A Congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America

Stacks Image 19570

Do I have to be baptized to join Bethany Presbyterian Church? What are Bethany’s views on baptism?

Yes. However, if you have already been baptized then Bethany will likely recognize that baptism and not require it again. During the interview to join the church the elders will ask whether you have been baptized. If not, upon reception by the elders you would be baptized at the time of your joining. We do not practice baptism by immersion. Baptism is one of two sacraments of Christ's church, the other being the Lord's Supper. Jesus told his disciples in the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that he told them, and to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is God's sign to us of His faithfulness to fulfill all of His covenant promises. It is a sign and seal to us of our being ingrafted into Christ, of regeneration and the forgiveness of sins. It is for the solemn admission into the church and to be to us a giving up to God to walk in newness of life as His new creation.
We further believe that water baptism has replaced circumcision in the Old Testament as the sign of God's covenant for His people in the New Testament. Therefore, just as children received the sign of circumcision in the Old Testament to mark them out as children of God's covenant people, even before they had faith, so too, we are to baptize children of believers in the New Testament church. However, we do not believe that baptism saves anyone. Further, your non-acceptance of baptizing children or the decision not to baptize your children would not prevent you from joining the church.

What Bible translation does the church use?

Pastor Mark preaches from the English Standard Version (ESV) but will often cite other translations if they have a different or clearer rendering. Our pastor prepares his messages by consulting the original languages of Scripture (Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic) and sometimes makes reference to significant issues of grammar or word usage to help give a greater clarity to the English translation. For personal edification and study, we also recommend the New International Version (NIV) and the New English Translation (NET Bible). These translations are accurate and readily readable.

When does Bethany serve the Lord’s Supper as part of the Sunday Worship Service?

Bethany Presbyterian Church observes the Lord’s Supper, also known as Communion, on the first Sunday of every month and during our Maundy Thursday service at Holy Week.

Can anyone participate in the Lord’s Supper?

Because of the solemn nature of this ordinance and because it was instituted by Christ for His church, only baptized believers are able to partake of the sacrament. You do not have to be a member of Bethany Presbyterian Church or any other Presbyterian Church. We understand that visitors often come and worship while on vacation who are attendees of churches in which membership is not the norm. However, if you have been baptized into Christ and are trusting in Him and His righteousness alone for salvation, the table of the Lord is for you. When we celebrate the Lord's Supper our pastor will "fence the table." That means he will warn those who are not believers to allow the elements to pass them by and encourage those who are in Christ to examine their hearts and come to the table joyfully and freely.

Do I have to be a member to serve or be active in the church?

No. We encourage you to be active and take part in the ministries of the church. If, however, you choose to work in any ministry related to children you will be required to undergo a background check

What are the requirements for leadership at Bethany?

Qualifications for leadership are based on Scripture, which are laid out in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9. Our elders and deacons must also subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms.

What about tithing and giving?

The “tithe” or “tenth part” was first mentioned in Scripture when Abraham presented Melchizedek with a tenth of the spoils from his victory (Genesis 14:17-20). So we know that the earliest expression of thanks to God from one's resources took place before the law of Israel. However, it was most clearly stated in those ceremonial laws where a tenth of one's resources was commanded and not optional. At the same time there were also "freewill offerings" taken it different times for various purposes. So the idea of giving in relationship to the worship of God was not limited to 10%.
Nonetheless, the compulsory tithe under the law of Israel has now expired and the New Testament teaches that: “Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) The truth is that all we have belongs to God and we are merely stewards of what it is His. So the answer to the question of “How to give” follows the principle of freewill offerings, providing a yardstick to tell us how we are responding to the generosity of God (2 Corinthians 8:9). A good guideline is to consider at a minimum God's dealing with His people under the Old Covenant, which was ten percent, and the glory of what he has done for us in the New Covenant, which is priceless. But the best guideline is the New Testament teaching to consider in your heart the greatness of what God has down for you (2 Cor 9:7), the resources He has entrusted to you, and how you wish to honor Him, as long as it is done in faith and without reluctance or compulsion. For more information on how to give click here.

Do you practice spirtual gifts of tongues, prophesies, miracles or healing?

No. We believe that these gifts (tongues, knowledge, healings, miracles, and prophecy) were authorized and active in the early days of the Church as sign gifts to legitimize the message of the gospel and the apostolic authority. However, their function and legitimacy ended when the reason for the gift was removed. Once the completed Scripture was received, the special gifts were no longer necessary. Rather than providing new revelation, the Holy Spirit now does exactly what Jesus said He would do. He “will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you” (John 14:26).