Statement of Faith
We believe the Bible is God's absolute, objective truth for all people for all times. It is without error in concept or detail in the original writings. It is breathed out in its entirety by God, divinely preserved, and, therefore, trustworthy. We believe the Holy Spirit superintended human authors so that, through their individual personalities and literary styles, they composed and recorded God's Word. It is God's written revelation complete in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. It is the supreme authority in all matters to which it speaks and is sufficient for life, conduct, and practice − understandable by every believer. We believe Scripture must be understood through the literal, contextual, grammatical, and historical method of interpretation, and applied under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We believe in the one personal, transcendent, immanent, living God − the creator, sustainer, and sovereign ruler of all things. He is self−existent, immutable, and works all things according to the counsel of His will in order to bring glory to Himself. God's foreknowledge is exhaustive and not dependent on human decisions and actions. He eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They execute distinct but harmonious roles in creation, providence, redemption, and consummation. They are equal in nature, attributes, and perfections. The holy triune God is worthy of our worship, confidence, and obedience.
We believe in God the Father: one in essence with the Son and the Spirit. He is an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in all His attributes. He is the creator, sustainer, and sovereign ruler of all things through His Son Jesus Christ. We believe that He concerns Himself perfectly in the affairs of humanity. His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with the redeemed. Everything He does is in accordance with His perfect will, though His sovereignty does not eliminate or minimize human responsibility. The Father adopts as His own, through Jesus Christ, all those He calls to Himself.
We believe in God the Son: one in essence with the Father and the Spirit. He is the one and only eternal Son of God, the preeminent revelation of God. At the right time He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-slave. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary as Jesus, the Christ − fully God and fully man. We believe in His sinless life, His voluntary submission to His Father's will that culminated in His substitutionary death on the cross, His burial, and His bodily resurrection. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. His death on the cross atoned for our sin and satisfied the righteous demands of the holy God. He is the Mediator between God and man. He is Prophet, Priest, and King; the Head and Savior of His Church; the Heir of all things; the Judge of all the world; and the exact representation of God the Father. We believe in the personal return of Christ for His Church and in the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
The Holy Spirit
We believe in God the Holy Spirit: one in essence with the Father and Son. He was sent by God the Father and God the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ and implements Christ's work of redemption and baptism. He regenerates, baptizes, seals, gifts, and indwells all believers at conversion, progressively sanctifying, and securing them in Christ forever. The Spirit fills, leads, comforts, and intercedes for believers, empowering them for godly living and service. His presence is evident by the fruit of the Spirit and the building up of believers into the body of Christ, the Church.
We believe that humanity, male and female, is sacred in God's eyes and was uniquely created by Him, in His image and for His glory, to exercise dominion over the earth and to enjoy a relationship with Him forever. Every human being is directly responsible to God in matters of faith and life. After sin entered the world, humans still possess the image of God, though tainted by sin. God's will for humanity is that they love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love their neighbors as themselves.
In God's design for humanity, life begins at fertilization. He established the institution of family through the union of one man and one woman in a marriage covenant for life. His design for the continuance of humanity is through the procreation and discipleship of children within the marriage union. Marriage is to be an example of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church.
Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, Carlton Community will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, the [pastors/ministers] and staff of Carlton Community shall only participate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one man and one woman. Finally, the facilities and property of Carlton Community shall only host weddings between one man and one woman.
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person. We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Gen 2:18-25.) We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4.) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.) We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of [the organization] as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the [the organization] members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by [the organization] in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality. (Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22.) We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11.) We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Carlton Community Church.
We believe that sin is any action, inaction, or attitude that is contrary to the nature or Word of God, which constitutes a rejection of His authority, resulting in alienation from God. Sin entered the world when Adam, representing humanity, disobeyed God. As a result of the one sin of Adam, his descendants − the whole human race − are separated from relationship with God, spiritually dead, and therefore in a fallen state. Being sinners by nature and choice and utterly unable to remedy their lost condition, humanity is in need of salvation.
We believe that salvation is a gift of God, received by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Salvation is motivated by the love of God demonstrated through His sovereign election in Christ, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, and received by faith apart from any human merit, works, or ritual. Regeneration is effected through the work of the Holy Spirit in God's elect. All who repent and believe in Jesus Christ are forgiven of all their sins, justified in God's sight by the merit of Christ's righteousness, adopted into His family, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and have equal access to God. As a result, the progressive sanctifying work of salvation leads to a newness of life that is evidenced by righteous living, good works, and biblical social concern, or God's corrective discipline. The consummation of salvation is that those who have accepted God's gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ shall be resurrected and glorified. They shall receive their inheritance in the Kingdom of their Father, whom they shall see and enjoy throughout the ages.
We believe that the New Testament Church is composed of all persons who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit since the day of Pentecost following Christ's resurrection. We believe that the Church is the spiritual body of Christ, of which He is the Head. We believe that this body expresses itself in local assemblies in which believers are in a covenant relationship. Biblically that relationship is expressed corporately through hearing the Word of God proclaimed, engaging in worship, practicing the two ordinances of believer's baptism by immersion and the Lord's Supper, building up each other's faith, holding each other accountable through biblical love and discipline, and engaging in local and world evangelization. Biblically designated officers must meet the biblical qualifications for their office and submit to the headship of Christ, emulating His servant leadership. We believe the function of eldering is reserved for biblically qualified males. Each local church is to support, and submit to those who function as elders.
We believe God created angels as spirit−beings possessing power and intellect, to worship and serve Him and to minister to believers. Satan is a fallen angel who masquerades as an angel of light. The scope of Satan's power is subject to God's will. By subjecting Adam and Eve to temptation and sin, Satan has extended his rebellion against God, which he continues by deceit, seduction, and destruction. While Satan and his demons are powerful, they are subject to Christ's authority and judgment. Satan and his demons have been defeated for eternity by Jesus Christ through His death on the cross and victorious resurrection, sealing their everlasting damnation. At the time of final judgment, they will be consigned to eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire.
We believe in the sudden, visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Millennial Kingdom. He will return with His saints from heaven with power and great glory, on a day known only to God. We believe that those who have accepted God's gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, at the point of physical death, enter into God's eternal glory. They shall be resurrected and transformed to His body of glory, and they shall receive their inheritance of glory in the Kingdom of their Father. They shall be made fully blessed in the presence and service of God, whom they shall see and enjoy throughout the ages. We believe that all unsaved persons, at the point of physical death, are destined for eternal damnation. They will be resurrected, separated from the righteous, judged, and cast into an existence of eternal punishment where they will be tormented day and night forever and ever when death and Hades is cast into the Lake of Fire. We believe it is imperative for the Church to work and wait in sober watchfulness, that it may be found ready at His coming.
We believe that the supreme task for every believer is to glorify God in his life; that his conduct should be blameless before the world; that he should be a faithful steward of his/her possessions; and that he/she should seek to realize for himself/herself the full stature of maturity in Christ.