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© Ekklesia Evangelical Fellowship | 2017

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

(Acts 2:42)

I. CHURCH

  1. We believe that church is a community of believers—all those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Church is not a building or a property; church is God’s people, called in the Scriptures as the Body of Christ, the Temple of God and the Household of God. (1 Cor. 12:27; 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:19)

II. LOCAL CHURCH

  1. We believe that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Gal. 1:2; Phi. 1:1; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1) Therefore, every believer ought to be a part of a local church. Although there is the universal church, we believe that a believer ought to be a member of a particular local church and grow with others in the church body. (1 Cor. 11:18-20; Heb. 10:25) 
     

  2. We believe that church gathering is not an option but a clear command from the Scripture— “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:42). Therefore, a believer should not neglect church fellowship or meetings, and ought to make every effort to be a part of its regular gathering.
     

  3. We believe in the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom (Tit. 1:5). However, churches can cooperate with each other for one another edification and propagation of the gospel. (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20)

III. SMALL COMMUNITY
 

  1. We believe in planting small community churches for proper overseeing and discipleship, for intimate fellowship and mutual encouragement, and for the exercise of spiritual gifts by every member. We believe that Christ's church functions best in smaller setting, for they are largely decentralized, simple, easy to reproduce, intimate, personal, equipped, and inexpensive. (Acts 20:28; Heb. 3:13; Acts 2:42; 1 Pet. 4:10)
     

  2. We believe that when the number of believers outgrow, causing the above characteristics difficult to practice, the church has to multiply, forming another fellowship. The purpose of small community church is to grow and multiply effectively, not simply to remain small, complacent and stagnant. [For further knowledge on this subject, read "Small Relational Churches: A Divine Design" by Steve Atkerson]

Note: We don’t claim to have certain numbers of members in each church. Based on the wisdom of God, each church can decide how many members they can have without violating the biblical principles on church function.

IV. LOVING COMMUNITY

  1. We believe that church is not a program or a service; it is a loving community, a spiritual family and hence relationship based. (1 Tim. 3:15; Acts 2:42, 46; Rom. 12:10; 1 Tim. 5:1-2) Therefore, we make every effort to cultivate familial atmosphere within the church, urging church members to walk in love for one another.
     

  2. We believe that a church has to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation; to be mindful of being humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love. (Heb. 3:13; Eph. 6:18; Gal. 6:10; Rom. 12:13; Col. 3:12-14; Rom. 12:16-21; Eph. 4:1-3)


V. BAPTISM
 

  1. We believe that baptism is an immediate act after genuine repentance and belief in Christ Jesus. (Acts 2:37-41; 8:12; 8:36-38; 9:17-18; 10:45-48; 16:31-34; 19:5) Although baptism is not a requirement for salvation, a saved person should not neglect taking baptism, for it is the command of Christ to those who put their faith in Him (Matt. 28:19). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:38-42). Therefore, we believe that those who have taken infant baptism or baptism without salvation should still undergo valid baptism after their genuine conversion.
     

  2. We believe that people are not saved by baptism but only by the finished work of Christ on the cross. Baptism is only a symbolic and an external act, confirming internal commitment and change. (Rom. 6:1-11)
     

  3. We believe that an unbaptized person can be a part of our services but we do not consider him as a formal member of our church.
     

  4. We believe in baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39).
     

  5. We believe that any committed and growing believer can give baptism, not necessarily a pastor. (Jn.4:2; Acts 8:12; 8:36-39; 9:18; 22:16; 1 Cor.1:17) [For further study on this subject, read "The Great Commission" by C. Stephen David]

VI. THE LORD'S SUPPER
 

  1. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes (1 Cor. 11:28-32).
     

  2. We believe that the Lord’s Supper should be observed in the regular gathering of the church, knowing that it is one of the chief purposes of its meeting. (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor.11:18-20,33)
     

  3. We believe in celebrating the breaking of bread followed by a fellowship meal so that we would reverentially remember the Lord’s death and also relish the fellowship of one another. (Acts 2:42,46; 1 Cor.11:20-21; Jude 12) This way, the Lord’s Supper also reflects the future marriage supper of the Lamb. (Acts 2:46; Lu. 22:28-30; Rev. 19:6-9) [For further knowledge on this subject, read "The Lord’s Supper — A Fellowship Feast" by Steve Atkerson]
     

  4. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is to be observed by those who are officially recognized as members of our local church. Visitors to our church can partake in the breaking of bread, provided they are born-again and are committed to their local church.
     

