our statement of faith and constitution

Constitution

  

THE CONSTITUTION OF

CATAWISSA CHRISTIAN CHURCH

~PREAMBLE~

This document sets forth the system of fundamental principles by which this local church body is governed. The ultimate foundation of the principles set forth is not the word of man but, rather, the Word of God – the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament.

God will build His church – the “called out assembly” of those who have repented of their sin and believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord (Matt. 16:18, Acts 2:36-41, John 14:16). Jesus Christ is the ‘chief cornerstone’ of this assembly being built (Eph. 2:20) and, also, the head of it (Eph. 4:15).

Those who become part of God’s church do so not because of anything they have done or can do but, rather, because of the unmerited opportunity of redemption God provides through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Eph. 2: 1-9). All sin and are, therefore separated from God (Rom. 3:23). However, because of God’s great love for the world, no matter what the sinin one’s life redemption and restoration are possible through Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18, Romans 5). This is the Gospel, the Good News, of Jesus Christ – the opportunity for mankind to pass from death to life through Jesus Christ – that is of first importance for those who are God’s church to proclaim and to share (1 Cor. 15:1-11). 

Those redeemed through Jesus Christ who make up God’s church are disciples of Jesus called to a new way of living through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-27). They are not yet all they will be when Jesus comes again but are, also, no longer what they once were when dead in their trespasses and sins (2 Cor. 3:7-18). The life they live they strive to live for Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:20) and like Jesus Christ (Col. 1:10), seeking to build up others in God’s church and to proclaim in love the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those still outside of it (Eph. 4:16, Matt. 28:19-20).

It is such an assembly that Catawissa Christian Church seeks to be in order to bring honor, glory and praise to the only One truly worthy of it (Rev 4:11) – our Father, the King of heaven and earth (Psalm 24:1). 

CATAWISSA CHRISTIAN CHURCH

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

We, the members of the Catawissa Christian Church, an Elder-led body, in order to promote the work of the church in the Spirit of Christ and thus advance His Kingdom, do hereby adopt this constitution. 

ARTICLE I. NAME, MISSION STATEMENT & PURPOSE STATEMENT

Section A. Name 

The name of this organization shall be the Catawissa Christian Church of Catawissa, Pennsylvania.

Section B. Mission Statement

CALLING - We are called, by Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit, to challenge all people to be fully devoted followers of Christ.  Our calling includes both introduction to and encouragement to remain in a life of full devotion to Jesus Christ. (Colossians 3:17.)  We are charged with encouraging, equipping, serving and sustaining Christians.  We do this by directly instilling our Christian philosophies, values, missions and goals in church members. Liturgical religious activities (e.g. preaching, worship services, Bible instruction, communion, baptism), as well as non-liturgical religious activities (e.g. mentorship, service opportunities, events, community involvement) all serve as methods that Catawissa Christian Church utilizes to instill our religious values and beliefs, both expressly and by example. Guided by Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit, non-liturgical ministries are grounded in Catawissa Christian Church’s Constitution and By-laws, Statement of Faith, Facilities Use Policy, Membership Expectations and Staff/Volunteer Policies & Procedures Manual and are therefore subject to all of its ministerial, membership, discipline, and excision policies.

COMMUNITY - We believe that our religious activity and religious worship derives meaning in large measure from participation in a larger religious community. For this reason, individual members of our body play a large role in furthering our mission and viewpoint as a church. We exist to foster a Christ-like environment of persons subscribing to our religious beliefs and faith. Catawissa Christian Church is dedicated to serving and providing for its community, not simply engaging in organized worship (Galatians 6:10).

Associating with like minded Christians reinforces Catawissa Christian Church’s Christian purpose and is vital to our faith’s perpetuation (2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 John 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:33). We are committed to being and making disciples who understand what it means to follow Jesus Christ into a life of worship, fellowship, sacrifice, service and being led by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; John 15:16; Mark 16:15).  Therefore, we are also called to enable and equip the uncommitted and opposed to be fully devoted followers of Christ (Colossians 4:5-6; Psalm 96:3).  Our mission as the body of Christ is to participate, share, and encourage each other toward spiritual growth (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:23-25; Colossians 3:16).  Membership in our church requires a tangible commitment to our beliefs, purposes, and mission as outlined in Catawissa Christian Church’s teachings, doctrines, Constitution and By-laws, Statement of Faith, Facilities Use Policy, Membership Expectations and Staff/Volunteer Policies & Procedures Manual – and are therefore subject to all of its ministerial, membership, discipline, and excision policies, which are incorporated herein by reference, as if fully set forth herein. 

