A Brief Introduction to the Church of Christ
The church of Christ dates back to the days of the New Testament (Romans 16:16). It was founded by Christ on the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 33 (Acts 2), just after His ascension back to heaven. In the years that followed, it rapidly grew to fill Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria, and finally the whole Roman Empire (Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:23). It was first established in America in the late 1700s, up in the New England states.
The church of Christ is noted for its emphasis upon returning to New Testament Christianity and for its desire to unite all Christians into one body (1 Corinthians 1:10). We believe that the New Testament is the only rule for faith and practice in religious matters (2 Timothy 3:17; I Peter 4:11) and that it must authorize all that is done in Christian worship (Colossians 3:17; Revelation 22:18–19). Thus we try to strictly follow the New Testament. For this reason, only a cappella music is used in worship assemblies and the Lord’s supper is observed every Sunday. We believe the Bible teaches that sinners are saved by faith, repentance, confession, and baptism (John 3:16; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9–10) and that a Christian must remain faithful to the Lord after conversion (Revelation 2:10). The church of Christ is organized with elders, deacons, preachers, and members as in New Testament times (Philippians 1:1).
We believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:30– 31), that the Bible is inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16– 17), and that Jesus will return to take His kingdom (church) home to God (1 Corinthians 15:24). We emphasize sincere worship (John 4:24), every- member evangelism (Acts 8:4), godly living (Titus 2:11–12), love for each other (John 13:33–34), and helping those in need (James 1:27). We believe that it is possible to have religious unity in a day of division by simply following the New Testament pattern and putting aside human traditions.
To put it simply, the Liberty Church of Christ is seeking to be the same church one reads about in the New Testament. We aim to restore its doctrine, its practice, its lifestyle, and its zeal.
What We Believe
Built by Christ (Mt. 16:16-18), established on the first Pentecost following the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Acts 2), and directly related to local churches of Christ present in the first century (Rom. 16:16), the Liberty Church of Christ continues a 2,000-year biblical tradition. We believe in the authority and inspiration of the scriptures (II Tim. 3:16-17, II Pet. 1:19-20) and approach the scriptures in conventional, conservative ways. Our conclusions about the Godhead, the divinity of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit, the work and worship of the church, and the undenominational uniqueness of the church grow out of our careful ways.
We believe “that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (Jas. 2:24). Hearing (Rom. 10:17) “a message by which you will be saved” (Acts 11:14), faith (Heb. 11:6), repentance (Acts 2:38), confession (Rom. 10:10), baptism (I Pet. 3:21) and walking “in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4) are essential steps to salvation. Not a “paint by the numbers” approach to salvation, this plan involves obedience “from the heart to the standard of teaching” (Rom. 6:17). Imperfect people, we also believe that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins” (I Jn. 1:9). Discounting on-going forgiveness of sins is discounting the far-reaching effect of the Cross for the faithful and prayerful (Acts 8:22). “In him we have redemption through his blood…according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7).
Our worship follows the New Testament pattern. “On the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7) we assemble (Heb. 10:24-25) to “eat this bread and drink the cup (to) proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (I Cor. 11:26), offer prayers (I Cor. 14:15), and seek “upbuilding and encouragement and consolation” in the Word (I Cor. 14:3). We also sing (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16) believing that a capella praise is a requirement and not just an option. Also as a biblical requirement, our congregation and our worship is lead by our men (1 Tim. 2:8).
We grieve the doctrinal tensions troubling our brotherhood and, because of those tensions, must include a few words about who we are not. We reject the extreme of legislating according to tradition and angry disputing, and also the extreme of too close an affinity with denominational ways and too little attention to doctrine. We prayerfully seek to travel the narrow gate and hard way that leads to eternal life (Mt. 7:14) while avoiding additions to or deletions from God’s word (Rev. 22:18-19).
We believe in the one true God revealed in the Bible. He spoke the world into existence and sustains all things today. God remains active and involved in this world and in our individual lives (Gen. 1:1; Heb. 1:10-12, 11:3).
We believe that God exists in three distinct personalities: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14; John 1:1, 14; John 16:12-15).
We believe that Jesus is the Son of God. We believe He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, shed His blood dying on a cross, was buried and raised from the dead three days later. He ascended to the Father and now reigns over his Kingdom. (Rom. 8:34; Phil. 2:5-11).
We believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven (Acts 4:12, John 14:6) and is the only one qualified and able to redeem us and save us from our sins (Heb. 9:11-15). We believe that one day Jesus will return to take his own to live with him forever (Acts 1:11; I Thess. 4:16-17).
We believe that God’s love and justice intersect at the cross. Since God is just he cannot simply ignore or disregard our sin but because He is loving He wants to be in fellowship with us. God’s solution to our sin problem was to send Jesus to serve the death penalty due us and to reconcile us to Himself so that he might reign in our hearts and lives (2 Cor. 5:18-19; I Thess. 5:9-10; I Pet. 3:18; Rom. 6:23). This is why the Gospel is Good News!
God has acted on our behalf but we must choose to accept or decline his gift of salvation. We accept the gift of salvation through faith. Faith is more than just intellectual assent (James 2:19); it is made complete by our actions (James 2:22). A faith-response to Jesus includes repentance (Acts 2:38), confession (Rom. 10:9) and baptism. Just as Christ died, was buried, and was raised from the dead, we also we must be buried (immersed) with Christ in baptism and then be raised to live a new life (Rom. 6:4). At the time of our baptism, our sins are taken away and the Holy Spirit comes and takes up residence in us (Acts 2:38); additionally, we are added to the Church (Acts 2:47). Throughout our lives, we are continually being transformed into the image of Christ by His Spirit who lives in us.
We believe that our sin separates us from a Holy God (Isa. 59:2). To sin is to violate God’s law and to rebel against Him. Sin is pervasive – it consists not only in the bad things we do but also in the good things that we fail to do (James 4:17), it manifests itself not only in word and deed but also in thought (Matt. 5:28). The Bible teaches that all of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23; I John 1:8-10).
About the Church
We believe that the church belongs to the Lord! It is His body and every Christian is a member of that body. It is not defined racially, socially, geographically or ethnically. The purpose of the church is to glorify God (Eph. 3:10-11). God is glorified when we grow closer to Him (Eph. 4:11-16) and when we reach out to those around us with the love of Christ (Luke 9:2).
About Christian Living
The Christian life seeks through the grace of God and the power of the Spirit to live out the way of Jesus every day. We are flawed, imperfect people, but God in his mercy is transforming us more and more into His image. Together as a church, we cling to the cross of Christ as we grow in sacrifice, service and self-emptying love (Rom. 12:1-2; Gal. 5:22-25; 2 Cor. 3:18).