The following is the doctrinal statement contained in the Constitution of the Northern Canada Evangelical Mission:
1. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are verbally inspired by God and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.
2. We believe and understand God’s Word according to its “plain sense” (grammatical, historical, literal). Where the text uses straightforward prose we accept, with historic New Testament hermeneutics the truth directly written. Where the Bible employs poetic language, or implies figurative or allegorical meaning, we diligently seek to understand how the original audience would have been expected to understand the passage. At all times we believe the Holy Spirit teaches us to compare “Scripture with Scripture.”
3. We believe in one God eternally existing in the three Persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Creator, the Trinity spoke the universe into being in six literal days, at the beginning of Scriptural chronology. As Sustainer, the Lord of All maintains creation according to His sovereign will.
4. We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary and is true God and true man.
5. We believe that man was created in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred physical death, and spiritual death, which is separation from God; and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, thus being sinners in thought, word and deed.
6. We believe that Satan exists, is a created being, has personal characteristics, has fallen, has limited evil power in this world, is overcome by the Blood of the Lamb, and is awaiting judgement.
7. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice; and that all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood.
8. We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His bodily ascension into Heaven, and in His present life there for us as High Priest and Advocate.
9. We believe in the “Blessed Hope” – the personal, premillennial and imminent return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
10. We believe that all who accept by faith the Lord Jesus Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit and so become children of God.
11. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life and bear fruit which will remain.
12. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust – the just to everlasting bliss and the unjust to everlasting punishment.
As a member of the Missio Nexus, NCEM maintains a strong biblical position in its theological stand, adheres to a non-charismatic orientation and demonstrates accountability in financial matters.
NCEM’s Executive Committee, field and ministry leaders have prepared the following documents to clarify NCEM’s definition of a number of ministry-related terms. These are especially important as we form teams, so that we can minister from a unified position. We understand that these definitions and position statements may need some adjustment in the future, but they are the result of significant Bible study, prayer, research and discussion. We hope you find these documents helpful:
Biblical Theology of the Church
Each local church is a manifestation of the one universal Church (1 Corinthians 1:2), and will embody the nature of that Church as the Father’s regenerate family, Christ’s ministering body, and a fellowship (Acts 2:42) sustained by the Holy Spirit. The true Church of Jesus Christ faithfully preaches the whole Word of God, and is clear on such subjects as the gospel according to Scripture, the trinity, the deity of Christ, the incarnation and sin bearing atonement, and justification by faith alone.
The Church is presented in Scripture as the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23), belonging to God (1 Timothy 3:15), and sovereignly chosen for God’s glory (John 17:1-5; Revelation 4:11, 5:9,10; Ephesians 1:4-6). Jesus Christ is exalted as the FOUNDATION, the ROCK, the HEAD and the CHIEF CORNERSTONE of the Church (1 Corinthians 3:11; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians 1:18; Isaiah 28:16). The apostles and the writings of the Old Testament prophets were foundational in the establishment of the Church (Ephesians 2:20-22). The presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the Church is promised by our Lord (Acts 1:4,5,8), and the Church’s ultimate success (prevailing, establishment, triumph) is assured (Matthew 16:18,19, 28:18-20).
It is clear in Scripture that the Church is an eternal plan of God hidden in past generations (Ephesians 3:9) and made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10). The absolute necessity of the centrality and clear proclamation of the whole Word of God is emphasized in many places in Scripture (Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17; 2 Timothy 3:16,17). The Scripture very clearly presents the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as priority at the centre of the Church’s message to the world (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4).
The members of the body of Christ are pictured as living stones built into a spiritual house, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and His own special people (1 Peter 2:5-10). The Church is to be holy, pure and clean, and is pictured as the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 21:9). The composition of the Church can be described as ethnically diverse or made up of all nations, tribes and peoples (Genesis 12:3; Revelation 7:9). The inclusion of Gentiles into the Church is described as wild olive branches grafted into the true vine (Romans 11:19-24). Our Lord prayed for the unity of the Church (John 17:11,21) as a demonstration of the unity of the Godhead, and that the world might believe that the Father had sent the Son.
In the composition of the church, every member is crucial and significant to the body (1 Corinthians 12:12-26), and we are given a holy assignment described as the priesthood of believers (1 Peter 2:9) and told that we are to be salt and light in a sinful generation (Matthew 5:13-16).
The shepherding of the church is described in Scripture as servant leadership (Luke 22:25,26; 1 Peter 5:2,3), and the outreach of the church is promoted through the preaching of the Word of God (Romans 10:14-15). Prayer is an absolute necessity in everything that the church would seek to do (Philippians 4:6; Ephesians 6:18).
A proper understanding of the function and use of the ordinances of baptism and communion in the practices of the church is another key essential (1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:42).
According to Holy Scripture, what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Local vernacular often describes it as “Good News.” If so, what was the “Bad News”?
To properly define the gospel, one must start at the beginning of Scripture:
- Mankind was formed by God and in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) (Good News) As such, God has ultimate ownership and authority over mankind, and mankind is accountable to God.
