Monday, October 31, 2005


Question: What do people from the following backgrounds have in common? ....Anglicans, Assembly of God, Baptists, Brethren, Calvary Chapel, Catholics, Christian Reformed, Covenant, Episcopalians, Evangelical Free, Foursquare, Lutherans, Methodists, Mennonites, Presbyterians, Reformed, Vineyard....

Answer: Christ the King

One of the reasons that CTK can be common ground for believers from many different backgrounds is that our degree of dogmatism rises and falls with the degree of clarity in the scripture. Where there is less clarity in the scripture we are less dogmatic.

In essential matters unity, in non-essential matters diversity, in all matters charity. - Augustine

CTK traces its doctrinal roots to the first century church. Because of our commitment to “keep the main thing the main thing” we have become a home to people from every conceivable denominational background.

At CTK we are orthodox in our beliefs and progressive in our methodology. We may have changed the method, but not the message. Like the early church fathers, we “agree to disagree” on non-essentials. We have chosen to center our teaching on truths that are life-changing and life-giving. We are fixated on “first-tier beliefs” as our point of emphasis. We believe that the primary truths that unite us are far more important than the secondary issues that divide us.

There are four truths around which we are united.

• God and His Word are trustworthy.

• Christ is our Savior and King.

• There is hope for the future and forgiveness for the past.

• The church holds the hope of the world in its hands.

God and His Word are trustworthy.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to his understudy Timothy, he reminded him of how important it is to stick with reliable sources for information, especially spiritual information.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Everyone needs to find what Stephen Covey calls "true north." At CTK, we believe in the trustworthiness of God and His word. Our trust in God’s Word is based on the presupposition that there is a God, and this God has taken steps to reveal himself to His creatures. We believe the revelation of God is self-authenticating. The Bible itself is the best evidence for what it claims to be.

There’s something about the Bible, that makes it “alive” spiritually. It stands out as God’s revelation to man. It has been formed under God’s influence. The word “inspiration” comes from the King James translation of 2 Timothy 3:16 (“All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”). This is an unfortunate translation. The Greek word is a compound: “God-breathed.” It would be better to say all scripture is given by “expiration of God.” The verse says that the product was created in such a way that it can be called the very breath of God. The Bible was written by 35 authors over the span of 1500 years. Evidently God superintended the writing of the words so that in the end they could also be called the words of God.

For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
- 2 Peter 1:21

Inspiration is God’s superintending of human authors so that using their own individual personalities they composed and recorded without error His revelation to men in the words of the original manuscripts.
- Charles Ryrie

Inspiration is the inexplicable working of the Holy Spirit whereby He guided the human authors of the Bible in choosing the very words they used so that the Bible is truth. In the writing of the original manuscripts two streams came together, God and man, to result in one river: the Word of God.

The scripture is our final authority for what we believe and practice. Because the words are the breath of God, the Bible is useful for teaching (“this is the right path”), rebuking (“you are on the wrong path”), correcting (“this is the way back to the path”), and training (“this is how you stay on the path”).

We interpret the Bible at face value, according to its literary style. As we have studied the scriptures we have come to conclusions on various topics and have compiled the following doctrinal statement:

1. The scripture, both the Old and the New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings. It is the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the divine and final authority for Christian faith and life. (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21)
2. There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Revelation 1:4-5)
3. Jesus Christ is both the true God and the true man having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin, Mary. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins according to the scriptures. Furthermore, he arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and Advocate. (Luke 1:30-35, Luke 24:39-40, Acts 1:3, 11, Hebrews 4:14-15)
4. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and during this age to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service. (John 14:15-17, John 16:5-15, Galatians 5:22-23)
5. Man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained. (Genesis 1:26-27, Romans3:23, Titus 3:5-7)
6. The shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and, thus, become children of God. (1 Peter 3:18, Romans 10:9, John 1:12)
7. Water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation. (Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29, Ephesians 2:8-9)
8. The Church is composed of all such persons who, through saving faith in Jesus Christ, have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the Body of Christ, of which He is the Head. (Ephesians 1:22, 4:4-6) .
9. The Lord Jesus Christ will return to this earth and this “Blessed Hope” has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer. (Mark 13:26-27, Revelation 1:7)
10. The dead will be raised bodily, the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord and the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious separation from God. (Romans 6:5, 1Corinthians 15:42-44, Revelation 20:11-21:4)

