Ours is a unique form of Christian worship. On visiting you may be more aware of what is absent than what is present. Some have found our services plain, even severe.
But we ask you to look past what is familiar or comfortable. We ask you thoughtfully to consider, “What saith the Scripture?”
As Bible Christians, we are direct heirs to principles of Christian faith and life recovered from the Bible alone by the Protestant Reformers, the Puritans, and the English Calvinistic Baptists. These truths are set forth in The London Confession of Faith 1689 and its kindred standards of doctrine.
Our form of worship is indeed precious to us, but not because it is traditional – rather, because we hold it to be the most fully Biblical to be found among genuine Christians.
These lines will introduce you to what we do, and why we do it.
With all real Protestants we confess that the whole Bible, Old and New Testaments, is God's Word, the only divine rule of Christian faith and life. It is our distinctive emphasis everything we practice in the Church's worship and work that must be based clearly and only upon the Bible. (Deuteronomy 4:1, 12:32; Matthew 28:18–20; 1 Corintians 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:15–17)
We also honour the biblical distinction between the Old and New Testament periods in God's plan to redeem His people from their sins through the Lord Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 1:1–2; 2 Corinthians 3:6–18; Ephesians 2:11–22)
Any reader of the Old Testament Scriptures soon meets with an elaborate, divinely appointed form of worship given to Israel to prepare for Christ's coming. Tabernacle and Temple, Aaronic priests and Levites, animal sacrifices, incense, altar, singers, instruments, robes and festivals – all are part of a liturgical system, intended to point ancient believers to the future Messiah. As such, the Bible speaks of each part and all of it as symbols, types, rudiments, meant to pass away. All of pictures the spiritual and eternal reality of Christ's person and work. (Hebrews 8–10; 2 Corinthians 3:6–11; Galatians 4:9–10; 1 Peter 1:18–21)
In fact, the New Testament never uses this Old Testament system as a model for Christian worship – and condemns those who cling to it. The Apostles view its elements as fulfilled in Christ, the believer's experience, or the glory of heaven. (1 Corinthians 5:7–8; 1 Peter 2:5–10; Hebrews 13:8–16; Revelation 8:2–5, 15:5–8)
New Testament worship is rooted in the simpler worship, which grew into the Jewish synagogue. The Lord Jesus and the Apostles gathered the early disciples on that pattern, and transformed them into the early Churches. (Nehemiah 8; Luke 4:14–32; Acts 18:1–11; James 2:1–10; Hebrews 10:25)
The key elements of New Testament worship are mentioned in (Acts 2:37–42) – the Word, Prayer, Praise, and Ordinances.
Essential to all Christian worship is the Bible. The Pulpit and its Bible stand high and central in our meeting places. Our services highlight the reading and preaching of the Scriptures. (Nehemiah 8:4–6)
At every service the Pastor, an Elder or brother appointed reads a portion of the Old and New Testaments distinctly and intelligently. (Nehemiah 8:8; Luke 4:16–20; Acts 13:15; Colossians 4:16; 1 Timothy 4:13)
The Sermon climaxes the service, as the Preacher declares the Gospel of salvation, expounds the Scriptures and applies its saving truth to our lives. Preaching depends not on human eloquence or learning, but on the power of the Holy Spirit using the Word to exalt Christ. (1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:1–5; 1 Corinthians 1:18–2:16; Acts 20:20–32; 1 Thessalonians 1:5–6, 2:2–4)
Whether explaining a Bible book in order, opening a short text, or tracing a theme, our Pastors and teachers “preach the Word”.
In the Word, God speaks to us; in prayer, we speak to God. Here we claim direct access to the Triune God and pray to Him alone (Exodus 20:3–6; Acts 10:25–26, 14:14–15; Colossians 2:18; Revelation 22:8–9). We pray to the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit.