  5. We believe that the Lord’s Supper should be partaken in a worthy manner. When believers have interpersonal conflicts, including husband and wife, we encourage them to settle their disputes and then partake in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:17-33).
     

  6. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a reminder of church’s vertical relationship with the Lord, i.e. remembering Christ’s atonement and victory on the cross, and also of its horizontal relationship with one another, i.e. mutual fellowship and encouragement. (Acts 2:46; Luke 22:15-18,30; 1 Cor.11:26; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor.10:16) 
     

  7. We believe that any committed and growing believer can administer the Lord’s Supper, not necessarily a pastor.


VII. LEADERSHIP
 

  1. We believe that a church has to be led by a plurality of elders. (Acts 14:23; 20:28; Phil.1:1; 1 Tim.4:17; Heb.13:17; Jas. 5:14; 1 Pet.5:1-2) [For further knowledge on this subject, read "Biblical Evidence for the Plurality of Elders" by Alexander Strauch]
     

  2. We believe that biblically designated leaders serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders, also called bishops, pastors, shepherds and overseers (Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:11), with deacons assisting them, both of whom must meet and live by biblical qualifications (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-5).
     

  3. We believe that church elders lead as servants of Christ and have His authority in leading the church with servant attitude. (1 Tim. 5:17-22; Matt. 20:25-28) We also believe that believers must submit to their leadership so that their work will be a joy, not a burden. (Heb. 13:7, 17)
     

  4. We believe the elders of the church to be preferably (not necessarily) bi-vocational, i.e. serving the church by supporting themselves through a job or business. Of course, we also believe that some elders might be financially supported, particularly those who labor in preaching and teaching. (Acts 20:33-35; 1 Tim. 5:17-18)
     

  5. We believe that church leadership exists to oversee the welfare of believers, i.e. discipling them in their walk with God, equipping them for ministry, and protecting them from false doctrines. (1 Pet. 5:2-3; Eph. 4:11-14; Acts 20:28)
     

  6. We believe that though elders have a significant role in the body of Christ, all important decisions are to be made by considering the consensus of the church, not by the elders alone. We believe in elder-led congregationalism. (Matt. 18:17; Acts 15:22; 1 Cor. 5; 1 Thess. 5:12-15) [For further knowledge on this subject, read "Elder Rule & Congregational Consensus" by Steve Atkerson]


VIII. EVERY-MEMBER MINISTRY
 

  1. We believe that every believer should be an active, functioning and participating member of a local church, not a mere spectator, attendee and passive member. (1 Cor. 12:14-27; 1 Pet. 4:10)
     

  2. We believe that the primary purpose of church gathering is mutual edification. Encouragement is a great ministry believers can give to one another. Therefore, we urge every believer to become a part of our church with this purpose. (1 Cor. 14:26; Heb. 10:24-25) 
     

  3. We believe that every member is called to ministry and that each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. (1 Pet. 4:10) This does not mean every member is called to leadership but to some definite ministry of the church. This also does not mean every member has to do some role in the forefront, but whether on the forefront or behind the scenes, a believer has to employ his/her gift for the church’s edification and for the glory of God. (1 Pet. 4:11)
     

  4. We believe that one great ministry of the church is to practice hospitality towards both fellow believers and outsiders (Matt. 25:34-40; Rom. 12:13; 1 Tim. 6:18; Titus 3:8,14; Heb. 13:2; 1 Pet. 4:9). Since this is a missing virtue in our self-obsessed culture, we therefore encourage believers to open their homes to share their love with others.
     

  5. We believe that all members comprise a fully functioning priesthood and deny clergy/laity distinction in the traditional sense. (Heb.13:15-16; 1 Pet.2:5,9; Rev.1:6)


IX. SPIRITUAL POWER AND GIFTS 
 

  1. We believe that being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit is necessary for effective Christian living and witnessing. We believe that a Spirit-filled life is a continuous experience, not just a one-time event, and a believer has to experience this reality in his/her daily life. (Acts 4:31; Eph. 5:18)
     

  2. We believe that God gives unique and spiritual gifts to each member of the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:5-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). Therefore, every believer should pray, know and exercise their God-given gift[s]. Regarding the miraculous spiritual gifts, we take an "open but cautious" view.

 

X. DISCIPLESHIP 
 

  1. We believe that every believer in the church should be discipled or mentored, whether by an elder or a mature believer. We encourage believers to cooperate in this matter, for this helps in the effective growth of one’s Christian life.
     

