What that means is that at VC, we have a broad and inclusive baptism & membership that is predicated on an individual’s profession of faith in Christ through the power of the Spirit, by the grace of God, and their submission to the Lordship of Christ and orthodox faith. And as people in our congregation move closer into areas of leadership, there are several particular areas of theological alignment that are important so that we as a body of leaders in this church are operating out of unity, and with personal integrity.
There are all kinds of questions that folks who are new to Vineyard Columbus ask about a whole range of topics. We’ve included some of the most frequent questions here. If you have a question that you’d like answered, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us
You don’t need to be baptized to be saved. The New Testament teaches that a person is saved by faith alone in Christ alone. Romans 10:9 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” In Luke 23, the thief on the cross recognized who Jesus was, reached out to Him, and was promised salvation. That dying thief had no opportunity to be baptized.
We are commanded to be baptized as a part of being a disciple. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Mt. 28:19) Baptism is one of only two ordinances or rituals that Jesus commands us to observe for all time. The other is The Lord’s Table, or what is often called communion.
How do we baptize? Vineyard believes the best way to express the spiritual reality of God’s new life is to be baptized by immersion. We really die and rise with Christ. The meaning of the word “baptize” in Greek is to be immersed. This was also a common practice in the early church.
When do we baptize? Vineyard believes you should be baptized any time after you have personally trusted Christ for salvation and have been “born again”. Remember, you are not baptized to become a Christian. You are baptized because you are a Christian.
Can children be baptized? Absolutely, as long as they thoroughly understand what they are doing. Vineyard requests that you wait until your children are around 10 years old so that they can make a thoughtful profession of faith that is their own.
Should I be re-baptized if I was baptized at another church? If you were born again when you were baptized, and as long as the other church was part of mainstream, orthodox Christianity, then you should not be re-baptized.
What if I was baptized as an infant? Among orthodox Christians, there are different perspectives on the way to baptize. Some denominations (such as Reformed, Anglican, Orthodox, and Roman
Catholic) baptize infants, while others (such as most Baptists) do not. If you were baptized as a baby, before you made your own personal confession of faith, then we would encourage you to consider being baptized again as an adult. At the same time, you certainly want to show respect to your parents and their viewpoint, as well as be grateful to God for any spiritual influence they had in your life. Our view of infant baptism is simply that it is more closely related to baby dedication.
We occasionally have people come to Vineyard with very strong convictions about their infant baptism. Because we honor your convictions, re-baptism is not a requirement to become a member of Vineyard. We do, however, want to know that you have a reasoned conviction for not being baptized as an adult.
Can I participate in the Vineyard without being baptized? You can participate in the Vineyard in many ways if you have not been baptized; however, you may not become a member without being baptized. Because we understand baptism to be our common entry point into the worldwide community of Christian faith, it is also our entry point for membership at Vineyard Columbus. If you would like to learn more about baptism, email us at [email protected].
Baptism is a subject that Christians don’t all agree about. We at Vineyard, like other Christians, have tried to be faithful to our understanding of the Bible when it comes to baptism. We do, however, view it as a secondary issue and therefore allow room for disagreement between sincere believers.
One of the basic values that is confronted when we become followers of Christ concerns our view of generosity. When we come to the Bible, we see that God himself is a giver and he encourages us to give money, time, and our whole lives over and over again. At Vineyard, our members and leaders commit to a habit of regular and substantial giving.
Three Biblical Illustrations Regarding Giving:
1. Stewardship – A steward is someone who manages or administers the property or affairs of someone else as an agent. The message of the Old and New Testaments is that human beings act as stewards of God for all creation. For the Christian, achievement is not measured by how much one makes or how much one has. The measure of a Christian is how well possessions have been used in Jesus’ name and for what purpose.
2. First Fruits – The idea of first fruits challenges most of our current thoughts about giving. Giving is typically based on what we no longer need or what is unused after we have paid all the bills. The concept of first fruits is entirely different. Back in the Old Testament a person was to give the first fruits of their crop. Those first tomatoes of early summer always seem to be the best. We have waited for them and nurtured them during the slow warming of the spring. The Bible continually calls us to give the first of everything to God (Proverbs 3:9). God expects people to give from the very best they have. It means the money we give the church comes out of the paycheck first before obligations or savings are even considered.
