What is the Church of Christ
Maybe you have thought of visiting the Church of Christ. Or perhaps the idea never occurred to you before receiving this invitation. Either way, we would be delighted to have you as a visitor among us when we assemble to worship God and to study his word.
No doubt you have questions about the church of Christ that you would like to consider before making the decision to come by for a visit. This is certainly reasonable. Although it would probably not be possible to anticipate and answer all of your questions in a brief pamphlet like this one, we will suggest some themes in which we have a great interest and give you an opportunity to see if you might have an interest in exploring these issues with us further.
If you have a genuine interest in careful Bible Study, then you would likely have an interest in visiting the church of Christ. Even if you do not currently believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and that it's teachings are relevant in the modern world, you are invited to study those issues with us. In our study of the Bible we have no denominational agenda to follow. We follow no human creed or earthly confession of faith. We do not attempt to view the Bible through the eyes of any human organization. We have simply dedicated ourselves to believing, teaching, and following the scriptures. We have found that simple Bible study is stimulating and exciting. Imposing no interpretations on the text we simply strive to discover what was intended by the original writers as they were directed by God to write; and how their precepts apply to people living in the modern world.
Great care is given to "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). Realizing that all of the Bible is "for our learning" (Romans 15:4), while at the same time knowing that not all things taught in the Bible directly apply to people living today, in the Christian age (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 1:1, 2), we give careful consideration, when studying the Bible, to who it is that is speaking or writing, to whom they are writing or speaking, under what covenant (patriarchal, Mosaic, Christian) they are writing or speaking, and to the context of the speaking or writing.
If you have a genuine interest in Christian unity, then you would likely have an interest in visiting the church of Christ. Over the centuries that have passed since the church was first established by Christ and his apostles, a great many doctrines and practices that are foreign to the New Testament have found their way into the minds of many. In efforts to defend and to defeat many of these things, people have written Creeds and Confessions of Faith to define their particular beliefs. Churches have divided into various sects, called by different names, and distinguished from one another by various doctrines and practices. Conflicts within these denominations have led to further division. We are working to be united on the simple premise that the Bible is true and that all that we believe, teach, and practice must come from a "thus saith the Lord". "Where the Bible speaks, we speak. Where the Bible is silent, we are silent." (see 1 Peter 4:11). The scriptures teach us that, if humble people will simply remain with what the apostles delivered, and not, in their pride, go beyond what has been received and recorded in the New Testament, all will be united:
For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it? (1 Corinthians 4:7 NKJV). It was the will of Christ that his people be united. He prayed for such unity (John 17:19-21). He gave the means by which such unity could be attained: "their [the apostles'] word" (John 17:20). When we follow His way for unity we can become the people described by the apostle Paul who wrote,
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10).
If you have a genuine interest in practicing simple, pure, New Testament Christianity, then you will likely be interested in visiting the church of Christ. We strive to add nothing to what the scriptures teach us to believe and do and we endeavor to take nothing away from what God instructed the early church to teach and to put into practice. No. We do not wear sandals and tunics. But we take seriously all that the New Testament teaches us. The faith that was delivered in the first century is fitting for all cultures, times, and circumstances (Jude 3).
In our assemblies you will hear no choirs. There will be no pageantry or ritual devised by humans. No attempt will be made to put on a show for your entertainment. In our worship, God is the audience toward whom our worship and adoration is directed. We sing, together, his praises as his word instructs us to do (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16). We offer up prayers in accordance with his word (1 Timothy 2:1, 2). We honor him by partaking of the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week to remember Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We take up a collection on the first day of the week to carry out the work that God has given the church to do (1 Corinthians 16:2). We glorify God by publicly teaching his word (2 Timothy 4:1-4). We attempt to do all of these things "decently and in order" (1 Corinthians 14:10).
If you have a genuine interest in learning how to become a Christian and in living like one, then you would likely have an interest in visiting the church of Christ. The world is full of conflicting opinions relating to what one must do in order to be saved. It is interesting to hear discussions concerning moral questions these days. We often read of denominational councils and conventions attempting to arrive at some acceptable public statement concerning various moral issues (abortion, homosexuality, extramarital and premarital sexual relations...). They often appear to be lost in a sea of confusion as they attempt to formulate statements that are based upon their own experiences, opinions, and traditions. When these statements are finally released they often need to be revised within a few short years.
We, in the church of Christ, attempt to lay all opinions aside when answering these questions. Human traditions are not allowed to become the basis of our teaching. In fact, no human tribunal exists among us to determine and then to dictate such things to the church. We firmly believe that the scriptures are sufficiently clear to instruct us concerning God's will on these matters. If any question cannot be clearly answered by God's word, by which He "has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3), then we are content to leave such unimportant questions unanswered. No man, or group of men, living today has the right to answer them with authority (1 Peter 4:11). We can be assured that God's own answers to questions relating to how one enters His family and lives as a faithful member of it will always be true and will never change.
We hope that you will visit soon.
Found on the Port Lavaca (Texas) Church of Christ website
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