Constitution of Christ Fellowship Church – Aurora,IL
Table of Contents
- The Holy Scriptures
- The Godhead
- The Person and Work of the Father
- The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
- The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
- Creation and the Flood
- The Personality of Satan
- The Creation of Man, the Fall, and Depravity of Man
- The Security, Assurance, and Perseverance of the Saints
- The Struggle between Flesh and Spirit in the Life of a Saint
- Evangelism and Missions
- The Church
- Biblical Marriage and Human Sexuality
Having placed our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and believing it is His will for the members of His Body (believers) to assemble in local churches, we, therefore, join ourselves together under the following name, purpose, covenant, declaration of faith, and bylaws to which we voluntarily submit.
Section I. Name, Purpose, and Covenant
The name of this organization, an Illinois corporation, shall be CHRIST FELLOWSHIP CHURCH of Naperville, Illinois, hereafter often referred to as CFC.
The purpose of CFC and of its membership in particular is to glorify God by being and making disciples of Jesus Christ. As a corporation, CFC is a not-for-profit, charitable organization. CFC shall seek to attain this end through providing for public worship, the preaching and teaching of the Bible, administering the ordinances of baptism and communion, godly fellowship and care of its membership, the practice of church discipline, and evangelism locally and globally. The standard and ultimate authority for all that we do is the Bible.
C. Church Covenant
Believing that all members of the Body of Christ (the Church), are already in covenant with each other by virtue of having been baptized into one body in Christ by the Holy Spirit, we desire to affirm our covenant responsibilities to one another by fellowshipping together in this local assembly of believers.
Believing that Jesus Christ has made all believers participants in the New Covenant in His blood and that part of that covenant involves the harmonious communion of the saints, we do now solemnly and joyfully covenant with God and with one another, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to live according to the whole counsel of God’s Word as recorded in the Bible which instructs us that: As members of the Body of Christ, we will pursue God through the consistent study of His Word and prayer. We will strive to live holy lives by the grace of God and in accordance with the Word of God. We will endeavor to be godly examples to all people in speech, behavior, and attitude.
We will honor, submit to, pray for, and communicate with each of the other members of this local fellowship and especially our church elders. We will do our best to make their ministry a joy and not a grief for them.
We will purpose to stay involved in the body life of this church through faithful attendance at worship services and participation in other programs and events so that we might give and receive the benefits of Christian fellowship. We will do our best to make CFC a friendly, nurturing church to both members and visitors. We will pray for fellow members and ministries of this church and will ungrudgingly extend practical acts of service and kindness to others within the church family.
We will whole-heartedly promote the purpose of CFC by being a disciple, making disciples, and encouraging others to do so. We will take individual responsibility for maintaining a vibrant devotional life of studying and meditation upon the Scriptures, of prayer, and of sharing the gospel with others. We will endeavor to give and receive admonition with love and humility that the body of Christ might mature in righteousness.
We will purpose to be slow in taking offense, and quick to make reconciliation. We will submit to the instruction and discipline of the church to protect the purity of our church and pursue the restoration of sinning brethren.
We will seek to win the lost for the Lord Jesus Christ by living and verbalizing the truth of the gospel. We will support the evangelistic and missionary efforts of CFC. We will serve the CFC body as the Lord enables us through the sacrificial use of our spiritual gifts and talents. We will accept the commendation of the Lord as our reward, and not seek or expect the praise of people. We will practice biblical stewardship and generosity by giving financially to support the ministry of CFC.
We will be diligent to protect the unity of the CFC body by acting in love toward all other members, by refraining from gossip, by maintaining an attitude of deference, and by supporting our church leaders. We will protect the reputation of our Lord and CFC before the world by living a holy, authentic life.
Section II. Declaration of Faith
Articles of Biblical Faith
Members of Christ Fellowship Church acknowledge substantial agreement with the following articles of faith:
A. The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbal, plenary, inspired Word of God, the final and all-sufficient authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and God-breathed (2 Peter 1:20-21; I Thessalonians 2:13; Revelation 22:18-19; Matthew 5:18; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
B. The Godhead
We believe in one Triune God, one Being in essence, eternally existing in three persons–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 3:13-17; 28:19; John 16:5-15; 2 Corinthians 13:14; also, see references for C, D, and E below).
