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Local churches are not free to invent their own beliefs.

Local churches are not free to invent their own beliefs.

Local churches are to be governed by the word of God. All Table Fellowship churches ascribe to Table Fellowship’s statement of faith.

WHAT WE BELIEVE

THE BIBLE

2 Tim. 3:16 tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”. By this, we believe the Bible is the Word of God. It is without error, written under the inspiration of God’s Spirit, and is the final authority in all we believe and do. (Mark 13:31; John 8:31-32, 10:35, 20:31; Acts 20:32; 2 Pet. 1:20-21)

GOD: THE TRINITY

We believe, as the Bible says, that God, our Creator, exists in three equally divine and sinless persons (Father, Son, and Spirit) who execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence, and salvation.
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer, and He saves from sin and hell all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Gen. 1:1, 26; Matt. 28:19; John 1:1-3, 4:24; Rom. 1:19-20; Eph. 4:5-6)
We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son, born of a virgin. We believe that He lived a sinless life, that he performed miracles, and that His teachings are true. He died in our place, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, where He now represents us before the Father, from where He will one day visibly return to earth. (Matt. 1:18-25, 20:28; Luke 1:26-28; John 1:1, 20:28, 20:30-31; Acts 1:11; Rom. 5:6-8, 6:9-10, 8:46, 9:5; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 1:4; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pet. 2:21-23)
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who came forth from the Father and Son to convict mankind concerning sin, right living, and judgment. We believe that He draws us to Christ, gives us new life, sanctifies us (sets us apart), and empowers us. God’s Spirit lives in all who believe in Christ, and He continually helps, teaches, and guides us. His present work includes the distribution and operation of gifts to fortify the Body of Christ. (John 14:16-17, 26, 15:26-27, 16:9-14; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19, 12:4- 11, 28-29; Gal. 5:22-26)

HUMANITY

We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female, and that these two distinct, complementary genders reflect the image and nature of God. Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person. (Gen. 1:26-28)
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. (Psalm 139)

THE NEW BIRTH OF THE BELIEVER

We believe that man was created by God in His own image; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical, spiritual, and eternal death, which is separation from God. All human beings are born with a sinful nature and are under condemnation because they are sinners by choice. Those who repent and turn from sin to follow Jesus Christ as Savior are “born again” spiritually, delivered from condemnation, and receive new and eternal life. (Gen. 1:26, 3, 5:2; Ps. 51:7; Prov. 28:13; Eccles. 2:11; Jer. 17:9; John 1:13, 3:14, 3:16, 5:24, 5:30, 7:13, 8:12, 10:26; Rom. 3:19, 5:12, 8:1, 9:22; 2 Cor. 5:17; 2 Thess. 1:9; James 1:14; 1 John 1:9; Rev. 19:3, 20, 20:10, 14-15, 21:18)

THE CHURCH

The church is both universal (world-wide) and local and is a living spiritual body, of which Jesus is the head and all believers are members. The local church consists of a group of believers in Jesus Christ who have each been baptized and are committed to worship, work, and fellowship together. God has entrusted the members of the local church with the primary task of offering the good news of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world, both in word and deed. (Acts 1:8, 2:42; Eph. 2:19-22, 5:19-21; Heb. 10:23-25)

THE CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE

We believe that all Christians should repent of all known sin (for God hates sin), walk in holiness (dead to his or her former way of life), and be alive to Christ, living for the glory of God according to the truths of Scripture. The believer should honor Christ as Lord of all, including every aspect of his or her life. We should honor God with our time, talents, and possessions and strive to be conformed to the image of Christ, both individually and as a church.
Depending on one’s age and marital status, Scripture places different demands on the believer. Children should honor and obey their parents. Parents should raise their children in the fear and instruction of the Lord. Those who are single should walk in holiness, abstaining from sexual relations until marriage. Those who would marry should marry a believer. The married should walk in holiness, striving to love and honor their spouse and to obey the commands of Scripture pertaining to husbands and wives. 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. We believe marriage is ordained by God and is a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church. We believe marriage is to be a life-long commitment. We believe divorce is caused by sin and is a distortion of God’s original intent for marriage. We believe that all sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage are sin and are wholly incompatible with Christian teaching. 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. (Gen. 2:18-25; Lev. 18:22, 20:13; Matt. 15:18-20; John 14:15, 23-24; Rom. 1:26-28, 12:1-3; 1 Cor. 6:9-11, 10:31-33; 2 Cor. 9:6-9, Eph. 5:1-6:4; Heb. 12:1-2, 13:4; 1 John 2:3-6)

Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, Table Fellowship will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, members of the Elders’ Table shall only participate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one man and one woman.
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Table Fellowship as an organization and to provide a biblical role model to the members of Table Fellowship and to the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Table Fellowship in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this statement on “The Christian Lifestyle.” (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:14-16; 1 Thess. 5:22)
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 Table Fellowship.

