- THE BIBLE:
The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, composed of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament. We believe that Scripture originated entirely from God and that it was given through writers inspired by God. Scripture speaks with the authority of God and, yet at the same time, reflects the backgrounds, styles and vocabularies of the human authors. The Scriptures are presented exactly as God intended and without error in the original manuscripts. They are the unique, full and final authority on all matters of faith and practice and there are no other writings similarly given by God.
We believe that there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each of Whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning, God created the world and all things therein out of nothing, thus manifesting the glory of His power, wisdom and goodness. By His sovereign power He continues to sustain His creation. By His providence, His loving and caring guidance, God operates throughout time to fulfill His redemptive purposes.
The central purpose of God's revelation in scripture is to call people into fellowship with Himself. The human race was originally created to have fellowship with God. Through Adam, humanity defied God, choosing to be independent, and was thus alienated from Him. The consequence of this rebellion from God is the corruption of human nature, so that people are unable to reach God's standard of perfection in any way. Such separation from God produces people who are selfish, who are without purpose and who ultimately will be separated from Him for eternity. This separation took place at the beginning of human history. All individuals since suffer this consequence and, therefore, are in need of the saving grace and mercy of God. The salvation of any person is wholly a work of God's free grace. Salvation is never the result, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness. Salvation is personally realized when one repents from sin and accepts, through faith alone, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When God begins a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that he will continue performing it until the day of its full consummation.
- JESUS CHRIST:
Jesus Christ is the eternal second person of the Godhead - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He was united with a true human nature by a miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily made amends for the sins of people, making possible a right relationship with God. He died on the cross as a substitute for sinful mankind, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. Jesus rose from the dead in the same body, now glorified, in which he lived and died. He ascended into heaven, where He, as mediator, continually intercedes with God the Father for His own - those who have received salvation. He shall come again to Earth, personally and visibly, to bring history and the eternal plan of God to completion.
- THE CHRISTIAN LIFE: The Holy Spirit was sent into the world by the Father and the Son. A genuine saving relationship with Jesus Christ is evidenced by a life impacted by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Before salvation, the Holy spirit enlightens the minds of sinners and awakens in them a recognition of their need for a Savior. At the point of salvation, The Holy Spirit permanently indwells every believer and gives them assurance in their relationship with Christ, wisdom to discern what God wants them to do, and strength to do it. In each believer, the Spirit produces: a new value system marked by an understanding and acceptance of the gospel, a desire for fellowship with other Christians, and a striving for obedience to God's moral law, character change, referred to as the fruit of the Spirit, and unique endowments, called the gifts of the Spirit, that allow each believer to minister for the Lord.
- HUMAN DESTINY:
Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. For all humankind, there will be a resurrection of the body into the spiritual world and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. All who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will have an eternal relationship with God. All who have rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will be separated from God for eternity.
- THE CHURCH:
The result of union with Jesus Christ is that all believers become members of His body, the church. The church is composed of all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Wherever God's people meet regularly, there is the local expression of the church. Under the watchful care of elders, pastors and other supportive leadership, its members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ. The Scripture commands believers to gather in order to worship, pray, fellowship, teach, observe baptism and communion, serve within the body, and to be an example to and reach out to the world. The church is to be a place filled with grace and mercy, realizing that we are imperfect yet valuable people.
When a person first considers baptism, many questions may come to mind. Where did the idea of baptism come from? What is it's significance? Is it really necessary?
Once a person makes a decision to follow Christ, the Bible says we are to make our personal decision public. Baptism is a simple and symbolic ceremony that shows the world that we have crossed over the line from being a seeker to being a believer.
A believer is someone who realizes that their sin separates them from God. They know they will never be good enough to reach God through their good works or religious activities. They depend on Jesus Christ's death on the cross to pay for their sins and understand that he's the only one that can bridge the gap between them and God.
If you are a new believer, the next step on your spiritual journey may be to consider baptism. Just as a bride and groom show that they love one another through a marriage ceremony, a new believer should also want to show the world through baptism of their new union with Christ. Baptism is a great time to celebrate with family and friends what has happened in your spiritual life.
