Here are a few commonly asked Questions and their Answers concerning who we are, who we are connected with, and how we understand and practice the life of the local church. If you have any more that you can think of, please feel free to talk with our pastor or elders and we would be pleased to share our thoughts and understanding of Trinity and the RCA with you.
1. What about the Bible?
The Bible profoundly and distinctly represents the “primary” resource of The Creator’s will as well as the “foundational evaluator” of both the individual Christian and the church’s faithful display of God’s intentions upon His kingdom of grace and empowerment. As our understanding of the Bible’s content and context grow, The Bible clearly becomes the “final authority” in both our faith and how we practice that faith.
2. How do we proclaim God?
Trinity is part of the Reformed Church in America. Our perspective is centered on the overwhelming love of God toward us, the salvation and transformation that happens when Jesus leads, guides, and empowers our lives. We proclaim the boldly the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit as well as the practical display of reaching out to others before ourselves. Even though we acknowledge God can and does provide to each believer a wide variety of means to know who He is, without a doubt, we believe that God is three in one–God the father, God the son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.
3. What do we teach about “salvation” or being “saved?”
We believe that authentic followers of Christ are saved by grace alone, through faith in the life and mission of Jesus Christ, not by what we think or do to earn God’s favor. Our good works don’t earn our salvation, but are a way to thank God for this free gift of salvation.
4. What are “Sacraments” and how many are there?
The Reformed Church in America celebrates two sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They remind us of God’s promises to us and help us to claim those promises as our own.
5. Is there a simple explanation about being “Reformed?”
The RCA is confessional, which means together we have statements of belief, called Creeds and Confessions. These Creeds and Confessions are one of many ways allowing us as a community of faith to express our knowledge of God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, The Church, etc. These statements guide our understanding of faith and shape its practice.
The RCA is made up of a community of believers who are earnestly seeking to know “The Mind of Christ” as they strive to be faithful in a changing, complex, and often troubled world.
6. Pastors, Elders, Deacons & the “Consistory”
In the Reformed Church in America We work as a team. We walk the road of faith together. In general, the pastor “partners” with both the Elders (Spiritual needs) and the Deacon (Practical care) at the local level to promote the well-being, sustainability, and future growth of Christ’s Church. We gather together in working sessions, (board meetings) to conduct the business and secure the spiritual structure of the church. This particular board is called, “The Consistory.”
The Consistory is elected by the members in good standing of the local church to represent them while guiding the affairs of the church. The Consistory then “calls”…”supports”… and “partners with” the general leadership of the church…better known as THE PASTOR.
When it works well, it is a formidable way of conducting the mission of the church.
7. What about baptism?
We believe in, accept, and use all three forms of baptism; (1) Sprinkling, (2) Pouring, or (3) Dipping or immersing a person completely under water. The actual amount of the water used is not an essential element in the process. In fact, Jesus himself said, “I did not come to baptize you with water but by the Holy Ghost.”
IN GENERAL, the Reformed Church, which Trinity is a part of, believes that if a person has already been baptized with water once in their earthly life there is no need to do it again. However, it is certainly not an unusual request of an adult to be re-baptized upon their public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord & Savior…and of course, we honor their desire to feel reconnected to God from this method.
ALL BRAND NEW BELIEVERS who desire membership at Trinity, and who have never been baptized before must be baptized….no exceptions.
Any formerly baptized child or infant who is now mature enough to make a personal profession of faith in Christ, and with the intention of receiving full membership in the church, must do so. The fact is that TRINITY is a community of “baptized believers” in Christ.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS TOPIC PLEASE READ #8 FAQ’s
8. What about CHILD baptism?
We believe baptism is for everyone, including infants. We believe this for the following reasons.
Christ has commanded us
Many raise the objection: “There is not a single example of infant baptism in the New Testament, nor is there any command to do so. Therefore Christians should not baptize babies.” Here are just a few reasons why we differ with this opinion.
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus says, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…” Before He ascended, the Lord of the Church commanded us to baptize “all nations,” a phrase the Church has always understood to mean “everyone.” Matthew 25:31-32 also uses the phrase “all nations” in this way. All nations are to be baptized, regardless of race, color, sex, age, class, or education. Jesus makes no exceptions. He doesn’t say, “Baptize all nations except….” Everyone is to be baptized, including infants. If we say that babies are not to be included in Christ’s Great Commission, then where will it stop? What other people will we exclude?
It is true that there is no example in Scripture of an infant being baptized. However, to conclude from this that babies are not to be baptized is absurd. Neither are there any specific examples of the elderly being baptized, or teenagers, or little children. Instead we read about men (Acts 2:41; 8:35) women (Acts 16:14-15), and entire households being baptized (Acts 10:24,47-48; 16:14-15; 16:30-33; 1 Co. 1:16). The authors of the New Testament documents didn’t feel compelled to give examples of every age group or category being baptized. Why should they have? Certainly they understood that “all nations” is all-inclusive.
