Members of The Arab church of Christ are "Christians only" who have banded together to glorify God, edify one another and do the Lord’s work in Northern Alabama. We believe that the only creed for man today is the Bible. As such, we shy away from writing what may appear to be formalized statements of faith. The Scriptures are God’s Word and are profitable to teach us, reprove us, correct us and train us in righteousness, making each one of us complete and equipped for every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is all we need. However, we are happy to let you know some of the common themes we teach from the Bible.
We teach God is the creator of all things (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 3:4). We also teach the deity of God includes the Father, the Son (manifested in the flesh by Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19).
We teach that God the Father sent His Son, Jesus to save the world from sin (I John 2:2) and to establish His kingdom on earth which is His church (Matthew 16:18-19). We teach that this kingdom was established while some of the people whom Jesus taught were still alive (Mark 9:1; Acts 2) and that the Father has transferred the redeemed into that kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13-14). We teach that Jesus will return one day to judge the living and the dead (John 5:27-29). When He does return, He will call the saved to be with Him forever in heaven (I Thessalonians 4:14-18), He will judge those who have not believed and obeyed His gospel (I Thessalonians 5:3; II Thessalonians 1:5-10) and destroy the material universe (II Peter 3:10).
According to Luke 19:10, Jesus Christ came to seek and to save those who are lost. He came as the perfect sacrifice, the lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29, 36), to die in our place so that we, through Him, might die to sin instead of dying because of our sins (Romans 6:1-8; II Corinthians 5:14-15). Without the sacrifice of Jesus, no man could be saved because all men have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1-3).
THE GRACE OF GOD
We teach that no one can earn his/her way to salvation. Having sinned, any righteous-ness we might pursue now is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Any obedience we perform today is merely doing what we ought to have done and cannot possibly pay for the sins we have committed in the past (Luke 17:7-10). We are saved by God’s grace, without which no one can be saved (Ephesians 2:4-8).
The grace of God instructs and trains us to deny ungodliness and live self-controlled, up-right and godly lives (Titus 2:11-13). That being the case, we teach that salvation through God’s grace is not universal to all men apart from how they believe and behave. II Thessalonians 1:5-12 teaches those who do not know God and do not obey His gospel will be punished with eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord. Therefore, while we cannot earn God’s grace, we must obey the instruction of His grace if we would partake in it.
ADDED TO CHRIST'S BODY
Romans 10:9-10 says those who believe and confess Jesus will be saved. Acts 2:38 says those who repent and are baptized for the remission of their sins will receive the Spirit’s gift of salvation. Which of these two passages is correct? We teach they are both correct. If we wish to participate in God’s grace, we must believe Jesus and confess our faith in Him. Further, we must rethink our own actions, turning from our sins. Then we must submit to Jesus Christ in baptism (immersion in water) for the remission of those sins. At that point, God adds us to the number of the saved (Acts 2:47). We are forgiven, redeemed, sanctified and justified.
LIVING IN CHRIST
Having become children of God by the blood of Jesus Christ, Romans 6 teaches we must now submit ourselves to Christ, walking in the Spirit. We are not free to live as we choose, but have become slaves of righteousness. If we again submit ourselves to sin as its slaves, we will again earn the wages of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23). If we turn from faith in Jesus Christ, we will be severed from the body of Christ; we will fall from and no longer participate in the grace God offers (Galatians 5:4). If we entangle ourselves again in the defilements of the world, we will be like pigs who have been washed but returned to the mire or dogs who return to their own vomit and our state as fallen Christians is worse even than our state before we became Christians at all (II Peter 2:20-22). As such, we teach it is important to individually grow in Christ.
MAKING OUR ELECTION SURE
Though our individual goal is to grow to perfection in Jesus Christ, we teach progress not perfection. Christianity is about continual growth no matter how long we have been walking with the Lord. II Peter 1:5-11 says we make our election sure not because we have finally attained perfection today, but because we are increasing the following characteristics:
- FAITH Believing in God, but also believing God and trusting that His way works
- VIRTUE Doing the right thing because it is the right thing
- KNOWLEDGE Getting God’s word into our heads and our hearts
- SELF CONTROL Doing what is right in the face of persuasion to do otherwise
- STEADFASTNESS Stringing moments of self-control together even in the face of persecution
- GODLINESS Honoring God and revering Him with every action
- BROTHERLY AFFECTION Treating our brethren with kindness, tender-heartedness and forgiveness
- LOVE Obeying God from the heart and seeking what is best for others
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Our goal is to use our “talents” (Matthew 25:14-30) to bear fruit for God’s glory (John 15:8). When we are sowing to the Spirit instead of to the flesh, we know we will produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23). That is the goal we teach every Christian. Therefore, we are constantly working to grow in.
