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Statement of Faith
COMHINA, as part of COMIBAM International, adheres to the biblical, theological and missiological expression of the Lausanne Covenant.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ from over 150 nations who participated in the International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, we praise God for His great salvation and rejoice in the fellowship He has given us with Himself and with one another. Brought to repentance by our failures and challenged by the unfinished business of evangelism, we are deeply moved by the things God is doing in our day. We believe the Gospel is God's good news for the whole world, and by his grace we are determined to obey Christ's commission, proclaim it to all mankind, and make disciples of all nations. We want, therefore, to affirm our faith and our resolution and to make public our covenant.
1. GOD'S PURPOSE
We affirm our faith in one eternal God, as Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who governs all things according to his purpose and will. He has called a people to Himself out of the world, and sent them into the world as His servants and witnesses, for the extension of His Kingdom, the building up of the body of Christ, and the glory of His Name. We confess with shame that we often deny our vocation and fail in our mission, conforming to the world or moving away from it. Yet we rejoice that, though in earthen vessels, the Gospel is still a precious treasure. We want to rededicate ourselves to the task of making this treasure known, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Isa 40:28; Matthew 28:19; Ephesians 1:11; Acts 15:15; John 17:6,18; Ephesians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:7
2. AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE BIBLE
We affirm the divine inspiration, faithfulness, and authority of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, without error in all that they affirm, and that they are the only infallible rule of faith and conduct. We also affirm the power of God's Word to accomplish His saving purpose. The Bible's message is addressed to all mankind, for God's revelation in Christ and in the Scriptures is unalterable. Through her the Holy Spirit continues to speak today. It enlightens the minds of God's people in all cultures to see the truth anew with their own eyes, and thus shows the whole church more of God's manifold wisdom. 2 Timpoteo. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; John 10:35; Isaiah 55:11; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Romans 1:16; Matthew 5:17,18; Jude 3, Ephesians 1:17,18; 3:10,18.
3. UNIVERSITY AND UNIVERSALITY OF CHRIST
We affirm that there is one Savior and one Gospel, although there are different approaches to evangelism. We recognize that all men have some knowledge of God through His general revelation in nature. But we also reject, as an insult to Christ and the Gospel, every kind of syncretism and dialogue that implies that Christ speaks equally through all religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ is the God-man who gave himself as the only mediator between God and man. There is no other name by which we can be saved. All men perish because of sin, but God loves all men, and it is his desire that none should perish, but that all should repent. However, those who reject Christ deny the joy of salvation and condemn themselves to eternal separation from God. To proclaim Jesus as "the Savior of the world" is not to claim that all men are automatically or definitively saved, much less to claim that all religions offer salvation in Christ. It is rather to announce to the world of sinners and invite all men to respond to Him as Lord and Savior in the personal and authentic surrender of repentance and faith. Jesus Christ is exalted above every name: we look forward to the day when every knee will bow to Him and every tongue will confess Him as Lord. Galatians 1:8,9; Romans 1:18,32; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-19; 2 Thessalonians. 1:7-9; John 4:42; Matthew 11:28; Ephesians 1:20, 21; Philippians 2:9-11.
4. NATURE OF EVANGELISM
To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that now as the reigning Lord he offers forgiveness of sins and the freeing gift of the Holy Spirit to all who repent. and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is essential for evangelization; thus it is a dialogue whose aim is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But evangelism is the very proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Savior and Lord, in order to persuade people to come to Him personally and be reconciled to God. In extending the Gospel invitation, we are not at liberty to hide or discount the cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who want to follow him to deny themselves, take up their cross and identify with their new community. Outcomes of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into His church, and responsible service in the world. 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Acts 2:32-39; John. 20:21; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 5:11-20; Luke 14: 25-33; Mark 8:34; Acts 2:40,47; Mark 10:43-45.
5. CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We affirm that God is the Creator and Judge of all men. Therefore, we must share his concern for justice and reconciliation in all human society and for the liberation of all men from all kinds of oppression. Mankind was made in the image of God; Consequently, every person, whatever their race, religion, color, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity, for which they should be respected and served, not exploited. We also express our regret, both for our negligence and for having sometimes seen evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with man is not the same as reconciliation with God, nor is social commitment the same as evangelization, nor is political liberation the same as salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelization and social and political action they are part of our Christian duty. Both are necessary expressions of our doctrine of God and man, our love of neighbor, and our obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation also implies a message of judgment against all forms of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we must not be afraid to speak out against evil and injustice wherever it exists. When people receive Christ, they are born again into His Kingdom and must manifest and spread His righteousness amidst an unjust world. The salvation we claim to have must transform us in all our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is dead. Acts 17:26,31; Genesis. 18:25; Isaiah 1:17; Psalms 45:7; Genesis. 1:26,27; James 3:9; Leviticus 19:18; Luke 6:27,35; James 2:26-26; John3:3,5; Matthew 5:20; 6:33; 2 Corinthians 3:18.