Because we engage our God in living converse, we do not use written ‘prayers’ but look to the enabling of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 6:7–8; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 6:18; Jude 20). Because we pray as the Body of Christ together, the Minister leads us (1 Timothy 2:1–7), and we pray aloud together the Saviour's pattern prayer, called ‘The Lord's Prayer’ (Matthew 6:9–13; Luke 11:2–4). Each man and woman shares in prayer by showing due decorum of dress and reverence of manner (1 Corintians 11:1–16; 1 Timothy 2:8–13). In prayer, we may kneel, sit or stand (Acts 20:36; 2 Samuel 7:18–29; Nehemiah 9:2–4; Mark 11:25). The service ends with the Minister's parting prayer or benediction. (Numbers 6:22–27; Acts 20:32; 2 Corintians 13:14; Hebrews 13:20–21)
God promises to inhabit His people's praise, and to fill believers' hearts with His Word and Spirit as they sing (Psalms 22:3; Hebrews 2:12; Ephesians 5:18–20; Colossians 3:16). Here too the Bible alone is our rule and standard. Just as the Temple service, priesthood, and sacrifices are past, so too are its divinely appointed choirs and instruments (1 Chronicles 28:13; 2 Chronicles 29:25–26; Nehemiah 12:27,36). As New Testament Churches, we offer simple congregational sung praise alone, singing ‘with the Spirit and with the understanding’, and ‘with grace in the heart’ (Acts 16:24–25; Romans 15:5–13; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Colossians 3:16). Sung praise is not for group entertainment, but for mutual edification.
The Bible also ordains the types of song proper to worship. We are to sing Psalms, just as the Saviour Himself did (Matthew 26:30 cf. Psalms 113–118). The more we see Jesus foretold in the Psalter, the more we will prize biblical psalmody in our praise (Luke 24:44–47; Psalms 2,16,22,69,72 cf Acts 2,4,13; Romans 15).
As well, the Bible ordains the singing of “hymns and spiritual songs” expressing the Gospel – and hints of these are found in the New Testament itself (Luke 1–2; Philippians 2; 1 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 5:14).
As in prayer and preaching, so in praise we appropriate Scripture truth in human words to mind and heart. Mindless, repetitive ‘choruses’, drama, and dance as forms of worship are heathen, not Christian. (1 Kings 18:26; Acts 19:34)
Our Saviour has distinguished His Church from the world by two simple rites: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. These holy ordinances do not save us – they simply picture and pledge to those who receive them in faith the Gospel promises of salvation. Think of a wedding ring. Any girl can buy a ring: but a ring is not a husband! Yet, when her bridegroom gives her that ring in marriage, he pledges his love and claims hers. So too by these simple signs the Lamb of God ‘plights His troth’ to His Bride, the Church. (Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21–22; Ephesians 5:25–26)
Baptism is a ritual immersion in water in the Name of the Triune God. Only those who personally profess repentance toward God, faith in Christ alone and obedience to the truth by the Spirit may receive this ordinance. (Matthew 28:18–20; Mark 16:15–16; Acts 8:37–38; 16:31–34; 18:8; Galatians 3:7–9, 26–29). Our Saviour did not baptise, but bless infant children. (Mark 10:13–16; Luke 18:15–17)
Baptism pledges to believers remission of sin, union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, and adoption into God's household. (Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21–22; Romans 6:1–4; Colossians 2:12, 3:1–5)
The Lord's Supper weekly ‘shews forth the Lord's death till He come’; (Acts 20:7; 1 Corintians 11:26)
Baptized believers are admitted to the Table after self–examination. (Acts 2:41–42; 1 Corintians 11:23–29)
Following Christ's example in the Upper Room, we gather at the Table, to share one loaf and drink one cup ‘in remembrance of Him’; (Matthew 26:26–29; 1 Corintians 10:16). There is no ‘sacrifice’; or ‘altar’; here; by faith, we feed upon Christ in spiritual communion. (John 6:35,54,60–63; 1 Corinthians 10:16–17; Hebrews 10:10–14,13; Revelation 3:21)
Worship ‘by the Book’ shows we love the Christ who redeemed us by His own Blood. Do you love Him? Keep His commandments, and worship Him, in Spirit and in truth! (John 14:15; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; Philippians 3:3).