December 13, 1955
608 145th Avenue
Caledonia, MI 49316
ARTICLES OF FAITH
I. Of the Scriptures
II. Of the True God
III. Of the Holy Spirit
IV. Of Sanctification
V. Of the Devil or Satan
VI. Of the Creation
VII. Of the Fall of Man
VIII. Of the Virgin Birth
IX. Of the Atonement of Sin
X. Of Grace in the New Creation
XI. Of Repentance and Faith
XII. Of the church
XII. Of the Lord's Supper
XIV. Of Baptism
XV. Of the Security of the Saints
XVI. Of the Righteous and Wicked
XVII. On Civil Government
XVIII. Of the Resurrection, Return of Christ and Related Events
Carnal Pleasures and Alliances with Unbelievers
III. The Board
OFFICERS OF THE BOARD
VI. The Pastor
Our exclusive purpose as a non-profit organization is the world-wide proclamation of the Gospel of God’s saving grace, the edification of Christians, the salvation of souls, the promotion of godly worship, and cooperation with Christian activity functioning in harmony with God’s Holy Word, the Bible.
We believe that (a) the Holy Bible was given by the inspiration of God; (b) written by men controlled by the Holy Spirit; (c) therefore, free from all error; (d) in the sense that the Holy Spirit gave the very words of the Sacred Writings to holy men of old, and that this divine inspiration is not in different degrees, but extends equally and fully to all parts of the Writings found in the original manuscripts.
A. II Timothy 3:16, 17
B. I Corinthians 2:13; II Peter 1:21
C. Psalm 19:7-9; Romans 15:4
D. Acts 1:16; 28:25
We believe that the Godhead (a) eternally exists in three persons, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit; (b) and that these three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, perfections, and worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence and obedience.
A. II Corinthians 13:14; John 15.26
B. I Corinthians 12:4-6; Ephesians 4:4-6
We believe that the Holy Spirit (a) is a divine person; (b) equal with God the father, and God the Son, and of the same nature; (c) that He was active in the creation; (d) that in relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God’s purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of judgment, and of righteousness; (e) that He bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony: (f) that He is the agent in the New Birth; that He seals, baptizes, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies, and helps the believer: (g) and we believe in the fruit of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-24.
A. John 14:26
B. Matthew 28:19
C. Genesis 1:1-3
D. II Thessalonians 2:7; John 16:8-11
E. John 3:5-6
F. Ephesians 4:22-24; John 16:13;
We believe that Sanctification has a two-fold meaning, (A) that in the Old Testament it was the setting apart of things, days, and persons, specifically for God, and that the believer at the time of his regeneration is so set apart by God the Father, (b) that the progressive work of the Holy Sprit, whereby the believer, obedient to the Word of God, experiences the power of the indwelling Christ for holiness of life and victory over the old nature, which work will be completed when the believer stands in Christ’s presence.
A. Exodus 12:14; Hebrews 10:10-14
B. Colossians 1:26-28; I Thessalonians 5:23
We believe that Satan was once (a) holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors, but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell and (b) drew after him a host of angels; that he is now (c) the malignant prince and the power of the air and the unholy god of this world; (d) we hold him to be man’s great tempter, (e) the enemy of God and Jesus Christ, (f) the accuser of the Saints, (g) the author of all false religions, the chief power back of the apostasy, (h) the lord of the anti-Christ, (i) the author of all power of darkness, (j) and destined to final defeat at the hands of God’s Son, the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.
A. Isaiah 14:12-15
B. Revelation 12:9
C. Ephesians 2:2
D. I Thessalonians 3:5
E. I John 3:8
F. Revelation 12:10
G. II Corinthians 11:13-15
H. I John 2:22
I. Revelation 13:13, 14
J. Revelation 20:10; Matthew 25:41
We believe in the Genesis account of creation, (a) and that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; (b) that man was created directly in God’s own image, and after His own likeness; (c) that man’s creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from the lower to the higher forms; (d) that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God’s established law was that they should bring forth only “after their kind”.