EXPRESSION OF FAITH – Catawissa Christian Church intends to transmit our system of religious beliefs, tradition, Christian morals, reverence, and values. We do so by engaging in the community and individuals’ lives, acts of worship, and through all activities in which we participate. Likewise, we believe that all behavior of members and representatives of the church is communicative in nature, exemplifying and expressing our faith, both publicly and privately (1 Peter 2:12). Any member or representative who propounds a point of view contrary to our beliefs as stated in our Constitution and By-laws, Statement of Faith, Facilities Use Policy, Membership Expectations and Staff/Volunteer Policies & Procedures Manual which are incorporated herein by reference as if fully set forth herein, will impair Catawissa Christian Church’s integrity and ability to disseminate its religious views and message (James 4:4; 1 Corinthians 5:11-12).

OUTREACH OF MINISTRIES - We take very seriously the Church’s charge to be a Christian presence in a secular world (Matthew 5:14-16).  Therefore, all activities that Catawissa Christian Church engages in are intended to further its religious purpose, as stated in our Purpose Statement.  As such, all of our ministries are considered an outgrowth of the mission of Catawissa Christian Church to preach, teach, evangelize and instill the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Section C. Purpose Statement

We are motivated in all facets by our faith in Jesus Christ, attempting to serve as a reflection of God’s unconditional love for all people. We seek to honor the Lord in all that we do by operating Catawissa Christian Church in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. Every activity and speech that Catawissa Christian Church or its employees, representatives, volunteers, or members engage in shall be consistent with, and in furtherance of, Bloomsburg/Catawissa Christian Church religious purposes, both publicly and privately. 

All activities in which Catawissa Christian Church engages are for the religious purpose of furthering its Christian mission, message, and viewpoint.  Whether the activity has an overt liturgical religious purpose (preaching, worship, Bible instruction, communion, baptism) or a related non-liturgical religious purpose (social service activities, weddings, primary and secondary schools, or events), all activities of the Church are intended to glorify God. (Colossians 3:17.) Catawissa Christian Church conducts all activities in a holistic manner in order to foster, repeat, advertise or express its Christian mission, message and viewpoint.  In this way, every church activity itself is infused with a religious purpose, as an act of worship, intending to further Catawissa Christian Church’s religious beliefs and commitment to the faith as outlined in Catawissa Christian Church’s Constitution and By-laws, Statement of Faith, Facilities Use Policy, Membership Expectations and Staff/Volunteer Policies & Procedures Manual which are incorporated herein by reference, as if fully set forth herein. 

           Conveying Catawissa Christian Church’s Christian message is at the heart of all that we do, in life, deed, word and expression.  Catawissa Christian Church is dedicated to serving and providing for its community, not simply to engage in organized worship. Provision of charity and community services, including but not limited to care for children, widows, and those in need, as well as evangelism, strengthening Christian leadership, discipleship and Biblical education, primary and secondary education, are means of fulfilling Christian duty and providing an example of the Christ-like way of life that Catawissa Christian Church seeks to foster (James 1:27; Mark 16:15; Titus 1:7-9; Matthew 28:19-20). Therefore, all behavior of members, representatives, and volunteers of the church is communicative in nature, exemplifying the faith.  Associating with like minded Christians reinforces Catawissa Christian Church Christian purpose and is vital to the faith’s perpetuation (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Finally, the primary, exclusive, and only purposes for which Catawissa Christian Church is organized are religious in nature, including but not limited to conducting missions and services.  Likewise, Catawissa Christian Church intends to disseminate, teach, and preach the Gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ, to encourage and aid the growth, nurture and spread of Christianity and to render Christian service.  The recital of these purposes is intended to be exclusive of any and all other purposes, this Catawissa Christian Church being formed for religious and charitable purposes only. 

ARTICLE II. MEMBERSHIP

While none seeking to better know the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God will be denied fellowship, the voting* membership of this Church shall consist of those who are at least 16 years of age and,

· Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 3:16, Rom. 10:9)

· Have publicly confessed Christ as their Lord and Savior (John 14:6, 

Rom. 10:9)

· Have repented of their sin and desire to live as a new creation in Christ.

