Doctrinal Statement

Doctrinal Statement of Mount Calvary Church and School

Preamble

We, the members of Mount Calvary Church of Elizabethtown, PA., do ordain and establish the following articles, to which we voluntarily submit ourselves:

Article I – The Name

The name of this church shall be “Mount Calvary Church of Elizabethtown.”

Article II – The Object

The object of this church shall be to disseminate the Gospel, to proclaim the whole counsel of God, to teach and preach the Holy Scriptures, to operate a Christian School, and to send forth missionaries so that the Word of the Lord might be sounded forth in every place to the end that souls might be saved, believers edified, and in Christ exalted. II Tim. 4: 2, 5; Acts 1:8-11. One supreme emphasis shall be given in all its endeavors: namely, that God’s saving grace expressed in the shed blood and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary is alone the basis of salvation.

Article III – Statements of Faith

  1. Preamble

(1) These Statements of Faith define the foundational doctrines and core beliefs of the Christian Church. They are central to our understanding of Scripture regarding the Christian faith, and all members of Mount Calvary Church are required to attest to their agreement with these statements.

(2) We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of our church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the congregation and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by our ministry, or who serve our ministry as volunteers in a leadership capacity, agree to and abide by these statements of faith.    

Bible References: Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16

(3) Those Statements marked with an asterisk cover topics that often cause scholarly disagreement among believers, and while Mt. Calvary Church takes a clear position on these statements, it is our desire that our position on these specifically identified statements should not cause division among our fellow believers nor be a test for membership.

(4) This statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe.

  1. Scripture

(1) We believe the Scriptures of the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments are: God-breathed, verbally inspired by God in every word, without error, and infallible. We believe God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship, by which the Holy Spirit directed the human authors, through their individual personalities and writing styles, such that they composed and recorded God’s Word to man without error in their original writings.

(2) We believe that God’s intentions, revealed in the Bible, are the supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and life, and in testing all claims about what is true and right. In matters not specifically addressed in the Bible, what is true and right should be determined based upon the consistent teachings of Scripture which gives us all we need for life and godliness.

(3) We believe that, while there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is only one true interpretation of what God really said, which is applicable to all people of all generations. It is the responsibility of believers to carefully ascertain the true intent and meaning of Scripture, through the literal interpretation within the grammatical and historical context of each passage and within the whole of Scripture, under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men, never men in judgment of Scripture as truth.

Bible References: Matthew 5:18; Matthew 24:35; John 7:17; John 10:35; John 16:12-    15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; II Timothy 3:15-17, II Peter 1:20-21; 1 John 2:20

  1. God

            (1) The Trinity

(i) We believe in one God: infinite, eternal, almighty and perfect in holiness, truth and love. In the unity of the Godhead, there are three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – who are co-existent, co-equal and co-eternal. We call this triune nature of God, the Trinity.               

Bible References: Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:1

            (2) The Father

(i) We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, who is perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. We believe He is the only absolute ruler of the universe and the Creator of all things through Christ, His son. He infallibly foreknows all that will come to pass, and works all things according to His own purpose, glory, and grace. He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, hears and answers our prayers, and saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. We believe His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator, He is the father of all mankind, however He is the spiritual Father only to believers.

Bible References: Genesis 1:1-31; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 103: 19; Psalm 145:8-9; Matthew 23:9; Luke 10:21-22; John 1:12; John 3:16; John 6:27; Romans 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6; II Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:4-5, 11; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15-17; I Timothy 1:1-2; I Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 12:5-9; I Peter 1:3; Revelation 1:6

            (3) Jesus Christ, the Son

(i) We believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father, that he became  man by the miracle of birth through the virgin Mary, and at the same time has always been and always will be fully God. As a man, he was tempted just as we are, yet he did not commit any sin or rebellion against God. As the sinless and perfect Lamb of God, He voluntarily shed his blood as a sacrifice for man, taking on the punishment for sin when he died on the cross. Three days after His death, he physically rose from the grave and ascended into Heaven, where he is our High Priest, Intercessor, and Advocate in the presence of God the Father. Jesus is the one and only Christ, eternally God, not as a result of any attainment, consciousness, evolution, or spiritual process.

