We believe the Bible teaches that the Church of Jesus Christ – visible and invisible – is the household of the living God and the body of the living Christ.1 The Church is comprised of all true believers in the one true and living God in all places and at all times throughout human history.2 God adopts all true believers into His family on the sole basis of Jesus Christ’s shed blood, death, and resurrection.3 God calls His household on earth to be gathered, established, and to meet regularly in local churches throughout the world – congregations comprised of baptized members of Christ’s body who profess a credible faith in Jesus Christ – for ministries of worship, Word, prayer, fellowship, spiritual growth, and discipleship.4 Local churches should be taught by Biblically qualified pastors and led in partnership with a plurality of Biblically qualified elders.5 The Lord Jesus has appointed ordinances of baptism and communion for His people to practice as visible signs of His grace to us and to serve as means for us to express and be strengthened in our faith in Him.6 God calls all believers to follow Jesus in baptism as a humble act of submission to God, personal repentance and faith, and as a reminder to us – as individual believers and as a community of faith – of our shared union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.7 Likewise, God calls all believers to share in the bread and cup of Holy Communion – regularly and together with the Lord Jesus – in humility, repentance, faith, and harmony with the local church, remembering and proclaiming the risen Lord Jesus Christ's death until He comes again in glory.8
1 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 2:5.
2 Scripture speaks of ‘the Church’ in this universal, worldwide sense in Eph. 5:25-27; Col. 1:18; Heb. 12:23. Note: The ‘universal Church’ can also be referred to as ‘the invisible Church,’ because it includes believers who have already passed away and because it is defined by the invisible realities of God's grace and the Holy Spirit.
3 Eph. 1:5 and 2:13-22; Gal. 3:13-14 and 29; Rev. 1:5-6.
4 On the Church being visibly expressed and united in ministries of worship, Word, prayer, fellowship, spiritual growth, and discipleship, see: Matt. 18:15-20; Acts 2:42; Rom. 12:3-13 and 15:5-7; 1 Cor. 1:10 and 12:12-26; Eph. 2:19 and 4:1-3. On Christians meeting together regularly: Luke 24:1 and 13-49; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Heb. 10:25; Rev. 1:10. Note: It was the practice of the Early Church to meet together on the first day of every week in remembrance and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On congregations being comprised of baptized members who profess credible faith in Christ, see: Matt. 18:17 and 28:19-20; Rom. 6:1-4; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; Col. 2:6-12. Note: We therefore believe all Christians everywhere are called to promote Biblical truth, unity, and holiness within the larger body of Christ while manifesting humility, wisdom, and love in relation to each other. Furthermore, we believe members and leaders of local churches should share a common, Biblical faith; a purposeful sense of local and global mission; and a mutual care, accountability, and submission to the Lord in true spiritual fellowship with one another as brothers and sisters of Christ.
5 On teaching pastors: Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:1-5. On a plurality of elders in every local church: Acts 14:23 and 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5.
6 On Jesus appointing ordinances of baptism and communion: Matt. 28:19-20; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:23-34.
7 On baptism: Matt. 3:13-15 and 28:19-20; Acts 2:38 and 8:12; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21.
8 On Holy Communion: Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 10:16 and 11:23-34.