The inspiration of the Scriptures
We believe in and teach the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. It is our conviction that the entire Bible is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) and that the very words recorded are exactly what God wanted to be expressed (1 Cor. 2:13; Eph. 3:3-4; 1 Cor. 14:37). We believe the New Testament is the complete revelation from God to man, and only in the New Testament do we have everything that pertains to life and godliness(2 Pet. 1:3; cf. Gal. 1:8,9; Rev. 22:18,19).
The distinctive nature of the church
The church was built by Christ (Matt. 16:16-18), was purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28), and that which He will save (Eph. 5:23-25). The New Testament teaches that the church is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:23; Col. 1:18), and that Christ is the head of that body (Eph 1:22). All authority belongs to Christ. It is the church’s responsibility to obey the commands of Christ because we will be judged by His words (John 12:48). Since the church is the body of Christ, He naturally has only one body. Ephesians 4:4 teaches that there is only one body and that one body is the church. The true church today is comprised only of those congregations who pattern themselves after the church built by Christ and established by the apostles in the New Testament.
The Worship of the church
Jesus said that we are to worship according “to spirit and truth” (John 4:24). He defined the term “truth” for us in John 17:17 where he said that “thy word is truth.” Therefore our worship must be according to the word of God. We are to have authority for everything that we do in worship (Col. 3:16-17). Worship then is not something that is based upon man’s likes or dislikes. It is solely determined by Gods word. The church is only authorized to use of congregational singing. This singing should be with the instrument of the heart, without the use of mechanical instruments (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19). Therefore, only a cappella singing is to be used, and that the entire congregation should engage in that singing. Having a choir replace the congregational singing is not authorized in the Scriptures. In addition, the New Testament teaches that men are to assume the leadership roles in the assembly (1 Tim. 2:8-15; I Cor. 14:34-35), therefore we do not believe it is appropriate to have women serve as group leaders in the congregational singing. We are to also partake of the Lord’s supper every Sunday (Matt. 26:26-29; Acts 20:7). We are only authorized to partake of the Lord’s supper in the same manner as Jesus did, which was instituted during the Passover (Matt. 26:17-18). Jesus would have only used unfermented fruit of the vine and unleavened bread which would have been in accordance with the Passover laws found in Exodus 12 and 13. We also are commanded to have prayers offered by faithful men during our worship to God (1 Tim. 2:8). We are commanded to give of our means every Sunday (1 Cor. 16:1-2) as a free will offering. It is also commanded that we have preaching every Sunday during our worship ( Acts 20:7, 2 Tim. 4:2). Worship is to be conducted in a decent and orderly manner (1 Cor 14:33).
John instructed in 1 John 1:3-7 that we can only have fellowship with those who have fellowship with God. Those who have fellowship with God are those who are “walking in the light” (1 John 1:7). Thus, it is impossible for us to have unity with, or to offer fellowship to those who do not “obey His commandments” (1 Jn. 2:4). We believe the New Testament teachings are clear enough that we can distinguish those who are in the light from those who are in darkness (Eph. 5:8-17). We equally will not fellowship those who do not abide in all the teachings of Christ (2 John 9-11).
Marriage, divorce, and remarriage
It is our position that the Bible teaches the following truths concerning marriage, divorce, and remarriage:
- God’s original plan, from the beginning, was one man and one woman for life. (Matt. 19:3ff).
- If one marries another, while the first mate lives, he/she is guilty of adultery (Rom. 7:1ff).
- Fornication is the only exception Jesus offers to the above situations. If one’s mate is sexually unfaithful, the innocent party has the right to divorce his/her mate and marry another (Matt. 19:9). We do not teach that the guilty party has the right to remarry. He (or she) forfeited his right when he was unfaithful.
- The so-called “Pauline privilege” of 1 Cor. 7:15 is not an additional reason to divorce and remarry. Paul is allowing one to leave his or her mate under an extreme circumstance but does not provide an additional reason for remarriage. Earlier Paul had stated that if one left his or her mate it left but two options: (1) remain unmarried, or (2) be reconciled to his/her mate (1 Cor. 7:11).
Women Leaders in the Church
It is not a part of God’s plan for women to be allowed leadership roles in the assemblies of His church. Based on the teachings of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, both men and women have divinely specified functions. Those functions include the men leading the worship and the women assuming a submissive position (1 Tim. 2:12). We do not believe these teachings indicate an inferior status for women. The man has been designated by God as the “head” of the wife (Eph. 5:23), and the men are to be the leaders of the church. The New Testament recognized no women as elders. The teachings (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1) are clearly speaking to male leadership, and the examples in the New Testament support this.
Salvation, Grace, Works
The grounds for man’s salvation is the blood of Christ, and God’s grace is manifested by what He did for our salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). Therefore, it is God who determines to whom He extends His grace. He is not going to give His gift of grace to one who disregards His commands in the Gospel, or one who continues in sin (Rom. 6:1-2). God has given man His grace when he came to God through faith and obedience. Therefore, the acts of obedience we do are not to merit or earn our salvation. Those are simply the loving acts done by those wanting to please God (John 14:15). Our works are done to demonstrate our faith (Jas. 2:14-26).
The Scriptures teach that one receives forgiveness of sins when he is baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16). There is no other point in one’s initial obedience where he/she receives forgiveness. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that one be baptized (immersed) to be saved. Otherwise, his/her sins will not be forgiven. The Bible clearly teaches in Acts 8:12 that we must understand the authority (name) of Jesus and understand the essential nature of the Church (the kingdom) prior to baptism. While there are clearly other Biblical steps necessary (hear-Rom. 10:17; believe-Jn. 8:24; repentActs 2:38; confess-Rom. 10:9-10), it is when one emerges from the waters of baptism that he is united with Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal 3:27), he is then added to the Lords church (Acts 2:47)
The Bible clearly teaches that during the first century the Holy Spirit was very active in the lives of the Apostles and many of the Christians. The gift of the Holy Spirit was only able to be transferred to an individual by an apostle “laying hands” on them (Acts 8:18). Upon the death of the last of the Apostles, the gift was no longer able to be given. The Holy Spirit was for the main purpose of bringing comfort (John 14:16) and revealing truth (John 16:13). When truth had been revealed in its complete/perfect state then there was no more need for the Holy Spirit to be given (1 Cor. 13:10; Eph. 4:13). Today we are able to enjoy the completed product of the Holy Spirit every time we open our Bibles and read.
Clearer words cannot be spoken than those of Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Many have tried to justify drinking without getting drunk using such scriptures as John 2 and Ephesians 5:18 and other New Testament verses. These attempts put our Savior in the position of sinning because Habakkuk 2:15 says that a Jew wasn’t to give his neighbor strong drink to drink. If Jesus turned water into alcoholic wine then he not only gave his neighbor strong drink but an entire wedding party! Furthermore, God is a consistent God. If alcohol caused mockery, rage, deception, and one to be a fool under the Old Testament, the principle still applies under the New Testament. Proverbs 23:31 says to not “look upon it when it is red when it turns itself aright in the cup.” If we can’t look at it, how can we drink it? Psalms 75:8, “For in the hand of the LORD there is A CUP, AND THE WINE IS RED; IT IS FULL OF MIXTURE; AND HE POURETH OUT OF THE SAME: BUT THE DREGS THEREOF, ALL THE WICKED OF THE EARTH SHALL WRING THEM OUT, AND DRINK THEM.” What shall be of those who partake of that which the Lord himself has discarded?