Infants deserve to be baptized
The Bible teaches that infants are born sinful and are in need of forgiveness. Scripture says nothing about an “Age of Accountability” that begins at the age of reason. Its message is that accountability begins at conception. David confesses in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” The Bible teaches original sin, that the corruption and guilt of Adam’s sin is passed on to every human being at conception. Jesus affirms this teaching when He says, “Flesh gives birth to flesh” (John 3:5). Paul takes it up in Romans 5:18: “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.”
Furthermore, Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who believes not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). According to Jesus, ANYONE who does not believe in Him will be damned. Jesus makes no exception for infants. Babies will not be saved without faith in Jesus. Parents who think they are placing their children under God’s grace by “dedicating” them are deceiving themselves. The only dedication that the New Testament knows of is the “dedication” that takes place via baptism. That is why infants should be baptized. Like everyone else, they desperately need forgiveness. If infants die before they believe in Jesus, they will be eternally condemned. They, like everyone else, need to be baptized so that they can be born again. Jesus said, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). We believe that baptism is God’s special means of grace for children.
Baptism replaces circumcision
God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:10-14) demanded that every male child was to be circumcised when eight days old. By circumcision, the baby entered into a covenant relationship with the true God.
St. Paul teaches us that in the New Testament baptism has replaced circumcision. “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism…” (Col. 2:11-12).
Given this fact, it would have been natural for first century Jewish believers to baptize infants, since they were accustomed to circumcise their male children at eight days old. It is also logical that if God regarded eight day old male babies as members of His covenant people through circumcision, He will also regard newborn babies to be members of His kingdom through baptism, the “circumcision made without hands.”
Hard to believe, BUT theologically speaking, infants can believe…here’s why
The most frequent objection to infant baptism is that babies cannot believe. They do not, says the objection, have the intellect necessary to repent and believe in Jesus.
If this is your opinion, Jesus disagrees with you. Luke 18 tells us that certain parents were bringing infants (Greek – brephe) to Jesus, that He might bless them. The disciples rebuked those who brought the babies. Jesus’ response is well known: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (Luke 18:15-17). Some have objected that it is little children and not infants that Jesus speaks of here. Yet the very little children that the disciples were forbidding were infants. The infants are the focus of the passage. Clearly on this occasion Jesus had babies in mind when He said what He did!
Does this passage speak of infant baptism? No, not directly. It does show that Jesus did not raise the objection that so many do today about babies not being able to believe. According to Jesus, these babies had what it took to be members of the kingdom of God, feeble intellect and all! “Do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”
9. What about WOMEN Preachers/Pastors?
We believe there is thoughtful and decisive biblical evidence concerning women “preachers.” We strongly believe that women “preachers” are not only the right thing to do by biblical standards but they are also absolutely in line with God’s word, the Creator’s love, empowerment and inclusive call to all of humanity. There is not one Scripture that forbids women from preaching. This is a fact that cannot be disputed. It is a fact the vast majority of time when the Bible uses the word “prophet” it refers to “preaching.” In Hebrew (Nebrah) and also in Greek (Proph), a “prophetess” always means a “female preacher.” A few scriptures that speak clearly to the heart of God’s desires and intentions would be:
• Numbers 11:29: Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”
• Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
• Acts 10:34: Then Peter opened his mouth and said, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.”
If one connects the spiritual dots of these scriptures together you could VERY EASILY come to the conclusion that women are in fact the fulfillment Biblical prophecy. Here’s why:
• Joel 2:28 (Old Testament): “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
• Acts 2:17-18 (New Testament): And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I (God) will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.
Let’s just state the profoundly obvious. The first announcement concerning Jesus being the Christ was given by a Samaritan woman. The first resurrection announcement was proclaimed by a woman.
10. What about HOMOSEXUALITY & SAME SEX MARRIAGES ?
This issue our entire denomination is struggling with on two basic fronts; On one hand….the complete and radical imposition of God’s grace and inclusion regardless of and individual’s past or even current circumstance. This theological premise is based upon the understanding that once God calls you into His family, “we are all the same in Christ.” Because of this foundational belief anything that is right for one portion of God’s kingdom is always right in another.
On the other hand, there is an equally strongly held belief that although God’s grace is sufficient and God certainly calls and chooses who He wills into His family, we are still people of “The Bible.” The Bible clearly shares with its reader that although God’s grace has no qualifications by human standards….meaning….God alone does the calling and God alone does the choosing who belongs inside His Kingdom….we believers are called to filter…to be guided by…to live out God’s grace…according the foundational principles of “The Bible.”
Trinity Community Church falls into the latter example. By that we mean, if a person who is Homosexual (man or women) is called by God to join with us, while celebrating the life and mission of Christ, we are privileged to have them among the rest of us “sinners” as we travel our journey of faith together. However, because we are also people of “The Bible,” we do not, can not, and will not perform, either in the church building or outside of the church’s campus, “same sex” marriage ceremonies.