3. Tithing – In an affluent society, we need some guidance for our thinking about giving. In Old Testament times the tithe was the king’s portion. After a king conquered and subjugated the people, the people would render to him a tithe (a tenth of the produce of their land). Because Israel was conquered by God’s love and care, Israel became obligated to render to the Lord a tithe. Tithes were used for several purposes: the maintenance and support for the priesthood (Numbers 18:21-24); tithes were paid to the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29); and a sacred tithe was given that would be associated with a fellowship meal (Deuteronomy 14:22-27). In fact, when you calculate the Old Testament tithe requirements, the three tithes add up to about 28% of a person’s income. This was on top of taxes imposed by the government and for the temple. But the basic rule was that “a tithe of everything…belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30-33).
Should Our Giving Go To The Local Church?
In his wonderful book on finances titled A Biblical Theology of Material Possessions, Gene Getz writes, “Every true believer is part of the universal church (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:11-16). However, when we study the New Testament, we cannot bypass the concept of the local church. In fact, approximately 95% of all the references to the ekklesia (Greek for “church”) are references to local, visible, and organized expressions of the universal church. Luke’s historical record in the book of Acts is an account of founding local churches.”
“We cannot bypass the concept of the local church when it comes to determining how Christians should use their material possessions. The principle becomes especially relevant as we attempt to practice the principle of accountability.
the New Testament message regarding the local church is that it is the local church and not another organization that is chiefly designed by God to be the agent of the kingdom of God in this world. Only the local church crosses generational lines, ministering not only to students, but to grandparents, babies, singles and marrieds. Only the local church carries on all of the functions of kingdom living including the worship of God, the teaching of God’s Word, ministry to the poor, prayer for the sick, the burial of deceased loved ones, world missions, etc. Only the local church functions according to biblical patterns of church government. The local church alone is entrusted with the two biblical ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Table.
In sum, the local church is the chief focal point of God’s plan for the ages (Ephesians 3) and ought to be your focal point for giving. Vineyard Columbus, in no way, discourages people from giving to para-church organizations, to friends on the mission field or to individual’s carrying on evangelistic work. In fact, many leaders in Vineyard Columbus give substantially to para-church organizations and to leaders outside the local church. But we believe that such giving ought to be above and beyond our substantial financial commitment to the local church, since the local church is God’s chief agent for bringing the kingdom of God into this world.
How to Give: Text “Give” to 98977 or go to www.vineyardcolumbus.org, click on the “GIVE” tab and follow the directions to give online.
If you have questions, contact our Finance Department at [email protected].
Vineyard Columbus uses an outside firm to conduct an annual financial audit which is shared during our annual Congregational meeting. This year we again had a fully clean audit of the books, reporting that all statements were presented fairly and accurately in all material respects.
VC offers heartfelt welcome, hospitality, inclusion, and humble accommodation to the LGBTQ+ community. The church also holds a traditionally orthodox ethic and theology regarding marriage, sexuality, and gender. That means that everyone is welcome, and everyone will feel a gospel challenge.
While VC is not considered ‘open and affirming’, we do make every effort to be ‘welcoming and including’. Our prayer is for Vineyard Columbus to be a community where everyone has a safe space for exploring the Christian faith and for following Christ… no matter what. Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or identity is welcomed into community, including: worship, baptism, communion, membership, baby dedication, and volunteering in ministry through Vineyard Columbus. Many who identify as LGBTQ+ have found love, support, and community as they follow Christ in our community.
We repent of the terrible homophobia which has marked the attitudes of too many of us who call ourselves Christian toward those who are gay or identify with the LGBTQ+ community, and we call our fellow Christians to do the same.
We make every effort to have a humble and self-aware posture, knowing that far too many LGBT people have been damaged through relationships to the Church. We do not practice any sort of reparative therapy (we do not attempt to ‘change’ someone’s orientation) and our pastors and counselors are regularly in conversation with individuals and families as they navigate questions about gender and sexuality in tender, healthy, and grace-filled ways.
While anyone, regardless of orientation or identity, is welcome into membership, Vineyard churches (including Vineyard Columbus) hold a traditional theology and practice regarding marriage (our pastors do not officiate at same-sex weddings) and leadership (our lay leaders and pastors commit to practicing a traditional sexual ethic).
Our convictions will lead to uncomfortable tensions for many, though we believe these tensions are inherent to the unity in diversity that marks those who belong to Christ and the Christian community. Our position means that someone who is fully open and affirming will feel tension at Vineyard Columbus when it comes to leadership involvement and marriage. In the same way, someone who rejects that our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers should be welcome, wanted, and loved, will feel the tension to move toward understanding, acceptance, and love. We strive for Vineyard to be a community that can hold tensions, sometimes disagree, but always treat one another as beloved children of God.