(Matt. 4:17, Luke 5:32, Acts 2:38, 2 Cor. 5:17) 

· Have personally chosen to be baptized by immersion (Acts 2:38, Rom. 6:1-4; 

Acts 8:36-38)

· Have agreed to CCC Constitution and By-laws, Statement of Faith, Facilities Use Policy, Membership Expectations and Staff/Volunteer Policies & Procedures Manual

*the procedure for voting, which will take place when ministerial staff is hired and/or when money is borrowed, at CCC will be as follows: (1) the issue to be voted upon will explained to the congregation via Sunday Services and e-mail for several weeks prior to the vote; (2) voting will be done via paper ballot by members only at the conclusion of both services on a designated weekend; (3) ballots will be collected and secured in a sealed box/envelope; (4) the Chairman of the Elder Board and two other witnesses will count the ballots and record the results which will be shared with the congregation and (5) the counted ballots will remain available for inspection by any member of the congregation for a minimum of one month after the results are reported. A 2/3 majority of those voting is necessary for approval.

ARTICLE III. TRANSPARENCY OF OPERATION

The leadership of Catawissa Christian Church will make every effort to inform those who are part of this local assembly of any and all information pertinent to the ongoing operation of said assembly including, but not limited to, finances, programs and future goals.

ARTICLE IV. OFFICERS

Catawissa Christian Church has an interest, as a religious institution, in autonomy in ordering its internal affairs, so that it may be free to: select its own leaders, define its own doctrines, resolves its own disputes and run its own institutions.

Section A. Definition of Roles

Religious authority necessarily pervades all aspects of Catawissa Christian Church’s governance and operations. Everything that occurs in Catawissa Christian Church affects its ministry and mission and is therefore under religious authority. The religious purpose in exercising this authority is for Catawissa Christian Church to practice its religion as well as to foster, repeat, advertise, and disseminate Catawissa Christian Church’s worldview, message and statements.

Elders. Scriptural Authority

The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God, acting as the source of authority over morality, our beliefs, Christian lifestyle and conduct. The Board of Elders of Catawissa Christian Church is charged with the ministerial responsibility of Biblical interpretation and promulgating religious policy for this religious body as made clear by the Bible itself (see Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:5,7). They possess oversight of all areas of Bloomsburg/Catawissa Christian Church’s governance, particularly issues of faith, practice, theology, and moral and scriptural interpretation.

Scope of Authority

The Board of Elders of CCC is the final authority on (1) scripture, faith, morals, and employee/member discipline; (2) formal employment or membership requirements vis-à-vis eligibility, morals, discipline, removal and rescission; (3) Statements of Faith and Doctrine; (4) Standards of Morals and Conduct; (5) internal dispute resolution; (6) property and facility usage; and (7) enforcement of conformity of belief and practice relating to religious teaching and practice. Their governance of the membership, officers and congregation of Bloomsburg/Catawissa Christian Church are unquestioned and are binding in all cases of ecclesiastical cognizance, subject only to appeals as Catawissa Christian Church itself provides for.

Qualifications

The scriptural qualifications for an Elder are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. In addition to meeting these requirements a man seeking this office must also (1) be a member in good standing of Bloomsburg/Catawissa Christian Church having (2) affirmed all aspects of Bloomsburg/Catawissa Christian Church’s Statement of Faith and its (3) Standards for Morals and Conduct via written affirmation.

Responsibilities

· {Vigilantly holding to} the requirements set forth in1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6 – 9.

· Promoting the growth and welfare of the Church by (1) regularly praying for the assembly as a whole or some part of it; (2) ensuring that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sound interpretation of God’s Word are being presented to the assembly; (3) shepherding the assembly well by humbly interacting consistently with those present, inquiring of those who are absent, visiting those that are ill, and discipling members so they might grow in their faith. 

· Ensuring that the policies of the church enable it to fulfill its complete biblically mandated mission.

· Encouraging and directing - by word and example – the devotional, educational, evangelistic and missionary responsibilities of the total Church.

· Reviewing the annual performance of the Lead Minister, in writing, on a bi-annual basis and making any necessary recommendations regarding adjustments in his financial compensation to the finance committee.

· Reviewing the Lead Minister’s annual performance reviews of the ministerial staff and making any necessary recommendations regarding adjustments in their financial compensation to the finance committee.

· Maintaining the oversight of the Sanctuary and all worship-related activities.

