The Ark and The Church
What is the distinctive plea of the church of Christ?
It is primarily a plea for religious unity based upon the Bible. In a divided religious world it is believed that the Bible is the only possible common denominator upon which most, if not all, of the God-fearing people of the land can unite.
This is an appeal to go back to the Bible. It is a plea to speak where the Bible speaks and to remain silent where the Bible is silent in all matters that pertain to religion.
It further emphasizes that in everything religious there must be a “Thus saith the Lord” for all that is done. The objective is religious unity of all believers in Christ. The basis is the New Testament. The method is the restoration of New Testament Christianity.
What does the church of Christ believe about the Bible?
The original autographs of the sixty-six books, which make up the Bible, are considered to have been divinely inspired, by which it is meant that they are infallible and authoritative. Reference to the scriptures is made in settling every religious question. A pronouncement from the scripture is considered the final word. The basic textbook of the church, and the basis for all preaching is the Bible.
Do members of the churches of Christ believe in the Virgin Birth?
Yes. The statement in Isaiah 7:14 is taken as a prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ. New Testament passages such as Matthew 1:20, 25, are accepted at face value as declarations of the virgin birth. Christ is accepted as the only begotten Son of God, uniting in his person perfect divinity and perfect manhood.
Does the church of Christ believe in predestination?
Only in the sense that God predestines the righteous to be eternally saved and the unrighteous to be eternally lost. The statement of the apostle Peter, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is acceptable unto him” (Acts 10:34-35) is taken as an evidence that God did not predestine individuals to be eternally saved or lost, but that each man determines his own destiny.
Why does the church of Christ baptize only by immersion?
The word “baptize” comes from the Greek word “baptizo” and literally means, “to dip, to immerse, to plunge.” In addition to the literal meaning of the word, immersion is practiced because it was the practice of the church in apostolic times. Still further, only immersion conforms to the description of baptisms as given by the apostle Paul in Romans 6:3-5 where he speaks of it as a burial and resurrection.
Is infant baptism practiced?
No.Only those who have reached the “age of accountability” are accepted for baptisms. It is pointed out that the examples given in the New Testament are always of those who have heard the gospel preached, and have believed it. Faith must always precede baptism, so only those old enough to understand, and believe the gospel are considered fit subjects for baptism.
Are prayers addressed to the saints?
No.God the Father is considered the only one to whom the prayers may be addressed. It is further understood that Christ stands in a mediation position between God and man, 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 12:24. All prayers are, therefore, offered through Christ or in the name of Christ (John 16:23-26).
How often is the Lord’s Supper taken?
It is expected that every member of the church will assemble for worship on each Lord’s day. A central part of the worship is the taking of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7). Unless providentially hindered, each member considers this weekly appointment as binding.
What kind of music is used in the worship?
As a result of the distinctive plea of the church – a return to New Testament Faith and practice acapella singing is the only music used in the worship. This singing, unaccompanied by mechanical instruments of music, conforms to the music used in the apostolic church and for several centuries thereafter (Ephesians 5:19). It is felt that there is no authority for engaging in acts of worship not found in the New Testament. This principle eliminates the use of instrumental music, along with the use of candles, incense, and other similar elements.
Does the church of Christ believe in Heaven and Hell?
Yes.The statement of Christ in Matthew 10:28 concerning Hell, and elsewhere, are taken at face value. It is believed that after death each man must come before God in judgment and that he will be judged according to the deeds done while he lived (Hebrews 9:27). After judgment is pronounced he will spend eternity either in heaven or hell.
Does the church of Christ believe in purgatory?
No.The absence of any reference in the scriptures to the temporary place of punishment from which the soul will eventually be released into heaven prevents the acceptance of the doctrine of purgatory.
By what means does the church secure financial support?
Each first day of the week the members of the church “lay by in store as they have been prospered” (1 Corinthians 16:2). The amount of any individual gift is generally known only to the one who gave it and to the Lord. This free-will offering is the only call, which the church makes. NO assessments or other levies are made. No moneymaking activities, such as bazaars, bingo, baby contests, or chicken & collard green suppers are engaged in. A total of approximately $200,000,000 is given on this basis each year.
Does the church of Christ have a creed?
No.At least, there is no creed in the usual sense of the word. The belief of the church is stated fully and completely in the Bible. There is no other manual or discipline to which the members of the church of Christ give their allegiance. The Bible is considered as the only infallible guide to heaven.
The Plan of Salvation
Hear the Gospel. “How shall they call on him whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Believe. “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him” (Hebrews 11:6). “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damn” (Mark 16:16).
Repent of past sins. “The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent.” (Acts 17:30). “Nay except you repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (St. Luke 13: 3, 5).
Confess Jesus as Lord. “Behold here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, if thou believeth with all thy heart thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:36-37).
Be baptized for the remission of sins. “And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38).
Baptism puts one into the church of Christ, the church you can find in the Bible, Romans 16:16. God wants all his people to exist and be a part of his church. Live a Christian life. “Ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9)