Bible References: Luke 1:26-35; John 1:1–18; Acts 1:9-11; I Corinthians 15:3-4; Hebrews 4:14-16; I John 2:1- 2;

            (4) The Holy Spirit

(1) We believe in the Holy Spirit who convicts the   world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of His coming judgment. He regenerates, sanctifies, and empowers all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in   Christ at the moment of Salvation, and that He is an abiding helper, teacher and guide.            

Bible References: John 14:16-17 & 26; John 15:26-27; John 16:8-14; Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Galatians 5:22-26

  1. Creation

(1) The World

(i) We believe that the creation account found in Genesis 1 and 2 is history and not to be taken as myth, allegory, or legend. We believe that God created the universe, and everything in it, out of nothing, by His Word and power. Having no deficiency or incompleteness in Himself, God was pleased in creation to display His everlasting glory for the joy of His people. 

Bible References: Genesis 1-2; Psalm 24:1-2; John 1:3; Acts 17:25; Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 11:3

            (2) Angels

            (i) We believe angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him.

Bible References: Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7 & 14; Hebrews 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:9

            (3) Satan

(i) We believe Satan is a created angel. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against Him, taking numerous angels with him in his fall, and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve. He is the author of sin, the prince of demons, the great enticer and deceiver, and has temporary power over unbelievers in the world. Unbelievers are in bondage to him, and he has blinded their minds so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. Satan is the adversary of Christ and His Church. His destiny is eternal punishment in Hell.

Bible References: Genesis 3:1-15; Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:4; Romans 16:20; II Corinthians 4:3-4; II Corinthians 11:14; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:26; I Peter 5:8; 1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:1-14; Revelation 20:10

            (3) Mankind

(i) We believe that Adam and Eve, the first man and woman and historical parents of the human race, were created directly by God, in His own image, morally upright, and without sin. They were created to glorify God by trusting Him, fellowshipping with Him, and obeying His all-wise counsel. We believe they were led astray from God by Satan’s deceit, and chose to take what was forbidden, thus declaring their independence from, distrust for, and rebellion against God. This rebellion (sin) against God resulted in not only physical death, but also in spiritual and eternal death, which is separation from God.

(ii) We believe this spiritual death has consequently been transferred to the entire human race (man), with Jesus Christ (as man) being the sole exception. Therefore, all humans are born with a sinful nature, are sinners by choice, and are under condemnation for sin. Mankind is totally depraved, and apart from God’s grace in drawing us to Himself, no man is good in the eyes of God, possesses any spark of divine life, nor seeks Him. Because of our sinful nature that is opposed to the things of God, we are his enemies, under the power of Satan, and must be born again to be accepted by God and made righteous (in right relationship) before Him.

(iii) Because of the sin of mankind, God has subjected the creation to futility. The adversity and suffering in the world is a result of, and witness to, the exceedingly great evil in the heart of mankind. Every new day of life is a God-given, merciful reprieve from imminent judgment, calling us to repentance and reconciliation with God.

Bible References: Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7-22; Genesis 6:5; Psalm 14:1–3; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:1-21; John 5:40; John 6:35; Romans 3:9-20; Romans 5:12; Romans 8:6-7; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Tim 5:6; 1 John 3:8

  1. Salvation

(1) We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, taking on himself the just punishment all men deserve for sin. Those who believe and place their full faith in Jesus Christ as the Only God, Lord, and Savior and repent from sin are forgiven their sins; justified on the ground of Christ’s shed blood; and granted salvation from eternal condemnation, punishment, and separation from God in Hell… At the moment of salvation, they are born again, indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit, secured to eternal life, and unable to lose their salvation. Salvation is a gift from God; granted by grace, through faith; wholly apart from human merit, virtue, or works.

