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Information site on churches and mission, beliefs and practice associated with the Christian Brethren (CB) denomination in Western Australia

 

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" For we are Godís fellow workers; you are Godís field, you are Godís building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."  

1 Corinthians 3:9-11  NKJV

   IHS-WA.net       Beliefs & Practice  -  Page 2  -  A Typical Christian Brethren Church

 

The Church & The Meeting Place

Local & Denominational Leadership

Communion - Breaking of Bread

Church Membership

Water Baptism

Priesthood of All Believers

Tithes and Offerings

Head Coverings and Hair Length

The Role of Women in the CB Church

 

Beliefs & Practice - Page 1 - Christian Brethren Common Creed

Beliefs & Practice - Page 3 - Christian Brethren Topical Issues

 

(Link Disclaimer: Caution should be exercised - all points should be checked back to the truth of God's Word. No one gets it all right all the time.  No one!  If you feel that a link is not in keeping with the beliefs of CB, please email us your concerns and the link will be reviewed and possibly removed. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and needed in this.)

 

 

   IHS-WA.net       Practical outworking of beliefs common among people associated with the Christian Brethren

 

 

The Church & the Meeting Place __________________________________________________ Review / Critique

Whenever the church is mentioned in the Bible it never refers to a building - it is always talking about a group of believers who meet together in a particular place. The church is the people that meet in a building, not the building itself. In reality though, we often find ourselves reflecting what the wider community terms as the 'church', the building down the road. Thus the terms 'Assembly Hall', 'Chapel', 'Fellowship' and 'Christian Community' are often used to indicate a meeting complex within CB circles. You will not find the Christian Brethren meeting in huge fancy cathedrals, with gold fixtures and stained-glass everything. Far better to put the money to work in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, in supporting workers who devote their time to ministry and in publication and distribution of the Word of God. Modest buildings are needed only as support for ministry, but should never be temples to man's vanity. Better to lay up your treasure in heaven. God's Temple is in the heart of the believer through the in-dwelling Holy Spirit.

 

 

Local & Denominational Leadership ___________________________________________ Review / Critique

The final and God-appointed leadership of a local church is NOT in the hands of an appointed Priest, Pastor/s, Minister or a democracy of the congregation. The Scriptural pattern is a small group of faithful men, not young in the faith, etc., according to 1 Timothy 3:1-7 & Titus 1:5-9, who form the Eldership. When properly implemented, biblical eldership allows the church to be what God designed it to be, fosters the spiritual development of the leading men within the church family, and honours the teaching of Godís precious Word. Leadership at state, national and international level is not that of a governing body in any way, shape or form for the Christian Brethren. It is simply a voluntary structure where all individual assemblies are encouraged to participate for common tasks. At a state level in Western Australia, this is achieved via the 'Combined Elders Meetings', where the Elders and others in leadership positions in local assemblies are encouraged to meet together on a regular bases and conduct such business that relates to the CB denomination as a whole. This also give opportunity to organise inter-church activities, and plan support for existing churches and the planting of new ones within the state. This is likewise done at a national level for all states of Australia and internationally as well.

Contact details for the WA CB Combined Elders Meetings will be posted soon.

 

For further study on this subject:

http://www.peacemakers.net/resources/strauch/biblicaleldership.htm - A somewhat exhaustive article by Alexander Strauch.

http://www.bible.ca/ntx-elders-pastors-bishops.htm - A no-holes-bared look at the subject.

http://www.gracegems.org/SERMONS2/new_testament_church.htm - Lots of Questions for you to think over.

 

 

Communion _____________________________________________________________________ Review / Critique

Other names commonly used for Communion are 'Breaking of Bread' and 'Lord's Supper', and this is another area where CB take a very simple approach. Just before his crucifixion, Jesus met with his disciples and instituted a memorial with simple bread and wine, and said, "Do this in remembrance of me" (see 1 Corinthians 11: 23-34). This is usually conducted each Sunday and may be represented as a simple loaf of bread that is broken or a type of unleavened bread or biscuit or something similar. The cup may be a single cup of wine or grape juice, but for health reasons in this day and age, separate little cups are most commonly used. Partaking in communion at a CB assembly is only for those who love the Lord Jesus and have submitted to Him. The Christian Brethren, as do all other Protestant denominations, see the claims of the Roman Church that the elements of communion, namely the bread and the wine, actually turn into the real blood and flesh of Jesus when their 'priest' performs the sacrament, is total scriptural heresy and abhorrent to all Bible-believing Christians.