C. The Person and Work of the Father
1. We believe that the Heavenly Father, Who is Almighty God, created all things through Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-16; Revelation 4:8-5:5).
2. We believe that God the Father, Who is love, purposed before the foundation of the world to send His only begotten Son to redeem out of fallen humanity all who will believe and receive Him as Lord and Savior (John 1:12; 3:16; 1 Peter 1:18-21; Revelation 13:8).
3. We believe that God the Father, Who is sovereign, chose us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame, elect according to His foreknowledge, and predestined to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will, that the purpose of election might stand not in works, but of Him Who calls (Ephesians 1:3-6; 2:8-9; I Peter 1:2; Romans 9:11).
D. The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the eternal Word of God and Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God and was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, in order that He might reveal God and be the Savior of the world (John 1:1-2,14; 4:42; Luke 1:35; I Timothy 4:10).
2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, Who lived a sinless life on earth, purchased our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice for sin. Our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24-25; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2:24).
3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, Who ascended to heaven, is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9-11; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1-2).
E. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
1. We believe that the Holy Spirit, Who is a Person, convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and that He is the supernatural agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8-11; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).
2. We believe that the Holy Spirit, Who is the divine teacher, guides believers into all truth; and that it is the privilege and duty of all believers to be filled with the Spirit (John 16:13; Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 2:20,27).
F. Creation and the Flood
1. We believe through faith that God, by His omniscience and omnipotence, created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them in six literal earth days of evening and morning cycles, and that the earth is relatively young according to the chronologies in Scripture. This creation was perfect until the entrance of sin brought about by the fall of man (Hebrews 11:3; Genesis 1:1-2:3; Exodus 20:11).
2. We believe that God judged the early descendents of Adam, after they reached a state of continuous evil, by destroying them with a literal, worldwide, cataclysmic flood. But Noah found grace in the eyes of God and God brought Noah and his family through the flood to repopulate the earth and to maintain His promise to send a redeemer by the seed of Eve (Genesis 6:1-22; 7:1-24; 8:1-22; 2 Peter 3:3-6).
G. The Personality of Satan
We believe that Satan is a created being, a fallen angel, the author of sin and the tempter of the first Adam in the garden and of the second Adam, Jesus Christ, in the wilderness. Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man, the prince of the power of this world system. Yet God, Who is sovereign over Satan, shall eternally punish him in the lake of fire (Ezekiel 28:15; Job 1:6-7,12; 2:6; Isaiah 14:12-17; Genesis 3:1-6; I Corinthians 15:45, 47; Matthew 4:2-11; 25:41; Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 20:10).
H. The Creation of Man, the Fall, and Depravity of Man
We believe the first man, Adam, was created by the immediate and special intervention of God, as opposed to any evolutionary process of development. God breathed into man “the breath of life” and he became a living soul, bearing the image of God. In Adam’s sin the entire human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. The probation and fall of man is neither an allegory nor a myth, but true history. As a consequence of sin, spiritual and physical death entered the world. In his fallen state, man is totally depraved and unable to remedy his lost condition by himself including an inability to exercise saving faith in Christ apart from the drawing of the Father and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7,17; Romans 3:22-23; 5:12; 8:5-8; Ephesians 2:1-5,12; John 6:44,65; 16:7-11,13).
We believe that salvation is the free gift of God given to all who by grace through faith repent of their sin, believe on, and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of sins. In salvation the sinner, elect according to the foreknowledge of God, becomes a born again child of God, a new creation, and a saint of God. (John 1:12; 3:3,7; Luke 13:5; 24:47; Acts 3:19; 11:18; 20:21; I Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 7:10; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; Acts 4:12; 1 Peter 1:2,18-19, 23; 2 Peter 1:10; Galatians 6:15; Romans 1:7; 8:27; Ephesians 1:1; 2:19).