- Mankind was created in a perfect relationship with God, who is holy and righteous. (Genesis 1:31) (Good News)
- The perfect relationship with God was broken when mankind rebelled against God’s authority (Genesis 3:1-24), resulting in spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1, 5). All subsequent mankind are born with a sin (rebellious) nature. (Romans 5:12) (Bad News)
- Sinful mankind is now at enmity (in active or passive hostility) with God, (Romans 8:5-8), aliens and strangers to God. (Ephesians 2:19) (Bad News)
- Mankind is incapable of restoring the relationship and removing the enmity. (Hebrews 9:22) (Bad News)
- God has only one way to remove the enmity and restore mankind to a relationship with Himself. (John 14:6)
God’s Provision of Salvation (Good News)
- God demanded the shedding of innocent blood to atone for sin (Hebrews 9:22) and to appease His wrath. (1 John 2:2)
- Since no other sacrifice was suitable, God provided the ultimate sacrifice in His sinless Son, Jesus Christ, who came to earth, in the form of a man, born of a virgin. (The Gospels)
- Jesus Christ, in obedience to the will of His Father, was sacrificed (Philippians 2:8) (crucified by mankind) on behalf of all mankind that the wrath of God would be appeased so that the redeemed would have a restored relationship with Almighty God. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:19)
- God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and by the resurrection, Satan and his spiritual hosts were defeated for all eternity. (Hebrews 2:14, 15; Philippians 2:8-11) The penalty of sin is atoned for, the believer is regenerated, and the power of sin over a believer is broken. (Titus 3:3-7; Romans 6:1-14, 18)
- No one can come to Christ, unless God the Father draws him/her. (John 6:44)
- God’s Holy Spirit is the only source of a genuine conviction of sin in mankind. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)
Man’s Response to God’s Provision
- A person must agree with God that he/she is inherently sinful and that this sin separates him/her from a relationship with God. (Romans 1:18; 2:5; 8:5-8)
- A person must experience a genuine Godly conviction of sin which only God’s Holy Spirit can effect. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)
- A person must experience a genuine repentance for sin. (2 Peter 3:9; Luke 5:32; Romans 2:4-5; 2 Acts 2:20-21; Matthew 4:17; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10)
- A person must believe and accept God’s substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) as God’s only redemptive plan for mankind. (Romans 5:8-10; 3:23-24; 6:4-23)
- The redeemed person receives forgiveness for sin and enters into a relationship with God in which he/she allows God to purify, refine and shape his/her life according to God’s perfect will. (Romans 5:8-10; 6:4-23)
The destiny of the unregenerate is eternal separation from God for eternity in a place of fire and brimstone prepared for Satan and his spiritual hosts. (John 5:29; Rev 19:20; 20:10,14-15)
The destiny of the regenerate is eternity as the bride of Jesus Christ in the heavenly home prepared by Jesus Christ and in the presence of Almighty God the Father and the Holy Spirit. (John 5:29)
Evangelism is the demonstration and communication of the gospel with the goal of seeing mankind restored to a rightful relationship with their creator, Almighty God, and brought into relationship with their fellow believers within the body of Christ.
God’s Part (the ministry of the Holy Spirit)
- Preparing hearts and convicting of sin
- Replacing rival worldviews with the Scriptural worldview
- Learning worldviews of hearers, bringing worldviews into tension, and discerning when the hearer will be receptive to God’s new truth (Much prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit is needed to discern worldviews and receptivity.)
- Accurately communicating truths of God’s story of redemption in an understandable manner.
Evangelism is the Spirit-led demonstration, and receptor-oriented communication of the gospel. The primary goal is the regeneration and restoration of spiritually-fallen man to right relationship with their Creator, through Jesus Christ. Then, as repentant people are discipled and baptized into community within the body of Christ, God is rightfully worshipped, and individuals, families, and even societies are transformed at their most basic level.
We desire to fulfill the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20) by making disciples of all nations/peoples:
- Helping believers clearly understand and embrace (Know) (Proverbs 2:1-8; Philippians 1:9-11) the truth in God’s Word as it applies to their inner growth of character (Be) (1 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Peter 3:18) and daily living (Do) (Luke 14:26:27)
- Baptizing believers in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Following the example of our Lord Jesus, we, the church, mentor/disciple by example and by teaching in story within their cultural context. To do this we:
- Build meaningful and significant relationships that create an environment for nurturing spiritual growth (Ephesians 4:11-16); (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, 11-12 – Paul’s example)
- Are committed to the spiritual growth of believers, to faithfully teaching the truth of God’s Word, to being godly role models, and to helping believers in their own personal needs
Discipleship, then, is:
- A term used to refer to a disciple’s/follower of Christ’s transformation (Romans 12:1,2) from some other mindset (worldview) and practice of life into that of Jesus Christ
- Distinguished by a growing, deepening love and devotion to God (Matthew 22:37, 38) which is demonstrated by loving others (Matthew 22:39)
The responsibility of every believer is to disciple others so that they may be presented mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28), no longer walking in self-dependence but in God-dependence, and interdependence with the Church, to go on to make disciples/Christ followers, themselves (2 Timothy 2:2).