 

 

Church Membership ____________________________________________________________ Review / Critique

Membership in a local Christian Brethren (CB) church is relatively simple, but may differ a little from one assembly to another. Most would require a person to be baptised as a believer by the full-immersion water method as indicated in Scripture, being of sufficient age to have made a personal conversion to Christ in repentance of sin and heart commitment to follow Him for life. Some churches may require a time for this to be demonstrated in ones life in some cases. Generally there is no signing of any form, just a warm welcome announcement to the congregation. You will find little privilege associated to membership, but rather responsibility. In membership one commits to financially supporting the Lord's work through their local church, to getting their hands dirty in ministry, to supporting one another and to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to edify one another. You don't need to take up official membership to be an active, vital part of a local church family - membership is an open, firm commitment of your support and willingness to take on personal responsibility for your brothers and sisters in Christ in that place.

 

 

Water Baptism __________________________________________________________________ Review / Critique

The only physical baptism recognised among the Christian Brethren (CB) is 'full-immersion believers baptism'. Water baptism is a symbolic burial, by which the new Christian publicly declares they have died, and are now beginning a new life in Christ. The word, 'Baptize', is the English form of a Greek word which means to immerse: to place something into something else. In Christian water baptism, the believer is put completely under water, then immediately raised out of the water. Water baptism is a statement of faith: my old life is behind me - I am a new person, with a new life. Water baptism is a sign of repentance - repentance means change - a change so drastic that the old person is "buried." It does not make you acceptable to God. As a work of righteousness, trying to obtain a good standing with God, it is worthless. Water baptism is a way of giving testimony to what has happened inwardly, and a clear commitment to turn from the old life.


For further study on this subject:

http://www.believers.org/believe/bel190.htm - A fuller explanation with scriptural references.

 

 

Priesthood of All Believers _____________________________________________________ Review / Critique

When Jesus came on the scene He proclaimed that the old system was being fulfilled and a new system (covenant) was about to take over. This happened at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given into the life of the believer upon conversion and stayed with him/her as a seal between God and man. In the aspect of the old system that only a 'priest' was able to come to God personally, now it was clearly open to all through the matter of prayer and the presence of the 'comforter', the Holy Spirit, in each believers heart that we are indeed priests as of old and are fit and welcome into God's presence anytime and anywhere. A priest served the people in offering their gifts before God - the fathers did so in the Patriarchal age; the Levites did so in the Jewish age, and all Christians today as priests offer to God gifts and sacrifices. It can easily be proved from the New and the Old Testaments that God has never allowed anyone to offer sacrifices save a priest in any age. Every Christian today, as a priest before God, brings his offerings and sacrifices before the Father. So the Bible teaches plainly.

 

But what happened to the church??  From the early apostasy (corruption) of the New Testament church into the Greek and Roman Catholic churches came the separation of Christians into clergy and laity. The apostolic (NT) church did not believe nor practice such things. Certain ones decided to marry the older Old Testament type of temple system into the new system that Jesus introduced, making a separation of the clergy that has lead us to the dogmas of the Roman Church and others today. Then out of this overbearing legal system came the refreshing teaching of the 'Protestant Movement', reaffirming the scriptural principles that Jesus taught and committed to the church universal today. Recalling that only priests can offer sacrifices, the Bible implies necessarily that all believing brethren (men and women) are priests and thus can obey this command. Thank God daily that all believers are a priest and do not have to go through any man on earth to contact God or to offer your sacrifices, offerings and gifts unto the Father.

 

For further study on this subject: 

http://www.thebible.net/introchurch/ch39.html - She (the church) Practices The Priesthood of All Believers by Hulen L. Jackson

http://www.gracevalley.org/articles/Priesthood.html - The Priesthood of All Believers By P. G. Mathew

 

 

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Tithes and Offerings ____________________________________________________________ Review / Critique

In a country in the midst of an economic downturn and where people are living pay-check to pay-check (if you have a job), too often church tithes and offerings disappear from the priority list. Church tithes and offerings are the lifeline of the church and without consistent Godly financial stewardship (management) of giving the church will struggle. Tithes covers what you are expected to provide (owe) to God's service and offerings are anything you present to God over and above your tithes. It is you, the people of God, that provide the resources to fund the nuts and bolts of the Kingdom of God on earth. Now this is a big subject, so I will try to give some 'simple' outlines on this issue - you can look into the "further study" notes at the end here if you want to go into it more extensively. Does God's Kingdom need your money - YES.  Who pays your church buildings repairs and maintenance? Who pays your pastor or other workers? Who sends out missionaries and publications? The church's impact today is linked to how our faith directs our personal finances!

