Our Beliefs

Stated simply, we believe in one God who exists eternally in three person, Father, Son, and Spirit. God the Father sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die for us and for our salvation and God raised him from the dead. God offers us salvation as a free gift of his grace. We accept that free gift through believing the good news, repenting of our sin, confessing Jesus as Lord, and being baptized. For a more thorough explanation of our beliefs, please see the statements below.

God and the World

We believe in One God who, on account of his overwhelming love, created the world and all that is in it. God the father, through his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, created and formed all humans in his image. God loves and desires a relationship with the entirety of his creation.

We believe all people are created in God’s image, and that God calls all into loving relationship with himself and with one another. On account of the diversity of God’s design of creation, the body of Christ, the church, should reflect the diversity of God’s creation: ethnically and culturally, abled and disabled, male and female, young and old. All of humanity is invited to sit at God’s table and grow in obedience and love through the work of the Holy Spirit.

God the Trinity

We believe in One God who exist eternally in three persons: Father, Son and Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14), each person co-equal and co-eternal. We worship One God in trinity, and trinity in unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one.

God the Father

We believe in one God, the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6), the Almighty (Genesis 35:11; Exodus 6:3; Revelation 1:8; 11:17), the creator of heaven and earth, of all that is visible and invisible (Genesis 1:1).

God the Son

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:5; Romans 5:1), the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16), begotten of the Father before all ages (John 1:1-2; Colossians 1:15-17). God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God (John 20:28; Colossians 1:15, 19), begotten, not made, of one being with the Father (John 10:30; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 2:9). Through Jesus all things were made (John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; 1 John 5:20). For us and for our salvation Jesus came down from heaven (John 3:13-17; John 6:38, 51; Acts 4:12), and by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the virgin Mary and became man (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:27-35; Philippians 2:7). For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried (Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 18:28-19:42; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). On the third day God raised him from the dead in accordance with the Scriptures (Matthew 16:21; 28:1-6; Luke 24:6-7; Acts 2:24, 32; 3:15; 13:37; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 15:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:10). He ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51; John 20:17; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Peter 3:22) and is seated at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 8:1; 12:1; 1 Peter 3:22). He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end (Matthew 26:64; Luke 1:33; Acts 1:11; 10:42; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; Revelation 1:7).

We confess that Jesus is both truly God and truly human; both consubstantial (of one substance) with God according to his divine nature and consubstantial with us according to his humanity, in all things like us, yet without sin. One person, two natures – unconfused, unchanged, indivisible, inseparable. The distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence. Jesus became incarnate for us and for our salvation, uniting humanity to divinity in his own Person. Through his incarnation Jesus has provided us a way to God and has shown us what it means to be truly human.

God the Holy Spirit

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life (John 6:63; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:46; 2 Corinthians 3:6, 17-18; Galatians 6:8), who proceeds from the Father [and the Son] (John 15:26; John 16:7; Luke 11:13); who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the Prophets (Matthew 28:19; Ephesian 3:5; 2 Peter 1:21).

We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at Baptism (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirt indwells every believer (Acts 5:32; Romans 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:8; 1 Timothy 1:14), unites us to one another (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14), and is the sign and seal of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30). The Spirit works within each person to renew, regenerate, and sanctify us in Christ (Romans 15:16; Titus 3:5-6). As it performs its transforming work within us, the Spirit, by its power, guides us, emboldens us, teaches us, and intercedes for us (Acts 4:31; 13:2-4; 15:28; 19:5; John 14:26; Romans 5:5; 8:26; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Jude 1:2).

Scripture

We believe that the Holy Bible, having been collected, used, and canonized by God’s people throughout the centuries, is the inspired and authoritative word of God in matters of faith and religious practice. (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

Salvation

Since the fall of humanity God has been at work to heal the brokenness of the world. God desires to restore our broken relationship with God, with one another, and with creation. God, in his love for the world, sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to make atonement for our sins and provide humanity a path to reconciliation and union with God (John 3:16; Colossians1:19-22; 1 Peter 3:18). God desires a relationship with all people and wishes that all would come to love and know him (Ephesians 2:4-5; 2 Peter 3:9).

