What Grace Inclusive Church Believes
Grace Inclusive Church affirms that we are an Inclusive Charismatic Christian Church. By this we mean:
By "Inclusive" we mean that God's love is available to everyone without regard to race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, ability/disability, class, political affiliation/beliefs, age or any other factor.
By "Inclusive" we mean that God is not male or female, and yet is both and neither. God's nature is beyond human comprehension. As a result, we employ language which primarily uses relevant pronouns, be they masculine or feminine. For instance, Jesus was clearly male in his humanity and so we refer to him as male when speaking of his life and ministry. As the second Personage of the Holy Trinity, Christ's gender identification as male is not relevant, and so we usually refer to the Christ or Child of God rather than to the "Son of God." God the Parent is not usually referred to as "God the Father" as maleness is but one aspect of the divine nature as presented in scripture. This is not political correctness on our part, but an attempt to present the scriptural truths in ways which speak to those of our generation. In the past the male pronoun was universally understood as referring to all peoples, regardless of gender. Our language has changed and our doctrines and terminologies must reflect the current understandings and meanings of our words. We believe that inclusive language is perfectly harmonious with biblical teachings and principles.
By "Charismatic" we mean that we believe the gifts and callings of God include those historically known as the "Pentecostal" or "Charismatic" Gifts. These gifts and callings are available to all Believers today and include but are not limited to speaking in other known and unknown tongues (languages), healings, prophecies, words of wisdom etc. We further believe that none of these signs are required evidences of personal salvation or righteousness, but are gifts which God sometimes bestows on some members of the Church. The exercise of these gifts must always be harmonious with scripture and Christian experience if they are to be accepted as authentic moves of the Spirit.
By "Christian" we mean that we are part of the historic Body of Christ. We accept the various standard Church creeds and doctrines (See below):
The Holy Trinity
We affirm the traditional and biblical doctrine that there exists but one eternal God. This one God, who is the God revealed by the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, is known in three distinct Persons as Parent, Child and Holy Spirit. God the Parent is Jehovah God (YHVH), the God of Israel as reflected in the Hebrew scriptures and seen in the Christian New Testament as God the Parent. God the Child is our Savior Jesus of Nazareth, who is fully God and fully human. God the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is the Comforter sent to us upon Jesus' advent to Heaven. From the day of Pentecost onward the Holy Spirit abides within the "heart" of every Believer.
We further affirm that Jesus the Christ was the one prophesied throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. We affirm that he was conceived by the virgin Mary, of the Holy Spirit, that he lived a spotless and sinless life, died as the propitiation or payment (or atonement) for our sins, and was resurrected as described in scripture, ascended back into Heaven forty days after his resurrection, and that he now resides as our High Priest and Mediator with Jehovah God.
By "Church" we refer to the Holy Universal or Catholic Church, the Body of Christ. Each Believer is a stone in the Church of God. Jesus is the chief corner stone without whom the Church would not exist. Therefore, while the Church may meet in buildings, the Church is not that Building. Wherever and whenever two or more are gathered together in Christ's name the Church is present.
By "Church" we refer to all of those who have received the free gift of salvation:
Salvation is freely given to any and all who sincerely call on God through Jesus Christ. We maintain that in order to be saved or receive the free gift of eternal life offered by our Redeemer, one must make a personal and intentional decision to relieve the gift of God's grace. Hence, going to religious services, doing good deeds etc. does not insure that one is saved.
Because scripture says, ..."Whosoever will call on the name of the Sovereign will be saved;" we affirm that salvation is freely given to all who sincerely request it. This free gift cares nothing for incidentals such as race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. It is universally available to all who choose to accept it.
We further affirm that as the "gifts and callings of God are without repentance," once God through Christ bestows salvation the recipient is eternally and unconditionally saved; in other words, we affirm the biblical doctrine of Eternal Security.
Communion or the Eucharistic Meal is the most sacred of all Christian Sacraments. When we partake of the bread and grape juice we affirm our acceptance of Jesus' sacrifice in our stead. Our Communion or Eucharistic Meal is open to Christians of all denominations and churches as well as to those Christians without any church affiliation.
We also affirm that upon requesting and receiving God's Grace, one should be baptized. The biblical model is full water immersion and represents our sharing in the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior. Baptism does not save us from our sins nor does failure to be baptized jeopardize our salvation. It is however the first calling of the new Believer and should be undergone relatively soon after conversion as a sign of obedience and public acknowledgement that one has joined the Body of Christ. Baptism, like salvation, can be undertaken at any point after the age of reason (in other words, once one is old enough to make a conscious decision for Christ). Those with infants and other children under the age of reason are invited to dedicate their children to God through the rite of christening.
Baptism by "sprinkling" has been conducted in segments of the Christian Church since the Middle Ages. It is not the method employed in scripture, however one may choose this option if desired or needed due to health considerations.
Whereas scripture commands Believers to receive the rite of baptism once in their Christian life, subsequent baptisms are not required. Those who wish may receive rebaptisms if they feel so led. It is recommended that those who were baptized as children and/or who have been out of communion for an extended period of time be baptized afresh as a sign of their rededication to Christ and the Church. Grace Inclusive Church recognizes the baptisms of all other Christian denominations and churches, though new members are certainly welcome to be baptized anew when joining our fellowship.
Marriage and Holy Unions
We affirm that there is no difference, either morally or religiously, between heterosexual and homosexual committed relationships. Grace Inclusive Church therefore performs weddings/holy unions for committed couples without regard to such considerations. At the current time, federal and state governments do not recognize same gender holy unions. We believe this is unacceptable, unchristian, and unconstitutional. We join with other people of faith to demand that all legal rights enjoyed by heterosexual persons be granted to homosexual persons as well.
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