Doctrine, distinctives, and Bylaws

Doctrinal Statement

Article 1. – The Bible.


We believe that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” We believe that the Old and New Testament Scriptures are the final authority in all matters of faith and practice, inerrant in the original writings, and designed to bring about the changes in our lives. We believe the words and sentences of the Bible should be interpreted in their normal, natural, and usual sense (Matthew 5:17; John 10:35; 16:7-15; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 10:11; 1 Timothy 1:5; 5:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 3:16).

 

Article 2. – The Godhead.


We believe there is one true God, who is triune, existing eternally in three persons (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), coequal in nature, attributes and perfection (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:18-20; John 1:1-14; 6:37; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:6; Hebrews 1:8).

 

Article 3. – The Lord Jesus Christ.


We believe that the eternal Son of God became incarnate through the virgin birth, and received a human body and a sinless human nature. He became and remained a perfect man, and yet He retained His absolute deity, being at the same time very God and very man (Luke 1:30-35; 2:40; John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 4:15).

We believe that in fulfillment of prophecy He came first to Israel as her Messiah-King, and that, being rejected of that nation, He, according to the eternal counsels of God, gave His life as a ransom for all. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, in our place, and as our substitute (John 1:11, 29; Acts 2:22-24; Romans 3:23-26; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 21; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 10:5-14; 1 Peter 3:18).


We believe that Jesus Christ literally arose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He had lived and died. The resurrected Christ walked and talked with men and women. His resurrection confirmed the truth of all He said, and it guarantees the redemption and resurrection of all who believe in Him (John 20 & 21; Romans 1:4; 5:8; 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:5-6; 15:20-22; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Ephesians 1:19-22; 1 Peter 1:3-5).


We believe that Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as Head of the Church and as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9-11; John 14:2; Ephesians 1:20-23; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 4:14-16; 6:20; 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1-2).

 

Article 4. – The Holy Spirit.


We believe that the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, though omnipresent from all eternity, took up His abode in the world in a special sense on the day of Pentecost, dwells in every believer, and by His baptism unites all believers into the body of Christ, and that He, as the Indwelling One, is the source of all power and all acceptable service and worship (John 14:16-17; 16:7-15; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:7).


We believe that the Holy Spirit is involved in certain well-defined ministries: restraining evil; convicting the world; regenerating, indwelling, and anointing all who are saved, sealing believers unto the day of redemption. We also believe that the Holy Spirit will teach, guide, and endue with power those believers who are yielded to Him and walking in obedience to the Word (John 3:6; 16:7-16; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:30; 5:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 John 2:20-27).


We believe that divine enabling gifts for service are bestowed by the Holy Spirit upon all who are saved. The gifts of apostle and prophet were given to the church in the first century in order to lay a solid foundation. Those gifts were confirmed by miracles and healings. The gift of tongues was also given to confirm the work of God in this early part of the age of grace. We believe that these foundational and confirmatory gifts were temporary, and ceased to be given as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established. We believe that other gifts were permanent, and that these gifts are given to every believer for the building up of the body of Christ (Acts 4:8; Romans 8:23; 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; 13:1-13; Ephesians 2:20; 4:11; Hebrews 2:3-4; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

 

Article 5. – Angels.


We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings, known as angels. These angels are involved in various ministries. Michael the archangel is God’s ministering agent to Israel; Seraphim are involved in worshipping God; Cherubim are involved in guarding the holiness of God; Guardian angels are involved in aiding, encouraging, and caring for those who are children, those who will be saved, and those who are saved (Genesis 3:22-24; Daniel 12:1; Isaiah 6:1-3; Matthew 4:11; 18:10; 26:53; 28:2,6; Luke 15:10; 16:22; Acts 8:26; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Timothy 5:21; Hebrews 1:14; Jude 9).


We believe that “Lucifer, son of the morning” – the highest created angel – sinned through pride, thereby becoming Satan; that a great number of angels rebelled against God with him in his moral fall, thereby becoming demons. Some demons are active as Satan’s agents and associated with him in the execution of his unholy purposes, while others are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; 1 Timothy 3:6; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6).

 

Article 6. – Man.


We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, became alienated from God, and became subject to the power of the devil. We also believe that as a result of this fall man is totally depraved, and is, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Genesis 1:26; 2:17; 6:5; Psalm 14:1-3; 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:6; 5:40; 6:53; Romans 3:10-19; 5:12; 8:6-7; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 5:6).

 

Article 7. – Sin.


