THE FOUNDER: JESUS CHRIST
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself instituted His Church and that He received full authority from God to do so (Mark 9:17). We are compelled by scripture to embrace His name, as He is the head of our Church.
We believe that the Church of Christ was fully established on the day of Pentecost on (the tenth day following the ascension of Jesus Christ-Acts 1:4, 2:1-2). On this day, God revealed His third person in His fullness. We believe in the “Trinity”; God is the Godhead – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit brings oneness of His followers, the gifts and fruit of the Spirit, and the increase of the Church.
THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
The Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ is a New Testament Church. This does not in any way negate our belief in the Old Testament as holy writ, for it served as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. But after faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Gal. 3:23-26). We believe the entire Bible, from Genesis to Malachi and Matthew to Revelation, to be the revealed word of God. We are a New Testament Church because our salvation, hope, and eternal life came through Christ Jesus. Without Him we would be of all people most miserable (1Cor. 15:19). The fulfillment of Pentecost is introduced in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit is made manifest in the New Testament. Doctrinally, the Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ believes that we are fulfilling the call of the Master to preach and teach, righteously dividing the word of truth – (Mat. 28:19-20, 2Tim. 2:15).
THE MEMBER: DISCIPLES
We believe that Christ designated a title by which His followers are to be called. That name is “Disciples” (Mat. 10:42; Luke 14:26; John 8:31) We believe that because Christ chose this name for His followers, it should be held in reverence Isaiah 8:16 teaches us that “Disciple” is a divine name. A “divine name” is one from God’s heavenly Kingdom given by revelation to men and women direct from the Lord Himself to Humankind. While a true Disciple should not be offended when called “a child of God,” “saint”, “brother”, “sister”, or “Christian,” we know who we are. Just as we answer to personal nicknames, we should not despair at being labeled.
THE EMBLEM: THE FISH
Mark 1:17 records the words of Jesus, “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and l will make you to become fishers of men.” Jesus was calling to the fishermen to become His Disciples, and He would make them “fishers of men.” The sign of the fish is the official emblem of the Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ. Among the first Disciples of Christ nearly two thousand years ago, it is said that in the struggle of the Church with civil authorities, the early Disciples used the sign of the fish as a secret code to protect their identity in the midst of their enemies. In order to become a fisher of men, a person must go through the same steps those fishermen went through. One must repent, believe, and be baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Romans 10:9 records, “That if thou shalt confess with thou mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” A person must learn of Jesus, follow and obey Him.
THE DOCTRINE OF GOD
We believe that God created all existence and without Him was not anything made. We believe in the Trinity, that there is but one God, who is infinitely perfect, existing, external in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We as Disciples of Christ must confess and acknowledge one God, whom alone we must claim, whom alone we must serve, whom alone we must worship, and whom alone we must trust. Under no circumstances do we allow other gods to stand over or alongside the Lord. God the Father is love, (1 John 4:18). He is not sometimes loving and sometimes unloving. He does not love some people and hate others. He is love; and everything God does, always, in His dealings with everyone, is loving. Love is God’s very nature. God’s love is universal. God’s love is unconditional (full of grace). God showed His love for us in that, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). The Good Shepherd loves and cares for His sheep-all of His sheep (John 10:1 1,14). God’s relationship to Jesus Christ was as Father (John 15:8,14-20); and as such, God is our Heavenly Father (Mat. 6:19).
We believe that if one is to follow the path of righteousness of Jesus Christ, she or he must be totally submerged under water, which is known as “water baptism.” We believe that Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River as a public proclamation of His total alliance and submission to God (Mat. 3:13-17). This form of baptism pleased God. Baptism symbolizes death to the world and new life in Christ Jesus. “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:14).
THE LORD’S SUPPER The Bread and the Fruit of the Vine
We believe that the observance of the Lord’s Supper (communion) by all believers is essential. The Lord s Supper symbolizes God’s love for us through Christ’s suffering and death for our salvation. We believe that as often as we keep this observance, we show forth (symbolize) His death and suffering (John 13:15; Luke 22:19-20). We believe this is to be a “love feast” where Christ is actually present to make us whole as He was restored on resurrection day. We believe that there is spiritual power present when we attend communion service and are of one spirit.
We believe that, according to scripture, Christ demonstrated one of the greatest acts of humility, love, and self-sacrifice by lowering Himself to wash His Disciples’ feet. While we agree that feet-washing is not in and of itself a prerequisite to salvation, we do believe that anyone who confesses salvation (baptism of the Holy spirit) should partake in the ordinance of the washing of one another’ feet. Jesus used, feet washing to demonstrate that true leadership can only be found in true servant hood. Feet washing is essential. Anyone who humbles himself or herself as a little child will be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. By actually washing feet, a Disciple of Christ demonstrates that he or she is growing in humility and grace. As we continue the practice of the Lord’s Supper, we too may be a part of Jesus sacrificial death and suffering (1Cor. 11:25-26).