While God in his freedom can freely choose to save any person, he has taught the church practices that are normative for the Christian life of faith. God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, offers salvation to humanity. God calls us to believe and confess Jesus as Lord and to submit our lives to Christ (Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9-10; John 1:12; 3:16). Our belief in and submission to Christ entails that we repent of our sins and of living for ourselves (Acts 2:38; 17:30; Galatians 2:20). We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. (Ephesians 4:5; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21). Baptism is an act of submission to death with Christ (through immersion in water), so that we may receive forgiveness of our sins and be raised to walk in the newness of life with Christ, through the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 2:11-14).

God has, since the age of the apostles, instructed the church in these practices. These acts are not works performed by humans in order to merit salvation but are acts of God to which we submit, for we affirm that we are saved by the free gift of God’s grace (Ephesians 4:2-9). In this new life, offered by God through union with Christ’s death and resurrection, we look with hope and assurance for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

Christian Unity

While recognizing serious theological differences and worship practices that divide Christian denominations, we seek unity with fellow believers of all Christian traditions. We believe in one, holy, universal, and apostolic church (Matthew 28:19-20; John 17:20-23; Acts 2:42; Ephesians 2:18-22; 4:1-6; 1 Peter 2:9-10). In observance of our belief, we seek to build and practice unity through cooperation in acts of service for our community, common prayer and worship, and open dialogue with other churches in our community. We proudly participate in the Stephenville Ministerial Alliance.

Church

God’s work of salvation is not individual; it is communal. The life of the triune God exemplifies the life God desires for God’s people. God’s work of salvation aims at restoring broken community with God and one another. Thus, God calls his children to gather together in unity with one another to exemplify this restored community to a broken world.

Made up of broken people, our community is not perfect. But we gather as those brought together and sustained by the grace of our God. We at Cross Timbers gather as a local instantiation of the universal body of Christ. Brought together by the call of God, we strive to be a fellowship of Christians (followers of Christ) who love and serve one another for shared edification and encouragement. We seek to share the love and grace of God, our father, and the Lord, Jesus Christ, with the Stephenville community.

A Cappella Worship

While the majority of our members are comfortable with the use of musical instruments in public worship, we have chosen to honor the unique tradition of our church of Christ heritage by practicing a cappella worship in our assemblies. Many of our members participate in our praise team that leads our family’s congregational singing each Sunday. A cappella worship is a unique experience that the church of Christ heritage brings to the broader Christian world, and we are proud to continue this tradition.

Lord’s Supper

Following the practice of the early church (Acts 20:7), we share the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist) each Sunday. We believe that God, through Christ and his apostles, ordained that his people partake of this memorial (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20), which is for God’s people the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which gives life to those who believe (John 6:47-56). Following the practice of the early church (Acts 20:7), we share the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist) each Sunday. We believe that God, through Christ and his apostles, ordained that his people partake of this memorial (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20), which is for God’s people the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which gives life to those who believe (John 6:47-56).

All who confess faith in Christ are invited to partake so that, as we share of the one bread, we who are many become one body, the church (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). We partake of the Lord’s supper in remembrance and celebration of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord until he comes again (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Participation of Women

While still uncommon in churches of Christ, we encourage the participation of women in our public gatherings and in our leadership. For a full discussion of our decision to support the participation of women, please see the document approved by our leadership and church family.

Marriage and Divorce

We affirm that marriage was ordained by God to be the covenantal union between one man and one woman, for life (Genesis 3:24-25; Mark 10:6-9). Yet, we recognize that we live in a broken and fallen world. While divorce and broken relationships are regrettable, we understand that our primary duty as Christians is to love (John 13:34-35). Therefore, while we reserve the right to refuse to perform or host any ceremony or event on account of the beliefs of our congregation, in cases of divorced persons, our general practice will be to perform and host events involving divorced persons.

Homosexuality

Recognizing that we live in a fallen world, we understand that our first duty as Christians is to love all people (John13:34-35). We believe that the practice of homosexual acts is a sin, but no greater than any other sin. We seek to welcome, love, and support any person who identifies as homosexual. However, following the teachings of scripture and the Christian faith, we encourage the practice of celibacy for persons of a homosexual orientation. Celibacy being in no way an inferior way of life to that of heterosexual marriage. Celibacy is held up by scripture as a praiseworthy and honorable way of life (Matthew 19:10-12; 1 Corinthians 7:7-8; 25-28). On the basis of our belief and understanding of scripture and following the historical practice of the Christian faith, we will refuse to perform or host any ceremony or event for a homosexual couple.