About Us - Our Affiliation

AFFILIATION

A.  As the Lord in creation expressed His will that man not live a solitary but a social life and then instituted the family, so He has also instituted the local church.  Although a local church should be directly dependent upon God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, yet it must recognize that as individuals we are interdependent.  The local church provides the context of such interdependence.  We also believe that a voluntary fellowship with other spiritually  like-minded churches is in good order and in no way involves the giving up of our individual freedom and direct dependence upon God.

B.  Therefore, Truth Tabernacle of Praise has chosen to continue the affiliation that it has had for many years with the Southern Baptist Convention, as long as this Convention does not subjugate the will of this autonomous body of believers, but accepts it as part of the whole Body of Christ.  The function of the Southern Baptist Convention is viewed by Truth Tabernacle of Praise as a fellowship of autonomous churches who recognize their mutual dependence.  This affiliation is maintained by voluntary contributions to doctrinally approved missions on local, state, national, and foreign levels.  Based on 2 John 10, 11, we assume the responsibility that our stewardship is to support only doctrinally, morally, and ethically sound ministries.

C.     This affiliation is for the purpose of accomplishing common endeavors with other churches.  Our affiliation, however, does not prevent us from associating ourselves with any other groups of churches or mission endeavors.  The extent of support to the Southern Baptist Convention and any other missionary or other organization shall be voluntary.  Any association with like-minded church and missionary endeavors will include an examination of each one as to its doctrinal position, effective outreach, adequate government and auditing of funds, and willingness to keep the church informed of the activities, especially those supported by the church. 

CHURCH GOVERNMENT, LEADERSHIP, AND OFFICERS

Section 1:  The Chief Shepherd

The Lord Jesus is the Chief Shepherd of this congregation.  It is before Him that all other leadership must bow (Eph. 1:22, 23; Matt. 23:8–11; 1 Peter 5:4).  He communicates  His will for the church through His Word, the Bible.  He gives additional guidance by means of the specific leading of the Holy Spirit who indwells the heart of each believer.  He also shepherds the flock through the leaders of the church to whom He has given specific gifts.

Section 2:  Biblical and Historical Background of the Government of the Local Church

A. The Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God, as presented in the New Testament, is not to be conceived as a kingdom of this world, a political kingdom.  The Kingdom of God is one of  a King who sets out to establish a primarily spiritual kingdom.  His kingdom is sovereign and does not depend on the acceptance or rejection of the general populace.  Therefore, it is not the believers who acclaim the Lord Jesus Christ as King, but it is the Lord Jesus Christ who came into this world to bring His kingdom, His rule within the human heart, and finally His outward rule in the world.

B.   The Foundation of The Church.  Christ left a small body of disciples under the direction of the Apostles with a charge to preach the Gospel to the world; but He gave nothing which can be  called either a Constitution or Bylaws.  However, He did give certain general principles for us to follow.  The Pastoral Epistles and Third John provide the guidelines for a cohesive and disciplined set of principles in view of the fact that the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was not to be immediately realized and local churches needed to be organized for an effective ministry.

C.  The Priesthood of All Believers and the Rulers of a Local Church.  The priesthood of believers is an indubitably established fact in the New Testament (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).  The church is made up of both the rulers and the individual believers.  The local church made up of all believers accepts these rulers as their representatives appointed by God (not to represent them before God but to rule among them with God's unction, having been endowed with special gifts) (Eph. 4:7–16).  All Christians, however, are priests alike before God and have direct access to God without intermediaries (1 Tim. 2:5).

Section 3:  Elders

A.  General Statement.  In its operation, the church will be governed by a group of godly men called Elders.  These shall be men in whose lives the working of the Holy Spirit is evident, who have given a worthy witness of the authority of Christ in their lives, and who have met the qualifications given in the Scriptures.  Authority for the day-to-day ministry matters will reside in the hands of the elders whether in full-time compensated service or otherwise.

B.   Qualifications of Elders.  The qualifications of elders are spelled out in 1 Tim. 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9.  For an explanation of these qualifications see the Appendix.

C.  Responsibilities of Elders.  The Elders shall be responsible for:

1.      Exercising a general superintendence over the church, the flock of God (Acts 20:28; John 21:15–17).

2.   Showing forth a consistent study and teaching of the Word of God (1 Tim. 5:17; 3:2; 1Thess. 5:12; Titus 1:9).

3.   Being good managers or stewards of God over their God-given ministry (Titus 1:7).

4.   Helping those in need (Gal. 6:10; 1 Thess. 5:14–22).

5.   Giving diligent labor, caring leadership, and guided counsel in the Word (1 Thess. 5:12;  Rom. 12:9; 1 Tim. 3:4, 5; 5:17; Heb. 13:7).

6.   Exercising pastoral care (1 Thess. 5:14, 15; James 5:14) and hospitality (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8).

Section 4:  Deacons

A.  General Statement.  The New Testament gives us a clear indication of both elders and deacons in the local church.  Deacons were those who rendered service (diakonos) in the local church.  As distinct officers in the local church they are referred to in the plural (diakonoi, Phil. 1:1), and are mentioned in addition to elders in 1 Tim. 3:8–13.  The government of the local church rests upon the elders (1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17), while the deacons give needed assistance in the various ministries of the local body of believers.

B.   Qualifications of Official Deacons.  The qualifications of the deacons are detailed in 1 Tim. 3:8–13.

C.  Responsibilities of Deacons.  Inasmuch as in the New Testament there was never an organized group of deacons constituting a body for leadership, that being taken care of by the elders, the deacons shall serve as assistants to the elders in the work of the ministry and as servants for the various needs of the church.

D.   Tenure of Service.  No limit is placed upon the time that a deacon may service

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