Where Does KCM Stand in 2010?
In 1998, The Kingdom Christian Ministries was formed as a result of various Kingdom congregations that wanted to band together and carry on the Kingdom teaching that they had previously received. The catalyst then was a Vision Statement written to try to capsulize the essence of Kingdom teaching that was being challenged. As time has gone on, the Holy Spirit has continued to lead us, directing to some things that were unexpected, and to others that perhaps could have been predicted. The Vision Statement itself has been rewritten twice to clarify what God was calling for, and the latest version is available at this location.
The following paragraphs are written so that those who have not stayed involved with KCM enough to know of the changes that God has led to can be aware of where we now stand.
Changes Since 1998
Closed Communion was changed to Careful Communion.
Instead of requiring all participants at communion services to have experienced baptism or rebaptism under Kingdom ministry, those who attend are screened to be sure they are true believers in Jesus, have accepted His salvation, and have experienced a baptism as outlined in Scripture. Applicants who have been previously baptized are led by the pastor in a Bible study on baptism to help them assess whether their own baptism was scripturally based. (The six points of this study are found at this location.)
Additionally, all participants at communion are expected to examine themselves to be sure that they are "walking in the light," which means repenting and confessing any known sin and making restitution where necessary. It is also understood that those who participate in communion are submitting to the authority of the local pastor and are in unity with the other believers and the mission and statement of faith of the church.
The Bible is the sole authority for all doctrinal decisions and teaching.
Even before 1998, many thought that those who wanted the writings of Frank W. Sandford made available were attempting to give them equal authority to the Scriptures. This was not the case, but some did tend to give them a special place in correctly interpreting Scripture. While we think that these works are valuable in helping toward reality with God and His Word, God has led us to rely simply on the authority of Scripture. The Scripture is what was restored and will be the basis for all living in the Millennium. Like a good Bible commentary, these writings can be helpful in examining the Scriptures, but are not perceived as having the same weight as Scripture or providing the only correct interpretation.
Unity is based on heart direction, not on outward conformity to a set standard.
God has also led to changes in what were once considered Kingdom standards. Instead of expecting everyone to conform to the same outward practices, the husband and wife in each family is responsible before God to make decisions for their family as to matters such as women's dress and adornment, Sabbath keeping, entertainment, and insurance. The Kingdom Christian Ministries continues to stand for the biblical principles of modesty, distinction between the sexes, Sabbath keeping, avoiding worldliness, and trusting God rather than man, but it is up to the husband and wife in each family to seek the Lord and lead their family on the application of those principles to daily life. This means that some families apply these biblical principles in different ways, but the variety is not regarded as lowering a standard of godliness.
The source of all life and godliness is Jesus / the Holy Spirit / the Bible.
The Holy Spirit has led to emphasizing what God is doing in the present and future, rather than in history. While understanding the past helps immensely in gaining a correct perspective for the present and the future, our history, which we consider honorable and godly, is not the main focus of our ministry. We learn from past mistakes and are inspired by godly attitudes and commitments, but we all have to run our own race with our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. He is the source of power. It does not come from something that godly people did in the past. We want to build upon what others have done and "seek the things they sought," but in whatever ways, God leads to in the present.
There is a continued modified view of divine authority.
Before 1998 steps had been taken to modify our understanding and application of divine authority. Having decentralized church government and given individuals and congregations more involvement in decision making in the early 1990's, God has led to continue in the same direction. Because it created some of the pressure toward restructuring and produced a reaction, some thought that when KCM banded together, a strong central leadership system would be revived. While we recognize the need for pastoral authority for spiritual protection, God has continued to lead away from strong centralized leadership and directive ministry.
Doctrinal decisions today are made by a board of "elders" made up of the pastor and assistant pastor or deacon from the affiliated churches. They usually meet five times a year, and a leadership team of three ministers and two other pastors who have been asked to assist makes ministry decisions that are needed between times. Local decisions are made by a congregation's ministry team and care committee. There is a great deal of freedom for the local congregation to make decisions and develop their own strategies and programs.