· Presiding over all matters regarding church discipline that arise within this body and rendering decisions related thereto.

· Performing such other duties as may be befitting of their office.

Disqualification – Removal

The Board of Elders reserves the right to remove any sitting Elder who fails to meet the biblical qualifications of the office and/or fails to uphold the Constitution, Statement of Faith and/or Membership Expectations of Catawissa Christian Church

Deacons. Scriptural Authority

The term ‘deacon’ simply means ‘one who serves’ (see Acts 6:1-6). The deacons take care of the practical matters of church life while operating under the leadership and oversight of the Elders.

Qualifications

The scriptural qualifications for a Deacon are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. In addition to meeting these requirements a man seeking this office must also (1) be a member in good standing of Bloomsburg Christian Church having (2) affirmed all aspects of Bloomsburg/Catawissa Christian Church’s Statement of Faith and its (3) Standards for Morals and Conduct via written affirmation.

Responsibilities

· Vigilantly holding to the requirements set forth in Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

· Cooperating with the Elders in promoting the growth and welfare of the church body.

· Overseeing the physical plant and facilities of the church.

· Assisting with:

· Greeting and ushering of those attending Sunday service.

· Distribution of the Lord’s Supper.

· Advancement of the stewardship program of the church.

· Visitation of those who are ill and home bound.

· Ministering done by the church for those who are in need, or experiencing times of sickness or bereavement.

· Performing such other duties as may be befitting of their office.

Disqualification – Removal

The Board of Elders reserves the right to remove any sitting Deacon who fails to meet the biblical qualifications of the office and/or fails to uphold the Constitution, Statement of Faith and/or Membership Expectations of Catawissa Christian Church

Treasurer. Shall be appointed by the Official Board as defined in Article V. The duties of the Treasurer shall include:

· Overseeing the deposit of church monies in a bank approved by the Official Board, within one week of their receipt.

· Paying the salaries of all church employees either directly or via the distribution of checks generated by an independent payroll agency.

· Paying all church-related bills in a timely manner, contingent upon approval from the official board.

· Keeping accurate records of all income and expenditures, including a monthly update on the status of all budgetary categories and all church investments and/or funds.

· Overseeing the maintenance of an accurate record of the contributions received from each member of the church body.

· Annually preparing a report for the assembly outlining the financial condition of the church and the budget for the upcoming year.

· Serving as a member of the Finance Committee.

Trustees. Shall be elected by the Official Board on an annual basis by the end of the month of August. The duties of the trustees shall include, 

· Acting as the legal agents of the church in all business matters under the direction of the Official Board.

· Holding legal title to all church property and handling all business transactions related thereto. 

· Performing such other duties as are required by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Section B. Affirmation of Officers

Sitting and newly nominated Elders and Deacons shall be affirmed by the members of Catawissa Christian Church on an annual basis by the end of the month of August, except for the Treasurer who shall be appointed by the Official Board. The membership shall nominate and affirm Elders and Deacons of the church in the following manner:

Nomination

· Nomination forms for the office of Elder and Deacon shall be available at all times. Members age sixteen and older may nominate an individual or individuals for either office following the procedures indicated on the nominating form. Completed nomination forms shall be given to a member of the sitting board of Elders.

· The sitting board of Elders shall then review all nominations and shall contact all nominees deemed qualified in order to determine whether they accept or reject the nomination.

Affirmation:

· A listing that includes all those deemed to have met the scriptural qualifications of an Elder and/or Deacon by the sitting Elders who have also accepted the nomination will then be publicized to the congregation no later than the second Sunday of August.

· Should any member of the congregation feel that a nominated individual(s) is unfit to serve as an Elder or Deacon of the church, they will be responsible for contacting any sitting Elder within two weeks of the date of the publication of those nominated and explaining why they believe a nominated individual(s) is not biblically qualified to serve. Should such a concern arise, the sitting Elders will meet jointly with both the nominee(s) and the individual(s) expressing concerns in order to seek resolution to the concerns and to determine whether or not the nominee(s) will be among those affirmed at this time. 

· All those affirmed for the office of Elder and/or Deacon shall be ordained as such at Sunday services in a timely manner after the close of the period for raising concerns regarding those nominated.

· A list of the names of all sitting Elders and Deacons will be made available annually to the congregation no later than the second Sunday of August for affirmation of their continued service. Should a concern arise, the procedure outlined above for presenting and resolving the concern while also determining fitness of the officer to continue to serve will be followed.

