Community

An important part of our community is our covenantal unity, fellowship and discipline to encourage and edify the saints unto love and good works.

Members of Holy Trinity covenant together under God to encourage one another to love and good works toward God and His saints.  This unity is bonded in our Church Covenant, Constitution and Confession of Faith.

In our Church Covenant we resolve ourselves, by God’s grace and power, to fulfill God’s commandments to love Him above all things and to love each other as ourselves.  Membership at Holy Trinity is a covenantal commitment that is valued with disciplined love.  We desire to encourage, edify and empower each other through the Word to form Christ in us and be conformed to the image of Christ in this bond of brethren.  This is not just lip-service but realized love in persistence, protection and preservation of this brotherhood of Christ.

Our Constitution is based upon the biblical requirements of maintaining the fellowship of believers in equity and truth.  Our unity is preserved through Biblical order and justice in rejecting the double-mindedness of democracy, the tyranny of dictatorships, or the anarchy of libertarianism.  Christ commands the Church to do all things decently and in order according to the duties, discipline and polity commanded by Scripture.

Holy Trinity subscribes to the 1689 London Confession of Faith with valuable insight from the Westminster Standards of 1646.  In this we strive for full reformation to Apostolic Faith and Practice as we believe these two Reformed confessions and accompanying catechisms offer the most comprehensive human declaration of the Apostolic faith.  We also look to the ancient Church creeds as a testimony of our catholic faith according to the Augustinian tradition.

Taking membership seriously means discipline.  Discipline is the vigilance required to hold together our covenant bond.  This covenantal discipline gives meaning and value to membership.  Without it our covenant would be vain and empty words without true profession of faith.  In the exercise of discipline, we endeavor to remain focused on the reconciliation of the Church through the love of Christ.  This love is not according to the world but is uncompromising, absolute, and principled but yet merciful and forgiving.

It is through these bonds, affirmations and declarations of our faith and practice that we will endeavor to build strong relationships among the saints of God.  We seek to share one another’s burdens and joys and care for each other in Christ-like love and devotion.  Therefore, to preserve the unity of the faith, we will strive to esteem others above ourselves by refraining from gossip, backbiting, envy or any destructive thoughts or deeds.

We will foster relationship building through our corporate fellowship and ministry assimilating young and old.  Holy Trinity is a family of families and therefore we strive to provide inter-generational worship and fellowship.  While we will provide privacy for nursing mothers and crying babies, we do not endeavor to segregate families.  Our purpose is to unite family and Church.

This community of covenantal unity, fellowship and discipline is also secured through Biblical and godly leadership.  Church officers at Holy Trinity are not above the people as lords but are to exemplify conformity to the image of Christ.  They are held accountable to the same covenantal bond as everyone else.  However, they are held to a higher standard of example and administration within the community of faith.  By this we do not mean different standards per se but faithful stewardship exemplifies obedience to Christ.

However, there are gifts that are essential to elders and deacons that are not required of every other member.  Therefore, we do recognize distinctions.  These distinctions are not a license for total power or the demeaning of those with differing gifts.  The Lord is pleased to distribute different gifts throughout the body and all gifts are from God and for His Church.  Spiritual gifts are recognized as essential to the body and not levels of spirituality.

We strive to uphold leadership that is sound, doctrinally and practically; leadership that is effective in building up the saints; faithful in calling sinners to repentance; and, leadership that is unwavering in desire and deed to fulfill our covenantal duties and mission.

The leadership of Holy Trinity is always available to counsel saint and sinner for guidance in confession and discipleship through Christ for absolution of sin through His blood and growth in grace and knowledge.  Elders and deacons are given to the Church to call and nurture the sheep.  In this service, Holy Trinity strives to maintain accountability at all times.  Holy Trinity will not tolerate church officers counseling any women without husband/father consent and only in the presence of the husband/father or another minister or appropriate person present for accountability.  Holy Trinity will not tolerate any counseling or activities that place an adult alone with a minor.  Minors may only be counseled with parental consent and presence.

Christian community is often misunderstood in an age of socialistic thinking.  The rise of communism in the late 1800’s gave rise to a socialist understanding of community.  In America, this became normal thinking in the 1960’s.  However, when we speak of Christian community we are not referring to a Christianized view of communism.  We are speaking of a civil body politic covenanted under God for mutual benefit but this community does not destroy God-given rights to life, liberty and property.

