Twelve Foundational Beliefs of Our Church1. The Bible
The Bible is the Word of God. God is both author and subject. God chose to work through men in order for us to have the Bible today. The writers of Scripture were supernaturally guided by the Holy Spirit to record exactly what God wanted to be written for our benefit.
“For prophecy never had its origin in the will of men but men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21)
The Bible is:
1. Inspired (God breathed)
2. Infallible (incapable of error)
3. Inerrant (without error)
“All Scripture is God-breathed [inspired] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
The Bible is the only source of truth for mankind. The Bible tells us how to be saved from sin and how to live a life that is pleasing to
God.We take the Bible as our ultimate guide to knowledge and understanding. We measure all knowledge by the Bible. It is our authority in all we practice. Any teaching, secular or sacred, that is contrary to Holy Scripture is to be rejected.
1. Creator (maker of all)
2. Ruler (over all)
3. Savior (redeemer of all)
God created all things. It didn’t just happen. God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in two ways. By His handiwork (creation) and by His Word (the Bible). God is Lord of all that is His. He is the Judge of all His creation. He is the Savior of Mankind.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
God is infinite. He has always been. He has no beginning or ending point. He is first and last. He is not limited by time or distance. He is ever-present and all-knowing. He has no equal. He is eternally self existent.
God is personal. He is not some random force or energy as some false religions teach. God is a person. He is not far away or unconcerned. He is moved by our troubles and He has done all that is necessary to save us from peril.
God is holy and true. He never lies. He is the truth. He can be trusted and He has the power to do all things for our good and happiness. God exists as three persons. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
3. Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. He is before all things. He is timeless with the Father. God the Father sent his Son into the World in order to bring salvation to us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave is one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3.16)
Christ, the Son of God, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus was fully man and fully God. He willingly took on
the flesh and lived a sinless, perfect life. Christ gave His life willingly and sacrificial for the sins of humanity. Jesus died for us. Death had no power over Christ. He was resurrected on the third day just as He foretold. This was done to show His power over sin and death. Christ victory is our victory.
“Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25)
Christ ascended to heaven and is now ruling and interceding on behalf of His people. He has promised to return in order to accomplish two things:
1. To bring judgment on the wicked
2. To take His children to be with Him in heaven – Forever!
4. Holy Spirit
He is God
He is eternal
He is a person
He is equal with the Father and the Son. He is often referred to as the third person in the God-head. The term that we use to designate this is “Trinity.” God is three in person and always one in purpose. This is hard for us to grasp but this is what the Bible teaches. The Holy Spirit is God and He is a person.
The Holy Spirit has a great ministry in our world and in the lives of Christians:
1. He makes men aware of their sins by His Word (the Bible).
2. He is the author of Scripture. He inspired the writers.
3. He lives inside of the Christian as a Comfort and Helper.
“He [Holy Spirit] will convict the world of guilt” (John16:8)
“Men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet 1:21)
“Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you will received the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
“The Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:27)The Spirit of God living in the follower of Christ not only regenerates but also helps to recreate us in the image of Christ. He gives us courage, strength, and guidance through His Word, the Holy Scripture.
1. Created by God
2. Loved by God
3. Endowed by God
Man was created by God from the elements of this earth but he differs from all creation in that he was created in the “image of God.” Mankind is not just flesh but also spirit. God’s purpose was to make a being that would in time live with Him in heaven.
Man is not a product of random events in the universe. All of creation is here by God’s purpose and design. Man is not an accident. Nor did mankind evolve from a lower or different form of life. God created man for the purpose of knowing Him.
Man was given power and authority over the created order. He was also given the ability to choose or to make decisions available to him. God does not force man but allows him to decide for himself. However, God is ever working in the life of each person in an effort to bring them in close fellowship with Himself.
Man is the supreme object of creation on the earth. Man has the potential for good and evil. Man was not the original sinner, Satan was.
Man is of the earth but also destined for eternity. All men who trust in God have the opportunity to live with God in heaven forever. This is eternal life to be with God.
1. From Christ
2. To Us
3. By Faith
God is perfect, pure and holy. Man is not. God is without sin. Man is sinful. This presents a big problem. Actually sin is “the” problem. God cannot tolerate sin. He is holy. But God is also love. He loves us and wants to save us from what is separating us from Him. The good news God has provided the remedy for our sin.
God created everything good including man but that didn’t last very long. Man disobeyed and opened the door to all sin. We cannot gain
salvation by our own doing or works. God gave man His Law and man still came up short in obeying them fully.
Christ came into the world to do for us that which we could not do for ourselves. He took on the sins of man and removed them forever. Only Christ could do this. This shows us that salvation is based on the action or work of Christ not ours. Salvation, the removal of sin is a free gift from God.
“We have been justified through faith, we have peace with God..” (Romans 5:1)
Salvation is available to those who are willing to face up to their sin and trust in God to forgive them and make them right with Him.
7. The Church
The term “church” is applied in a universal sense to all Christians. It is also used in a local sense to describe congregations of believers in local communities who meet together to worship, witness and walk with Christ together in faith and fellowship. The Apostle Paul reminds us that the church is actually the “family of God” with our Lord as the head, the Father.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and earth derives its name.”It is important for fellow believers to unite together as members of a local assembly or congregation just as the first Christians did in the early days of the church.
Our membership requirements are no different than the first believers of long ago. We accept into our fellowship all those who have turned from their sins in repentance, have confessed their allegiance to Christ and who have been obedient to Him in baptism by immersion into Christ.
