God the Father God is a sovereign, just, holy, and loving heavenly Father. It is God’s nature to share Himself, and therefore exists as trinity. God shared Himself with sinful man when, because of His love for the world, He gave His only begotten Son. Because He is the source of all life, all living things are responsible to Him. He is a rewarder of those who obey Him, and the Judge of those who do evil.
God the Son, Jesus Christ God revealed Himself to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Eternal Son came to dwell among men as a man through the incarnation. The Holy Spirit was the agent of the incarnation, while the virgin Mary was the instrument. By taking humanity to Himself, the Son of God lost nothing of His divinity, but was fully God, and fully human. As the perfect man, without sin, He gave His life as the perfect sacrifice for man. Having offered Himself “once for all,” He now exercises His High Priestly ministry by interceding on behalf of the saints, waiting for the day when He comes again.
God, the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, is the giver and renewer of life. He works to convict of sin, convince of the truth, and call sinners to life in Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who applies the work of Christ for salvation, and sanctification, as well as the empowerment for holy living. He is a comforter, an encourager, a giver of gifts, and our guide as we walk each day for Christ.
The Scriptures The Bible is the word of God, written by holy men of old as they were enabled to communicate God’s truth without error. We therefore believe that the scripture is infallible and inerrant in its original autographs. The scripture is our rule of faith, and a revelation of God Himself. Written over a period of 1500 years by as many as 40 authors, the scripture is authoritative in matters of faith, doctrine, and practice.
Man God created man in His image, with the ability to relate to God in freedom, as immortal, spiritual beings. Man’s original state was one of holiness. After the fall, man became a corrupt expression of God’s image. Because of the corruption of our nature, man is incapable of any positive move toward God, except through the work of divine grace. This grace, which works in advance of our salvation to bring us to favor, toward salvation, is called prevenient grace. Only through the justifying, regenerating, sanctifying grace of God can we be saved from the pervasive corruption of sin, and be conformed to the image of God.
Salvation Salvation is the process by which God forgives sin, renews man to quickens a soul dead in trespasses and sin, and draws a soul to sanctification. Full salvation indicates a full redemption from all the effects of sin. Guilt, separation, death, and depravity all must be dealt with in salvation. Thus, the work of Christ is sufficient for all our needs. This salvation is grounded in the love of God, provided by the atoning work of Christ, and applied by the active work of the Holy Spirit.
Sanctification Sanctification is a process beginning with initial sanctification, occurring at the new birth. It is at this time that the believer receives the Spirit and is changed. However, it is not long until a new Christian realizes that an inner battle between flesh and Spirit, or carnality and grace is happening in his soul. While the believer has been forgiven of his sins, inbred sin (carnality) still has a hold on the soul. God initiates a second stage in the sanctification process, bringing the fully committed Christian to a complete consecration. This is the crucifixion of the self-centered mind of the carnal Christian. As Wesley said, “The more alive to God a Christian is, the more dead to sin he becomes.” Thus, when a believer is fully consecrated, and trusts God for His promise of cleansing, the Holy Spirit fills the heart, cleanses from carnality and sin, and empowers for service.
The Church The Christian Church was founded by Christ on the day of Pentecost. By the infilling of the Spirit, the followers of Christ become the Body of Christ. Being called out from the world to fellowship with Christ, the Church is a unique organism. It is universal, being made up of true believers of all nations, and it is holy, belonging to God. We believe that God’s plan for the financing of His Church and work is with the tithes and gifts of its members. We do not believe that the Congregational Methodist Church, or any other denomination, is the only true Church, nor that any other orthodox church is excluded. Those cults claiming to be Christian, but denying orthodox Christian doctrine, are not accepted as a part of the Body of Christ.
The Priesthood of all Believers Whereas in the Old Testament God used specific people as priests, in the New Testament, God calls all believers to service and ministry. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit every Christian not only represents God, but also has been empowered to be an instrument of His grace to the world. The dual duties of representing God to man and man to God, belong to every born again Christian. The responsibility of witnessing, the ministry of prayer, and the use of our spiritual gifts are included in the privilege of being His priests.
