Richmond Church of Christ
About the Church (Greek: ekklesia)
BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION
Many people hesitate to visit a church unless they know what it will be like when they go. Perhaps we can help you to know what to expect in your visit to us.
WE ARE NOT A DENOMINATION
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said to Peter that “on this rock I will build My church.” It is our sincere desire to be the church that Jesus built and be known simply as Christians, members of the body of Christ (Acts 11:26; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 5:23).
WE STRIVE TO BE THE SAME CHURCH DESCRIBED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
It is our purpose to be identified with the Christians of the first century. We believe this to be possible to all who will learn, believe, and be guided by the plain teaching of God’s word. Jesus declared, “The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the earth” (Genesis 1:11-12). God’s design is specific kinds of seed, when planted, will always produce after their kind. For example, wheat will always produce wheat. In like manner the word of God, when planted in the good and honest hearts of people, those who hold it fast and bear fruit with perseverance, will produce growing, maturing Christians just as it did in the first century (Luke 8:15). The apostle Peter exhorts Christians to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). See Planting Seeds for The Gospel and What Must I Do To Be Saved?
WE HAVE NO HUMAN CREED
There is no man, or group of men, who legislate for the church. We have no one to answer to but Christ. He is the head of the church (Colossians 1:18), which leaves no room for any human head. As was true in the first century, so also there is no intercongregational organization, but rather independent congregations in different locations with Christ as Lord and Master. According to the authority of Christ, when a congregation matures to the point where men meet the qualifications, shepherds (also called elders, bishops, overseers or pastors) are appointed to look after the spiritual welfare of the congregation. Such men are appointed by the members of the church using the qualifications listed by Paul (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). Shepherds have the responsibility to “feed the flock” with the spiritual food found in the scriptures, and to be examples for others to see (1 Peter 5:1-3). Our preachers are not “pastors” (unless they meet the qualifications, and are so appointed) but are simply teachers of the gospel. See the book Elders and Deacons by JB Myers.
THE BIBLE IS OUR ONLY BOOK OF RULES
Therefore we have no man-written creed books to follow. We are governed in faith and conduct by the Bible alone. While recognizing the guiding principles of the Old Testament, we seek to conform to the rules and patterns of the New Testament (Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Peter 3:11). We accept the Bible as being both verbally inspired and infallible in content (2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 2:11-13). Consequently, when the Bible speaks upon any given subject, it’s pronouncement is accepted as final. By its own testimony, no one may with impunity alter a single word of it. (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19).
OUR PLEA FOR UNITY
We plead for unity among all who obediently respond to the doctrine and commands given in the New Testament. Such is in harmony with the prayer of Jesus and the pleading of the apostles (John 17:20-21; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1-6). We consider such unity to be possible, or Jesus would not have prayed for it. Since division has always been the result of departure from God’s pattern, we believe division can be healed by a return to the revealed truth of God’s word. For this we plead.
WHAT IS AT OUR ASSEMBLIES?
Our assembled worship procedures are simple, spiritual and orderly, key-noted by the words of Jesus, who said, “true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24). Absent is the frenzied emotionalism so common in some churches today. Each element of worship finds it’s origin in the commands and examples found in the New Testament.
The entire assembly joins in singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. There is no choir or special groups, but simple congregational singing. We find no evidence in the New Testament that the early church used mechanical instruments to accompany their singing, therefore we do not use them in our worship either (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
The congregation is led in prayer by men in the assembly. We pray, not only to praise and thank God, but also to ask for our needs and the needs of others (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
The lessons and sermons are designed to teach God’s word so as to encourage compliance by those who listen. It has become increasingly popular for preachers to appear sensational, by discussing subjects not revealed in the Bible, and even laying claims to miraculous powers. We make no claim for sensationalism … just a period of plain Bible teaching and study.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
Like the church in the time the New Testament was written, we partake of the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The supper consists of unleavened bread, and fruit of the vine as memorials of the body and blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:20-36).
GIVING AS WE PROSPER
We do not take up a collection every time we meet, but only on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Should you attend our Sunday service, you are not expected to give. This is the responsibility of our members, not our guests.
WHO ARE WE THEN?
We are a group of God fearing men and women, young and old, who have formed and constitute a congregation such as those described in the New Testament. We are simply Christians (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:15-16), followers of Christ. We comprise a church which is “of Christ” (Romans 16:16).
We do not wear or accept any designations that are not found in the scriptures, and we do not subscribe to any creed drawn up by fallible men. Christ is our only creed, the Bible is our only guide. We are striving to be a church after the pattern found in the New Testament … in how we become Christians, and how we live as Christians; in what we teach; in the work we do as a church; in the way we are organized. We are trying to speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Bible is silent, doing Bible things in Bible ways, and to call Bible things by Bible names. We are interested in honoring God, in following Christ, and in learning, doing, and teaching God’s word.
We are your neighbors, your fellow-workers, and your fellow-students. We are people saved from sin, who are interested in the salvation of others.
We want heaven to be both our eternal home, and yours.
PLEASE COME AND WORSHIP WITH US
When you visit our assemblies, you will be received friendly, kindly, and courteously. We believe this to be the natural attitude of those who truly love God and mankind. Though you may at first be among strangers, we hope you will come to know us well, and count us as your friends.