ARTICLE V. THE OFFICIAL BOARD

Section A  Composition.

The Official Board shall consist of the Elders and the Deacons. It will utilize sub-committees and/or ad-hoc committees as deemed necessary to accomplish its duties. It shall meet in August of each year in order to approve the budget for the upcoming church year and to elect Trustees. Otherwise, meetings will be held as recommended by the Official Board. 

Section B Officers

The chairman of the Elders shall serve as the President of the Official Board. An Elder, other than the chairman of the Elders shall serve as Secretary of the Official Board. In the absence of the President, the Elder serving as Secretary shall assume those duties during an official Board meeting.

Section C Quorum

A Quorum shall consist of one more than half for all meetings.

Section D Elections of Trustees

Trustees will be both nominated from among the ranks of the Official Board and elected to a term of service of one year at the August meeting. No more than five trustees will be elected in any year.

ARTICLE VI. CHURCH DISCIPLINE

Discipline should always be administered in a spirit of love with a view of restoring biblical unity. The word of God teaches self-discipline but also teaches that as members one of another, we all bear responsibility for maintaining the purity of the fellowship. 

a. In cases of dispute between two members of this local church body, private reconciliation should be sought. The procedure outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 should be followed, and if private reconciliation cannot be effected, the offended person (or the offender) should return with two or three witnesses. If reconciliation still cannot be effected, the matter should be taken to the Elder Board (as overseers of the church), who will then deal with the matter carefully and decisively, following through on the process of Matthew 18:15-20.

b. In the case of a person who fails to walk faithfully according to the Scriptures the case shall be brought before the Board of Elders where the offense may be heard and the matter brought to settlement.

Should they fail to effect a satisfactory settlement in either type of case, the Elders will continue to follow the steps outlined in Matthew 18:15-18 either until the issue is settled and reconciliation is effected, or full disciplinary action is enacted, up to and including dismissal from fellowship. The Elders will be fully responsible to never let unresolved interpersonal conflicts fester, but, rather, will use all of their authority to bring them to a full and final conclusion. This responsibility is one of the most critical components of their leadership in giving protection to the Body of Christ and doing all in their power to maintain unity.

c. In the case of a member who fails to abide by the Membership Expectations of Catawissa Christian Church, after due personal counsel he/she shall forfeit his/her voting rights and privileges and his/her membership if his/her relationship with the assembly is not corrected. 

ARTICLE VII. DISSOLUTION

Should God, in His sovereignty, allow this congregation to cease its ministry and thereby dissolve, all remaining assets shall, after paying any existing liabilities, be distributed to exclusively religious, charitable, educational or other acceptable organizations which are in keeping with the purpose and objectives of Catawissa Christian Church, providing that such organizations qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding revisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law). This plan for asset distribution shall be established and periodically reviewed by the Board of Elders and, should they deem it necessary, an attorney of their choosing.

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Statement of Faith

  

Catawissa Christian Church

Statement of Faith

~The Bible 

We believe that God inspired both the Bible’s composition and content – what was written and included in the Bible is what God wanted written and included. The Bible, {the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 of the New Testament,} was given to show us who God is, where we came from and why we are here, what our relationship to God and to the world is meant to look like, and where we go when our physical life ends. We believe that the Bible is accurate and reliable, can be read by anyone, and is the final authority for all matters of faith and Christian living (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21). 

~Denominational Affiliation

Catawissa Christian Church is a “non-denominational” church {whose roots can be traced to the Restoration Movement}. We identify ourselves as ‘Christians only’ while recognizing we are not the only Christians. Our desire is to follow the Great Commandment – to love God and love each other (Matthew 22:34-40), and to engage in the Great Commission – to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those around us (Matthew 28:18-20). 

~Leadership and Authority

We use the New Testament model of church leadership we are led by leaders nominated and affirmed from within our own church body called Elders, not an outside denominational office, man-made leadership hierarchy or headquarters (diocese, synod, charge, etc.).

