It’s Not New – But It Might Seem Different
A Christian is a person who believes that Jesus Christ is the anointed of God – the Son of God, and God the Son. Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a sinless life, was crucified, died, and three days later rose from the dead. When a person places their trust in the sacrificial death of Christ as the full and complete payment for his or her sins, that person has eternal life, and can never be lost, or ‘unsaved’.
The church is the body of Jesus Christ. The body is made up of individual members. Each member of the body is an individual Christian. Therefore, all Christians form the body of Christ.
The church is not a worldwide organization with a physical headquarters. It is not an American 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. It is neither a denomination nor an independent entity. Anyone who has received Christ as Savior is a part of the church.
When Christians within the same geographical area congregate together, this is a church assembly, or the church where they live, or the local church.
The church does not concern itself with politics. The members may be interested and engaged in politics, but the church assembly is apolitical. Political parties are self-serving entities that divide. Christians are followers of Christ who seek unity in their ongoing quest to obey the Word of God. No political party exists that has the church’s best interests in mind.
The church’s hierarchy consists of the head and the body. The head is Jesus Christ. The body is the church.
The church has two offices. The first is that of bishops, also known as elders or pastors. Elders are once-married men ordained by other elders based on their spiritual maturity and godly character. Elders serve the church by faithfully teaching the Word of God and praying for the members of the church. A local church has multiple elders. One man does not rule a congregation; rather, many men guide the local assembly.
Deacons are once-married spiritual men who look after the physical needs of the assembly. Deacons are chosen by the members and ordained by the elders.
Church Organization & Finances
A local assembly may be aligned with a non-profit corporation, a legal artificial entity known by the law as a “church organization”. The church organization may be formed to provide a tax-deductible channel for charitable contributions. A church organization has a constitution, which is a legal, not a spiritual document. The officers of a non-profit organization should be men and women of good character who may faithfully guide the affairs of the entity.
Donations given to a non-profit organization must be used for lawful, tax-deductible purposes. The church organization should not be a storehouse, but a clearinghouse for such contributions. Weekly offerings for the sole purpose of hoarding money for a future unknown purpose should be discouraged.
A person becomes a member of the body of Christ when he or she receives Christ as Savior and is baptized by public immersion. A person becomes a member of a non-profit church organization when they apply for, and are accepted as members according to the steps detailed in the church organization’s constitution. A Christian may be a member of the church of Christ without being a member of a non-profit organization.
The local church’s purpose is to spread the Gospel. The purchase of land, constructing of buildings, and owning of property is not the purpose or function of the church. Meeting places for the church will vary. When an assembly becomes too large for available accommodations, the group should split, provided there is sufficient leadership for each group.
The local church meets on Sunday in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The purpose of meeting is for mutual fellowship, encouragement, exhortation and prayer.
Music is intensely personal. Every Christian will not enjoy every song that is played or sung in an assembly. Therefore, great care should be taken to ensure that music in the church points the body to Jesus Christ. The demarcation of music in the church is not between ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’, however those terms are defined. There is ungodly traditional music, Godly contemporary music, Godly traditional music, and ungodly contemporary music. The demarcation of music in the church is between ‘good’ music and ‘bad’ music. Good music is honoring to Christ. Bad music is not.
Music in the church is not used for ‘worship’, or to whip up a crowd into a frenzy or altered state of consciousness. It should not be vainly repetitive or self-serving. Music should complement the events in a church meeting. All music should be performed decently and in order.
In the Old Testament, God spoke through the prophets. In the New Testament times and today’s church, God speaks through his son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. The Word of God is the Bible.
Members of a church have free conscience as to which Bible(s) they possess. However, when the Bible is taught and preached in the assembly, it should only be done from a text that has no copyright restrictions attached to it. Many versions are published with a primary purpose of either financial gain or justification of a belief or lifestyle. Therefore, great care should be taken when publicly teaching and preaching from the Bible, as different versions of the Bible do not agree on key doctrines of Christianity.