When Admiral Byrd went to the south pole he stayed for six months in a hut all alone. Snow after snow and blast after blast buried his small hut. Each day he would dig his way to the surface. One day he stepped away from the hut a little too far. He realized he was lost in “white out” conditions. He didn’t panic. He calmly drove a stake into the ground. He then proceeded to walk a perimeter around the stake until finally he walked right into the tunnel of his hut. Even though the conditions were extreme, and his very life was in peril, he relied on something sure and unchanging to find his way home. And so do we. The word of God is our “stake in the ground.”

Christ is our Savior and King.

The name of our church makes a statement about where our loyalties lie. “Christ the King” is an inherently propositional and edifying phrase.

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- Philippians 2:10,11

Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, described Christ’s kingship with a drawing of a throne placed inside a heart. He contrasted a self-directed life (with “self” enthroned on one’s heart), with a Christ directed life (with “Christ” seated on the throne). When we say that Christ is the King, we're saying that He alone is worthy to be on the throne of our hearts.

Every man gives his life for what he believes in. Some people believe in little or nothing and yet they give their lives for that little or nothing. One life is all we have, we live it and it is gone. But to surrender what you are and to live without belief is more terrible than dying, even more terrible than dying young. But there is a worse fate than dying young and that is to commit yourself to something that at the end of life, at the portals of eternity, turns out to have betrayed you.
- Joan of Arc

There is hope for the future, and forgiveness for the past.

In Luke 15 we read that Jesus was criticized for “welcoming sinners and eating with them.” In response to that criticism Jesus told three great stories all in defense of hanging out with "sinners”; the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. All have the same punch line; God's heart is toward the lost.

The story of the lost sheep demonstrates that God's love is focused. As God looks across his sheep, his eyes run directly to the one who is lost. 99% of his sheep were accounted for, but His eyes search for the lost one, the broken one. He's concerned for their well-being, safety and recovery.

The story of the lost coin shows us how God's love is persistent. He doesn't give up. He turns the place upside down to get at the object of his affection. He's knows the intrinsic value of that coin.

The story of the lost son makes it clear that God's love is unconditional. The father runs to his son when he is “still a long way off.” Dad doesn't even ask where he's been or what he's done, he's just glad to have him back in the family!

Standing by at the reunion of the prodigal son, is an older brother (a bit part that Christ not-so-subtly assigns to his religious critics). The older son is upset because he's been behaving himself, but the party is being thrown for the prodigal son. The wandering brother is getting the attention. How unfair can that be!?!

Bingo! It's not fair. It's grace. It's's unearned....yet it's given freely. The Bible says: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Our God is a God of grace.

Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefit upon the undeserving.
- A.W. Tozer

God loves us in spite of who we are, not because of who we are. It is our hope at CTK to treat people better than they deserve to be treated. That is certainly what God has done for us.

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
- Psalm 103:8-13

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
- Ephesians 4:32-5:2

At CTK we don’t view failures as final. We have a culture of recovery. The sheep can come back into the fold. The coin can come back into the bag. The son can come back into the family. The sinner can be a son. The ruined can be redeemed, recovered, recruited, renewed and reproducing.

I’ve learned how to treat people because of how they’ve treated me.
- An employee at Ritz Carlton

That’s not to say that sin doesn’t bring consequences. But we are not looking to create unnecessary consequences for broken people. We know that sin carries it’s own spanking. Provided that someone is “pointed in the right direction” we want to run to them with forgiveness, even if they are still “a long ways off.”