IN JESUS' NAME
Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father though Him” (ESV). We believe each Christian must live his/her life in accord with and based upon the authority of Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament. This is not merely a matter of what local congregations do, but how individual Christians act. We seek the blessing, permission and authority of Jesus for how we behave.
THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL
We teach that Jesus came into the world to establish one church (Matthew 16:18) made up of all the saved of all time in every place (Acts 2:47). It is the spiritual kingdom of Christ, the new and heavenly Jerusalem, Mt. Zion and the general assembly of all those granted the blessing of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:22-24) and the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:23-25, 31-32). This church has no divisions, no sub-categories, no denominations. It has no earthly head. Its only head and shepherd is Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; I Peter 5:4).
While Jesus established only one universal body of believers, Christians in general geographical locations band together to form local congregations as seen especially in the letters to the churches (I Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:2; Revelation 1:4). While there are many congregations, these congregations are not connected through any formal hierarchy or superstructure. Rather, each individual congregation is autonomous or self-governed. When men are qualified, each congregation should establish bishops, also known as pastors, elders, shepherds, overseers to shepherd the flock of God among them (Acts 14:23; I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; I Peter 5:1-4). These men have authority to lead and feed within the local congregation, based upon the direction of the Chief Shepherd through His word, but have no authority beyond that and must not establish some office over more than one congregation. The congregation is served by deacons, men who have devoted their lives to ministering within the congregation at the direction of the shepherds (Acts 6:1-6; Philippians 1:1; I Timothy 3:8-13). The congregation is often taught by evangelists whose job is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to lost and saved alike. His role as teacher among the congregation is described in I Timothy, II Timothy and Titus.
THE HIGHEST RANK IN THE LORD'S CHURCH
While there are special roles God has established for His church, there is no higher rank than saint either universally or locally. We do not seek to climb up the ladder to higher ranks within the church and lord our authority over the brethren. Rather, once we have been baptized into Christ and saved by His grace, we are as high in the kingdom and church as we will be. We are all the least of these who have become the greatest in the kingdom (Matthew 11:11).
GIVE GLORY TO GOD
According to Ephesians 3:21, the over-arching purpose of the body of Christ is to give glory to God. The local congregation, as a visible representation of the Lord’s body in a given locale, is also charged with this great work. Revelation 4:8-11 provides insight to this work showing that giving glory to God means worshipping Him, declaring His worth, lifting Him up as we humble and cast ourselves down. Our duty is not to proclaim ourselves or glorify our work, our programs, our plans, our size, our building. Our duty is to point the glory to God. Leviticus 10:1-3 also gives us guidance about giving glory to God. Those who would draw near to God must glorify Him. We can only do that when we do the work He has given us His way. When we do what "we" feel is good and right without gaining God’s approval through Scripture, we are not glorifying Him. As such, we strive to find authority from the New Testament for everything we do.
PILLAR & BUTTRESS OF THE TRUTH
According to I Timothy 3:15, the purpose of Christ’s church is to be the pillar and buttress of the truth. The church’s job is not to discover the truth or decide what is truth. The church’s job is to uphold the truth God has revealed. Of course, John 14:6 explains that Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life.” Upholding the truth means upholding Jesus for the world to see. That means upholding who Jesus is, what He stands for, what He said through His word. The purpose for upholding the truth is explained in John 8:32, in which Jesus explained that the truth will set us free. We are not interested in upholding a set of rules to explain how right we are. Rather, we are interested in learning and showing the truth to lost and saved alike because it is only by Jesus and His way that we may come to the Father and be set free from our own sins. We uphold God’s truth because God’s way works.
LIMITED TO GOD'S WORK
We believe there are all kinds of good causes in the world today. However, the church’s mission is not to be spread thin accomplishing every good and noble cause. Rather, God has established the church to glorify Him and uphold the truth so people may be set free. We must not be distracted by other things (cf. Luke 10:41-42). Therefore, we do not get involved in politics, social welfare, recreation, entertainment, secular education, etc. Just as organizations like the American Cancer Society or the American Diabetes Association understand that they cannot accomplish their mission if they divide their efforts and resources to accomplish someone else’s mission, we recognize that we will never be able to give glory to God or uphold the truth properly if we strive to divide our efforts and resources to accomplish other missions. While we encourage and teach our members as individuals to be engaged in all manner of good deeds, we reserve the church’s resources for the work God has given it.