THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST
The New Testament speaks of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all the redeemed of all ages, believers from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
- CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Taken, in part, from The 9 Marks of a Healthy Church:
Biblical church membership is not entrance into a club with special perks of preference, rental discounts, and inside information. It is a priority at City Church because the church is God’s display of Himself to the world. It displays His glory. In the church’s membership, then, non-Christians should see in the lives of God’s changed people that God is holy and gracious and that his gospel is powerful for saving and transforming sinners.
Throughout Old Testament history, God made a clear distinction between his people and the world (see Lev. 13:46, Num. 5:3, Deut. 7:3).Christ says that entering the kingdom of God means being bound to the church “on earth” (Matt. 16:16-19; 18:17-19). Where do we see the church on earth? The local church.
The New Testament explicitly refers to some people being inside the church and some people being outside (1 Cor. 5:12-13). This is much more than a casual association.
The church in Corinth consisted of a definite number of believers (2 Cor. 2:6). Not only does the New Testament speak of the reality of church membership, but its dozens of “one anothers” are written to local churches, which fill out our understanding of what church membership should practically look like.
- ELDERS AND PASTORS
We believe that these two words are used (interchangeably and the biblical pattern for the church is a spiritual governance by a plurality of elders Acts 20:17-38 and 1st Peter 5:1-2. And all elders (overseers) are brothers. There can be a distinction between teaching elders sometimes known as pastors or ministers and leading elders. But the difference lies only in their function, not in their authority, all pastors must be able to teach , while all must be biblically qualified to be an elder. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of elder/pastor is limited to men who are qualified by Scripture. Paul lays out the qualifications for elders in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 and God expects them to feed, guide, and protect the church. City Church elders submit to the leadership and guidance of an outside board, under the ultimate authority of God’s Word.
- CHURCH DISCIPLINE
From The 9 Marks of a Healthy Church:
In the broadest sense, church discipline is everything the church does to help its members pursue holiness and fight sin. Preaching, teaching, prayer, corporate worship, accountability relationships, and godly oversight by pastors and elders are all forms of discipline.
In a narrower sense, church discipline is the act of correcting sin in the life of the body, including the possible final step of excluding a professing Christian from membership in the church and participation in the Lord’s Supper because of serious unrepentant sin (see Matt. 18:15-20, 1 Cor. 5:1-13). The New Testament speaks about formative discipline (our efforts to grow in holiness together) in countless passages about pursuing holiness and building one another up in the faith, such as Ephesians 4:11-32 and Philippians 2:1-18. (See also 2 Corinthians 2:6 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)
- LEADERSHIP ROLES
As City Church, we believe all believers should follow Christ’s example of servant leadership. Here, we serve each other, the last are first, and other’s needs come before our own. Leaders should be continually assessed in light of 1 John 4, Matthew 7:15, and Romans 16:17-27. City Church holds a complementarian view of Scripture. This means we believe the relational role of men and women is clearly modeled in the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation and that those complimentary roles faithfully reflect the image of God. In this design we see a clear expectation of headship (primary leadership responsibility) that is only and always assigned in Scripture to men. That headship model is not based on comparative merit between a man or a woman as if one sex is innately better than the other. Nor is it based on an anachronistic reflection of social morays of an ancient middle eastern culture from two thousand years ago. Rather, it’s a reflection of the incredibly powerful complementary relationship roles that God intentionally designed between a man and a woman, united in the servant love relationship of marriage, where the man is called to lead because he is accountable to God for that leadership — not because he is better. All through scripture we see God bring value to women, even placing them in key positions to bring him glory. Within the church, we are told that only men should teach men and elders should be male. City Church follows these commands while equipping women in other necessary and important leadership roles as modeled throughout Scripture and in the New Testament church. Our sisters in Christ are honored, valued, and encouraged to engage as critically important participants in the life of our church. Our brothers are honored, valued, and encouraged to engage as critically important participants in the life of our church. Our elders, pastors, and preachers, are held to the standards that Paul gave to Timothy.
- MALE AND FEMALE
Taken, in part, from The Nashville Statement:
God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female. The differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male or female. Those born with a physical disorder of sex development are created in the image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers. We do not believe that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of God’s original creation, nor that it puts a person outside the hope of the gospel. Our duty is to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to or about one another as male or female. The grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one’s biological sex and one’s self-conception as male or female.
- MARRIAGE AND SINGLENESS
Taken, in part, from The Nashville Statement:
God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church. It was not designed to be homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God. God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage. Paul reveals the ultimate meaning of marriage when he writes: “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph 5:32). Marriage is not ultimately about the relationship between a man and a woman at all, but is about Christ’s relationship to his church. Marriage was patterned, from the beginning, after the relationship between Christ and the church. The eternal relationship between Christ and the people he would save existed in the mind of God before creation, and marriage was designed to display that relationship.
This is incredibly significant, for it shows us that the meaning of marriage is, and always has been, about something that is just as true for single people as for married people. If marriage was designed to show off Christ’s love and devotion to the church, then singleness was designed to show off the church’s love and devotion to Christ. You see, as marriage seems to uniquely highlight the love and devotion of Christ to his church, seen in the love and devotion between a husband and wife, singleness seems to uniquely highlight the church’s love and devotion to Christ, seen in the single person’s exclusive devotion to Christ. This is likely why Scripture is replete with imagery of singleness and virginity as a metaphor for the love and devotion of God’s people. The single calling, then, bears great meaning. Singleness demonstrates, in the present, the future reality of the church’s union with Christ, for in the age to come all will be as single Christians are now. Christ will be united to his people in marriage forever, and his people will all be single—devoted to him alone. Singleness glorifies God by communicating the message that love and devotion to Christ is primary and eternal. It says to the watching world: God is enough. God is sufficient. God is better than anything, or anyone, else.