The Christian Life Once a believer experiences new life in Christ, he strives to live a life holy and acceptable to God. The Christian life is a daily, disciplined walk with God. We believe the means of grace–prayer, Bible study, meditation, corporate worship, and fellowship– are all necessary for Christian growth. As Christians, we should focus on reproducing the character, or fruit of the Spirit, in our own character. We should also discover, develop, and use our personal spiritual gifts within the body.
Eternal Life God created man to know Him intimately. Originally, God breathed into man His own breath, or life. Man, after the fall, was deprived of the Spirit, or life of God. Salvation is the re-breathing of that life into the soul of man. That life, the very breath of God, is the basis of what the scripture means by eternal life. Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) Knowing God in an intimate sense is to experience His life and therefore can be experienced in this life. Eternal life continues in heaven as we experience God in a new way – face to face. Eternal life, therefore, starts now and continues in eternity forever. Those who finally reject the offer of salvation in Christ will spend eternity separated from God and condemned to suffer in hell for eternity.
The Second Coming of Christ We believe that the culmination of human history is designed by God and will occur according to His timing. The literal interpretation of scripture reveals that Christ will rapture His faithful in the twinkling of an eye, after which the anti-christ will be revealed, and the wrath of God poured out upon the earth. After seven years of tribulation, Christ is revealed in His glory and comes to reign for one thousand years on the earth. After this millennial reign, the earth will be destroyed, and a new heaven and new earth will be provided for the faithful to live in the presence of God forever.
The Resurrection of the Dead The Bible teaches that there are two resurrections. The first, the resurrection of the saved, will occur at the pre-tribulation rapture, when the dead in Christ rise first, and those who remain are changed in an instant, escaping death, and meet Him in the air. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the dead, occurs after the millennial reign of Christ, at which time they will be judged according to their works, and condemned to the lake of fire forever.
Find your place at Bethlehem Community Church!
Here at Bethlehem we believe that church is meant to be more than a spectator sport. It’s not about showing up on Sunday morning, enduring the service, tossing a buck in the offering plate and heading out with a sigh of relief that we’ve done our part. It’s about transformation and being part of a family where people are living out authentic relationships with God and each other.
Finding your place in a congregation can seem a little daunting. We’re here to help you find your way—not just to the restroom or a seat in the sanctuary, but also to your place in our church family. Bethlehem is here to help you “Connect, Grow, & Serve”.
Connecting is all about relationships… with God and one another. As you begin your journey at Bethlehem Community Church, we encourage you to make that first “connecting” step by attending Sunday worship services to see if our church is a good fit for you. Bethlehem offers Sunday morning and Sunday evening services along with Wednesday services. It is our prayer that God will continue to use these services to draw people to Himself.
Once you find that Bethlehem is a good fit, it’s our prayer that God will move you to go deeper. We believe that spiritual growth happens best in connection with others. That’s where our age appropriate Sunday School classes comes in. We also have men and women groups and dynamic ministries for youth and children.
Journeying with Christ is more than connecting and growing. We believe we’re called to reach our church, our community, and our city with the love of Christ. These tangible expressions of God’s love are seen in those who roll up their sleeves and serve. We are always in need of more volunteers and there are plenty of various ministries available at Bethlehem to utilize your gifts. The opportunities to serve are limited only by the imagination.
Bethlehem Community Church is apart of the Congregational Methodist denomination.
Congregational Methodists are conservative, evangelical Christians in the Wesleyan Arminian tradition. Our faith is grounded in the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of God. We believe that the scriptures are God’s revelation of Himself to us, as well as the rule of faith, containing all the truth necessary for faith and Christian living.
We believe that God has revealed Himself in three distinct persons… the Father, the source of all life; the Son, the mediator of God’s life; and the Spirit, the extension of God’s life to us. This 3-in-1 God has made us for fellowship with Himself.
We believe that Christians are meant to be an active part of the body of Christ. The Church is where encouragement, spiritual growth, and the development of spiritual gifts occur. The Church purpose is also for equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. Our community, our nation, even our world, is our responsibility. As John Wesley stated, “I consider all the world as my parish.” The Church, therefore, is to be the physical manifestation of Jesus to its community and world. This is accomplished by the indwelling Spirit empowering the saints to continue the ministry and publish the message of Jesus.