Thessalon Bible Chapel is a Brethren community of Christians whose mission is to love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ, encourage Christ-like maturity through Bible study, prayer and relationship, and lovingly proclaim the Gospel through local evangelism and world missions.
This Statement of Faith and guiding principles for Thessalon Bible Chapel has been prepared by the Elders of Thessalon Bible Chapel in order to assist both the Elders and congregation to know what Thessalon Bible Chapel believes, how it functions, and the areas of ministry for those in the congregation. Thessalon Bible Chapel has its roots with “The Brethren” movement. As such, the congregation follows Brethren rites and usages.
This statement is not intended to be complete as a Statement of Faith or exhaustive as a guide,because we bow to the absolute authority of the scriptures in all matters of faith and practice.
Statement of Faith
We believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of the scriptures, inerrant in the original documents, and the final authority in all matters of faith and practice (II Tim 3:16-17; I Thess 2:13; II peter 1:21). We believe God revealed, inspired, and has preserved His Word for us and therefore we should obey it (Psalm 19:7-10).
There is one God (Deut 6:4; 33:27), eternally existent in Three Persons (Matt 28:19), Father (Eph 4:6), Son (John 1:1), and Holy Spirit (Heb 9:14).
The Lord Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man (I Tim 3:16; 2:5-6), born of a virgin (Luke 1:35), and sinlessly perfect (Heb 4:15). Because of His sacrifice, the sinner finds in Christ a substitute (I Peter 2:24), and a representative who forever pleads His blood for our justification (Romans 5:19; Heb 7:25). He rose bodily from the dead (Luke 24:39), and ascended to His Father’s right hand (Eph 1:20), where He now ministers as our Great High Priest (Heb 4:14-16; 9:24). We believe that because of who He is and what He has done and is doing, He must have the pre-eminence (Col 1:18). All authority has been given to Him by the Father.
Each member of the human race is fallen, sinful, and lost (Romans 3:23; 5:12). Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for the salvation of each man, woman, and child (Titus 3:5; Romans 8:9). Redemption is wholly by the blood of Christ (Heb 9:12-14; I Peter 1:18-19), and salvation is by grace, through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8-9). Every child of God possesses eternal life and is safe for all eternity (John 10:27-29; 3:16; 5:24). We believe that both eternal life and abundant life are available to all who repent and believe (John 10:10) and thus each believer can possess both the assurance and security of eternal life (John 5:24; I John5:9-10).
Each believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who seals him unto the day of redemption (Eph 1:13-14; 4:30). It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that the believer can live a godly life (Gal 5:16; 22-23). We believe that we are to be holy and godly in our conduct (I Peter 1:15).
We believe there is life after death and that preparation for eternity must be made before death (Heb 9:27-28). We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust (John 5:29; I Cor 15:51-55; Rev 20:12-13), and the everlasting blessedness of the saved (Phil 1:23; Rev 22:4-5), and the everlasting conscious punishment of the lost in the lake of fire (Rev 20:10-15; Matt 25:46).
We believe in the personal, pre-millennial and imminent return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (I Thess 4:14 & 18; Titus 2:13; Acts 1:11; Heb 9:28). We believe that believers are saved from the wrath of God which is to come upon this earth (Rom 5:9; I Thess 1:10; 5:9).
The Church, as a whole, is not an organization but a living organism, known as the Body of Christ (Eph 1:22-23). The local church is composed of believers in a locality, who gather in Christ’s name as a corporate testimony to the Lordship of Christ (Col 1:18), and to the oneness of the Body of Christ (John 17:21). They gather to commemorate the Lords Supper (I Cor 11:23-26), for worship (John 4:23), for prayer (Acts 2:42), edification (Eph 4:12) and evangelism (II Tim 4:2). Government and discipline are the responsibilities of the local church (Matt 18:15-17). We believe that believers should be actively involved in the fellowship of a local church (Heb 10:23-25).
There are two Christian ordinances – baptism by immersion (Matt 28:19; Acts 8:38; Col 2:12), and the Lords Supper, (communion) (Luke 22:19-20). Baptism is for believers upon confession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 8:35-39). It signifies that the one being baptized has been crucified with Christ unto sin, has been buried with Him, and is risen with Him to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3-5). The early church commemorated the Lords supper on the first day of week (Acts 20:7), and we believe that it is the privilege of all true believers to heed and participate in the Lords Supper, “This do in remembrance of me”, (cf. I Cor 11:20-34).
We celebrate the Lords Supper in a gathering of true believers on the first day of each week (Sunday), breaking bread and drinking from a cup, the fruit of the vine, in remembrance of Him. Such scriptures as I Cor 10, 11, and 14 guide us in this.
God has delegated the responsibility of the local church government to the oversight of the assembly (Acts 20:28; Heb 13:17). Following the pattern of the New Testament, we recognize the plurality of Elders among us as they display the characteristics set forth in such scriptures as I Tim 3 and Titus 1.
