What We Believe
Continue Your Journey
There is only one true God. He is the Creator of all things as well as all mankind. He is the Sovereign ruler of the universe and the final authority on all things. He has always been (he is eternal) and co-exist in the three persons of: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit (aka Holy Ghost). We learn about God through his creation, His Holy Word (the Bible) and His Son Jesus Christ. His love for all of his creation is more than anyone can imagine.
(Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 5:6; 6:4; Job 38:1-4; Matthew 3:13-1; John 3:16; Romans 1:19-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:6)
Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God and co-equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He came to earth and became a man, being completely divine in being as well as being fully human in man. He revealed to us who God is through his miraculous acts, sinless life, and life-changing teachings. His purpose for coming to earth was to show God’s love by dying on a cross, thus taking the sins of all mankind, once and for all, upon Himself, thus paying the penalty for sinful mankind. His bodily resurrection from the grave and His promise to return someday are testimonies to the fact that He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Jesus desires the deepest of relationship with every person.
(Matthew 1:22-23; Luke 19:10; John 1:1,14,18; Acts 10:37-43; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Ephesians 2:4-8; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-21; Hebrews 1:1-3)
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. He dwells in each member of God’s family as a Helper and Guide. It is through the work of the Holy spirit that a person comes to salvation. At the point of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our physical body as His home. He provides help to every Christian who asks to do what is right, provide the strength to serve the Lord, and give direction for living a godly life. Every Christian is to allow God’s Spirit to assist them on a daily basis.
(John 14:16-17; John 16:7-13; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 3:16-20, 5:18)
We, both men and women, are made in the spiritual image and physical likeness of God. God gave us free will; we have the ability to choose to love as God loves, to choose to do right in the likeness of God’s righteousness and to choose to value what God values. We also have the right to choose to not acknowledge God in any way. God created mankind because he wants a family who will love Him because we want to love him, because we are compelled to love him. The first man, Adam, chose to sin and as a result, cast all humanity into lives marred in sin outside the spiritual nature of God. As a result, all men (women) will eventually choose to sin and subsequently become separated from God.
Genesis 1:27, 3:1-24; Psalm 8:3-6; John 4:24; Ephesians 1:4-6; Romans 3:23, 6:23)
When God created you and me, He created us with a soul which will never cease to exist. He did this because He intends to live with his creation for all eternity. Those who choose to follow Jesus as Lord, and have a growing relationship with Him, will spend eternity with God in Heaven. Those who reject Jesus by refusing to accept Him as Lord and follow Him will spend eternity in Hell. Heaven, like salvation and grace, are a free gift from God. Hell is the due consequence for those who have not accepted God’s offer of forgiveness and placed their trust in Jesus Christ by obeying the Gospel.
Ezekiel 18:20; Matthew 7:21-23, 10:28; 25:31-46; Luke 16:19-31; John 14:1-5; Romans 6:23; Philippians 3:17-21; Revelation 20:15)
The Church is God’s spiritual family. It is made up of all those who have chosen to place their trust and faith in Jesus and who are His followers (disciples). The Church is not a building or a one particular group of believers. To belong to the Church is to belong to Jesus. The Bible uses the analogy that Jesus is the Head of the Church, His body. God’s will is for the Church to gather regularly to worship its Head, Jesus. It is to use its various gifts and abilities to serve Jesus, to love and encourage those who are in the body, and to work diligently to maintain the unity of the body. As the members of His Church love one another and maintain unity of purpose and relationship, the world around us will recognize that those in the Body of Christ are special people driven by their love of Jesus. The Church or the Body, is to seek to do the will of God in all matters which also includes loving God, loving those outside the Church and loving each other. The mission of the Church is the same as Jesus’ mission, to seek and save the lost, those who do not know Jesus, of the world. All members of the Lord’s Church are part of the Royal Priesthood of Believers and should seek to find their place to serve the local body of the church.
Matthew 16:15-18; Luke 19:10; John 17:20-23; Acts 2:42-47; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-10)
Leadership of the Church
“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13
“Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.” 1Timothy 3:1
The Biblical model of leadership for the local church places all members of that church under the oversight and direction of Elders/Shepherds who are selected by the local church based on the qualities of character principles outlined in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1 and 1 Peter 5.
The Bible gives instruction for Elders/Shepherds to appoint special servants called Deacons to assist in the work of the local church. Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13
Preachers are to preach sound doctrine. Titus 2:1
Preachers are given a God-designed, Spirit-led mandate to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Acts 8:4
It is by preaching that someone hears, learns and obeys the Gospel that leads to salvation. Therefore Preachers are to have a desire and ambition to boldly teach the Word that others might be saved. Romans 10:15; 15:20
Preachers are sent to preach. The Holy Spirit leads the heart in what to say. Ministers make their living by proclaiming the Word of God and are to discipline themselves so as not to fall into temptation. 1 Corinthians 1:17, 23; 9:14, 27
Preachers preach the Word to teach, correct, rebuke and encourage with patience and care. 2 Timothy 4:2
Preachers are to devote themselves to preaching and teaching. 1 Timothy 4:13
Preachers are to seek to build up the body so they can enlarge their territory. 2 Corinthians 10:16
While the job title of the one who preaches bears many names: Preacher, Minister, Pastor, Evangelist, Rector, Father, Priest, etc. The Bible uses only one word – Evangelist. The word Pastor refers to a church elder or overseer, of which the Evangelist is not necessarily one, but can be if the church so designates him to be. There is no reference to or inference of a female performing the duties of an evangelist in the New Testament. Preacher describes what the evangelist does for a living. Minister describes another aspect of their job as they care for their flock. The word Rector is not found in the Bible. Jesus taught in the New Testament not to call anyone Father as a title. (Matthew 23:9) Priest is an Old Testament term that referred to those God himself chose and appointed via the prophets to speak on his behalf. Since God no longer speaks directly to humans on earth, (1 Timothy 2:5), there are no longer priests.
