WHAT WE BELIEVE
Central is a non-denominational Evangelical church. What this means is that we have the opportunity to partner with many like-minded ministries across our city and world, taking the hope and love of Christ to those who need Him.
A Brief History Of Central Church
In August of 1896 a month-long tent revival was held near the corner of Union and Dunlap streets in Memphis. The Holy Spirit came in power and hundreds of people committed their lives to Jesus Christ. The new believers formed a new church named Central Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Their first service was held on October 22, 1896.
After decades as part of Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the leaders and congregation at Central Cumberland decided that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was straying away from scripture. The church’s leadership adopted a slightly amended version of the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith of 1883, as the official doctrinal statement, and beginning March 31, 1974, became known as Central Church.
Although Central is more than 118 years old, we are convinced that God has only begun His work through Central Church. Our inspiring history is only a prelude to what God has in store for us!
WHO WE ARE
We are a non-denominational Evangelical church in the greater Memphis area (Collierville) that wants to be different. Our desire is for people who are far away from God, as well as those who are tired of religion, to see a church that is doing everything possible to honor Christ and change the world. We desire to be a church full of grace and truth. We believe in second chances (and third and fourth and so on…). We are a church of imperfect people doing life together. Central is a warm, welcoming church where everyone is invited, included, and important.
All People – Memphis, America, and the World.
We want to be the type of people who are engaged in our local culture while still reaching out to the rest of the world. We do all these things because we believe so firmly that the message of Jesus is meant for all people – not just those who look, talk, and live like we do.
We believe that no matter what age you are, you have the potential to be a fully-devoted follower of Jesus. That is why we provide environments at every age level – from infants to senior adults – for people to encounter grace. We feel the message of Jesus is meant for everyone!
Affirming the doctrinal statement of Central Church, we acknowledge that God is the author of all life and that no person can enjoy life to its fullest, or have the hope of eternity, unless he has a personal relationship with God. It is our belief that God has supremely shown Himself to the world in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life that those who receive Him might have life now, and life eternal. We further believe that it is the obligation and privilege of the Church to glorify God and exalt the Name of Christ through worship, obedience, and service.
Therefore, our vision is to be a church that cares enough to recognize and meet the needs of people in the congregation, the community, and beyond, by sharing God’s truth in such a way that those inside the church may be strengthened, helped, edified, equipped, and encouraged to minister, and that with those outside the church, we might earn the right to share the Hope of the Gospel and that they, too, might come to a personal relationship with Christ now and forever.
HOW WE FUNCTION
Central Church is an Elder-led church and our Lead Pastor is an Elder. The Elders use biblical wisdom, prayer, and the leadership of the Holy Spirit to determine godly decisions for the Church. They provide spiritual leadership and vision direction. As overseers, the Elders operate as the final authority for the Church. They are ultimately responsible for the spiritual health and direction of the Church, along with church discipline, matters of holiness, and biblical fidelity. The Elders serve on five permanent committees: Finance, Personnel, Ministries, Missions, and Benevolence.
What we believe about
The entire Bible is the inspired Word of God and men were moved by the Spirit of God to write the very words of Scripture. Therefore, we believe the Bible is without error.
We believe in one God who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ is the second member of the Trinity (the Son of God) who became flesh to reveal God to humanity and to become the Savior of the lost world.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. The Christian should strive daily to live under His control.
All people were created in the image of God to have fellowship with Him, but all became alienated in that relationship through sinful disobedience. People are incapable of regaining a right relationship with God through their own efforts.
The blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross, provides the sole basis for the forgiveness of sin. Therefore, God freely offers salvation to those who place their faith in the death and resurrection of Christ as sufficient payment for their sin.
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
All Christians should live for Christ and not for themselves. By obedience to the Word of God and daily yielding to the Spirit of God, every believer should mature and be conformed to the image of Christ.
The church is the body of Christ, of which Jesus is the Head. The members of the church are those who have trusted the finished work of Christ through faith in Him. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by loving Him and by making Him known to a lost world.
Christ instituted the sacraments of the church, which are Baptism and Communion.
• Individuals should be baptized after they have trusted Christ as Savior as an outward sign of their identification with Christ. Baptism does not merit salvation; it is an act of obedience.
• Communion is a commemoration of Jesus’ death until He comes again, the elements being symbols of His body and blood. The Communion table is open to all self-examined believers, regardless of church affiliation.
What we believe in
THE DIVINE CREATION OF MAN AND THE UNIVERSE.
- The universe is not eternal but had its beginning in the creative work of God (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3)
- Man was created especially to reflect the character or image of God (Genesis 1:26,27). Thus, man bears a special moral responsibility to God (Revelation 4:11).
- Living things on earth are not the result of organic evolution from simpler life forms (Genesis 1).
THE VERBAL INSPIRATION OF THE WORD OF GOD AND ITS CONSEQUENT ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY.