Business decisions are made by three directors who are elected by the corporation, which is made up of all individuals from every congregation, who are over 18, who are in full fellowship, and who desire to serve this way. The local care committee makes most of the day-to-day business decisions. Most committees are open to anyone from the congregation who wants to serve in this capacity.
There is a continued balance between grace and holiness.
Kingdom ministry over the years has included a great emphasis on living holy lives. At times it was perceived by some as legalistic and out of balance. A strong emphasis on being worthy to be the bride of Christ, especially coupled with a focus on outward manifestations led some into this legalistic ditch, thinking it was all up to their own works. Our heart response is to continue to hold up the high call of God in Christ Jesus, but always to focus on the heart as what God sees, and to emphasize the grace of God as the only way to reach what He calls for. We can never get too much grace, since it is the basis of everything, past, present, and future. It is what God does in us and through us that matters, not our human efforts.
Separation is emphasized against worldliness and false doctrine, not other Christians.
The first Vision Statement clarified that while we desired to continue Kingdom distinctives, we did not want to promote an elitist attitude by which other Christians or Christian groups were viewed as sub-standard and to be avoided. Wherever there are genuine believers who are seeking to promote the Word of God, we can love them and work together to promote prayer, Bible study, and Christian fellowship. Only where there is wrong teaching or an endorsement of worldly thinking or behavior should we apply the biblical principle of separation.
Things That Have Not Changed
The Restoration is an on-going relevant dynamic that will expand until Christ returns.
One of the key dividing points in 1998 was whether the restoration was relevant. According to Acts 3:21 the "times of restoration of all things" will continue until Jesus returns. While we are not trying artificially to enact further aspects of restoration, we firmly believe that such activity is going on all over the earth. Wherever there is a revival and God is made real, or people are laying hold of a biblical principle and applying it to their lives, or there is evangelistic activity where souls experience salvation and freedom, that is all part of God's restoration at work. We recognize that in the past, restoration has been defined in different ways, and there have been many interpretations of what it really is. As the writer of The Restoration of All Things put it, restoration has difference phases. We are in a different phase today than in the past, and it is all God's work. We understand that our call is to stand by the God of the restoration to see every word of God fulfilled to the letter.
The Kingdom is more than just a church.
The concept of Christ's eternal Kingdom is alive and real. As the first Vision Statement attempted to express, this concept of the Kingdom and millennial living is a vital understanding for Christians everywhere. While we love the church and all its purposes, we eagerly anticipate the coming Kingdom age. The Kingdom is a concept or dimension that has been renewed, and it will someday fill the earth. We want to actively cooperate with God in this activity. Many Christians have already caught the vision of the Kingdom, and we want all to experience the same reality.
Feast keeping, Sabbath keeping, and love for Beulah are important.
These activities are all grounded in Scripture. Each has a millennial future, and we are inspired to do everything we can to promote them now.
All Israel is to be restored.
More and more believers are coming to the same conclusion that the Bible teaches that Israel is composed of more than just the Jewish people. Somewhere, somehow, God is going to use them all to fulfill His plan in the last days. We think there is ample evidence that the English-speaking nations as well as the peoples of north-western Europe are part of the Ten Tribes and thus equally part of Israel. While this is not part of our statement of faith, it is our understanding of what God's Word says. We desire to intelligently pray for God's full plan to be realized, when all Israel returns to the Holy Land under the reign of Jesus Christ the King.
The Bible is like a "seamless garment."
As various ways of interpreting or studying God's Word are promoted, we stand for the approach that all God's Word is equally inspired. We desire that it all have free course in us, and we open ourselves to the Author, the Holy Spirit, to apply it however He chooses. Under His control, it truly is "living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword." Of course we have to "try the spirits" to be sure what we are feeling is a prompting from the Holy Spirit and not a false spirit or the work of our own minds. One of the best ways to do this is to look at the context by examining all the Bible has to say on a topic. It is "the sum of Thy Word" that is "truth," so thoroughly studying everything the Bible says on a subject is our safety in avoiding imbalance.