Common Distinctives of Christian Churches
Among Christian Churches and Churches of Christ today, there is great variety. There is variety of methods in our missionary efforts and in how to communicate the Gospel more effectively. There is variety in worship expression. Some churches are very contemporary and use the more recently produced music with state-of-the-art technology in sound and visual effects, and have a very relaxed, "laid back" atmosphere. Others are more formal employing more traditional hymns and a more liturgical style. Still others strive to strike a balance between contemporary and traditional styles of worship expression.
We are Christians only, but not only Christians.
Wherever the location, whatever the style, there are certain characteristics that one can generally count upon in any of them; they are:
- Biblical preaching and teaching with particular emphasis on the New Testament, and centered on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Evangelism and reproducing disciples as the major mission of the church.
- Faith and obedience to Christ as all that is necessary to becoming a Christian. Christian churches and churches of Christ believe salvation is available to all through the atoning death of Christ on the cross of Calvary.
- Baptism by immersion following profession of faith in Christ in receiving His forgiveness and salvation.
- Congregational autonomy. Every congregation is completely self-governing with elders and deacons being approved and appointed from among the membership.
- The Lord's Supper, or the Communion, being observed weekly and open to all who profess Christ as their Lord and Savior.
- A commitment to be "Christians" only, contending that unity among believers is still possible on the basis of the New Testament.
- A priesthood of all believers wherein everyone contributes from her/his gifts and abilities to the building up of the church body.