6. THE CHURCH AND EVANGELISM
We affirm that Christ sends the redeemed into the world as the Father sent Him, and that this requires a similar deep and costly penetration of the world. We need to get out of our ecclesiastical ghettos and into non-Christian society. In the mission of the Church, which is a mission of sacrificial service, evangelization takes first place. World evangelization demands that the whole Church take the whole Gospel to all the world. The Church is at the center of God's cosmic purpose and is the instrument He has appointed for the propagation of the Gospel. But a Church that preaches the cross must be marked by the cross. He becomes a stumbling block to evangelism when he betrays the Gospel or lacks living faith in God, genuine love for men, or scrupulous honesty in all things, including promotion and finance. The Church is the community of the People of God, more than an institution, and must not be identified with a particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology. John 17:18, 20-21; Matthew 29:19-20; Acts1:8; 20:27; Ephesians 1:9; 3:9-11; Galatians 6:14, 17; 2 Corinthians 6:3, 4; 2 Timothy. 2:19-21; Philippians 1:27.
7. COOPERATION IN EVANGELIZATION
We affirm that the visible unity of the Church is indeed God's purpose. Evangelism also invites us to unity, for unity strengthens our witness, just as our lack of unity weakens our gospel of reconciliation. We recognize, however, that organizational unity can take many forms and does not necessarily serve the cause of evangelism. However, those of us who share the same biblical faith must be closely united in fellowship, work, and witness. We confess that our witness has at times been marred by sinful individualism and unnecessary duplication. We are committed to seeking a deeper unity in truth, worship, holiness and mission. The development of regional and functional cooperation is urgently needed for the advancement of the church's mission, strategic planning, mutual encouragement, and sharing of resources and experience. John 17:21,23; Ephesians 4:3,4; John 13:35; Philippians 1:27; John 17:1-23.
8. THE CHURCH AND COMMUNION IN EVANGELIZATION
We rejoice in the beginning of a new missionary era. The old model of western domination is fast disappearing. God is raising up from young churches large and new resources for world evangelism, and is thus demonstrating that the responsibility to evangelize belongs to the whole body of Christ. All churches, therefore, must ask God and themselves what they must do to evangelize their own area and send missionaries to other countries of the world. The evaluation of our responsibility and of the missionary task must be continuous. This is how the fellowship between the churches will grow and the universal character of Christ will be more clearly manifested. We also thank God for all agencies working in Bible translation, theological education, mass media, Christian literature, evangelism, missions, church renewal, and other specialized fields. They must also make a self constant criticism in order to assess its effectiveness as part of the Church's mission. Romans 1:18; Philippians 1:5; 4:15; Acts 13:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8.
9. THE URGENCY OF THE TASK OF EVANGELIZATION
More than 2.7 billion people, that is, more than two thirds of humanity, have not yet been evangelized. We are ashamed that so many people have been neglected; this is a continual reproach to us and to the whole church. Today, however, there are many parts of the world where there is unprecedented receptivity to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are convinced that it is time for churches and parachurch agencies to pray fervently for the salvation of the unconverted and to initiate new efforts to evangelize the world. A reduction in the number of missionaries and funds from abroad may sometimes be necessary to facilitate the growth of a self-reliant national church in an evangelized country and to shift resources to other unevangelized areas. There should be a free interchange of missionaries, from all continents to all continents, in a spirit of humble service. The aim must be, by all available means and in the shortest possible time, that each person has the opportunity to hear, understand and receive the Good News. We cannot hope to reach this goal without sacrifice. We are all shaken by the poverty of millions of people and disturbed by the injustices that cause it. Those of us who live in wealth accept a duty to develop a simple lifestyle in order to contribute more generously to both material aid and evangelism. John 9:4; Matthew 9:36-38; Romans 9:1-9; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; Matthew 16:15; Isaiah 58:6,7; James 1:27; 2:1-9; Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 2:44-45; 4:34,35.