  2. We believe in holding believers accountable with love in regard to their obedience to spiritual disciplines, such as consistent personal devotions, regular family devotions, commitment to purity and integrity, healthy interpersonal relationships and witnessing to the unbelieving world. (Matt. 28:20)
     

XI. DISCIPLINE

  1. We believe that church has to hold each other responsible in the obedience of faith through biblical discipline. We believe that church discipline helps to purify the church, to restore the sinning believer, to prevent the church from sin, to warn others and to maintain credible witness before the world. (Matt 18:15; 2 Cor 2:5-8; 1 Cor. 5:6; 1 Tim 5:20; 1 Pet 2:11-18; 3:8-16; 4:1-4)
     

  2. We believing in disciplining the sinning members of the church in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matt. 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 1:19-20; Tit. 1:10-16). Serious discipline should be applied to the following sins:

  • Sexual Immorality [Habitual use to watching Pornography, engaging in Fornication, Adultery, Homosexuality]  (1 Corinthians 5:11)
     

  • Greedy [apparently obsessed with excessive materialism and/or advocating and promoting materialism] (1 Corinthians 5:11)
     

  • Idolatry [persistent practicing of occult, mystical, or pantheistic systems] (1 Corinthians 5:11)
     

  • Slander [bringing divisions within the church through slandering and gossiping tongue] (1 Corinthians 5:11)
     

  • Drunkunness [habitual use of intoxicating drinks] (1 Corinthians 5:11)
     

  • Swindling [Stealing, deceiving, cheating and borrowing money without repayment] (1 Corinthians 5:11)
     

  • Idleness [reluctance to work to earn one’s living and thereby being a burden to others] (2 Thessalonians 3:6)
     

  • Divisive [Bringing divisions in the church and rebelling against church leadership] (Titus 3:10,11)
     

  • False Teaching [In regard to central doctrinal issues] (I Tim. 1:20; Tit. 1:10-11; Rom.16:17)


In addition, we believe that other sins not specifically mentioned may call for serious discipline as well. Examples include:

 

  • Various types of social violence such as rape, assault and domestic violence.
     

  • Abortion because from conception to birth it is a baby and abortion is murder. We only see abortion as necessary when it proves significant threat to the mother such as ectopic pregnancy.
     

  • Drug abuse, which is implied in the term "drunkard" (I Cor. 5:11).
     

  • Certain kinds of unbiblical divorce and remarriage. [See Family section]
     

Conflict between believers: Since we are vulnerable to interpersonal problems, we encourage every believer to solve their problems by following Jesus’ teaching – Matthew 18:15-17. Failure to do so and engaging in gossip and bitterness would call for church discipline. The goal is to preserve the bond of unity (Eph. 4:3).

 3. The steps of church discipline are as follows and are applied depending on the intensity of sin:

 

Step 1: The individual living in sin is personally confronted/admonished with the goal of correction, reconciliation and restoration. (Matt. 18:15; Gal. 6:1) If the individual does not listen, then Step 2.

 

Step 2: The individual living in sin is confronted/admonished again, with two or three witnesses   present, with the goal of correction, reconciliation and restoration. (Matt. 18:16) If the individual does not listen, then Step 3.

 

Step 3: After giving sufficient time and chances, the matter will be finally brought to the entire church at a regular fellowship gathering. The church will be instructed to seek after the individual to bring about repentance and reconciliation. (Matt. 18:17) If the individual does not listen to the church’s admonition to repent, then Step 4.

 

Step 4: If the individual does not repent even after all the above efforts, the individual is to be excommunicated and can no longer participate in the fellowship of the community (Matt. 18:17). If the individual repents later, he can certainly be restored back to the fellowship. Remember, when a person is excommunicated from the church, no one in the community must fellowship with them, except to talk about repentance and restoration. (1 Cor. 5:11) 

 

XII. OFFERINGS
 

  1. We believe that it is biblical for believers to be generous, regular, and cheerful in giving to the mission and ministries of the church. [For references, check the second last point in this section]
     

  2. We believe that believers should give voluntarily as God had blessed them and as they had purposed in their heart. We also believe that the New Testament does not teach Old Testament tithing but generous giving. (2 Cor. 8:3-4; 9:7) 
     

  3. We believe that giving should be done in secret to please the heavenly Father, not making it public to please folks and to receive their praise. (Matt. 6:1-4)
     

  4. We believe that giving should be done out of love and care, not out of greed to receive more of material things in this world. (1 Cor. 16:14) We believe that God does bless those who give generously and He does meet all our needs [not necessarily all our wants and wishes] according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Phi. 4:19) But we strongly deny the teachings of prosperity gospel which turned giving as a business transaction for worldly prosperity and earthly riches.
     

