each specific situation faced in local congregations. We therefore allow godly and Holy Spirit-led local church pastors, overseers, and elders to discern how best to provide a Biblical ministry of grace, truth, and redemption to people in any situation.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Malachi 2:13-16; Matt. 5:31,32; 19:3-12; Mark 10:1-12; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7


13. HUMAN SEXUALITY
We believe that sanctified sexuality encompasses all that God intended persons to be as males and females; this includes their sexual relationships. It is in violation of God's will to engage in sexual relationships outside the marriage of one man to one woman. The Bible forbids lust, pornography, fornication, adultery, homosexual practices and other sexual sins. Through the redeeming power of God, the church is called to lift sinners from the depths of sinful sexuality to the heights of sanctified sexuality.

Leviticus 18:22; Matthew 5:27-30; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17


14. SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE

We believe God created each human being in His image. All human life is sacred. Therefore, any actions and words which communicate anything about the worth, dignity or value of any human being reflect on the honour of the Creator. We believe that citizens of the kingdom should respect life at all stages and should not participate in the termination of human life, whether through abortion, infanticide, murder, warfare, capital punishment, suicide, or euthanasia. We also reject hatred, slander, gossip, and derogatory racial and ethnic comments; these destroy the dignity and honour of human beings as bearers of the image of the Creator. “Because humanity is God’s creation, culture is rich in beauty and goodness; because humanity is fallen, all of culture is tainted by sin.” (adapted from the Lausanne Covenant)

Gen. 1:1, 2628; 2:7; 5:13; Job 10:812; 33:4; Ps.127:3; I Cor. 6:19; http://www.openbible.info/topics/the_sanctity_of_life


15. THE STATE

We believe that God has instituted human government. We also believe this arrangement of government includes two basic functions: directing the interaction of society and serving as God’s agent of wrath of punishment. We should determine all matters concerning the Christian and the state by carefully interpreting the Scriptures with a deep sensitivity to the moral problems involved.

Matthew 4:8–10; 5:39–48; Luke 4:5–8; John 12:31; 16:11; 18:36; Acts 4:19; 5:29; Romans 12–14; 1 Timothy 2:1–3; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13–17; 1 John 5:19; Revelation 13


16. LOVE, CONFLICT, AND THE MILITARY

We recognise that the evangelical church community has taken a variety of positions on these matters. While we encourage member churches and individuals to consider the following positions, we accept the fact that not all will adopt this understanding and application of Biblical teachings.

Believers are to love their enemies, do good to them that hate them, overcome evil with good, and, as much as possible, live peaceably with all men. Therefore, it is not fitting for the Christian to promote strife between nations, classes, groups, or individuals.

Sincere Christians have conscientious differences as to their understanding of the teaching of the Word of God with reference to their responsibility as Christian citizens to human government both in times of war and times of peace. We are, therefore, to exercise tolerance and understanding, and respect the individual conscience with regard to participation in wars.

Jesus, as the incarnate Son of God, both taught and practiced the way of love in all human relationships. Under the old covenant, God's people participated in warfare and capital punishment. Under the new covenant, Jesus commanded His followers not to resist an evil person or to fight with the sword to prevent His arrest because His kingdom was not "of this world." As members of His kingdom, we follow His example by extending love, humanitarian aid, and the truth of the Gospel to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or national allegiance.

Though we experience continual conflict with evil, we recognize that our primary enemy is Satan, not people, and the weapons we use in this conflict are spiritual, not physical. We should not jeopardize our primary allegiance to Jesus by participating in any office, career, or organization that requires us to employ the use of force, military service, or retaliation to accomplish its objectives. We believe the way

of love applies to every area of life, including those situations that involve the use of litigation, strikes, international tension and war. We must, even at the risk of life itself, extend love to every human and alleviate suffering, overcoming evil with love.

Matthew 5:38-48; John 18:36; Romans 5:5; 12:18-21; 1 Corinthians 6:1-8; 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4; James 2:8; 1 Peter 2:23; 4:1


17. SOCIETIES AND CULTS

We believe Christians are not to become part of any organizations where oaths or secret vows are required for membership or where such membership might foster the formation of intimate alliances with unbelievers.

Christians should not become involved in cults and in the occult.

Matthew 7:15; John 3:21; Acts 19:17–20; 2 Corinthians 6:14–18; Ephesians 5:8–13; 1 Timothy 4:17; James 5:12; 1 John 4:1–2; 2 John 7


18. LAWSUITS

We believe Christians should take seriously what the Scriptures teach about lawsuits and strive to deal redemptively with victims and offenders, working for restitution and reconciliation. We believe Christians are not to initiate any lawsuits which would violate the principle of love.

Matthew 5:38–48; Romans 12:17–21; 1 Corinthians 6:1–11; 1 Peter 2:19–21