Church of Christ India Mission Work
"The Churches of Christ salute you" Romans 16:16.
REGARDING THE HOLY BIBLE
The Bible teaches that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Since the Bible is divinely inspired, infallible, and all-sufficient, it is our sole authority for all that we do. We believe we cannot add to or take away from the Scriptures (Revelation 22:18-19), nor can we preach another gospel than that contained in the New Testament (Galatians 1:8-9). We understand that we are under divine law today, not the Old Law contained in the Old Testament, which was nailed to the cross and taken out of the way when Jesus died (Colossians 2:14), but the law of Christ found in the New Testament (Romans 8:2, Galatians 6:2). We believe that the writings of the Old Testament were "written for our learning" (Romans 15:4); however, we understand that we must "rightly divide the Word" (2 Timothy2:15), realizing that the Old Law was given to the Jewish people and served as a schoolmaster (tutor) to bring them to Christ and the New Covenant, which the divine record sets forth as a "better covenant established upon better promises" (Galatians 3:24, Hebrews 8:6). Thus we are bound by the law of Christ contained in the New Testament, and we believe that we must have the authority of Christ for whatever we practice or teach (Colossians 3:17).
The Bible teaches the Scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15), and we learn the following from the Lord's commandments, the writings of the apostles, and the examples of conversion in the New Testament: One must hear the Word of God (Romans 10:17), believe in Christ (Acts 16:31), repent of his sins (Luke 13:3), confess that Christ is the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit for the remission of sins (Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:37-38). Once these steps are faithfully obeyed, the Lord then adds that individual to His Church (Acts 2:47).
REGARDING THE CHURCH
The Bible teaches that there is one body (Ephesians 4:4), and since the body is the Church (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22-23), there is but one Church. Jesus built this Church (Matthew 16:18) and purchased it with His own blood (Acts 20:28). We believe one must be in the Lord's Church to be saved, since the Lord adds to the Church those who are saved (Acts 2:47), and since the Bible declares Christ to be the Savior of the body, or Church (Ephesians 5:23).
We believe, despite the discouraging number of denominations in existence today, and despite the conflicting doctrines they teach, "God is not the author of confusion" (1 Corinthians 14:33). He condemns division, exhorting us all to speak the same thing (1 Corinthians 1:10). We believe unity is not achieved by simply accepting the fact that there are various denominations and doctrines, but by rejecting all creeds and doctrines of men and simply uniting upon the teachings of the Scriptures, walking by the same rule (Philippians 3:16).
Nowhere in the New Testament does God endorse the existence of more than the one Church Christ established, as stated above. We believe that even today we can and must be a part of that one true Church. Since the seed of the kingdom is the Word of God (Luke 8:11, 1 Peter 1:23), we believe if we plant that same seed planted many years ago, we can reap the same results and truly be the Church of the New Testament. We believe the Church of the New Testament has certain identifying marks that set it apart from denominations founded by men. To be the Church of the New Testament, we must be added to it in the same way those early disciples were (see "Regarding Salvation"), we must teach the same doctrine they taught, we must worship in the same manner they worshiped, and indeed we must follow all the divine patterns they followed. Any organization that lacks these distinguishing marks simply cannot be the Church of the New Testament.
REGARDING THE WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH
Since the Bible teaches we must have the authority of Christ for whatever we practice or teach (Colossians 3:17), our worship services will be conducted strictly in accordance with the Scriptural patterns set forth in the New Testament. Jesus said, "they that worship [God] must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). To worship God "in spirit" means to worship Him with the right attitude and motives. In other words, the condition of the heart must be acceptable in our worship. To worship God "in truth" means to worship Him according to the Word of God, for Jesus said that the Word of God was truth (John 17:17). In other words, all that we do in worship to our God must be regulated by the truth, which is the Word of God. Jesus said that the truth was knowable (John 8:32), but we must be willing to diligently study God's Word to find it (2 Timothy 2:15, Acts 17:11, Matthew 7:7-8). We must also be willing to receive the truth with meekness (James 1:21). Indeed, Jesus expects us to understand and follow the truth, for He promises indignation, wrath, tribulation, anguish, a fiery vengeance, and everlasting destruction for those who do not obey the truth (Romans 2:8-9, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
Following are the five items of worship found in the corporate worship of the Church in the New Testament. As we have stressed above, each item must be carried out with the right attitude and must be regulated by truth for our worship to be acceptable. The Church assembles, or comes together, in one, undivided assembly, for corporate worship, which we believe we must do to follow the New Testament pattern (1 Corinthians 11:20, 14:23).
The Bible teaches by divine example that singing should be a portion of our worship service (Hebrews 2:12). Christians are also commanded to sing and make melody in the heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19). Because the Bible only authorizes vocal music in our worship, we believe it would be an addition to His Will if we added and employed instrumental music. We sing a cappella, "the way of the Church," without instrumental music.
Because we recognize the preeminence of God's Word, we believe the teaching should come from that precious source (1 Peter 4:11), and center around the gospel of Christ, which is "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16). The teaching service must be handled by able, faithful men, speaking one at a time (1 Corinthians 14:31). We believe the Scriptures teach that, regardless of age, "all may learn, and all may be comforted" in the scriptural, undivided assembly (1 Corinthians 14:31).
The Bible plainly forbids the woman to take up the role of a public teacher in the worship of the Church (1 Timothy 2:11-12, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35); therefore, only male members are allowed to instruct the assembled Church. The teacher has a responsibility to convict and edify with God's Word, "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).
The Bible teaches and the Scriptures repeatedly affirm the necessity and immeasurable value of frequent, heartfelt prayer (1 Timothy 2:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:17). According to (Acts 2:42), prayer was one of the things the early disciples continued in steadfastly.
The Bible teaches that through the mediation of Christ, we now have bold access to the Father's throne through the avenue of prayer (Hebrews 4:16). Our prayers should be fervent (James 5:16), consisting of our thanksgiving for God's rich blessings and our requests for God's continued help (Philippians 4:6). The Bible teaches prayer is a precious spiritual blessing in Christ through which we cast all our care upon the One who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). These things should be kept in mind by the male member leading the prayer during the worship service, and by the rest of the Christians who follow along in their minds.
The Bible teaches the "collection for the saints" must be gathered only once a week, on the first day of the week (the Lord's Day), according to the divine pattern given to the Church at Corinth and the congregations at Galatia (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). At this time, each disciple is to give of his means in a cheerful manner as he has been prospered, and as he has purposed in his heart (2 Corinthians 9:7). Those who are not members of the Church are not required to give.
The Bible teaches that these funds are to be utilized for the work of the Church, for the support of evangelists, elders, and widows indeed, and for the assistance of needy saints
(1 Corinthians 9:14, 1 Timothy 5:3, 17-18, Romans 15:26). The Bible teaches that God requires Christians and congregations to be good stewards of the blessings, be they material or otherwise, bestowed upon them (1 Peter 4:10).
THE LORD'S SUPPER
The Bible teaches the communion, or Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20), is the "joint participation" of Christians in the body and blood of our Savior Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16). The early disciples continued steadfastly in the observance of the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:42). The frequency with which they observed the Lord's Supper can be ascertained from (Acts 20:7), where the Bible informs us that the disciples came together upon the first day of the week to break bread (observe the Lord's Supper). Thus, in accordance with this scriptural example, we believe we must come together every first day of the week to observe this solemn memorial.
We believe, as the Scriptures record, that on the night of Christ's betrayal, He took a loaf of unleavened bread, blessed it, broke a piece off, and told His disciples, "Take, eat. This is my body which is broken for you." Likewise, He took a cup containing the fruit of the vine, blessed it, took a drink, and told His disciples, "Drink ye all from it," and, "this cup is the New Testament in my blood" (Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:17-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25).