“This communion which the saints have with Christ, does not make them in any wise partakers of the substance of His Godhead; or to be equal with Christ in any respect: either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous.  Nor does their communion one with another, as saints, take away, or infringe the title or propriety which each man has in his goods and possessions”–Westminster Confession of Faith

So, what is the difference?  Communism is the socialist redistribution of wealth and the anarchist destruction of God-ordained institutions.  A Christian community upholds private property and institutions ordained by God.  Christian community is the local institutionalized Church established by covenant to be a civil body politic.  We are instructed as Christ’s Church to fulfill the following things found in Philippians 2:1-11.

1. Like-mindedness
The like-mindedness of the Church is the mind of Christ.  Like-mindedness is impossible without submission to Christ.  Submission to any other philosophy will only divide the body.

The mind of Christ is revealed through the Word of Christ and therefore our unity is in the doctrines of God’s Word.  Believing the Bible is the final authority for faith and practice, this mind of Christ is the basis of our covenantal unity.

Holy Trinity is a group of Christians who agree on the fundamentals of the faith.  This does not mean that we agree on everything.  Yet, if the Bible says it is an issue of dogmatic importance than we reject doctrines and adherents of heretical views.  If it is an issue in which the Word commands us to love one another despite the difference, than we are united to have this mind of Christ.

We are therefore united on the Catholic Faith, Apostolic Order, Orthodox Worship, Reformed Theology, and Evangelical Witness.  This also translates into being committed to the 1689 London Confession of Faith with insight from the Westminster Standards; family integrated worship; covenantal view of Scripture; weekly celebration of the Sacraments; victorious eschatology; Christian education; and covenantal and constitutional government.

2. Covenantal Love
Modern society pushes a love of tolerance, diversity and perversion.  Love in a Christian community is built on covenantal unity.  Love does not undermine like-mindedness and unity according to the Word of God.  Covenantal love is sacrificial and not selfish.  We are living sacrifices for God commanded to love one another in accountability to God’s standards.

3. Selfless Humility
Covenantal love in Christian community is a call to deny oneself.  This is one of the first traits in any covenantal institution of God, be it family, church, or state.  We are to esteem others better than ourselves.  This is very important for like-mindedness and unity.  If we are not willing to give up our opinions, desires and ambitions to those of Christ and His Word, unity and love is impossible in any institution.  How much more should this characteristic be exhibited in the Church of God.  We are to walk in the Spirit according to the Word and rid ourselves of our foolish pride.

4. Christ-likeness
The only way to possess unity, love and selflessness is to be Christ-like.  This is the very meaning of the term Christian.  As Christ laid down His life for us, we must lay down our lives for our families and covenanted brethren.  Laying down our lives is not just a preference of their life above ours but also all other benefits above our own.  We are called to serve one another as Christ serves us.  While it is easy to say we would die for the brethren, it is much harder to die to self for the brethren.  We are to first be living sacrifices unto God.  If we will not live for the brotherhood, it is foolish to say we would die for the brotherhood.

5.  Total Devotion
It should go without saying that all these traits depend upon our complete devotion to Christ’s power and authority.  It is His will, glory and reign we seek.  Therefore, we lay everything down, and as Paul said, consider it all dung, for the cause of Christ.

“All saints that are united to Jesus Christ, their head, by his Spirit, and faith, although they are not made thereby one person with him, have fellowship in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.

“Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things according to their several abilities, and necessities; which communion, according to the rule of the gospel, though especially to be exercised by them, in the relation wherein they stand, whether in families, or churches, yet, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended to all the household of faith, even all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus; nevertheless their communion one with another as saints, doth not take away or infringe the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions.” –1689 London Confession of Faith

Those who refuse to maintain this holy fellowship and communion reject Christ and His Church.  To be in Christ is to be in His body and bound to the covenantal bond of brotherhood.

“In the execution of this power wherewith he is so intrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the world unto himself, through the ministry of his word, by his Spirit, those that are given unto him by his Father, that they may walk before him in all the ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his word. Those thus called, he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or churches, for their mutual edification, and the due performance of that public worship, which he requireth of them in the world.” –1689 London Confession of Faith

"Whoever is separated from this Catholic Church, by this single sin of being separated from the unity of Christ, no matter how estimable a life he may imagine he is living, shall not have life, but the wrath of God rests upon him" –Augustine(Letters, 141:5; A.D. 412)