J. The Security, Assurance, and Perseverance of the Saints
1. We believe that all who truly believe in and receive Jesus Christ as Savior are ordained to eternal life, kept by God’s power, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 1:12; 3:15-18; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; 20:31; Acts 13:48; 16:30-31; Romans 6:23; 10:9; 8:1,38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1:1; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).
2. We believe that it is the privilege of the saints to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word; however, this assurance should not give Christians liberty, license, or occasion to gratify the lusts of the flesh. (Luke 10:20; John 5:24; 1 John 5:10-13; Romans 13:11-14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15; 1 Peter 1:14-16; Jude 1:4).
3. We believe that the grace of God, operating through the Holy Spirit, disciplines God’s true children and is pleased with their obedience as they work out their salvation with fear and trembling until the day of redemption (Philippians 1:2-6; 2:12-13; Hebrews 12:1-8).
K. The Struggle between Flesh and Spirit in the Life of a Saint
We believe that every born-again person possesses a new nature in Christ, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the flesh (old man, old self) through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The flesh (old man, old self) was and is crucified
with Christ that sin might no more have dominion over us; however, while we possess earthly bodies we are unable to reach a state of sinless perfection. (Romans 6:5-7,13-14; 8:12-14; Galatians 2:20; 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 1:8-2:2; 3:5-9).
We believe that all the saints should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord; and that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations is commanded by God (Romans 12:1-2; 14:13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 1:9-11).
M. Evangelism and Missions
We believe that it is the obligation of the saints, individually and corporately, to witness by life and by word to the truths of Holy Scripture and to seek to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all mankind (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
N. The Church
1. We believe that the invisible, universal Church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons of this present age. We believe that the Church was a mystery in the Old Testament and is distinct from the nation of Israel (Acts 2:1-21,38-47; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:11-3:6; 5:25-27,32).
2. We believe the New Testament teaches the establishment and continuance of visible local churches. The local church is God’s primary means of fulfilling His purpose of proclaiming the gospel and making disciples. (Acts 14:27; 20:17,28-32; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11).
3. We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of external ecclesiastical authority or control, other than Jesus Christ as Head and the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as God’s written revelation (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Romans 16:1-4; 1 Corinthians 3:9,16; 5:4-7,13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
4. We recognize the New Testament ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In Baptism, believers follow the Lord’s example and command in water baptism by immersion. In the Lord’s Supper, believers proclaim the Lord’s death by the breaking of bread and drinking of wine (juice). (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 18:8; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
O. Biblical Marriage and Human Sexuality
We believe God created mankind as either male or female (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:18, 1Timothy 3:2, 12, 5:9, Titus 1:6), and His design and plan for marriage is the joining of one man and one woman for life (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5-6, Romans 7:1-3).
We believe God blessed marriage by designing couples so that they can be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. We believe that God has provided for children by giving us sexual desire and marriage is the natural and safe place for humans to be open to, and even eager for, God’s blessing of children (Genesis 1:28, Psalms 127:3).
We believe God’s design is that no intimate sexual activity should be engaged in outside of a marriage. We believe any form of fornication, adultery, incest, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex (Exodus 20:14, Leviticus 18:8-18, 20:10-18, Proverbs 6:32, Galatians 5:19, Colossians 3:5, Job 31:1). We believe God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or by wearing the other gender’s clothing (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 Corinthians 6:18, Romans 1:26-27, Deuteronomy 22:5).
We believe men and women are of equal value before God as both are created in the image of God, however, God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual and physical functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church and the wife is to respect and honor her husband as the church respects and honors Christ (Galatians 3:28, 1 Corinthians 11:8-12, Ephesians 5:21-33, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 1 Timothy 5:9-10, Titus 2:4-5).
We believe God has ordained the family as the foundational institution out of which the church and the government are built (Exodus 20:12, Matthew 1:1–17 (Jesus is the son of Abraham and the son of David), Luke 3:23-38 (Jesus is the son of God) ).
