Our Spiritual Heritage
Our roots are in the Stone/Campbell movement of the early 19th Century. This movement had as one of its central themes that we should bear no name but Christ's—not that we are the only Christians, but that we are Christians only, for there is "no other name under heaven by which men must be saved" (Acts 4:12). We believe that the church should be an independently-governed body seeking to glorify God in all it says and does. It should have no denominational headquarters determining its actions, no man-conceived creed by which it regulates fellowship. We simply follow the Bible as our sole rule of faith and practice. As the leaders of the Restoration Movement developed their thoughts what the Scriptures taught, they came to the conclusion that there is “No book but the Bible, No Creed but Christ and no name but Christian” as far as can be seen in the Word. “In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, love” was a phrase coined in the Restoration Movement that we desire to emulate in our own life. If we offend anyone, be it not God!
We believe the Bible to be the divinely inspired Word of God. It is God's revelation of Himself to mankind, accurately describing His interaction with humanity throughout history. The written Word was given to prepare all of humankind to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in order that we could have eternity with God. We believe that the Bible is completely inerrant and that it speaks to every issue or root issue that mankind deals with on a daily basis.
References: 2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 30:5-6; Isaiah 8:20; John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:12
There is one living, true, and holy God. He is the Creator of the Universe and His defining characteristic according to we John is love. God is also a God of justice and mercy, perfection and forgiveness. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. God is eternal, without beginning or end, and His true composition is beyond human understanding. We can see from both the Scriptures and the created universe, however, that He is a God of order, reason, love, and compassion. Several personal terms are used of God in the Scriptures, indicating that the One True God is made up of three different aspects: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over the entire universe. He is all-powerful, all-loving and all-wise. He is fatherly in all His attributes towards all persons. The Scriptures teach that no human can behold God and live, which indicates His being is greater than both the universe and time in which we exist.
References: Genesis 1:1; Revelation 4:11; 1 Corinthians 15:28; John 3:16; 1 Timothy 1:17; Exodus 34:6-7; John 14:9
God the Son
Jesus Christ, in His human form, was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. The Scriptures teach that before His birth, and even before the creation of the universe, Jesus existed as "the Word, which was with God and was God" (John 1). This personal element of God took upon Himself human form so that He could perfectly reveal the will of God. He took upon Himself the demands and necessities of the human nature and identified Himself completely with mankind, but He did not sin. He willingly went to a cruel death upon a cross so that He might take upon Himself humanity's death sentence. Without Jesus' sacrifice, we could never experience eternal life with the perfect and Holy God. Three days following His death, Jesus was resurrected with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples. He then ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God. There He serves as the one and only Mediator reconciling God to man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to redeem those to God who are His own. He now dwells with God as our living and ever-present Lord.
References: John 1:1-3,1:14; Colossians 1:15-19; John 10:30; John 14:9; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19; John 5:22; Luke 1:35; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:9-18; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; John 14:1-3
God The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He works with the revealed Word to convict humanity of sin and bring us to a relationship with Christ. He is actively involved in the New Birth, adding those who come to Christ to His universal body (the Church) and sealing them up until the day of redemption. He bestows the spiritual gifts by which persons serve God through His church, He cultivates Christian character, and He comforts believers. His presence in the Christian is the assurance of God to bring the believer into the fullness and the stature of Christ.
References: Genesis 1:1-2; Luke 1:35; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38; 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:11-12; Acts 1:8; John 14:16-18, 26; John 15:26-27; John 16:7-13
Originally created to have fellowship with God, humanity has defied God and has chosen to live independently of Him. We only need to look at the world around us to see that the world has fallen far short of God's original intentions for His creation. From gossip, envy, and slander to murder, hatred, and theft, sin has separated every human being from God the Creator. The Scriptures teach that the ultimate result of sin is death, both physical and spiritual. Because humanity has chosen to live independently of God, God has allowed humanity to experience its own mortality. There is no life apart from God.
God was not content to leave humanity in this condition, however. Human beings could not please God because they had corrupted themselves, therefore God sent His Son, Jesus. The death penalty for sin had to be paid, and no sacrifice of money, desire, time, or blood could take away our sin. In Jesus, however, was the perfect, sinless sacrifice. He went willingly to die on a cross, even though he had committed no crime, nor did He commit any sin before God. Jesus allowed His blood to be shed so humanity's death penalty could be paid. Now all must come into contact with the blood of Jesus in order to be saved. Only through Christ is there salvation, not through good deeds or the pious activity of any religion.
To come into contact with the blood of Jesus, a person must believe that Jesus is the Savior sent from God, God's only Son. He must then die to his self-centered life in repentance. Next, that person "buries" his old live in the waters of Baptism, rising out of the water (just as Jesus rose from the grave) to live a life of gratitude for Jesus' willing sacrifice, filling his heart with the love of Jesus and yielding to the Holy Spirit's leadership through sanctification.
