What are our meetings like ?
The book of Acts describes life within the early Church:
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers" (Acts 2:42).
We consider that in the above text we find the 4 fundamental pillars on which we should build what is called the “Church” must be built, which is a reference to a local congregation. It is upon this text that this document, addressed to visitors and members of our house church, has been created. His intention is to present the development of our meetings, for which we ask respect in love.
"The doctrine of the apostles":
A name or a Christian assembly cannot be called "apostolic" if the rule of faith and teaching is not based on the "Doctrine of the Apostles." This doctrine is found only in the Gospels and the rest of the Bible. Jesus being the central Person of the book, a church cannot be based on traditions of man or denominational traditions. If a Church tries to persevere in the teaching of the Apostles as described in the Bible, only then can we speak of an "Apostolic Church"
Practical consequences of Point No. 1:
We accept only God's Word (the Bible) as a source of doctrine and faith. "Revelations", "prophecies", "dreams" or "traditions of men" or anything beyond the Bible cannot replace the teaching of the Word of God and divert our eyes from Jesus.
“He answered and said unto them, He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” (Mark 7: 6-8).
We believe that the Bible does not contain any error in its original form (original manuscripts) both in relation to the authority of the text in matters of faith, and in the life of believers, as in scientific, historical and geographic details. This means that the intention of the authors of each book follows the will of God, but also God Himself was careful to spare any error in their statements.
The union between Christians is based on the fact that all Christians have the Holy Spirit and are disciples of the Lamb of God. Without fellowship, a church is not a church. Fellowship should not be confused with unhealthy trust that is often the source of problems. It must be founded on Christ and great respect and love for each other.
Practical consequences of Point No. 2:
In our meetings, we accept anyone as a Christian who has confessed Jesus as their only Savior and has been baptized by immersion after repenting of his past life, and accepts the broad lines of our statement of faith and the Nicene creed.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye" (Matthew 7: 3-5).
"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day." (Col 2: 16)
Respect and compassion should be our standard, but we hope from a christian an honest and moral life according to the Scriptures, taking human weaknesses into account, as well as the different opinions and problems of the present life that afflict each of us.
"Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings"(Col. 2: 20-22)
We request absolute respect for each other, their way of life, and their privacy. A private home opens its doors: remind to be polite and discreet.
"I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them" (Rom. 16: 17)
We believe that a Christian should strive to be an example to the world: a hard worker, self-disciplined, sober, with common sense, without special or pretentious language, but also cheerful, friendly, etc. So you will not find "mysticism" here.
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work" 2 John 10-11.
"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat. We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed." (2 Thes. 3: 6-14).
We require order in our meetings: Although we are not charismatic, charismatics are accepted if they abide by what is written:
"If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God" (1 Cor. 14: 28)
"The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets." (1 Cor. 14: 32).
As it is written in the Acts of the Apostles, we believe that the "tongues" that the early Christians spoke by the gift of the Holy Spirit were common languages, as the Bible literally says:
"Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2: 8-11).
Therefore we do not accept "tongues" as anything except referring to foreign languages. Two or more people may speak without interrupting the meeting and if they are immediately translated or interpreted. Without these conditions, as the Bible says:
"... the speaker should keep quiet in the church" (1 Cor. 14: 28).
We do not accept "women preachers" or "women pastors." We believe it is a commandment of the Lord for all the churches. We do not believe, as some who support this unscriptural practice, that this is the "personal opinion" of the apostle Paul, but rather it is the commandment of the Lord.
“...as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command." (1 Cor. 14: 34-37).
This does not mean that women are morally or spiritually inferior to men, or that men have the right to act like tyrants.
We do not permit a woman to teach, correct or take authority over a man (always speaking in the context of church!):
"I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet." (1 Tim. 2: 12).
"The breaking of bread":
We consider the breaking of bread as one of the pillars of our meetings.
Practical consequences of Point No. 3:
The sacrament is only for disciples of Christ who confess Jesus as their only Savior, who have been baptized by immersion in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, having repented of his past life. We do not give the sacrament to the unbaptized or Christians "baptized" only as infants (which we do not consider valid or even a "baptism").
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts. 2: 38)
Out of respect for the Body of Christ, we advise that people refrain from participating in the Lord’s Supper if they are a Christian who has left a church due to discipline, until they have settled their problems with that church. Each one should examine himself (not his neighbour) before taking the Supper.
"So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves" (1 Cor. 11: 27-29)
We cannot give the Lord's Supper to Christians who live in moral disorder according to the teaching of the Bible, or who do not regularly attend church (except in cases like illness, caring for a sick or elderly person, etc.).
"I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people."(1 Cor. 5: 11)
We are speaking here of a time of prayer and praise to God. A church should pray for the needs of its members, for the spread of the Gospel throughout the world, for the leaders of our nations and for all those who are in authority (police, army, local councils, etc.). A church must learn to praise and worship Jesus as the King that He is.
Practical consequences of point 4:
We sing traditional evangelical hymns.
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6: 14-18)
Regarding prayers: See point 2.a.v on "praying in tongues". We do not want prayers in "tongues" during our meetings as understood and practiced by Pentecostals and Charismatics.
Other practical issues:
Offerings: We consider it neither Biblical nor Scriptural to require tithing (10% of one’s income). We collect offerings for missionaries or people in difficulty, but nobody is obliged to give if they do not want to do so.
"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9: 7)
When we consider it appropriate, a more detailed confession of faith it will be established.
Nicene Creed (325 D.C.):
"We believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God,] Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;; By whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth]; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
And in the Holy Ghost.
The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (381 D.C.):
"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who For us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary,; he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.
In one holy catholic (Universal) and apostolic (based on the apostles' teachings) Church;
we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;
we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.