Lake Shore Drive Church of Christ - Doctrinal Statement

The Elders of the Lake Shore Drive Church of Christ provide in this statement a summary of our position on several important matters.  These assertions are drawn from scripture and represent our understanding of what the Bible teaches on each subject.

1.       The Inspiration of the Bible
We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) and that as such it is:
  • the revelation by God of himself and his plan to all of mankind.
  • the only authority for religious teaching and practice.
  • the first source of information about Christian faith and living.
 
2.       The Use of Mechanical Instruments of Music in Worship
We believe, based on the teaching of scripture, that a cappella music is appropriate for worship in the church and that the addition of mechanical instruments of music to worship is not consistent with the pattern of worship described in the New Testament.  (See Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 where the instruction in both cases is to “sing.”)
 
3.       The Role of Women in Public Bible Study and Worship             
We believe that God has appointed men, males, to be the spiritual leaders in the church.  This is not a minimization of the value of women, but it does limit to faithful men participation in certain leadership and public aspects of church life.  In 1 Timothy 2:8, the church is instructed to have faithful men lead publically in prayer.  From 1 Timothy 2:12, it is clear that a woman’s role is limited to those things not involving teaching or having authority over a man.  In 1 Corinthians 12:33-35, clear instruction is given that excludes women from publicly teaching or leading in worship an audience that includes men.  Further, it is clear from Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 that the leadership roles of elder and deacon are to be filled by faithful men who are supported in their work by faithful wives.

4.       The Place of Baptism in Salvation
Salvation is the result of God’s application of the blood of Christ to the penitent believer following that person’s confession that Jesus is indeed the Christ, God’s son.  We understand from the Bible that the point at which this application takes place is that person’s baptism, a complete immersion in water (as reflected in New Testament examples such as the baptism of the Ethiopian recorded in Acts 8).  At that point, a person becomes a Christian.  There can be no salvation, therefore, without immersion, nor can salvation be maintained without obedience to New Testament instructions regarding Christian living.  (See also Acts 2:36-38 and 1 Peter 3:21.)
 
5.       The Frequency of the Lord’s Supper Observance
Because it is a reminder that Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins, the Lord’s Supper is an important part of our weekly worship service.  We believe the church today should follow the example of the New Testament Christians who met on the first day of the week (Sunday) and who shared in this memorial feast at each of those weekly meetings.  (See Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.)
 
6.       Sexual Relations Outside of Marriage
We believe that the sexual relationship was given to humans by God to be enjoyed only within the context of marriage.  In Hebrews 13:4, we are instructed to hold the marriage relationship in high honor and to keep “the marriage bed undefiled.”  This is a clear reminder that God does not approve of any sexual activity between persons who are not properly married to one another.  The same passage also makes it clear how seriously God himself views violations of that relationship:  “[F]or God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
 
7.       Homosexuality
We believe that homosexuality, choosing to practice sexual intimacy and relations with another person of the same gender, is a sinful behavior.  Scripture is quite clear in describing God’s negative attitude regarding any homosexual practice of intimacy.  In Leviticus 18, the Israelites were told that such practices were an “abomination” to the Lord.  In Roman 1:26-27, same-sex physical relationships are described as a matter of “impurity” and result in a “dishonoring” of the bodies God has given.  It is to be understood as a worshipping of the “creature rather than the Creator,” and the result of believing a lie.  In 1 Corinthians 6:9, we are reminded that those who practice homosexuality are “unrighteous” and will therefore “not inherit the kingdom of God.”
 
8.       Divorce and Remarriage
We believe that God designed marriage to be a life-long and exclusive physical, emotional and spiritual relationship between one woman and one man.  That God’s intention regarding marriage applies to all humankind from the time of creation is clear from Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:4-6.  Malachi 3:14-15 tells us that God is the witness to a covenant made between a man and a woman at marriage and that He makes those two into one, “with a portion of the Spirit in their union…”  The next verse says, “the man who does not love his wife but divorces her” is one who “covers his garment with violence.”Scripture, then, does not offer any justification for “no fault” divorce or the subsequent remarriage of either party.  The only allowance for divorce given in scripture is in the case of adultery (Matthew 5:32, 19:9), and it is clear that only the party not guilty of the adultery is entitled to marry again following the divorce.  Because God’s marriage law has been the same since creation, it applies equally to all persons whether or not they have believed in God or in Jesus as His son.  Conversion to Christianity brings forgiveness for sins of which a person has repented (ceased to commit), but an inappropriate marriage relationship existing before baptism remains an inappropriate marriage relationship after baptism.
 
9.       The Work of the Holy Spirit Today
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God’s presence, a gift given to all Christians at baptism (Acts 2:38).  The Holy Spirit in all Christians helps when a Christian doesn’t know what to pray (Romans 8:26-27).  He, the Holy Spirit, also helps a Christian in the development of those positive, healthy attributes of Christian character that Paul called “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23).It is inappropriate, however, to expect the same miraculous works recorded in the New Testament to be performed by Christians today.  Even Paul indicated that those things were expected to “pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:8), a fact demonstrated in Acts 8:18 where it is shown that only an Apostle (one who had been called personally to that work by Jesus himself) could pass along the miraculous abilities to another person.Nor is it appropriate today to expect a “baptism in (by) the Holy Spirit.”  Such was intended only for the Apostles (Acts 2:1-4), though it was repeated one time for Cornelius (Acts 10-11) in order to demonstrate God’s acceptance of the Gentiles for conversion to Christianity.
 
Waco, Texas – February, 2015