Frequently Asked Questions
Are you a Protestant Denomination?
No. There are approximately 6 Christian denomination types (most people only think of two, Catholic and Protestant); we do not qualify as any of them. Instead, we are an exact model of the church established in Acts 2 and the First Century AD. We have no roots in any denomination, although many denominations originated in the church of Christ. You can learn more here: Is the Church of Christ a Denomination?
Why is your name "Church of Christ"?
This is less of a name than it is one of several descriptions used in the Bible to describe Christ's church (Romans 16:16, I Corinthians 1:2, II Corinthians 1:1, I Thessalonians 1:1, Hebrews 12:23). The word "Church" means body, and we desire to be the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5, I Corinthians 12:27). It makes sense that we would reject any other name, since "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12). The name "Sunset" is only meant to designate our location, as being distinct from other groups in our area called the church of Christ. You can learn more here: The Church Has No Name.
How are you organized?
In the New Testament, local churches were comprised of members who identified one another as brothers and sisters. Even Jesus Himself identified Himself with other believers in that manner (Matthew 12:49-50). In the New Testament, believers in Jesus Christ are called Saints, Christians, or Children of God. We know that the universal church had apostles and prophets in the first century (Ephesians 2:20), who founded the church and left us the New Testament. We are also told that local churches were given elders and deacons and evangelists and teachers. These works are accomplished by members of local churches. These works are not titles of office, but works accomplished by local members. Elders (also called Pastors, Overseers and Bishops in the New Testament) over see local churches. Deacons assist in the operation of the local church. Evangelists (also called Preachers and Ministers in the New Testament) preach the word, both to believers and unbelievers alike. You can learn about the qualification of elders here: Qualifications of Elders. You can learn about the qualifications of deacons here: Qualification of Deacons.
Do you believe only the Church of Christ is going to heaven?
Absolutely; it is likely that if you are part of a church, you do too. Consider that it is the case today that most churches either call themselves by the name of Church of God or Church of Christ (such as the Mormon Church, Apostolic Churches, Assembly of God, or Mennonites) or they still hold that they are a church of Christ, including the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church. Very few people who claim to be Christian deny that only those who are members of the Body of Christ are sanctified (Hebrews 10:10). Paul made it clear that any church founded by a man cannot save (I Corinthians 1:12). So most churches that are not universalist in doctrine would probably agree, only those who are with Christ are saved. So a better question is "Do you believe you are the only Church of Christ". There can be other churches of Christ, but not as any kind of denomination, which is defined as something of another name. We believe that any church that is modeled after the first century church of Christ is Christ's church. This can be identified and confirmed in that the Bible is the only source of doctrine (Romans 6:17, I Timothy 1:3, 6:3, II Timothy 3:16, II John 1:9), Christ is the only head (Ephesians 5:23), Elders/Bishops in each congregation are the only overseers, and only of their congregations (Titus 1:5-9), and believers are determined or saved not by men but by obedience to God's pattern of salvation. They call themselves by no other name but the name of Christ (I Corinthians 1:13), both personally (I Peter 4:16) and as a church (Romans 16:16, I Corinthians 1:2). You can learn more here: Is There One Church?
Do you believe you are saved by Faith or by Works?
The Bible is clear that we are not saved by Faith alone (James 2:24) nor by Works alone (Titus 3:5). We are saved by Faith that is demonstrated by works (Hebrews 11, James 2:26). Both James and Paul tell us this by using the example of Abraham and his obedience to God's commands (James 2:21-23, Romans 4:9). Paul uses Abraham to show that God called his action Faith, and said it was his Faith that saved him, while James points out it was called Faith because he performed what God commanded. We teach just as the Bible teaches it: we are saved by Faith, but Faith is defined by our performing what God has commanded (which are the works James speaks about). Sometimes we are asked why Paul seems to tell us works are not valuable for righteousness in Galatians or Romans; when Paul speaks about the "works" or "works of the law", he is always speaking about the works of the Old Testament Law of Moses. If you look in passages in Galatians, Romans or Ephesians, you will see he speaks about Old Law requirements that are not required to be kept by Christians. Ironically, many of the people who espouse salvation without works turn to the Old Law for justification on modern doctrines. You can learn more here: What is Grace?
Why do you teach so much about baptism?
We try to give the doctrine of baptism (Hebrews 6:2) as much attention as the New Testament intended (it is mentioned in the New Testament nearly 100 times). To that end the New Testament taught that it was the place where sins are removed (Acts 2:38), where men called on the Lord (Acts 22:16), where people are born again (John 3:5), the point of salvation (I Peter 3:21), and the point where we receive our first, spiritual resurrection (Romans 6:3-6, Revelation 20:6). It must be preceded by faith (Mark 16:16), a confession of Christ (Acts 8:36-37), and repentance (Acts 2:38). It must be followed with a devotion to Christian living (II John 9, Revelation 2:10). You can learn more here: Ten Things You Need To Know About Baptism.
