Doctrine of The Church
The church is a local, visible assembly of New Testament saints. Christ is the head of church (Eph 1:22-23; 5:22-23; Col 1:15-19). When the Scripture speaks of the church as His body, it refers to the New Testament saints in general (Matt 16:18; Phil 3:6; 1 Cor 15: 9). The church was inaugurated on the day of Pentecost and will continue on earth until the rapture (Acts 2:44-47; 1 Thess 4:13-18).
There are two offices in the local church. The pastor is a man who oversees, teaches and shepherds the local church (1 Pet 5:1-4; 1 Tim 2:8-15; 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-16). The deacons are men chosen out of the body to serve the church's needs (1Tim 3:8-13). The church is independent in authority of any other churches and its purpose is to reach the lost world, prepare saints for the work of ministry and edify the body of Christ (Matt 28:16-20; Eph 4:12, Titus 1:5).
Two ordinances commanded by Christ and are practiced in local churches: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Scriptural baptism by immersion is the testimony of a believer showing his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and is illustrative of his death, burial, and resurrection. It is an outward testimony of an inward action (Rom 6:1-11; Acts 8:36-39). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the body of Christ, the authority of which is in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19, Acts 2:41-42). Baptism is an act of obedience and has no salvific power; neither does it confer grace (Rom 11:6). Salvation is a prerequisite to baptism. Both salvation and scriptural baptism may be required by the local church for membership (Acts 2:41). The Lord’s Supper is an act of obedience and its purpose is for remembrance of Christ's death until He returns (Matt 26:26-29; 1 Cor 11:28-32). This should be observed with the local church and a time of self-examination should take place prior to observing it (1 Cor 11:28-32). It is not a means of salvation and can in no way confer grace (Rom 11:6).
The church has the authority to discipline wayward believers (1 Cor 5:11-13; Matt 18:15-35). The church is able to remove a person from membership should he or she not repent. The key idea is to one day restore the individual to the body of Christ (Gal 6:1-5).
Giving is an expression of love from an individual to God and others. The greatest example of love is expressed through the life of Christ (John 15:13; Rom 5:8; Phil 2:6-8). The Old Testament saints were asked to worship through offerings. The offerings no longer apply to New Testament saints because the law was satisfied through Christ (Matt 5:17). The principle that does carry over to the New Testament is the expression of love through faithful giving which may be called grace giving (1 Cor 16:1; 2Cor 8:1-6, 9:1-15). Grace giving is not determined by a percentage, but rather, it is a wisdom issue which requires Christians to give proportionately to what they have.