Who we are and what we believe.
Cumberland Church, Lubbock, is a part of an international denomination, known as Cumberland Presbyterians, originating in Tennessee in 1810. While we certainly view the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Presbyterian Church of America and Evangelical Presbyterian Church as fellow servants of Christ, we are not organizationally affiliated with these other Presbyterian denominations. We are affiliated with scores of churches across Lubbock through our connection with Pray Lubbock.
This church is rooted in Calvinistic teaching, with the exception being our rejection of the doctrine of predestination. Instead, we believe God invites every person to repentance and discipleship; each person has the opportunity to accept or reject that offer and must make a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior for personal salvation. Many have described our theology as mid-way between Calvinism and Arminianism. We think of it as being Biblical Theology.
The Confession of Faith of Cumberland Presbyterians presents our full doctrinal statement. There are nearly 100,000 members in eighteen states, as well as Columbia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Liberia
We baptize adults and youth upon professions of faith (believer's baptism). We also believe that baptism of the believer does not "save" him or her; salvation comes by grace, through a profession of faith.
We baptize young children of professing Christian parents as a sign of God's covenant of grace with them and us. As such, the sacrament of baptism of children compares to circumcision in the Old Testament or the dedication of infants as practiced in other fellowships. Like circumcision, baptism is done in obedience and is a mark of the individual being included in the family of God. We believe that young children do not need baptism for salvation; they aren't old enough to be accountable for their sin. So those baptized as infants and young children must, at an appropriate time, accept Christ as Lord and Savior and thereby affirm and validate their own profession of faith in Jesus.
While we accept, and occasionally practice, other modes of baptism, we commonly utilize sprinkling as this practice represents the baptism of the Holy Spirit coming down on the one being baptized.
We celebrate this sacrament on the first Sunday of the month in all of our services.
We practice open communion and invite everyone who professes Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to participate, regardless of church affiliation.
During our Praise service, we typically come forward to take a piece of communion bread and dip it in the common cup of juice. In our Classic Worship Service, our usual way of receiving the Lord's Supper is eating the bread and drinking the cup at your seat as they are passed to you.
Our belief is that the bread and cup do not become the body and blood of Christ nor do they take on a spiritual essence during the communion service. Rather, we affirm that the risen Christ is spiritually present during our observance and that He nourishes, strengthens, and encourages us during the Lord's Supper as we remember His sacrifice on the cross and examine ourselves in the light of His grace.
Our congregation is on a mission to seek, nurture and equip people to be committed disciples of Jesus Christ. Therefore we are always ready to receive guests, visitors, friends and family members whom God is calling to serve Him with us. The Kingdom of God is much bigger than our congregation; but our congregation is a component of the Kingdom of God. Membership in our congregation is not necessary for entrance into heaven, but membership, for us, does mean we share a common covenant with one another to seek nurture and equip people. Membership is a path to leadership; and the achievement of our mission requires an ever-increasing cadre of leaders of missions, outreaches and ministries.
Those whom God is calling and who wish to join us can do so through:
1) ... a profession of faith in Christ (and baptism if needed) - This is for the child, youth or adult who has never made a public confession of commitment to Christ. This profession of Christ, by faith, is an act of receiving the grace of God for forgiveness of sin and for our place in the family of God. It is through this act of faith that salvation comes to the believer. The person doing this is actually "joining" two groups: a) the Kingdom of God by receiving eternal life, and b) Cumberland Church as the "home base" or "branch office" were one can be nurtured and equipped for service.
2) ... transfer of membership from another congregation - Upon transfer, we will ask you to reaffirm, for us to hear, your faith in Jesus Christ - we have no interest in "sheep-stealing" - the act of encouraging someone to leave another church and join this one. But, we also recognize that there are scores of great congregations in this city with varieties of personalities and unique calls into mission. There will always be shifting of membership from a place of personal under-utilization to a place where one's gifts can be fully employed. If a member of another congregation finds that their spiritual gifts and personality match our opportunities for service better than where they currently worship, we would certainly entertain the possibility of getting plugged in here. Those who transfer here are encouraged to meet with the leadership of their current congregation and seek to bless that congregation and be blessed by that congregation in their move. Many churches in Lubbock are not in competition with each other - pastors really want their sheep to be in a place where their gifting and opportunities for service are optimized.
3) ... by reaffirmation of faith, for the person who has followed the Lord before, but has drifted away from the Lord or for the person who is following the Lord but not currently affiliated with a fellowship of believers. - While "reaffirmation" can be a renewed declaration of faith before God, it also means to state again, for our benefit, your profession of faith. Either way, it is a new beginning it partnered ministry with us.
The profession and reaffirmation of faith is important as found in Romans 10:9 "That you confess with your lips the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead."
In our church government, the elders officially receive new members and make an effort to get well aquainted. Therefore, if they do not already know you, they will want to become acquainted with you. Elders and other members would like to greet you immediately following the service. Although not as common, members can also be received during an elders' meeting (we call it a meeting of the session). The membership will be announced at the next weekend worship services.