  5. We believe that church offerings should be primarily used to relieve the needy, to assist Christian workers and for gospel work. (Acts 2:44-45; Gal.6:9-10; 1Jn.3:17; 1 Tim.5:17-18; 1 Cor.9:6-14; 2 Cor.8:3; Phil.4:15-18; Lk.12:33-34; Eph.4:28; Jas. 1:27)
     

  6. We believe in accountability and above reproach in all our financial dealings. (2 Cor. 8:20-21)


XIII. FAMILY
 

  1. We believe that the spiritual condition of the church is dependent on the spiritual condition of families. The church will be as strong as her families. For this reason, we encourage believers to build a strong family life by being faithful in their roles that are laid explicitly in God’s word. (Eph. 5:22-6:4; Col. 3:18-21)
     

  2. We believe that husband is the head of the family and his leadership ought to be exercised with love and wisdom. We believe that wives should learn to be submissive to their husbands and respect them. And we also believe that parents should bring up their children in the knowledge and obedience of God’s word. (Eph. 5:22-33; Eph. 6:4; Deut. 6:6-7)
     

XIV. WOMEN
 

  1. We believe that both men and women are together created in the image of God and are therefore equal before God as persons, possessing the same moral dignity and value, and have equal access to God through faith in Christ. (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:18; Gal. 3:28)
     

  2. We believe that men and women are together the recipients of spiritual gifts designed to equip and empower them for ministry in the local church and beyond. (1 Cor. 12:1-11; 1 Pet. 4:10)
     

  3. We also believe that God has ordained the principle of male headship in both the home and in the local church and that certain governing and teaching roles are restricted to men. (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7; 1 Cor. 11:2-16; 1 Tim. 2:11-15; 3:1-7) Having stated this, we believe that women can assist in worship, can share testimonies, can lead children’s meeting, can lead women’s discipleship group, can teach in women’s conference, can assist in the celebration of both baptism and the Lord’s Supper, can serve as deaconesses, can help in evangelistic outreach, can be consulted by the local church eldership when decisions are being made, and can contribute to virtually every other capacity of local church life. We also believe that women should be encouraged to pray in corporate church meetings (1 Cor. 11:5) and should be given every opportunity to develop and exercise their spiritual gifts in the roles wherever the Scripture does not explicitly prohibit. [For further study on this subject, read Men and Women in Ministry by Dr. Sam Storms]
     

  4. We believe that women should dress modestly, with decency and propriety, avoiding clothing that displays her breast cleavage, her midriff, her buttocks or her thighs to the public, which entices men to lust. We also believe that she should avoid ostentatious clothing and gold to impress others. (1 Tim. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:3-4) But all these things should be done with a focus on cultivating one’s inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (1 Pet. 3:4) [For further study on this subject, read Modesty and Beauty Are not Antonyms by Marshall "Rusty" and Julie Entrekin]
     

  5. We believe in women’s head covering during their participation in the church. This is to be followed as a sign of submission to man, not simply as a ritual (1 Cor. 11:1-16) [For further study on this subject, read Should Christian Women Wear Head Coverings Today? by Dr. Robert Spinney]
     

XV. CHILDREN

  1. We believe that children should be present with their parents in church meetings. This helps them to learn about church life closely and prepares them even to become responsible members of the church as they grow and get saved. It is the responsibility of parents to teach and lovingly discipline their children to maintain appropriate conduct in church meetings.
     

  2. We believe that parents are primarily responsible for the spiritual upbringing of their children. (Deut. 6:6-7) They should not cast this responsibility entirely on church but can receive help from the community.


XVI. BOYS AND GIRLS 
 

  1. We believe it is our responsibility to protect boys and girls from sexual immortality which is so prevalent among the youth of our age. Normal communication between a boy and girl is fine in church fellowship, but we do not encourage among them intimate communication, close physical contact and isolated meeting. We think this rule is good to apply in all the other aspects of life.
     

  2. We believe that young people should see church as a community through which they grow in the fellowship of God and with one another and not see it as a platform to cultivate affairs with opposite sex. Of course, as they grow in fellowship, they may like the opposite sex and consider marriage. Although they have this freedom, we caution them not to behave in a way that would bring disgrace to God’s name and His church, thereby incurring church discipline.
     

