Members of the churches of Christ hold that the Biblical writers were inspired of God. Therefore, we believe that the New Testament (N.T.) is without error and contains the final and complete revelation from God to man (John 16:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Jude 3). The N.T. teaches that the Old Law was “blotted out, taken out of the way, and nailed to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). When the Old Law was abolished, the new and better covenant went into effect (Heb. 8:6-7, 9:15-18). Following the N.T. as the rule of “faith and practice” and the O.T. as an “example or tutor” (Hebrews 8:5; Rom. 15:4; Gal. 3:24); members of the church of Christ purpose to speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where it is silent.
Congregations, like the one here at Southwest, realize that the whole structure of Christianity rests upon the divinity of Christ and His resurrection (I Corinthians 15:14). This means that only Christ has the authority to say what the church is and what Christians should teach. We believe the church today should be the same as that found in the N.T. scriptures. It should be the same in name, organization, worship, law of conversion, and in the principles of Christians living.
In the N.T. we find a pattern for true worship.
Christians are to assemble regularly: (Heb 10:25)
When assembled they are to:
Pray (I Thes 5:17; I Tim 2:1-3)
Sing praises (Col 3:16; Eph 5:19)
Teach or hear teaching (Acts 20:7)
Partake of the Lord’s Supper weekly (I Corinthians 11:23-27)
Give of their means (I Cor. 16:1,2)
When you visit, you will meet people, just like you, who sincerely want to learn and follow the teachings of the Bible so that we can please God with our lives. You will hear sermons and class lessons, based on “book, chapter, and verse”. We encourage members and visitors alike to bring their Bibles and follow along. We “strive” to do Bible things in Bible ways, to call Bible things by Bible names, nothing more or less (I Timothy 4:10).
How is the church of Christ organized?
The church of Christ refers to the entire body of faithful believers, through-out the world, who have obeyed Christ’s commands and have been added to His church (Acts 2:47). It has no earthly head- quarters and no universal organization. Each congregation is autonomous or “self-ruled” and is independent of every other congregation because that is the pattern set in the New Testament. The organizational pattern of the church is divine in origin because it has been established by God.
No man serves as earthly head over the church. Jesus Christ is recognized as the supreme ruler over the church (Colossians 1:18). Christ has delegated authority in the management of the local congregation to the elders, pastors, or bishops; three different terms referring to the very same office (Acts 20:17, 28; Eph 4:11; I Timothy 3:1; Titus 1:5). The N.T. indicates a plurality of elders in every congregation (Acts 11:30; 14:23). The qualifications are described in detail within (I Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:5-9). In the N.T. these men are never shown as having authority over multiple congregations, only the one in which they serve.
The church of Christ also has men known as preachers, ministers (I Timothy 2:7; 4:6), or evangelists (II Timothy 4:5). We do not refer to our preachers with the term "Pastor" since this term, as used in the N.T., refers to those men who have the oversight of the congregation. Neither do our preachers assume religious titles such as "Reverend," inasmuch as this term is used only one time in the Bible (Psalms 111:9) in reference to God. We believe the N.T. makes no distinction between so-called "clergy" and "laity," and that “full-time” preachers are no more holy or worthy of titles than any other member of the church.