We are unashamedly a member of the global movement of churches known as the Churches of Christ, the Disciples of Christ and the Christian Churches (depending on what part of the world you find yourself in) which are part of the Stone-Campbell/Restoration family of Churches and can be found in 199 countries. However, one of our foundations as a movement is our autonomy in both governance and local expression which means that every Church of Christ can look and feel different.
This is not just limited to the architecture and worship style, but also to the foundational beliefs of each local congregation. Another distinctive of the Churches of Christ is our commitment to having ‘no creed but Christ’ meaning that we do not hold to the man-made doctrines and creeds as a measure of a person’s faith in Jesus which allows us the grace to operate within another of our maxims, “In essentials Unity, in non-essentials Liberty and in all things, love.”
But to give you a sense of where we sit theologically, here are some beliefs that we hold true: We believe that Jesus is who he says he is, and that no one comes to God as Father, but through Him (John 14:6); We believe that there is only one God, eternally existent in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; We believe that the Bible is God’s Holy Word and is therefore applicable to our everyday lives; We believe that sin has separated each of us from God and His purpose for our lives; We believe that in order to receive forgiveness we must repent of our sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and submit to His will for our lives; We believe in the centrality of believer’s baptism by full immersion – that while it is not a magical event – it is a vitally important witness before our community of the difference that Jesus has made, is making and will make to my life, and the lives of those around me.
Baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Jesus Christ; We believe in the centrality of Communion – The Lord’s Supper has its origins in the Jewish Passover Feast celebrating the mercy of God and the delivery of the Jews out of slavery and into the Promised Land. Similarly, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are delivered out of sin to eternal life.
Through sharing the elements of bread and wine, as commanded by Jesus, we remember the new covenant made by His crucifixion and resurrection. We share communion at every worship service; We believe in the Priesthood of All Believers – All Christians have an ongoing responsibility to learn about God, seek His will, read His Word, care for His church, pray for those who do not know Him and proclaim His word. As Jesus Christ is our High Priest, there is no need to go through any religious hierarchy in order to achieve this and He has made us all priests. He is our head and we are the body, each with our own purpose, our own gifts and responsibility; We believe that God has individually equipped us so that we can successfully live into His will for our lives which is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (worship) and love everyone else (mission); We believe that Jesus will come again (as promised) and our eternal place with God is determined by our earthly response to His life, teaching, death and resurrection.