Holy Trinity is very happy to be a member of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (Knox Presbytery). Our affiliation with the CREC provides us with accountability and encouragement, but does not define the boundaries of our fellowship. We are glad to join together with other Christians in the areas of prayer, education, service to the community, etc., and our pastor is a member of the North Stevens County Ministerial Association.
We embrace the whole of Christ’s Church with all its glories and all its struggles. The Church is the Bride of Christ (Revelation 21), and we look forward to seeing how the Groom is going to bring His Bride to complete holiness, free of any spot or wrinkle or blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Holy Trinity Church was established as a mission church of Christ Church, Spokane on October 21, 2007. Kenton Spratt served as our first pastor until 2013 when he moved to become one of the pastors at Christ Church in Spokane, and Jeff Moss was called to serve as our new pastor at Holy Trinity. In June of 2015, Edwin Iverson was called to be our pastor and is currently serving the body here in Colville. We are very grateful for the oversight of the elders of Christ Church in Spokane who, along with Edwin Iverson and our deacons, currently provide leadership for the church while we wait for God to supply us with more local elders.
Our pastor is Edwin Iverson. Pastor Iverson is assisted by our deacons, John Anderson and Dave Sitler.
Together with other Christians throughout history and around the world, at Holy Trinity Church we believe what the ancient creeds say about God (the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), the Church, and the Christian life. Three creeds are included in the constitution of our church and we generally recite one of them at every worship service: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Definition of Chalcedon.
See also: What is your church’s confession of faith?
Apostles’ Creed (2nd-5th centuries A.D.)
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hades.
On the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost,
the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Nicene Creed (A.D. 325/381)
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,
begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made;
who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from Heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the virgin Mary, and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried;
and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;
and He ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father;
and He shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead;
and His kingdom shall have no end.
And we believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son;
who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified;
who spoke by the Prophets.
And we believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church;
we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;
and we look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Definition of Chalcedon (A.D. 451)
Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards His Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards His manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards His Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards His manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and united in one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of Him, and our Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught us, and the creed of the Fathers has handed down to us.
Holy Trinity Church is a “confessional” church. The Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches, to which we belong, requires that our office bearers (elders and deacons) hold to something more than a vague and undefined “belief in the Bible.” Of course, they must believe the Bible as the only infallible written revelation of God and His will, by which everything else is to be measured. But they must also “confess” to believe what is said in certain historical creeds and confessions as faithful statements of Christian beliefs according to the Bible. Our creeds include the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Definition of Chalcedon (see “What does your church believe?”). Each church in the CREC must also adopt one of several Confessions of Faith derived from the Reformation of the Church in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Confession that Holy Trinity Church has adopted is called the Westminster Confession of Faith, written in A.D. 1646. It is a trustworthy, though not perfect, exposition of the Bible’s teachings about a number of key truths. This confession has been widely used in many Protestant (especially Presbyterian) churches for hundreds of years. Our elders are required to declare their acceptance of its teachings; this is a safeguard to ensure that no individual pastor can take it upon himself to teach whatever he wants without accountability to the church at large. However, because the WCF is not the Bible, it is not entirely free of errors, omissions, and idiosyncrasies. Our church as a whole has stated that we take certain exceptions to this Confession (see below), and candidates for office in our church may take additional exceptions as their conscience requires. All we ask is that office bearers declare their differences openly, and let the church decide whether the differences are within the bounds of orthodoxy as judged by the Scriptures.
The following are the agreed-upon exceptions taken to the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) by all the elders of Holy Trinity Church:
1. While we agree with the doctrines of the WCF, we do not always agree with how those doctrines are supported with the Scripture proof texts which the Westminster Divines cited.
Of the Holy Scripture
2. Para. 2. We are unwilling to be dogmatic as to the Pauline authorship of the book of Hebrews.
3. Para. 8. We believe that the original languages to be consulted in the matters of controversy are Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic.
Of God’s Covenant with Man
4. Para. 2 (cf. Chp. 19, para. 1, 6). While we agree with the original intent of the Westminster Divines, we believe the usage of the phrase “covenant of works” is open to misinterpretation by modern Christians. By way of clarification, we deny that any covenant can be kept without faith, and we affirm that good works flow out of faith in God, and not vice versa.
Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath-day
5. Para. 8. We believe that along with works of piety, necessity, and mercy, the command also calls us to rest physically on the Sabbath (Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 16:30; 31:15-17).
Of the Civil Magistrate
6. Para. 3 — Delete the last phrase, beginning with “to provide that whatsoever…”
Of Marriage and Divorce
7. Para 4: Delete the last sentence, which reads, “The man may not marry any of his wife’s kindred, nearer in blood than he may of his own: nor the woman of her husband’s kindred, nearer in blood than of her own.”
Of the Church
8. Para. 6. Though we believe the Pope of Rome to be anti-Christian, we do not believe him necessarily to be the anti-Christ.
Of the Sacraments
9. Para. 4. We believe that the Lord’s Supper should not be administered without the oversight of an elder, lawfully ordained.
