Pursuing and praising Jesus together
Seeking and speaking Truth in love
Caring for and sharing with those in need
Being formed by Christ and forming others
Connecting with the God revealed in Scripture
Giving as we have received
Baptism is the “rite of entry” into the people of God and one of two Sacraments recognized by Christ United Jackson (a Sacrament is a physical symbol that expresses and conveys the love and grace of God). In baptism, our sins are washed “clean” and we become new people in Jesus Christ.
As circumcision in the Old Testament was a one-time rite of entry for Jewish people into a relationship with God, baptism is a one-time rite of entry for those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and enter the Church. Baptism may be administered by sprinkling, immersion, or pouring. Because baptism is a one-time event, Christ United Jackson does not practice re-baptism. We do offer occasional opportunities in worship for people to remember and celebrate anew their baptism.
We believe God’s grace invites us into connection and relationship even before we are consciously aware of it. Infant baptism is one way we affirm this “prevenient grace” at work. We baptize infants before they have conscious awareness of their need for God because of our conviction that God is already reaching out to them through the Church to draw them into God’s love. We baptize infants and children with the clear understanding that parents are the primary spiritual guides responsible for helping their children experience a personal relationship with Jesus Christ with the help of the church. Christ United Jackson also offers “believers’ baptism” to those who have not been previously baptized and are old enough to commit themselves to Christ on their own.
Human Sexuality, Gender, and Marriage
All people are individuals of sacred worth. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all, no matter their current or past expression of gender identity or sexuality. In keeping with the teaching of Scripture and the historic, orthodox Christian tradition through the ages, we believe “God created human beings in his own image… male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). We acknowledge and respect God’s authority to assign gender by biological design. We believe that God’s intention for humanity is faithfulness in marriage and celibacy in singleness. We believe that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union (Genesis 2:24-25; Matthew 19:5; 1 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:31), and that sexual intimacy is a precious gift, reserved exclusively for this covenant of marriage. We believe any sexual behavior outside of these standards is not in line with God’s will, as revealed in the teachings of Scripture and is considered sin (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
It is our conviction that God calls his people to live by his standard of holiness in all areas of their lives and that “He [Jesus] himself bore our sins in His body on the cross so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness, ‘by His wounds we are healed’” (1 Peter 2:24). No matter our station – married, single, widowed, divorced – we are all in need of God’s grace and daily dependent on the indwelling Holy Spirit to enable the sexual purity his word commands. We strive to be a church that supports all people in honoring and serving God through holy sexuality.
Holy Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper and the Eucharist, is one of two Sacraments recognized by Christ United Jackson (a Sacrament is a visible symbol that expresses and conveys the spiritual presence and grace of God). Using bread and wine, Jesus instituted “Holy Communion” with his disciples at the Last Supper (Luke 22:14-20). The bread and wine symbolized Jesus’ body and blood which would be “broken” and “poured out” on the cross. In Holy Communion, bread and non-alcoholic grape juice are consecrated by a priest or minister, then shared with the people. Jesus commanded his followers to observe this “holy meal” often. We believe Holy Communion is God’s gift, offered by Jesus at God’s table; therefore, all are invited to join us in receiving the grace God offers to us through it.
Women in Ministry
With the Apostle Paul, we affirm that the Kingdom of God inaugurates a new way of seeing and relating to one another. Previous cultural distinctions lose their power in the Kingdom of God. In the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit falls on young and old, men and women. Men and women are given new life in Christ, receive the Holy Spirit, and are called by God to use their gifts in ministry, including pastoral ministry. In the resurrection narratives, women were the first preachers of the Gospel. Women were the first to go to the tomb, see it empty, hear about the resurrection from an angel (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:5-6), and then go and tell the disciples.
The Bible affirms both marriage and singleness as gifts from God (1 Corinthians 7). Singleness comes in many forms: those who are not married yet; those who have never married; and those who are single again because of the death of a spouse or divorce. Our world tends to view “singleness” as the absence of something (a spouse), but the Apostle Paul describes it as a unique opportunity to experience the presence of something. Singleness provides the opportunity for a person to live with a “single-minded devotion” to the Lord. There is no greater example of this than Jesus; despite the “cultural norm” to marry in ancient Judaism, he remained a single person in adulthood.
God recognizes at times the painful reality of divorce and provides two concessions. Jesus gives one exception – in cases involving sexual infidelity (Matthew 5:32). The Apostle Paul gives another: “If the unbelieving spouse separates, let it be so. In such cases, the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15). While marriage is the single, exclusive union of a man and a woman for life, if an unbelieving spouse leaves with no intention of returning, he or she has broken the covenant bond between God and their spouse. In such cases, the remaining spouse is free to seek either reconciliation or divorce. In situations of spousal abuse or divorce, we commit to offering guidance, love, grace, dignity, prayer, and appropriate counseling.
God – Our Creator and Redeemer
We believe in one God, Creator and Sustainer of all, eternally existing in three Persons, distinct but inseparable, united in holiness and love: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
- God the Father is holy and eternal and chooses to be in a personal relationship with everyone, forever proclaiming His love for us and all He created.
- God the Son is the eternal Word of God. Because of God’s desire to be in relationship with humanity, He became one of us – Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who is fully God and fully human. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, then suffered and died as the only sufficient sacrifice for our sins. He conquered sin and death by rising from the dead and ascended to the Father where He intercedes for us, and will return as sovereign King and Judge in final victory.
- God the Holy Spirit is the eternal living presence of God convicting us of our rebellion against God, revealing God’s love through Jesus Christ, enabling us to experience new birth, transforming us into the likeness of Christ and producing within us the fruit of holiness and love.
The Holy Bible – Our Resource
We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired word of God and are without error. God reveals himself through the Scriptures, which provide all things necessary to be in a right relationship with him. The Bible is a gift from God, the final authority for our beliefs and the guide for daily living.=
Humanity – Our Brokenness
We believe God created humanity in his image to be in relationship with him. Therefore, each of us has great worth. However, our sin and lack of trust in God mars his original intention for us. Our self-centeredness alienates us from our true selves, others and God.
The Church – Our Family
We believe the Church is the redeemed people of God, the living Body of Christ and the Community of God’s Kingdom, committed to grow into the likeness of Christ and to proclaim the Good News of salvation, love, reconciliation, healing and hope.
Salvation – Our Transformation
We believe that in mercy, God has made a way for all of us to be eternally reconciled to him and have his image restored in us. By grace, God affords all of us an opportunity to respond to him through faith. When we turn from our self-ruled life and trust only in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we accept God’s forgiveness, are born again, and begin to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. The Holy Spirit increasingly delivers us from rebellion toward God and makes true love for God and others possible.