Frequently Asked Questions
This list of questions and answers were prepared by the leaders of Christ's Church of Deer Park. When you have questions that are not on this list, feel free to call the church or submit a question in person or through email. We welcome your questions!
How does one become a member of Christ's Church?
Answer: These are just a few of many questions we receive about our beliefs and practices. We have written responses to some of the ones most frequently asked, as well as those that require in-depth documentation. There are obviously many more areas that could be discussed. Should you have specific concerns or questions, please contact us and we will be glad to discuss any issue.
The beliefs that have been expressed here are not new. They are a reflection of the oldest, universal beliefs of Christians. Apart from the scriptures, summaries of belief were written by leaders in the early church. These writings were not "God breathed" as were the scriptures, but they express the same views. We may summarize the universal faith of Christ's Church in the words of Irenaeus, a student of Polycarp who was a student of the apostle John, written about 170 A.D. He wrote:
"The church, although disseminated to all the world, even to the ends of the earth has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith, which is in one God, the Father Almighty, who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them; and in one Christ Jesus the Son of God, who became flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit who through the prophets proclaimed the times and the advents and the birth from a virgin and the sufferings and the resurrection from the dead and the bodily ascension of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ and His coming from heaven in the glory of the Father 'to sum up all things', and to raise up all flesh of the entire human race, in order that to Christ Jesus our Lord and God and Savior and King, according to the pleasure of the invisible Father, 'every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess' to Him, and that He should execute just judgment toward all; that He may send spiritual forces of evil and the angels who transgress and become rebellious, together with the ungodly, unjust, wicked, and blasphemous among men, into eternal fire; but the just and holy, and those who have kept His commandments and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning and others through their repentance, He will by grace give incorruption and surround them with eternal glory."
("Against Heresies", Irenaeus, c. 170 A.D., The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Roberts & Donaldson, Eerdmans Pub. Co.)
How is the Church Leadership Structured?
Answer: This is an brief overview of church leadership. There is a certain degree of flexibility in the Lord's design for the governing structure of the body. For instance, an evangelist may be an ordained elder or deacon. Most leaders, whether they are elders, deacons or evangelists, will be teachers and in an equipping role. The elders, however, hold the final authority and responsibility for making sure that all the leaders are living their lives and are performing their duties in a way so as not to cause anyone to stumble. The elders must also make sure the leaders do this in a manner that reflects wisdom and maturity in their leadership.
Old Testament prophets gave notice that Christ would be the head of the church and that it would be built upon Him. The apostles also pointed to Christ as the head of the church and began the New Testament church based upon Him and His teachings. Therefore, Christ's Church of Deer Park seeks to model itself after the New Testament churches described in the Bible. In that respect, we strive to pattern our leadership after that of the early church before man's creeds and unscriptural methods crept into it. Christ's Church of Deer Park recognizes Jesus Christ as the sole Head of the Church, to whom all others submit completely and are accountable. He is the cornerstone.
(Scripture study: Acts 13:1-5; Acts 14:21-28; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:20-22; 4:11-12; 1 Peter 2:4-9; 1 Corinthians 3:8-23)
Why is Christ's Church considered non-denominational?
Answer: In the sense that a denomination refers to an organized group of churches that adhere to creeds or doctrines devised by man, Christ's Church of Deer Park considers itself non-denominational. There is no formal governing organization, beyond the local church, that controls our body. We believe that the unified body which Christ formed should not be changed in any manner and that the local assemblies of the church in each town or city are the New Testament pattern.
There is neither biblical example nor an example from the early Christian writers in the first three centuries that anything other than a simple "Christian" church was established. We seek to follow that model. Scripture must be the only basis upon which a body of believers is formed to worship as one Body of Christ. We seek to remain faithful and gather together as Christ's disciples free of the entanglements of a denominational hierarchy. To borrow an old phrase, we seek to be Christians only, but do not think we are the only Christians.
(Scripture study: John 17:20-21; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Acts 2:42-46; Ephesians 2:19-22; Galatians 1:8-10)
What role does tradition have?
Answer: Christ's Church of Deer Park regards the Bible as our handbook to conduct the business of the church. We strive to verify that any traditions held by the body do not usurp the authority of God's word. Paul wrote to both the Corinthian and Thessalonian churches that traditions had indeed been passed to them from the apostles and he implored them to stand fast to those teachings. At the same time, Jesus warned in the strongest terms that human tradition should never be taught or practiced as if it were a command of God. We distinguish between apostolic traditions and those of other human or cultural design. The former meets our need for understanding of scriptural interpretation and practice. The latter establishes a means of conducting and organizing the functioning body. In these there must always be freedom.
They must not be binding upon anyone, and they must not contradict the expressed will of God. We have certain traditions at Christ's Church, but we seek to ensure that none of them takes away from our scriptural foundation. For instance, we traditionally hold our Sunday worship at 10:45 a.m. or we traditionally organize our worship services with a time of praise, followed by the Lord's supper, followed by a sermon. As well, our Sunday school and Wednesday night services are traditions. All these are typical of many Christians bodies. However, none of these are items that detract from God's word nor are they unchangeable. We will use any tradition only as it builds upon the foundation that has already been given in the scriptures.
