Unity Distinctives & our view of Worship
1. We Believe in the Inspired, Inerrant Word of God
We are a church family who believes the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God, and being such, is the sole authority for the lives of all Christians. We are committed to the centrality of God’s Word in our worship. Our worship services seek to glorify God by preaching and proclaiming the whole counsel of God’s Word. In preaching and teaching the Bible, we seek to explain the meaning of the Scriptures and apply it to the lives of those listening.
2. We Believe in the Westminster Confession of Faith as our Statement of Faith
Because of the sinfulness and deceitfulness of the human heart, all believers and churches have a propensity to drift from the truth of God’s Word. To guard against this, we believe it is necessary to hold to an open and written confession of the doctrines which we believe are given to us through the Holy Scriptures. All man-made statements of faith posses no authority in and of themselves, only to the degree which they reflect the truths revealed in Scripture. The statement of faith which we hold to as a community of believers is the Westminster Confession of Faith with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
3. We Believe the Church is a Family
We believe that the church is the family of God and the members of the body are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are a friendly, close knit family who is committed to loving fellowship, to ministering to one another's needs and to seeing one another mature in the faith.
4. We Believe in Rule by Elders in the Church
Our church is led by a body of elders who lovingly serve and shepherd our community of believers by seeing to members’ spiritual growth and supporting them in their personal needs. We are also a part of a larger assembly or body of congregations which hold to the same statements of faith to which we are accountable. This type of Church government is historically known as Presbyterianism.
5. We Believe Worship must be According to Scripture
Worship is the duty of every Christian and every community of believers, and as such, we take worship very seriously. First and foremost, worship is about glorifying God and secondly, the edification of the congregation. We believe that God is sovereign and He alone determines how He is to be worshiped. Worship should always be according to the manner in which God has instituted in His Word. We believe that when worship is God-centered, biblical and edifying to the congregation, services will be reverent, orderly and simple.
6. We believe in the Importance of Private and Family Worship
We strongly believe not only in corporate worship, but in private and family worship. Christians were adopted into the family of God for the purpose of living in fellowship with God. It is in worship that we most enjoy this fellowship. Each believer should set aside time daily for personal study of God’s Word and prayer. In addition, it is the duty of fathers to lead their families in a daily time of family worship. Our elders seek to aid and support individual members and families in their time of personal and family worship.
7. We Believe in Honoring the Lord’s Day
We believe that the Lord’s Day is the Christian Sabbath. We believe that we need the Sabbath; it was given to us by God and meant to be a blessing. We deprive ourselves of not only physical and mental rest, but of much needed spiritual nurturing when we fail to set the Sabbath aside as a day to worship and fellowship with God.
8. We Believe in Evangelism as the Duty of the Whole Church
We are committed to sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, through the teaching and preaching of the Word on the Lord’s Day and through all of our teaching ministries. We are also committed to sharing the gospel with our surrounding community through our members’ faithful witnessing to their friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers. We also believe in supporting the worldwide spread of the gospel through the support of local and world missions.
At Unity ARP, we believe that God takes worship very seriously; as a result, we believe that we should take worship very seriously. Worship is the greatest duty of the Church. Every denomination, church body and Christian should diligently seek to understand the true nature and purpose of worship. Here at Unity, we believe several crucial aspects comprise true worship.
1. All worship should be God-centered and reverent. What this means is that the purpose of all worship is the adoration and glorification of the one true God who has revealed Himself in the Scriptures. Not only must worship be focused upon God, it must be with the proper attitude of reverence and respect. God requires that those who worship Him treat Him as holy. J.I. Packer defines God’s holiness as what "set(s) him apart from us and makes him an object of awe, adoration, and dread to us" (Concise Theology. 43); in short, it is His "Godness." Those who come into God’s presence must be mindful that they are finite sinful creatures while He is the Righteous Creator and Ruler of the Universe who is infinite, eternal and unchangeable.
Worship is an act or a response of the creature towards His divine Creator. Our worship is a gift offered up by us to God when we praise Him for His greatness and delight in His infinite majesty. Some may ask, "So what do we get out of worship?" What we get is the enjoyment of the presence and fellowship of God, the very thing for which we were created.
2. All worship should be Scriptural. Because of God’s holiness, He is beyond the reach of His creatures. We have no way of knowing of God’s glory and majesty so we have no way of worshiping Him unless He first reveals Himself to us. Furthermore, because of God’s "Godness," He is sovereign and He alone determines how He is to be worshiped. God demands that those who come into His presence recognize His "Godness" and treat Him with the proper reverence. This requires that God be approached by His creatures only in ways in which He has commanded from Scripture. For creatures to make up their own ways to worship God is to lose sight of the infinite distance that exists between God and man and robs God of His glory and His sovereign right.
3. All worship must be through Christ. No approach can be made to worship God unless it is made through the merits of Christ’s righteousness and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Because of our sin and guilt, we have no hope of approaching God without Christ’s righteousness. His sacrifice has opened the way for God’s people to enter His throne room and worship Him. All worship should be offered up to God on the basis of Christ’s work on the cross and His intercessory work before the Father.
4. Worship should be simple and orderly. When worship is limited to only those things which has been commanded in Scripture and excludes all inventions of finite sinful humans, it will be free from numerous external rituals. God is Spirit and must be worshiped in Spirit and truth. Above all, He is most concerned with the inner heart attitude of the worshiper. If humans are allowed to create external rituals to worship God, man will rely upon these rituals to make him right with God.
Because God can only be worshiped in the manner in which He has commanded in Scripture, those who would worship Him must carefully study the Scriptures before they approach Him. As a result of this, worship should be well thought out and orderly. We must be careful to include all the elements of worship which God commanded and carefully avoid what He has not commanded. Everything in our worship must have Scriptural justification.
5. Worship should be participatory in nature. The congregation should not sit passively watching others worship. A well ordered biblical worship should purposely involve the congregation.
6. Worship should be edifying. Even though worship is primarily from the creature to his Creator, it is important that all worship be edifying for the worshiper. First of all, the worshiper must always be reminded of the requirements which God has set for those who will approach Him. These are the requirements of holiness for the His worshipers and the proper manner in which He is to worshiped. Furthermore, because worship is a response of the worshiper to God, the worshiper must be taught and called to remember what God has done and revealed of Himself in Scripture so that he or she may properly respond in worship.
~ Glenn Rhyne