We can ask nothing more or nothing less than what Christ has commanded us in His Holy Word. Our goals, values and principles are set down for us not by men but by our Lord and Savior Christ. Christ prayed that His People would serve Him in unity. This is our hope and prayer. We seek only to be “Christians only.”
8. The Lord’s Day
The Lord’s Day is a day of
The Church assembling together on Sunday has been a regular practice of all Christians for many years. But where did this meeting on Sunday originate? Most Christians agree that because Jesus Christ was resurrected on Sunday, the early Christians under the direction of the Apostles began to gather on this day to remember Christ and celebrate their faith.
“They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching, to fellowship, the breaking of bread (Lord’s Supper) and to prayer…” (Acts 2:42)
We find from reading through the New Testament that the church assembled to remember Christ, to read from His Word, to pray, to encourage one another, to carry out the work of the church, to give to help the needed among them and to carry the Gospel to a lost world. God especially desires us to remember our Savior, Christ on the Lord’s Day. We are warned in Scripture not to be delinquent in our attendance to church meetings because we miss out on the benefits of being together in Christ.
It is wise for us to make it a “good” habit to be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s Day around the Lord’s Table.
9. The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Table is a time of
“Do this in remembrance of Me…” is what is written on our communion table.
Christ asked His disciples during the Last Supper to remember Him. The early Church under the leadership of the Apostles realized that Christ is the main focus of every Christian.
“…You proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
The Lord’s Supper is a weekly proclamation to us and the world. Christ paid for our sins and that’s something to remember, proclaim and celebrate.
“A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”
Partaking of the Lord’s Supper is a serious matter. We need to be sure our hearts are right before we participate in the body of the Lord. An unfocused mind and an unrepentant heart are not accepted by Christ at His Table.“On the first day of the week we came together…”
The Church observes the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day every week. All believers in the assembly have the right to share at the Lord’s Table. The
followers of Christ need this time to remember Christ and renew their commitment to Him. The central event of the Church coming together is to remember, proclaim and celebrate our redemption in the partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
Christ commanded every person who wants to follow Him to be baptized. Before our Lord went into Heaven He left the Church with specific instructions which includes baptism.
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…” (Matt 28:19)
The most important reason to be baptized is not because your church requires it or someone thinks you should do it, rather because Jesus commands it. Baptism by immersion was the common practice of the early church. The Apostle Peter first preached it on the Day of Pentecost in the book of Acts, chapter 2.
“Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (2:38)
There are at least nine accounts of baptism in the records of Scripture:
1 – 3000 people responded and were baptized – see Acts 2:38
2 – Samaritans believed and were baptized – see Acts 8:12
3 – An Ethiopian was baptized by Philip – see Acts 8:35
4 – Paul was baptized – see Acts 9:18; 22:16
5 – Cornelius and his family – see Acts 10:47
6 – Lydia – see Acts 16:14,15
7 – A Philippian Jailor – see Acts 16:30-34
8 – Cripus and his family – see Acts 18:7,8
9 – The disciples of John – Acts 19:1-5
We believe that in order to receive all the blessings of salvation we are to be obedient to the commands of Christ and that includes Baptism.
We follow the New Testament plan for Church government and leadership. In the Bible, each congregation was a free, self-governing body of believers. There were no presbyteries, synods, dioceses, governing conferences or groups outside the local congregation. Each congregation was led by its own Leaders who were men that were selected based on Scripture and set apart to serve the local church by the local church.
The New Testament provides the Church with a very simple and yet efficient organizational structure.The local Leadership comprises three groups. The Evangelists (Preachers, Missionaries). The Elders (Bishops, Shepherds) and the Deacons (Servants, Assistants). The Church has only one head, and that is Christ the Lord.
“And He is the head of the body, the church.”
This is all the leaders that the church needs and all that the Lord provides. The church understood that every Christian was a minister and was expected to serve to the capacity that God gave them. There was no “clergy” or “laity” in the New Testament church and as a result we make no such distinctions. All are called to ministry. All are called to serve.
12. The Return of Christ
Jesus Christ is coming. This is the message of hope for all those in Christ. Our Savior has promised to return and take us to our New and Eternal home. This is the grand and final event of human history.
We learn from the Bible several things about the Second Coming of Christ…
1 – It will Happen! What God says will come to pass. Christ promised His return (John 14:1). The angels promised His return (Act1.9). The
Apostle Paul reminds us many times of the coming of Christ (1Thes 4:16). The book of Revelation has as it’s focus the returning and conquering Christ. (Rev 22:20)
2 – It will be Visible! When God calls an end to this universe and gives the final command, everybody will know it – dead or alive! Our
Lord Jesus is coming in person (1Thes 4:16). He will come in the clouds (Rev 1:7). Without warning (1Thes 5:2). With great glory and power (Matt 25:31).
3 – It will be Final! When Christ returns He will accomplish several things. He will raise the dead (John 5:28; 1Thes 4:14). He will execute judgment on humanity (Mat25.21; Heb9.27). He will punish the wicked and destroy all evil forever (Matt 25:41; Rev 20:15). He will reward the righteous with life forever with Him in Heaven (Matt 25:34,46; 1Peter 5:4; 2 Tim 4:6)
God’s Word tells us many things about the Second Coming of Christ except “when.” God in His wisdom has left the time of His coming a mystery. Our challenge is to get ready, live ready and stay ready for Christ’s return.
Retrieved from our sister church, West End Church of Christ (http://www.wechurchofchrist.com/beliefs.html)