(Scripture study: Matthew 15:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1
What is a women's role in the church?
Answer: Throughout the scriptures, women have been crucial to God's plan for His people. In fact, women were the primary support for Jesus' ministry, and they have also participated operationally since then in every aspect of the outreach work of the church. Therefore, Christ's Church follows the Lord's example by valuing the role of women highly with no less value than that of a man's. However, Christ's Church recognizes the God-given differences between men and women despite attempts of society to negate those differences.
The Lord expects both men and women to focus on those areas for which He created their special natures and abilities. This allows an operating partnership that has the greatest chance for success and for satisfaction of both men and women. Women participate in the gatherings of the church equally, including prayer, praise, teaching and lay ministry. (They are not put in positions of teaching men and are not ordained to the elder/deacon functions.) The Lord directs that older women should actively train the younger women to be of serious character, to love their husbands and children and to understand that their work in the home is vitally important. We also encourage single women and widows to devote themselves to works of service as the scriptures instruct. The issue of authority in the Lord's body has been one of contention, particularly in some denominational organizations. This has led to women assuming unscriptural roles in both the church body and the home.
Scripture teaches that all authority comes from God with Christ as the head of the body followed by men, women and children. Changing this authority structure has caused havoc in modern day culture. We firmly believe in the Apostle Paul's instruction that wives should be subject to their husbands, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church. This responsibility, when implemented in a family where the husband loves his wife as much as he loves himself, produces a lasting, holy relationship. This is the same manner in which Christ loved the Church. This structure of authority does not in any way restrict women from taking an invaluable and very active part of the functioning body. In no way does it lessen the value which Christ's Church places upon their abilities and opinions.
(Scripture study: Galatians 3:26-29; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-9; 1 Corinthians 14:34-37; 1 Timothy 2:12; Luke 8:1-3; Philippians 4:3; 1 Timothy 5:9-16; Ephesians 5:21-33)
What does Christ's Church teach about tithes, gifts, and offerings?
Answer: In the same way that compulsory love is not true love at all, compulsory giving is not true giving. While the scriptural word "tithe" means 10% of one's income, it is understood that a new Christian's faith and a new life must be developed. One needs to develop the desire and sense of responsibility to give back to God. Just as one is encouraged to mature in other aspects of the Christian walk, a person should also grow in the area of giving as well. There are two basic principles the Lord teaches us. First, our giving should be in secret and never for show. Second, the measure we use will be measured back to us. In other words, if we invest in the kingdom of God using a teaspoon, that's how His blessings are measured back to us. If we make an investment with Him that, for us, is really a great sacrifice, He will measure back to us accordingly. True giving, while nearly always involving financial reasons in the scripture, is really a whole giving of our lives, our time, our very selves, to His kingdom. It is a testimony of our priorities. As Christ stated in Matthew 7:21, "where your treasure is there will your heart be also."
The elders have appointed one competent individual to calculate the regular gifts of individuals for the purpose of federal income taxes. However, that information is kept confidential and is shared only with the respective giver. The particular amount or volume of giving by an individual has no bearing on their importance to the flock or upon their influence of the body. All monies and other resources given are directed exclusively through the local church to the building up of the Kingdom of God in the most efficient manner that can reasonably be achieved.
(Scripture study: 2 Corinthians 8-9; Matthew 6:1-4, 19-21; Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:8-10
Does Christ's Church support other missions / churches?
Answer: Based upon the Lord's Great commission to go to all nations, to teach His gospel, to make disciples of those people and to baptize them, Christ's Church pursues this task as an integral part of our faith. We seek individuals and families from within the congregation to prepare for the spread of the gospel worldwide. We have participated in specific missions first with people from our body and secondly by providing resources to support those missions throughout the world with financial assistance. Occasionally, we send groups on short-term, informational and support missions to each of the outreaches we are involved with. We are currently, directly involved with several specific missions: Ninos de Mexico, Dominican Mission, Dominican Republic, Pine Haven Christian Childrens Ranch in Montana and are partnering with the Greentown Church of Lahore, Pakistan. We have also sent people to Russia, India and Pakistan on several occasions to minister and to evangelize.
Not only do we desire to obey the Lord in those areas but also to serve in our local community, one example being our Shepherds Cottage Ministry. Christ's Church also planted a new church in the Colbert, WA area a few years ago and hopes to begin other church bodies in the region.
We desire to start bodies that are unified in Christ and His truth, not denominational or separated by man made creeds. Christ commands all His disciples to go into the world, making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them. He wants all to be sanctified in the truth and to be perfected in unity. To accomplish this commission of Jesus Christ, we are working together with other congregations in the Inland Northwest to find locations which have need for Christian fellowships. We have a youth outreach in the Deer Park community to bring young men and women without a Christian background to Christ. Our purpose is to bring into restored fellowship with God, any unsaved man or woman who we can lead to Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
(Scripture study: Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; John 17:18-23; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; 1 Peter. 1:17)