We believe the Bible is inspired and authoritative.
Referring to the Old Testament scriptures, Jesus asked the Sadducees: “Have you not read that which was spoken to you by God?” (Matthew 22:31). In his letter to his fellow worker, Timothy, Paul stated, “All Scripture is inspired by God…” (II Timothy 3:16). Paul affirmed to the Galatians, “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11, 12). The apostle Peter wrote, “But know this first if all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (II Peter 1:20, 21).
Trusting the scriptures to be inspired comes from careful study of the unity, prophetic fulfillment, factual accuracy, and scientific accuracy recorded within the Bible. The Bible is not just a good book; it is the inspired, all-sufficient, soul saving word of God. Peter explained that God, by “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3). The Psalmist correctly stated, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160). For these reasons, the church at Leipers Fork asserts the Bible is inspired of God and is authoritative for salvation, for church doctrine, and for daily living.
We believe Jesus is God and is worthy of worship.
In Acts 13:33 the apostle Paul affirms Psalm 2 as speaking of Christ (cf. Hebrews 1:5, 5:5). Psalm 2 closes with imperative instructions: “Worship Jehovah with reverence, and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 2:11-12). In this passage, the phrases “worship Jehovah with reverence” and “Do homage to the Son” are parallel statements, carrying exactly the same meaning. To “Do homage” means to offer “reverential worship,” which is the precise wording of the opening phrase. This Psalm commands worship to be directed to the Son, Jesus Christ. In that God alone is to be worshipped (cf. Matthew 4:10), the Old Testament prophecies reveal Jesus is God.
“My Lord and my God!” was Thomas’s confession upon placing his fingers into the wounds of Jesus after His bodily resurrection from the tomb (John 20:28). The church at Leipers Fork believes and confesses, like Thomas, that Jesus is God (John 1:1, John 20:28), and like so many in the New Testament scriptures, we humbly worship Him (Matt 8:2, 14:33, 15:25, 28:9, 28: 17; Mark 5:6; Luke 24:52; John 9:38; Revelation 5:8).
We believe in the restoration of New Testament Christianity.
It is not the mission of the church to make peace with the world by conforming the church to an image that is acceptable to the world; rather, the mission of the church is to seek peace with God by conforming its members into the image of Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 8:29). Obedience to God, as in the case of Josiah, is the cure for what ails us. Only by returning to the Lord’s plan for the church may we be assured of surviving the gathering storm of God’s wrath. The church at Leiper’s Fork is committed to the restoration of New Testament Christianity.
We believe Sunday is the day of Christian worship.
Near the conclusion of his third missionary tour, Paul departed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread. He was hurriedly making his way to Jerusalem, intending to arrive by the day of Pentecost less than two months away. In spite of the fact that time was fleeting and a journey of several hundred miles of land travel remained, Paul and Luke (notice the “we” in Acts 20:6), along with seven other men, “stayed seven days” in the city of Troas.
Why this delay in view of his urgent goal to reach Jerusalem? The most plausible answer lies in the continuation of the narrative. Of the seven days spent waiting in Troas, the activity of only one day appears in the divine record: “And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day” (Acts 20:7). The delay of seven days indicates Paul arrived in Troas on the preceding Monday, and desiring to meet with the church in that city before continuing his journey, he and his companions “stayed seven days” until the church assembled again on “the first day of the week.”
The primary design of the meeting on the first day of the week was “to break bread,” and all but sabbatarians understand this as a reference to eating the Lord’s Supper (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:17ff). The phrase “to break bread” in the Greek reflects an infinitive of purpose, meaning the primary reason for the assembly on the first day of the week was to observe the supper. From this inspired account, the conclusion is irresistible that the church in Troas was accustomed to assembling for worship every Sunday.
We believe in congregational singing without the use of instrumental music.
The New Testament is quite clear and very specific regarding the authorized form of music to be used in church worship. There are only two major categories of music available – vocal and mechanical. The question for the sincere worshipper seeking only to worship in spirit and in truth is: what kind of music is authorized for the church in worship? All passages in the New Testament relating to Christian worship authorize the act of singing (Acts 16:25; Romans 15:9; I Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:18, 19; Colossians 3:16, 17; Hebrews 2:12; 13:15; James 5:13). There are no exceptions to this inspired teaching.
Absolutely no support exists for the introduction of instruments of music into the worship of the church. No apostle ever taught the use of instruments, no New Testament church is depicted as using any instruments, and furthermore, even history reveals that instrumental music was unknown in Christian worship until after the sixth century. In the year 139 A.D., Justin Martyr wrote: “The use of singing with instrumental music was not received in the Christian churches, as it was among the Jews in their infant state, but only the use of plain song.”
If the instrument was not used in Christian worship until the year 755 A.D., it goes without saying that previously it was unknown in the church of Christ. The question then begs to be asked: who brought the instrument into the worship - God or man? Since God promised the apostles “all truth” in the 1st century, we may conclude that the introduction of the instrument in the 8th century to be the innovation of man, and its continued use to be after the tradition of men and thus vain worship (Mark 7:7). Sincere Bible students are aware that God did not accept innovations in worship by Cain (Genesis 4) or Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10). The New Testament declares He will not accept innovations in Christian worship either (I Corinthians 4:6; II John 9; Revelation 22:18-19).
We believe in prayer.
