How, then, shall we summarize what kind of church we are talking about? Perhaps the following terms will help.
- A Christian Church – Our message is that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” We require no other creed. He alone is Lord and Savior.
- A church of Christ – The church belongs to Him. We have no authority to change the teaching, rewrite the rules, alter membership requirements, or usurp His place.
- A church seeking unity – Like the Campbells and Stone, members of this church seek to be one in Christ with all others He calls His own. That is why our baptism is by immersion, our Communion is every Lord’s Day, our leaders are called elders, our preaching is about Christ, and our prayers are in Christ’s name. Even our church name is rooted in the earliest days, when disciples were called Christians.
- An apostolic church – The church, Ephesians 2:19, 20 states, is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” Whatever we know about Christ and the church we learned from Jesus’ closest companions through the Bible.
- A thinking church – In the same Ephesian letter, Paul prays that God will give “a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him …” Christian faith demands the best our minds can give, so we are a studying church, seeking to apply biblical truth intelligently.
- A feeling church – Ours is not a dryly intellectual approach to God, however. We rejoice and praise and pray and love and serve from the heart. We are unashamed of the gospel and not embarrassed to let our excitement be seen.
- A sharing church – We share our faith and love with as many as we can reach and our possessions as persons who know that everything we have belongs to God to be used for His purposes.
- A free church – We have no bishops or superintendents or national headquarters to determine local church policies. We elect our own leaders, call and support our own ministers, decide where our mission money will go. We are not isolationists, though. Our congregations freely associate with one another to accomplish tasks too big for one church alone.
- A growing church – We want to grow, because we are under Christ’s commission to disciple the world. We haven’t completed the task yet, so Christian churches are renewing our commitment to go unto the ends of the earth, preaching and baptizing and teaching, until the whole world knows the one Lord of all.