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Church partnership or network affiliation must be rooted in theological consensus. The question is, how much, and concerning which biblical doctrines? Certainly, a common understanding of the gospel itself is essential, but beyond this, the extent of doctrinal agreement is a challenge.

Theological Convictions

Some churches are united based on detailed and explicit theological affirmations, while others adopt a more broadly evangelical perspective. How willing should a church be to partner with evangelical churches that don’t agree with some of one’s core commitments?

At the heart of this issue is distinguishing between foundational/primary, secondary, and tertiary doctrines. There is comparatively much greater potential for disputes and divisions in networks or associations where theological conviction is broadly conceived. That is to say, in a network where there is a virtual “anything goes” mentality regarding theology, differing perspectives will often breed conflict. Where theological agreement is precise and explicit, and partnership is based on a prior commitment to certain doctrinal distinctives, there is less room for debate and dispute but more potential for a narrow-mindedness and isolationist ministry.

Insofar as the Convergence Church Network is not a local church, the theological requirements for membership are clearly less specific and more inclusive than one would typically find in a church’s Statement of Faith. We aim to unite on the Christian faith's foundational truths while exercising liberty on secondary matters. That being said, there are a few secondary issues (see below) that we believe are sufficiently important to the health and unity of the network.

A distinction will be maintained between what members of the Board of Directors of CCN are required to believe, on the one hand, and what member churches are required to believe, on the other. The theological requirements for the Board are considerably more precise than those required of member churches. It is vitally important to know that although the Board will not insist on complete agreement from member churches on certain secondary issues, they will teach, guide, and encourage member pastors/churches from a particular perspective, one (or several) on which member churches may find themselves in disagreement.

All Convergence Church Network Members are aligned based on the following six biblical and theological commitments:

  1. The Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation
  2. A High View of God’s Sovereignty in Salvation
  3. Biblically Governed Practice of All Spiritual Gifts
  4. A Complementarian View of Men and Women
  5. Churches Governed by a Plurality of Male Elders
  6. The Importance of Water Baptism

1. The Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation

(As defined by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals)

(1) Sola Scriptura / Scripture Alone

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

(2) Sola Gratia / Grace Alone

We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

(3) Sola Fide / Faith Alone

We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice.

(4) Solus Christus / Christ alone

We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

(5) Soli Deo Gloria / God’s Glory Alone

We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

2. A High View of God’s Sovereignty in Salvation

We believe that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and will, through the work of the Holy Spirit, draw the elect to faith in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:37-44). We are, therefore, justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. No ordinance, ritual, work, or any other activity mankind performs is required to be saved. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God's saving grace also sanctifies us by enabling us to do what is pleasing in God's sight so that we might be progressively conformed to the image of Christ.

Note that the basis or ground for God’s election of individuals to be saved is not stated. Calvinists would contend that the basis is God’s unconditional and sovereign grace, while Arminians would argue that election is conditional, based on foreseen faith in the individual. Can the two unite in a network and accomplish their goals without judgment and rancor? We believe the answer is: Yes.

3. Biblically Governed Practice of All Spiritual Gifts

We want to be passionately and prayerfully pursuing the biblically governed practice of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

It won’t be enough that a pastor or local church is theologically continuationist. They must intentionally seek to implement the gifts in the church's life.

Several beliefs and practices within the broader Pentecostal/Charismatic world are unacceptable in CCN and would, therefore, exclude any pastor or church that affirms them. These would include:

  • Advocates of the Word of Faith movement
  • Advocates of the so-called “Prosperity” gospel
  • Advocates of the so-called NAR (New Apostolic Reformation)
  • Advocates of the doctrine of initial physical evidence of speaking in tongues (note: belief that baptism in the Spirit is separate from and subsequent to conversion is not a disqualifying factor, but the doctrine of initial physical evidence of speaking in tongues is; it should be noted that the Board will lead the Network based on a commonly held belief that Spirit baptism happens for all believers at the time of conversion; this is entirely compatible with affirming the reality of multiple, post-conversion encounters with the Holy Spirit)
  • Whereas the so-called Five-Fold Ministry (Ephesians 4:11) is affirmed as a legitimate expression of Christian ministry, CCN stands opposed to the idea that these five (perhaps four) giftings are designed by the Apostle Paul to serve as a blueprint for all local church governance. The latter is under the authority of a plurality of qualified men. Moreover, any notion that local church health, spiritual growth, and power depend on having the five-fold gifts functioning as authoritative offices is not permitted.
  • Strategic spiritual warfare, understood as the active seeking out and confrontation with territorial spirits, is not permitted among member churches of CCN.
  • Churches opposed to the public/platform ministry of prophecy must, at minimum, be willing to learn and eventually embrace this exercise of that spiritual gift.
  • Churches that permit or encourage the public expression of tongues (whether understood as a gift or a private prayer language) without interpretation will not be admitted into CCN.

4. A Complementarian View of Men and Women

There is a spectrum of beliefs/practices regarding women in ministry. The only restrictions placed on women would be those explicitly stated in Scripture, namely, serving as a governing Elder and bearing primary responsibility for preaching God’s Word at corporate gatherings of the church. We want to emphasize that the principle of male headship in the home and in the local church should never be conceived as an authoritarian or domineering control but should reflect the sacrificial, tender servant-leadership of Jesus.

Any church that prohibits women from praying, prophesying, reading Scripture, leading worship, and participating in other expressions of public ministry may be admitted into membership but will be encouraged to reconsider their views.

Women can be pastors, but only if “pastor” is understood as a spiritual gift, not an authoritative office. Pastors and member churches that believe the “pastor” is an authoritative office are still welcome in the network.

5. Churches Governed by a Plurality of Male Elders

Churches, such as many in the Calvary Chapel movement and some charismatic/Pentecostal congregations, operate with a “Moses” governance model, given the potential for abuse in such an ecclesiology and the possibility that a church could eventually embrace the notion that local churches are to be governed by apostles and prophets and not Elders, no church that fails to be governed by a plurality of qualified men will be admitted into CCN.

6. The Importance of Water Baptism

Credo baptism, or the view that only those who have put their personal, conscious faith in Jesus Christ should be baptized, is the view that all members of the Board will embrace. This is the view that the Network leadership will actively teach and promote. However, member pastors and churches need not agree and may retain their practice of paedo-baptism. In other words, charismatic Anglicans and Presbyterians (among others) may be received into membership in the network.

Four Other Required Doctrinal Distinctives

There are four additional doctrinal standards that are not fully addressed in our CCN Statement of Faith; however, they are required distictives of all Network member pastors and churches. They include:

  1. A belief in a personal, historical Adam
  2. A strong belief in the sufficiency of Scripture
  3. A denial of soteriological universalism
  4. A denial of all forms of Open Theism

Five Open-Hand Theological Issues

Several theological issues often create controversy in the church. Our aim at CCN is to avoid such conflicts and to recognize that there are alternative interpretations of certain issues. Therefore, CCN welcomes churches and pastors who may hold differing views on the following:

  1. Age of the Earth: old earth vs. young earth.
  2. Days of Creation: The degree to which the days of Creation are viewed as literal 24-hour days or perhaps pointing to epochs or ages of much greater length.
  3. Eschatology: CCN welcomes churches and pastors who are committed to the personal, physical return of Christ at the end of history to consummate his kingdom-purposes. All eschatological views, except for full or hyper-preterism, are welcome. These would include classical and progressive dispensationalism, covenant theology, partial preterism, pre-mid-post views on the timing of the rapture, historic premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism.
  4. Communion: Churches often differ on the subject of open versus closed communion.
  5. Politics: CCN takes no particular stance on political issues and welcomes everyone regardless of partisan affiliation.
Review CCN Statement of Faith