History of Churches of Christ
Churches of Christ, in a modern context, are part of the Restoration Movement. In the late 1700′s and early 1800′s, leaders in many religious groups (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.) came to realize that their differing doctrines and resulting divisions could not be pleasing to the Lord. They determined to put away creeds written by men and simply return to the Scriptures, as the source of all religious teaching. In doing this their hope was to leave denominationalism behind and be Christians only.
As a result, we call all religious people to share a unity in Christ and to be a part of the one church that we can read about in the Bible. This non-denominational appeal is not rooted merely in an ecumenical philosophy where everyone believes what he wants. It is founded in the principle that the Bible can be understood and that it must be followed.
We humbly seek to restore the fundamental teachings of Jesus and the practices of the First Century church. We want to “speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where the Bible is silent.” We do not want to be one denomination among over 400 in America today; we want to be a congregation of Christ’s church displayed in the New Testament writings.
The following will serve to answer frequently asked questions regarding “what we believe.”
There is only one God worthy to be worshipped. In the Old Testament, He was often referred to by the name Jahweh. Belief in or worship of any other deity is idolatry.
God has chosen to reveal Himself to His creation in three ways (often giving rise to the term “trinity”, though that phrase is never used in the Bible). These are distinct in person, but united in will and purpose:
- HOLY SPIRIT
The Bible is God’s only and complete revelation to mankind. It is described as “inspired of God” (II Timothy 3:16), which literally means, “God breathed”. While the Bible was clearly given to us as a religious guide, it demonstrates amazing historical, archaeological, and scientific accuracy. It is God’s tool for communicating Himself and His will to us. In its pages we discover what we should believe and how we should live.
The Bible (which means “book”) is actually made up of 66 books. These books were written by about 40 men over a period of 1500 years. Despite this great diversity, the unity of the biblical message is extraordinary. The Bible is divided in two distinct divisions.
- The OLD TESTAMENT (39 books) tells of God’s creation and His dealings with man. It presents the Law of Moses which was given to the Jews.
- The NEW TESTAMENT (27 books) presents God’s new covenant in Jesus Christ.This new covenant with its new code of laws was promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34, replaced the Old Covenant, and is universal in its scope.
Man was created in God’s image, but our first ancestors (Adam & Eve) chose to violate God’s rule and suffered God’s punishment — banishment from the Garden of Eden. In a similar way, we are born without sin, but when we choose to violate God’s will, we stand spiritually lost. God’s great love motivated Him to send Jesus Christ, His son, to die on the cross. This sinless sacrifice makes possible our forgiveness. God calls on us to freely receive this offer of saving grace.
- FAITH & CONFESSION — We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He is the only one who can save us. We are called publicly to declare that faith.
- REPENTANCE — We must determine to turn from the world and the ways of sin and to live a different life.
- BAPTISM — Described in Scripture as an immersion (Acts 8:38-39) or burial (Romans 6:3-5), this step of obedience offers forgiveness (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16), salvation (I Peter 3:21), and puts one in Christ (Galatians 3:26-29).
- FAITHFUL LIVING — Since baptism is a “new birth,” the Christian life reflects a daily discipleship of following and serving the Lord.
Worship is man’s offering of adoration to God; the creation praising its Creator. It is our response to God’s great works of creation, revelation, blessing, and redemption. Certainly this praise and thanksgiving is offered daily, but the Bible describes Christians gathering more formerly as a group to offer their worship (Hebrews 10:25). This parallels the family sacrifices of the Old Testament, festival days under the Law, and the synagogue services at the time of Christ.
In these Sunday (Lord’s Day) services Christians offer their worship in five specific avenues:
- LORD’S SUPPER– Each Sunday the bread and fruit of the vine are taken to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. This also reflects the unity of those who partake.
- PRAYER — The church expresses its praise and thanksgiving through prayer, while also asking for God’s continued blessings. These are offered in the name of Jesus.
- SINGING– All Christians share together in singing hymns of worship and encouragement. No record of instrumental accompaniment is found in the New Testament church. In fact, for about the first thousand years of the Church’s history, this is the only type of singing that was used in the Church. As a result our singing is simply vocal or a cappella, keeping in line with Scripture and with the Church’s historical practice (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16).
- LISTENING TO GOD’S WORD — We honor God by reading aloud the Scriptures and by listening to sermons preached about those texts. We respect the clear biblical teaching on male leadership in regards to public teaching in the worship assembly, though we feature a variety of ladies’ classes in our Bible School program.
- GIVING– A contribution is taken each week to support the work of the local church. All gifts are free will, and since each congegation handles its own affairs, no money is sent to any “headquarters.”
Christians are called to live lives that honor the Lord. Our character should reflect such spiritual qualities as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We desire to be salt and light, so that the world will be a better place because we are here.
We do not live like the world. Though we fall short of our goal, we still strive daily to think like Jesus (Philippians 2:5-8) and to follow in His steps (I Peter 2:21-23). Love is to be the trademark of the Christian (John 13:34-35). This should be evident in our relationships with family, church friends, and even our enemies.
Judgment & Eternity
When this life is over, we will all be judged by God based on the way we have lived our lives. It is crucial that at that time all of our sins have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus and that He confesses us before the Father. There are only two Judgment Day verdicts:
- HEAVEN — The gracious gift of eternal life granted by Jesus and described as a place of beauty, rest, joy, and worship.
- HELL — The place originally prepared for the devil and his angels. It is also the eternal place of punishment for those who deny God, who reject Jesus, and who choose to live disobedient lives.
If you have questions, or desire more information, please contact us.
Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and that it was presented to humanity as the guide for our personal lives and to regulate our congregation’s practices. We hold this belief so strongly that we have no creed other than the Bible.
This adherence to the teachings of the Bible extends to issues regarding marriage, gender expression, and human sexuality. Therefore:
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female (Genesis 1:27-28). These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. Rejection of one’s biological gender is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Matthew 19:4-6). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, and attempting to change one’s biological sex or otherwise acting upon any disagreement with one’s biological sex) is sinful and offensive to God.
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly. Individuals who practice lifestyles or express views that contradict the Biblical teachings stated above will not be permitted to serve in these roles. Accordingly, such violations will serve as a sufficient basis for termination.
These statements are not intended to be argumentative or void of compassion. We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. All individuals who have practiced or are practicing marital, gender, or sexual activities that are in conflict with these Biblical teachings are invited to study these matters with us in a respectful and loving dialogue.
And, quoting from the majority opinion delivered by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Obergefell v. Hodges, “Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”
Accordingly, the congregation will not knowingly allow its facilities or premises to be used by groups or individuals who do not support the Biblical teachings stated above.