We baptize believers on their personal confession of faith in Christ, immersing in water, as the Lord commanded (Matt 28:19). Water baptism is not a requirement for salvation as some teach, but is an act of obedience for those who have already trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. It is an outward testimony to family, friends and the world of the individual’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and of their desire to be identified in the world as a follower of Him. The only requirement for baptism is salvation (Acts 8:36-39).
THE LORDS SUPPER
The Lords supper meeting is held each Sunday in obedience to the command to “do this in remembrance of Me”, (Luke 22:19). This meeting takes the form of spontaneous statements of worship in the hymns, prayers, and the reading and expounding of the scriptures, which exalt the Lord (Luke 24:27). It is expected that those who call Thessalon Bible Chapel their home church, will recognize the importance of attending this meeting as commanded by the Lord Himself.
The ‘loaf’ typifies the body of Christ (Mark 14:22), “Take eat, this is my body given for you”. It also expresses the unity of the church (I Cor 10:17), “ For we being many are one bread and one body”.
The ‘cup’ typifies Christ’s shed blood (Matt 26:28), “for this is my blood of the new testament which is shed for many of the remission of sins”.
We firmly believe that all who are trusting in the shed blood of Christ alone are members of the Body of Christ. We freely receive, at this meeting, all who profess the name of Christ and will abide by the doctrinal position stated above. We believe that each participant should regularly examine and deal with sin in their life, and then willingly partake.
The Bible teaches that the local church should be shepherded by spiritually gifted men (Eph 4:11), in order that the church will be mature, effectual and edifying to Christ (Eph 4:16). The local church should operate within the following parameters:
The assembly shall not be subject to any outside ecclesiastical authority, but God alone. We believe that every Christian is a priest and as such as full access to the holy things of God, every one of who is able to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Him (I Peter 2:1-5). The New Testament shows that there is one Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus (I Tim 2:5-6), and that He is the Great High Priest of His people. The congregation shall recognize the oneness of the Body of Christ and extend a hearty welcome to any believer or group of believers of like precious faith, loving all the children of God, “that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus our Lord”, (I Cor 1:2; 11-13; 3:3-5).
Elders of the assembly shall possess the required spiritual characteristics as found in I Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. The Holy Spirit gives these characteristics so that the assembly, fellow-elders, and the individual can recognize their appointment. Elders are responsible to provide leadership, shepherding, and oversee the well being of the church. Elders are also responsible to administer discipline when necessary. All groups and individuals in the assembly are accountable to the Elders, who in turn, are responsible to the Lord (I Peter 5:1-5; Acts 20:28-35; Heb 13:17).
The physical, temporal, practical activities of the assembly will be carried out by Service Committees under the direction of the Elders and Deacons, who shall possess the required spiritual characteristics as found in I Tim 3:8-13 and Acts 6:3. The assembly (congregation) will recognize them.
Thessalon Bible Chapel is a local New Testament Church operating under the principles of the Christian Brethren movement. It is a registered charity under the Income Tax Act. As such, the government of Canada requires that an Annual Meeting be held by the congregation to approve the annual financial statement and the appointment of trustees or directors. The Elders and Deacons of the assembly will direct this meeting. Those in regular fellowship at the Chapel are entitled to vote on all matters of discussion.
The New Testament pattern of church leadership is clearly a plurality of gifted men called ‘Elders’, (Acts 20:17; Titus 1:5). Therefore, we shall seek men who attain the ideal characteristics of leadership as laid down in scripture to lead and guide us (I Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-8). They will be responsible to guide the assembly in spiritual matters, and perform ministry as outlined further in this guideline. That is why to function as an Elder, it is important for him to be well informed as to all the different operations in the assembly such as ladies meetings, Sunday School, Young Peoples, childrens ministries, and adult Bible
They should be noted for their faithful attendance at all assembly meetings and should do their best to get acquainted with people of the congregation (John 10:3-5). It is our
conviction the Elders are developed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28), and as the Holy Spirit raises them up, they should be recognized by the characteristics outlined in I Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-8. The existing Elders should readily recognize the work of God in these men as they shepherd among the flock, and welcome them to join in the oversight of the church. The assembly and the fellow Elders should recognize the Holy Spirit’s appointment and esteem them for the work they are doing on their behalf (I Thess 5:12-13).
A person who desires to an Elder will only be considered if he has the support of the
assembly and his wife (if married) is in full agreement with his desire.
The Elder’s Ministry will include the following:
Shepherding members of the congregation
Protecting and preserving Biblical truth
Overseeing all church services
Pastoral work of the church
Encouragement and exhortation
Serving the spiritual needs of the church family.
DEACONS AND MINISTRY TEAMS
The office of Deacon is an important New Testament function. The early church recognized the need for gifted men whose primary concern would be to attend to the practical and physical needs of operating the church (Acts 6:1-4). We believe the apostle Paul has laid out the criteria a man should possess if he is to be appointed to the office of Deacon (I Tim 3:8-13). The book of Acts indicates that the first deacons were recognized by the congregation and appointed by the Elders to their position (Acts 6:3). Therefore, the physical and financial matters of the church will be delegated to the deacons and carried out in conjunction with the Service Committees.