(2) We further believe that no one can be reconciled to God, nor in communion with Him apart from salvation through Jesus Christ. Salvation and God’s Word provide all we need for life and godliness, and no spiritual gift, spiritual discipline, prayer or meditation lead to union with God or to a greater portion of Him. While we strive to be like Christ, growing in character and the Fruit of the Spirit, we will never become gods.

Bible References: John 1:12; John 3:14; John 10:28-29; Acts 3:19-21; Acts 4:12; Romans 5:8-9; Romans 8:1; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; I Corinthians 15:3-4; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 2:8-10; Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 1:6; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 9:22

  1. The Christian Church

            (1) The Universal and local Church

(i) We believe in the one true church consisting of all true believers in Jesus Christ, who at conversion are placed into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. We believe the body of Christ is called to meet in local assemblies for Christian fellowship, accountability, and divine worship. This one true Church is a spiritual organism whose members are endowed with spiritual gifts for the maturing and building up of the saints for outreach in Christian service. We believe that God has laid upon the members of the local church the primary task of giving the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world, and discipling all believers to maturity and wisdom in their relationship with Him. We further believe that the Church is to worship and glorify God in all that we do both individually and corporately.

Bible References: Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 2:42; I Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 4:11-16; Ephesians 5:23-32; Hebrews 10:23-25

(2) Christian Living

(i) We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God and the well-being of his fellow men; that his conduct should be blameless before the world, abstaining from all ungodly and sinful practices. He should be a faithful steward of his possessions, and he should seek, for himself and others, full maturity in Christ and holiness in the fear of God. He should seek God’s will through prayer and the study of God’s Word.

(ii) We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. 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 our church.

Bible References: Matthew 15:18-20; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31; John 14:15-24; Romans 12:1-3; I Corinthians 4:2; I Corinthians 10:31; II Corinthians 6:14 -7:1; II Corinthians 9:6-9; Colossians 1:9-10; Colossians 3:1-17; I Thessalonians 5:22; Hebrews 12:1-2; I John 2:3-6; I John 2:15-17

(3) Christ’s Ordinances

(i) We believe the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the local church to observe two ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

(ii) We believe that Baptism is a public demonstration, testimony, and witness of a person’s faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism portrays and proclaims the believer’s union with Him and our death to sin and resurrection to a new life through His death, burial and resurrection. Baptism is commanded in Scripture as an initial act of obedience following salvation.

(iii) We believe that Jesus Christ commanded believers to partake in the Lord’s Supper to commemorate His death until He returns. Moreover, we believe that neither water baptism nor the Lord’s Supper has any saving merit, nor are a means of mystical or other union with God, but rather are demonstrations of our faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and God.

(iv) *While we understand and accept that other Christians practice believer’s baptism in various modes, we believe that baptism by immersion is the biblical model and, therefore, that which we will practice.

Bible References: Matthew 28:18-20; John 1:12-13; Romans 6:3-4; I Corinthians 11:23-26

(4) Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality

(i) 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. Rejection of one’s biological gender at birth is a rejection of the image of God within that person.

(ii) We believe that God created and defined marriage as a holy relationship between one man and one woman, and that He designed and intended it to be a lifetime commitment. We believe that the marriage union is to be honorable and undefiled, and that all sexual relations are reserved for a husband and his wife only within the context of marriage. We believe that the marriage relationship represents the relationship between Christ and the Church. As such, its strengthening, sanctification, and protection are of prime importance to the Church for the wellbeing of the individual, the home, the Church, and the World.

(iii) We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including, but not limited to, adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, use of pornography, polygamy, transgender mutilation) is sinful and offensive to God.

Bible References: Genesis 1:28; Genesis 2:18-25; Ecclesiastes 9:9; Matthew 19:4-9; I Corinthians 6:9-11, 18; I Corinthians 7:3-5; Ephesians 5:22-23; I Thessalonians 4:3-7; Hebrews 13:4

  1. Spiritual Gifts

(1) We believe Spiritual Gifts are special graces or abilities given by the Holy Spirit according to God’s sovereign will, in order to prepare God’s people for Christian service, and for building up and edifying the body of Christ – the Church. We believe these gracious gifts from God are not intended to draw attention to individuals nor to be used for self-promotion or self-profit, but to be used to bring Glory to God alone.

