About the church of Christ
that he gave his one and only Son
so that whoever believes in him
may not be lost,
but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Jesus is the Son of God. The Son is the ‘radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being’ (Heb 1:3). He is the ‘image of the invisible God’ (Col 1:15). When Jesus came to this world, the ‘world did not recognize him’ (John 1:10) and ‘wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross’ (Acts 2:23). This all happened by ‘God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge’ (Acts 2:23). God ‘raised him from the dead’ (Acts 2:24) and God ‘has raised this Jesus to life’ (Acts 2:32).
The plan of God was to ‘reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross’ (Col 1:20). God reconciles people ‘by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight’ (Col 1:22), as without ’the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins’ (Heb 9:22). This is the gospel (Col 1:23).
Jesus said: ‘I will build my church’ (Matthew 16:18) and he is ’the head of the body, the church’ (Col 1:18). The church of the living God is ’the pillar and foundation of the truth’ (1 Tim 3:15), the followers of Jesus ‘are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit’ (Eph 2:22). The church of Christ was established on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ as described in Acts of Apostles Chapter two.
Based on the practice of the New Testament churches, one is added to the church of Christ by the Lord himself (1 Cor 12:18 Acts 2:47). The New Testament Christians heard the gospel (Acts 8:5,6); believed in Jesus as God’s Son (Acts 16:31); repented of their sins (Acts 2:38); confessed that Jesus is the Christ (Romans 10: 9, 10); and were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Based on God’s Word, the Bible, these believers baptize by complete immersion (Rom 6:3-7).
The purpose of the church is to worship God. According to the New Testament, the first Christians come together on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-30). They pray together in the name of the Lord for all people, kings and all dignitaries, that they may lead a quiet and peaceful life, (1 Timothy 2:1-6). They sing Psalms and hymns, (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). They announce or preach the gospel of the risen Lord, (1 Cor 15:1-8). During the worship service on the first day of the week each member has the opportunity to give to the work of the Lord according to his ability (1 Cor 1:1-2; 2 Cor 9:5,6). Further, the churches of Christ have as purpose benevolence (Matthew 25:31-46; Galatians 6:9-10; James 1:27; and the preaching of the gospel to all people (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16, Acts 10:34-35).
Organizationally, each congregation forms an autonomous unit. She knows elders and deacons according to Acts 20:17-35, 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; I Peter 5:1-14). Neither among the elders or among the deacons is there any distinction made; no one is regarded as head but all work together as brothers to carry out the activities of the church in agreement with the inspired examples or teachings in the Bible. The elders have the oversight of the congregation (1 Peter 5:1-3). There is always a plurality of elders and deacons in a congregation. The number is specified by each congregation separately, depends on the number of brothers who are qualified according to the texts and the number of members in the local church. The church knows preachers or evangelists and teachers in addition to the members. When there are no brothers who meet the qualifications for elders as specified in the above texts, the local church is led temporarily by the capable brothers and evangelists.
Members of the churches of Christ view and use the Bible, God’s Word, as a complete and perfect book, (Revelation 22:18-19; and 2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible contains God’s plan of salvation for people; what they must do to worship God; and in every way they can do good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17). They do not regard any additional books or articles written by people as authoritative, as these may cause disunity among the believers.