Children are a blessing from the Lord and parents are responsible to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord through the example of a consistent godly lifestyle and appropriate discipline (Deuteronomy 6:2, 6:4-7, Proverbs 3:12, Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 29:17, Ephesians 6:1-4).
In subscribing to the preceding articles of faith, we by no means set aside, or undervalue, any other doctrines or teachings of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. This statement reflects our best understanding of Scripture and the need for doctrinal clarity leading to harmony within this body of believers. Recognizing that various levels of spiritual maturity and Scriptural knowledge are always present in the body and knowing that some matters are legitimately left to personal persuasion (Romans 14:5), substantial agreement, as determined by the elders, is requisite for membership in Christ Fellowship Church. Humble, good-natured deference, a wholesome respect for the opinions and conscience of others in doctrinal matters, and a commitment to the Scriptures being the final authority for faith and practice will characterize any dialogue pertaining to genuine differences.
Section III. Bylaws
Article 1. Membership
Those who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior are God’s possession through redemption and have already been made members of the Body of Christ (John 1:12; Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14; 11:24, 26; 20:28; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 12:13; Ephesians 1:14; 4:4-5; Hebrews 12:23).
Membership in Christ Fellowship Church is an opportunity to visibly express one’s desire to be committed and accountable to this particular local body of believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 15:22; 16:5; 1 Cor. 1:2; 4:17; 11:18; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 10:24-25).
Members will demonstrate through verbal testimony a faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-11) and a lifestyle consistent with the light of the Holy Scriptures (1 John 1:5-7; 2:6); are in substantial agreement with the Articles of Biblical Faith (Section II – DECLARATION OF FAITH) and with the distinctive practices of the church (Acts 2:1, 46, 4:24, 5:12, 8:6, 15:25, Phil. 2:2); and regularly attend Sunday worship.
Members of Christ Fellowship Church have the responsibility to receive instruction from the Word of God (Acts 2:42); fellowship with those of the church (Acts 2:42); pray for others in the church (Acts 2:42); follow the leadership of the church (Romans 13:1, Hebrews 13:7; 1 Pet 5:5); give tithes and offerings and exercise their spiritual gifts to support the ministry of the church (Romans 12:3-8; Eph. 4:1-16; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 9); accept discipline of the church (Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-7; Titus 3:10); and strive to be of one accord (Phil. 2:2).
Article 2. Leadership
The primary leadership consists of elders and deacons, whose responsibility is to have oversight of the spiritual and practical welfare of the church.
The elders are the spiritual leaders (under shepherds) of the church and receive their authority from the written Word of God and the living Word of God-Jesus Christ, the Chief-Shepherd, to Whom they are ultimately accountable (Acts 14:23; 15:6; Titus 1:5; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
1. Qualifications: An elder must be a man who aspires to the office, is biblically qualified as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4, has proven himself faithful in ministry and in leading his family.
2. Duties: Elders are to pattern their lives after Christ’s example of servant-leadership (Matthew 20:27; Philippians 2:5-8). They are responsible to oversee the spiritual life and general welfare of the church by being devoted to prayer and the ministry of God’s Word (Hebrews 13:17; Acts 6:4). They are to teach the Word of God both in public and private (2 Timothy 2:24; 4:2), affirming the truth and refuting error (Titus 1:9).
They are to set an example to the flock in spiritual character and conduct (1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7; 1 Peter 5:3), being peacemakers for the flock and disciplining those who err with the goal of protecting the purity of the church and restoring the wayward member (Ephesians 4:3; 2 Timothy 4:2; Galatians 6:1). While they may delegate many facets of ministry to other leaders and servants in the flock, the elders bear the ultimate responsibility for the policies, practices, and decisions of the church (Hebrews 13:17).
3. Meetings: The elders shall meet regularly to fulfill their responsibilities, including planning, prayer, and policymaking. For purposes of decision making at a given meeting, a quorum shall consist of at least 50% of the elders. The elders shall obtain the informed decisions of all elders for the purpose of unanimity (See C.6. Spirit of Unanimity).
