|Expanded by Pastor Abiodun Olowe, Ph.D
The Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) right from its formation in 1918 as Aladura Group believes in holiness, divine healing, and all sufficiency of God. After its great revival of 1930, where several people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Church combines a rare combination of Holiness and Pentecostalism. The Church holds the position of the first Aladura Pentecostal in the world.
The CAC derives its doctrine from the Holy Scriptures, sermons, cooperation with other churches, and beliefs of the founding fathers and mothers.
Following the cooperation with the Apostolic Church, England in 1931, the Revival Group accepted eleven Tenets of the Apostolic Church. In 1940, CAC added the 12th and 13th Tenets.
WHAT ARE TENETS AND WHY DO WE HAVE THEM?
The word “Tenet” means belief or doctrine that a person holds or maintains as true. It is derived from the Latin word ‘tenere’ which means ‘to hold’. So the Tenets of the Christ Apostolic Church are the Biblical truths which we must hold and maintain.
CAC accepts the teachings of the Bible in its entirety, the Tenets are not intended to replace the Bible. They are necessary to guard against false teachings in a world of shifting morals and beliefs (II Pet 2: 1, Titus 1: 11).
Each Tenet has been expanded and the reasons why we believe it are explained.
- The unity of the Godhead and the Trinity of the persons therein.The Church believes in the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; the father being the Supreme God, maker of heaven and earth, and the creator of all creatures. Therefore Christian teaching of the Trinity states that God exists eternally as three persons who, while distinct, are equally and fully God.
Why is it necessary that we believe this? The Bible reveals there is one God. It also shows that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God. If we don’t believe in God, we fall at the first hurdle. Other world religions offer other and many gods. We need to be clear that the Bible says there is one true God; all others are false and ‘man-made’ (idols). The Bible says that God exists as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is difficult to understand, but at the beginning of Scripture God says ‘let us make man in our image (Genesis 1:26). A very simplistic way to understand this is to look at water. Water can exist in three states; liquid, solid form – ice, and as a vapour – steam. At each state the water is different in form and appearance, yet still water. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each distinct, yet each God.
Useful Scriptures: Matt 28:19, 2 Cor 13:14, 1 John 5:7
- The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for Repentance and Regeneration and the Eternal Doom of the finally impenitent.Every part of human nature is deeply damaged by the Fall. We are born with a powerful bias toward sin. God commands us to confess our sin and turn from it to him as our Saviour and Lord. We require the new spiritual birth which the Holy Spirit gives. Any who refuse God’s command and offer of life will suffer everlasting separation from him in hell.
Why is it necessary that we believe this? Every person, no matter how moral and good, will fall short of God’s standard because of a sinful nature (we have all done things we regret). Therefore being ‘good’ is not ‘good enough’. Being religious doesn’t make us acceptable to God (many have tried that). Acceptance comes through a ‘right relationship’ with Him. This is achieved by confessing our sins, seeking to live according to God’s ways. This is actually impossible humanly speaking, but God the Holy Spirit works in our lives so that we can become ‘new people’ and serve him. Many reject God or want Him on their ‘terms’. We can’t bargain or argue with God. He has made a way for us to be forgiven. If we reject this, we reject God. Sadly, the alternative is an eternal hell without God.
Useful Scriptures: Rom 3:23, Eph 2, Acts 20:21, 2 Cor 5:17, Rev 20:11-15.
- The Virgin Birth, Sinless life, Atoning Death, Triumphant Resurrection, Ascension and Abiding Intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ; His Second Coming and Millennial Reign upon earth.God’s eternal Son was born to Mary, a virgin, from whom he received his humanity. Fully human, he was nonetheless without sin, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit. Having lived with perfect holiness, he bore in his death the penalty of all others’ sin. After God the Father raised him from death he returned in triumph to heaven where he represents his people. He will come again to rule over the earth for a thousand years.
