What is the church of Christ?
Church of Christ’s Plea
The church’s plea is for religious unity based upon the Bible. In a divided religious world it is the Church’s belief that the Bible is the only possible common denominator upon which God-fearing people can unite. The church’s plea is to go back to the Bible. It is a plea to speak where the Bible speaks and to remain silent where the Bible is silent in all matters that pertain to religion. It further emphasizes that in everything religious, there must be a “Thus saith the Lord” for all that is done. The objective is religious unity of all believers in Christ. The basis is the New Testament. The method is the preservation of New Testament Christianity.
Members of the church of Christ do not think of themselves as belonging to one of many denominational churches. Rather they are members of the church originally established on Pentecost, A.D.30. Their strength lies in the preservation of Christ’s original church.
Church of Christ Beliefs About the Bible
The original writers of the sixty-six books that make up the Bible are considered to have been divinely inspired, by which it is meant that they are infallible and authoritative. Reference to the scriptures is made in settling every religious question. A pronouncement from the scripture is considered the final word. The basic textbook of the church and basis for all preaching is the Bible.
Church of Christ Organization
Following the plan of organization found in the New Testament, churches of Christ are autonomous. Their common faith in the Bible and adherence to its teachings are the chief ties which bind them together. There is no central headquarters of the church, and no organization superior to the elders of each local congregation. Congregations do cooperate voluntarily in supporting the orphans and the aged, in preaching the gospel in new fields, and in other similar works.
In each congregation, which has existed long enough to become fully organized, there is a plurality of elders who serve as the governing body. These men are selected by the local congregation on the basis of qualifications as set down in scriptures (1 Timothy 3: 1-8). Serving under the elders are deacons, teachers, and evangelists or ministers. The latter do not have authority equal to or superior to the elders. The elders are shepherds or overseers who serve under the headship of Christ according to the New Testament, which is a kind of constitution. There is no earthly authority superior to the elders of the local church.
Ministers proclaim God’s word and minister to members’ needs, however they have no special prerogatives. They do not wear the title of Reverend or Father, but are addressed simply by the term Brother as are all other men of the church. Along with elders and others they do counsel and advise those seeking help.