Partnership at The Gathering
Session 2: Our Statements
“In essentials unity. In non-essentials liberty. In all things charity.”
Philip Schaff, the distinguished nineteenth-century church historian, calls the saying in our title “the watchword of Christian peacemakers” (History of the Christian Church, vol. 7, p. 650). Often attributed to great theologians such as Augustine, it comes from an otherwise undistinguished German Lutheran theologian of the early seventeenth century, Rupertus Meldenius.
Our Statement of Faith
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT GOD:
We believe in the only true God (John 17:3), who is infinitely perfect, existing eternally in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). He created all things (Revelation 4:11) and upholds all things by the Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). He is a God of truth and without iniquity, He is just and right (Deuteronomy 32:4) and He shall judge the world (Psalm 9:8).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS CHRIST:
We believe Jesus Christ is true God and true man (Phil. 2:6-11; Heb. 2:14-18; 17 Acts 1:8 Col. 2:9 18; Rom. 12:1-2; Gal. 5:16-25). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of Mary who was a virgin (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35 19 Matt. 8:16-17; James 5:13-16). Having lived a sinless life, He died upon the cross, the Just for the unjust, as a substitutionary sacrifice, and all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood. He arose from the dead according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-5; 1 John 2:2; 20 Eph. 3:6-12; 1:22-23; Acts 13:39 21 Acts 2:41-47; Heb. 10:25). He is now at the right hand of the Majesty on high as our great High Priest (Heb. 4:14-15; 9:24-28 Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). He will come again to establish His Kingdom of righteousness and peace (Matt. 25:31-34; Acts 1:11 11:19-30; 15).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT:
We believe the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, sent to indwell, (John 14:16-17 22 1 Cor. 15:20-23), guide, teach and empower the believer, and to convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:7-11; 1 Cor. 2:10-12 23 2 Thess. 1:7-10), and to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:14).
We believe it is the will of God that in union with Christ each believer should be sanctified thoroughly thereby being separated from sin and the world and fully dedicated to God, receiving power for holy living and sacrificial and effective service toward the completion of Christ's commission.
While we believe that the Scriptures do not teach that certain gifts have ceased, they indicate that use of the gifts vary according to the need that each gift meets. We do not accentuate the “sign gifts” but seek to emphasize the more excellent way of love as well as zeal for the more edifying gifts (John 16:8; 13:15; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 1:22; 4:11-12; Romans 8:9-17; 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:4-5, 12:11-13, 12:19; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 4:1-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES:
We believe that the Old and New Testaments, inerrant as originally given, were verbally inspired by God and are a complete revelation of His will for the salvation of people. They constitute the divine and only rule of Christian faith and practice. We believe the sixty-six books of the Old Testament and the New Testament are God’s revelation and therefore contain everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting Him fully, and for obeying Him perfectly; they carry God’s authority for the total well-being of mankind (Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT MAN:
We believe that humankind, originally created in the image and likeness of God fell through disobedience, incurring thereby both physical and spiritual death. Consequently, all people are born with a sinful nature, are separated from the life of God, and can be saved only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ. All people are totally depraved and need a Saviour. The destiny of the impenitent and unbelieving is existence forever in conscious torment, but that of the believer is everlasting joy and bliss. (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-19; Romans 1:18, Romans 1:32; Romans 5:1-2).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT SALVATION:
We believe that eternal salvation has been provided only through Jesus Christ. Those who repent of their sins and believe in Him, trusting in His death and resurrection by faith, are united with Christ through the Holy Spirit and are thereby regenerated (born again), justified, sanctified and granted the secure gift of eternal life as adopted children of God. (Romans 8:37-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE RESURRECTION:
We believe in the resurrection of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, His ascension into heaven and His present life for us as High Priest and Advocate (Acts 1:3; Acts 1:9; Hebrews 7:25-26).
We believe there will be a bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust; for the former, a resurrection unto life (1 Cor. 15:20-23); for the latter, a resurrection unto judgment (2 Thess. 1:7-10). We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost. The saved are raised to eternal, conscious bliss in heaven (Matthew 25:34; John 14:2; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Revelation 2:7) the lost are raised to eternal torment in hell in conscious separation from God (Matthew 8:11; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 13:49-50; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 12:5; Revelation 21:8).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE SECOND COMING:
We believe the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent and will be personal and visible (1 Thess. 4:13-17). As the believer's blessed hope, this vital truth is an incentive for holy living and sacrificial service toward the completion of Christ's commission (1 Cor. 1:7; Titus 2:11-14; Matt. 24:14; 28:18-20).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT SATAN:
We believe in the existence of Satan as the originator of sin and the arch-enemy of God. As a spirit being, he leads his demonic forces in continual attack upon the people and purposes of God. (1 Peter 5:8)
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT CHURCH:
We believe the universal Church, of which Christ is the Head, consists of all those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, are redeemed through His blood, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and commissioned by Christ to go into all the world as a witness, preaching the Gospel to all nations (Eph. 3:6-12; 1:22-23).