(2) There is misunderstanding and disagreement in the contemporary Church with regard to some spiritual gifts, their workings and purpose, and whether all gifts are for all periods of the Church Age. Mount Calvary Church wishes to make known our beliefs on the Scriptural truths regarding the most controversial spiritual gifts.

(3) Divine Revelation

(i) We believe God’s Word, the Bible, is all we need for life and godliness, and is God’s final revelation to the Church. We believe only the biblical prophets and authors of the 66 books of the Bible were given true divine revelation, to be captured in Scripture as all of God’s Word for the Church “once for all delivered to the saints”, and that such revelation is different from the “gift of prophecy”. Scripture warns us not to accept any new “revelation” as on par with Scripture, or anything that contradicts God’s revealed truth in Scripture. We further believe there are groups within the contemporary Church that teach a use of certain gifts, especially tongues and prophecy, in a way that is unbiblical and emphasizes “new revelation” for the Church age.

(4) Prophecy and Tongues

(i) The Bible teaches that prophecy is for the purpose of teaching, edifying, exhorting, and consoling the Church. Scripture teaches that all prophecy and prophets are to be tested and judged objectively by the Scriptures, because “many false prophets have gone out into the world”.

(ii) We believe God’s Word teaches that the gift of tongues was a supernatural ability to speak a foreign language, as a sign for unbelievers, and for the purpose of advancing the Gospel. The Bible also refers to Christians praying to God in their spirits, in utterances that may not be understood by their own minds, nor by others. While the purpose for speaking in tongues in a church service is a subject of debate, the Bible is clear that this gift was neither essential to proving the presence of or communication by the Holy Spirit, nor an indication of deep spiritual experience.

Bible References: Deuteronomy 29:29; Isaiah 8:20; Acts 2; Romans 8:26-27; Romans 12:6-8; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 1:4-7; 1 Corinthians 4:6-7; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Corinthians 13; 1 Corinthians 14: 2-33; Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 4:11-16: 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ; 2 Timothy 4:1-3; 1 Peter 4:10; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1-3; Jude 1:3

  1. End Times

(1) Christ’s Return

(i) We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth for His saints, and for the establishment of His kingdom. We believe that the coming of Christ will occur at a time known only to God and demands our constant expectancy. We believe that this “blessed hope” motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service, and energetic missions.

(ii) *While Christ is clear that He is returning and all members of Mt. Calvary Church must attest to this biblical truth, we recognize that there remains scholarly disagreement on the interpretation of Scripture dealing with the timing of Christ’s return in relation to the Great Tribulation and the Millennial Reign of Christ. Mt. Calvary’s view is that of Christ’s pre-millennial return and a pre-tribulation rapture.

Bible References: Matthew 16:27; Matthew 24:27-30; Mark 14:62; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; I Corinthians 4:5; I Corinthians 15; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; II Thessalonians 1:7-10; II Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:11-14; Philemon 3:20; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 20:4-6 &11-15

(2) Israel & the Jewish People

(i) We believe that God has a special relationship with Israel as a nation and her children, the Jewish people. While Israel was hardened and cut off from God’s special grace through rejection of Christ as Messiah and Lord, we believe that one day the nation of Israel will be restored, and a great many Jewish people will come to salvation through acceptance of Christ as their long awaited Messiah.

Bible References: Ezekiel 37:1-14; Romans 11; Revelation 7:1-8

(3) Judgment

(i) We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men to stand before God in judgment. Those judged righteous by God through Christ’s sacrifice for their sins will be granted everlasting salvation and a blessed relationship with God in Heaven. Those who remain apart from Christ and lost in their sin will be judged guilty before God and will receive everlasting conscious punishment in Hell apart from God.

Bible References: Matthew 25:41-46; John 5:28-29; II Thessalonians 1:6-10; Hebrews 11; Revelation 20:4-6; Revelation 20:11-15; Revelation 21:1-8