Many people hesitate to visit a church unless they know what it will be like when they go. We hope this introduction will help you know what to expect when you come and visit with us at the Margaret Street church of Christ.
We Are Not a Denomination . . . .
Neither are we inter-denominational. It is our sincere desire to be non-denominational, to wear no other name than Christ's, and to be known simply as Christians, members of the body of Christ, just as the New Testament Christians were (Acts 11:26; Eph.1:22-23). Collectively we refer to ourselves as the church of Christ, the Lord's church, or some other scriptural description to identify ourselves as saved people belonging to Christ (Romans 16:16, Eph. 5:23).
God's Word Is The Seed . . .
We want to be the same church as that set forth in the New Testament. It is our intent to be identified with the Christians of the first century. We believe this is possible to all who will learn, believe and be guided by the plain teaching in God's Word. Jesus declared the word of God to be "the seed of the Kingdom" (Luke 8:11). He was emphasising a known fact of nature, that specific kinds of seed, when planted, will always produce after their own kind (Gen. 1:11). For example, wheat seed will produce wheat, corn seed will produce corn, etc. In like manner when the word of God is planted in the hearts of good and honest people, and when believed and obeyed, it will produce Christians, just as it did in the first century - nothing more and nothing less. They are then added, by the Lord, to His church (Acts 2:47).
The Church Has No Earthly, Human Head
There is no man, or group of men, who legislate for the church of the Lord which meets here in Joliet. We have no one to answer to except Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the HEAD of the church (Col. 1:18). There is no human head. As was true in the first century, there is no inter-congregational organisation. Congregations of the Lord's people in different locations function independently of each other, each having Christ as Lord. According to the authority of Christ, when a church matures to the point where two or more men meet the qualifications, overseers (also called bishops, elders, and pastors in the New Testament and are varying descriptive terms for the same office) are appointed to look after all the affairs of the local church. Such men are appointed when they meet all the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. They have the responsibility to "feed the flock" with spiritual food, found only in the scriptures, and are to be examples for others (1 Pet. 5:1-5) - (see 1 Pet. 2:1-2, Heb. 5:12-14). In churches of Christ, preachers are not "pastors" (unless they meet the qualifications cited above), but are simply teachers of the Gospel. Preachers also do not wear any special titles such as "Reverend, Father, etc." That practice is a clear violation of plain Scriptural teaching.
The Bible is Our Only Guide
Therefore we have no man-made creeds to follow. We are governed in faith and in conduct by the Bible alone. While recognising the guiding principles of the Old Testament, we cling to the new and better covenant of grace given by Christ in the New Testament, and try to follow the pattern He has given us in His word (Heb. 1:1-2; 8:6, 1 Pet. 4:11, Acts 2:42). We accept the Bible as being both verbally inspired and infallible in content (2 Pet.1:20-21; 1 Cor. 2:11-13). Consequently, when the Bible speaks upon any given subject, its pronouncement is accepted as final. By its own testimony, no one may alter a single word with impunity (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19). Being inspired by God, there are no contradictions within its pages.
Our Plea for Unity
We plead for unity among all who obediently respond to the doctrine and commandments given in the New Testament. This is the desire and prayer of Jesus, and the plea of the apostles (John 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:1-6). We believe unity is possible, or Jesus would not have prayed for and taught 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 unity we plead.
What is Done in Our Assembly
Our worship procedures are simple, spiritual and orderly - mindful of the words of Jesus who said, "True worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24). While true and spiritual worship does evoke emotions, the disorderly and frenzied emotionalism found in many churches today is absent here. Reverence for God and His will are valued highly and each element of worship finds its origin in the commands and examples found in the New Testament.
SINGING. The entire assembly joins in singing gospel songs. There are no choirs or special groups, but simply congregational singing. Since there is no evidence in the New Testament that the early church used mechanical musical instruments to accompany their singing, we therefore do not use them in our worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16, 1Cor. 14:15).
PRAYER. The congregation is led in prayers by various 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 Tim. 2:1-4). As Jesus taught, we pray to the heavenly Father in Jesus' name (John 16:23).
PREACHING. 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 such claims - just plain Bible teaching and study. It is sufficient (2Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3).
THE LORD'S SUPPER. Like the church during 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 the fruit of the vine (grape juice) as memorials of the body and blood of Jesus (1 Cor. 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 Cor. 16:1-2). Should you attend our Sunday Service when the collection is taken, you are not expected to give. This is the responsibility of the members, not our guests.
Who We Are
We are a group of men and women - Christians - 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 Pet. 4:15-16), followers of Christ, and we comprise a church that is "of Christ" (Romans 16:16). We do not wear or accept any designations not found in the Scriptures, and we do not subscribe to any creed written by fallible men. Christ is our only creed, the Bible our only guide.
We are striving to be a church after the pattern found in the New Testament - in how we become Christians and in how we live as Christians; in what we teach; in the work we do as a church; and in the way we are organised.
We are trying to speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where the Bible is silent, to do Bible things in Bible ways and to call Bible things by Bible names. We are interested in honouring God, in following Christ, and in learning, doing and teaching only God's Word.
We are your neighbours, your fellow-workers, and your fellow-students. We are Christians who desire that all men be saved, just as God does (Luke 19:10, 1 Tim. 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9). When you visit our assembly, you will be warmly received. We believe this to be the attitude of those who truly love God and fellow mankind. We hope that you will come to know us and count us as your friends.
Presented by the Cape Rd Church of Christ.