Constitution

CONSTITUTION of
Cornerstone Church of the Assemblies of God
As amended on September 14, 2014

Preamble

The purpose of this church shall be:

  • to promote the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the truth of the entire Word of God (the Bible) for spirit, soul and body;
  • to provide a place of Christian worship, work and fellowship for those of like precious faith, regardless of social position or worldly possession, where the Holy Spirit may be honored according to our distinctive Pentecostal testimony;
  • to impart religious instruction to people of all ages;
  • to conduct regular gospel services; and
  • to accept tithes and offerings, bequests and contributions for the sustainment of the church.

We, whose names appear on the membership roster, do recognize ourselves to be in cooperative fellowship with and part of The General Council of the Assemblies of God, adopt the following articles of church order as our CONSTITUTION and submit ourselves to be governed by them. (In this CONSTITUTION, the terms “Church,” “Assembly” and “Congregation” are synonymous.)

Article 1. Name

The name of this Assembly shall be CORNERSTONE CHURCH OF THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD, in the COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS in the TOWN OF WINCHENDON.

Cornerstone Church Mission Statement

We at Cornerstone are committed to caring for people by consistently and continually:

  • leading people to experience new birth in Christ’s life and membership in His family;
  • motivating people to grow in Christ-like maturity;
  • equipping people to enter Christ-led ministry;
  • challenging people to continue in Christ’s mission to the world; and
  • encouraging people to bring glory to Christ by magnifying God through prayer, praise and worship.

Article 2. Prerogatives

Section 1

This Assembly, a voluntary association, shall have the right to govern itself according to the standards of the Scriptures, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:3,13).

Section 2

In connection therewith, or incidental thereto, this Assembly shall have the right to choose its own Lead (Senior) Pastor, providing he is a member of The General Council of the Assemblies of God.

Section 3

This Assembly shall have the right to purchase or acquire by gift or otherwise, either directly or as trustee, and to own, hold in trust, use, sell, convey, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of any real estate or chattels as may be necessary for the furtherance of its purposes; all in accordance with its CONSTITUTION and BY-LAWS or as the same may be hereafter modified or amended.

Article 3.  Affiliation

While maintaining its inherent rights to sovereignty in the conduct of its own affairs, this Assembly shall voluntarily enter into full cooperation and fellowship with Assemblies of like precious faith associated with the Southern New England District Council and The General Council of the Assemblies of God with headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, and shall share in the privileges and assume the responsibilities of that affiliation.

As a member of The General Council, this Assembly agrees to:

  • cooperate by every possible means in extending God’s work and kingdom throughout the world;
  • support the missionary program(s) agreed upon by the District and General Councils;
  • participate in District and General Council sessions via duly chosen delegates;
  • invite the counsel of the district officials in the event of church difficulty and when changing the Lead Pastor;
  • share in support of the District and General Council. (See By-Laws of The General Council of the Assemblies of God, Article XIII, Section 1.c.(2); and
  • recognize that the District Council of The General Council of The Assemblies of God shall have the right and authority to:

(a)    approve scriptural teachings and practices;

(b)   disapprove unscriptural teachings and practices, as stated in Article III, Paragraph f. of The General Council Constitution; and

(c)    withdraw its certificate of membership if deemed necessary.

Article 4.  Statement of Fundamental Truths

The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This Statement of Fundamental Truths is intended simply as a basis of fellowship among us (i.e., that we all speak the same thing, I Corinthians 1:10; Acts 2:42). The phraseology employed in this statement is not inspired or contended for, but the truth set forth is held to be essential to a full-gospel ministry. No claim is made that it contains all biblical truth, only that it covers our need as to these fundamental doctrines.

Section 1.  The Scriptures Inspired

The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct (II Timothy 3:15-17; I Thessalonians 2:13; II Peter 1:21).

Section 2.  The One True God

The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent “I AM,” the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind.  He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10,11; Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22).

THE ADORABLE GODHEAD

(a) Terms Defined: The terms trinity and persons, as related to the godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from “gods many and lords many.” We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God, Who is One Lord, as a Trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural (examples, Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14; John 14:16,17).

(b) Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead: Christ taught a distinction of persons in the godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained (Luke 1:35; I Corinthians 1:24; Matthew 11:25-27; 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14; I John 1:3,4).