References: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; John 3:16; Galatians 1:4; Galatians 4:4-7; Titus 3:3-7; John 16:8; Galatians 3:13-14; 1 Peter 2:21-22; Romans 10:17; Luke 17:5; Mark 9:23-24; Ephesians 2:5-10; Romans 3:21-26; |Colossians 1:13-14; Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 3:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23; Romans 12:2; Hebrews 8:7-12; Ezekiel 36:25-27; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Romans 8:1-4; Romans 5:6-10
Baptism is an act of obedience declaring the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior as well as the believer's death to sin, burial of the old life, and resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. Baptism is for the purpose of putting on Christ and not for joining an institution or denomination. It is a command of Jesus that everyone who would come to Him must undergo. It is not a "work" or an "act of righteousness" as some might say, but a complete surrender to the blood of Jesus as a believer is immersed in water. By the very act of Baptism, we admit we can do nothing to earn our salvation, simply accept the free gift that God offers us. The only “work” that happens in baptism is the work of God in justification. The word "Baptize" comes from a Greek word which means "to wash, immerse, dunk, or plunge" and was regularly used in the ancient Greek world to refer to the washing of dishes. God chose the act of baptism because it accurately conveyed the concept of the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus.
References: Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-39; Romans 6:1-4; Galatians 3:27
We believe that the Church should be a New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a local body whose members are brought together by the blood of Jesus. It is committed to His teachings, exercising the gifts given to its members by God, and seeking to extend the Gospel to the ends of the earth. The Church is an autonomous body, operating with a plurality of elders under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
In Christ, we become members of His body, the church. There is one true church universal, comprised of all the redeemed of all the ages, not built by human hands but added to by God's mercy and Christ's redemptive power. Wherever God's people meet regularly in obedience to his commands, there is the local expression of the church.
References: Acts 7:38; Ephesians 4:11-15; Ephesians 3:8-11; Matthew 28:19-20; Matthew 16:13-20; Matthew 18:18; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 1:22-23; Col. 1:17-18
Communion is to be taken at a minimum, on a weekly basis. Members of Christ's body, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, remember the death of Jesus, anticipate His second coming, and recommit themselves one to another as they renew the covenant to which we are called. All immersed believers are invited to partake at the Lord's Table. We also believe that if the church body is of one accord, communion may be taken more frequently (Wednesday evening services, special small group events, Christmas Eve Candlelight Services) as we are told in Acts 2:42 that at least some believers met on a daily basis for several reasons, one of which was communion.
References: Matthew 26:17-30; Luke 22:7-23; Acts 20:7; Acts 2:42ff; 1 Corinthians 10:14-22; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Worship should be inseparable from the affairs of the Christian's daily life. It is an act done minute by minute of every day in every situation, not just an hour on Sundays and Wednesdays. As Christians under the new covenant, the critical issues of worship are no longer place, time, or ritual. As one writer has said, "At its heart, worship is a reply of the created to the Creator. It is the response of the beloved to the Lover. It is the reaction of the ransomed to the Redeemer. Worship is an experience of deliberate focusing on God for the purpose of encounter with Him." Worship should be directed to this end while at the same time striving to be relevant to the unsaved and un-churched community at a corporate level. All that is done in our assemblies should be done for the sole purpose of bringing praise and glory to God and our Redeemer. We should seek to provide an atmosphere appropriate to joyful praise and worship in our worship services.
References: Acts 13:1-3; Ephesians 5:18-21; Colossians 3:15-17
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual, all that we have and are, we owe to Him. Because of God's grace freely bestowed in our lives, we are responsible to serve Him with our time, talents, spiritual gifts, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to us for the glory of God and for helping and loving others. We should contribute of our means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth. If all we have has been given to us by God, it is His in the first place. We are only giving back to Him in gratitude for what has been done for us.
References: Malachi 3:6-12; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 2 Corinthians
What we believe about Church Membership
We believe that church membership is simply being a member of the body of Christ. If one has become a believer by faith in Jesus and is a member of the body of Christ according to how that is described in scripture, that person would be eligible to become a "member" of Oak Grove Christian Church.
I explain "membership" at Oak Grove Christian Church as follows.
If a person either is already a believer or becomes a believer when or after attending Oak Grove Christian church worship and fellowship and has the desire to be considered a "member" of Oak Grove Christian Church congregation or fellowship, the only requirement is to stand before the congregation and express such desire. (Some conversation with the Preacher and/or Elders is helpful but not required).
We see membership simply as a desire to be a part of the Oak Grove Christian Church Family. A desire to worship, fellowship, serve, and pray together with the other members at Oak Grove Christian Church. Church membership is simply associating oneself with a certain congregation of other believers for that purpose. We assume and encourage such a decision to be one made prayerfully and made after receiving as much information as possible.