We believe Bible doctrine (teaching) matters. Therefore, we endeavor to carefully emphasize faithfulness to God's Word, the Bible, regarding our thinking about God, Jesus, sin and humanity; and we strive to be unified in adhering to these critical doctrines throughout our ministry.
WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE: Inspired, inerrant, and authoritative
God “breathed out” the very words of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, so that in the original writings they are inerrant and of supreme and hold final authority for our lives.
WE BELIEVE GOD: Three persons in one
God is one, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
WE BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST: Both God and Man
The second Person of the Trinity is the eternal Son of God. He had no beginning but became man by being conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the once Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, died an atoning death, rose from the dead, and physically ascended into Heaven, where He maintains a bodily presence for us as High Priest and Advocate.
WE BELIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT: He convicts, regenerates, and indwells
The third Person of the Trinity convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He is the Supernatural Agent in the new birth, baptizes all believers into the body of Christ, indwells and seals them unto the day of redemption. He gives spiritual gifts to all believers whereby they build up the body of Christ - known as the Church. The “sign gifts,” or miracles were exercised in the first century to authenticate Christ’s apostles. They have run their course, and therefore ceased with the completion of the New Testament canon.
WE BELIEVE MAN: Created in God’s image, but fallen and condemned
God made man in His own image on the sixth day of creation. Afterward man sinned and acquired not only physical death but also spiritual death – separation from God. All humans since are born with a sinful nature and are sinners by both birth and choice. They are therefore without excuse and under the just condemnation of God to eternal judgment.
WE BELIEVE IN GOD'S SALVATION: Purchased by Jesus’ blood, received by faith
The Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures as a representing all humanity and is the substitutionary sacrifice WHO alone has satisfied God's wrath. All who believe in Him are declared righteous on the ground of His shed blood. They are born again by the authority of the Word of God and indwelling work of the Holy Spirit; and are thereby children of God, and eternally saved.
WE BELIEVE THAT THE FUTURE: awaits the literal return and eternal reign of Jesus
Believers share in the “blessed hope.” This looks toward the personal and physical return of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ before the 7 year tribulation and before the 1000 year earthly return. There will be a bodily resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. The just will enter into eternal joy. The unjust will experience everlasting conscious punishment in the lake of fire.
As a fundamental, independent, Bible-believing church, the following practices also influence how we at Zion Christian Church operate.
Fundamental: We believe in the great historic doctrines of the Christian faith, as found in God’s perfect Book, the Bible. We also believe that we should separate ourselves from worldliness and apostasy.
Independent: We do not take orders from any denominational hierarchy or convention. We have loose fellowship with other like-minded believers.
Bible-believing: The following summarizes the important distinctions of our church:
- Biblical Authority: We believe the Bible is the only authority for faith and practice – 2 Timothy 3:16; Mark 7:9; Isaiah 8:20
- Autonomy of the local church: We believe the local church, with God’s help, is capable of and responsible for handling its own affairs – Acts 13:1-4; Philippians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:8
- Priesthood of all believers: We believe every believer is an individual priest before God – 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:5,6
- Two ordinances: We believe that the local church observes the two ordinances of Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper – Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 2:41; 1 Corinthians 11:24,25
- Individual soul liberty: We believe that all individuals have the liberty to choose what they believe is right according to their understanding of the Bible in the realm of their spiritual walk with the Lord Jesus – John 18:36; Acts 5:29
- Regenerated church membership: We believe church membership is for believers only – Acts 2:47; 5:13; 8:36,37
- Two biblical officers: We believe that church leadership is designated by two offices: pastor and deacon – 1 Timothy 3:1,8; Titus 1:5
- The church and state should remain separate: We believe the church and the government, though both are ordained by God, are separate institutions – Romans 13:1-7; Matthew 28:19-20; Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 15:17-29
Who We Are:
Zion Christian Church was founded in the Deep River area of Sanford, North Carolina in 1866. On February 6, 1937, the church voted not to join the Congregational Christian Church, but to remain independent as Zion Christian Church.
The church is a fundamental, Bible-believing church. We are dispensational in our interpretation and teaching of Scripture. We believe in baptism by immersion following a clear salvation testimony of being saved by grace through faith in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of all sins and a new relationship with the Triune Godhead.
Pastor Austin usually preaches through books of the Bible for each preaching service. There are different aged youth groups for our young people. Our music is conservative and we sing from the hymnal: Favorite Hymns of Praise for all our church services.
