What is a church?
A church is:
- A peculiar group of people gather out and able to congregate and be together.
- These people are all "born again".
- These people are immersed (baptised). This identifies them as unique
and purposed to live lives which are different and separated from their pre-saved days.
- The church has a defined membership. One main Biblical ingredient of
this definition is immersion.
- All illustrations of the church indicate
that it is made up of congregations according to locality. It is seen as local churches. While there is a clear concept of a "universal"
church in scriptures, this concept applies characteristics which are only
understood and able to be manifest in local churches. Universal church principles only have meaning when these principles are seen applicable in a local church related context.
- A church is marked by a system of belief. Such persons are able to agree
upon particular doctrines or teachings.
- Just because a church has a declared system of beliefs, it does not
mean that such beliefs can or should be forced upon individuals. But those who disagree should separate or be separated from membership.
- The concept of individual soul liberty means that an individual, has
freedom to come or leave a particular church fellowship based upon what
they have become convinced is the correct
opinion of God. While they may not have the right to press their individual
interpretation or opinion upon others, the principle
of a statement of doctrine is that those of like mind agree to covenant
together. Those of a different opinion should be free to leave and associate
elsewhere as persons accountable to God.
- A church has organization
- There is a primary leader described as pastor, elder,
- There are others designated as deacons.
- A church gathers regularly, typocally on the first day of the
week for worship.
- They sing hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs.
- There is instruction from the Word of God.
- The gathering is characterized by occasions of prayer.
- There is sharing testimony of how God works in each other's
lives and giving of praise.
- There is an ingathering of financial or equivilent resources
often called tithes and offerings.
- They periodically remember the Lord's death burrial and resurrection
through the "Lords Table" sometimes called communion.(This is a church
gathered function, not an individual or private group activity.)
- A church will expect it's members to live according to holiness.
- When there are those who offend others, there is a specific procedure to deal
- When there are those who ignore of holiness there is a coming along
side and correcting through admonition, teaching and example.
- When there is rebellion there is a call to separate from.
- When there is false teaching there is a marking or identifying of the
teaching and the teacher.
- Members will be as servants to other members according to their need
and according to friendship and love. This habit typocally is extended
to those outside the membership as strength enables.
- A church will reach out in service to those beyond the congregation.
- To advance the spread of the gospel to those in the community, region,
and around the world.
- To care for believers in other locations who have urgent need.