What is the church of Christ in Galena?

by John R. Gentry

What do you think of when you hear the word church? The word church is used in many different ways by people today. The word church is defined as those called out for a specific purpose. It simply means the people whom Jesus has called by the gospel: “To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2.14). The Bible primarily uses the word church in two senses. First, the Bible uses the word church to describe all people whom Jesus has called by the gospel. For example, when Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16.18), and when Paul said, “Christ is the head of the church, and he is the savior of the body” (Ephesians 5.23). Secondly, the Bible uses the word church to describe those whom Jesus has called by the gospel that are in a specific geographical region and have joined together. For example, Paul addresses his letters to the Corinthians to “the church of God that is in Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1.2;2 Corinthians 1.2), and Luke describes how there arose “a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem” (Acts 8.1). Thus the Bible refers to the universal church (all whom Jesus has called by the gospel) and to local churches (those whom Jesus has called by the gospel in a specific locality that have joined together).

But what about the expression, “church of Christ”? We use this expression to signify exactly what was meant by the Lord when He said, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16.18). The phrase “my church” signifies His church, and His church, in the possessive phrase, is simply “church of Christ,” or Christ’s church. We see Paul using the phrase “churches of Christ” to describe several local churches inRomans 16.16. Here Paul says “churches of Christ” in the plural, which in the singular would simply be “church of Christ.” And so we are simply a local church of Christ in Galena, IN, or the Galena church of Christ.

SIMPLY CHRISTIANS

When the church of Christ was established on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection as recorded inActs 2, Luke tells us that Peter commanded the people to “repent and be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins will be forgiven… So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls … And the Lord added to the church day by day those who were being saved.” To which church did God add them? The Lutheran church? The Mormon church? The Catholic church? Was Peter a member of one denomination and John another? Or when Paul was baptized (Acts 9.18;22.16) did he become Episcopalian, Presbyterian or Baptist? Do these questions seem a little silly? They should. Surely no one would claim that those baptized inActs 2, Peter, John or Paul were any thing other than simply Christians. In the New Testament, the apostles’ teaching did not make men and women Catholic or Protestant; their teaching produced Christians only. At the church of Christ in Galena we follow the teachings of the apostles as preserved in the Bible. Therefore, we do not claim to be Baptist-Christians, Methodist-Christians or any other hyphenated kind of Christians. We are simply Christians!

NO CREED BUT THE BIBLE

Another unique quality about the church of Christ in Galena is that we have no creed that separates us into a denomination. We follow the teachings and practices found in the Bible and the Bible only. Peter said, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4.11). Paul said we are “not to go beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4.6; cf. 1 John 9). Therefore, we have a Bible passage (book, chapter and verse) for everything that we teach and for everything that we practice. If you can show us in the Bible where we are not doing something that Christians did in the New Testament, we will immediately begin doing that. If you can show us in the Bible where we are doing something that Christians in the New Testament did not do, we will immediately stop doing that.

You cannot take the Bible and make a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic or anything other than simply a Christian. In order to be a Baptist one must adhere to the teachings of men found in the Baptist Manual (or similar Baptist creed). To become a Methodist one must believe and practice what is found in the Methodist Discipline. One is a Catholic who follows the Catholic Catechisms. It is the different creeds written by men that differentiates one denomination from another. We at the church of Christ in Galena, being simply Christians, have no such creed. We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent. We call Bible things by Bible names and do Bible things in Bible ways.

OUR PLEA TO YOU

Our prayer and plea to you is that you will desire to be a part of a church that preaches and practices what was preached and practiced in the New Testament and that you will be simply a Christian. If you want to know exactly what the Bible teaches about how to become simply a Christian and not some man-made denominational doctrine that will make you something other than a Christian, please contact us at any time. At a time and place of your earliest convenience, with Bible in hand, we will show you from the Bible how to become a Christian. If you are a member of a denomination, we encourage you to examine the scriptures to determine whether or not the church you are a part of (along with its creed) is mentioned in the Bible. If you cannot find it in the Bible, are you confident that it is the church that Jesus built and the one church of which He is the Savior (cf.Ephesians 1.22–23;4.4;5.23)? You too can be simply a Christian and a member of the church built by Jesus. Please, contact us at anytime with any questions you might have. Our sincere desire is for you to go to Heaven.v

Church of Christ in Galena 2014