Our StaffPastor Matt Austin
A Fundamental, Independent, Bible-Focused, Christi-Centered Church
In early 1800 our founders built a Church known as Zion Christian Church. The land for the first Church was given by John Dickens and wife, Clerenda; John D. Wicker and wife, Delitha, and Purdence Ellington. September 3, 1887, this deed was recorded in Pittsboro, NC.
The first Church was a small log building of raw material. It faced south, had only one door, and wooden windows.
The second Church was a small frame building. The benches in this Church were made of heart pine and were hand dressed; the Church was minus a pulpit. This Church was used until approximately 1892. Then the second frame Church was erected farther south and nearer the road under the supervision of Mr. Bob Walker. This new building was our first to have a steeple. Records show this is the same bell and steeple that we use today.
In 1928, Zion Church was moved across the road, and turned around to face the cemetery. In 1931, four Sunday School Class rooms were built. In 1949, another class room was added. In 1953, we bought an organ, installed new windows, and underpinned the Church. In 1956, we built six new Sunday School rooms, dug a well, installed two bathrooms, and installed "memorial" windows. In 1964, we built a parsonage located on Zion Church Road.
Some say the first person to be buried in Zion Cemetery was Burbour Ellington, others say Robert McIver. We have no date on this since there are no permanent markers. The earliest date on a grave with a marker is that of infant Sloan, child of David and Nan Sloan, dated October 7, 1880.
G.R. Underwood is the founder of the Memorial Day service at Zion, the first service occurring approximately in the year 1893. These services were held on Saturday until approximately 1937, when they were changed to Sunday.
On February 6, 1937, we voted not to join the Congregational Christian Church, but to remain as Zion Christian Church.
An inspiring and impressive service of ordination was held at Zion on March 25, 1945. R. Eugene Tally and Clay Farrell were duly ordained ministers of the Gospel. Regularly ordained ministers taking part in the service included the following: C. C. Wheeler, William F. Hancock, M. Luther Hux, Ernest Hancock, George M. Tally, J.E. Franks , C.T. Gray, E. K. Heatherly, and J.L. Mann.
In 1953, we had our first Bible School under the leadership of Pastor W. C. Farrell.
In May 1966, Zion Church observed their 100TH Anniversary with an all day service on our annual Memorial Day. In March of 1967, two new Sunday school rooms were built. These rooms were also used as the Fellowship Hall. In 1969, Zion Christian Church called their first full time pastor, Rev. Egbert Craven, Jr. In October 1971, two acres of land were purchased from Holt heirs for future use and expansion. At the same time the Church was painted on the inside, and wall to wall carpet was installed.
In November 1971, Rev. Craven gave his resignation to be effective the end of the year. In December 1971, the Pulpit Committee contacted Dr. G. Carl Green to serve as Interim Pastor beginning January 1, 1972, until a full time Pastor could be called. At the same time Rev. W. C. Farrell agreed to conduct our Mid-Week prayer service and to be available for Pastoral Counseling. Also in January 1972, a trust fund was set up for the up-keep of the cemetery and grounds. In February 1972, the Church purchased our first Hammond Organ. In July 1972, the Rev. Don Sweitzer assumed his duties as Pastor of Zion Christian Church. In November 1972, Mr. James E. Ammons, Sr. gave to the Church approximately one acre of land for future use of the cemetery.
In 1974, the Church voted to repair the front of the Church, add a porch, and install a new fiberglass steeple. In January, 1977, work was started on the renovation of the sanctuary. New pews and pulpit furniture were donated in memory or honor of certain individuals by different Church families. On Memorial Day, 1977, we dedicated the remodeled sanctuary. In July, 1977, Pastor Don Sweitzer tendered his resignation as pastor. Rev. Gerald Priest served as interim pastor while the Church sought a new one.
In February, 1978, the Church issued a call to Rev. Steve Johnson to become our new pastor. Rev. Johnson accepted this call and assumed his duties in March, 1978.
In 1983, the Church parking lot was paved, the grounds and cemetery were landscaped, and the choir produced a record. In April 1984, we added a bathroom addition. In 1985, a new piano was purchased. In 1989, a new Fellowship Hall with a kitchen, a baptistery, and two additional Sunday school rooms were added.
In November 2018 Pastor Johnson tendered his resignation after 40 years of service at Zion. In June 2020 the church issued a call to Rev. Matt Austin to become our new pastor.