People often want to know what kind of church FCC is. This is an important question, but one that is difficult to answer because it is not always clear what kind of information they are seeking. Because many in this part of the country are unfamiliar with the C&MA, they ask the question to determine whether we are truly a Christian church, or if we are one of the many cults that plague our nation. For this reason, below are some of the ways we would answer the question, “What kind of church are you?”
- We are a conservative, evangelical, Bible-believing, Spirit-filled, Protestant church.
- We believe in the fundamental, orthodox teachings of historic Christianity.
- We are (in a biblical sense) charismatic and pentecostal, in that we believe in the active and real presence of the Holy Spirit in the life and experience of the believer, in the importance of all the gifts of the Spirit for today’s church, and in the need for the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer subsequent to conversion. We also encourage all orderly expressions of worship that focus on God and not the worshiper. We are not, however, “Charismatic” or “Pentecostal,” in that we do not believe Christians receive the Spirit subsequent to conversion, that speaking in tongues is the necessary, initial sign of the filling (or baptism) of the Holy Spirit, or that a particular kind of exuberance, physical expression, or “manifestation of the Spirit” is a mark of true worship. We also place a priority on Scripture interpreting our experiences of God rather than our experiences of God interpreting Scripture.
- We are baptistic, in that we believe in the priesthood of all believers and believer’s baptism by immersion in the Name of the Holy Trinity. However, while we do believe in the ultimate independence of every believer and every church before God, we are not Baptists in that we do not believe in the absolute independence of every believer and every church before God. In other words, we hold that God intended every believer and every local congregation to be accountable to, and under the authority of, the larger body of Christ.
- We are somewhat dispensational in our approach to Scripture, in that we believe that the first coming and work of Christ (the New Covenant) has changed many aspects of how God deals with his people today, and that his second coming will change the nature of this relationship even more. We are not Dispensational, however, in that we do not believe God is dealing with Israel and the Church in ways that are significantly different from his plan and purposes established since the beginning of time and fulfilled in the coming of Christ Jesus. This means that we still view the Old Covenant (i.e., Law) as having relevance for all God’s people today as an expression of the Divine will, but that the New Covenant, as a fulfillment of the Old Covenant, must interpret the Old Covenant in its particulars. It also means that we do not take a specific stand on tribulational issues. Some within our church are dispensational premillennialists, while others are historic premillennialists. As stated above, we also believe (contrary to many Dispensationalists) that all gifts of the Spirit are relevant for, and active in, the Church of this age.
- We are a church founded upon the apostolic authority of the Bible as the revealed word of God, but we are not a “Bible Church” in that we are not Dispensational (as described above) or “independent”. We do not believe that a true knowledge of the Word of God (which is essential) can effect the change needed in the life of the believer apart from the inner working of the Holy Spirit, and we do not wish to merely reduce the church to a Bible school. While many Bible churches would say they don’t believe or wish to do this either, many, in practice, act as if they do. As members of the denomination called The Christian & Missionary Alliance, we gladly bring ourselves under the dependent authority and discipline of this body of Christ, whose vision and perspective is larger than our own. We are proud to be a denominational church and to belong to such a fine movement.
- We are catholic in our view of the church, in that we believe there is only one, universal (albeit invisible) church, of which we are merely a part. We are not Roman Catholic, however, in that we hold Scripture to be our only absolute rule of faith and practice, and view tradition, reason, and experience to be significant but secondary sources of spiritual authority.
- We are a product of the Protestant Reformation, but we choose not to define ourselves as specifically Calvinistic or Arminian in our theology. We take this position because we believe: (1) that sincere, Bible-believing, Spirit-filled Christians can be found on both sides of this issue; (2) that sincere, biblical arguments can be effectively marshaled for either position once one accepts its basic presuppositions; and (3) that the centrality of Christ, the Unity of the Spirit, the priority of Love, and the importance of the Great Commission lead us away from divisions that impede God’s mission for his Church. Individual believers and leaders within the church are encouraged to earnestly advocate what they believe in these matters, but to do so with honesty and charity toward those who disagree. This approach is one of the most unique aspects of who we are, and we will guard it carefully.
- FCC is committed to what is called “blended worship.” This means that, rather than singing only the older, traditional hymns of the historic Church, or only the newer, contemporary songs and sounds of the modern Church, we choose to blend these two approaches in an effort to remain connected to what is good in both. We reject the attitude of traditionalists who argue that only the old styles and sounds are good and worthy of use, just as we reject the attitude of non-traditionalists who argue that only the new styles and sounds are good and worthy of use. We believe that the younger crowd has much to learn from the old hymns, just as the older crowd has much to learn from the new choruses. Factious selfishness that lacks love and longsuffering for musical preferences that differ from one’s own is a far worse blight on Christ’s church than any real or imagined problems with musical styles.