THE ORDINANCES OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER

We believe the local church is enjoined to practice the ordinances of baptism (Matt. 28:19) and the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19-20). Baptism signifies repentance and the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), identifies the believer with Christ (Rom. 6:3- 8), and publicly initiates one into the church (1 Cor. 12:13).
The Lord’s Supper is an occasion for reflection and celebration of Christ’s life and loving sacrifice (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Participation in the Lord’s Supper involves thanksgiving (1 Cor. 10:16) and sober self-examination, with the confession of sins (1 Cor. 11:20-22, 27-29). Doing so on a regular basis is intended to emphasize the importance of Jesus’ death for us, “until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26) and to emphasize the unity of the body of Christ (John 17).

THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

We believe the Lord Jesus Christ will visibly return to earth, in person, to establish His Kingdom. At that time, our bodies will be resurrected; all will be judged; the righteous will enjoy eternal life with God, and the wicked will experience eternal damnation. (Matt. 16:27; Mark 14:62; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:1; Titus 2:13; 1 Cor. 4:5, 15; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 20:4-6, 11-15)

FINAL AUTHORITY FOR MATTERS OF FAITH AND CONDUCT

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. For purposes of Table Fellowship’s faith, doctrine, practice, Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, Table Fellowship will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, members of the Elders’ Table shall only participate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one man and one woman.
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Table Fellowship as an organization and to provide a biblical role model to the members of Table Fellowship and to the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Table Fellowship in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this statement on “The Christian Lifestyle.” (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:14-16; 1 Thess. 5:22)
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 Table Fellowship.

THE COMMON CONCERNS

Table Fellowship’s “Statement of Faith” is reflected upon and expanded in the following “Common Concerns”. These Common Concerns, like the Statement of Faith, are to be embraced by all Table Fellowship churches, missionaries, and associates.

God has called us together as churches because we also share certain additional values and hopes in common. We do not wish to further the splintering of the church, which characterizes this age, but there are certain concerns which we deem important to the life and health of our churches that we have not always heard clearly voiced by other expressions of Christ's body in our day. We believe that God has placed us together providentially at least in part in order that these concerns might be expressed.

We do not hold these concerns in such as way that by them we deliberately set ourselves above or apart from the rest of the church. We embrace them as parts of the true gospel of Jesus Christ which are often muted in our day and which need to be expressed anew.

As such, these common concerns are to a certain extent the basis of our relationships together as churches. These concerns provide an objective ground on which we stand together, and they provide practical direction for our relationships. These are the things to which we believe God has called us. These concerns form our lives together in a concrete and tangible way.

Our common concerns, however, are not exclusionary and legal weapons in our hands. Thus, we emphasize their importance to our relationships as churches but we by no means view them as the sole determinant of those relationships. Our more basic commitment is to love each other as churches and persons in the name of Jesus Christ. We have done so in the past and we intend to continue to do so in the future. These concerns are the occasion of our coming together; they remain the visible sign of our commitment in love. As such we embrace them together with joy.

GRACE

Central to the Christian life is the grace of God. God has shown his love for us in Christ, giving himself to us, forgiving our sins, and creating new life in us through Jesus Christ without regard for our works, whether good or evil. This means that grace and grace alone is the basis of our complete objective righteousness before God. It also means that this grace, which is experienced by faith and which produces good works forms the foundation for all our relationships as Christian people.

THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE

The Scriptures are our touchstone for truth in all matters regarding the Christian life. We whole-heartedly affirm the words of the Lausanne Covenant of 1974 in speaking of the place of Scripture in the Christian life, as it says:
We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm the power of God's word to accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to all men and women. For God's revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of God's people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and thus discloses to the whole Church ever more of the many-colored wisdom of God. (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11; 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 1:16, Matt. 5:17,18; Jude 3; Eph. 1:17,18; 3:10, 18)
This means that we place ourselves under the authority of the Scriptures and submit to that authority in exegesis, theology, and preaching, as well as in the living of our lives both individually and corporately.

THE EMPOWERING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

God has given of himself to the church in the person of the Holy Spirit, and by the Spirit God himself indwells every believer. The Spirit applies God's word to our hearts in power, produces in us new life and victory over sin, and gives gifts to God's people both natural and supernatural for the up-building of the church.
This means that we must rely on the Holy Spirit in every aspect of our lives: in ministry, in struggle with sin, and in each area of responsibility to which we are called. We trust the Holy Spirit to lead us into truth, to apply that truth to our lives, and to gift us charismatically in many and varied ways for God's service. (Acts 1:8; John 16:5-7; Ephesians 1:17)

HUMAN IDENTITY

Men and women are made in the image of God; therefore, each human being is special and important, with individual integrity that must be respected. Each of us was created to find the fullness of our identity in personal fellowship with God, for whom we are made. The present human condition is fallen and abnormal, with the corruption of sin having affected all human activities. Nevertheless, substantial healing from this corruption comes through regeneration in Jesus Christ and obedience to him. Complete healing and full restoration will come to those who belong to Christ at the resurrection of the dead.

This means that we show honor and respect all men and women, young and old, whole and infirm, born and unborn. We honor and respect the dignity of human life from conception; we deplore abortion and euthanasia as common practiced and approved in our society today, just as we deplore repressive and abusive treatment of men and women in any sphere of human activity.