The local church, the visible expression of the universal Church, is a body of believers in Christ who are joined together to worship God, to observe the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, to pray, to be edified through the Word of God, to fellowship, and to testify in word and deed to the good news of salvation both locally and globally. (Ephesians 5:23; Romans 12:1; Acts 2:42-46; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18-20).
Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the church – under the oversight of elders and other supportive leadership. The church’s members are to work together in love and unity and in obedience to the Word of God, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT MISSIONS:
We believe that the cause of Christ extends beyond any one local fellowship; therefore we commit ourselves to an ongoing ministry of extending the call of Christ to make disciples around the world (Matthew 28:19-20).
Our Purpose Statement
The Gathering exists to bring glory to God
through lives changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The mission of the Church of Jesus Christ has been the same since her inception. The message is the same, but the methods are new. The call is consistent, but the context is ever-changing.
We want our church to be Gospel centered, Spirit led, and mission focused.
Our mission statement succinctly describes our heart. We exist to bring glory to God. This is the chief aim and purpose of humanity and of all creation. The glory of God is ultimate. Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we are to do it “to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). The Scriptures share the wonderful news that God is glorified through changed lives. Life change is both an event (salvation) and a process (sanctification). Life change is conditioned by a qualifying statement in our mission statement: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
People’s lives can be changed by a dramatic event, traumatic news or an enticing culture. But, the only kind of life change that allows a person to have a right relationship with God the Father is through the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ died for our sins and was raised to life three days later. That’s the Good News we need.
Our Perspective on Giving
At The Gathering we believe that the only way to understand any aspect of life is to view it through the lens of the gospel.
In 2 Corinthians 8:9, Paul discusses the effect the gospel should have on the way Christians understand wealth: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
Seeing Christ's sacrificial love for us, that he gave up everything so that we could inherit the riches of heaven, helps us develop a healthy attitude toward our material possessions and become people who are both generous and joyful.
Understanding the riches we have already received in Christ not only liberates us from excessive concern over our wealth, talents and time, but also motivates us to invest them in the eternal kingdom of God.
What is a steward?
A steward is a person who has been entrusted with another’s resources and who seeks to manage those resources according to the owner’s vision and values. The gospel calls us to recognize that everything we have is a gift from God — and that those gifts are to be used for his glory and to further his kingdom. Scripture even calls Christians caretakers of God’s gifts and truth (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 4:1).
We at The Gathering recognize that in addition to acting as responsible stewards of our talents and skills, we must also be stewards of our possessions and finances.
Ways to give
Cash or cheque on Sundays. Online anytime using the app "Push Pay"
Questions to consider
What is generosity?
Generosity is the natural, consistent, and occasionally spontaneous giving of our material possessions to God’s service and to our communities because of and modeled after what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross. As God “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32), so our posture toward God and others in response to his love should be one of cheerful sacrifice and generosity.
What is stewardship?
A steward is a person who has been entrusted with, and who manages, another’s resources according to the owner’s vision and values. Each of us was created for stewardship by God (Genesis 1:28). A steward is both a ruler with authority to govern resources and a slave accountable to the owner of those resources. The New Testament calls Christians caretakers of God’s truths and gifts — even God’s grace (1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Peter 4:10).
What is the basis for the tithe?
In the Old Testament, believers were required to give a tenth of their income to the support of the ministry and the needs of the poor. The New Testament teaches that we should give as we are “able and even beyond [our] ability” (2 Corinthians 8:3). Therefore, the tithe (10%) is seen as a kind of minimum guideline for giving.
Do I give 10% of my gross or net income?
Scripture teaches that we are to give back to God our “first fruits” (Exodus 23:16, 19). Proverbs 3:9 encourages us to “honor the Lord with [our] wealth, with the first fruits of [our] crops,” meaning the primary and choicest of our possessions. God has modeled “first fruits” by giving us his son, Jesus Christ. Our response to God should reflect our love of and devotion to him.
What if I am unable to give 10% right now?
There are seasons in our economic life. There are financial responsibilities to our families, friends, communities, and in some cases, creditors. In any stage of life, good planning is necessary to increase our giving over time without neglecting our legal and personal financial obligations. For some people, 10% is too low a starting point. For others, giving even 5% is a sacrifice. The goal is to increase one’s commitment up to and above 10%, so that it models Christ’s love to our communities.
Should I give all of my tithe and offering to The Gathering?
The answer to this is a qualified no. Your gift is an act of personal worship to God in response to his grace in your life and the gift of his Son. The allocation of your money and time to God’s service should be a byproduct of prayer and of consultation with other Christians to whom you are accountable. However, if you consider The Gathering your “home church,” you should consider allocating a significant portion of your tithe and offering to the community where you invest most of your time and where others are investing in you.
Isn’t there more to generosity and stewardship than money?
We certainly must be good stewards of all that God has given us: money, time, skills, influence and position. Therefore, generosity and stewardship are about much more, but not less, than our financial resources. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Our heart’s inclination is to worship anything other then God. In a city like New York, money can become an idol. Therefore, giving it away generously to God’s service can liberate us from our idolatry and fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).