A. Genesis 1:1, Colossians 1:16
B. Genesis 1:26, 27
C. Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:21-23
D. Genesis 1:11, 24
We believe that although man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, (a) by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state, and, (b) lost all spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, (c) and therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse, (d) in consequences of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraints, but of choice.
A. Genesis 3:1-6
B. Ephesians 2:1-3
C. Romans 1:20-32
D. Romans 5:12-19
We believe that (a) Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit in a miraculous manner; (b) born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born, or can ever be born of woman; and (c) that he is both the Son of God and God the Son.
A. Matthew 1:18, 20
B. Luke 1:27, 35
C. I John 5:20
We believe that our redemption (justification) (a) has been accomplished solely by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, (b) who was made to be sin, and made a curse, for us, dying in our stead; (c) and that no repentance, no feeling, no faith, no good resolutions, no sincere efforts, no submission to the rules and regulations of any church, or of all the churches that have existed since the days of the apostles, can add in the very least to the value of that precious blood, or to the merit of that finished work, wrought for us by Him who united in His person true and proper divinity with perfect and sinless humanity. (d) Therefore, the blessings of this redemption (justification) are made free to all by the Gospel (e) and nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel.
A. Leviticus 17:11; Matthew 26:28
B. II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Romans 5:6, 9
C. I Peter 1:18, 19
D. Romans 10:13; Revelation 22:17
E. John 3:15, 16; John 5:40
We believe (a) that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; (b) that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; (c) that it is instantaneous and not a process; (d) that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; (e) that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, not by culture, not by character, nor by the will of man, but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with the divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; (f) that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life.
A. John 3:3,7
B. II Corinthians 5:17
C. I John 5:1
D. Romans 6:23; II Peter 1:4
E. John 3:8; John 1:12, 13
F. Galatians 5:22, 23; Ephesians 5:9
We believe that repentance and faith are (a) solemn obligations, and (b) also inseparable graces, (c) wrought in our souls by the quickening Spirit of God; (d) thereby, being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession and supplication for mercy, (e) at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confessing Him as our only and all-sufficient Savior.
A. Acts 20:20
B. Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21
C. John 6:63
D. Luke 18:13; II Corinthians 7:10; II Peter 3:9
E. Luke 12:8; Romans 10: 9, 10
We believe (a) that the Church is composed of all who are united by the Holy Spirit to the risen and ascended Son of God; (b) that by the same Spirit we are all baptized into one body whether we be Jews or Gentiles, (c) and thus being members one of another, we are responsible to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, rising above all sectarian prejudices and denominational bigotry, and loving one another with a pure heart, fervently.
A. Matthew 16:16-18; Acts 2:41
B. Romans 12:5; I Corinthians 12:12-27
C. Ephesians 4:3-10; Colossians 3:14, 15
We believe that (a) Lord’s Supper is a memorial service in which the elements of bread and wine remind us of the love of God in Christ Jesus, “who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,” that the ordinance is to be observed in anticipation of His Coming and preceded by self-examination, and is to be observed the second Sunday of every month and on special occasions such as Christmas Eve, etc.
A. I Corinthians 11:23- 28; Romans 8:32
We believe that baptism: (a) is commanded by the Lord; (b) is to be carried out by the Church; (c) is to be by immersion in water; (d) is an open testimony of a believer’s faith in and commitment to the Lord Jesus; (e) and by immersion we give testimony to our identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. We recognize that Baptism is not essential to one’s Salvation, and we do not make it a requirement for membership in the church.
A. Matthew 28:19, 20
B. Acts 2:41, 42
C. Romans 6:1-6
D. Acts 18:8, Galatians 3:27
E. Romans 6:1-6; Ephesians 2:8, 9
We believe that all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ.
A. Philippians 1:6; John 10:28, 29; Romans 8:35-39; Jude 1
We believe that (a) there is radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; (b) that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; (c) while all who continue impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; (d) and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost.