(c) Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Ghost: Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes Him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father, and there is that in the Holy Ghost which constitutes Him the Holy Ghost and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore, the Father is the Begetter; the Son is the Begotten; and the Holy Ghost is the One proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one (John 1:18; 15:26; 17:11,21; Zechariah 14:9).

(d) Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are never identical as to person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority. The Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Hence, no person in the godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others (John 5:17-30,32,37; 8:17,18).

(e)  The Title, Lord Jesus Christ: The appellation Lord Jesus Christ, is a proper name. It is never applied in the New Testament either to the Father or to the Holy Ghost. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God (Romans 1:1-3,7; II John 3).

(f)  The Lord Jesus Christ, God With Us: The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is, therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; Who because He is God and man, is “Immanuel,” God with us (Matthew 1:23; I John 4:2,10,14; Revelation 1:13,17).

(g) The Title, Son of God: Since the name Immanuel embraces both God and man, in the one person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title Son of God describes His proper deity, and the title Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title Son of God belongs to the order of eternity, and the title Son of Man to the order of time (Matthew 1:21-23; II John 3; I John 3:8; Hebrews 7:3; 1:1-13).

(h)  Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ: Wherefore, it is a transgression of the doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title Son of God solely from the fact of the Incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption. Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father and the Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (II John 9; John 1:1,2,14,18,29,49; I John 2:22,23; 4:1-5; Hebrews 12:2).

(i) Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord: The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him. And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Ghost that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all (Hebrews 1:3; I Peter 3:22; Acts 2:32-36; Romans 14:11; I Corinthians 15:24-28).

(j) Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son: Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Ghost to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of deity, and to give Him all the honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the godhead except those which express relationship (see paragraphs b, c and d), and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father (John 5:22,23; I Peter 1:8; Revelation 5:6-14; Philippians 2:8,9; Revelation 7:9,10; 4:8-11).

Section 3.  The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare:

(a) His virgin birth (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:31-,35)

(b) His sinless life (Hebrews 7:26; I Peter 2:22)

(c) His miracles (Acts 2:22; 10:38)

(d) His substitutionary work on the cross (I Corinthians 15:3; II Corinthians 5:21)

(e) His bodily resurrection from the dead (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:39; I Corinthians 15:4)

(f) His exaltation to the right hand of God (Acts 1:9,11; 2:33; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:3)

Section 4.  The Fall of Man

Man was created good and upright; for God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”  However, man by voluntary transgression fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God (Genesis 1:26,27; 2:17; 3:6; Romans 5:12-19).

Section 5.  The Salvation of Man

Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

(a) Conditions to Salvation: Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God according to the hope of eternal life (Luke 24:47; John 3:3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7).

(b) The Evidences of Salvation: The inward evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16).  The outward evidence to all men is a life of righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24; Titus 2:12).

Section 6.  The Ordinances of the Church

(a) Baptism in Water: The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded in the scriptures.  All who repent and believe on Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized.  Thus they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 10:47,48; Romans 6:4).

(b) Holy Communion: The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements, – bread and the fruit of the vine, – is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Peter 1:4), a memorial of His suffering and death (I Corinthians 11:26); and a prophecy of His second coming (I Corinthians 11:26); and is enjoined on all believers “till He come!”

Section 7.  The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Ghost and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian church.  With it comes the endowment of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8; I Corinthians 12:1-31).  This experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth (Acts 8:12-17; 10:44-46; 11:14-16; 15:7-9).  With the baptism in the Holy Ghost comes such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit (John 7:37-39; Acts 4:8), a deepened reverence for God (Acts 2:43; Hebrews 12:28), an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work (Acts 2:42) and a more active love for Christ, for His Word and for the lost (Mark 16:20).

Section 8.  The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Ghost

The baptism of believers in the Holy Ghost is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance (Acts 2:4).  The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues (I Corinthians 12:4-10,28), but different in purpose and use.

Section 9.  Sanctification

Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication unto God (Romans 12:1,2; I Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:12). Scriptures teach a life of “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).  By the power of the Holy Ghost we are able to obey the command “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:15,16).

Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:1-11,13; 8:1,2,13; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:12,13; I Peter 1:5).

