A SPIRITUAL EXAMPLE:
We will demonstrate our commitment to Christ through our practice of the spiritual
disciplines; we will demonstrate our commitment to the body of Christ through our loyalty
to God and commitment to His church; and we will demonstrate our commitment to the work of
Christ through our being good stewards.
--Practice of Spiritual Disciplines:
Spiritual disciplines involve such practices as prayer, praise & worship,
confession, fasting, meditating, and study. Through prayer we express our trust in Jehovah
God, the giver of all good things, and acknowledge our dependence on Him for our needs and
for the needs of others (Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 11:1-13; James 5:13-18). Through both
private and public worship we bless God, have communion with Him, and are provided daily
with spiritual enrichment and growth in grace. Through periods of fasting we draw close to
God, meditate on the passion of Christ, and discipline ourselves to submit to the control
of the Holy Spirit in all areas of our life (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14-17; Acts 14:23).
Through confession of our sins to God we are assured of divine forgiveness (I John
1:9-2:2). The sharing of our confession with other believers provides the opportunity to
request prayer and to bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2; James 5:16). Through
meditation on and study of the Word of God we enhance our own spiritual growth and prepare
ourselves to help guide and instruct others in scriptural truths (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2;
II Timothy 2:15, 23-26).
--Loyalty to God and Commitment to the
The life of Christian discipleship calls for the fulfillment of our duties to the body
of Christ. We are to unite regularly with other members of the Church for the purpose of
magnifying and praising God and hearing His Word (Matthew 18:20; John 4:23; Acts 2:42, 46,
47; 12:24; Hebrews 10:25). Sunday is the Christian day of worship. As the Lord's Day, it
commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead (Matthew 28:1) and should be
employed for worship, fellowship, Christian service, teaching, evangelism, and
proclamation (Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5, 6; I Corinthians 16:2; Colossians 2:16, 17). We are
to provide for the financial needs of the church by the giving of tithes (Malachi 3:10;
Matthew 23:23) and offerings (I Corinthians 16:2; II Corinthians 8:1-24; 9:1-15). It is
our duty to respect and to submit to those whom the Lord Jesus has placed over us in the
Church (I Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17). Our exercise of authority must be as a
spiritual example rather than as a lord over God's flock (Matthew 20:25-28; I Peter
5:1-3). Furthermore, our submission must be a manifestation of the spiritual grace of
humility (Ephesians 5:21; I Peter 5:5, 6). Finally, we are to avoid affiliation with
oath-bound societies. Such societies may appear to have spiritual character, but by being
oath-bound and secretive, they contradict Christian spirituality (John 18:20; II
Corinthians 6:14-18). Christians must not belong to any body or society that requires or
practices an allegiance that supersedes or excludes their fellowship in Christ (Matthew
12:47-49; John 17:21-23).
--Being Good Stewards:
In the Scriptures, the virtues of thrift and simplicity are honored, but the vices of
waste and ostentation are solemnly prohibited (Isaiah 55:2; Matthew 6:19-23). The living
of a godly and sober life requires the wise and frugal use of our temporal blessings,
including time, talent and money. As good stewards we are to make the most of our time,
whether for recreation or for work (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). The idle use of
leisure time degrades (II Thessalonians 3:6-24; I Timothy 5:13), but the edifying use of
it brings inner renewal. All our work and play should honor the name of God (I Corinthians
10:31). As good stewards we must use fully our spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8; I
Corinthians 12:1-11; 27-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; I Peter 4:9-11) and natural talents
(Matthew 25:14-30) for the glory of God. As good stewards we must recognize that the wise
use of money is an essential part of the Christian's economy of life. God has committed
temporal blessings to our trust (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17).
We will engage in those activities which glorify God in our body and which avoid the
fulfillment of the lust of the flesh. We will read, watch and listen to those things which
are of positive benefit to our spiritual well-being.
--Glorifying God In Our Bodies:
Our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and we are to glorify God in our body (Romans
12:1, 2; I Corinthians 6:19, 20: 10:31). We are to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the
lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Examples of fleshly behavior which do not glorify God
are noted in several passages of Scripture (Romans 1:24; I Corinthians 6:9, 10; Galatians
5:19-21; Revelation 21:8). Sinful practices which are made prominent and condemned in
these scriptures include homosexuality, adultery, worldly attitudes ( such as hatred,
envy, jealousy), corrupt communication (such as gossip, angry outbursts, filthy words),
stealing, murder, drunkenness and witchcraft. Witchcraft has to do with the practices of
the occult, which are forbidden by God and lead to the worship of Satan.
--Reading, Watching and Listening:
The literature we read, the programs we watch and the music we listen to profoundly affect
the way we feel, think and behave. It is imperative, then, that the Christian read, watch
and listen to those things which inspire, instruct and challenge to a higher place of
living. Therefore, literature, programs and music which are worldly in content or
pornographic in nature must be avoided. A Christian is not to attend (or watch on
television) movies or theatrical performances of a demoralizing nature (Romans 13:14;
--Benefiting Spiritual Well-Being:
The use of leisure time of a Christian should be characterized by those activities which
edify both the individual and the body of Christ (Romans 6:13; I Corinthians 10:31, 32).