The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God, acting as the source of authority over morality, our beliefs, Christian lifestyle and conduct. The Board of Elders of Catawissa Christian Church is charged with the ministerial responsibility of Biblical interpretation and promulgating religious policy. The Board of Elders of CCC will determine life application as well as final matters relating to church theology, philosophy, Christian practice, faith, divine truth, morality, and theological and doctrinal resolutions. (1 Timothy 1:3-7; Titus 1:6-9)

 

~God

We believe that there is one God, the Creator of the universe including the Earth and all its creatures. He continues to exercise His supreme power to sustain His creation. Throughout history, He has expressed His desire to be our God and to have a personal, eternal relationship with us. We believe that God loves us and wants what is best for us and that He eternally exists in three distinct personalities: God the Father, God the Son – Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; John 1:1,14; John 14:26; 1 Peter 1:2). 

~Jesus

We believe that Jesus is ‘God the Son’ one of the three distinct personalities of God. At God’s appointed time, Jesus entered the realm of humanity being born of a virgin both fully human and fully divine. He lived a sinless life, voluntarily died on the cross for our sins, was physically raised from the dead and ascended into heaven. Jesus is the only means through which our sins can be forgiven enabling us to be declared acceptable to God and allowing us to experience the fullness of life here on earth that only God can provide. One day Jesus will return to earth and initiate the culmination of human history. (John 1:1-18 and 4:16; Acts 2:22-41 and 4:12; Philippians 2:1-11)

~The Holy Spirit

We believe the Holy Spirit lives within every Christian and provides power to overcome sin, insight into Scripture, and personal direction in life. Through the Holy Spirit's presence and power all Christians are able to become more and more Christ-like in their actions, words and deeds as they continue on their Christian journey. Through the Holy Spirit every person in the body of Christ – His Church- is also given certain talents and abilities to use for the purpose of building up God’s kingdom (Luke 11:13; John 16:13; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:11).

~Salvation

We believe that a human being's central purpose for existence is to love and glorify God by both allowing His will to be done through them, and by loving others as they love themselves, thereby experiencing the fullness of God’s love for them. Originally created for that purpose, humans defied God, choosing to go their own independent way – to sin, and were thus alienated from God. This "Fall" took place at the beginning of human history. (Matthew 6:10 and 22:34-40; Ephesians 2:10; Genesis 1-3).

Since then, all human beings have a nature that leads them to sin and thus, to be separated from God. Each of us reaches a point when we are able to recognize both right from wrong and, if we desire to restore our relationship with God, our need for His forgiveness and mercy. Restoring that relationship, and thereby finding the fullness of life God so much desires each of us to have involves a journey of faith in, trust of and obedience to God’s will and Word on our part. We can do nothing on our own to make this relationship right – we must rely upon the grace of God. (Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:1-9)

God’s grace is given to us through the blood of Jesus Christ. Thus, our journey to be reunited with God now and forever begins when we believe that Jesus is God's Son, Lord of our life. This journey of grace continues when we show a willingness to publicly proclaim Christ as our Lord and Savior - to confess; to acknowledge and turn from our sin – to repent; and to be immersed in water – to be baptized (see section below). Our Christian journey continues the rest of our earthly life as we strive to live our life more and more in accordance with God’s will, never becoming perfect but using the model of perfection demonstrated by Christ’s life as our goal. As we continue on this journey, we do not continue to do good works to be saved, but, rather, do them because we are saved (John 3:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9; 1 John 1:9, James 2).

~Baptism

We believe that the book of Acts in the New Testament makes it clear that all believers in Christ are to be baptized after they have personally acknowledged Jesus Christ as the Son of God and their Lord and Savior. We also believe that examination of the definition of the word ‘baptize’ and the practice of baptism by the early Christians makes it clear that the mode of baptism is immersion. Thus, when someone is baptized, their body is submerged in water, and brought up out of the water as a picture of being united with Christ in His life, death and resurrection (Acts 2:41, 8:12, 10:47-48, Romans 6:1-4).

~Human Destiny

All men sin by choosing to act independent from God and the way He has {commanded} us to live through the Bible. Satan encourages this and works to convince us that living a life differently than God tells us to brings freedom and fulfillment. Doing so, however, does not leave us fulfilled and puts us in bondage. Unless we come to recognize this deception and re-establish a relationship with God {through His Son, Jesus Christ,} we will remain in bondage under God's judgment and spend eternity separated from God in hell. 

There is nothing we can do on our own to reestablish our relationship with God. Christ re-establishes that relationship for us. Those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior become part of His Church while here on earth and will spend eternity with God in heaven.