  3. We believe it is good and helpful to take the help of elders and mature believers when considering life partner, for many young folks make emotional choices in this regard without using prayer, counsel and discernment, and later experience a miserable marital life.
     

XVII. MARRIAGE
 

  1. We believe that a believer and unbeliever should not marry (1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14-15).
     

  2. We believe that demanding dowry in marriage is an act of greed and covetousness and is strongly condemned. (Ex. 20:17)
     

  3. We believe the Hindu caste system is a dehumanization of human dignity who are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). In Christ’s church, the Scripture declares, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).  Hence, we condemn the caste system and encourage believers to live as one body of Christ.
     

  4. We believe in not solemnizing marriage if a believer desires to marry an unbeliever or demands dowry or prefers marrying a person from the same caste.
     

  5. We believe that divorce is not God’s will for married couples. Divorce may be permitted only when a spouse (unbeliever) deserts the relationship, commits adultery (believer or unbeliever), or is dangerously abusive. (1 Cor. 7:15; Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:10-11)
     

  6. We believe remarriage is possible only on three grounds: i) spouse’s death (Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39), ii) adultery (Matt. 19:9) and iii) deliberate choice of separation by an unbelieving spouse (1 Cor. 7:15). Except for these grounds, any person who gets divorced must remain unmarried or be reconciled. (1 Cor. 7:10-11). [For further knowledge on this subject, read Divorce and Remarriage by Dr. John MacArthur]
     

XVIII. THE GREAT COMMISSION 

  1. We believe that every believer is responsible to fulfill the Great Commission, i.e. to preach the gospel and to make disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that Christ commanded. (Matt. 28:19-20)
     

  2. We believe that every believer must be active in personal and local church evangelism. 
     

  3. We believe that church ought to be mission oriented. It is our desire and passion to send church planters from our assembly who are either bi-vocational or full-time, spreading the kingdom of God in different parts of the world.
     

XIX. CHURCH COVENANT

  1. A covenant is generally defined as “a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.” The covenant of Ekklesia Evangelical Fellowship contains conditions that are Scriptural.
     

  2. To become a member of EEF, we encourage the prospective members to commit themselves to regularly attend church meetings, faithfully partake in the weekly breaking of the bread, pray regularly for the church, love one another as God’s family, and pursue holiness in daily Christian life.
     

  3. We consider only those who have born-again experience with an appropriate understanding of the gospel of Christ and are baptized in obedience to Christ's commandment and have committed themselves to our church covenant as members of Ekklesia Evangelical Fellowship. We take at least two months to evaluate a person’s commitment and then confirm church membership, which is affirmed by church elders and church members.
     

  4. Only the members are required to partake in the Lord’s Supper and are given ministry responsibilities. Having stated this, visitors and prospective church members can still partake in the Lord’s Supper.
     

  5. If at any time an individual member consistently breaks the church covenant, after giving sufficient time and encouragement, the church is free to take a decision to remove this person from church membership. If at any time an individual member feels to withdraw church membership and seek membership in another church, this person on the righteous grounds (not in the case of church discipline) can apply for church transfer.
     

XX. FINAL WORDS
 

  1. We do not claim of living precisely according to all our beliefs mentioned above. However, it is our desire and determination, striving to live by what we believe and teach.
     

  2. We do not claim infallibility in all that we believe on church life; we sincerely believe our beliefs to be true and if we are Scripturally convinced otherwise, we are willing to change our position.
     

  3. We do not claim that one has to agree with us in everything about “Our Beliefs in Regard to the Functioning of Church” in order to become a part of our local assembly. Although this is our standard of church function, we nevertheless welcome those who differ from us without trying to bring divisions and conflicts in the church.
     

  4. We do not believe that all things in this affirmation of faith are of equal weight, some being more essential, some less. We do not believe that every part of this affirmation must be believed in order for one to be saved.
     

  5. In stating the above convictions, we do not intend to imply factiousness, elitism, spiritual superiority, nor arrogance. We appreciate all those who belong to Christ, regardless of how they live out their church life (Baptist, Methodist, CSI, Pentecostal, Brethren, Hebron…etc.). Yet these are deeply held convictions by us, and we humbly present them in hope of persuading our brothers and sisters to enjoy the benefits of New Testament church practice along with us!
     

Soli Deo Gloria

CHURCH beliefs