Section 10.  The Church and Its Mission

The Church is the body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her Great Commission.  Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven (Ephesians 1:22,23; 2:22; Hebrews 12:23).

Since God’s purpose concerning man is to seek and to save that which is lost, to be worshiped by man, and to build a body of believers in the image of His Son, the priority reason-for-being of the Assemblies of God as part of the Church is:

(a) To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16).

(b) To be a corporate body in which man may worship God (I Corinthians 12:13).

(c) To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Ephesians 4:11-16; I Corinthians 12:28; 14:12).

The Assemblies of God exists expressly to give continuing emphasis to this reason-for-being in the New Testament apostolic pattern by teaching and encouraging believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.  This experience:

(a) Enables them to evangelize in the power of the Spirit with accompanying supernatural signs (Mark 16:15-20; Acts 4:29-31; Hebrews 2:3,4).

(b) Adds a necessary dimension to a worshipful relationship with God (I Corinthians 2:10-16; I Corinthians 12-14).

(c) Enables them to respond to the full working of the Holy Spirit in expression of fruit and gifts and ministries as in New Testament times for the edifying of the body of Christ (Galatians 5:22-26; I Corinthians 14:12; Ephesians 4:11,12; I Corinthians 12:28; Colossians 1:29).

Section 11.  The Ministry

A divinely-called and scripturally-ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for the three-fold purpose of leading the Church in:

(a) evangelization of the world (Mark 16:15-20),

(b) worship of God (John 4:23,24), and

(c) building a Body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Section 12.  Divine Healing

Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel.  Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the Atonement, and is the privilege of all believers (Isaiah 53:4,5; Matthew 8:16,17; James 5:14-16).

Section 13.  The Blessed Hope

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the Church (I Thessalonians 4:16,17; Romans 8:23; Titus 2:13; I Corinthians 15:51,52).

Section 14.  The Millennial Reign of Christ

The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on the earth for one thousand years (Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:27,30; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-14; 20:1-6).  This millennial reign will bring the salvation of the nation of Israel (Ezekiel 37:21, 22; Zephaniah 3:19,20; Romans 11:26,27) and the establishment of universal peace (Isaiah 11:6-9; Psalm 72:3-8; Micah 4:3,4).

Section 15.  The Final Judgment

There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works.  Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:8).

Section 16.  The New Heavens and the New Earth

“We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13; Revelation 21,22).

Article 5.  Ordinances and Practices

Section 1.  Ordinances

(a) The ordinance of baptism in water (Matthew 28:19) shall be administered to all those who have repented of their sins and who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of their souls, and who give clear evidence of their salvation (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12).

(b) The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed regularly as enjoined in the Scriptures (Luke 22:19,20; I Corinthians 11:23-26).

Section 2.  Practices

(a) Dedication of children

(b) Prayer for the sick

(c) Prayer for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

(d) Christian marriage

Cornerstone Church recognizes marriage as the union of one man and one woman according to Ephesians 5:22. Therefore, the property of Cornerstone Church shall not be used for performing same-sex weddings, unions or any similar official ceremonies.

The pastors of Cornerstone Church shall not officiate at same-sex weddings, unions or any similar official ceremonies.

Cornerstone Church does not recognize, perform, permit or condone same-sex marriages in our faith community.

(e) Christian burial

Article 6.  Membership

Individuals shall be eligible for membership in this Assembly who give evidence of a personal living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who voluntarily subscribe to its Statement of Fundamental Truths and who agree to be governed by its CONSTITUTION and BY-LAWS.

Article 7.  Church Leaders

Section 1.  Officers

The officers of the Church shall be the Lead Pastor, Board Secretary, and seven Deacons or Deaconesses, one of whom shall be the Treasurer, and such other officers as may be determined by this Church from time to time.

Section 2.  Board

The Board of the Church shall consist of the Lead Pastor, Board Secretary, and seven Deacons or Deaconesses.

Section 3.  Assistant Pastor(s)

The Lead Pastor will be responsible to call and/or dismiss the Assistant Pastor(s). They will be under the supervision of and accountable to the Lead Pastor, who will define the area and limits of their ministry.