BEING A MEMBER OF
THESSALON BIBLE CHAPEL
Thessalon Bible Chapel welcomes and desires attendance at the chapel by all who have an interest in spiritual truths, are seeking direction, or simply enjoy meeting together in an orderly fashion. However, the New Testament would seem to teach that it is important for individual’s believers to be identified with a local body for their benefit as well as the benefit of the body itself. Therefore, for those who desire to be so identified with the Thessalon Bible Chapel, they will be required to meet the following criteria:
A personal belief in, and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord (John 1:12; Romans 10:9-10).
Abide by the ‘Statement of Faith and Guiding Principles’.
Strive to be Godly.
Will not promote personal convictions that are divisive to the church (Romans 16:17).
Will have a faithful, consistent and regular involvement in and support activities, ministries, outreach, and meetings of the assembly (Acts 2:42).
THE MINISTRY OF WOMEN
We believe that in our relationship with Christ there is no difference in our standing before Him, whether male or female. However, we do recognize that functionally, within the operation of the local church, men and women fulfill different God ordained roles. Therefore, it is the position of the Chapel, that the general pattern of the scripture is that men are to bear the responsibility of the primary teaching roles of the church (I Cor 14:34-35; I Tim 2:8-15). This would include the teaching time on Sunday and any meeting where public Bible teaching is being done. However, this does not mean that women are not allowed to participate at all. The scripture is plain that it is expected that women will teach other women (Titus 2:3-5). And that in open forum meetings, such as prayer and praise times or the Lord’s Supper, women are likewise at liberty to share (I Cor 11:2). The Thessalon Bible Chapel greatly appreciates the ministry of women and recognizes it as an essential element of a well-balanced church.
In relation to women’s vocal participation in an official, structured meeting of the church, the Chapel’s position regarding the wearing of the head covering is to be decided upon on an individual level. I Cor 11:1-6 does address this matter. Some advocate that this was a cultural symbol that no longer has relevance today. Others interpret that the head covering is for today, to be worn by those ladies whom audibly participate in prayer or exhortation (vs. 5). We are well aware that many Christians differ in opinion in this area. Regardless of a persons understanding of this matter, we agree that the key theme of this passage is that of submission, the woman to the man, the man to Christ, and Christ to the Father. This should be our key concern.The principal of godly submission is timeless and trans-cultural (even though we are not certain that the symbol of the head covering is likewise timeless or trans-cultural). Therefore, we ask each family/individual to examine the scriptures and arrive at a conviction before the Lord.
Being a member in the assembly brings with it privileges, responsibilities, and accountability. Part of the responsibility and accountability is related to the conduct and doctrine of the believerin fellowship. Those in fellowship are expected to set an example of both conduct and doctrine. Scripture gives ample evidence of the responsibility of the New Testament Church to discipline its members and its leaders. They may be asked by the Elders and thus the assembly to withdraw from participation as a matter of discipline for moral sin or doctrinal error (I Cor 5:7-13; Romans 16:17-18).
The goal of discipline is to restore the erring believers to both his/her walk with the Lord and his/her position in the local church.
Discipline should be done in keeping with the clear teaching of the scriptures and in accord with the words of the Lord Jesus Christ and the example of God the Father. Discipline will be carried out by the Leadership in the manner prescribed in the following scriptures: (Matt 18:15-20; I Thess 5:14; II Thess 3:15-16; I Cor 5:1-13; Gal 6:1-3; Heb 12:5-13 etc.). Discipline will be done meekly, considering ones own self. It will be done in love. It will be done impartially.
Discipline will be done using the following Biblical principles. There may be discipline:
When a believer sins against another believer (Matt 18:15-20)
When a believer is unruly (I Thess 5:14)
When a believer is negligent [refuses to work and care for his own] (II Thess 3:15-16)
When a believer causes division (Rom 16:17)
When a believer is an heretic (Titus 3:10)
When a believer is guilty of sexual immorality (I Cor 5)
When a believer is a false teacher (Gal 1:8-9)
Financial support for all church ministry and programs is derived solely from the offerings of Gods people as led by the Lord. The Bible clearly teaches that regular, sacrificial giving to the Lords work is a privilege and act of love that should be carried out willingly and cheerfully (II Cor, 8). God will bless abundantly in return.
The offering is received as the Lord leads by placing it in the offering box in the sanctuary. Receipts for income tax purposes are provided for those who include their name with their offerings during the course of the year. Receipts for specific designations (to persons) cannot be given for those persons who are not recommended to full-time ministry or missionary service, unless approved by the deacons. Due to legalities, we would ask that you refrain from designating such gifts for people through the chapel, unless they clearly fall into the above categories. If you would like to give a gift to a certain person we suggest that you do it through the mail or in person.
Thessalon Bible Chapel.
11 Huron St W,
+705 842 1888