Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I have to be baptized to join Stonebriar Community Church? What are Stonebriar’s views on baptism?
No. We recommend but do not require baptism for membership. In Pastor Les Fleetwood’s words: “Baptism shouldn’t be associated or identified in any way with church membership since current concepts of church membership are themselves not mandated in Scripture. Greater than mere identity with a church or denomination, baptism is a vivid symbol of the believer’s new identity with Christ.” We do not question or criticize any church that requires baptism for membership. This issue is covered by the biblical principle of Romans 14:5b, “Each must be fully convinced in his own mind.” The purpose of baptism is to publicly announce that we have been identified with Him. Water baptism has, throughout the ages, been a means of visibly representing a real, yet invisible, change that has taken place. Paul in Romans 6:1-4 describes this invisible change as the Holy Spirit identifying each believer with Christ in both His death and resurrection. We practice baptism by immersion to follow the pattern for Jesus’ baptism, as described in Matthew 3:16 and Mark 1:10. Even though we cannot literally “follow Jesus in baptism” because His baptism was unique, by immersing we can “follow him in practice.”
2. What Bible does the church use?
Because of its readability, Dr. Swindoll is currently teaching from the New Living Translation. Dr. Swindoll studies for and prepares his messages using the New American Standard Bible, 1995 Edition because this translation makes the transition from Greek and Hebrew into English easier for a person trained in the original languages. For personal edification and study, we also recommend the New International Version (NIV), New English Translation (NET Bible), and the English Standard Version (ESV). These translations are accurate and readily readable. Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase “The Message” helps by adding flavor to the passage. The use of multiple translations adds the element of adventure to one’s personal study of the Word of God.
3. When do you serve the Lord's Supper as part of your Sunday morning worship?
Stonebriar Community Church observes the Lord’s Supper, also known as Communion, on the first Sunday of February, June, August, October, on Good Friday, and on the Sunday nearest to the New Year. Our elders believe that this schedule keeps the observance infrequent enough to be a fresh and meaningful expression of worship but not so frequent that it becomes ritualistic.
4. What is the correct amount to tithe?
The “tithe” or “tenth part” was first mentioned in Scripture when Abraham presented Melchizedek with a tenth of the spoils from his victory (Genesis 14:17-20). Hebrews 7:5 states that “…those sons of Levi who receive the priestly office have authorization according to the law to collect a tithe from the people, that is, from their fellow countrymen.” The tithe in Israel was essentially an income tax collected by the Levites for the purpose of supporting the Tabernacle or Temple and the functions carried out by the Levites. As such, it was not considered to be optional. There were “freewill offerings” taken at various times for other purposes, like helping the poor or refurbishing the Temple, and these were optional. To be honest to Scripture, we have to acknowledge that tithing is never directly commanded to the Church. The Church is told how to give but not how much to give. (2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver.”) “How to give” follows the principle of freewill offerings in Israel, providing a yardstick to tell us how we are responding to the generosity of God (2 Corinthians 8:9). Tithing is also never forbidden to the Church so there is absolutely nothing wrong with following the guidelines of the tithe, as long as it is done in faith and without reluctance or compulsion.
5. Do you practice the spiritual gifts of tongues, prophecy, miracles, or healing?
No. We believe that these gifts (tongues, knowledge, healings, miracles, and prophecy) were authorized and active in the early days of the Church, but their function and legitimacy ended when the reason for the gift was removed. Once the completed Scripture was received, the special gifts were no longer necessary. Rather than providing new revelation, the Holy Spirit now does exactly what Jesus said He would do. He “will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you” (John 14:26).
Call us at 469-252-5200, or contact us online for more information about Stonebriar Community Church.