~The Church

The Church is therefore not a building but a living body comprised of many parts with Jesus as the head. To remain healthy, the body's members must work together. Each part contributes to the growth and maturity of the body. It represents Jesus Christ to a needy world by living out the Great Commission and Great Commandment in action, word and deed through humility and service to all. God works through the church to reconcile the world to Himself through Jesus Christ. For this reason, it is important for followers of Christ to regularly gather together in order to be equipped, built up, and encouraged through teaching, fellowship, prayer, and communion. This enables believers to serve one another and those who do not yet know, or who have not yet accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior within their sphere of influence. 

~Marriage and Human Sexuality

We believe that all matters of faith and conduct must be evaluated on the basis of Holy Scripture, which is our infallible guide (2 Timothy 3:16–17).  Since the Holy Bible does speak to the nature of human beings and their sexuality, it is imperative that we correctly understand and articulate what the Bible teaches on these matters.

We are committed to the home and family as set forth in Holy Scripture. We believe God has ordained and created marriage to exist between one man and one woman, with absolute marital fidelity.  The Bible sets forth specific home and family values, which include the distinct roles of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and children. It is our firm conviction that we uphold the dignity of each individual as we embrace the unchanging and longstanding principles of scriptural truth.

Based on Holy Scripture and the constant moral teaching of the universal Church, we believe:

· Sexual Redemption – Catawissa Christian Church believes that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and should seek redemption through confession, repentance, baptism, and faith in Jesus Christ.  Consequently, CCC members must welcome and treat with respect, compassion, and sensitivity all who experience same-sex attractions or confess sexually immoral acts but are committed to resisting sexual temptation, refraining from sexual immorality, and conforming their behavior to the CCC Statement of Faith.  (Matthew 11:28-30, Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:1-10, I Corinthians 10:13, Hebrews 2:17-18, Hebrews 4:14-16)
 

   •    Marriage – Catawissa Christian Church (CCC) defines marriage as the permanent, exclusive, comprehensive, and conjugal “one flesh” union of one man and one woman, intrinsically ordered to procreation and biological family, and in furtherance of the moral, spiritual, and public good of binding father, mother, and child.  (Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 2:18-24, Matthew 19:4-9, Mark 10:5-9, Ephesians 5:31-33)
 

   •    Sexual Immorality – CCC believes that sexual acts outside marriage are prohibited as sinful. Consequently, CCC members must resist and refrain from any and all sexual acts outside marriage — including but not limited to adultery, fornication, incest, zoo philia, pornography, prostitution, masturbation, voyeurism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, sodomy, polygamy, polyamory, solo gamy, or same-sex sexual acts.  (Exodus 20:14, Leviticus 18:7-23, Leviticus 20:10-21, Deuteronomy 5:18, Matthew 15:19, Matthew 5:27-28, Matthew 15:19, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-13, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Hebrews 13:4, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 4:17-19, Colossians 3:5)
 

   •    Sexual Identity – CCC believes that God created mankind in His image: male (man) and female (woman), sexually different but with equal personal dignity.  Consequently, CCC members must affirm their biological sex and refrain from any and all attempts to physically change, alter, or disagree with their predominant biological sex — including but not limited to elective sex-reassignment, transvestite, transgender, or non-binary “genderqueer” acts or conduct.  (Genesis 1:26-28, Romans 1:26-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
 

   •    Sexual Orientation – CCC believes that God created and ordered human sexuality to the permanent, exclusive, comprehensive, and conjugal “one flesh” union of man and woman, intrinsically ordered to procreation and biological family, and in furtherance of the moral, spiritual, and public good of binding father, mother, and child.  Consequently, CCC members must affirm the sexual complementary of man and woman and resist any and all same-sex sexual attractions and refrain from any and all same-sex sexual acts or conduct, which are intrinsically disordered (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:5-9, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 5:25-27, Revelation 19:7-9, Revelation 21:2).


   •    Celibacy – CCC believes that Holy Scripture grants two life-enhancing options for human sexual behavior: (1) the conjugal “one flesh” marital union of one man and one woman, and (2) celibacy.  Either is a gift from God, given as He wills for His glory and the good of those who receive and rejoice in His gift to them.  Celibacy and faithful singleness is to be celebrated and affirmed within the CCC church family (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18, 21-24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:5-8; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:1-8; Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Romans 12:10; 1 Timothy 5:1-2).

