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Our Distinctives

We at New Life Bible Chapel [NLBC] affirm these distinctives to be in keeping with the Bible to which we strive by God's grace to be true and faithful.

1. LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE FOCUS AND CENTER OF OUR GATHERINGS

The purpose and aim of all our gatherings is the Lord Jesus Christ and His glory .

Mathew. 18:20. “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them”

At NLBC we plan our lives, our services and our events around the person of Jesus Christ that He alone be glorified.

John 3:30. He must increase, but I must decrease.

Other references: Acts 4:12; Mt. 18:20; 1 Cor. 1:9-13; 12:12-13; Eph. 4:3-4; 1 Tim. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:19-22.

RESULTING CHURCH PRACTICE

Breaking of Bread or Communion is done every week.

1 Cor 11:24. “…Do this in remembrance of me.”
1 Cor 11:26. “For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

We also have Communion during special events like New Year’s Eve, member reconciliation and even during weddings if the couples so desire.

2. THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT PRESIDES OVER OUR MEETINGS

The Holy Spirit both indwells the believer individually [1 Cor.6:19] and the Church collectively [1 Cor.3:16].

He distributes the various spiritual manifestations as He wills to every believer, for the building up and the encouragement of the saints locally gathered [1 Cor.12:7-11].

Therefore, whether individually or collectively our desire at NLBC is that He will be the ruler of our lives.

Other references: Eph.2:22.

RESULTING CHURCH PRACTICE

The weekly communion time is open, unstructured and a spontaneous time of remembrance.

Being led by the Spirit does not preclude individual preparation. Participation is to be orderly, timely, reverent and God honouring.

Believers of our Lord Jesus Christ have freedom to exercise their spiritual gifts for mutual edification through their involvement in various ministries at NLBC (1Cor.14:26-27).

We are not a "charismatic" church.

3. AUTONOMY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH

NLBC is autonomous and independent with no centralized leadership, or hierarchical system and is under the control of the Head of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ [1 Cor. 1:2; 12:12-13,25; Eph. 4:4].

However, we do fellowship, partner and cooperate with local churches toward the common goals of evangelism and missions.

RESULTING CHURCH PRACTICE

Our local and global initiatives are supported through gifts as provided by the members. We partner with churches globally to support their spiritual and physical needs [1 Cor 8].

4. THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE BIBLE

At NLBC the test of truth is the Scripture alone.

To this end, we encourage both corporate and independent in-depth study of the Word of God for life and godliness [2 Peter 1:3].

In matters where the Bible is silent we make informed prayerful decisions that are closest to the tenor and the spirit of the Scriptures. We want to be careful not to remove or add to the Scriptures through our practice or lack thereof [Proverbs 30:5-6; 1 Corinthians 4:6-7; Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18; Ecclesiastes 12:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21]

Other references: John 10:35; John 17:17; 2 John 1:9.

RESULTING CHURCH PRACTICE

We believe that it is important for our members to be given the whole counsel of God. To this end we have an annual plan for teaching and preaching and supporting ministries to grow and disciple the flock [Acts 20:27].

In the matters of Bible translations and versions, we do not prescribe a particular version. However, we prefer to use those that provide the literal word-for-word translation [ESV, NASB, NKJV] in preference to the Dynamic Equivalent [NIV, REB] or the Free Translation [TLB, CEV]

5. BIBLICAL ELDERSHIP

We believe that the church leadership is the role of the elder-pastors. [1 Peter 5:2-3; Heb. 13:17]

The character and effectiveness of a local church is affected by the quality of its leadership. Therefore, those who both do the work of the shepherd and have the characteristics of the elder-pastor are the ones who are recognized to lead the local church [1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9].

RESULTING CHURCH PRACTICE

Elder-pastors are one of a plurality of biblically qualified men who jointly shepherd and oversee the local body of believers at NLBC. [Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; James 5:14].

They are raised from among the local congregation and they labour as under-shepherds to the Chief Shepherd [1 Peter 5:1-4].

Elder-pastors lead specific functions as demonstrated in the Scriptures in order to equip the members at NLBC to do the work of the ministry [Eph 4:11-13].

They function interdependently and no one person has more authority than another so as to not die by the strengths & weaknesses of a single personality or gifting.

New elder-pastors are identified, recognised and appointed in the presence of the congregation after much prayer on part of the existing leadership and also the members of NLBC. There is no human or ecclesiastical ordination to ministry but only commendation and recognition of ministry. [1 Tim 4:14].

6. PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS

All believers are called saints, Christians, and brethren; and all are equally members of the one Body of Christ (1 Cor.1:2; 12:12,27; Eph.3.6; 4:4; Heb.2:11-12).

We all equally are priests, all have a gift, and all are equally accepted. There is no clergy-laity division (1 Pet. 2:5,9-10).

Thus, all Christians are of that holy priesthood and can offer spiritual sacrifices to God. All have the right to go directly to God through Jesus Christ, our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16; Heb. 10:19-22).

RESULTING CHURCH PRACTICE

While the elder-pastors have a role of visiting and praying for the sick [James 5:14-15] every member is encouraged to be active in the building, developing and growing of the other as per their gifting and as the Spirit gives opportunities.

To the best of our ability we want to encourage the mandate that every member has a role and where everyone is a participant.

7. COMPLEMENTARIAN ROLES

Both men and women are made in the image of God [Gen 1:27]; additionally in the Lord Jesus Christ there is no male or female [Gal 3:28]. Bible however makes a difference between equality and sameness [1 Cor 11:11]. Each has a role to play that is applicable within the family and in the church. This has been referred to as the principle of “male headship”.

1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

RESULTING CHURCH PRACTICE

We distinguish between ‘Teaching’ and ‘teaching’. The ‘Teaching’ functions are authoritative and are given to men [1 Timothy 2:11,12; 1 Cor 14:33-35]. Women take many roles in the church and are “co-workers” in the ministry [Philippians 4: 3]. They are involved in the ‘teaching’ ministry including Sunday School, Ladies meeting and one-on-one counseling [Titus 2:4].

You will notice that many of the ladies at NLBC wear a head covering "because of the angels" [1 Corinthians 11].

We do not have woman in elder-pastor role.

8. TITHES AND OFFERINGS

No legalistic rules govern Christian giving.

Giving is an act of worship and believers are encouraged to give as unto the Lord - liberally, cheerfully, regularly, freely, sacrificially, and proportionately (2 Cor.8:1-6; 9:6-11; 1 Cor.16:1-2).

RESULTING CHURCH PRACTICE

No offering is expected from our visitors and guests. Each member gives as he or she has purposed in their hearts [2 Cor 9:7]

9. DISTINCTIVE CLOTHING

We wish to glorify God in the way we dress.

For the glory of God, It is important not to be provocative, distracting or pompous.

Also, We are mindful of our many brothers and sisters who are unable to afford the Sunday finery and we do not want it to be the reason for anyone not being part of the local church.

RESULTING CHURCH PRACTICE

You will find most at NLBC dressed in business casual.