What we believe and teach
- The Church -
is the Assembly of the redeemed, that is, the Assembly of all those who have
been delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the Kingdom of
the Son of God, in whom they have redemption through the blood of Christ, the
forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace. Therefore all those
who are members of the Church are sure they have been saved from their sins
and from everlasting perdition. One becomes a member of the Church through
faith in Jesus Christ, who loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He
might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word, that He
might present her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or
any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. The Church
is the Body of Christ and every believer is a member of it; however believers
have different gifts according to the grace that is given to them. The head
of the Church is Jesus Christ.
Church must be ruled by a pastor and a body of elders (or bishops) helped by
some deacons. If a man desires the position of a bishop, he must be
blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good
behaviour, hospitable, able to teach, not given to wine, not violent, but
gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money; one who rules his own house
well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does
not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the Church of
God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same
condemnation as the devil; furthermore he must have a good testimony among
those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
If a man desires the position of a deacon, he must be reverent, not
double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery
of the faith with a pure conscience. Both the candidate for the position of a
bishop and the candidate for the position of a deacon must first be tested;
and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as bishops and
deacons. The pastor and the elders must shepherd the flock of the Lord (giving
the sheep spiritual food to eat, keeping watch over them, comforting them and
admonishing them) not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but
eagerly; nor as being lords over the flock but being examples to the flock. Deacons
must help the pastor and the elders. Those who are taught the Word must share
in all good things with those who teach. Those who teach are worthy of this, for
the Lord has commanded that those who preach the Gospel should live from the
Gospel. No one goes to war at his own expense. He who tends a flock has the
right to drink of the milk of the flock. Those who rule over the flock of God
must be obeyed and esteemed very highly in love for their work’s sake.
Believers must not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or
believers come together as a Church, the worship of God must take place in an
atmosphere full of the fear of God and thus in a
orderly way. Therefore the preaching, the teaching, the prayers, the songs
(which can be accompanied by musical instruments), the testimonies, and the
exercise of the spiritual gifts, must be led by a holy fear of God.
Frivolities, jokes and buffooneries must not be allowed, nor must be allowed
or tolerated the following shameful behaviours: women who teach, the so
called ‘holy laughter’, animal sounds, preachers who push people so that they
may fall to the ground, preachers who breathe on people, all kinds of
suggestions to induce believers to speak in tongues, theatrical scenes, and
anything else which can grieve the Holy Spirit by whom we were sealed. Believers
are called to speak the same thing, there must be no divisions among them, they are called to be perfectly joined together in the
same mind and in the same judgement. They must be at peace among themselves,
warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, and uphold the weak. Jealousies
and quarrellings must not be tolerated. Believers must greet one another with
a holy kiss.
must spread the Gospel of the grace of God all over the world. However the
Gospel must be spread not out of envy and strife but out of good will.
Furthermore, the Gospel must not be spread by improper means, such as
theatrical scenes and rock music, which are used by some to attract people.
The Gospel must be preached with power, and with the Holy Spirit and with
deep conviction. Whoever preaches the Gospel must say very frankly to men
that they must repent of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ –
that is to say, they must believe that He died for our sins and rose again
for our justification – so that they might receive remission of sins and
might be saved, and also that if they refuse to repent and to believe in the
Lord Jesus Christ, when they die they will be brought down to Hades (hell), and
at the resurrection of the unjust they will be cast into the everlasting
fire. The Church must desire and expect the Lord to confirm the Gospel by
signs and wonders.
The local Church
is independent and must keep her independence. Therefore she must not unite
with other Churches to form a denomination with a President, a Secretary, a
Treasurer, a General Council, a Statute etc. Such a
form of ecclesiastical organization is not biblical and therefore it must be
rejected. The Church must not ally herself with the State nor ask the State
for privileges, because the Scripture teaches that the early Church was
separate from the State. The history of the Church teaches us that every time
the Church has allied herself with the State to obtain some privileges from
it, the Church has become corrupted and arrogant and has trampled a part of
the counsel of God underfoot.
Church there are some people who cause offenses; these people despise both
the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the words of the holy apostles. They
are spots and blemishes; they don’t serve our Lord but their own belly, they
set their minds on the things of the flesh, they are arrogant and bold, and
by smooth words and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the simple.
They teach things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. Because
of these people the way of truth is blasphemed. We exhort the saints to note
these people, to expose their evil works and their lies, and to avoid them.
Believers must expel the wicked man from among them.
The place of worship is not the house of God, for
according to the Scripture the house of God is the Church of the living God.