 

Holy Scripture

  

Marriage and Human Sexuality  

 

· Genesis   1:26-28, 2:18-24, 19:5-10; 

· Exodus   20:14 

· Leviticus   18:7-23, 20:10-21

· Deuteronomy   5:18

· Judges   19:22-24

· Matthew 5:27-28,   15:19, 19:4-9

· Mark   10:5-9

· Romans   1:26-27

· 1   Corinthians 6:9-13, 5 {10}:21

· Galatians   5:19

· Ephesians   4:17-19, 5:25-27, 5:31

· Colossians   3:5

· 1   Thessalonians 4:3

· Hebrews   13:4

· 1 Timothy   1:8-10

· Jude 1:7

· Revelation   19:7-9, 21:2


Pastoral Care
 

· Matthew   11:28-30

· Romans   3:23

· Ephesians   2:1-10

· 1   Corinthians 10:13

· Hebrews   2:17-18

· Hebrews   4:14-16


 

Application
All CCC members, employees, and volunteers must affirm and adhere to this Doctrinal and Religious Absolute statement on marriage and human sexuality to qualify for involvement with the ministry.  This is necessary to accomplish our religious mission, goals and purpose.  Behavior or counter-witnessing that does otherwise will impede and burden our integrity and religious mission.  We believe that God’s grace can wipe the slate of guilt and sin, though the consequences are still incurred.

~Abortion

This church believes that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are able to seek redemption through confession, repentance, baptism, and faith in Jesus Christ, including those who have had an abortion. 

We believe that all matters of faith and conduct must be evaluated on the basis of Holy Scripture, which is our inspired, infallible, and inerrant guide. (2 Timothy 3:16–17).  Because Holy Scripture speaks to creation and human life, it is imperative that we correctly understand, articulate, and abide by what Holy Scripture teaches on this matter.

We believe that God has created mankind in His image (Imago Dei) and that human life begins at fertilization. God, in his infinite sovereignty, uniquely formed human beings and gave them a special dignity, personal freedom, and individual accountability among all the works of creation.  Human beings have been made for relationship with God and to be good and faithful stewards of creation. God created each person’s inmost being, knitting each person together in his mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13). As God’s individualized and personal creation, each person is fearfully and wonderfully made.   (Psalm 139:14). God has ordained all the days of each person’s life before they came to be. (Psalm 139:16).

Based on Holy Scripture and the constant moral teaching of the universal Church, we believe:

From the moment of fertilization until natural death, every human life is sacred because every human life has been created by God, in His image and likeness.

From the moment of fertilization, every human life must be recognized, respected, and protected as having the rights of a person and the inviolable right to life.

The right to life and physical integrity of every unborn human life is inviolable —it is not a concession made by society or the state, but is instead inherent to the unborn human life by virtue of its creation in the image of God.

Because human life begins at the moment of fertilization, it is against our religious and moral conviction to formally or materially cooperate in the termination of unborn human life.

We are strongly committed to the preservation and defense of unborn human life, which compels our religious, moral, and ethical duty to defend unborn human life from destruction, whether by surgical abortion or use of drugs, devices, or services that have the intent, design, effect, or risk of terminating unborn human life or preventing its implantation and growth post-fertilization.

The Church and all her ministers and ministries should publicly witness to society and to the state regarding the intrinsic, inherent, and inviolable dignity of all human life, from fertilization to natural death.

Holy Scripture

In standing against abortion CCC incorporates by reference the following Holy Scriptures (NIV):

Genesis 1:26-27 – Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
 

Genesis 25:21-22 – Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.  The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?”  So, she went to inquire of the Lord.
 

Exodus 20:13 – You shall not murder.
 

Psalm 22:9-10 – Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.  From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb, you have been my God.
 

Psalm 139:13-16 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
 

Isaiah 44:1-2 – This is what the Lord says: he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
 

Isaiah 49:5 – And now the Lord says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength.
 

Job 10:8-12 – Your hands shaped me and made me.  Will you now turn and destroy me?  Remember that you molded me like clay.  Will you now turn me to dust again?  Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews?  You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.

Jeremiah 1:4-5 – The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
 

Luke 1:39-45 – Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Application

All CCC members, employees, and volunteers must affirm and adhere to this Statement of Faith on Abortion to qualify for involvement with the ministry of this church. This is necessary to accomplish our religious mission, goals, and purpose.  Behavior or counter-witnessing that does otherwise will impede and burden our integrity and religious mission, inviting scandal on this church.

 

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