While the Old Testament is inspired of God (cf. 2 Peter 1:20-22; 2 Timothy 3:16) and was written for our learning (Romans 15:4), it is no longer binding upon Christians today as a matter of spiritual law (cf. Acts 7:37; Colossians 2:14-17; Galatians 3:13-29; Romans 7:1-4; Romans 8:1-2; Hebrews 8:6-13, 10:9).
God, in these "last days" (ie. the Christian era) has spoken by His son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3; Matthew 17:5). Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament law (Matthew 5:17-18). He is the mediator of a better covenant, established upon better promises (Hebrews 8:6). As such, the New Testament is the only rule of faith and practice in spiritual matters today (Colossians 2:14; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; I Peter 4:11; Hebrews 7:12, 8:13, 10:9-10, 11:1-2). We are not to add to, subtract from, or alter in any way the divine pattern revealed therein. This principle is found in both the Old and New Testaments (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 3:17; Revelation 22:18–19).
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9).
The bible teaches that sinners are saved by (a) faith (John 3:16, 8:24; Hebrews 11:6) which comes from hearingthe word of God (Romans 10:17; Matthew 17:5); (b) repentance(Luke 13:3,5; Acts 17:30); (c) confession (Matthew 10:32-32; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 8:37), and (d) baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27; John 3:3-5; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21). Biblical baptism consists of a burial (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12) in water (Acts 8:36-39) for the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). When one complies with these simple instructions, the Lord adds that individual to His church (Matthew 16:18-19; Acts 2:47), wherein he/she must live a faithful Christian life until death (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 14:13).
Each step is essential to our salvation and no one step is more or less important than the others. There are no teachings or examples in the New Testament where an "alien sinner" (ie. one who has never obeyed the gospel) was instructed to pray for salvation. We encourage the prayerful study of the many examples of conversion from the book of Acts (ie., chapters 2, 8, 9, 10, 16, 18,19; note Paul's accountings of his conversion in chapters 22 and 26 in conjunction with chapter 9).
After having obeyed the gospel and starting their Christian walk, one can so sin as to fall from grace (ie. lose their eternal salvation). Sin separates one from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23; James 1:15; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The Bible contains numerous warnings against falling away (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Timothy 4:1-3, 16; Hebrews 3:12; 1 Corinthians 10:12; James 1:12-16; 2 Peter 2:20-22), as well as specific examples of those who did fall away (2 Timothy 4:10; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; Galatians 1:6, 5:4-7; Acts 8:9-24). When a Christian errs from the faith (James 1:16), repentance (Acts 3:19; Acts 8:22), confession (James 5:16; 1 John 1:9), and prayer (Acts 8:22; James 5:16) can restore one's relationship with God.
All worship must have authority from the New Testament. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth"(John 4:24). These words, spoken by Jesus, reveal several crucial aspects regarding Christian worship:
(a) we must worship. (b) God is the proper object of our worship. (c) worship must be "in spirit," ie., with a proper attitude of reverence, respect and awe for God. (d) worship must be "in truth," ie., as directed and revealed by the word of God.
The thoughts, ideas, opinions and traditions of men pull us away from the divine pattern, thus rendering our worship vain (Matthew 15:1-9, 13). The divine pattern of worship includes five (5) distinct elements;
(a) Prayer (Acts 2:42; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:8). Prayers are led by faithful men in the congregation.
(b) Teaching / preaching(Acts 2:42; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 20:7). It is our practice to cite "book, chapter, and verse" for all we believe, teach, and practice. We encourage every member and guest to receive the word with all readiness of mind and search the scriptures daily to confirm the veracity of the message preached (Acts 17:11).
(c) Singing(Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:13). Our singing is congregational and without the accompaniment of instrumental music (ie. acapella). We do not use mechanical instruments because there is no instruction or example in the New Testament authorizing their use (Colossians 3:17; 2 John 9).
(d) Giving(1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8). Through free will offerings, given cheerfully by members as they have been prospered, the work of the church is carried forth.
(e) Observing the Lord's Supper. This memorial was instituted by the Lord Jesus Himself (Matthew 26:26-30; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28) and was observed by the first century church every first day of the week (Acts 2:42, 20:7). The Lord's Supper is to be observed with the same frequency as is the giving of our means (cf. Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
The church of Christ dates back to the days of the New Testament (Romans 16:16). It was founded by Christ on the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 33 (Acts 2), just after His ascension back to Heaven. In the years that followed, it rapidly grew to fill Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria, and finally the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:23).
The terms "church" and "body" are used interchangeably in the New Testament. The church is the body (Ephesians 1:22-23) and the body is the church (Colossians 1:18, 24). The scriptures repeatedly affirm there is one body, not many (Ephesians 4:4; Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:13,20; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 3:15). Jesus Christ is the head of the one body (Ephesians 5:23). To Him is given all authority (Matthew 28:18). There can be no more "churches" then there are Spirits, hopes, Lords, faiths, baptisms, or Gods; the definitive article "one" is applied with equal force to each (Ephesians 4:4-6).
The one body (ie. church) is comprised of many members (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). The members are individual Christians, not different religious entities (Acts 8:1-4; note that persecution against the church was instigated by going into the homes of individual Christians). Individual Christians are to be united in faith and purpose (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Psalms 133:1; Jeremiah 32:39; Romans 12:16, 15:5-6; Ephesians 4:1-7; Philippians 3:16; 1 Peter 3:8). Division is sinful (Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 3:3). Heretics (ie. divisive persons) are to be withdrawn from (Titus 3:10), as are the sexually immoral (1 Corinthians 5:1ff) and those who walk disorderly (2 Thessalonians 3:16; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; Romans 16:17; Ephesians 5:11).
The primary mission of the church is to carry forth the great commission of our Lord by preaching the gospel to all the world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-49). We desire to manifest the same love toward one another that Christ manifested toward all humankind (John 13:34; John 3:16) and to show forth a spirit of benevolence (James 1:27: Acts 2:42-47; 1 John 3:17; Galatians 6:10).
The church of spoken of in two distinct senses in the Bible; (1) the church universal (all the saved in all the world); and (2) the church local (all the saved in a specific geographic location; ie. a "congregation"). There is no central, governing authority; each congregation is autonomous (ie. self governing and independent of all other congregations). Each congregation follows the same head (Jesus Christ) and the same law (the Bible). Each local congregation is organized with elders, deacons, preachers, and members (Philippians 1:1; Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Ephesians 4:11-12; Romans 12:4-5).
The name "church of Christ" denotes ownership; i.e. the church established by and belonging to Christ. The church:
(a) Was in the eternal purpose of God (Ephesians 3:9-11) (b) Is the house of God (1 Timothy 3:15) (c) Was built by Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18-19) (d) Was founded upon Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11) (e) Was purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28) (f) Has the saved added to it by Jesus Christ (Acts 2:47) (g) Is the bride of Christ (Romans 7:1-4; Ephesians 5:22-23; Revelation 21:9) (h) Will be delivered up to God at the end (1 Corinthians 15:24)