UNITY

The oneness of the church is rooted in the fact that we share the same Spirit who has made us one body in Christ. This unity is created by God, apprehended by faith, and practiced in hope of its more complete realization in this age and the age to come.
This means that we place a preeminent value on unity, seeking to rise above sectarianism for the sake of our brotherhood. We affirm both the unity and diversity of the church, respecting diversity while working toward unity in love and service.

WORSHIP

The chief end of men and women is communion with God, and the chief expression of that communion is worship. As a people and as individuals, Christians are to live with the praises of God on their lips, whether in prosperity or in adversity.
This means that worship is preeminent in our lives before God as individuals and as churches. As the people of God we regularly gather to sing God's praises and to recount to one another his glorious deeds. Because all believers are priests before God, active participation in worship is essential to the Christian life we share in common.

COMMUNITY

Community is inherent in the nature of the one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is also the matrix and vital core of human life. Nowhere more than in the church are we called to live a life in community because we are members one of another having been given gifts with the express purpose of building one another up in Christ.
This means that we reject the practices of our individualistic culture which breed isolation and alienation. We seek to live in community and with one another in our churches in as many practical ways as possible, living with and near each other, and sharing both the joys and hardships that life brings to us.

AUTHORITY AND ORDER UNDER GOD

God has seen fit to delegate to certain human authorities a portion of the authority which belongs to him alone. God requires us to submit ourselves to human governments in the world, in the church, and in the home. God holds those in authority accountable not to contradict by their actions the divine source and ground of their authority.
This means that we seek to be submissive rather than self-assertive people, living peaceably with one another in the spheres of human authority where God has placed us. It means that we honor and respect those who serve and lead us in our homes, our churches and in other human institutions. It also means that when we exercise authority we do so in a spirit of humility and service, being mindful of him who is head over all.

DISCIPLESHIP

The gospel charges us to make disciples of all people, those who follow Jesus Christ in both thought and practice. Discipleship includes a growing, personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ; welcoming Christ's lordship over our lives and our possessions; submitting to the doctrinal and ethical demands of his teaching in the Scripture; maturing in Christ character and godly disciplines; membering oneself in a local church body; and serving the Lord wholeheartedly in all that we do. The church is the primary vehicle which God has ordained for stimulating and forming discipleship.
This means that we can never be satisfied with a gospel that does not call and establish a life of obedience to God through Jesus Christ in all areas of life, whether personal, social, or economic. It also means that discipleship flows from a heart warm toward God, so that obedience is not burdensome but is based on our response to the love of God in Jesus Christ.

STEWARDSHIP

The earth is the Lord's as are all of its fruits. Men and women were created to rule the world under God, but sin has corrupted that rule, which has become a selfish acquisitiveness for wealth and an arrogant abuse of the goods of the creation. Our redemption carries with it a call for an attitude of stewardship toward our material possessions, and for a conscientious use of the resources of the earth.
This means that we hold our material possessions as stewards only, not as owners. We reject the materialism of our age which amounts to idolatry, and we seek instead to live simply and openly, sharing our possessions as need arises. We also reject the ungodly exploitation of the earth so prevalent in our day, and we seek instead to work toward a use of the earth's goods which treats the good of the earth itself as a value.

EVANGELISM

God has given the church the message of reconciliation in Christ, and has committed to us the proclamation of the message to the whole world. The word of the gospel is good news, an announcement of God's self-sacrificial redeeming love made visible in Christ, given for the forgiveness of our sins, and calling us to a redeemed life as God's people.
This means that we embrace our responsibility to carry the good news to all men and women, seasoning all our words with grace, speaking clearly of our need for new life in Christ, and giving an account of our faith when necessary. Because we are but sojourners in this world, however, we refuse to bind the message of gospel to particular political, economic, and cultural forms which will not endure.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Faith without works is dead, and among the works which God considers to be indicative of true faith are helping those in distress, feeding those who are hungry, and ministering to all those who are captives. God is the creator of all, and in the gospel he has declared his will to be the redemption of men and women from every kind of oppression, whether spiritual, social, economic, or political.
This means that we embrace our responsibility to embody God's concern for justice in human society. We recognize that this involvement may take different forms, so we refuse to bind our concern to any one political, economic, or social ideology. But we also refuse to excuse sloth or unwillingness to risk our own security on behalf of God's justice.

HOPE

Our Lord Jesus will return to bring the fullness of his kingdom. His kingdom is present now in foretaste, but only in foretaste, and though we see and work toward its advance in this present age, he alone will establish it fully at his coming.
This means that all our thought and practice are conditioned by patient expectation of the return of Christ. We reject the highly specific affirmations of things which the Father alone knows, but we seek to discern the signs of the times. We reject the identification of the kingdom with any human achievement or organization, but we believe in and work for its embodiment in the church and other human relationships under Christ. We reject any under-estimation of human sinfulness, but we nonetheless appropriate God's reign and its increase personally, politically, and socially.

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Table Fellowship is a group of churches and missionaries on a journey together. We have committed ourselves to follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the inerrancy of God’s word and in the life-giving power of his Holy Spirit. We are striving to be biblically healthy. That is why we provide care for pastors. We work with independent churches who desire oversight and pastoral care for their leaders.

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