The New Testament church was dedicated to prayer. In fact, prayer is so essential to the spiritual health and well-being of the children of God, it is not only to be enjoined during the corporate worship of the church on the first day of the week, but prayer is to be exercised continually, Paul urging Christians to “pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus" (I Thessalonians 5:17, 18). Accordingly, the worship of the church involves prayer. From the day the church began on Pentecost, even until the present, prayer has been a constant companion of the church in worship (Acts 2:42).
In the same manner that worship is directed only to God (Deity), prayer should only invoke the name of Deity. We do not pray to angels, or to the departed dead, but prayer is addressed to God (Luke 6:12; Romans 15:30). When His Jewish brethren asked Jesus about prayer, He gave them a model prayer opening with the words, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 6:9). Since the singular name of Deity is shared equally by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19), prayer is properly petitioned to all three Persons of the Godhead. It is unfortunate that many within the church have failed to realize the scriptural truth concerning the unity of the Godhead, and that knowing God, i.e., Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as one Deity, is an essential doctrine of the New Testament church (II Thessalonians 1:3-8).
We believe in eating the Lord’s Supper every Sunday (the first day of every week).
Under authorization and supervision of the inspired apostles, the first century church celebrated communion on the first day of the week. The Lord instituted the Supper in anticipation of His death (Matthew 26:26-29), but the early church, in unswerving concert with the apostle’s doctrine, observed the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week. The reason for doing so becomes clear in view of the historical events of the death of Christ and His resurrection. At the time of His death, the body of flesh was torn open and the blood of Jesus was poured out. His body was then placed in the tomb and sealed shut; but in keeping with the prophecy of His resurrection, Jesus rose from the grave three days after His entombment, appearing alive to His disciples on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9).
In eating the Lord’s Supper (commemorating His death) on Sunday (honoring His resurrection) the church preserves the vital link between His death and resurrection upon which Christianity is founded (I Corinthians 15:12-19). To disregard either the first day of the week assembly or the Communion Supper is to tread under foot the inseparable connection between the death of Christ and His glorious resurrection. Furthermore, it is simply impossible to honor the authority of the apostle’s doctrine delivered to the church while abandoning the established pattern of the early church in observing the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week (Acts 20:7 and historical evidence, see “The Lord’s Supper is Worship” link below).
We believe worship includes teaching, preaching, and reading from the scriptures.
The tremendous respect the church should have for the authority of the Scriptures is witnessed in Paul’s instruction to Timothy to “give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (I Timothy 4:13). Some versions of the Bible simply state, “give attendance to reading” (KJV), but the Greek anagnosis is defined as “the public ‘reading’ of Scripture” (Vine, 1996). Vine specifically mentions the current text under consideration, explaining: “the context makes clear that the reference is to the care required in reading the Scriptures to a company, a duty ever requiring the exhortation ‘take heed.’” (Ibid.). Vincent also states that the verb anagnosis is used “usually of public reading” (2001).
This is the reason Paul concludes the admonition, saying, “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (I Timothy 4:16). The gospel of Jesus Christ must be heard and obeyed (Matthew 7:24-27), and the church must take serious the charge of preaching the gospel to the lost, for if the body of Christ will not preach the gospel, who else will? The church today is in error if the preaching, teaching, and public reading of the Scriptures are forsaken.
We believe in Christian giving.
Regarding the Christian’s giving, the pattern has been clearly set forth: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come” (I Corinthians 16:1, 2).
Let it be noted that the instructions outlaid in this verse by the apostle are not optional. Paul said, “…as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also.” The word “directed” or “ordered” is from the Greek diatasso meaning “to set in order, appoint, command” (Vine, 1996). The verb “do” also reflects the authority of a command, imposing upon the church the requirement of giving upon the first day of the week. The church of Christ at Leiper’s Fork, along with every other church, is instructed to follow the divine pattern of each person giving upon the first day of the week as they have prospered.
This does not mean that our giving is to be done grudgingly or solely out of obligation; but as with the command to sing (where every Christian should be more than willing to pour out a song of praise and adoration from the depths of their being for the wonderful love of Jesus), we should also yearn for the opportunity to give in support of the work of the church in teaching the gospel of salvation to the lost; a salvation which we ourselves enjoy! Christians are to give purposefully and cheerfully in support of church work (II Corinthians 9:7).
As a visitor at Leipers Fork, you are under no obligation to give; the collection is not, nor ever intended to be, a solicitation for money. The church at Leiper’s Fork also understands that you may have a home congregation where you “put aside and save” (I Corinthians 16:1, 2) for the work of the church; this is good and right in the sight of God. If you decide to give, we ask that you give cheerfully (II Corinthians 9:7) a gift that is “an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18).
We believe salvation belongs to those in Jesus Christ.
The salvation of mankind is too serious to leave to chance, preconceived ideas, or the teachings of fallible men, and there is no need to trust in such perversions. Jesus Christ has given us the word of truth concerning salvation from sin, but we must set our hearts to study His word, resolving to practice His teachings, and instructing others to do likewise. Jesus has affirmed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).
What must a man do to be saved? Jesus answers:
Hear and Obey: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life” (John 5:24); “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man” (Matthew 7:24).
Believe: “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).
Repent: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17); “I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5).
Confess: “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32, 33).
Be Baptized: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5); “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19, 20); “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).
Remain Faithful: “Be Faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).