In the 1929 Rose Bowl, UCLA played Georgia Tech. Toward the end of the first half, Roy Riegels from Georgia Tech picked up a UCLA fumble and ran for the goal line. Unfortunately for him, he had been spun around in the scramble for the ball and was heading for the wrong end zone. A teammate chased him and tackled him from behind just short of scoring a touchdown for the other team. Georgia Tech could not move the ball, and punting from their own end zone, had the punt blocked. UCLA scored to take the lead just before the end of the half. The Georgia Tech locker room was silent at half time. “Wrong way Roy Riegels” say quietly in a corner with a towel over his head. Then Coach Price spoke. All he said was: “The same team that started the first half, will start the second half.” Not a big statement, but an important one for Roy to hear.

We all fall. We all fail. The Bible says in Isaiah 53:6, “We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” Sin is anything in our lives (thought, word or deed) that is inconsistent with God's character or laws. Some of us have fallen farther than others, and created a bigger dust cloud. But we’re all sinners in need of a savior. There are people at CTK who have lied, cheated, stolen, hated, lusted, gossiped, been self-centered, unkind. You name it, we've done it. And that's why we're here. But our past is an inadequate predictor of our future. There is hope for the future and forgiveness for the past.

The church holds the hope of the world in its hands.

When John Sculley was CEO of Pepsi, he was approached by Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs about coming to Apple. When Sculley resisted, Jobs challenged him, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” The question led Sculley to give the next chapter of his life to the computer industry. Yet, as revolutionary as computers have been, nothing can impact our world for time and eternity like the saving grace of Christ.

The church holds the hope of the world in it’s hands. The church is a conduit for the life-changing power of God.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.
- Romans 1:16

The power of God is in the gospel. To remain viable, we must stay focused on the life-changing message of Jesus Christ: that God loves us and wants us in His family. We can come home.

We carry this “good news” as a sacred trust. It is our duty to disseminate this truth far and wide. To this end we are intentional and aggressive in our strategies. Time is precious. There is an urgency about our work. God wants as many people as possible to accept His offer of salvation.

The Lord is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but wants everyone to come to repentance.
- 2 Peter 3:9

Go out into the country...and urge anyone you find to come in, so that my house will be full.
- Luke 14:23

In 2001, the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk had a catastrophic accident 350 feet below the Barents Sea. The enormous vessel – over three football fields long – lay immobilized at the bottom of the ocean. It was five days until the Russian government asked for help for its stranded sailors. When ships finally arrived in the region their sonar picked up the sounds of sailors banging on the inside of the hull of the Kursk. Unfortunately, there was no contingency plan to rescue sailors from a sunken submarine. Slowly the oxygen supplies ran out. The crew was left to die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Their breathing became more rapid, they started gasping for air, started to feel severe pain and then fell unconscious. It was a sad ending. Angry relatives could not understand why the Russian government had not prepared to respond to such an emergency.

What if? What if someone had planned an effective strategy ahead of time? What if they were ready to go? What if they responded quickly? What if, instead of the entire crew being lost, the crew was saved? What if, instead of a funeral filled with mourning, there was a celebration filled with joy?

I don’t know. Church? What if?

What statements can a church make that will communicate that there is a second half? Script a half dozen hope-filled statements that could be made.

Do you hear people “banging on the inside of the hull”? Who?

Newcomers to CTK are sometimes unsure how to categorize us. Theologically we are like a can on the shelf without a label. Are we Pentecostals? No. Are we Charismatics? Not exactly. Are we Evangelicals? In doctrine, yes, but we are open to the ministries associated with the gifts of the Spirit, though not in the emotionally based manner usually associated with Pentecostalism. I would call us “empowered evangelicals.” Empowered evangelicals emphasize both the Word and the Spirit.

If we emphasize the Word without the Spirit, we dry up.
If we emphasize the Spirit without the Word, we blow up.
If we hold the Spirit and the Word together, we grow up.

Church analyst Lyle Schaller classifies churches according to the person of the Godhead that they tend to emphasize. He says there are “First-person” churches who’s emphasis is on the Father (most Main-line churches); “Second-person” churches who emphasize the Son (most Evangelical churches); and “Third-person” church who emphasize the Holy Spirit (most Charismatic churches). Where does CTK fit? We like to keep people guessing by taking a holistic view of God.

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