A. Malachi 3:18; I Peter 4:18
B. Romans 1:17; Romans 3:22
C. Galatians 3:10; Romans 6:23a
D. Luke 16:25; Matthew 25:34, 41
We believe that civil government is (a) of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; (b) that magistrates are to be prayed for conscientiously, honored and obeyed; (c) except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ; (d) who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the kings of the earth.
A. Romans 13:7
B. I Timothy 2:1-3; Titus 3:1, 2
C. Acts 5:29
D. Matthew 10:28; Philippians 2:10, 11
We believe in (a) the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; (b) that He ascended “to the right hand of the Throne of God”; (c) that He alone is our “merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God’; and (d) we believe that the world will not be converted during the present dispensation but is fast ripening for judgment, while there will be a fearful apostasy in the professing Christian body; (e) and hence that the Lord Jesus will come in person to introduce the Millennial age, when Israel shall be restored to their own land, and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord; (f) and that this personal and pre-millennial advent is the blessed hope set before us in the Gospel for which we shall be constantly looking.
A. Matthew 28:6,7; I Corinthians 15:4
B. Acts 1:9-11; Mark 16:19
C. I Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 5:9-10
D. Luke 17:26-31; II Timothy 3:1-5
E. John 14:3; Acts 15:14-17
F. I Thessalonians 4:13-18
Persons desiring to unite with this church, upon confession of their faith, shall be examined by the Elder Board as to their Christian experience and the basis of their salvation; likewise those with letters of recommendation from sister churches, shall present them in person to the Board. Applicants whose examinations are satisfactory will be recommended to the church for membership; and when approved by the Board, will be notified by the clerk when to appear to be received into membership. If applicant fails to appear after the third such successive notice, his application shall be canceled. All applicants will be required to assent to the foregoing articles of faith and sign the Constitution of the church.
All public and private means of grace, such as regular attendance at the service of God’s house (including the Lord’s Supper) the daily, systematic reading of the Bible, private and family prayer, personal and public testimony, and the winning of others to Christ, shall be urged upon our members.
We also assert our conviction that proportionate giving is a distinct and positive command in the Scriptures (Malachi 3:8-11) and pledge ourselves to a systematic contribution for the support of the church, of such portion of our income as we believe God requires of us, according to the principle laid down in I Corinthians 16:2.
We shall require of each other in our daily walk and conversation, loyal obedience to all those moral precepts laid down in the Word of God so plainly as not to need definition.
The following Scriptures plainly call upon the child of God to refrain from carnal pleasures of the world and even from indulgence in any questionable practices which are so associated with vice and crime as to be harmful in their influence and a stumbling-block to the weak. II Cor-inthians 6:14; 7:1 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What communion hath light with darkness? What concord hath Christ with Belial? What part hath he that believeth with an infidel? What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and I will be Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty. Having ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Romans 14:21 - “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” Matthew 5:32 “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
The government is vested in the members of whom this church is composed.
The church may be called together for the transaction of any legitimate business by a majority vote of the Board, or by the pastor, or by any six members, notice of such meeting having been given at two regular church meetings preceding the day appointed. At any legally called congregational meeting, twenty percent of active members will constitute a quorum. Quarterly congregational meetings of the church shall be held on a date decided upon by the Board. The annual congregational meeting of the church shall be held the second Monday of June of each year. At this meeting shall occur the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting, annual reports, the election of officers and other necessary business. The Clerk shall keep the minutes, and the meeting shall be governed by parliamentary rules. The voting shall be restricted to members of eighteen years of age or older.
The Board Election of Elders and Deacons
The voting members of the church shall elect all offices by ballot, and a majority of all votes cast shall be required to elect. All candidates for the church Board shall have been a member of the church for at least one year. No divorced person shall be eligible to serve on the church Board.
Election of Sunday School Superintendent
The Sunday School Superintendent shall be elected for a one year term by a majority present at the annual congregational meeting.
