Why We Believe In The Church

W. Terry Varner
October 29, 2017

It is good to stop, pause, and reflect on the church as set forth in the New Testament comparing whether what we believe and practice at Harmar Hill matches with the practice of the New Testament church. How do we match with the teaching of the Scriptures and the early church? We believe in the importance of the church in the sense that we believe in the importance of prayer and in the essentiality of living a godly life. In the following short article, we believe what the Bible teaches about the church and we are ready to give a reason for our doing so (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). We find the following clear and simple biblical traits of the New Testament church and what we believe and practice.

The Name: While the New Testament uses various names to identify those who have been baptized into Christ (cf. Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:24-29), the name “churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16) was used to identify the New Testament church.

The Organization. The Bible teaches that the church in the first century had no local headquarters, but that each congregation was autonomous; i.e. self-governing. It might be difficult to understand that while the early church spread throughout the Roman Empire (cf. Col. 1:23) that they were autonomous, i.e. without any headquarters. How did they function? God commanded congregations appoint qualified men to serve as elders who had oversight only in the local congregation. Elders were assisted in the work of the local congregation by deacons (cf. Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1; 1 Peter 5:1-3).

The Creed. All religious groups have a creed, even the church established by Jesus (cf. Matt. 16:18). The word creed means “a system of belief.” The church in New Testament times had a system of belief; i.e. they believed the revelation of God. We can state it in this manner: The church believes only the Bible properly understood and properly interpreted (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3; Rom. 16:17-19; Jude 3).

Members Name: The members composing the early church were known as Christians; i.e. one who belongs to Christ (cf. Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). That should be sufficient.

Items of Worship. The early churchy only had five items of Lord’s Day worship: Singing (cf. Eph. 5:19), Prayer (cf. Acts 2:42), Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-26), Giving (cf. 1 Cor. 16:1-2), and Teaching or Preaching (cf. Acts 2:42). We must do no more nor no less.

Terms of Membership: All organizations have terms of membership. The New Testament church was no different. All members believed, repented, confessed Christ, and were baptized (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-47). God set the terms of membership and no man may change them and please God.

They Insisted on Godly Lives. The early Christians came out of sin after having been subject to the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). As members they were to, “live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12). Christians must daily honor this principle living for Jesus.

Church as the Pillar and Ground of the Truth. The church was the pillar and ground of the truth meaning that the first century church was the foundation and bulwark of upholding the truth to the world of sin (cf. 1 Tim. 3 :15). The present-day church must be more militant in upholding the truth of God to a lost world.

Other reasons exist why we believe the church of Christ today is the church of the New Testament, but these ought to motivate us to do our part to be indeed His church.