We are to avoid places and practices which are of this world. Consequently, a Christian
must not be a part of any other types of entertainment which appeal to the fleshly nature
and/or bring discredit to the Christian testimony (II Corinthians 6:17; I Thessalonians
5:21, 22; I John 2:15-17).
We will live in a manner that inspires trust and confidence, bearing the fruit of the
Spirit and seeking to manifest the character of Christ in all our behavior.
--Trust and Confidence:
A Christian should be trustworthy, dependable and a person of his word (Matthew 5:37; I
Peter 2:11, 12). Therefore, the swearing of oaths is contrary to a Christian's
trustworthiness and should be avoided (Matthew 5:34-37; James 5:12). Christ, by precept
and example, taught that we love our enemy and prefer our brother (Matthew 5:43-48; Romans
12:10; Philippians 2:3; I John 3:16). We should behave in a way that will point others to
Christ (Matthew 5:16; I Corinthians 11:1).
--Fruit of the Spirit:
If we live in the Spirit, we will manifest the fruit (attitudes and actions) of the Spirit
and will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16, 22-25; I John 1:7). Trustful
relationships with others are a natural outgrowth of our positive relationship with the
Lord (Psalm 1:1-3; Matthew 22:37-40). A lack of fruit-bearing in our lives will be judged
(Matthew 7:16-20; Luke 13:6-9; John 15:1-8).
--Character of Christ:
Love for others is the hallmark of the Christ-life (John 13:34, 35; 15:9-13; I John
4:7-11). In His relationship with His Father, Jesus displayed submission (Luke 22:42; John
4:34 5:30). In His relationship with others, He demonstrated acceptance (John 8:11),
compassion (Matthew 99:36; Mark 6:34) and forgiveness (Matthew 9:2; Luke 5:20). We cannot
bear the fruit of the Spirit and manifest the character of Christ without being
spiritually joined to Christ (John 15:4, 5) and without having the seed of the Word
planted in our heart (John 15:3; I Peter 1:22, 23).
We will give priority to fulfilling family responsibilities, to preserving the sanctity of
marriage and to maintaining divine order in the home.
--Priority of the Family:
The family is the basic unit of human relationship and as such is foundational to both
society and the Church (Genesis 2:18-24). The divine origin of the family, along with its
foundational character, makes it imperative that we give priority to ministry to the
family, both from a personal and corporate standpoint. The practice of Christian
disciplines and virtues should begin in the home (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7). Therefore, our
families should establish some pattern for family devotions and should endeavor to provide
a Christian environment in the home (I Timothy 3:3, 4; 5:8).
--Sanctity of Marriage:
Marriage is ordained of God and is a spiritual union in which a man and a woman are joined
by God to live together as one (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:7). Because of the divine character
of marriage it is a lifelong commitment with the only clear biblical allowance for divorce
being fornication (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Sexual involvement, either before marriage or with
someone other than the marriage partner, is strictly forbidden in Scripture (Exodus 20:14;
I Corinthians 6:15-18). Understanding the sanctity of marriage, partners should strive to
maintain a happy, harmonious and holy relationship. Should divorce occur, the Church
should be quick to provide love, understanding and counsel to those involved. The
remarriage of divorced persons should be undertaken only after a thorough understanding of
and submission to the scriptural instructions concerning this issue (Matthew 19:7-9; Mark
10:2-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2, 3; I Corinthians 7:2, 10, 11). Should a Christian desire
to remain single, this decision should be respected and should be seen as a viable
scriptural alternative (I Corinthians 7:8; 32-34).
--Divine Order In The Home:
When God created man, He created them male and female (Genesis 1:27). He gave them
distinctly different characteristics (I Corinthians 11:14, 15; I Peter 3:7) as well as
different responsibilities (Genesis 3:16-19; I Peter 3:1-7). In God's order, the husband
is head of the home (Ephesians 5:22-31; Colossians 3:18, 19), parents are to nurture and
admonish their children (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21), and children are to obey and
honor their parents (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20). In order for harmony
to exist in the home, God's order of responsibility must be observed.
We will practice temperance in behavior and will abstain from activities and attitudes
which are offensive to our fellowman or which lead to addiction or enslavement.
One of the cardinal Christian virtues is temperance or self-control (I Corinthians
9:25; Titus 1:8, 2:2). It is listed as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). We are
admonished to practice moderation and balance in our behavior (Philippians 4:5). The
Scripture indicates that it is within our prerogative to control our thinking (Philippians
4:8), our anger (Ephesians 4:26) and our communication (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 3:8).