Work of the Board
All other powers, such as examination of candidates for membership, discipline, appropriation of all monies and supervision of sub-organizations, shall be vested in the Board consisting of the incumbents of the following offices and elected as above described:
The Pastor, not less that two Deacons and two Elders; each member shall be elected by the congregation for a period of three years, after which time they must drop out for a period of at least a year. In case of vacancy of said members of board, an appointed member to fill out the unexpired term shall be nominated by the Board and approved by the congregation. All members of the Board shall be members of this church, and at the first meeting following the annual election each member of this board shall be required to subscribe to the statements of doctrine contained in the Constitution. These signatures shall be secured by the Clerk and kept in the records of the church.
Change of Constitution
The church may make any change in the constitution which seems necessary; but such changes must be submitted to the members in a written form at least two weeks previous to the meeting, and can be adopted only by the vote of two-thirds of the membership then present.
This church believes that it is God’s holy will to actively commission men to the Gospel ministry. Such men who are Spirit-called and Spirit-filled may be ordained to preach the Gospel and to administer the ordinances. This church by a two-thirds vote, and a two-thirds vote of the Board, may approve and ordain men who meet the following qualifications:
1. Each candidate for ordination, will be examined by a council of Biblically sound pastors, as to their salvation experience, call to the ministry, education, doctrinal belief, character, reputation, and demonstrated efficiency in Christian service.
2. Each candidate must serve at least one year as a pastor, assistant Pastor, or in definite Christian work in such manner as to convey reasonable evidence of God’s call to the ministry.
3. Upon the approval of the special council, the candidate will then be ordained by this church, and an ordination service will be held for this purpose.
If at any time following the ordination service, the person who has been ordained by the church fails to live up to the beliefs we embrace, and brings reproach upon the Gospel ministry, this person will be examined, and approached in the spirit of I Corinthians 13, and if all attempts of restoration are fruitless, this church has the prerogative to repeal the ordination Powers and Papers.
Committees & Sub Organizations
Committees appointed for the administration of the various phases of the work shall be approved by the Board. Every committee and organization shall report regularly to the Board and annually to the church.
The Pastor shall be chosen by ballot by a two-thirds majority of voting members present. Nominations having been presented by the Board, and shall, by virtue of his office, discharge all the functions of the ministry. He shall be ex-officio member of all committees.
There shall be an indefinite number of Elders, not less than two, who shall be in actual service. They shall be elected for a three year term, shall assist in the administration of the Lord’s Supper, interview new members, and such other spiritual offices as the work of God assigns.
There shall be an indefinite number of Deacons, not less than two, elected for three years each, and entrusted with such responsibilities as the finances and building and grounds upkeep, and as the work of God assigns.
The officers of the Board shall be as follows: President, Vice-President, Clerk, Treasurer, and Assistant Treasurer, to be chosen by the Board from its membership and to serve one year.
The president shall perform such duties as usually appertain to that office.
The vice-president shall perform duties of the president in his absence.
The clerk shall keep a record of all business transactions at the Congregational
and Board meetings, keep an accurate record of the membership and carry on
all necessary correspondence. He shall also secure annually the signatures of
persons designated in Article II, Section E.
The treasurer shall hold and disburse church funds at the direction of the
Board. He shall make a monthly report to the Board and an annual report to the
congregation. He shall submit the books for an annual audit in such a manner
as may be directed by the Board. If assistance is needed, a bookkeeper can be
enlisted from the church membership and outside the Board.
The Assistant Treasurer shall assist the treasurer.
The Board shall arrange the details of all church meetings and see that all possible preparations for their successful conduct is made. One suggestion shall be made for each office of Elder, Deacon, and Sunday School Superintendent by the Board and they shall present them to the church at least two weeks before the last quarterly meeting preceding the annual meeting. Any nominations from the congregation shall be a signed written statement presented to the Board Chairman seven days before the prescribed meeting.
The discipline of the church, being entirely entrusted to the Board by the constitution, shall be exercised according to the following principles:
1) Removal from Roll:
The name of any member who shall be absent from the services of the church for a period of twelve months without giving satisfactory reason for such absence, may be removed from the roll of membership.
Members leaving the city for a time, desiring their membership retained, should keep the church informed of their whereabouts through correspondence with the Church Clerk.