- God caused the human authors of Scripture to write just what He wanted written, yet through their own personality (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:20,21).
- As such, God’s Word is without any error in all matters, it gives instruction on and is absolutely authoritative (Matthew 5:17,18).
ONE GOD, EXISTING AND MANIFESTING HIMSELF IN THREE PERSONS: FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT.
- God is one in essence or nature. (Deuteronomy 6:4; John 10:30; 1 Corinthians 8:4).
- Three distinct persons share that one undivided essence (1 Corinthians 8:5, 6; Matthew 28:19; Ephesians 2:18).
- Each person is equally God (the Son: John 1:1; the Spirit: Acts 5:3,4).
THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, SON OF MAN.
- God caused Mary, Jesus’ mother, to conceive him without a human father (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:26-35).
- By this means the Son of God took on human nature and became fully man, apart from sin (John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:21; Hebrews 2:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
- The Son of Man is also fully God (Hebrews 1:8).
THE PRE-EXISTENCE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS GOD, THE SON.
- Christ as God, has existed from all eternity (Micah 5:2; John 1:1-13; Colossians 1:15-17; Revelation 1:11).
- Jesus did not become the Son of God by virtue of the virgin birth but has sustained the relationship of Son to God the Father from all eternity (Hebrews 1:1-3; Isaiah 9:6; John 17:5).
THE FALL OF MAN, HIS MORAL DEPRAVITY, AND HIS NEED OF REGENERATION.
- Adam fell from a state of righteousness into a state of sin and incurred guilt for the whole human race (Genesis 3: Romans 5:12-21).
- All men are consequently incapable of pleasing God by any of their works and incapable of ridding themselves of guilt (Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 3:9-20).
- Only God can bring man to life and salvation by His drawing power (Ephesians 2:4-10; John 6:44).
THE ATONING WORK OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THE “WHOSOEVER WILL” GOSPEL FOR ALL MANKIND.
- Christ’s death paid God’s penalty for our sin in order that those who believe might gain forgiveness and eternal life (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:11-14; 1 Peter 2:24).
- We are to extend an invitation to any and everyone to believe in Christ and His atoning work and so be saved from paying the penalty for their sin themselves (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Revelation 22:17).
THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHO IS THE SEAL AND WITNESS OF SALVATION.
- The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force but the personal God (John 14:16,17; 16:13-15; Acts 5:3,4; 1 Corinthians 2:10).
- The Holy Spirit is the seal of salvation, meaning that His presence in the believer’s life attests to and makes secure the believer’s salvation (Ephesians 1:13).
- The Holy Spirit witnesses with the believer’s spirit and gives certainty of faith to the believer that he or she is God’s child (Romans 8:14-17).
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH AND THE IMPARTING OF THE DIVINE NATURE TO ALL WHO ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS LORD.
- A person cannot be justified (pronounced righteous) on the basis of his own personal “good works” because God demands perfection and because man’s so called “good works” are tainted by their rebellion against God’s authority (Matthew 5:48; Romans 3:9-20; Ephesians 2:1-10).
- By faith only in Christ and His sacrificial death, God credits to our account the righteousness of Christ and so views us as perfectly righteous before Him. This is justification (Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:8-10; Romans 5:19).
- God is actively at work in each one justified to produce actual righteousness or Christ-likeness (Philippians 2:12; Romans 8:28-29; Ephesians 2:10).
- Being baptized is the appropriate sign and symbol of one who has been justified by faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 8:34-38), but is not a requirement for salvation (Acts 16:29-33; 1 Corinthians 1:13-17). The mode of baptism (sprinkling or immersion) is inconsequential.
THE ETERNAL PUNISHMENT OF ALL WHO REJECT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
- There is no “second chance” for salvation after death (Hebrews 9:27; John 3:36; Luke 16:19-31).
- Hades, the present place of torment, will eventually be emptied into the Lake of Fire where the torment will continue for eternity (Revelation 20:13-15; Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).
- There are degrees of punishment in hell (Matthew 11:20-24; Revelation 20:13).
THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY, BOTH OF THE JUST AND UNJUST.
- The body is not evil but is God’s creation and, for believers, will be raised and transformed into the likeness of Christ’s body at His return (1 Corinthians 15:20-24, 35-44; Philippians 3:20-21).
- Unbelievers’ bodies will be resurrected to face judgment after the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:11-15; John 5:25-29).
THE LORD JESUS WILL PERSONALLY RETURN AND SET UP HIS KINGDOM UPON EARTH WHERE IN HE WILL REIGN RIGHTEOUSLY.
- Our Lord Jesus Christ will personally and bodily return to earth to establish personal rule over the earth for 1,000 years (Acts 1:9-11; Luke 22:29-30; Revelation 20:1-10).
- After this a new heaven and earth will be created and the eternal form of the kingdom of God will be established (Revelation 21:1, 1 Corinthians 15:24).