Why is it necessary that we believe this? Jesus became human like us. But if he had been born through the sexual union of a man and woman, he would have inherited the sin problem common to us all. Therefore he needed to become human in a miraculous way. This was accomplished by the creative power of the Holy Spirit causing new life within Mary, so that a child was born to a virgin. Being born without sin was not enough. Jesus, as he grew from childhood to a man, had to remain pure in his mind, attitude and his actions. Even if he had failed once, everything would have been lost! The whole point of a sinless birth and life was that he could be a perfect sacrifice when he died for us. When he was crucified, all the sin ever committed was ‘laid’ on him (accounted to him) and Jesus was then punished for that sin (which was ours). He then died taking the full consequences for our sin. God the Father was satisfied with Jesus’ sacrifice and therefore, according to the Scriptures, Jesus rose from the dead, triumphing over it, as the first one to rise. He rose with a new, eternal body which one day all Christians will possess. One day, he will return to reign as King of Kings.
Useful Scriptures: Matt 1:18-25, Hebrews 2:9, 1 Pet 2:21-24, Acts 2: 29-32.
- Justification and Sanctification of the Believers through the-finished work of Christ.Through his life and death Jesus provided fully for our salvation. When we trust in him as our Saviour we are completely forgiven and declared to be in right standing with God. We are now set apart for God. By the Holy Spirit’s power we can grow in the Christ-likeness God requires of us.
Why is it necessary that we believe this? We could never in our own efforts make ourselves right with God; it is humanly impossible. Many religions try to do this but all will fail. It required that God did something which we couldn’t. Jesus died for us, taking our sin upon himself. When we believe this, God declares that we are forgiven and declared right with Him. It is like a courtroom where someone pays the fine of the guilty person and the judge declares that since the crime has been paid for, the guilty person no longer has to face the consequences of the offence. In addition to being declared ‘not guilty’ by God, he doesn’t leave us as being ‘just forgiven’, but calls us to be his people and live for him. God is holy and pure and he requires that we also follow him in this way. Not a ‘holier than thou’ attitude, but someone whose life reflects something of Jesus in every aspect. The Holy Spirit helps us to do this.
Useful Scriptures: Rom 3:21-24, 2 Cor 3:17-18, Eph 4:23-24
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit for Believers with signs following.The baptism of the Holy Spirit is followed by clear evidences of the Spirit’s work such as speaking in tongues, seeing vision, dreaming, and prophesying. This is the reason why Pentecostal churches like CAC are called “Spiritual” churches.
Why is it necessary that we believe this? When we read the Bible there are many instances recorded where people had a definite experience of being filled by the Holy Spirit. This is how the church actually came into existence. This baptism is to give the individual a strength or power to live as a Christian.
Useful Scriptures: Matt 3:11, Mark 16:17, Acts 1:8, Acts 2, Acts 10:44-48
- The Nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church which is the Body of Christ.The nine gifts of the Holy Spirit are found in 1 Cor 12: 8-11. Christians who possess these gifts have supernatural abilities. Their use helps to build up, encourage and strengthen the church, a people in living union with Christ.
Why is it necessary that we believe this? The Holy Spirit empowers people to serve. Also he gives special gifts to help the Church. These gifts are extraordinary in their outworking. The early church in the Bible needed such gifts and today, we also need them to help us. Spiritual gifts are not only in use today in “Spiritual Churches” but also becoming widely used in Orthodox Churches including Charismatic group within the Catholic Church.
Useful Scriptures: 1 Cor 12:4-28, 1 Cor 13:9-12, Gal 5:22-23
- The Sacraments of Baptism by Immersion and of the Lord’s Supper.Water baptism is the first step after being admitted to the Church. Jesus commanded that new believers be plunged in water to symbolise our sharing in the benefits of his saving work. His death and resurrection are the permanent basis of Christian life. Therefore he also ordained that he church should meet to remember him be eating bread and drinking wine as symbols of his body and blood. The lower age limit for baptism is 12 years and only an ordained pastor of the church can perform the baptism. To partake in the Lord’s super, a member must be 12 years old and above and not practice polygamy. If the husband is a polygamist, the first wife qualifies to partake.
