Position Papers

A Perspective on Baptism

Baptism is the testimony that one has renounced the old life of self-centeredness and has begun a new life of following Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We view baptism as a practice of obedience to Jesus Christ. Baptism is a physical symbol of the spiritual reality of what Christ does in a believer’s life. Christ baptizes a believer in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11), cleanses a believer from sin (Acts 22:16), and gives the believer a new life—a resurrected life (Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12). When one places faith in Jesus Christ, the believer should seek to be baptized as soon as possible as a way of obeying Jesus (Acts 8:36, Acts 16:33, Acts 18:8) and publicly proclaiming faith in Jesus. Baptism is so important that the New Testament assumes everyone who believes in Jesus will be baptized. Baptism is not essential to salvation (Titus 3:5, Luke 23:39 43).

In the New Testament, baptism always follows personal faith (Acts 2:38, Acts 2:41, Acts 8:12-13). We only baptize people who have personal faith in Jesus, therefore infants are not baptized. While infant baptism is often meaningful to parents, the person baptized did not experience scriptural baptism. Believers baptized as infants should seek New Testament baptism after coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by faith. We encourage “parent/baby dedications” where parents dedicate themselves and their children to God through a brief, but meaningful commitment in a worship service of the church.

Baptism in the Bible is done by immersion. The word in the New Testament translated “baptism” actually means ‘to immerse, or dip under’. The New Testament seems to indicate Jesus was immersed in his baptism (Matthew 3:16). Only immersion adequately symbolizes death and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12). Those who were baptized in some other way, other than immersion, are encouraged to seek baptism by immersion in keeping with the Biblical pattern. However, the mode of baptism (immersion, pouring or sprinkling) is not viewed as an essential matter for partnership at MOVEMENT CHURCH.

A Perspective on Giving

A fully devoted follower of Christ recognizes that all of one’s possessions come from God and belong to God (Psalm 24:1, 1 Chronicles 29:11-12). One manages resources faithfully according to the teachings of the Bible and the leadership of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 4:2). God uses material resources and one’s faithfulness to manage resources to develop character (Luke 16:10- 11). Giving is a heart issue. We give, not because God needs the money, but because God directs the heart to give (Matthew 6:21). Giving is just one aspect of responsible management of material resources.

The local church is God’s redemptive agent in the world (Matthew 16:18) and should be the primary recipient of a Christian’s giving (2 Corinthians 9:11-12). Christians are also responsible to give to the poor (James 2:14-16, Matthew 25:34-35), to provide for aging parents (Exodus 20:12, Mark 7:10-13), to assist other Christians as needs arise (Acts 2:44-45, 1 John 3:17), and to support Christian causes as the giver feels led by the Holy Spirit. How much is a Christian to give to the church? While the Bible is primarily descriptive, rather than prescriptive, in how a follower of Jesus is to give, the Bible teaches a follower of Jesus is to give systematically (1 Corinthians 16:2, Proverbs 3:9-10), proportionately (1 Corinthians 16:2), generously (2 Corinthians 9:6), sacrificially (Matthew 12:41-44, 2 Corinthians 8:2-3) and faithfully (1Corinthians 4:2) to the church for the work of God in the world.

The principles are all reaffirmed for the love-filled believer who will certainly shoulder his responsibilities more cheerfully and more generously under grace than did Israel under law. The New Testament--and the whole of scripture--encourages giving and offerings of many kinds, just as the Old Testament has other forms of tithing, taxation, and spoils-of-war sharing as well. Generosity is a personality trait of those who have been born from above. God has proven Himself rich and lavish in His grace and loving care towards us, and if we really have His life in us, then we will be like Him. The verse that most sums up the New Testament teaching on giving is:

Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NASB)

A Perspective on Tongues

What About Tongues?

One of the most frequently asked questions from newcomers to MOVEMENT CHURCH is, what does the church believes about tongues? The answer may surprise you. We believe different things about tongues. Much like the church around the world, the people at MOVEMENT CHURCH have varied beliefs about tongues. We have faithful Followers of Jesus who believe that the gift of tongues (among other certain “sensational” gifts, prophecy for example) ceased with the deaths of the apostles and their close associates during which time the New Testament was being assembled and completed. Yet we also have just as many faith Followers of Jesus on the other side of the spectrum, who not only believe the gifts of tongue exist today but they personally exercise that gifting.

Though we may have different views on the existence of tongue, we are unified as a church on their practice at MOVEMENT CHURCH: We do not practice the gift of tongue in our corporate gatherings such as the weekend or midweek services, or movement community.

The reason for not publicly practicing the gifts of tongue is to maintain the spirit of unity MOVEMENT CHURCH. With so many differing and sometimes strong opinions on tongues, the leadership at MOVEMENT CHURCH defined the best course of action for the church as a whole – a position that would not guide personal conviction but corporate practice. Better to be clear about one practice than allow many practices, which may invite conflict in the Body of Christ.

The prohibition of tongues corporately does not imply that individual believers who view and exercise tongues as a personal prayer language should cease to do that privately. However, it does mean that seek all church events to be “tongues free”.