The word “Evangelist” appears in scripture (Ephesians 4:11). An evangelist (preacher/minister) must be a coach, mentor, advisor, spiritual leader, counselor, referee and equipper as well as a preacher, teacher, husband, father and friend. He is called upon to do many things…and one of his chief responsibilities is to be a partner in ministry with the Shepherds (Elders/Overseers) of the church where he serves. The preacher and the Elders must work together as a team supporting and trusting each other as they labor together in God’s kingdom
The Bible is the inspired Word of God. The process that God used to give us His Word is called inspiration, which means God-breathed it into existence. He did so through men whose thoughts were guided by God’s Holy Spirit. The Word of God is without error and is truth. It tells us who God is, why He loves us, and what His plans are for mankind. The Bible is the authority of standing for living our lives according to God’s will for us and is the guide for His church to exist.
(Psalm 19:7-11, 119:105, 160; John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
God, out of love for His children, sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins on the cross of Calvary. After which he rose from the dead to bring life and salvation to all who would believe in Him. Salvation is the free gift of God, not obtainable by any measure of human effort or contribution. It was made possible by the death of Jesus Christ and that is the only means by which our reconciliation with God is possible. While it is true that all have sinned, it is also true that all can be saved. Salvation is obtainable for all who will obey the teachings of Jesus Christ.
(Matthew 15:1-8, 28:19-20; Luke 11:28; John 3:16, 14:23; Acts 2:38-39; Romans 3:23, 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 9:15-17; 26-28)
The Bible teaches the following with regard to salvation:
- You must believe in Christ’s power to save. Acts 16:31-33; Galatians 3:2
- You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Romans 10:9
- You must genuinely repent of your sins. Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30
- You must come in contact with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ through the act of Baptism. Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21
- You receive forgiveness of your sins and the gift of God’s Holy Spirit as you are raised to walk in a newness of life after baptism. Acts 16:31-33; Galatians 3:29; Titus 3:3-7
- You are to live faithfully according to God’s standards. Romans 14:7-8; Ephesians 4:1; 2 Peter 3:11; 1 John 2:24-25
The Name of the Church
Churches bear many names in today’s culture. In recent years, new church plants and some old established churches are shying away from using traditional denominational names for their churches. They may be affiliated with a traditional faith group, but their name does not disclose that information. The fact is, there are many names mentioned in the Bible for God’s church. However, there is no denominational name mentioned anywhere in the Old or New Testaments. The names that do exist in scripture all reference God or Christ. The church described in scripture is an independent, autonomous family of God’s people whose foundational faith is built upon the teachings of Jesus Christ and his disciples. The Muscatine Church of Christ is founded upon the principles of the American Restoration Movement of 1821, which was a movement to depart from denominational creeds and simply return to the New Testament. While our name reflects that of other similar churches, we are only connected to each other in that our beliefs are rooted in scripture, we bear a desire to closely resemble the first century church, and we were birthed out of the American Restoration Movement. There is no formal organization that is authorized in the Bible other than the local church. Our local church does not report to, take direction from or accept monetary support from any other church or para-church organization. Our building was built by local people with local contributions under local leadership that are not tied to any other group. We are a church whose primary purpose is to share the good news of Jesus Christ and the changing effect that He can have on one’s life. Our name comes directly from scripture – Romans 16:16.
As a church:
- We seek to be God-honoring, Christ-centered, Spirit-led and Bible based in all things.
- We believe strongly in the New Testament principals of “one-another” shepherding and the “priesthood of all believers”. Romans 12:10, 16; 15:7, 14; Eph 5:21
- We emphasize what the Bible emphasizes. 2 Timothy 3:16, Revelation 22:18-19
- We believe in allowing God to guide us, through faith, wherever He may choose to lead us. Proverbs 16:3, 19:21
- We are not the only Christians, but we are Christians only. Acts 11:26
- “We do not serve the Church of Christ, we serve Jesus Christ. That is what makes us a church of Christ.” (J.C. Brewer)
- In matters of principle, we seek unity; in matters of opinion, we offer liberty and freedom to interpret. But in all things we seek love for one another. John 13:24, Ephesians 4:3, 4:29, Romans 14:19
- The Church is the body of Christ on earth, empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue the task of reaching the lost and making disciples of the saved. Ephesians 4:1-16