OUR BELIEFS at Cleora Community Church
At Cleora Community Church we are broad in our traditions yet committed to our shared essential beliefs. Our shared essential beliefs are founded in the modern version of the Apostle’s Creed. To further clarify our statement of beliefs we have provided the following:
We believe that God is the creator, sustainer, redeemer and ruler of the universe, and that He has eternally existed in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God. Though each person of the Godhead possesses the same nature, each functions differently in respect to God’s dealing with humankind (Gen. 1:1, 26; Deut. 6:4; Matt.28:19-20; John 4:24; II Cor. 13:14).
GOD THE FATHER:
The first person of the Trinity orders and directs all things according to his own purpose, pleasure and grace. He created the universe apart from any preexisting materials and without any other means other than his power. As an infinitely loving father, He graciously involves himself in the affairs of men and women, longing for their salvation and spiritual growth. (Matt. 6:9; John 5:19-24; Eph. 1:3-6; Gal. 4:6; 1 Tim. 2:3-5)
We believe that Jesus Christ is God's only Son (John 3:16) and our sole mediator (I Tim. 2:5). We believe in His pre-existence (John 1:1), His incarnation (John 1:1-14), His virgin birth (Matt. 1:23-25), His sinless life (Heb. 4:15), His example of ministry (John 13:14-15), His atonement for sin (Rom. 3:23-25), His bodily resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:24-27), His ascension to the right hand of the Father (Acts 1:9-11), and his bodily return from heaven (Titus 2:13).
THE HOLY SPIRIT:
We believe that the Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make people aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He is dynamically present in the Church providing a special bond of fellowship, unity and discernment of truth (Eph. 2: 21-22, 4:1-3, I Cor. 2:14). He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding the truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they receive Christ. As Christians, we seek to enjoy his presence and live under his control daily. (Matt. 28:19; John 3:3-7; Rom. 8:9; I Cor. 2:12, 6:19, 12:13; Eph. 4:30; Titus 3:5).
We believe that the Church is the spiritual body of Jesus Christ. He is the head. We also believe that there is a two-fold aspect to the church: The universal church consists of all believers worldwide. The local church consists of believers in a specific location who seek to experience their relationship with Christ together under a common vision (Eph. 1:22-23; Phmn. 2; I Thess. 1:1). We seek to be supportive to para-church groups as they too seek to advance God’s great commission.
HUMANITY AND SIN:
We believe that people are spiritual beings, created in the image of God, and designed to be like him in character and conduct. We believe that humankind sinned in Adam, and that people are now sinners by nature and by choice, yet mankind remains in God's image even though fallen (Gen. 1:26-27; 3:1-6; Rom. 5:12-14; James 3:9).
We believe that Jesus died in our place on the cross so that we might have eternal life with God in heaven. Salvation is God’s free gift to us, but we must personally receive it by faith. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, apart from human merit, works or ceremonies (Acts 4:12; 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9).
We believe that people were created to live forever and will be resurrected at the end of the age. (Ecc. 3:11, II Cor. 5:14-15). They will exist eternally either separated from God by sin, or they will exist eternally united with God in heaven. To be eternally separated from God is hell; to be eternally in union with God is eternal life. Heaven and hell are real places of real eternal existence (John 5:25-29; 11:25-26; I Cor. 15:51-57; II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:11-15).
The Bible is God’s word to us. We believe that the Bible is the truth that powerfully changes our lives; and therefore, we center all our ministry around it, and we encourage regular Bible reading and study. Even though it was written by human authors, we believe that every word in the original manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures is inspired of God, complete, unified and without error (Matt. 5:18; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21). Therefore, we believe that it is the final standard of faith and practice for the believer in Jesus Christ and for His Church.
We believe that every believer has at least one spiritual gift (I Cor. 12:7, 11). God, the Holy Spirit, sovereignly bestows the gift(s) to each believer. When each believer utilizes his gift, he contributes to the working and maturing of the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:3-8; I Cor. 12:4-31; Eph. 4:1-16).
ABOUT MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY:
We believe that marriage is the comprehensive and lifelong union of two people, male and female, in a monogamous committed relationship (Gen. 2:18-25). Moreover, we believe that marriage points beyond itself:
God intended that this institution exemplify His very nature as Triune God (Gen. 2:18-25), and
that this institution illustrates the loving interaction between Christ and His church (Eph. 5:22-33; Rev. 19:6-9).
Consequently, the sexual relationship is holy and should be reserved for marriage. All intimate sexual activity outside the marriage relationship, whether heterosexual, homosexual or otherwise is immoral and therefore sin (Exo. 20:14, 17; 22:19; Lev. 18:22-23, 20:13, 15, 16; Matt. 19:4-6; Rom. 1:18-31; 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 15-20; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; Jude 7).
At the same time, our congregation is committed to being an agent of healing when people fall short of this ideal (John 1:14).
THE SANCTITY OF LIFE:
We believe in the sanctity of human life and will strive to protect against abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and the withholding of reasonable medical care to handicapped or elderly. We affirm the sanctity of human life as established by God the Creator and believe that such sanctity extends to the child not yet born. Life is a gift from God. All human life, including life developing in the womb, is created by God in His image and is, therefore, to be nurtured, supported, and protected. From the moment of conception, a child is a human being with all of the developing characteristics of human life, and this life is dependent on the mother for its continued development. Therefore, we believe that human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception.
We oppose induced abortion by any means, when used for either personal convenience or population control. We oppose laws that allow abortion. (Genesis 2:7, 9:6; Exodus 20:13; 21:12–16, 22-25; Leviticus 18:21; Job 31:15; Psalms 22:9; 139:3–16; Isaiah 44:2, 24; 49:5; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:15, 23–25, 36–45; Acts 17:25; Romans 12:1–2; 1 Corinthians 6:16; 7:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–6)
We also recognize that many have been affected by the tragedy of abortion. We will seek to offer compassion and the message of forgiveness by God for each person who has experienced abortion. Our local congregation is a community of redemption and hope to all who suffer physical, emotional, and spiritual pain as a result of the willful termination of a pregnancy. (Romans 3:22–24; Galatians 6:1)