If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, you know what that deep truth means to you (1 John 2:1-3; 1 John 4:10). You also know that you are part of what the Bible calls the “Body of Christ” as described in 1 Corinthians 12:14-30 and Romans 12:3-8. The Body of Christ is the same thing as the Church which is the Greek word “ekklesia”: 1577 ekklēsía(from 1537 /ek, “out from and to” and 2564 /kaléō, “to call”) – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church (the body of Christ) – i.e. the universal (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom (from Strong’s Concordance). The Church is not a building or an organization. Church buildings are merely meeting houses and should not be revered as the Temple was in the Old Testament where God resided. In the New Testament, His people became the Temple (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6: 15-17) and now He resides in us! This is a deep and sacred truth.
With this truth comes a deep responsibility.
Our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the command to go and make disciples of Him and build His Kingdom in all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). This is called by many as the Great Commission. We are to build His Kingdom here on earth till He comes to take His Church or His Bride home to be with Him. To do a word study on how the Bible calls His Church “His Bride” click HERE.
Did you ever stop and think how BIG the Body of Christ is here on earth?
The Bible tells all of us that we need to “work out” our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). That doesn’t mean we have to work to obtain salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) but it does mean that once we have accepted that free gift of salvation, we need to earnestly develop a deep and intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and diligently seek out His will for our lives (Romans 12:1-2). But sometimes, how we develop our relationship with God clashes with how others in the Body of Christ have developed theirs.
If you been around other followers of Jesus Christ long enough, you know that there are many differences in how we apply the truths found in God’s Word. Does that mean that truth changes to certain groups of people? No, that is called relativism. We believe there are certain absolute truths that do not change and because they define the Eternal God of the Universe and our personal relationship with Him. He is truth (John 14:6; John 18:37-39) Therefore because He does not change, neither does truth change. God revealed Himself, His character through His Word. He wanted us to know Him. That is why He gave us His Word. We believe that certain truths or “doctrines” reveal to us His nature and belief in those doctrines define those who are true followers of Him.
Here are a few indisputable doctrines that are universally accepted by Christians. By calling them indisputable, we are proclaiming that they are clearly taught in the Bible and cannot be interpreted any other way. We believe that these doctrines found in God’s breathed out Word (2 Timothy 3:16,17) are a measuring line for all other teachings about God. In other words, the Bible is absolutely true and is a standard for learning about God and learning about your relationship with Him.
1. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments being given by Divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the final and supreme authority in all manners of faith and conduct.
2. In the Scriptures God reveals Himself as the living and true God. Creator of all things. Perfect in love and righteousness in all His ways this one God exists eternally as a Trinity of persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
3. God made man in His image that He might have fellowship with him. Being estranged from God by his disobedience, sinful man is incapable of a right relationship to God apart from Divine grace.
4. The only Mediator between God and man is Jesus Christ our Lord, God’s eternal Son, who as man fully shared and fulfilled our humanity in a life of perfect obedience.
5. By His death in our place, Jesus revealed the Divine love and upheld Divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having risen bodily from the dead and ascending into heaven, He rules as Lord over all and intercedes for us as our great High Priest.
6. The Holy Spirit, through the proclamation of the gospel, convicts our hearts, persuading us to repent of our sins and confess Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit we are led to trust in Divine mercy, whereby we are forgiven all our sins, justified by faith through the merit of Christ our Savior, adopted into God’s family as His children and enabled so to live in the world that men may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.
7. God by His Word and Spirit calls sinful men into the fellowship of Christ’s Body. Thus He creates the one holy, universal Church, united in the bonds of love endowed with the gifts of the Spirit and summoned by Christ to preach the gospel and to administer the sacraments, to relieve human needs and to strive for social justice. We believe He has called us to build His Kingdom on earth which He will fully establish when He physically returns in the coming days.
8. God’s redemptive purpose will be consummated by the return of Christ to raise the dead, judge all men and establish His glorious Kingdom. Those who are apart from Christ will be eternally separated from God’s presence, but the righteous shall live and reign with Him forever.
As an interdenominational ministry (one that serves the entire Body of Christ) in Alaska, we choose to work with any local church pastor, ministry leader or brother or sister in Christ who recognizes these indisputable doctrines (mentioned above). We realize that some ministries choose to work specifically with only one stream of Christianity and shun the rest. Some make those distinctions because they have convinced themselves that they have a full understanding of the mind of God as revealed in His Word. We do not come to that conclusion. Rather, we believe that we will only have a clear and full understanding of God’s revelation when we see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). We endeavor to promote unity in all of God’s people by choosing to focus on our common similarities and love for Jesus Christ. We realize that division is always authored by Satan who is a thief who comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). We will not be part of dividing the Body of Christ by pretending to have full understanding of the counsel of God and shunning other brothers and sisters in Christ who believe differently in those “disputable doctrines” like teaching on different views eschatology, different forms of baptism, gifts of the Spirit vs. cessationism, various views of worship styles in the local church, etc. These disputable doctrines have been points of division throughout church history. But those listed above (in green) are universally accepted by Christians worldwide.
We encourage all of our LightShine leaders to be men and women of God who desire to see His people dwell in unity. We urge them to prepare their teams to look forward to freely worshiping and fellowshipping with those they go to serve – even if that local church flows in a different “stream” of Christianity than they are used to. It is far better to set out to dwell in unity that to allow Satan to divide believers and turn them against one another. We believe this position displays great wisdom and discernment and has the ability to build deep relationships with others who can learn from each other and be encouraged by the passion they both have for our LORD.
Quarreling and dissension about matters of doctrine is greatly discouraged (2 Timothy 2: 14 & 22-24, Titus 3: 9-10). The Scriptures teach very clearly that we are to love one another; and that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). God’s desire is to bring His people into unity by His Spirit (John 17:20-23) and He is quite clear that He hates those who “sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19). We believe it is very difficult to come to a complete intellectual agreement about numerous doctrinal issues especially within a ministry containing persons from diverse church backgrounds. Therefore, we greatly encourage everyone who serves with us to refrain from promoting their personal “convictions” for the purpose of condemning others in the Body of Christ. That does not mean you can’t express your personal views toward certain doctrines and the positions of your church background in times of Bible study and discussion on your team. But we believe it should be done in respect for all those listening who may have other views. When those “convictions” determine that others in the Body of Christ are “false prophets” (which they personally disagree with), we believe that conclusion has gone too far. Instead, we greatly encourage wisdom and grace in keeping those “conclusions” to yourself in order to promote continued love and fellowship with everyone we meet. This also keeps Satan from dividing a team and weakening the team’s effectiveness. We choose to focus on our calling in ministry as part of the greater Body of Christ (the Church), rather than highlight our differences in doctrine in our specific stream of Christianity. If a person is unwilling to abide with others in this way, we would greatly encourage them to find service with another ministry.
If you have any specific questions concerning this position, please email either of our two founders for clarification.
Tom Denlinger – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Zimmerman – email@example.com