 

Should God have your money - YES.  Every Christian is obliged to give to the work of God's Kingdom here on earth. Giving to 'Green Peace' or to 'Save the Children's Fund' IS NOT part of giving to Kingdom resources. These would be part of 'offerings', not 'tithes'. Do you go to a New Testament church, then give to them or any other truly committed active christian project.

Is 10% a good tithe to give - YES.  In the Old Testament times, the required amount under the 'law' over a year was about 22.5% of income to the temple, but they also used some of that in what we would call 'local government' control and services. A tithe (10%) is not mentioned in the New Testament writings but is seen as a good example to aim for. Then other items with time and finances can be given above this as 'offerings' as the Lord leads you.

 

No money equals no tithe - Do I really care?  You do NOT have to give money to God's Kingdom as a Christian, but you should WANT to. The gift of God's new life cannot be bought or payed for in any way, it is through faith in Christ Jesus alone with no earthly payments or indulgences ever required. Given that fact, many slide into the old line of not having any real cash to give and 'the church' misses out again this week as well.  BUT WHY?  If it is because you are living beyond your means - big house, new or second car and all the other worldly stuff of our neighbours - then you are truly living the sinful life of the world and the matter of not tithing is just a small part of your financial mess that needs sorting out. Or perhaps not keeping a budget of expenses is an issue with you. If this sounds like you, I suggest a dose of reality from someone who has been there and has some down-to-earth christian financial advise, Dave Ramsey - the voice of financial wisdom. Should a Christian be up to their hilt in financial struggle - NO is the biblical answer. So do something about it now AND your financial giving will sort itself out as you became more like Christ.

 

  

Watch Dave Ramsey share on Christian giving:

Money Matters Session 1: Financial Vision + links   

 

 

For further study on this subject: 

http://www.learnthebible.org/tithes-and-offerings-section-4-lesson-6.html - Learn The Bible - Tithes & Offerings

http://www.wordlibrary.co.uk/article.php?id=305 - Should a Christian pay tithes? - The Living Word Library

 

 

Head Coverings and Hair Length _______________________________________________ Review / Critique

It must be stated clearly at the outset that by far most Christian Brethren (CB) churches DO NOT have any mandates on head coverings for their female members or visitors. In raising this issue, it is not intended to argue the point one way or the other here, but simply to inform that there are some churches associated with the CB that may prefer their female attendees to wear a covering during the communion service if you are visiting, but most Assemblies in Australia consider this issue as not relevant to the Aussie cultural setting, as do most other NT church based denominations, taking a view on this issue something like the following excerpt:

"1 Corinthians 11 is a record of the apostle Paul's teaching regarding the use of head coverings and the length of hair to those who were in first century Corinth. The text has been a source of confusion for many, and has resulted in two general positions: 1) the instruction was for the Corinthians alone, and we have no need to specifically heed it, and 2) it is divine instruction, as applicable today as it was in the day it was given. I am of the mind that the instruction regarding hair length and head coverings given by the apostle is cultural in nature, and that application of the same today would likewise be on a cultural basis..." 

 

For further study on this subject: 

Women's head covering in the church - A study on 1 Corinthians 11.   PDF article.

http://bible.org/article/what-head-covering-1-cor-112-16-and-does-it-apply-us-today - What is Head Covering in 1 Cor? Daniel B. Wallace

 

 

The Role of Women in the CB Church __________________________________________ Review / Critique

Within the Christian Brethren (CB) assemblies (churches) you will find a wide definition and application for the role of women within each church, from a minority who would expect the ladies to have a head covering and remain silent throughout their meetings, to those at the other extreme view who may allow women to be pastors and pulpit teachers. The majority of assemblies would hold the view of not allowing women to be Elders or pulpit teachers, but giving them full acceptance in Christ within the daily running and participation of the local church's activities. It is not our place in this article here to give any teaching on this issue, but simply to inform you that, due to the complete autonomous nature of each CB church, different doctrinal views exist. So when you are looking for a new church to move to, you will need to consider the practical outworking of this doctrine at various local assemblies for you and/or your family.

 

 

Beliefs & Practice - Page 1 - Christian Brethren Common Creed

 

Beliefs & Practice - Page 3 - Christian Brethren Topical Issues

 

 

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