Beliefs & Practices
The church of Christ is a place for questions. The beliefs listed here are common to our congregation, but there is no common creed that joins us other than a belief in God and a desire to learn about God in community and through the scripture.
The Bible is Inspired, not Infallible
The Bible is scripture and is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). It bears witness to the prophets who communicated what God spoke to them (2 Peter 1:21). But, the Bible is not infallible or inerrant (Jeremiah 8:7-10).
The Bible is the cornerstone of our faith. The Holy Spirit writes its truth upon our hearts (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, John 16:13, 1 John 5:6). Upon the scripture, our faith is based, tested by the Spirit of Truth (1 Corinthians 3:11-13). The Bible should be studied, not taken uncritically (Acts 17:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 John 4:1).
Scripture bears witness to the Word of God that in John’s Gospel is identified as Jesus Christ himself. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus (Matt 28:18), and the authority of scripture must derive from that authority. The purpose of the Bible is to bear witness to the life, message, and hope of Christ Jesus (John 5:39-40).
Creeds and Doctrines
No one will tell you what to think.
We have "no book but the Bible, no creed but Christ, no law but love." It is not the practice of this congregation to impose any doctrine or creed upon its members. Rather, we gather to study the scriptures together and share what the Spirit has placed upon each one’s heart. Revelation of truth is the work of the Holy Spirit and is accomplished through study of the scripture (Matthew 4:4, Psalm 119:11, Romans 15:4). Differences in belief are expected and accepted (Romans 14:13, Colossians 4:6, 1 Peter 3:15). This is because each one has a unique perspective as part of the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5, Ephesians 4:3-6). Instead, we attempt to put aside anything that may be a stumbling block to the faith of others (Romans 14:1-3).
God loves you and calls you to eternal life.
The goal of salvation is both to live life to its fullest here and now (John 10:10), as well as to live eternally with God (John 14:1-3, Dan 12:2-3, Luke 14:14, John 5:28-29, 6:40, Acts 24:15, Phil 3:21).
As the scriptures say, salvation is the gift of God, by God’s grace, through faith, and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-10). Christ atoned for the sins of all people (Rom 6:10, 2 Cor 5:15, 1 Peter 3:18-22), not just one nation or group. All people have the free will to choose to respond to the grace of God (Gal 5:13, John 7:17). We recognize a pattern in the New Testament in which people come to salvation in the following way: they hear the Gospel, believe, repent of their sins, confess that Jesus is the Christ, and are baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:14-47, 8:5-13, 8:35-39, 9:17-18, 10:34-48, 16:13-15, 16:30-34; Galatians 3:26-29).
Equality and Community in Christ
We are all family and every voice matters.
The thesis of scripture is Love (Mark 12:28-33, Matthew 7:12). We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. All of humanity is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). No one is made more or less in the image of God because of race, gender, or any other status. We are all God’s children (Luke 3:38) and siblings in Christ (Matthew 23:8). God shows no partiality between us (Proverbs 20:10, Acts 10:34-35, Romans 2:11). No one is greater or lesser than any other (Galatians 3:26-29, Colossians 3:10-11). We are all God’s priests (1 Peter 2:9), and Christ is our High Priest (Hebrews 7:23-28). There is therefore no distinction between clergy and laity. There are different roles within the church (1 Corinthians 12:17), but these may be performed by any person.
Communion (Lord’s Supper)
The Lord’s Supper is remembered every week. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial and the bread and wine are symbolic of Christ’s body and blood. Everyone is welcome to participate in Communion. There are no credentials necessary to serve or participate in Communion because the Lord did not establish any in scripture (Mark 14:22-26, Matt 26:26-30, Luke 22:14-20). Unleavened bread is served because the Lord’s Supper was a Passover meal (Luke 22:14-20). Grape juice is substituted for wine so as not to tempt those who struggle with addiction (1 Cor 8).
No covenant established between God and humanity has ever been abolished or replaced. Such an interpretation is not found in scripture, nor is it consistent with the text of scripture. If it were not so, then Jesus could not have been a priest in the order of Melchizedek (Heb 7:13-17). For by the time of Moses, let alone the time of Jesus, there was no longer a priesthood of Melchizedek. But because God had established such a priesthood, it was established for all time. So Jesus became a high priest in the order of Melchizedek because an order established by God could never truly be made extinct. God made covenants with Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Issac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David, and through Jesus, with all the world (Luke 22:20, John 13:34-35).
Wait, isn’t it a sin to be gay?
NO, it is not a sin to be gay.
There is no condemnation of being gay anywhere in scripture. There are six passages that have historically been used to condemn the LGBTQIA+ community. None of them are being faithfully translated or interpreted.
All of these scriptures say the same thing as 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. A translation faithful to the original language follows:
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor pedophiles, nor narcissists, nor thieves, nor hoarders, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
All these scriptures condemn pedophilia, but have been translated as condemning gay men. This is a distortion of the scripture that we cannot tolerate. How can we call something a sin that the Bible does not?
Is it a sin to be transgender?
NO, it is not a sin to be transgender.
Trans men are men. Trans women are women. You are exactly the person God made you to be, in God’s image, just like it says in the story of creation. In Genesis 1, God separated “light” from “darkness” to create “day” and “night,” but of course there’s also dawn and dusk, those times perfectly between the two where the sun and moon share the sky. God separated “land” from “sea,” but there are marshes. God separated the salt water from the fresh, but there are brackish swamps and river deltas.
Every binary God created, there is a non-binary spectrum between, and that includes God’s creation of humanity as “man” and “woman.” How can it be a sin to be transgender? In Genesis 1:26 it says “God created humanity in God’s own image.” That means every human being: man, woman, and everyone in-between and besides.
Science is Real
Christians are called to embrace the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). We cannot be followers of the way of Christ unless we are always seeking truth (John 14:6). If we are not truthful, how can we spread the Gospel? Who will believe us when we speak of Christ's miracles (2 Tim 2:15)? Who will believe us when we speak of God's love (1 Cor 13:4-6, Eph 4:15)?
Science is the search for truth through direct observation and study, just as was encouraged in the scriptures (Joshua 1:8, Proverbs 4:6-7). We cannot bury our heads in the sand but must keep open minds, embracing wisdom from the scripture, as well as that which is revealed through nature (Psalms 19:1-2). While science as we know it today is not mentioned in scripture, we have the example of those who studied the stars, astronomers, called magi in Matthew 2.
So as Christians, when wise men bring their gifts, when Wisdom calls out at the gate, we really do need to listen. Like the Bereans, we need to be critical of all we read and hear, that we may grow in wisdom.
Some Words to Live By
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
For the Word of God is not hidden from you, neither is it beyond your reach. It is not in heaven that you should say, who will ascend to heaven and bring it back? Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say, who will cross the sea and bring it back? But God's Word is very near, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
What use is it if someone says they have faith, but do nothing with it? Does that faith lead to salvation? Suppose someone is without clothes and food. If one says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith without action is worthless.
All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were buried with him through baptism. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united also with him in a resurrection to new life.