Why is it necessary that we believe this? Jesus himself was baptised not to repent of sin, but to identify himself with our humanity. It was a significant moment in his life and it is the same for us. God recognises that when we do an act it helps us to appreciate what the symbolic act means. By being baptised, it helps us understand something of the ‘death’ of our old life and the resurrection of our new one in serving Christ. Similarly, with communion, this meal helps us to focus regularly and consider what Jesus accomplished when he died for us. It should be a special time of reflection and worship when we eat this meal. Really no more need be said, other than Jesus told us to do it.
Useful Scriptures: Matt 3:16-17, Matt 28:19, 1 Cor 11:23-26, Rom 6:3-14
- The divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.The Church believes that both the Old and New Testaments, comprising the Holy scriptures, were written by individuals through guidance by the Holy Spirit. The Scripture contains what God wants Christians to believe about God, salvation, life, etc.
Why is it necessary that we believe this? If we do not accept the Bible as God’s word, then we are reading and applying something which is man-inspired. As a result, at its best is flawed, at its worst is disastrous. The mystery of the Bible is that it was written over thousands of years by many different people, often writing in complete isolation of each other. But the Bible does not contradict itself, with prophecies made hundreds of years earlier being fulfilled. This gives the Bible its credibility and authenticity. The Bible is a complete manual for living. What is especially relevant is that the Bible records people’s failures as well as their successes. It shows that God deals with real people and meets them at their point of need, remaining a Lord of mercy at all time.
Useful Scriptures: John 1:1-4, 2 Tim 3:16-17, 2 Pet 1:20-21
- Church Government by Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Church Teachers and Elders/Deacons.The government of the Church is based on the Apostolic order. Church leadership is provided by men with varying God-given ministries. They complement each other and together express Christ’s government of his church.
Why is it necessary that we believe this? The Church is an organisation (a group of people with a common purpose). Yet the church is unique because it comprises of God’s people, his church. It has a spiritual dimension which no other group of people have. As a result, a straight copy of management structures from secular society would not be suitable or competent to deal with the things of God. Therefore, God has ‘gifted’ people in the church to lead it. These people are not ‘superhuman’ or promoted into positions, but God’s gift in them is recognised, nurtured and tested. When the person is found suitable, they may be ‘set’ into their place of ministry (serving).
Useful Scriptures: Eph 4:11-13, 1 Tim 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-11
- The possibility of falling from Grace.The Church believes that a member could fall from God’s grace if he or she backslides and abandons the faith (Heb 6:4-6). God is faithful and gracious to his people, earnestly desiring and providing for our salvation. It is possible, however, for a Christian to forfeit salvation by a wilful failure to continue in faith and obedience.
Why is it necessary that we believe this? Many people think they can do what they like when they have become Christians, because they are ‘saved’. This is a mis-understanding of Scripture and an insult to God. God has given us a free will. He has not created us as robots. Therefore we have a responsibility to follow God’s ways and serve him. God has provided everything for us to follow him; his grace and the Holy Spirit, and he desires us to have a relationship with him. But a relationship is always two-way. If we fail and neglect God wilfully, there is a danger that we break our relationship with him. This is the greatest tragedy.
Useful Scriptures: 1 Cor 10:12, 1 Tim 1:19, Heb 3:12, Heb 6:4-6
- The obligatory nature of Tithes and Offerings.The payment of these offerings is a cardinal belief of of the Church, and it is obligatory for both workers and members. The belief is based on Jacob’s vow at Bethel. Obedience to the belief carries with it many blessings. Proceeds from the offerings are used as stipends for church workers and to advance the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Useful Scriptures: Gen 28:20-21, Malachi 3:10-12
- Divine Healing through obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ and Faith in His name and merits of His blood for all sickness, disease and infirmities.This belief was developed prior to 1930 when the founding fathers had association with Faith Tabernacle of Philadelphia. This faith together with the belief in salvation from sin, and reliance on God for all needs form the three pillars on which CAC faith rests. Members therefore rely on God for healing.
Useful Scriptures: James 5:14-18; 2 Kings 1:2-4
- Faith in God, the Jehovah Jireh to supply all financial needs.This belief is hinged on Abraham’s obedience to sacrifice Isaac to the Lord. Once man obeys God, He will provide all his needs since He is all sufficient.
Useful Scriptures: Gen 22:12-14, Matt 6:2; 5:34, Phil 4:19