Well, the fact that you are reading this indicates at least a little curiosity. Curiosity is a good thing, and we know that this may be our one shot at making that all-important first impression. If you are anything like the rest of us, you are busy and your time is at a premium. So, our task is to present the facts to you as concisely as possible. Thanks for looking this over. First off, because of some of our basic tenants, the compiling of this information is rather difficult. We put a lot of emphasis on personal study and the individual’s accountability when it comes to belief and faith. We are committed to giving each individual the room to study and mature at his or her own pace. Consequently, answering the question, “What do you folks believe” can be very difficult. We also aim at having no creed of human origin. We like to say that we have no creed but the Bible itself. So, for us to begin listing the things we (as a corporate group) believe is a little dangerous. A creed is often a subset of Biblical truth taken out of its overall context by human authors and elevated to a higher level than the rest of the Bible. Whatever we do here, we definitely do not want to leave you with a subset of Biblical truth that we have elevated above other scripture. On the other hand, we know searching for a Church Family can be a daunting task, and often there are many questions and apprehensions to be dealt with. You are often unsure exactly what the prospective church family believes – what their key values and doctrinal positions are on important things like members, service, salvation, and participation. So, to help you with that task, please accept the following with all of its shortcomings and inadequacies.
The Unity Plea
Could we all just be Christians? When the Church came into existence on Pentecost Day (AD 33 or so), things were pretty simple. If you wanted to be a disciple of the Nazarene Carpenter, there was only one group of disciples. There was no complicated system of doctrines and dogmas, no professional “clergy”, and no fancy church buildings. Each individual played a vital role in the life of the local church. This simple group of loosely confederated disciples were eventually dubbed “Christians” in a city called Antioch. As time passed, we humans did a pretty good job of complicating things. Complex doctrinal systems arose, a professional class of Christians became necessary to keep people lined up with the doctrines and the church leaders got heavily into politics and real-estate. The time period that followed is often referred to as the “Dark Ages” because things were pretty bleak. We (Christians) lost a lot of our simplicity and innocence through it all. Often, even today, unbelievers point to the fact that Christianity is about controlling people, real-estate, and money. They cite example after example where Christianity has evolved into big business with a self-serving slant and a real lack of any spiritual substance. Our answer to the critics? Well, we think they are correct in their assessment. Religion (as man has interpreted it) has rarely been a friend of God’s. Hang on, don’t give up on us yet. Think about it. It was the “religious” folks in Jesus day that eventually marched Him up the hill and killed Him. It has been the religious leaders through the ages who, in the name of the Prince of Peace, have slaughtered and pillaged across this globe to further the borders of (what they called) the church. So, leaving all this negative stuff behind us, what if we could jettison all the complicated baggage of the last two millennium and go back to the simplicity of the first century church? Sound to good to be true? It really isn’t all that far fetched. Our plea to our culture is this: Think for yourself. Study for yourself. Embrace the simplicity of New Testament Christianity. Be a Christian and a Christian only. Have we mastered all of this? No, but it is our aim, and we are sincere about it. If the Bible doesn’t teach it, we don’t want to either. If the Bible says it, we want to stand on it unafraid and unashamed.
People Are The Project
Back to the original mission. When you talk about “religion” our society often thinks of buildings with pointed structures on top, sprawling office complexes, and huge budgets funding massive programs. It is our conviction that God cares little about buildings and budgets. To our knowledge, He has no program. His concern today as it has always been, is people. He did not send a program or build a shrine to save us from our selfishness and sin. He decided to make the trip Himself. While here, he went about doing good and healing those oppressed by the devil. When He returned to Heaven, He left the Church which the Bible often refers to as His Body. The Body has the same mission today that it had while He was here in the flesh. The mission is people. It is our hope that you find us to have the same mission that Jesus had when He was here. We want to bind up the wounded and lift up the fallen. Ultimately, we want to point each to the Savior who healed us and liberated us from or selfishness and sin.