Introduction to the Constitution
I. From its beginnings, the Primitive Church faced the need to have clear standards to guide pastors with the care of their churches.
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
1 Corinthians 12:25
The need for specific statues became even more pressing due to differences among nations in language, laws, and culture, and to the emergence of apostate movements with false doctrines.
To address this need, there emerged in the second century of the Christian era the Rules of Faith and several Pastoral Letters, which were written documents to guide pastors in matters of doctrine, discipline, sacraments, organization, and worship in churches.
II. Eighteen centuries later, the Holy Spirit guided the heart of our patriarch, the late Bishop President Antonio C. Nava.
Who from the start insisted with indelible resolve on the need to have the most adequate organizational system, along with its respective bylaws for the church to fulfill its duty. Thus, our Apostolic Assembly was registered in 1930 with its initial articles of incorporation, in accordance with the laws of the state of California. What happened later is history.
A. The Word of God is our rule of faith, and is the highest and final authority (Matthew 24:35).
B. Our Constitution flows from the Word of God and that every new proposal or amendment must be forged under the light of the Holy Scriptures (Ephesians 2:20).
C. Being faithful to the dynamic guidance of the Holy Spirit, our Constitution must respond to the needs and challenges of the apostolic congregations in the United States of America and the missionary field, as we face the 21st century (John 16:13).
D. Our bylaws are a written practice; that is, we practice what we believe, and we believe what we practice.
E. Only God is perfect. The Church and Constitution are perfectible, and can and should improve always. Our constitutional standards are neither finished nor untouchable products, but dynamic instruments, appropriate to the church. Like the body of Christ, these instruments are not an organization, but a living organism (Philippians 3:13-14).
A. THE WELL-BEING OF THE CHURCH.
Through obedience to its biblically inspired norms, the Constitution aims to create a healthy organizational environment, where respect, love, and mutual assistance stimulate the spiritual, numerical, and economic growth of apostolic congregations (Ephesians 4:16).
The Constitution does not intend to create a poisonous and suffocating bureaucracy, but rather the order of God that protects and nurtures the spiritual health of local churches.
B. THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH.
The Constitution aims to protect the unity of the Church from the continuous attacks of the enemy, which attempt to weaken, distract, or discredit it. (John 17:23).
C. THE FAITHFULNESS OF THE CHURCH.
The Constitution aims to keep the life and thoughts of the Apostolic Assembly centered on Christ. Our worship, evangelism, Christian education, and social service should be Christ-centered (1 Corinthians 3:11).
D. THE LEGALITY OF THE CHURCH
The Constitution provides a legal framework for churches to develop their ministries in fulfillment of federal, state, country, and local laws of the United States of America. This framework also promotes respect for the laws of each country with missionary works.
V. We believe that the churches in the missionary field, along with the congregations of the United States of America, form the Church of the Lord.
Therefore, this Constitution also serves as a standard and model for our brethren abroad.
A. Each member of the General Board of Directors, as well as supervising bishops and district board members, should always carry a copy of this Constitution in their briefcases. In addition, all pastors, evangelists, assistant pastors, co-pastors, and ministers should keep a copy on their desks.
B. All ministers review the constitutional text at least once a year.
C. All candidates to be initiated or ordained to the ministry should be required to have completely read the current Constitution. The value and strength of our constitution requires that each of us complies with it and enforces its compliance. We pray to the Lord that He enlighten and enable each apostolic heart to revalue our bylaws, a blessed heritage.