As we move forward, we want to be clear as to what we believe. This also defines everything that we do as a church body. If it does not line up with our 4 pillars, we won’t do it.
The Word: We believe that the Bible is God’s Word and it reveals who He is and what He has done. We believe that it is inspired and authoritative. Even more specifically we believe that Jesus is God’s Final Word to us, and He perfectly reveals the heart of God. CFC preaches Christ and Him crucified as the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. Jesus is the One who came to heal us and deliver us and we believe He is still doing that today through the proclamation of the Gospel. We believe that His Kingdom is coming through His Word is proclaimed and people being adopted into His family.
Sacraments: We believe that Jesus’ love is made real to us, and we are set apart through the Sacraments of Baptism and Communion as we receive them by faith. They are visible words that we need to strengthen our faith in Christ. We practice common cup communion because we believe that God designed us for communion. We are made in His image and He is one God in three persons – a blessed community of love. So we drink from the common cup to declare our unity. We are called to “discern” the body of Christ as we come to His table. We take that to mean that the people sitting around us are the body of Jesus and how we treat them is how we treat Jesus. For blacks and whites to drink from the same cup is a big deal in the Mississippi Delta. Not many years ago we couldn’t even drink from the same water fountain so to drink from the same cup is saying something powerful. It is saying that this person is my sister or my brother. It is saying that we are equal. We both have inherent dignity and worth, and we are both sinners who desperately need the broken body and shed blood of Jesus. We cannot live without it. We believe that baptism is a sign and seal of our relationship with Jesus. We believe that baptism is our initiation into the body of Christ and that God promises His love to those who are baptized and their children.
Fellowship: We believe that we were made for fellowship. The Biblical word for it is the Greek word koinonia. There has been so much written about community and fellowship but what we want to focus on is the celebration of each other – especially our different cultures. Our of our mantra is “Celebrate don’t Tolerate.” I can only imagine what it was like for Jews and Gentiles to learn to love each other despite such huge cultural differences and preferences. But we know that through the Gospel they did. They really learned to participate in each other’s lives and become a family. They learned how to submit to one another and serve one another and count each other as better than themselves. To learn to truly celebrate another person you have to be willing to let go of a lot of prejudices and a lot of fear. Black people and white people do not trust each other in the Mississippi Delta and we want to press into that.
Poor: Jesus told us that the Gospel would be Good News for the poor! He also told us that the poor would always be among us. I wonder if the poor in our community think the message we are preaching is good for them? I wonder why they are not among us. If you sat a group of poor people from the Mississippi Delta down and read them the Beatitudes from Matthew 5 I bet they would say that’s good news. If you sat a group of middle to upper-class people from the Delta down and read them the same passage they might not agree. The announcement that King Jesus is taking over the world is Good News to the poor. Why? Because He is turning everything upside down. He is making everything that is wrong right. He is making all things new and in the new order, the poor are no longer marginalized and oppressed. So we are going to celebrate the poor and make it a mark of success in our church when the poor are among us. We will know we are doing the work well when the poor say what they are hearing and seeing is Good News! We want to live by a saying that the early church was known for, “We do not speak great things but we live them.”