Welcome to ACTS CHURCH
Here are several distinctives of ACTS CHURCH of MARICOPA explained along with their biblical basis (for a more detailed defense of the distinctives, visit the Church Plant Vision page):
We teach that the Bible reveals independent local churches governed by godly men called elders and pastors. The Bible does not teach denominations, which is the accountability of local churches to leaders beyond the local church itself. The pastors and church members are accountable to God and each other and doctrinal and practical matters are to be discerned by the continuous devotion to Christ and the study of His Word. Yet, we are thankful for brothers and sisters in Christ belonging to denominations preaching the Gospel.
Regulative Principle of Worship
We teach that the Bible commands us to pattern our church meetings on Sundays after the first churches in the book of Acts and the New Testament. We are prohibited to go beyond what is written and innovate doctrines and practices during the worship of God. Jesus builds His Church according to His Word which calls us to (1) Read the Word, (2) Pray the Word, (3) Sing the Word, (4) Preach the Word, (5) See the Word in the Sacraments (Communion and Believer's Baptism, (6) Send the Word via the Offerings, (7) Experience the Word in the Fellowship Meal of the Lord's Table. Each of these is to be practiced weekly according to the regulations of the New Testament. For instance, on Sunday you can expect expository and systematic theology preaching for solid Christian growth and equipping for ministry (Acts 20:26-27). There will also be a 40-min time of free all-member participation on Sunday mornings including spontaneous prayer requests, prayers, testimonies, proposed songs, psalms, exhortations, and teachings (1 Cor. 14:26ff). Finally, the weekly Lord's Supper is practiced as a fellowship covenantal meal as shown by the Scripture (Mark 14:22; Acts 2:42, 1 Cor. 11:20,33, 1 Cor. 10:14-31). This Supper is practiced with one Bread which is then broken and shared in many parts (Mark 14:22; 1 Cor. 10:16) and a common Cup filled with wine which is divided among the saints (Luke 22:17; 1 Cor. 10:16). This is both a solemn time of dedication to God and a joyful celebration and proclamation of the Return and coming Kingdom of Christ.
Core Doctrinal Convictions
We Teach that the Church life should be centered on Christ through the Gospel and all Scripture. We teahc that biblical doctrine includes inerrancy (the original manuscripts of the Bible have no errors in all that they affirm), reformed soteriology (also known as the five points of Calvinism, God alone saves through predestination, inconditional election, pre-faith regeneration, and future resurrection), young-earth creationism (God created the universe in six days of twenty-four hours, nearly six thousand years ago with historical Adam and Eve; evolution is a lie), cessationism (the very few spiritual gifts which are called signs have ceased, i.e. miracles and healings on-demand, speaking and translating in tongues or foreign languages), premillennialism (Jesus comes before His future literal earthly one thousand year reign, prophecies concerning Isreal will be fullfilled prior and during this millenium), complementarianism (man and woman are created different and complementary in the different roles though they are spiritually equals), elder-rule ecclesiology (biblical churches are led by pastors who manage all things in the church and encourage members to minister to others with their gifts; the Bible never shows church members voting; the Bible shows elders and deacons appointed to serve in the church, and both groups are only filled with godly men, although women can serve as well without being deacons), participatory ecclesiology (God commands that all members and their children be authorized and encouraged to participate on Sunday services according to their gifts and gender; the meeting is not a "spectator sport") and missional ecclesiology (God gives both Evangelists and Pastors to local churches and both must be recognized and actively leading the church members in their city to reach the lost with the Gospel), and last and foremost the Biblical Trinity (there is One God mysteriously in three distinct Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and the Biblical Christ (the Eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Creator of the Universe, the God-Man humanly born of a Virgin, the perfect substitutionary sacrifice who rose from the dead on the third day, Our Great High Priest, the coming Lord of lords and King of kings).
Daily Family Worship
We teach that the Bible commands a daily family devotional time of worship to God led by the fathers. This time should include praying, singing, Bible reading, and teaching. It is a very simple practice that any Christian family can joyfully practice daily. All it takes is a desire to honor God in faith around the dinner table or family living room and sing songs (via hymnals, memory, or Youtube), share a prayer request and pray, and read a Bible passage and discuss it briefly (could take anywhere from 10 to 30 min for instance).
We teach that the Bible shows that all spiritual meetings in the Old and New Testaments display a consistent pattern of whole families worshipping God together in the assemblies. Another way to say this is that there is no Sunday school in the Bible. As traditional as it is today in America, the Sunday school practice is simply not found in Scripture, and it was invented a couple of centuries ago in England. Biblically, both adults and children are commanded to go to church with a glorious promise and many blessings: to be in the presence of Christ to learn the way they should go as well as contribute to the service and enjoy fellowship. Parents are responsible for discipling their children at home and everywhere they go. Children so discipled and disciplined can sit obediently in church. Noisy or crying children are always a joy to have in the church. As one spiritual family, we can help each other to grow in this area and it is beautiful to see members serving families. We have upper rooms (with speakers providing live audio of the meeting) for mothers or fathers who need to take their child or infant upstairs.
We do not teach that all churches should be house churches or that we will always be a house church. It is simply the best venue for ACTS CHURCH of MARICOPA at the moment to plant the local church, steward intimacy of church members, and foster generosity (nearly 80% of church expenses in American churches goes towards a building, which means that meeting in a home allows us to use the money for commands of God such as helping the poor, supporting the mission, and offering towards Bible teachers). We teach that the Church is not a building but a people, a group of Christians united in Christ. Therefore the building where the church meets is a neutral and preferential matter. Notably, virtually all the churches in the Bible were house churches, so meeting in a house church building should not be despised or elevated in any way. A house church is just a biblical church in a house.
Programmed Evangelistic Church Life
It bears repeating that Jesus gives both Evangelists and Pastors to local churches (the former are all but ignored in most churches which have none and this is partly why many churches are dying) and both must be recognized and actively leading the church members in their city to reach the lost with the Gospel. At ACTS CHURCH of MARICOPA, we plan to have at least bi-monthly city evangelism (door-to-door, and plaza Gospel presentations) to bring the glorious good news to the people of our city. We are also engaged in ongoing discipleship (Mat. 28:19-20; Acts 20:20) which means teaching members to observe (i.e. obey) all things that Jesus commanded (i.e. all Bible topics, not just the "red letters" for indeed all Scripture is the Word of God and thus the Word of Christ). The Bible commands pastors and all members to evangelize and like other Christian disciplines, unless we plan time for it, evangelism will simply not happen (or not happen as much as it should). Since only the Holy Spirit can bring new life to an unbeliever and our goal in evangelism is first and foremost to glorify God, we rely on the Spirit and in all things aim to love God and people, while proclaiming Christ as Lord and Savior of all repent and put their faith in Him.