To help people better understand our commitment we tell others we are not a “charismatic” church. While we like the word (charismatic simply means “grace gifted”, something we definitely believe describes MOVEMENT CHURCH), the term has become a label for churches who generally embrace the public practice of tongues. It is for reasons like that which compel us to state: MOVEMENT CHURCH is a non-charismatic church. Romans 12:3-8:1; I Corinthians 12:1; Ephesians 4:11-13; I Peter 4:10

A Perspective on Alcohol

Because our position on alcohol is one that can be easily misunderstood and/or misrepresented, this statement is our attempt to clarify the official position of Movement Church on the issue of alcohol, as we understand the teaching of Scripture.

First, we believe that all drunkenness is a sin (Deuteronomy 21:20; Ecclesiastes 10:17; Matthew 24:29; Luke 12:45; 21:34; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 5:11, 6:10; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3).

Secondly, we believe that many horrendous sins are affiliated with drunkenness. Therefore, getting drunk is a sin that can lead to other sins, such as incest (Genesis 19:32–35), violence (Proverbs 4:17), adultery (Revelation 17:2), mockery and brawling (Proverbs 20:1), poverty (Proverbs 21:17), late night and early morning drinking (Isaiah 5:11–12), hallucinations (Isaiah 28:7), foolish behavior (Isaiah 5:22; Jeremiah 51:39), murder (2 Samuel 11:13), vomiting (Jeremiah 25:27; 48:26; Isaiah 19:14), staggering (Jeremiah 25:27; Psalm 107:27; Job 12:25), madness (Jeremiah 51:7), shameful nakedness (Habakkuk 2:15; Lamentations 4:21), sloth (Joel 1:5), escapism (Hosea 4:11), and depression (Luke 21:34). In summary, sin leads to death and the sin of drunkenness produces only death and misery.

Thirdly, we believe that Christian leaders are to live their lives in such a way as to set a positive example of holiness for others to emulate (Hebrews 13:7). This includes elders, the male senior leaders in the church, who are not to be drunkards (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).

Fourthly, we do believe that all Christians must at varying times and in varying ways give up some of their Christian liberties in order to love people of weaker conscience. Christians must make every effort to not lead them into sin by exercising freedoms in their presence (Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 10:31– 32).

In conclusion, there are different views on alcohol in our church. We recognize that this is an issue where Christians can and do disagree, so we have no position on alcohol other than that people should have their conscience captive to the word of God and do everything for God's glory. Together we can pursue what is most important—the expansion of God’s kingdom through the work of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A Perspective on Homosexuality

Those who visit our church pickup that one of the things we are intentionally pursuing is diversity. By diversity we specifically mean in a racial, cultural and socio-economical context. However, as we all know words only have meaning in a given context, and we live in a world where the term diversity is being used in a much broader (diverse) way. One of the ways the term is being used is to refer to the homosexual community. When attached to a church, therefore, more and more people want to know if the church is not just diverse racially, but also when it comes to sexual orientation. So that when people ask if a certain church is diverse one of the things they could very well be asking is if that church allows into their partnership people who are living in the homosexual lifestyle.

As we’ve grown we are getting this question with increasing frequency. People are wanting to know if Movement Church pursuit of diversity extends not just across racial, cultural and socio-economical lines, but they are also wanting to know if our pursuit of diversity extends across homosexual lines as well. It is because of these growing questions that we feel the need to answer the question, by articulating our heart on the matter. So what is our position on the homosexual community? Our position is that they are people who are made in the image of God who, like everyone else, demand being loved by everyone, particularly Christians! The second part of the great commandment, the commandment to love our neighbor, propels us to do nothing less than to love them.

Admittedly, there is the first part of the great commandment- to love God with every inch of our being (Matthew 22:36-38). To love God means that we love His Word, and that we keep his commandments (Psalm 119; I John 2:3). In other words, to love God, and therefore to love others, means that there are responsibilities that we must embrace, a standard that must be held, if mutual love is to be expressed in a God honoring way. To love God, and to love our homosexual neighbors means that we bestow honor, dignity, love and respect on them, but we do that in the context of a mutual calling to live in faithful love and fidelity to God. When a person is not committed to those same commitments, which has God at the core, then love compels us to inspire them to live in faithful fidelity to God and His Word.

As Christians we are to steward the gospel well by maintaining the tension between grace and truth. And we are no more like Jesus when it is said of us that we are full of grace and truth. This is fundamental to engaging those in the homosexual community. The call to live lives that reek of grace will make us attractive to those whom society (AND the church) have marginalized. But the same call to live lives that reek of truth necessitates that we at some point say, “Sin no more”.

Are Homosexuals Really Welcome at Movement Church? Yes homosexuals are welcome at our church, and it is our prayer that they would experience a community full of grace and truth, and that this community would play a significant role in their Christian. The partnership covenant at Movement Church, among other things, assumes salvation, an agreement to a core set of beliefs (our doctrinal statement) and a commitment to pursue an intimate relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ, reflecting holiness.

We joyfully welcome into our body everyone who struggles with sin (that’s all of us!). So you can be one who struggles with homosexual thoughts, feelings and even acts, but as long as you are willing to battle well, lean on the grace of God, and commit yourself to walking in repentance, we receive you as an integral part of our body. It should be noted that the goal of everyone is to be like Christ, to live so that he is glorified (I Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:23). This is important when engaging those in the homosexual lifestyle. The goal is to not make them heterosexual, but the goal is to make them like Christ! Whose to say that their struggle with homosexuality won’t be a life long struggle, just like many heterosexuals will struggle all their lives to bring their appetites under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.