The names of persons uniting with another church, without a letter from this church, may be removed from the roll by vote of the Board, at its discretion, or this may be considered just cause for excommunication, as the facts may warrant. The names of persons who have left this church to work in another where regular church membership is not practiced, may be removed from the roll by vote of the Board, at its discretion.
In all cases of disorderly conduct or heretical doctrine so opposed to the church’s life and faith as to destroy the possibility of fellowship, procedure shall be in the following manner: the suspected person shall first be dealt with and interviewed as directed in Matthew 18:15,18. If this does not lead to restoration of fellowship, charges shall be put in writing and placed in the hands of the suspected person(s), and he or she summoned to meet the Board at some date not more than two and not less than one week subsequently. The accused, on being notified, may immediately select any number of the Board to assist or represent him or her in the examination, while the Chairman shall appoint one of its members for prosecution. After a fair and impartial hearing of all the facts ascertainable, if the majority believes him or her guilty, the name of said party shall be removed from the roll and publicly read as excommunicated at the first Sunday morning reception of members succeeding the trial.
Failure on the part of the accused to appear for trial will not prevent the Board from examining the case and rendering a verdict in accord with the testimony received.
3) Church Letters:
The customary usage of interchange of letters with orthodox churches will be observed and letters granted to those in good and regular standing. Application for dismissal from this church and recommendations for membership in sister churches should be made by letter addressed to the Church Clerk, being careful to state the name of the church with which it is desired to affiliate.
Experience teaches the danger of granting letters on the request of others than those to whom letters are to be issued. The names of those to whom letters are to be granted will still remain on our records until, and only until, satisfactory evidence is received that these names have been transferred to the records of another church.
Non-resident members cannot be too strongly urged to keep in touch with the church through correspondence with the Clerk at least once each year, quarterly if possible.
The right of any property that may be acquired by this church shall be and remain vested in that body of believers who shall remain faithful to the standards of faith and doctrine contained in this Constitution as adopted.
No part of the net earnings of this corporation shall ever inure to the benefit of any donor, member, director or officer of the corporation or to any private individual, and no donor, member, director, officer of the corporation, or any private individual shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any of the corporation assets. Upon dissolution, any assets of the corporation must be distributed to - first choice, Child Evangelism Fellowship of the State of Michigan, second choice to the Independent Bible Mission and Sudan Interior Mission equally, if they then exist and are exempt from Federal Income Tax, otherwise to one or more organizations recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as one organized exclusively for religious, charitable, literary, or educational purposes.
1) He shall subscribe to the Constitution, By-laws and Doctrinal Statement of the church.
2) He shall be a member of this church.
3) He shall realize that it is part of his work to call upon the members of the church. We recommend that each member be called upon at least once every year if at all possible. In addition to this, it shall be his duty, as well as the duty of all believers to spread the Gospel by means of calling on people not identified with the church.
4) He shall realize that this church is an undenominational church, and he shall be most cautious that secondary issues are not exalted and stressed to the dividing of the brethren. (II Timothy 2:14-24)
5) I Timothy 4:12-16
6) Either party desiring to sever the relationship must be willing to give a 60 day notice of this intention, except for doctrinal or moral defection. In the case of a pastor’s leaving by his choice, the Board has the option of waiving this requirement if it is agreeable to the pastor. In any situation when the pastor is leaving, if the Board feels that it is in the best interest of the church, the Board has the right to give the pastor financial compensation equal to 60 days remuneration and terminate the relationship immediately.
7) A pastor may be recalled at any time by the following procedure:
A written request by twenty percent of the active church members shall be presented to the full Board (Elders and Deacons) who shall then consider the request for a period of one month. The Board shall then give notice to the church members two weeks before a business meeting at which time the recommendation shall be voted upon. A two-thirds majority vote of active members present shall be deemed necessary to recall.
The church Board can also start a recall action by giving written notice to the church members two weeks before a business meeting at which time a recommendation shall be voted upon. A two-thirds majority vote of active members present shall be deemed necessary to recall.
8) In the event of doctrinal or moral defection, the pastor’s services may be terminated immediately by action of the Board, to be ratified by a majority vote of members present within 30 days.
Edit This Document