About the Church of Christ
A Christian is one who strives to do all things according to the pattern set forth in the New Testament, understanding that he or she is not perfect (1 John 1:8), yet striving to " . . grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).
The Bible teaches that upon becoming a Christian, one becomes a member of the church, which was planned by God (Ephesians 3:11), foretold by the prophets (Acts 3:24), and purchased by Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28). The purpose of this body of believers is to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) It is the job of all Christians to convince others of God's truth, by teaching and preaching, through our words and our actions (Col. 3:17), so that everyone will have the opportunity to be added to His church and be heaven-bound.
What We Believe
The following list of beliefs is not exhaustive, yet it sets forth some basics. You will notice that each point is accompanied by Scripture references. If you open your Bible and read these passages you will find that they are accurately quoted and applied. We practice the admonition given by the apostle Paul, "Prove all things; hold fast what is good." (1 Thessalonians. 5:21)
Jesus Christ came to this earth as the one, true God manifested in the flesh (John 1), to sacrifice Himself for our sins (Rom. 5:8-9 ; John 3:16 ), giving access to the gift of eternal life for all who believe in, love, and obey Him. He is the head of the church and, as our head, we yield to His instructions concerning our purpose, work, and worship (see below), as given in the Bible. "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body" (Eph. 5:23, see also Eph. 1:22-23; Eph. 4:4 and Deity of Christ).
The truth is knowable and absolute. Though this is not a popular doctrine in the world, we hold to Scriptural teachings on this subject. "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32). It is the Bible that allows us to know God's truth (John 17:17).
The Bible is the inspired Word of God. By inspired we mean that the actual words and thoughts are from God. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . knowing this first that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; see also Inspiration of the Scriptures). The Bible is our standard of authority, in which we are to strive to live according to"... the pattern of sound words..." contained therein (2 Timothy 1:13).
Salvation is available to those who submit to Jesus Christ. God does not show partiality, therefore all are given the same conditions of pardon (Acts 10:34-35). "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved . . " (Acts 15:11). "And having been perfected He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9). Salvation is the result of accessing the grace of God, the free gift of eternal life, by an obedient faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1-2; James 2:14-26)
How We Worship
We believe that the pattern set forth in the New Testament church, by the authority of Christ, is the only acceptable worship. Jesus said, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). This statement gives us the basics of worship.
The acts of worship observed by the New Testament church include singing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12), prayer (Acts 2:42; Philippians 4:6), partaking of the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7), giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), and preaching (Acts 20:7).
A Cappella Singing
What most people will notice is that the we do not use mechanical instruments in worship. This is because a cappella singing is the only form of music authorized by the New Testament. There are only 8 verses in the New Testament regarding music in worship (Matt. 26:30; Acts 16:25; Rom. 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Eph. 5:18-19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12; James 5:13) and not one of them mentions mechanical instruments. God has left it out, and so do we. Instead, we are to speak to one another and make melody in our hearts (Eph. 5:19), offering to God the sacrifice of praise by the fruit of our lips (Heb. 13:15).
Many attempt to use the Old Testament as authorization for instrumental music in worship. What these fail to recognize is that the old covenant was made with the nation of Israel (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5), and we are not obligated to keep the old law (Acts 15:24). We are now part of a "better covenant" (Heb. 8:6) as foretold by the prophet Jeremiah (Jerimiah 31:31). Christ has "made the first obsolete" (Heb. 8:13), "having nailed it to the cross" (Col. 2:14), and has put His new covenant into force (Heb. 9:16-17). In rightly dividing God's Word (2 Tim. 2:15), we see that what is currently in force does not authorize instrumental music in worship.
Through prayer we are able to praise, honor, petition, and give thanks to God. (Phi. 4:6) We are to pray fervently with faith (Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; James 5:16).
The Lord's Supper is a memorial instituted by Jesus on the night of His betrayal (Matt. 26:26-29). We observe it in memory of His death (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). The emblems are unleavened bread (symbolizing His body) and fruit of the vine (symbolizing His blood) (1 Corinthians 10:16).
The churches of Christ partake of the Lord's Supper the first day of every week. The first is the day of Christ's resurrection (Matt. 28), and the establishment of the church (Acts 2). The first is "that day" in which this memorial is to be partaken (Matt. 26:29 ; cf. Acts 2:42). It was this day that the disciples came together (Acts 20:7) every week (1 Corinthians 16:2) for this very purpose (1 Corinthians 11:17-29). If any other day, at any other frequency was acceptable, then Paul, hurrying to get to Jerusalem (Acts 20:16), would not have waited 7 days in Troas to assemble with the disciples (Acts 20:6).
In addition to the day and frequency, the Lord's Supper should only be taken with the right state of mind. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul exhorts us to "let each man examine himself, and let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup" (1 Corinthians 11:28).
A collection is taken every first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2) in order to support the work of the church. This is an opportunity to give back a portion of what we have been blessed. A member of the Lord's body must give as "he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7) Visitors are not expected to give.
God desires all to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). Preaching is what allows this to happen (Rom. 10:14-17). It is the manifestation of God's Word that convinces, exhorts, and rebukes (2 Timothy 4:2), edifying those who hear by making application of the truth to our everyday lives.
The key to acceptable worship is that we must follow the truth, the pattern found in God's Word (John 17:17). Therefore, we are only authorized to do what has been revealed to us (Col. 3:17), that is, not to exclude anything God has given, or include anything He has not given. (Acts 15:24; 2 John 1:9; Revelations 22:18-19)