The deacons administrate and serve to care for the physical and temporal needs of the church. Their delegated responsibilities and service allow elders to be free to give themselves to the Word of God and prayer.
1. Qualifications: A deacon must be a man who aspires to the office, is biblically qualified as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and has proven himself faithful in ministry and in leading his family.
2. Duties: The deacons shall be responsible to oversee the assigned responsibilities as directed by the elders. The deacons are to function in a spirit of humility and submission under the oversight of the elders.
1. Jesus Christ as Chief Shepherd: This church submits to the authority of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible (John 14:15-21, 23-26; Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Peter 5:4).
2. Selection: The elders will keep watch for men who are qualified and desire to serve Christ in leadership capacity (2 Timothy 2:2). The elders shall unanimously affirm men to positions of leadership (1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22).
3. Tenure: Each man may serve as long as he aspires to the position of leadership, maintains his biblical qualifications, is faithful to discharge his leadership duties and has the confidence of the elders. An elder or deacon may be removed from his office at his own request or at the unanimous request of the elders.
4. Plurality: The elders of this church shall lead as a group, with no elder or elders having any degree of authority above the rest. While it is recognized that there may be leaders amongst leaders within the body of elders, all elders shall exercise the same authority (Acts 11:29-30; 14:23; 20:17).
5. Oversight: The day to day affairs of the church will be overseen by the elders. The elders serve as the under shepherds of this church and will be responsible to oversee all teaching, preaching, counseling, prayer, administration of ordinances, and any other aspect of biblical responsibility or ministry within the church. They may delegate certain positions and tasks to qualified people within the congregation or may seek outside assistance when deemed appropriate. The elders shall have authority to remove persons from any area of ministry or service (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-3).
6. Spirit of Unanimity: The elders shall strive to make decisions prayerfully and with humility in order that its decisions be unanimous. Each elder must consider the wisdom and insight of the other elders ahead of his own. This will maintain confidence that the elders are acting in accordance with the will of God (Philippians 2:1-5; Ephesians 4:3). The elders shall obtain the informed decision of all elders for the purpose of unanimity (See A.3. Meetings).
7. Spiritual Authority and Accountability: As Jesus Christ has given authority and responsibility to elders to shepherd His people, so the elders shall exercise spiritual authority by being examples to the flock in character and conduct, by teaching biblical truth, and by disciplining the flock in a spirit of love and truth. As shepherds and overseers of the flock, the elders shall have final authority in all policies, practices, and decisions affecting the life of this church. They are primarily accountable to Jesus Christ Himself for how they lead (Hebrews 13:17), but also in a practical sense to one another and to the other members of this congregation for the things outlined in this constitution (Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5). Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Timothy 5:19-20 should be followed in addressing elders who persist in sin.
d. Corporate Officers
In order to meet requirements of incorporation within the state of Illinois, the elders shall serve as directors and appoint officers at their discretion.
Article 3. Property and Assets
This church, as a corporation, shall have power to buy, hold, and sell real property in its name, as well as other tangible property and assets. No real property may be bought or sold without unanimous approval of the elders. In case of dissolution of the church, all property and assets shall be handled according to Article 6.
Article 4. Confidentiality of Church Records
No member or non-member shall have the right to inspect the church records as to contributions, meeting minutes, or any other records and documents which the elders determine to be in the best interests of the church to keep confidential. The church financial statements (apart from records of individual contributions) shall be made available to any member upon request.
Article 5. Denominational Affilation
Christ Fellowship Church is not affiliated with any denomination nor gives allegiance to the doctrine of any denominational group or organization.
Article 6. Dissolution
In the event of dissolution for any reason, of the Christ Fellowship Church, after payment of all financial obligations of record on the date of such dissolution, the buildings, land, and all other assets of the Christ Fellowship Church shall be given to another church with appropriate legal standing and with similar values and goals as those of CFC, as ascertained by the elders at the time of dissolution, to be used, administered, or sold by the chosen corporation or entity as the officers of that organization shall determine.
Article 7. Amendments
This constitution may be amended by unanimous approval of the elders.
This constitution was adopted by the elders on February 7, 2007.