Questions and Answers
Why should I come to church every Sunday?
God's children love to worship God and be with his people (1 John 3:14). They love to hear the preaching of the Word. As part of the body of Christ, they recognize that the main venue for the gathering of God's people is the weekly services of the church on Sunday. Those who belong to God will want to be in church regularly in order to be built up in the faith.
Why do the ministers wear robes on Sunday morning?
Our ministers wear robes for Sunday morning services as a way of symbolically elevating the pastoral office. Just as a judge wears a robe in his courtroom to symbolize his authority to pronounce judgment in legal matters, so our ministers wear robes to symbolize the elevated status that God gives to the preaching of the Word. The robe does not make the minister more holy. But it does help keep the focus on the preaching of the Word and not on the minister's tie choice or fashion sense.
Why do we read so much of the Bible in the service?
We read approximately a chapter of Scripture in each of our Sunday services because the Bible commands us to. Paul told Timothy, "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching." (1 Tim 4:13) Since we believe the Bible is our only rule of faith and practice and is God's ordained means of bringing us to faith, we believe it should play a prominent role in our services.
Why do the elders go up front for baptisms and when new members join?
One of the main responsibilities of the elder is spiritual oversight. They provide leadership for the church and are responsible for overseeing the spiritual growth and care of the congregation. They approve all baptisms and new members. Their presence up front during baptisms and the receiving of new members signifies their crucial role in maintaining the peace and purity of the church.
Why are the sermons long?
We preach expository sermons which means we preach sequentially through books of the Bible. We follow the Spirit-inspired logic of Scripture because we believe it is the best way to understand the whole counsel of God. This means our sermons tend to be a little longer than some churches. Just like we take our time unpacking a box of fine china, we also take our time in order to handle the Scripture with care.
Why do we sing old songs and Psalms in the service?
Our overarching goal is to worship God according to his commands. To that end, we make it our aim to fill the service with his Word. We read it and preach it and use it to inform our prayers. Why would we also not sing it? The Psalter is the songbook of the Scriptures so we regularly sing from it. In addition, we also sing hymns that are theologically rich and biblically sound. These hymns have stood the test of time and are worthy of our attention.
Why do we have morning and evening worship?
Morning and evening worship is patterned after the morning and evening sacrifices of the Old Testament. Morning and evening Lord's Day prayer have been standard for the Christian church from the beginning.
Why do people dress up for church?
While God is primarily concerned with the condition of our hearts and not our external appearance (1 Samuel 16:7; Matt 23:25-26), what we wear in church can be a reflection of our attitude towards God. There is a proper way to dress in any setting. When you attend a wedding or funeral, you wear your best clothes out of honor and respect for the gravity of the occasion. It's no different for attendance at church. We wear our best when we are in God's house out of respect for the Lord and the dignity of the occasion.
Why do we say the Apostles' Creed?
The Apostles' Creed is the oldest Christian confession, with roots in the second century, and provides the means by which we affirm our Christian identity and faith. It also demonstrates our unity with the universal church, past and present.
Why do we baptize infants?
According to the Scriptures, the children of believing parents are entitled to the sign of the covenant. Peter said, "The promise is for you and for your children" (Acts 2:39). Under the Old Covenant, the sign of the covenant was circumcision (Gen 17:1-14) and was applied to adults as well as children (Gen 17:12). Under the New Covenant, the sign of the covenant has been changed to baptism (Col 2:11-12) and the sign is still applied to children of believers. Paul tells us that the children of believing parents are holy (1 Cor 7:14).
Throughout the course of redemptive history it has been God's method to work through families. Jesus wanted children (even infants) to be included in the kingdom (Matt 19:13-15; Mk 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17) and, according to the Gospel of Mark, was indignant when the disciples tried to push the children away. According to Acts, whole households were included in baptisms (16:15, 33) demonstrating that God's plan encompasses the entire family.
Are babies and young children allowed in the service?
We encourage children to stay for the entire service from as young an age as practical. The criteria for determining if your children should stay or leave is their ability to sit quietly and not be a distraction to those around them. We provide a "children's church" in which 4 and 5 year olds are encouraged to learn by heart the various fixed-forms in our services [e.g. Creed, Lord's Prayer, Doxology, Gloria Patri, Ten Commandments].
Why is your church Independent? Is it part of a denomination?
We are not formally associated with any denominational structure, though our ministers are members of the Savannah River Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America. Independency has been our tradition since 1755.
Does IPC have a mercy ministry?
The deacons oversee the mercy ministry of the church. Their goal is to care for those in the congregation who have special financial needs as well as members of the community who may need assistance.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things (Col 1:16) and the eternal Son of God (Heb 1:1-3). He became a human being and is both God and man in two distinct natures and one person (John 1:14; Gal 4:4). He was the only member of the human race who lived a sinless life. (2 Cor 5:21). He died on the cross to save his people from their sin (Matt 1:21). He was buried and after three days God raised him from the dead (1 Cor 15:20; Eph 1:20). His resurrection conquered sin and death (1 Cor 15:54-56). He ascended into heaven and now intercedes for his people (Heb 4:14-16). One day he will judge the world and all will acknowledge his Lordship (Phil 2:9-11).
Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?
Jesus himself said unequivocally in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." The Apostle Peter said in Acts 4:12, "There is salvation in no one else [but Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Why did Jesus have to die for our sins?
Since God is infinite and holy, a transgression of his law is an infinite offense. Since we have all "sinned and fallen short" of God's glory (Rom 3:23), we have committed an infinite offense against God's glory. In order for fallen humanity to be saved, a sinless substitute is needed to take our place and offer an infinite sacrifice. Jesus Christ is that sinless substitute. Though he was the Son of God, he took on human flesh and became a man. He lived a perfect life and died on the cross to satisfy God's justice. Since he is both God and man, he is able to serve as the intermediary between God and man. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
Does hell exist?
Yes, according to Scripture, hell does exist. It is a place of eternal fire and torment. Jesus spoke more about hell than he did about heaven. He described the "fires of hell" in Matthew 5. In Mark 9:48 he describes it as a place where "the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched." Matthew 8 says it's a place of outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth. The scriptural evidence says that the wicked will be consigned to endless conscious sorrow. Whether it's the language of "unquenchable fire" or "the worm does not die" or the use of everlasting and forever with reference to the chains, destruction, fire, burning, and torment associated with eternal punishment (Isa 33:14; Jer 17:4; Matt 18:8; 25:41, 46), the scriptural evidence for the existence of hell seems irrefutable.
Why does God allow his people to suffer?
This is a difficult question that has puzzled God's people for generations. Why does God allow evil and suffering in the world? There is no simple answer. Various explanations have been offered but generally prove inadequate to give a complete answer. Jesus' own suffering provides the paradigm. Through suffering comes a greater good. God allows those whom he loves to suffer because through this pain he brings about a greater good than would have been possible had they remained comfortable and without distress.
The ultimate reason resides in the eternal plan of God. He allowed sin and suffering to enter the world for his own purposes. We can take comfort in the fact that whatever suffering happens to God's children is done with their good and God's glory in view (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28).