Meanings of Common Terms
We know that many of our visitors may not have a background in the Gospel, or understand some of the terminology used in today's Church.
Read below for explanations for some of the most common questions about who we are and what we do.
What Do You Mean By...
What does it mean to be "saved"? Or be a "believer"? Or how can a person be "born again?"
Jesus answered him, "Most assuredly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can't see the Kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"
Jesus answered, "Most assuredly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can't enter into the Kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." -John 3:3-6
To be saved—or to be a believer in the Lord Jesus—is to leave your current life of rejection of God and enter a new life of embracing Him and His Son as Lord of your life (Romans 10:8-11). Knowing that you were made by God, and for God, it is to come back to your Heavenly Father by accepting the forgiveness of your sins through Christ's death on the cross.
This act of faith—putting your life into the hands of Jesus and asking Him to live in you as you were destined—will actually cause something new to be created: you!
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.
But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation;
namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation. -II Corinthians 5:17-19
That is what it means to be a believer, to be saved (from spiritual death because of your sin), and to be born again. God forgets your sins and does not remind you of them either, and sees you only in His Son. It truly is a new birth, as your spirit is given life as the Son of God comes to live inside of you!
Once this happens, a new world opens up to you, the Kingdom of God, which cannot be seen unless and until a person is born into it by faith in Jesus, making Him the Lord and King of your life.
There are three aspects to this answer. First, there is "The Church." This is another word for "Assembly," and both come from the Bible's original words for that special group of people who have come back to God the Heavenly Father through His Son, Jesus Christ. By placing your trust in the Lord Jesus, as both the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins and as the purpose of your creation, you enter this new family of God's children. We call this entire people "the Church or Assembly", with a capital letter, to indicate the Body of Christ as a whole across the world. As used in the language of the Bible, this ("Church") was just the common word for a congregation or special group of people. For example, the same word is used to describe the nation of Israel in the Hebrew scriptures.
Second, many also use the same word in uppercase to indicate a more local group of that larger Body of Christ. Paul wrote to "the church in Thessalonica," or "in Rome," which was the congregation of believers spread throughout that city. There may be several different individual congregations in the city, but together they are viewed by God as "the Church" of that city.
Third, most people use the lowercase version (church, assembly) to mean an individual congregation. Within Cincinnati, there are many different "churches," or individual assemblies of God's people, under many different man-made denominations. We are a "church" in that there is a congregation of people that regularly meet here as God's redeemed. We are all part of that larger Body of Christ, or Church as a whole.
These terms refer both to the teaching of the Bible and the spiritual experience of receiving the Holy Spirit in fulness, after being born again (Acts 8:14-17, 19:1-6).
Pentecostal refers to that Feast Day of the Jews (Pentecost), which marked the coming of the Holy Spirit as the Promise made by the Father to be given through His Son (Acts 2:32-33). Just as the disciples in the upper room received the Holy Spirit with an evidence, speaking in new languages as the Spirit gave them the supernatural ability (Acts 2:1-4), so we as Christ's disciples should expect the same thing when we ask the Father (Acts 2:38-39). To be Pentecostal is to have experienced this infilling of the Holy Spirit after being born again, and to have received the Power of God, Who is the Holy Spirit Himself.
Charismatic refers to the "gifts" ("charismata" in Greek) of the Spirit, Who enables God's people to grow into the perfect image of Christ, both individually and together as the Church of God. These gifts of the Spirit are described in several places (Romans 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:8-16), and also include the manifestations of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:7-11). These all come after a believer receives the Holy Spirit (the Pentecostal experience seen above), and allow the Church and its members to operate in all the fulness of Christ by His Spirit.
Unfortunately, this term has to be used in today's world to distinguish between the entire, original Gospel message and most modern forms of nominal Christianity, which is often stripped of the core message of salvation by grace through faith and the subsequent experience of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit.
"Full Gospel" means that the whole message of God's Kingdom is being preached, just as the Lord Jesus preached:
As you go, preach, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give. -Matthew 10:7-8
The entire or full Gospel, at the least, includes:
- The gift of forgiveness through faith in the blood of Christ (Romans 3:23-26).
- The Promise of the Father: being baptized into God's Holy Spirit, Who will clothe new believers to live in the same power of Christ on earth (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5-8, 2:1-4, 33, 11:16; Romans 15:13).
- Healing of all sickness, disease and even premature death (Mark 16:18; I Peter 2:24; Acts 14:8-10).
- Deliverance from, and power over, all evil spirits and every work of Satan (Mark 16:17-18; Luke 9:1; Ephesians 6:10-18).
Many today who call themselves Christians deny one or more of the above teachings of the Lord, but you will find them all believed, preached, expected, and evidenced here at White Oak Chapel! Come and receive!