- A very helpful study on discipleship can be found at www.disciplers.org
- That the World May Know – Faith Lessons with Ray Van der Laan, Focus on the Family.
We believe in the reality of our enemy, Satan, as a person and spirit-being. He opposes the Kingdom of God and all that is pure and just. This Great Deceiver must be resisted by all believers. He was defeated at the Cross and Empty Tomb. The devil is overcome by the Blood of the Lamb, the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and by the testimony of the Saints. At the time of the Judgement of the Great White Throne, Satan and Hades will be committed to eternal Hell, prepared for the devil and his angels.
- Spiritual warfare is primarily faith and prayer. (Ephesians 6: 10-18, the armour of God)
- Spiritual warfare is primarily focussed on the supremacy of Christ rather than the names, territories, activities, etc. of Satan and his demons. We need to be careful not to give Satan undue attention, but rather give praise and glory to God for the victory we have in Christ Jesus. (1 John 4:4)
- Spiritual warfare is primarily a recognition that Christ’s finished work on the cross, His death and resurrection, have ensured Satan’s defeat – past, present and future. Satan, sin (its power, presence, and penalty), and death have been defeated. (Hebrews 2:14, Colossians 2:15, Revelation 12:10-11)
- Surrender to God and personal holiness are the basis for resisting Satan and are the best protection from Satan’s attacks. Sin and temptation are weapons Satan uses. (James 4:7,8)
- We can resist Satan by having an understanding of the doctrine of Christ regarding the limitations and the scope of his activity. (1 Peter 5:8,9 “firm in the faith”) e.g. Satan is not omnipresent nor omniscient.
- We can test, or discern, the spirits on the basis of their view of Christ’s divinity. (1 John 4:1-3)
- Satan’s main avenue of power is deception, therefore our greatest weapon against him is the truth of God’s Word, using sound hermeneutical principles of interpretation. (John 8:44 “father of lies,” 2 Corinthians 11:4 “disguises himself as an angel of light”; when Christ was tempted, His weapon was the Word of God, Matthew 4:1-11)
- We need to be careful in ministry to demonstrate a biblical understanding of spirits in both our behaviour and teaching and not reinforce false and deceptive views held by many we serve. In our teaching, we need to make positive statements that address the unbiblical thinking about the power of spirits.
- We should have a firm grasp of the Bible’s teaching and understand the culture’s perceptions regarding the following issues, and any others we discover in the course of our cultural research and ministry:
a. Exorcism (of people, places, etc.)
b. Spiritual power related to objects and places
c. Ancestral spirits
d. Generational curses
e. Verbally addressing Satan
- Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters, Clinton E. Arnold, InterVarsity Press, 1992.
- Spiritual Power And Missions: Raising the Issues, Edward Rommen, editor, Evangelical Missiological Society Series 3, William Carey Library, 1995.
- Exorcism in the Gospels: A Counsellor’s Guide, Denise Hodgman, paper prepared for Providence Theological Seminary assignment. (Through a study of Christ’s encounters with demons in the gospels, the author concludes that, since Christ used a variety of methods for exorcisms, there is no one formula to be used. The emphasis must always be on the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ rather than a method. Our ability to deal with spirits rests in our connection with the person of Christ rather than in techniques.)
The church planting team can be defined as a group of diversely gifted servants working together to extend the kingdom of God by developing and implementing strategies to cultivate their understanding of the language, culture and worldview of their host community, to make disciples, to build a community of faith, and to develop ministry teams so that new churches are planted.
Teams, therefore, are made up of individuals who:
- are flexible and possess complementary personalities, spiritual gifts, and ministry skills,
- are carefully and prayerfully enlisted to fill specific ministry assignments,
- are committed to one another by covenant and mutual accountability,
- are committed to expressing with each other and with the host culture the “one anothers” of Scripture,
- are guided by common values and pursue a common vision,
- build effective processes, relationships, and communication skills, for the purpose of cultivating their understanding of the language, culture and worldview of their host community, making disciples, building a community of faith, and developing ministry teams.
For us, teams are like a hockey team where all the members are pooling their abilities and working in a coordinated effort to accomplish a goal. In our case, that goal would be to see a cluster of reproducing churches.
In NCEM, teams are not like a track team where each one does his or her own thing hoping that somehow, between all the individuals participating, some of them might accomplish something worthwhile. To us a team is not individuals labouring in different ministries, with little cooperation, hoping that one or two churches might be planted.
- Mark Dana, The Church Planting Team: A Three Strand Cord is Not Easily Broken: The Body of Christ in Action (paper for Principles of Church Multiplication course, Biola University, School of Intercultural Studies, June 18, 2012)
- Pat MacMillan, The Performance Factor: Unlocking the Secrets of Teamwork (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001)
- George Cladis, Leading the Team-Based Church (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999)
- C. Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership: Discovering the Secrets of Servant Leadership from the Life of Christ (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1998)
- James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995)
- Professor Ben C. Fletcher, What Makes a Good Team, online article.