If you have additional questions or would like to be part of our next baptism, email Pastor Rick or call the church office at 360-659-7335 ext. 201. There is a required baptism participant class, that is usually held a couple weeks before a baptism service.
STATEMENT ON BAPTISM:
Allen Creek Community Church believes Scriptural teaching on Baptism may be summarized as follows:
- Baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Christ, fulfilled by individuals who have received His forgiveness and submitted themselves to His leadership.
- Baptism symbolizes a heart washing by God’s forgiveness and also an identification with Christ in His death and resurrection as the individual dies to an old way of life and lives a new life in Him.
- Baptism provides an opportunity for believers to make a formal profession of their faith before the church and the world.
- Baptism is a biblical rite of initiation into the body of Christ, and it may therefore be considered a prerequisite for joining the membership of the church.
ABOUT BELIEVER'S BAPTISM:
While recognizing the right for other churches to practice infant Baptism, Allen Creek teaches that only professing believers qualify for Baptism. The pattern in scripture is that baptism follows personal acceptance of the Christian message Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12 etc.. Some come to AC3 having been baptized as infants who have made a public statement of their faith in Christ and they feel their infant baptism is totally adequate. We are not contentious about those situations and allow those believers into membership. However, we hold believers baptism to be significant enough that we strongly encourage re-baptism for anyone baptized before their conversion to Christ. We also require that our elders who set an example for the church, need to have been baptized with water following their personal commitment to Christ.
ABOUT INFANT BAPTISM:
In the Bible, we find parents bringing their children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told us to welcome them. But He did not baptize them, and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them. However, Allen Creek Community Church encourages Christian parents to present their children for the ceremony of dedication, whereby God's blessing is formally invoked upon the children, and the parents publicly commit themselves to raise the children in accordance with the teachings of Scripture. If you were baptized as a child, it was the intent of your parents that you would one day be a follower of Christ. Your Baptism as an adult can be viewed as the fulfillment of your parents' wishes. It in no way repudiates the Baptism you received as a child.
Because the symbolism of Baptism requires a more adult level of cognitive and developmental readiness, the Elders of Allen Creek eagerly suggest that children be at least 12 years old to be baptized. Proverbs 20:25 issues a significant caution against the danger of making a vow before adequate knowledge, forethought and reflection have been given. In an effort to prevent young people from making a premature commitment that they may not fully understand, this minimum age is strongly encouraged.
ABOUT THE MODE OF BAPTISM:
Allen Creek Community Church believes that the faith of the participant determines the value of the baptism rite 1 Peter 3:21 not the amount of water used or the way it’s applied. However, the physical rite is commanded by Christ because of the value to the participant as it illustrates and seals their dying to self and rising new in Christ, washed clean of sin. Therefore, full immersion in water is our normal practice because it most fully represents the symbolism baptism conveys Rom 6:1-11 and was most likely the mode used by the New Testament church Mk 1:10; Acts 8:39. If physical circumstances make this mode impractical, the mode of sprinkling is offered.
ABOUT WHO MAY PERFORM BAPTISM:
In Scripture we notice that Jesus has authorized his disciples do the baptizing John 4:2. Jesus did not baptize because his focus was on a more primary work: the internal baptism by the Holy Spirit at conversion. So from Jesus, the authority to perform this rite is delegated to leaders in his church. These disciples sometimes “order” the baptism of others Acts 10:48 and it’s not specified WHO has done the baptizing 16:15, 16:33. This seems to indicate that all baptisms were done under the care and authority of senior church leaders, but not necessarily BY them. In most cases an extended entourage of evangelists or church planters may have assisted. In light of this, we discern these broad principles:
- all baptisms must take place under the care and authority of the senior church leaders, or their delegates or representatives.
- the people who baptize have been recognized by church leadership as true followers of Christ themselves.
Therefore, at AC3 for someone to perform baptism they must be a recognized church leader (staff member/elder/small group leader) OR recognized by church leadership as genuine converts and participating members in good standing (not involved in ongoing patterns of willful disobedience) who have themselves been baptized as believers.