Forthright Magazine

Ask away (3)

This is the third and final part of a series of questions and answers about the faith. Parts One and Two are online.

What happens in your meetings? —We meet every first day of the week (Sundays) in an orderly and organized manner to give honor and praise to God our heavenly Father and to encourage one another in the faith. According to biblical teachings, we practice these acts of worship:

(1) We offer prayers to God in the name of Jesus, acknowledging his majesty, giving thanks for blessings received, and asking for his help in living as we should, 1 Timothy, chapter 2, verses 1-8.

(2) We sing songs, without instrumental accompaniment, in praise of God and the work he accomplished in the person of his Son, as well as teach others through the words, Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 19, and Colossians, chapter 3, verse 16.

(3) The word of God is taught and proclaimed. We listen respectfully to various readings of Scripture and seek more and more to be transformed by the power of the Spirit evident in it, 2 Timothy, chapter 4, verses 1-5.

(4) We solemnly and joyfully eat the Lord’s Supper, as a memorial of Jesus’ victory on the cross over evil and as a celebration of that victory in our own lives. We express in the Supper our communion with God and with each other, Matthew, chapter 26, verses 26-30.

(5) We offer God the fruit of our labor in weekly collections. We offer cheerfully and generously, without human obligation of a stipulated amount. Each calculates how much he should give, “to the extent that God has blessed you” 1 Corinthians, chapter 16, verse 2.

What is your history? Where did you come from? — People in many times and places compared their religious scene with the faith lived in the early years of the Gospel. They wanted to abandon the traditions, impositions, rules and creeds invented by men, in order to go back to being guided only by the Word of God.

Even today, there are movements in various parts of the world, all independent but with the same mentality: the word of God as the final word. Such movements are already known in the most diverse places, such as, for example, Oceania, Spain, Finland, Mozambique, England, the United States and Brazil.

What is even more beautiful is that when these movements become aware of each other, they have so much in common that they end up coming together and joining forces.

How are you different from other religious groups and denominations? — Generally, religious groups and denominations have their own doctrine to follow. Their teachings are outlined in their creeds, catechisms, theologies, and doctrinal statements. Their hierarchies are careful to protect these distinctive doctrines while preserving their influence and power over adherents.

In contrast, our communities are bound only by a commitment to obedience to Scripture and brotherly love. No group or person has the right to boss others around or speak on behalf of others, as our mission is to discover more and more of the meaning of Scripture and how it should be applied in our lives today. It is a constant search, as no one has reached a perfect understanding. The basic points of the Gospel are clear, for they are available to everyone. But we know that we all have to grow and seek spiritual maturity.

What must a person do to join your group? — Nobody joins God’s people like a social club. Christ claims our whole being. He calls us to abandon our selfishness, our pride, to humbly receive God’s gift. He invites everyone to accept his message. He offers salvation for free. There is nothing man can do or offer God to make him willing to accept us. Jesus has already done this work and it is up to us to apply it to our lives.

To receive this gift, we must surrender ourselves to him and become followers of Christ. We do this by believing his message, resolving to turn from sin and serve the only true and living God. Through this faith we find the forgiveness of the cross of Christ in immersion in water.

In this brief space, it was only possible to touch lightly on these questions and issues. But we hope it has served to shed some light on our commitment to serve God through the merits of his Son Jesus. Let’s keep talking and discovering God’s will for our lives.


J. Randal Matheny
Latest posts by J. Randal Matheny (see all)