To exercise self-discipline reflects the power of God in our life (I Corinthians 9:27; II
The Bible speaks clearly that we are to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of
others as a demonstration of our love for them (Matthew 22:39; Romans 12:9-21, 13:10;
Philippians 2:3-5). At times it is necessary for us to control our behavior so as not to
bring offense to others (Romans 14:13-21; I Corinthians 8:9-13). As we know Christ after
the Spirit, we are also to know others in the same manner so we will not judge them after
their outward behavior alone (II Corinthians 5:16). A respect and tolerance for
differences in others should characterize our relationships (Romans 14:2, 3; I Corinthians
8:8; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13; I Timothy 4:1-5).
--Addiction and Enslavement:
One of the primary benefits of our liberty in Christ is freedom from the domination of
negative forces (John 8:32, 36; Romans 6:14; 8:2). We are counseled not to put ourselves
again under bondage (Galatians 5:1). Therefore, a Christian must totally abstain from all
alcoholic beverages and other habit-forming and mood altering chemical substances and
refrain from the use of tobacco in any form, marijuana and all other addictive substances,
and further, must refrain from any activity (such as gambling or gluttony) which defiles
the body as the temple of God or which dominates and enslaves the spirit that has been
made free in Christ (Proverbs 20:1; 23:20-35; Isaiah 28:7; I Corinthians 3:17; 5:11; 6:10;
II Corinthians 7:1; James 1:21).
We will demonstrate the scriptural principle of modesty by appearing and dressing in a
manner that will enhance our Christian testimony and will avoid pride, elaborateness or
According to the biblical idea, modesty is an inner spiritual grace that recoils from
anything unseemly and impure, is chaste in thought and conduct, and is free of crudeness
and indecency in dress and behavior (Ephesians 4:25, 29, 31; 5:1-8; I Timothy 2:9, 10).
Therefore, modesty includes our appearance, dress, speech and conduct and can be applied
to all situations. The essential issue is, does our style of life please or displease God?
--Appearance and Dress:
Our life, character and self-image are reflected by our apparel and mode of dress. The
admonition of Scripture, "Be not conformed to this world," reminds us that our
manner of dress must be modest and decent (Romans 12:2; I Thessalonians 5:22, 23). It is
not displeasing to God for us to dress well and be well-groomed. However, above all we
must seek spiritual beauty, which does not come from outward adornment with jewelry,
expensive clothes or cosmetics, but from good works, chaste conversation, and a meek and
quiet spirit (Philippians 4:8; I Peter 3:3-5).
--Pride, Elaborateness, Sensuality:
As godly people we are to abstain from all lusts of the flesh and avoid dressing in a
manner that encourages immoral thoughts, attitudes and lifestyles (Galatians 5:13-21; I
Peter 2:11; II Peter 1:4). Our beauty does not depend on elaborate, showy dress;
extravagant, costly attire; or on the use of jewelry or cosmetics but on our relationship
with Christ. External adornment, whether clothing or jewelry, as an outward display or
personal worth, is contrary to a spiritual attitude (James 2:1-4).
It should be our objective to fulfill our obligations to society by being good citizens,
by correcting social injustices, and by protecting the sanctity of life.
--Being Good Citizens:
As Christians we are members of the kingdom of God as well as a social order of this
world. Obedience to God requires us to act in a responsible manner as citizens of our
country (Mark 12:13-17; Romans 13:1-7; I Peter 2:13-17). Therefore, we should support
civil law and order; hold our leaders in respect and pray for them; participate in school,
community and governmental activities; exercise our voting rights; and speak out on
clear-cut moral issues. God's law is supreme, but we are to obey the laws of our country
insofar as they are not in conflict with obedience to God (Acts 5:29). When it becomes
necessary to disagree with practices and requirements of government, we should do so out
of a concern for the promotion of righteousness and not out of delight in discord and
--Correcting Social Injustices:
Love for others and the recognition of the equal worth of everyone in the sight of God
(Acts 10:34; 17:26) should compel us to take steps to improve the situation of those who
are underprivileged, neglected, hungry, homeless and victimized by prejudice, persecution
and oppression (Matthew 22:39; Romans 13:8-10; I John 3:17). In all of our dealings, we
must be sensitive to human needs (Luke 10:30-37; James 1:17) and guard against racial and
economic discrimination. Every person should have freedom to worship and participate in
the life of the Church regardless of race, color, sex, social class or nationality.
--Protecting the Sanctity of Life:
God alone confers life (Genesis 1:1-31); therefore, we are responsible to God to care for
our physical life and that of others. If the circumstances require, we must be prepared to
risk our life in the service of our neighbor (John 15:13); but the general rule is that we
must respect our physical life and employ every worthy means to maintain it. Since God
alone confers life, God alone must decide when it is to be ended (Psalm 31:14, 15).
Because a human fetus is sacred and blessed of God, we believe that we have the
responsibility to protect the life of the unborn (Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:41). It is our firm
conviction that abortion and euthanasia of aged, mentally incompetent, terminally ill and
otherwise handicapped, for reasons of personal convenience, social adjustment or economic
advantage, are morally wrong.