We believe that “all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God.” Sin is going astray from God’s standard. Sin is missing the mark of God’s holiness and righteousness and glory. Sin’s penalty is death. Christ died for sinners. Men must either accept Christ’s payment or personally experience the eternal conscious torment of death in hell and the Lake of Fire. When a Christian sins he has an advocate in Jesus Christ, and he is urged to confess and forsake his sin (Isaiah 53:6; 64:6; Romans 3:23; 5:8; 6:23; 1 John 1:1-9; 2:1-2).

 

Article 8. – Salvation.


We believe that, owing to universal death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again; and that no degree of reformation however great, no attainments in morality however high, no culture however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven; but a new nature imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit through the Word, is absolutely essential to salvation, and only those thus saved are sons of God. We believe, also, that our redemption has been accomplished by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin for us, dying in our place; and that nothing can add in the very least degree to the value of the blood, or to the merit of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that the new birth comes only through faith in Christ. Therefore, salvation is a gift of God brought to man by grace, and is received by faith. All who so believe are regenerated and are sealed by the Holy Spirit and are therefore eternally secure in Christ. Jesus Christ is the only way to God. There is no other way (Leviticus 17:11; Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 26:28; John 1:12; 3:5, 16, 18, 36; 5:24; Acts 16:31; Romans 5:5-9; 3:22-26; 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13,22; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:18-23; John 10:28-29; Romans 8:31-39; 1 John 5:10-13).

 

Article 9. – The Church.


We believe that the Church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born again persons of this present age which began on the day of Pentecost (Matthew 16:16-18; Acts 1:5; 11:15; 1 Corinthians 12;13; Ephesians 1:21-23; 5:25-32).


We believe the Scripture teaches that each local church should be governed by a plurality of elders (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7).


We believe there are two ordinances which were prescribed by Christ to be performed by His Church. Baptism: We believe that baptism into water pictures our identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 8:36-39; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Communion: We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial service which reminds us of the death of Christ on our behalf, testifies to our fellowship with Christ in this life, and anticipates the coming of Christ in the future (Matt 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11;23-28; Jude 1:12).

 

Article 10. – The Future.


We believe that the next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be the Rapture, the coming of the Lord in the air to receive to Himself and into heaven both those who are alive in Christ and those who have fallen asleep in Christ. This is the blessed hope for which all believers are to be looking (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14).


We believe that the translation of the church into heaven at the rapture will be followed by a seven year period that fulfills the prophecy of Israel’s seventieth week. This will be a time of terrible judgement. The last half of this period is known as the time of Jacob’s trouble and as the great tribulation (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 6:1-19:21; Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:15-21).


We believe that the period of the great tribulation on earth will be climaxed by the second advent of Christ to the earth in person, in power, and in judgment. He will judge the nations, He will bind Satan for a thousand years, He will give Israel the promised land, and He will rule and reign on the earth as the promised Messiah-King (Genesis 12;1-3; 2 Samuel 7:8-17; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Matthew 24:15-25:46; Acts 15:16-17; Romans 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Revelation 20:1-3).


We believe that the souls and spirits of those who have trusted in Christ pass immediately into His presence at the moment physical death occurs, and remain in conscious spiritual joy until the resurrection of the glorified body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him forever. The spirits and souls of unbelievers who have died physically remain conscious of condemnation and in misery until the final judgment of the great white throne at the close of the millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction (Luke 16:19-26; 23:42; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 1:6-7; Revelation 20:11-15).

Our Distinctives

Vision statement.  

The vision of Le Mars Bible Church is to bring glory to God by:

  • Leading people into a relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Bringing them into maturity in Him, and  
  • Equipping them for a life of outreach and service

Priority of the Word of God. 

Jesus Christ is the head of the church, and He exercises His headship through His Word, the Bible.  We believe that God grows His church as His people hear and obey the Word (John 17:17).  We are committed to carefully, thoroughly proclaiming all of the truth that God has revealed to us in His Word, and to unquestioned obedience to all that it proclaims. This is an essential part of the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).  We do not believe that doctrine is divisive, but that it is the indispensable foundation for all that we believe and do.  


Priority of prayer. 

We believe in the necessity of prayerful dependence upon the Lord in everything we  do, and seek to imitate the priorities of the apostles in Acts 6:4, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.”


Priority of the gospel message. 

1 Corinthians 9:23 says, “I do all things for the sake of the gospel.”  It is only through the gospel message that God gives eternal life, so all of our outreach to the people around us will have the gospel message at its center.  This priority steers us away from social projects that leave out the gospel message, and it steers us away from ecumenism.  We gladly partner in ministry with other organizations and churches that share our commitment to the gospel, but we do not partner in ministry with those that teach a false gospel.