10. Para. 3. We believe that the proper modes of baptism include sprinkling, pouring, and immersion.
11. Para. 4. Being a church composed of both paedobaptists and those holding to believer’s baptism, we expressly allow men otherwise qualified to serve as elders, but who hold to believer’s baptism, to make an exception to WCF Chapter XXVIII, paragraph 4, which reads: “Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized.”
Members do not have to embrace the Westminster Confession as a whole (as elders and deacons do), but members must be willing to be taught according to these doctrinal standards. Holy Trinity Church aims to be a place where sincere believers who love God’s Word can grow up in it (whatever their current level of maturity may be), and not a place for those who have arrived—or think they have!
In the medieval church, there was a sharp distinction between the worshiping clergy and the spectators found in the laity. The “action” was up front, behind what was called the rood screen, and the people of God assembled to watch—well, mostly to listen. They were permitted to be in the presence of something big, they were around when the mystery happened. But for all intents and purposes, they were shut out, and the experts did the heavy lifting. The Protestant emphasis on the priesthood of all believers changed all that for centuries.
But unfortunately, a very similar sharp division has been creeping back in recent decades—now in the form of professional entertainers up front, and the audience out in the seats. Many who attend church do not expect to be asked to “do” anything. This did not happen all at once; it happened by degrees, but it has gotten to the point where some congregations don’t even sing much anymore.
In the approach taken to worship by CREC churches, the worship service is an active conversation between God and His people. It is a dialog—not a monologue. We are all part of the body, and we all have something to do. The service is initiated from the front, by the minister. He is there in his role as a “deputy spokesman” on the Lord’s behalf. He is authorized to do this by his ordination, and he is faithful to his ordination to the extent that he sticks to the Scriptures like white on rice. In this role, he summons the people to worship at the beginning, and he declares the benediction at the end. He reads the text for the sermon as the very words of God, and he preaches the sermon as the very oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11). After the confession of sin, he announces the assurance of pardon in the name of Jesus, and so on.
The people of God respond to all this actively. They sing the psalms and hymns and say amen after them. They say the Creed. They respond to the Scripture reading with “Thanks be to God.” They lift their hands in the Gloria Patri. They deliver a corporate charge or blessing after a baptism. They take the elements of bread and wine weekly. In short, in worship, the body of Christ is called to be a conversationalist. One of the first things that visitors to our congregations notice is that there is so much for them to do. This is intentional. The whole body is called to work together, and worship is that work.
These responses are usually prepared for our congregations in a printed bulletin, and because of this, those who are used to a more spontaneous, “go-with-the-flow” style of worship sometimes react to such a prepared liturgy as “kind of Catholic.” Actually, within limits, it is one of the most Protestant things we do. And in a sort of double irony, the spectator approach favored by many pop-evangelical churches is actually drifting back toward a very old error indeed.
Many worship services in modern churches tend to be informal. The model is often that of a concert or entertainment event, with a very “come as you are” attitude toward visitors. Consequently, when someone joins one of our churches Sunday morning for worship, often the most obvious difference in our worship approach (which is evident to them in the first five minutes) is the concern for reverence and dignity, and what comes across as “formality.” The more common approach has often been called “seeker sensitive,” and some might be excused for thinking that our approach is actually closer to “seeker hostile.”
The reason we approach worship this way is because we believe that God requires a cultivation of reverence from us. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28-29, ESV). This is what we are seeking to do. We see here in this passage that worship can be unacceptable to God, and two of the things that would make it unacceptable would be a spirit of irreverence and an attitude inconsistent with awe. Sadly, that is often what can happen with informal worship services. When Paul envisions an unbeliever wandering into the church, he doesn’t see the unbeliever feeling at home, rather he sees him as becoming undone “he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you” (1 Cor. 14:24, 25).
Probably the biggest issue for someone who is unaccustomed to “formal” worship is the question of insincerity. Many of us have been taught that if it is “scripted,” then it must be insincere. If our worship services have a “bulletin” with all the elements of the worship service laid out beforehand, then what has happened to the possibility of the Spirit leading us in the course of the service? If a service is hypocritical and insincere, then that is obviously not the Holy Spirit’s work—on that we certainly can agree.
But we don’t think this way about other activities that must be planned out beforehand. If you had the privilege of seeing a Marine Corps precision drill team, would you wonder if they “really meant it?” If you took your wife to see a performance of the Nutcracker at Christmas time, would you walk out shaking your heads at all the insincerity because the music was exactly the same as last year?
As far as the “scriptedness” is concerned, we would point to where the apostle Paul rejoiced in the “good order” of the Colossian church (Col. 2:5). The word there is a military one, which could be rendered as regimentation—like the drill team we mentioned just a moment ago. At the same time, we want to avoid the sins condemned by Jesus when He warned us about flowing robes (Mark 12:38), wide phylacteries (Matt. 23:5), lengthy prayers (Matt. 23:14), fancy religious titles (Matt. 23:7), and other forms of ecclesiastical showboating. But preparation to offer God what He requires is not the same thing as over-decorating what He did not require.