Simply put: we believe the Bible. We believe all of the Bible and only the Bible. We hold to no creed or doctrine which men have written, but hold fast to the sound doctrine found in the New Testament. As Paul wrote, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3-4). Many today follow the doctrines of men in addition to or in place of the Holy Scriptures. This “vain worship” (Matthew 15:9) accomplishes nothing but tickling the ears of the hearer (2 Timothy 4:3). It does not bring men closer to God. That is only accomplished by study and application of the Holy Word. Jesus said, “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). We believe the Bible is a unique book written by God. It claims to be inspired and through fulfilled prophecy it proves itself to be inspired. By studying the word of God we can be equipped for every good work. The Bible is all we need. There is no need for books of men, nor will there ever be new information that comes from God. Paul wrote, “even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8). We cannot add to or take away from God’s word (Revelation 22:18-19) but rather must “accurately” handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). God has “granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). He left nothing out, there is nothing more to be revealed. We have all that we need to be equipped for every good work. All we need is the Bible.
As the complete, inspired word, the Bible is our authority for all that we believe and practice. We want a “book, chapter and verse” to demonstrate God’s approval because authority is found in the written word. As Paul wrote: “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment” (1 Corinthians 14:37). “By revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:3-5).
By the authority of God as found in the Holy Scriptures we believe the following about salvation:
- All men have sinned and are guilty before God (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23).
- “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:23).
- To be “in Christ Jesus” is the condition upon which God promises salvation. “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
- Our redemption is “through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Ephesians 1:7). God has chosen us “in Him” (Ephesians 1:4) to become sons “through Jesus Christ to Himself” (Ephesians 1:5). He has given us His grace, “which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).
- God is not one to show partiality. Salvation is for all men of every nation who will fear Him and do what is right (Acts 10:34). Therefore, we do not show partiality. All are welcome.
- A process of conversion is seen from studying the book of Acts which demonstrates the need to hear the gospel (Acts 8:12; 16:14), believe Jesus is the son of God (Acts 16:31), repent of sin (Acts 2:38), confess Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 8:37), and be baptized (Acts 2:38; 8:12; 8:38; 9:18; 10:48; 16:15; 16:33).
- Baptism is essential for salvation. It is what puts one into a relationship with God. It is how we get “in Christ”. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3). Baptism is “for the remission of sin” (Acts 2:38), is taught by Jesus as the means by which we become His disciple (Matthew 28:18-20) and without baptism we cannot enter the Kingdom (John 3:3-5). We believe it is very true that “baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21).
- Once a person is “in Christ” it is essential that they feed on the milk of the word that they may grow to maturity (1 Peter 2:2). No one will know everything at the point they are baptized, but will need to learn the truth more deeply as they study. This means changes will need to take place in our lives as we apply what we have learned. This is born out in Colossians 3 which teaches the need to put off and “lay aside the old self with its evil practices” and “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Colossians 3:8-9). We must “put on” a correct heart, a correct attitude and correct practices (Colossians 3:12-25).
- We must “be faithful until death” (Revelation 2:10).
By the authority of God as found in the Holy Scriptures we believe the following about the church:
- Jesus died to establish His church (Matthew 16:18). There is only one church (Ephesians 4:4 calling it “one body” which agrees with the context of Ephesians 1:22-23). The imagery of Ephesians 5:22-33 compares Christ’s relationship to the church with that of a husband and bride. There is only one bride. We reject the concept of denominationalism for they each demand their own book of dcotrine and all claim to be pleasing God. This disagrees with Scripture (see the first three paragraphs above).
- The organization of the church as found in Scripture is very simple. Jesus Christ is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23). He is the authority for all that we believe and do. No one can make law other than Jesus Christ. Because Jesus now reigns sitting at the right hand of God (Ephesians 1:20), there is no earthly headquarters for the church. In fact there is no organization beyond the local congregation. Each congregation is to have elders (Acts 14:23) who are to “shepherd the church of God” (Acts 20:28) as overseers. These are not law makers, but fulfill a role of loving guidance and help being certain we follow the laws of God. They do not lord over the church, but serve as examples (1 Peter 5:3). Elders must meet the Scriptural qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-8; Titus 1:5-9). We also see New Testament examples of deacons in congregations (Philippians 1:1) who must also meet Scriptural qualifications (1 Timothy 3:9-13). The New Caney Church of Christ has two men currently serving as elders, and five serving as deacons.
- The mission of the church as a collective assembly is to be the pillar and support of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15) , benefit the members through edification (Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14; Philippians 2:1-4), and practice benevolence to fellow saints who are in need (Acts 11:27-30).
- Worship to God must be in spirit and in truth (John 4:4) meaning a correct attitude and an approved means. We are to worship on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The reason for the gathering is to remember our Lord’s death through partaking of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7) which we do every Sunday. We pray together (1 Thessalonians 5:17), give as we have been prospered (2 Corinthians 9:6-8) and sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs without the use of mechanical instruments (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). We give attention to the word of God and teaching from the word of God (1 Timothy 4:13; Acts 20:7-11; 2 Timothy 4:1-4).
- There are many other things which an individual has authority to do (James 1:27), but we believe the church (as a collective, and from the treasury) is limited by what can be found in the word of God through means of commands, approved apostlic examples and necessary inferences. We find no authority in Scripture to support institutions from the Lord’s treasury (such as missionary societies or food banks).