Importance of world missions. 
Acts 1:8 says, “You shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”  We believe it is important for us to be involved in supporting worldwide missions to take the gospel to the least reached.  


Sufficiency of Scripture for counseling. 

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  When people face difficult life situations, we counsel them based upon the Word of God rather than upon modern psychology.

 

Gender and marriage.  

We believe that each person’s true identity, as a male or a female created in God’s image, is given to them by God.  The biological sex each person was born with reveals for them their true, permanent God-given gender. Marriage as designed by God is to be between one man and one woman, and any violation of this design is sinful (Genesis 1:27; Mark 10:6-8; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-28; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).  


Distinct roles of men and women. 

Men and women stand as equals before God.  Without making one inferior to the other, God calls men and women to distinct roles and responsibilities. In the home, men are called to lead and to love like Christ, and women are called to submit to their own husbands (Ephesians 5) and to give priority to their homes and families (Titus 2).  At LBC, women serve in many vital roles, including teaching women and children, giving public testimony of what God has done in their lives, and serving on a variety of ministry teams.  But, as spelled out in 1 Timothy 2:12, teaching men and serving as a pastor, elder, or deacon are roles reserved for men.


Church discipline.  
If a member of our church becomes entangled in unrepentant sin, we are committed to following through on the process that Jesus lays out for us in Matthew 18:15-18, which ends either in restoration or in excommunication from the church.   


Lordship salvation. 
We believe that receiving Christ includes yielding to Him as the new authority in one’s life and being willing to turn from sin (Luke 9:23-27; 24:45-47).  Sanctification does not happen all in one instant, but takes place gradually over a lifetime of confessing sin and growing in our relationship with Christ (1 John 1:8-9).  But the Holy Spirit works in the believer so that true salvation does result in a changed life (1 John 2:3-6; 3:14). 


The sovereignty of God in salvation. 
We believe that before the foundation of the world God chose those whom He would save (Ephesians 1; Romans 9; Acts 13:48).  This election was not based upon anything that the Lord saw in that person, but upon the will and love of God. God’s sovereign election, however, does not contradict or negate man’s responsibility to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord.  Neither does it lessen the believer’s responsibility to proclaim the gospel and plead with his neighbors to be saved.


Six day creation. 
We believe in interpreting the Bible literally, according to the original intent of the author.  This conviction leads us to believe that God created the world in six literal twenty-four hour days.  We believe He created all things thousands of years ago by His Word, not millions or billions of years ago by a process of evolution. 

Bylaws

Section 1 – Definition of church membership

Le Mars Bible Church is a body of professing believers who have committed themselves to    following Jesus together.  We have organized ourselves as the Scriptures teach, so that we might carry out God’s purposes as He has directed us in His Word.

Members of LBC are professing believers 18 years or older who have committed themselves to following Jesus as a part of this particular local church. Believers under 18 in our midst, though not yet technically members, do fully belong to the Lord and are an integral part of our body.


Section 2 – Responsibilities of a member

Members of LBC will be expected to embrace and pursue the following biblical responsibilities:

  1. Commitment to obey Christ and all of the commands of Scripture (Matthew 28:18-20, Matt                                18:15-18).
  2. Commitment to the other members of the body, including regular assembly with the body                                           for worship, instruction and fellowship (Acts 2:42; Heb 10:25; Rom 12:10-16 and 13:8 and 14:13-19 and 15:7, 14 and 16:16; Gal 5:13 and 6:2; Eph 4:32; Col 3:16; James 5:16; 1 Peter 4:9).  
  3. The use of one’s gifts to help the church make disciples (Matt 28; Eph 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10-                                       11; Rom 12:4-6).
  4. Giving financially to support the ministries and outreach of the church (1 Cor 9:7-14; 2 Cor. 9:5-12).
  5. Submission to the leadership, including a willingness to support the doctrine and policies of                                         Le Mars Bible Church (Heb 13:17; 1 Thess 5:12-13).


Section 3 – Privileges of membership

  1. The opportunity to give and receive loving accountability
  2. The provision of a context for believers to discover and use their spiritual gifts, and to be ministered to by the gifts of others
  3. Opportunity to teach the Bible, serve as an elder or deacon, lead a worship team, chair a ministry committee, or serve on the security team, where biblically appropriate.
  4. Ability to use the church facilities for private events.
  5. Membership in this church does not afford the members with any property, contractual, or civil rights.  Although the general public is invited to all of the church’s worship services, the church property remains private property.  The elders have the authority to suspend or revoke the right of any person, including a member, to enter or remain on church property.  If, after being notified of such a suspension or revocation, the person enters or remains on church property, the person may, at the discretion of the elders present, be treated as a trespasser. 