Article 8.  Meetings

Section 1.  Organized Meetings

All newly organized meetings for prayer, worship and Bible study of the members of the church must have the authorization of the Board of Deacons.

Section 2.  Weekly Meetings

Regular meetings of public worship shall be held on The Lord’s Day and during the week as may be provided for under the direction of the Lead Pastor.

Section 3.  Annual Business Meeting

There shall be an Annual Business Meeting of the Assembly, at which time the selection of officers shall be presented. This meeting shall be held between January 1 and the final day of April each year.  The Lead Pastor shall announce the time and place. Due notice shall be given on the two (2) Sundays immediately before the date of said meeting.

Section 4.  Special Business Meetings

Special Business Meetings of the Assembly may be called when necessary, after proper notice has been given by the Lead Pastor or by the Board Secretary, provided the meeting has been agreed upon by the majority of the Board of Deacons.  Special Meetings may also be called by petition, having been signed by not less than one-third (1/3) of the active membership of the Assembly.  The petition is to be placed in the hands of the Lead Pastor or Board Secretary, and announcement made on the two (2) Sundays prior to the date of the meeting.  However, before the right of petition is exercised, the church should request the help of the district officiary.

Section 5.  Quorum

No record of any Special or Annual Business Meeting of the Assembly shall be made unless at least one-third (1/3) of the active membership is present to constitute a quorum.

Section 6.  Board Meetings

The Board of Deacons, with the Lead Pastor, shall meet regularly for the transaction of business for the Assembly, time and place to be announced by the Lead Pastor.

Article 9.  Departments

Section 1. Departments

As need arises, departments may be established under the supervision of the Lead Pastor and the Board of Deacons.

Section 2. Relationship

All departments shall be subordinate to the Assembly and shall contribute to the harmony and development of the whole. They shall be under the supervision of the Lead Pastor and the Board of Deacons. The Lead Pastor shall be an ex officio member of all departments.

Article 10.  Finances

All funds for the maintenance of the Assembly shall be provided by the voluntary contributions of the tithes, offerings and other donations of the members and friends of the church.  Offerings shall be accepted by the Assembly at such times and in such ways as agreed upon by the Lead Pastor and the Board of Deacons, and shall be administered by the Treasurer under their direction (Malachi 3:10; Luke 6:38; I Corinthians 16:1,2).

Article 11.  Property

Section 1.  Voluntary Conveyance

All property of the Assembly shall be deeded to the Assembly and held in its name. No property of the Assembly shall be sold, leased, mortgaged or otherwise disposed of without the same having first been agreed upon by at least two-thirds (2/3) vote of the active membership of the church who are in attendance at an Annual Business Meeting or a Special Business Meeting of the Assembly which has been called for consideration of the proposal.  The Lead Pastor and the Board Secretary shall certify in such conveyance, lease or mortgage that the same has been duly authorized and agreed upon by a vote of the Assembly.  Such certification shall be held to be conclusive evidence thereof.

Section 2.  Division

In the event the church membership is ever divided because of doctrinal differences, the entire real and mortgaged properties, including all assets in whole and audited liabilities, shall revert to the Church members holding to the Statement of Fundamental Truths as stated in this CONSTITUTION.

Section 3.  Dissolution

In the event this Assembly is dissolved, the Board of Deacons shall transfer all properties and any remaining assets to the Southern New England District Council of the Assemblies of God, Inc.  If the Southern New England District Council of the Assemblies of God, Inc.

(a) is unable to accept the aforesaid transfer

(b) is unwilling to accept the aforesaid transfer

(c) is no longer an organization operated exclusively for religious purposes, or

(d) is not exempt from taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code,

then disposition thereof shall be made by the court of the county in which the Southern New England District Headquarters is located to a non-profit fund, foundation or corporation which is organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes, which has established its tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and which has purposes nearest to those enumerated in Article 4, Section 10 of this CONSTITUTION.

Article 12.  Amendments

This CONSTITUTION may be amended or changed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the active membership of the Assembly who are in attendance at any Annual Business Meeting or Special Business Meeting called for that purpose, providing due notice of such change that is proposed shall be announced publicly on the two (2) Sundays immediately before the date of said meeting.  It shall be understood that this does not apply to Article 4 (Statement of Fundamental Truths), which stand regardless of majority.

 

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