Why do you have communion every Sunday, and only Sunday?
The Bible records that Jesus commanded us to regularly partake of the Lord's Supper/ Communion (I Corinthians 11:23-26), and the only time the church of the first century did so was on Sunday (Acts 20:7). We also only take up a collection on Sunday, since this is the only day we have been given to do so (I Corinthians 16:2). You can learn more here: Do Christians meet on Saturday (Sabbath) or Sunday (The Lord's Day); Three Facts About Communion; or on why we currently offer a second serving here: Communion Questions; or on whether a congregation can cancel services here: Can a Congregation Cancel Services. Another question is of Matthew 18:18-20 and what creates a local church: Does Matthew 18:18-20 Create a Local Church.
Why do you not have musical instruments in worship?
The first century church did not use them, but instead sang without accompaniment (in musical terms this is called a capella). The only command from God for music in the church is to sing (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, James 5:13). The only examples by Christ or the apostles was of singing (Mark 14:26, Acts 16:25). To add musical instruments would be to add to what God has instructed us (II John 9, Revelation 22:18). In some cases churches use the Old Testament as justification for using musical instruments; if we use Old Testament examples for New Testament worship, we will have a serious problem. If we turn to the Old Testament for our justification, we are required to live by all of it (Galatians 5:3, James 2:10). We do not teach that musical instruments are of themselves sinful, but the Bible teaches that adding to what God has authorized for worship is sinful. You can learn more here: Why We Don't Use Musical Instruments.
Why do you not use the Old Testament?
It is untrue to say we do not use the Old Testament, since it was given for our understanding (Romans 15:4) and is of great profit to study. However, it is true to say that the Old Testament is no longer God's law, since it was nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), and is no longer in effect (Romans 6:14-15, 10:4). Our new law/covenant/testament is the Law of Liberty (James 1:25, 2:12), or the Law of Christ (Romans 8:2). Christ said this law was the entirety of all that He has commanded (Matthew 28:20) and all that His apostles say on His authority (Matthew 18:18, Ephesians 2:20, II Peter 3:2). This is called the New Testament. Jesus died to create a new testament (Romans 7:4-5) or covenant (Jeremiah 31:31/Hebrews 8:8-13, Hebrews 7:22); it makes invalid His death to attempt to return to the old one (Galatians 1:6, 3:1-4; 3:20-26). You can learn more here: The Purpose of the Old Testament. If you have questions about things that happened in the Old Testament, you can learn more here: Was God Moral in the Old Testament.
Why do you not support institutions/organizations that do good works?
We do not teach that human organizations/institutions are wrong; if anything, we should support them as individuals. The situation is that a local Church has no authority to financially support human organizations. The Bible shows absolutely no example of the first century church giving money to support or help any group of people other than Christians; to the contrary, there are commands and examples of individuals doing just that (Acts 10:2, James 1:27). God commands the individual Christian to do good to all men, especially those of the brotherhood (Galatians 6:10). You can learn more here: Institutionalism.
Where do you stand regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage?
Because of the abundance of false teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage, we find it necessary to iterate that we stand with the Scriptures on this issue. Jesus taught that "whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9). According to the New Testament, only one who has never been married, one whose spouse has died, or one who has put away a sexually immoral spouse may marry. You can learn more here: Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage.
What is a covenant relationship?
Very simply put, a covenant is the combination of a law and a promise or reward. You can learn more here: What is a Covenant?
What do you teach about the "End Times"?
Many churches teach today a doctrine that suggests that we are in a time where there are signs and events that suggest Jesus will be returning soon. They teach that Christians will be taken off of the earth, and that a great tribulation will occur for seven years. At the end of this time, Jesus will return and establish a kingdom on earth. The idea that there are events to happen at the end of time is called Dispensationalism, and the teaching of an earthly, future kingdom is called Premillenialism. Neither of these doctrines are in the Bible, but instead were only created by men in the last two centuries. The Bible teaches that the last days / end times began 2,000 years ago (Hebrews 1:2, Acts 2:17), that Christians will not be removed from the earth prior to judgment (John 17:15), that the tribulation occurred 2,000 years ago (Revelation 1:9, Mark 13:19), and that Jesus' kingdom (which was spiritual, John 18:36) was established when He arose from the grave (Matthew 28:19, Hebrews 12:28). Many "end times" doctrines are misunderstandings of Matthew 24. You can learn more here: Problems of Dispensationalism.
What about Speaking in Tongues?
According to the New Testament, "love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away" (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). Since the New Testament represents that which is perfect which has come (2 Timothy 3:16-17), it is clear that speaking in tongues has ceased. You can learn more here: Modern Speaking in Tongues.