Section 4 – Becoming a member

               1.  Those seeking membership must understand the gospel, profess to have received Christ                                  through repentance and faith, and not be walking in unrepentant sin. 

               2.  Candidates for membership must attend the new member’s class led by a member of the                                pastoral staff, in which they will study LBC’s Doctrinal Statement and Distinctives,                                       general church policies and practices, and the responsibilities of members. 

               3.  At the conclusion of this class, the candidates will be interviewed by two church                                                             members, including one elder.  The purpose of this interview is to answer any                                                        questions the candidate has, as well as to ensure that they (1) have a personal                                                          relationship with Jesus Christ and (2) are willing to support the church’s doctrine and                                       leadership.

               4.  If the elder recommends that person for membership, membership will be granted upon the                                          decision of the elder board.

               5.  At a church gathering, the candidate will be presented to the rest of the congregation as                                             a new member of Le Mars Bible Church.  

               6.  If a former member who has already completed the new member’s class wants to rejoin the                                          church, they only need to have an interview with an elder.  After that interview,                                                    membership can then be granted upon the decision of the elder board. 

 

Section 5 -- Withdrawing membership

Membership may be withdrawn by any member in the following ways. 

  1. A member may withdraw his or her membership at any time*, by giving any of the elders or                                    pastors a written indication of their decision to withdraw. 
  2. The membership of any individual member will automatically terminate if the member has not attended a regular worship service of the church in the last six months.  Upon good cause for absence, this automatic termination may be waived in individual cases at the discretion of the elders.
  3. No member of this church may hold membership in another church.  The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member unites in membership with another church.
  4. The membership of an individual will automatically terminate upon his or her death.

*Withdrawal from membership is possible only by church members who are not under disciplinary action.  Members of this church forfeit and waive their right to withdraw from this church during the discipline process outlined below under section 6. 


Section 6 -- Church discipline

There shall be a discipline committee consisting of the pastors and elders.  These men shall have sole authority in determining deviations from biblical doctrine and violations of Christian conduct. If a pastor or elder is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not sit as a member of the discipline committee.  The pastors and elders shall be entitled to the same steps as other church members and be subject to the same discipline. 

If any member of our church becomes entangled in unrepentant sin, LBC is committed to following the process of restoration that Jesus lays out in Matthew 18:15-18.  The goal of this process is always restoration and the intention is to lovingly steer members away from self-destructive behavior and back into a healthy relationship with the Lord and with other people.  However, if a member will not turn from their sin, the process ends in dismissal from the church, for the good of both the erring individual and the entire church body.    

 

The biblical process of discipline for church members has four steps:

  1. If any member of this church has knowledge that another member has become entangled in unrepentant sin, he or she should gently admonish such erring member in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration (Matt 18:15).  Before he goes, he should first examine himself (Gal 6:1).  If the erring member does not heed this admonishment, then
  2. the admonishing church member shall again go to the erring member, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two other believers who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur (Matt 18:16).  The admonishments in steps (1) and (2) may occur with no specified time interval. If the erring member still refuses to heed this admonishment, then
  3. (a) it shall be brought to the attention of the pastors and elders.  If the discipline committee determines that the erring member is persisting in unrepentant sin, and that he or she has been appropriately confronted, then (b) the discipline committee shall seek to meet with the member and pursue his or her repentance.  If the member remains unrepentant, then the discipline committee will normally send a letter by registered mail warning the individual that steps 3c and 4 will be taken if they have not received word of repentance by a specific date.  Then (c) at a regularly scheduled worship service or specially called meeting of church members, the church shall be informed of the erring member’s sin and unrepentance, so that they can join in praying for and admonishing that member toward repentance and restoration (Matt 18:17a). If the erring member still does not repent, then
  4. he or she shall be publicly dismissed from attendance, participation, fellowship, or membership in the church (Matt 18:17b, 1 Cor 5:5-13).  The discipline committee will inform the   erring individual and the church body that he or she has been removed from membership. Documentation will be kept in the church files. Persons placed under church discipline must immediately return any property belonging to the church. 

If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the admonition, demonstrates repentance to    the satisfaction of the discipline committee, and requests reinstatement before the committee, then the committee will publicly restore him to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of membership (2 Cor 2:6-8). 


The members of this church agree that there shall be no appeal to any court because of their dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline.