Church of CHRIST Arizona
Speak when the Bible speaks
Statement of Faith
We believe that as Christians, we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) while declaring the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Being of sound doctrine involves not only teaching and preaching the doctrine of Christ, but also taking a stand on it (Jude 3, Rev.3:15-16).
I. DOCTRINAL POSITION
1. The Godhead
The Godhead consists of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the sum total of Deity. There is one Deity, but three persons (Matt. 28:19). Each share in the divine nature of the Godhead. Deity is eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; creating and sustaining all things (Gen. 1-3, 26; Ps. 147:5; Jn. 1:1-5, 14; Lk. 3:21-22; Matt. 3:17; Jn. 3:16; 16:7-15; 1 Jn. 5:7).
2. The Bible
We believe the Scripture is the Word of God. It is infallible truth and sealed with divine authority. It is plenary (complete), verbal (word for word) inspiration (1 Cor. 2:6-13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Jn. 17:17). We believe and teach the following:
2.1.Scripture is plenary, verbally inspired of God (1 Cor. 2:6-13).
2.2. The New Testament alone is sufficient for our authority and faith (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Jude 3; Jas. 1:25).
2.3.The New Testament must be our only authority (standard) to live by (Gal. 1:6-8; 2 Jn. 9-10).
2.4.When the Scriptures concerning a specific doctrinal subject are silent, the Scriptures are to be considered restrictive, rather than permissive.
2.5. There is no difference between “the faith,” “the gospel” and “doctrine.” All three refer to the teaching by which we are saved and stand fast in (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 16:13; 1 Tim. 1:3).
2.6.The New Testament denies the theology behind the “New Hermeneutic.” Understanding the Bible is not based on culture, but is based on commandment (Jn. 14:15; Matt. 28:18, 20).
3. Revealed Truth in the Bible
We believe the Bible teaches truth is able to be known and a person of sound mind can be sure of the knowledge of salvation and how to live godly. (Jn. 4:24; 8:32; 17:17; 2 Pet. 1:3).
3.1.We can know we have forgiveness of past personal sins. (Rom. 6:17-18; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
3.2.We can know we are forgiven of present sins due to immaturity, weakness or ignorance as we become aware of and repent of them. (1 Jn. 1:7-9).
3.3.We can know that if we remain faithful to our Lord, we have the hope of eternal salvation (Rom. 8.23-25; 1 Tim. 1:1; Tit. 2:13; 3:6-7; 1 Thess. 2:19; Rev. 2:10).
4. Bible Interpretation
The Scriptures teach that God’s word cannot be interpreted differently by two people and both interpretations be acceptable unto God (Eph. 4:6). God said we could know the truth(Jn. 8:32) and the truth would make us free from sin. Jn. 17:17 clearly tells us God’s word is truth.
4.1.In comprehending the Bible, we must understand God meant only one thing when He said it, and He meant for us to understand it according to what He meant when He first said it.
4.2.In the interpretation of Scripture, we both can be wrong in what we believe to be true, but we cannot be both right and be opposed to one another and possibly God’s word as well.
4.3. The only correct interpretation is that which God intended for us to have when He first authored it. If our interpretation contradicts the Bible, we know we have drawn an incorrect conclusion. The only authoritative standard to compare one’s belief is the Truth - the Bible.
5. Bible Instruction
We believe the Bible teaches by way of command, example and divine inference (that which is implied within the context). Examples of each follow:
5.1. Matt. 28:19-20 is by way of command.
5.2.Acts 20:7 is by way of example.
5.3.Rom. 13:14 implies baptism by way of inference.
5.4. The New Testament is the final standard for all biblical authority for Christians today.
5.5. Necessary, approved implications are just as binding as explicit statements of the Bible.
5.6.The teaching of the apostles is just as authoritative as the teachings of Christ.(Jn. 16:13-15; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; 3:1-2, 15-16).5.7.If one desires to please God, he must have scriptural authority for all he/she does. Christ and His teaching must govern his/her life (Col. 3:17; Phil. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Jas. 1:21; Rev. 17:14).
6. Unity of Doctrine
Unity is based upon the Bible (1 Cor 1:10). God’s word is written with the intention of being understood alike by all. Prejudice, preconceived ideas, private agendas and pride cause men to divide over doctrine and cause division within the body of Christ.
6.1. The doctrine is to bring us to the unity of the faith (Eph. 4:1-6).
6.2. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33); in matters of faith, there is to be no division. We are to speak the same things (1 Cor. 1:10). This is God’s will and desire.(Jn. 17:21-23).
6.3. Christians are to be of one mind (2 Cor. 13:11). We are to have the mind of Christ.(Phil. 2:5; Rom. 12:6). In matters of faith, we are to note those causing divisions and offenses (Rom. 16:17-18). We are to also note those following Paul’s example (Phil. 3:17).
7. New Testament Pattern
The New Testament teaches it alone is the pattern for the New Testament church today. Whoever transgresses the doctrine of Christ does not have God and is not to be received, i.e. given “right hand of fellowship” (Gal. 2:9; 2 Jn. 9-11). The truth must abide in us (2 Jn. 2:1-2).
7.1. Paul instructs Timothy to give attention to; to meditate on; and to take heed to the doctrine and to continue in them, saving himself and others who would obey (1 Tim. 4:13-16). He was commanded to commit such to faithful men who would in turn teach others (2 Tim. 2:2).The word is to be preached (2 Tim. 4:1); referred to as “sound” (healthful) doctrine (vs.3).
7.2. Timothy was to hold fast the pattern of “sound” words.(2 Tim. 1:13; cf. Rom. 6:17; 1:17; Eph. 1; Jude 3).
7.3.The New Testament is God’s revealed authoritative word to mankind. It is not a “love letter” without authority. It is His planned design and perfect pattern for all who will trust and obey. (Jn. 14:15, 23; Acts 17:30; 2 Tim. 4:1-3; Rev. 20:12).
7.4.Matt., Mk., Lk., and Jn. are part of the New Testament legislation with regards to Christ’s teachings of the kingdom that was at hand. (Matt. 5:1-7:28; 16:18; 26:26f.; Jn. 14:23f.).
7.5.The Old law (Old Covenant) has been nailed to the cross. (Eph. 2:14-18; Col. 2:14).
7.6. The commands and rituals of the Old Testament law are no longer in force. Although we are not bound under the Old Testament (Col. 2:14), one can learn through the commands, examples and implications given. The Old Testament provides principles to be learned, taught and applied to all today (Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
8. Heaven and Hell
The Bible teaches heaven and Hell are real places. The souls of the unrighteous will be condemned to everlasting punishment (Hell). Lk. 16:22-26 speaks of the account of Lazarus and the rich man. There are two possible destinies after life on earth. One is a waiting place of torment (Hades) for the condemned. The other is a waiting place of comfort (Abraham’s bosom/paradise) Lk. 23:43, for those to be granted a home in heaven, “the New Jerusalem.”
8.1. Matthew 18:8, Jesus called Hell “the everlasting fire.” Paul called heaven, “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord” (2 Pet. 1:11); Jesus called heaven, “eternal life” comparing Hell to “everlasting punishment” (Matt. 25:46; cf. Mk. 3:29, “eternal condemnation”).
8.2.Heb. 6:2 makes a reference to Hell calling it “eternal judgment.” 1 Tim. 1:17 refers to God as “the King eternal.” Heb. 9:14, speaks of the “eternal Spirit.”
8.3. Thus, as much as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are eternal, and as heaven is an eternal kingdom, so too, is Hell a place of everlasting and eternal punishment for the unrighteous. It is a conscious state of everlasting punishment.
We believe the biblical doctrine of the virgin birth of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. To deny this doctrine is to deny the trustworthiness of God, His Word and Christ’s power to redeem.(Matt. 1:18-25; Is. 7:14; Lk. 1:26-35; Jn. 20:31).
10. The Resurrection
Based on Scripture, God teaches a literal resurrection of the physical body of Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin (Matt. 1:21-23). John declared the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. 1:14). The centurion pierced the physical body of Christ with a literal spear and literal blood and water came forth (Jn. 19:34). He was placed in a tomb which was sealed and guarded (Matt. 27:64). And yet, the tomb on the third day was found empty - no body. His physical body was resurrected by the Father as promised (Lk. 24:7; Acts 2:24; 1 Cor. 15).
11. The Atonement of Christ’s Blood
The Scriptures confirm that the blood of Jesus Christ was shed for the sins of all mankind. (Matt. 1:21; 26:28; Mk. 14:24; Rom. 5:9-10; Heb. 9-10; Rev. 1:5).
12. Requirement of Baptism
We believe God’s word teaches that a mature person of sound mind cannot be saved without baptism (this does not pre-empt the necessity of faith. Heb. 11:6). The baptism is by way of immersion in water and is for the forgiveness of one’s past sins. (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:16; Lk. 24:47; Jn. 3:3, 5; Acts 2:38; 8:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal.3:27; Eph. 4:22; 2 Pet. 3:21).
13. The Gospel Plan of Salvation
Based on the New Testament Scriptures, I believe the biblical conditions and requirements for eternal salvation are as follows:13.1.One must hear the word of God. (Rom. 10:14-17; Matt. 7:24-27; Acts 18:8; Jn. 5:24).13.2.One must believe the word of God. (Jn. 3:16; 8:24; 20:31; Acts 10:43; Heb. 11:16).13.3.One must repent of past personal sins. (Lk. 13:3; Acts 2:38; 17:30).13.4.One must confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. (Rom. 10:9-10; Phil. 2:9:11; Acts 8:37).13.5.One must be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38).Baptism is by immersion and is a burial. (Rom. 6:1-6; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 22:16).13.6One must walk faithful before God to receive the crown of life.(1 Jn. 1:7; Rev. 2:10, 25-26).
14. Law, Grace and Faith
The Gospel teaches salvation by grace through (obedient) faith. A person is saved by God’s grace, but not grace only. Grace being God’s favor toward sinners through His Son Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:5, 8-9). His grace is a gift and not by works of merit we have done.
14.1. *The 2key word is “faith.” It is to be understood as faith, or belief in the faith. This is man’s part. The offering of the gift is God’s part (work of God), and it remains unclaimed until a response is made by faith though the obedience of faith (work of man) to receive such (Heb.5:9).
14.2. A man’s personal faith in the faith (Eph. 4:5) is the conditional active response to God’s will (Rom. 10:17; 16:25-26). Heb. 11:6 teaches that faith ought to cause a person to diligently seek Him. Diligence requires obedience.
14.3. Obedient faith makes “the gift of grace” (salvation from past sin and the hope of eternal life) actual (a reality). Obedience of faith is not a form of merit, but compliance to the conditions set forth in the New Covenant. One is saved by grace and justified before God by faith.
14.4. A person cannot be saved without the doing of works (Phil. 2:13-14; Jas. 1:23-25; Jn. 6:29). He is not saved by works, but such is an outgrowth of both faith and love (Jn. 14:15).
14.5. It is notpossible for a person to earn his salvation (Is. 64:6, Rom. 3:23; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5).
14.6. Although saved by grace, we are subject to law in Christ. “The law of faith” (Rom. 3:27). (Acts 2:38; Rom. 10:9-10; Mk. 16:16; Gal. 3:26-27; 6:2; Jas. 2:12), the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25).
The Scriptures teach that a child of God can live in such a way as to be lost eternally. The Calvinistic teaching of “Once saved-Always saved” does not have the power nor authority to save. Scripture teaches against what Calvin affirmed. (Acts 8:21-22; Gal. 5:4; 1 Cor. 5:5; Phil. 3:12; 1 Tim. 1:19; 6:10, 20-21; 2 Tim. 2:17-18; 4:10; Heb. 6:4-6; 2 Pet. 3:17; Jude 5-15).
16. The Church
Based upon the Scriptures, there are no people in a saved condition outside the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus built one church (Matt. 16:18), He purchased that one church with His own blood (Acts 20:28), Christ is the head of the one body, the church (Col.1:18). All the saved in Christ (past, present and future) were and are added to this one church (Acts 2:41, 47). When one obeys the gospel plan of salvation, he is added to the Lord’s church. He must abide in the doctrine in order to remain in Christ’s church. (Gal. 1:9; Eph. 4:4-6; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 Tim. 1:3).
16.1 No denomination can successfully claim to be a part of Christ’s church (1 Cor. 1:10).
16.2 The Lord’s church is not nor ever will be a denomination (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4).
16.3 The absence of denominationalism in the New Testament is evidence to support the belief that there are no saved persons within these divisive and destitute groups. (Eph. 1:22-23).
16.4. Immersion in water is essential to salvation according to the New Testament (Mk. 16:16).
16.5 Denominational baptism (an act of obedience having been saved) is ineffectual. Candidates for baptism must understand the reason and purpose for such an act of faith. The only purpose for baptism taught in the New Testament is for the remission (forgiveness) of sin (Acts 2:38). No other purpose stated, implied or believed is valid or acceptable.
16.6. All who have been immersed “for the remission of sins” are not in the body of Christ. For one to be added to the Lord’s church (His body), it must be according to the doctrine. For one to remain in Christ, one must maintain the doctrine till death (Rev. 2:10). Cults, i.e. the Mormons, ICOC; denominations, i.e. United Pentecostal, Christian Church, etc., do not
teach the Truth. They are not in the body and are therefore accursed of God (Gal. 1:6-8).
16.7 Each generation must restore themselves to the 1century New Testament pattern.
17. Cooperation between Congregations
The Bible gives little information on the exact way of carrying out benevolence or evangelistic outreach in cooperation with other congregations, yet the gospel must go forth. One must consider the autonomy of the local congregation and the terms for fellowship and cooperation with others. The New Testament gives several examples of cooperation in benevolence:
17.1 Acts 11:27-30; 12:25; 1 Cor. 16:1-3; 2 Cor. 8; 9 give examples of the taking up collections to provide for the poor saints in Judea. Paul spoke of bringing alms and offerings to his nation (Acts 24:17). Gal. 6:9 speaks of doing good ”especially to the household of faith.”
17.2. Jas. 1:27 gives the example of caring for widows and orphans. (Pure and undefiled religion).
17.3. Phil. 4:16, the church at Philippi sent aid several times to support Paul’s missionary work. Paul’s hometown and supporting congregation was in Antioch.
17.4 Inter-congregational cooperation is Scriptural (1 Cor. 8:1-4).
17.5. The church may give financial support from the treasury to help aid orphans (Jas. 1:27).
17.6. I do not oppose multi-level congregational Bible education programs.
17.7. I do not oppose the use of study guides or workbooks in Bible study to further one’s growth.
17.8 I do not oppose the use of the church building as a means to share a fellowship meal. The church building is a matter of expedience and the sharing in a meal within the structure does not violate God’s Word. To eat or not eat in the building is a matter of judgment.
17.9 I do not oppose preaching schools. They are a tool for the furthering of the gospel and should never become a standard for unity in Christ. Unsound preachers and teachers should be fired promptly. Congregations and or individual Christians supporting unsound schools are in sin and need to repent.
18. The Work of the Church
We believe based upon Scripture, a congregation is to be pleasing to God, by doing the will and work of God, regardless of whether or not the local church has men in the position of elders. The commission of Matt. 28:18-20 is not based on an eldership prerequisite (2 Cor. 5:9; Phil. 4:18; Col. 1:10; Heb. 13:21; 1 Jn. 3:22).
18.1. The question I would ask is what is the reason for not having elders? Is it because none of the men meet the qualifications for such (1 Tim. 3:1-7, Tit. 1:5-16)? Is it because the local congregation itself will not submit to an eldership (1 Pet. 5:5-6)?
18.2. Elders who are qualified to oversee their local congregation and do so with love and care are a great asset to the Lord’s body locally and are to be highly esteemed. (1 Thess. 5:13).
18.3. Elders have authority in matters of judgment only. God has already established His authority in matters of faith of which elders are to believe and uphold. (Tit. 1:9-13).
18.4. The church is never to be viewed as a democracy, but is to seek, to develop and to train spiritual men who are qualified to serve the congregation as shepherds (Tit. 1:5). Until this is accomplished, the congregation lacks all that the Lord intended for the church to be both in form and function locally (Eph. 4:11-16).
18.5. If a man looses one of the qualifications of an elder (i.e his wife dies, one child becomes unfaithful to God), he can no longer be and elder until he regains that qualification.
19. Church Member Involvement
We believe the keys to ensuring that all members are involved in the work of the church is based on first becoming Christ-like. This requires the development of three things:
19.1. A love for God. (Matt. 6:33; 22:37; Jn. 14:15; 1 Jn. 4:19).
19.2. A love for God’s word. (Ps. 119).
19.3. A love for the people for whom Jesus Christ died for. (Matt. 5:43-48). If people will work at developing within themselves through study, prayer and application (practice), the same kind of love that Jesus has for us, then and only then will all members see the need and desire to become Christ-like. (Matt. 5:44; Jn. 13:34-35; Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 13:2). This is both an individual Christian responsibility and a collective response to the Gospel.
Church discipline must be practiced as taught in the New Testament according to Matthew 18.
20.1. If a brother sins against yougo to him and explain to him his wrong in private(vs.15).
20.2. If he refuses to hear, take one or two with you to confirm what was spoken (vs.16).
20.3. If he still refuses to repent, the matter is to be brought before the church (vs.17, Gal. 6:1-2).
20.4. If he will not hear the church, he is to be withdrawn from (vs.17, 1 Cor. 5:5, 11; Rom. 16:17).
20.5. Discipline begins with self. Collective discipline is not for the purposes of seeking revenge or hurt, but that the one in sin may be ashamed in hopes of being restored (2 Thess. 3:14-15) and also to protect the rest of the body from the cancer of sin (1 Corinthians 3:6).
20.6. The practice of church discipline is not an option, but is a necessary corrective process designed to bring the erring back in line with God’s will and the Lord’s church.
20.7. I am aware members will at times remove themselves from the fellowship of their brethren and forsake the assembly. Often times, we allow them to slip away to the point where we say they “withdrew themselves from us.” However, this is neither Scriptural nor does it release us from our obligation to make every reasonable effort to bring them back into the fold (Jas. 5:19; 2 Cor. 2:8). If unresolved, as a final step in this process, we must publicly
bring this matter before the church and if they will not hear the church, they must be withdrawn from so that they might be ashamed (Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Thess. 3:14-15). There is not a more public sin than to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
20.8. If a member has willfully forsaken the assembly for a period of time, he/she must make a public confession before being accepted back into the fellowship. Why? Because he/she has sinned against the body and has wronged each individual member (1 Jn. 1:9; Jas. 5:16).
20.9. Church discipline is to be practiced regardless of an eldership or not. The church is to be involved in the process. Corinth, as far as I know, had no elders and yet they were admonished by Paul for failing to practice church discipline (1 Cor. 5:1-8; 2 Cor. 2:3-9).
20.10. I believe that a congregation can refuse to fellowship (participate) another congregation based on the principles set forth in 1 Jn. 2:3-4; 2 Jn. 9-11; Matt. 18; 1 Tim. 6:3-5. Though these are cases of individuals, when a congregation is in agreement of error as a whole, they then act as a single body collectively accountable for their sin. (Rev. 2-3).
20.11. As a member of the congregation, I would support the elders and the church, having biblical grounds, to discipline any member if and when necessary.
20.12. Failure to apply church discipline is rebellion against God’s divine wisdom to chastise the ones He loves (Hebrews 12:5-11). It is sinful, arrogant and highly destructive. God uses the church today to discipline us. As an additional note, Galatians 2 teaches public sin does not require that we approach the one or ones guilty of it privately. Paul confronted Peter to his face, before them all. Public sin requires public rebuke and a public apology.
21. The Great Commission
According to the Scriptures, the “Great Commission” of Matt. 28:16-20 was carried out during the lifetime of the apostles (Rom. 10:18; 16:25-26; Col. 1:5-6, 23). They fulfilled their obligation as faithful servants unto the Lord. Having said this, what does Scripture further teach in principle and in application to us today?
21.1. Jesus gave the apostles the charge to go, to make disciples (teach), to baptize and to further teach those baptized to observe all things Jesus commanded (Matt. 28:18-20).
21.2. If the apostles were to make disciples and baptize and further teach all things, then this command is one of those very things they were to teach new disciples.
21.3. Paul told Timothy, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
21.4. Just as the apostles taught others the Gospel, so too, were those they taught to carry out this same command. All Christians are responsible for the carrying out of the Great Commission to their generation. (2 Tim. 1:7-10; 4:2; Jas. 1:22).
22. Creation, Evolution and the Flood
Based on the Scriptures, a belief in the evolutionary concept of the origin of species cannot be maintained. While there is “limited evolution” within a species, that is, mixed breeding and certain adaptations to environmental changes, there is no evidence biblically or scientifically to promote the theory (not fact) of evolution (i.e. a man evolved from an ape). The Bible from the very beginning has stated that each have come forth according “to its own kind.” (Gen. 1:11-12, 21, 24-25; 8:19).
22.1. The earth and all its present forms of life were created in six literal 24 hour periods (day).
22.2. The Genesis account does not allow for long periods of time for evolution to occur.
22.3. The earth, the heavens and all that is contained therein was completed in six literal 24 hour periods (Gen. 1:1- 2:1). Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote, “He(God) rested on the seventh dayfrom all His work which He had done” (Gen. 2:2). He also penned in Exodus 20:8, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” The same Hebrew word for “day” (yom) is used in both places. If they understood the rest came every seven days as noted in
Exodus, so too, does the seventh day in Gen. 2:2 refer to a literal 24 hour period.
22.4. The book of Genesis gives a literal account of the creation. It is not an allegory or figurative.
22.5. The flood that occurred in the days of Noah was a global immersion, not a local flood.
22.6. The teaching of theistic evolution is a false doctrine and denies the biblical account.
The Scriptures teach an absolute standard of morality. Situation ethics is not acceptable to God and will condemn those who practice it to hell. God is a God of principle and not a God of circumstance. We are to be obedient unto death (Revelation 2:10).
23.1. The Ten Commandments, (in principle) Ex. 20:4-17; the beatitudes (Matt. 5:2-12); the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), and elsewhere in Scripture moral absolutes are taught. (cf. Matt. 15:19; Rom. 13; Gal. 5:13-23; 1 Thess. 4:4-7; 11-12; Eph. 4:28; 2 Pet. 1:5-7).
23.2. Gal. 6:10 says, “let us do good to all.” “Good” implies a standard. Matt. 19:17, Jesus said, “No one is good but One, that is, God.” (3 Jn. 11; 1 Cor. 11:1). To do “good” is to “keep the commandments.” God’s word is the standard for all mankind and is what all mankind (both receiver and rejecter of the faith) will be judged by on the Day of the Lord. (Matt. 22:37-40; Jas. 1:25; Rev. 20:12; Jn. 8:31; 12:48; 2 Thess. 1:8f.; 3:14; 1 Tim. 4:16).
24. Social Consumption of Alcohol and Chemically Mind Altering Drugs
According to the Scriptures, we have no authority as Christians to consume the poison alcohol be it for social, private, public or anti-social purposes. There may be a cause for it to be used for medicinal purposes (1 Tim. 5:22). The Scriptures regarding the use of strong drink is never favorable or shown to be beneficial when consumed in excess for pleasure.(Gen. 9:21;
Deut. 32:33; 1 Sam. 1:14; Prov. 20:1; 23:30-35; Eph. 5:18; 1 Tim. 3:3, 8; Tit. 1:7; 2:3).
24.1. Social drinking of an alcoholic beverage (regardless of the amount) is sinful. There are no circumstances under which one can socially consume the chemical poison alcohol and be justified before God in doing so. No business meeting, no misapplication of “becoming all things to all men,” no custom, tradition, or social event can justify the use of alcohol for any such purposes. (1 Cor. 6:10).
24.2. The use of tobacco products whether sniffed, chewed, or smoked is sinful. (Rom. 6:15-21; 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 3:16-17).
24.3.1 Cor. 6:9-11. “Drunkards” (Gr. methusoi). Paul used a specific word to identify the one under consideration. “Drunkard” means, to be softened with drink(Young’s), intoxicated (Thayer). Eph. 5:18, Paul charged, “not be drunk” (Gr. me methusesthe), “to begin to be softened.” “Marking the process of the state” (Vines). It is another form of the same word.
25. Termination of Young, Old and Terminally Ill
Based on Scripture, abortion and euthanasia are morally wrong and are sins against the LORD God, the Creator of all things and the Giver and Sustainer of all life.
25.1. Acts 17:25, “He gives to all life, breath, and all things.”
25.2. God alone has the right to determine the life and death of man (Gen. 50:15-19).
25.3. Only human life is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27).
25.4. The Bible does not distinguish between prenatal and postnatal life (Jer. 1:5; Lk. 1:41).
25.5. Selfishness and personal interests often are at the heart of abortion and euthanasia.
26.Music in Worship to God
The New Testament authorizes non-instrumental vocal music in the worship of our Lord. We are commanded to do so (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16-17; Heb. 2:12; Jas. 5:13). Examples of singing without the instrument are given (Matt. 26:30; Acts 16:25; 1 Cor. 14:15).
26.1. It is unscriptural to accompany songs of praise to God in worship with whistling, humming, imitating and vocalizing sounds of mechanical instruments or clapping. These unauthorized acts do not “speak, teach, or admonish.” Humming and other sounds other than meaningful words are not true expressions of worship to God whether in the public assemblies or in
one’s private home, regardless of sincerity or privacy.
26.2. It is unscriptural to include choruses, choirs, quartets, solos or dramatizations in worship. During the Mosaic age, David designated certain priests to perform such acts on behalf of Israel (2 Chron. 5:11-14; Ps. 150). Under the New Covenant, all Christians are priests and are under an obligation to offer up living sacrifices unto God according to His word.
(1 Pet. 2:5-10; Rom. 12:1; Acts 2:47; Heb. 13:5).
26.3. Worship without the instrument is based on conviction and not convenience.
26.4. We could not and will not worship God where instrumental music is used to accompany our voices and the voices of others in the singing of praises to God (Jn. 4:24).
26.5. It is unscriptural to dance, clap, stomp, yell or jump up and down during the singing of psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs. We are to offer such sacrifices in spirit and truth, and in a manner that is decent and in order (Jn. 4:24; 1 Cor. 14:40; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16-17).
26.6. It is unscriptural for young people (children) to do the above during the singing of praise and spiritual songs. With regard to these actions during a VBS, please consider the following:
a.We need to be a consistent in what we teach in a Bible class environment (VBS) and what we do on the Lord’s day. It is based on God’s word, not man’s wants or wishes.
b.There are “fun” songs that are sung and acted out during a VBS that have no value as Bible instruction.
c.There are other songs that are spiritual songs that need to be sung in the way God would approve of. It is my personal practice to stay away from such songs that would send a mixed-message to children who may be present from outside the church, as well as those being taught from within the body of Christ. How are we preparing our young?
26.7. It is unscriptural for a congregation to quietly or reverently sing while the Lord’s Supper is being served or in combination with other acts of worship. (Matt. 26:26-30; 1 Cor. 14:40). If some state singing during the Lord’s supper is acceptable, then what would they say to singing during the sermons and the prayers?
27. Christian Living, Modesty of Dress and Recreation
The Scriptures teach that Christians are not only to know, but also to practice godliness, self-control and to dress modestly (1 Tim. 2:2, 9; 2 Pet. 1:5-7). We are to conduct ourselves in holy conduct and to walk in the Spirit (2 Pet. 3:11; Gal. 5:22-26). For a Christian to swim in public does not promote holy conduct. The improper clothing or the lack thereof is the reason behind the disapproval of such recreation. Swimming or playing volley ball in water is not the point of concern, but the lack of clothing when wet reveals that which is improper for others to view (1 Pet. 2:11-12).
God calls us to purity. It is sinful for a man and a woman to be involved physically for pleasure at any level (holding hands, kissing, sexual intercourse) before they are married before God. Some contend they can do anything as long as it does not involve actual intercourse. Such is contrary to Scripture and a vain attempt to justify a lack of purity in one’s life. A sister in Christ belongs to God and not to the man who is dating her and touching her for pleasure while having no authority from God to do so (1 Tim.4:12; 5:2). Holding hands for the purpose of praying together or hugging someone as a sign of Christian affection (no lust involved) or for consolation is acceptable to God (Romans 16:16). It is arrogant and disrespectful towards God and His wisdom when He created the incredible human body, which in the case of a Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19-20), to do anything that would harm that body. Christians are commanded to preserve their bodies as part of being good stewarts of that which has been entrusted them (1 Thess. 5:23).
28. The Holy Spirit and Miraculous Gifts
We believe the Bible is inspired of God. Therefore we accept all the miraculous events recorded in the Bible as accurate and true (Jn. 17:20; 20:30-31; Acts 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16). I believe the Spirit dwells in me the same way the Father dwells in me (1 Jn. 4:12); the same way Christ dwells in me (Col. 1:27; 2 Cor. 13:5). This “dwelling” or “abiding” is through the word of God. The word is the “seed” or medium through which God speaks to man today.
(Lk. 8:11; 2 Tim. 3:17; Heb. 4:12; Jude 3; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; 3:15-18; 1 Jn. 2:14).
28.1. In Acts 16:10, Paul having experienced a vision “concluded that the Lord had called us (Paul, Silas and Luke) to preach the gospel to them.” The Lord no longer uses visions to convey His will, but uses His word to call us to preach (Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Tim. 2:2; 4:2).
28.2. The Holy Spirit continues to influence men today, but only through the following ways:
a.Indirectly through the word that He has given us to learn, obey, preach and teach. (Rom. 1:16; Jn. 16:13; 17:20; 2 Thess. 2:13-15; Heb. 4:12; 1 Tim. 4:6).
b.Intercession of the Spirit. (Rom. 8:26). This is not something the Spirit does to us, but for us. It is also through the means of prayer that God’s providential care is provided.
28.3. We do not believe God performs miracles today in the same way He demonstrated His power through men and nature in the Bible. The Lord did such to: 1. Confirm the word spoken by God’s righteous (Ex. 8:10; Matt. 9:6; Mk. 16:20; Jn. 10:38); 2. Bring to their remembrance the things Jesus said and taught; 3. To teach, preach and edify the body through the miraculous gifts (Mk. 16:20; Heb. 2:3-4; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Cor. 12; Acts 4:31).
28.4. This means the confirming by such miracles was to cease and did cease when God’s revelation was made complete to mankind (1 Cor. 13:10; Jude 3). I believe the Scriptures teach that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, as were prevalent in the first century, are no longer available today. Jesus instructed the disciples of the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:16-18, 26; 15:26; 16:13-15; Acts 2:8).
28.5. Concerning God’s providential workings, one cannot deny the power of prayer and God’s power to use all things for our good, to those who love God and are called by His gospel according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). We cannot specifically point to things in our lives and declare God’s hand was involved in such, but we can by faith, have the assurance that He will help us to endure and overcome (1 Cor. 10:13; 1:9; Prov. 3:5-6, Matt. 28:20).
28.6. No man today is God-inspired to speak an “unknown” (unlearned) tongue (1 Cor. 13:10).
28.7. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. He is everlasting (Gen. 1:1; 1 Jn. 5:7) and was involved in the creation of the world (Gen. 1:2); the creation of man (Gen. 1:26); the redemption of mankind (Jn. 1:32; 6:63; Acts 2:4; Rom. 8:1); the revealing of God’s word (Jn. 16:13; 1 Thess. 1:5-6). Christ and the Holy Spirit continue to intercede on behalf of Christians (Rom. 8:26-27; 8:34; Heb. 7:25).
29. Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage
In regards to marriage, divorce and remarriage, we believe the Bible teaches the following:
29.1. God’s laws of marriage, divorce and remarriage apply to both Christians and non-Christians (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-8). They are universal and involve a man and a woman (Eph. 5:31). Those eligible for marriage are an adult single male and an adult single female, specifically one man and one woman (Gen. 2:23-24; Eph. 5:23, 33). If either or both mates were previously married, the ceasing of the first marriages would require one of the following two reasons in order to be scripturally remarried in the sight of God:
A.The death of the first spouse(Rom. 7:1-2); or
B.One or both are the innocent party of a marriage covenant broken by their mate who committed the act of adultery. The reason for the divorce must be for that reason. (Matt. 19:9). These are the only scriptural conditions for remarriage given by God.
29.2. A person in an unscriptural marriage cannot receive forgiveness for sin (the adulterous relationship) and still remain in that marriage with God’s blessing. (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Repentance is a turning away from and not a remaining in. One must come out of such.
29.3. It is God’s will for a man and a woman to remain married until death.
(Mal. 2:16; Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14).
29.4. If a marriage is dissolved for a reason other than adultery, neither have a scriptural right to remarry another. They are to reconcile or remain unmarried. (1 Cor. 7:10-11).
29.5. Fornication (adultery) in marriage is the only scriptural reason that one is permissible to divorce and remarry (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). It is permissible, but not to be pursued if possible.
29.6. The one put away for sexual immorality does not have the same right to remarry as the innocentparty. (Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:3-5).
29.7. A person does not have the Scriptural right to marry one put away for adultery. (Matt. 19:9).
29.8. One who is unscripturally married, regardless of before or after becoming a child of God, must come out of that sinful relationship in order to be forgiven and saved. (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
29.9. If an unscripturally married individual requested baptism, would we expect a dissolving of the marriage before baptism? We would expect a physical putting away that involves no longer living together and ceasing all sexual intercourse. The person must bear fruits of true repentance by making the needed changes in order to conform to God’s word and be pleasing in His sight. God knows if one’s heart and one’s intentions to do right are sincere. (Matt. 3:8; Jn. 2:24; Ps. 44:21). Time will tell of one’s genuineness. It is understood paperwork can take a while, but the above mentioned steps can be achieved right away if the person truly wants to please God.
29.10. If an unscripturally married child of God desired to be restored or become associated with the church, would we accept them into fellowship? No, not unless they also are committed to dissolving such a relationship. Their repentance also requires their coming forward for having forsaken the assembly of their self with the brethren (Heb. 10:25; Jas. 4:7-10).
29.11. In a scriptural divorce, does one guilty of fornication have the right to put away their innocent mate? No. The person guilty of committing fornication has no grounds to put away their innocent mate. But if the guilty party is putting himself/herself away and the grounds for such a divorce is his/her act of fornication, than this would allow the innocent mate to remarry. The innocent mate may have chosen not to exercise the option of seeking a divorce nor want the divorce, but if the guilty party pursues such court action, God will recognize the civil divorce and allow the innocent to be remarried provided it is on the grounds of fornication (adultery). The emphasis is on the word divorce and whether or not such is scriptural or unscriptural. (Matt. 5:32; Matt. 19:9; Rom. 13:1).
29.12. An innocent person who was put away by a mate guilty of committing fornication may remarry and have God’s blessing to do so, provided the grounds for such a divorce was due to the guilty mate’s act of adultery. Emphasis is upon the reason for divorce.
29.13. America grants divorce for any or no reason at all. If the reason for divorce was other than adultery, the consequences of such action would prevent either party from remarrying anyone else other than themselves through a reconciliation (Matt. 5:32; 1 Cor. 7:10-11). The fact that fornication was involved in a divorce is not reason enough for a scriptural remarriage. It must be the actual cause for the divorce in order for the innocent party to be scripturally remarried. Matt. 19:9 says, “except for sexual immorality.” This is the cause of the divorce. Either it is the cause for the divorce or it is not.
29.14. According to the Scriptures (Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 5:1-9; 6:9-11; 2 Jn. 9-10; Matt. 18:15-17), a Christian who is unscripturally married and is unwilling to repent by dissolving such a relationship, must be disciplined and withdrawn from.
29.15. Matthew 19:9 is binding and authoritative today (Jn. 15:4-14; 14:26).
29.16. The adultery of Matt. 19:9 is a continual sexual sin (1 Cor. 6:18). It is an on-going sin.
29.17. 1 Cor. 7:10-15 does not give a second exception to scripturally remarry. The context speaks only of separation (1 Cor. 7:3-4).
29.18. Marriage, divorce and remarriage is a real issue for many and must be handled lovingly, truthfully and scripturally. God has given us His law (word) and His love (Son). God has made it possible for us to be free from the guilt of our sins and to have a home in heaven, but God never promised to free us from the consequences of our sins.
II. PATTERN OF WORSHIP
1. The Assemblies of the Saints
1.1. Not all we do in life is to be considered worship. Worship is a volitional
conscious act of the will giving honor, praise, prayer and glory to God. It is an act of homage and great reverence (Jn. 4:24; Acts 24:11; 1 Cor. 14:25; Lk. 4:8). There is a definite beginning and end to such worship. All of life is service and worship is a specific part of our service in carrying out our religious obligations (Gen. 22:5; Acts 24:14, Rom. 12:1-2).
1.2. Worship is given unto God and a result of our service unto God is directed towards man.
1.3. Jesus made a clear statement in Matthew 4:10 for us to understand worship and service are not the same.
2. Role of Women in the Church
2.1. Because the Scriptures teach by command, example and inference, a woman is not to lead in prayer, song, preach, teach, or in any way serve in a leadership capacity in an assembly where able adult Christian male members are present. (1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-14, 3:2; Tit. 2:4-5).
2.2. We would not accept a female participating in the worship assembly, leading in prayer, song, communion, or Bible teaching and preaching in a mixed (men/women) worship assembly. There is no command, example or implication of the Scriptures teaching its approval.
2.3. Older women are commanded to teach the children and the younger women (Titus 2:3-5)
3. The Lord’s Supper
3.1. It is unscriptural, and therefore sin, to partake of the Lord’s Supper on any day other than the first day of the week. Acts 20:7 and 1 Cor. 11:26 give the scriptural examples for the act of remembrance after the establishment of the Lord’s church on the Lord’s day. The New Testament teaches that this is to be carried out every first day of the week (Sunday).
3.2. The number of cups used in the observance of the Lord’s Supper is a matter of judgment. The substance in the cup (“fruit of the vine”) and the day on which it is observed is what cannot be substituted. To bind the number of cups used is to miss the point of instruction and bind something that God has never bound (1 Tim. 6:3; Rev. 22:18). Therefore it is sin.
3.3 Mixing the Lord's Supper with a physical, regular meal is sinful. Such is the rebuke the apostle Paul brings against the Christians in Corinth (1 Cor. 11:22, 34). The Corinthians were profaning the Lord's supper by making it part of a regular, physical meal. Please note that it is possible to do so even if the church meets in a home or even a park for that matter. Once worship is over, the building can be used for the purpose of eating together. If we are to apply Paul's admonition to the Corinthians without considering the context, it means no Christian could eat anywhere else but in their home. Context is crucial to making proper application of Paul's instructions. Otherwise, why not enforce 1 Corinthians 11:5? The church building is an expediency, a tool in doing God's work. The building itself is not sacred that we cannot eat in it, the Lord's supper is sacred and we cannot eat during it, nor during any other act of worship for that matter. Condemning brethren for using the building to enjoy fellowship meals is binding on others what God has not bound. The church building is an expediency, a tool in doing God's work
4. Giving as we have Prospered
4.1. Under the New Covenant and accountable to the New Testament Scriptures, we are not required nor commanded to tithe, but to give as we have prospered and to do so cheerfully and purposefully (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:7-13; Lk. 6:38; Acts 20:35).
4.2. It is unscriptural to have a church “offering” or take up a collection for the Lord on any other day other than the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:2). This is God’s pattern for such giving. The giving of our means to support the work of the church is taught in principle.
4.3. It is unscriptural for a congregation to obtain funds in any other way than from the collection of the saints. Investing, buying and selling property are not scripturally authorized ways for a congregation to raise funds. Receiving funds from a sound congregation is scripturally authorized.
5. Children’s Church
We do not believe “parallel worship” (Children’s Bible hour, Youth Worship, Junior church, children’s church, toddler time, teen challenge, etc.) is scriptural. Two worship services at the same time would also require that there be men (elders) present at both ensuring that what is taught is Scriptural. This would still constitute a divided assembly. When the disciples gathered for worship they were assembled together. Would this not have also included their young as well? Parents (fathers) are commanded to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord. How can a father do this in the worship if they have given that responsibility to another? (Eph. 6:4; Jn. 20:19; 26; Acts 1:14; 2:41-42; 20:7; 2 Thess. 5:27).
III. DOCTRINES OF MEN
According to the Bible, the addition of human doctrines to supplement the truth of God’s word is not authorized, but is rather condemned. Therefore, one who believes, teaches and/or practices such cannot be acceptable before God. (Matt. 15:8-9; Mk. 7:9; Col. 2:8, 18-23; Gal. 1:6-7; Tit. 1:13-14; Rev. 22:18-19; Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Col. 3:17).
1. Defending the Faith
In keeping with Rom. 16:17, we will publicly identify those who are seeking to promote doctrinal error in a public way within the brotherhood. If and when necessary, we will identify the false teachers by name and as well as their teaching. (Eph. 5:11; 2 Tim. 4:2-5, 10, 14; 2 Jn. 7-11; 3 Jn. 9-10). A false teacher should in no way be accepted in the fellowship of the saints. Such is strongly condemned in Scripture (Revelation 2:14-16).
2. Rejection of Calvinism (TULIP)
2.1. Man is born innocent. Sin is not something we are, it is something we do or fail to do.
(Gen. 8:21; Ezek. 18:20; Is. 59:1-2; Rom. 3:23; Matt. 19:13-14; Lk. 15:21).
2.2. Men can and do resist the grace of God. (Gen. 1:26; Gal. 5:4; Acts 7:51; 2 Tim. 3:8).
2.3. A child of God can lose the promise of salvation. “Once saved, always saved” won’t save! (Gal. 5:1, 4; Heb. 2:1-3; 1 Jn. 2:24; 1 Cor. 9:27; Phil. 2:16; 1 Tim. 1:19; 6:21; Rev. 2:10).
2.4. One can know he is saved. (Jn. 5:24; 8:32, 17:17; Rom. 2:5-10; 6:22; Jas. 1:12; 1 Jn. 5:13).
3. Unity in Diversity
3.1. The churches of Christ and the Independent Christian Churches have no Scriptural grounds to be in fellowship (2 Jn. 9-11). One is the Lord’s body, His church and the other, a denomination (the belief that they are one of many that make up the whole).
3.2. If a person previously baptized into the independent Christian Church desired to become a member of the Lord’s church, and was not baptized for the forgiveness of his sins, he must be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. It is my understanding that the Christian Church by in large teaches “belief only” salvation and that baptism is to be only “reasonable.” If this is
the case, this teaching is in direct violation of Scripture . Acts 2:38; Col. 2:12; Rom. 6:1-11.
3.3. The “Mission Society” concept is unscriptural. The church alone is responsible for carrying out this work, not a separate organization. Congregations are to work autonomously, however it would not be unscriptural for churches to work together for the good of the body.
Working in conjunction with another congregation does not constitute a new organization.
4. The Christian Church
Based on the Scripture, no fellowship can be offered to members of the denomination - the Christian Church, instrumental Churches of Christ. (1 Cor. 1:10; Matt. 15:9; Eph. 5:11).
5. The Boston Movement (ICOC)
Based on Scripture and the stand of the Crossroads Movement, (“International Church of Christ” or “Boston Church”), I believe it teaches and practices un-Christian, cult-like measures of control and conformity. It is a dangerous organization and is to be treated as any other system of error. (Matt. 7:15; 15:3-14; Acts 5:29, Rom. 16:17-18; Tit. 3:10). I realize the movement has by in large disseminated, but its negative impact will be felt for some time.
6. Fellowshipping with Error
Based upon Scripture and principles found therein, the church of Christ is to have no fellowship with darkness (i.e. other religions or religious error). (Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 1:10; 10:21; 14:33; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Gal. 1:8-10; 5:9; Eph. 4:4-6; 5:11-13; 1 Jn. 1:6; 2 Jn. 9-11), whether such error is originating from within or without the body of Christ.
7. “Christian” Holidays
The Scriptures do not authorize Christians to regard Christmas, Easter or any other holiday as a religious observance. The only memorial the Lord gave for us to observe as a remembrance of His death is the Lord’s Supper which He Himself instituted on the night He was to be betrayed (Matt. 26:26-29). Santa and the bunny are cultural events developed over centuries through traditions of men. A Christian’s involvement in such events is to remain strictly secular, while using the opportunity to teach others the Truth of God.
7.1. If a Christian is to observe such, he does so as a national holiday, not as a Christian holy day. Christ has never been in Christmas and Christ is not “the reason for the season.” For one to observe any occasion as a religious memorial without the authority of Christ is to transgress the doctrine of Christ and one who does so does not have Christ (2 Jn. 2:9ff.).
7.2. The Lord’s church cannot observe the Christmas holiday as an authorized religious observance nor should we decorate the church building as if to give such approval.
7.3. To observe a national holiday in a secular and social manner is not a matter of doctrine, but rather a matter of personal judgment. If one cannot observe it with a clear conscience, it is best not to observe it (Rom. 14:23). To observe it however as a religious act or a holy day is sinful and condemned by God’s Word (Matt. 15:3, 8-9).
Based on the Scriptures, we believe in Amillennialism. That which was recorded in the book of Revelation was to come upon those John was writing to during that time (Rev. 1:1, 3). For one to believe in Premillennialism and all that is involved in such, one would first have to reconcile these verses in Revelation. We wait for the Lord’s return to be received by Him in the clouds to go where He has prepared a place for us (Jn. 14:3). Jesus will never step foot again on this earth and most certainly will not reign on a literal throne in Jerusalem for 1,000 yrs. (1 Thess. 4:15-17; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 2 Pet. 3:10). The time of His coming is not given, nor will any signs be given for such (Matt. 24:36-44; 1 Thess. 5:1-6). All we know is when He appears, we shall be like Him (1 Jn. 3:2; Rom. 8:18-19). In the meantime, we must be faithful even unto death, knowing whether we live or die, we shall not lose our reward ifwe remain in Christ (Rev. 2:10).
8.1. The doctrine of Premillennialism has no basis for biblical support and is therefore a false doctrine. (2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:10; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 2 Thess. 1:7-8).
8.2. The word “rapture” and the concept of such teaching are not found in the New Testament.
8.3. Based on Scripture, a Christian could not be in fellowship with an individual or group who holds such a doctrine as true. Its teaching denies Christ now reigning. (2 Jn. 9-11; 3 Jn. 11).
8.4. The kingdom has already been established, having come on the day of Pentecost. Before Christ’s ascension, the kingdom was spoken of as in the future coming (Acts 1:6-8). After Pentecost, the kingdom is spoken of in the present tense (1 Cor. 15:23-25; Col. 1:13-14).
8.5. Jesus did not return in A.D. 70. Max King’s theory is false teaching.
8.6. Jesus now reigns in heaven on the throne of David (Lk. 1:32; Acts 2:30f.; Heb. 1:3, 10:12f).
We do not believe we have scriptural authority for the use of dramatic presentations or “skits” in the worship assembly. The power of God is the gospel and the gospel is commanded to be preached, not performed. No example of such acts can be found in the New Testament to support this kind of demonstration or drama activity (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:21-2:5; 2 Tim. 4:1-4). The Word of God is powerful enough (Romans 1:16) and it does not need drama and re-enactment to convict the world of sin. We are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor.5:7).
IV. VARIOUS TOPICS
1.Use of Promotions or Entertainment
Trips, prizes, awards, ball-games etc. used to attract people to the church are not the means that will draw soul searching, faith seeking people and converted, committed Christians. Those that come for such seek the “loaves” rather than the Lord (Jn. 6:26). Jesus provided food because the crowd was hungry, he did not provide food (prizes) to draw the crowd. When the promotions and prizes have stopped being given away, those who sought such will turn away as well and seek such elsewhere. (Jn. 4:23-24; Matt. 5:6; Acts 24:25-27).
2.Use of Bible Versions
We primarily use the King James Version. We also refer to the NKJV. The ASV, ESV, NASB can be used to clarify. The NIV can be used to point out the errors within it. We do not recommend it and I tell people to stay away from it.
We believe it is sinful for a Christian to attend a dance (school prom, etc.). Christians are to abstain from every form of evil (1 Thess. 5:22; Col. 3:5; 1 Cor 10:5-7). Dancing is not a godly activity. A person who attends such, places themselves in an atmosphere promoting something that is evil, sensual and worldly (1 Cor. 15:33; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; 3:11, 14; Gal. 5:19). Would Jesus go there? Will my presence there cause others to stumble? Would we ask God’s blessing upon the dance and the acts to be engaged in? (Rom. 16:17; 1 Jn. 2:10; Jude 19). John the baptizer lost his head because a dance caused Herod to lust and loose reason. Dancing other than a husband and wife in the privacy of their home is sinful.
4. Church Funds
We do not believe it would be good judgment to use church funds to support youth teams.(i.e. softball, bowling leagues, volleyball teams etc.). Church funds are to be used in the area of benevolence, edification, evangelism and visitation.
4.1. Recreational activities may allow for fellowship and evangelistic opportunities, but the primary purpose is not outreach or benevolence. The church is not in the entertainment or exercise business. Activities can be better coordinated with member’s families.
4.2. We do not believe it would be good judgment to use church funds to build a gymnasium or physical exercise complex. The primary purpose for such is physical health, not spiritual health or evangelistic outreach. We are called to preach the gospel in love and sacrifice, not to promote physical well being using the Lord’s money for self-enjoyment and luxury.
It is without the authority of the Scriptures to hold a church/youth group car wash, bake sale, yard sale etc. and promote such as a church organized fund-raiser. However, there would be nothing wrong with having a private car wash, bake sale, yard sale separate and apart from the association of the church and donate such proceeds to the church in the freewill offering on the first day of the week. (Acts 2:45; 4:36-5:2).
We believe it is unscriptural for a minister of the Lord’s church to join a local ministerial alliance or pastoral association. The work the Lord’s church is commanded to be engaged in and carry out is without placing itself in agreement through denominational affiliation. To do such, is to be in agreement with their deeds. (2 Jn. 9-11). I also believe based on the same Scripture it is sinful for a sound minister to participate in fellowship luncheons with false preachers from unsound congregations of the Church.
6.1. The joining of civic clubs (Kiwanis, Lyons, Rotary) is a matter of personal judgment. This has the potential for good through community service, but it may also take away from a more directed outreach and time spent with family. A balanced life must be strived for.
6.2.The joining of the Masons, Shriners and such like is unscriptural since these groups are religious in nature and compromise or disregard the authority of God’s word.
It is a sin for a person to purchase lotteries, raffles, etc. and/or play games of chance. It is not a proper use of the stewardship entrusted to you. Working for businesses that sell, promote or vender such activities is sinful. The lure of easy money is covetousness and ultimately idolatry. (Matt. 25:21; Lk. 16:10-13; 1 Thess. 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:10-12; 1 Tim. 5:8; Tit. 1:7).
One is not born that way any more than a drunk is born an alcoholic. There may be a predisposition to such a weakness, though that has yet to be proven. Even so, God has given the power to overcome such a temptation (1 Cor. 10:13; Jas. 1:12). Homosexuality is an act of sin against God. If unrepentant, it will cost those who practice, promote and politicize such a lifestyle, their very soul. (1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10; Rev. 21:8).
VI. FINAL REMARKS
1. In our opinion, the most serious problem we face within the Lord’s church today, is the ongoing deterioration of the uniqueness and distinction of the body of Christ. This is caused by a number of factors: ignorance of the Scriptures (Hosea 4:6) and failure to practice truth learned are primary. The second stems from a desire to sacrifice truth, striving to compromise sound doctrine in order to cooperate in and have fellowship with error and denominationalism. Many have abandoned the principles of divine fellowship and have turned entire congregations into social clubs. I believe there is a solution to this tragedy but . . .
2. The solution will cost us something:
1. It will cost us our time. Study will require time. (Deut. 6:7; 1 Tim. 4:15-16; 2 Tim. 2:15).
2. It will cost us our energy. Salvation requires work. (Phil. 2:12; Jas. 1:22; 2:14-18).
3. It will cost us our self. Sacrifice requires selfless love (Deut. 6:5; Lk. 9:23; 1 Cor. 13:1-3).
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is the whole duty of man.”
Proverbs 14: 12
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Note: This statement of faith was authored by brother Mike Wilk, with a few additions by Andrei Zamfir.