10. EVANGELISM AND CULTURE
The development of a world evangelization strategy requires imagination in the use of methods. With God's help, the result will be churches rooted in Christ and closely linked to his culture. Culture must always be tested and judged by Scripture. Since man is a creature of God, some of his cultural elements are rich in beauty and goodness. But because of the fall, his entire culture is tainted with sin and some aspects of it are demonic. The gospel does not assume the superiority of one culture over another, but evaluates all cultures according to their own criteria of truth and justice and insists on absolute moral principles in each culture. Missions have often exported a foreign culture along with the Gospel, and churches have been enslaved to culture rather than subject to Scripture. Christ's evangelists must humbly seek to empty themselves of all but their personal authenticity in order to be servants of others, and churches must seek to transform and enrich their culture, all to the glory of God. Mark 7:8,9,13; Genesis. 4:21,22; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; Philippians 2:5-7; 2 Corinthians 4:5
11. EDUCATION AND LEADERSHIP
We confess that sometimes we seek Church growth at the expense of depth and divorce evangelism from Christian growth. We also recognize that some of our missions have been slow to equip and encourage national leaders to assume the responsibilities to which they are entitled. However, we accept the principles of self-criticism and expect each church to have national leaders who manifest a Christian style of leadership, not in terms of domination, but in terms of service. We recognize that there is a great need to improve theological education, especially for church leaders. In every nation and culture there should be an effective training program for pastors and laity in doctrine, discipleship, evangelism, growth, and service. Such training programs should not rely on a stereotypical methodology, but should be developed according to creative local initiatives in line with biblical standards. Colossians 1:27,28; Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5,9; Mark 10:42-45; Ephesians 4:11,12
12. SPIRITUAL CONFLICT
We believe that we are in constant spiritual warfare against the principalities and powers of evil, who are trying to destroy the church and thwart its task of world evangelization. We know our need to put on the whole armor of God and fight this battle with the spiritual weapons of truth and prayer, as we feel the activity of our Other enemy, not only in false ideologies outside the Church, but also within it, in false gospels. that distort the Scriptures and put man in the place of God. We need vigilance and discernment to safeguard the biblical Gospel. We recognize that we ourselves are not immune to worldliness in thought and action, that is, a commitment to secularism. For example, while studies of Church growth, both numerical and spiritual, have their place when done carefully, we sometimes neglect them. Other times, in the desire to ensure a response to the gospel, people accommodate their message, manipulate their listeners through pressure techniques, and people worry too much about statistics and are even dishonest in their use of them. All this is mundane. The Church must be in the world, but the world must not be in the Church. Ephesians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 4:3,6; Ephesians 6:11, 13-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1John 2:18-25; 4:1-3; Galatians 1:6-8; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 4:2; John 17:5
13. FREEDOM AND PERSECUTION
It is a God-appointed duty that every government shall secure conditions of peace, justice, and liberty, in which the Church may obey God, serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and preach the Gospel without hindrance. We therefore pray for national governments and urge them to guarantee freedom of thought and conscience, as well as freedom to practice and propagate religion, in accordance with God's will under the terms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also express our deep concern for those who are unjustly imprisoned, and especially for our brothers who suffer for the testimony of the Lord Jesus. We promise to pray and work for your freedom. At the same time, we will not be intimidated by what happens to them. With God's help, we too will seek to stand firm against injustice and remain faithful to the Gospel at all costs. Let's not forget Jesus' warning that persecution is inevitable. 1 Timothy 1:1-4; Acts 4:19; 5:29; Colossians 3:24; Hebrews 13:1-3; lc. 4:18; Galatians 5:11; 6:12; Matthew 5:10-12; John 15:18-21
14. THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father sent His Spirit to testify of His Son; without His witness our witness is in vain. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new birth, and Christian growth are all His works. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is a missionary Spirit, and therefore evangelism must spring from a Spirit-filled church. World evangelization will be a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews the Church in wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power. We therefore call upon all Christians to pray for the visitation of the Spirit of God, that all the fruits of it may be seen in His people, and that all the gifts of it may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole Church become a suitable instrument in his hands, for the whole world to hear the voice of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4; John15:26,27; 16:8-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3; John 3:6-8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 7:37-39; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Acts 1:8; Psalms. 85:4-7; 67:1-3; Galatians 5:22,23; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; Romans 12:3-8
15. THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, in power and glory, to consummate His salvation and His judgment. This promise of his coming impels us powerfully to evangelize, because we remember his words that it is necessary for the Gospel to be preached to all nations. We believe that in the period between Christ's ascension and His second coming, the mission of God's people will have to be completed and that we cannot stop before the end. We also remember His warning that false prophets and false Christs will arise as forerunners of the final Antichrist. Therefore, we reject any self-sufficient and arrogant dream that man is capable of building a utopia on earth. Our Christian confidence is that God will perfect his kingdom, and we look forward to the day when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, in which righteousness will dwell and God will reign forever. In the meantime, we rededicate ourselves to the service of Christ and men, joyfully submitting ourselves to his authority over the totality of our lives. Mark 14:62; Hebrews 9:28; Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8-11; Matthew 28:20; Mark 13:21-23; John 2;18; 4:1-3; Luke 12:32; Revelation 21:1-5; 2 Peter 3:13; Matthew 28:18
Therefore, taking into account our faith and our resolve, we make a solemn covenant with God and with our brothers to pray, plan and work together for the evangelization of the whole world. We invite everyone who wants to join us.
MAY GOD HELP US BY HIS GRACE AND FOR HIS GLORY TO BE FAITHFUL TO THIS ALLIANCE.
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