1126 Commercial Drive Bedford,VA 24523

who we are

The Church of Christ. If you’ve never visited a congregation of the Church of Christ, you might be wondering what we believe, and what sets our brotherhood apart from the many denominations.

What is our message?

Members of the Church of Christ are a people, informed only by the Bible, wanting to restore the New Testament church. Stripped of layer upon layer of the traditions of men, members of the Church of Christ want to return to the faith of the Bible, alone.

Men have, with various motivations and goals been changing and “improving” the faith given “once, for all,” almost since the beginning of the church. But the facts about Christ’s church can never change, despite man’s best, or selfish intentions.

God’s design and instructions are perfect. People are not. So, who on earth is qualified to modify the commands of scripture to suit anyone’s desires, or sense of propriety or to “keep up” with the times? Those who reject the teaching of the Bible are not “enlightened,” but in error.

Jesus is the light of the world. The Church is the bride of Christ. And Christians embrace God’s words in scripture, alone, for spiritual truth.

What is our history?

In the latter part of the 18th century, men of different denominations, studying independently of each other, in various parts of the world, began to ask:

Why not go back before denominationalism to the simplicity and purity of the first-century church?
Why not take the Bible alone and once again continue “steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching…?” (Acts 2:42)

Why not plant the same seed (the Word of God, Luke 8:11), that first-century Christians planted, and be Christians only, as they were?

They were pleading with everyone to throw off denominationalism, to throw away human creeds, and to follow only the Bible.

They taught that nothing should be required of people as acts of faith except that which is evident in the scriptures.

They emphasized that going back to the Bible does not mean the establishment of another denomination, but rather a return to the original church.

Members of Churches of Christ are enthusiastic about this approach. With the Bible as our only guide, we seek to restore the church’s model of Christian living to that of the first century.

The Bible teaches how to become a Christian and how one must live. Men cannot improve on that, only obscure and distort the divine plan.

We do not see this as arrogance, but the very opposite. We are saving that we do not have the right to ask for men’s allegiance to a human organization, but only the right to call upon men to follow God’s blueprint.

From a tract written by Joe Barnett entitled: “The Churches of Christ… Who are these people?”

How are we governed?

Each Congregation Self-Governed

Churches of Christ have none of the trappings of modern-day organizational bureaucracy. There are no governing boards–neither district, regional, national nor international–no earthly headquarters and no man-designed organization.

Each congregation is autonomous (self-ruled) and independent of every other congregation. The only tie which binds the many congregations together is a common allegiance to Christ and the Bible.

There are no conventions, annual meetings, or official publications. Congregations do cooperate in supporting children’s homes, homes for the elderly, mission work, etc. However, participation is strictly voluntary on the part of each congregation and no person nor group issues policies or makes decisions for other congregations.

Congregations are governed locally by a plurality of elders selected from among the members. These are men who meet the specific qualifications for this office given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

Deacons must meet the biblical qualifications of 1 Timothy 3. I


How many members do we have?

Worldwide there are some 40,000 congregations of Churches of Christ with a total of 2 1/2 to 3 million individual members. There are small congregations, consisting of just a few members, and large ones made up of several thousand members.

The greatest concentration of numerical strength in Churches of Christ is in the southern United States where, for instance, there are about 40,000 members in some 135 congregations in Nashville, Tennessee! Or, in Dallas, Texas, where there are approximately 36,000 members in 69 congregations. In such states as Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky, Virginia, and others, there is at least one Church of Christ in practically every town, no matter how small.

There are Churches of Christ in every state in the United States and in 109 countries around the world. 


How do we worship?

Jesus said, “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23, 24)

So, we must be careful not to exclude any item in our worship that is found in his word, and equally careful not to include any item in our worship it is not found in his word.

When we assemble for worship each Sunday, our service usually consists of five elements, which were observed by the 1st century church: singing, praying, preaching, giving, and commemorating the Lord’s supper. If you are acquainted with churches of Christ, you are aware that in two of these items our practice is different for many other religious groups. Let’s focus on those two.


One of the things people frequently notice about churches of Christ is that our singing is acapella, that is without instrumental accompaniment. Here’s why. We are seeking to worship according to New Testament practice. Since the New Testament doesn’t mention instrumental music in worship, we believe it is best to exclude it. In the Christian age, instrumental music in church worship did not appear until the 6th century AD.

The 9 verses in the New Testament that mention music, mention only singing. None mentions instruments. So, the use of instruments is without New Testament authority. This is why instrumental music was opposed by religious leaders such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, and Charles Spurgeon.

The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is a memorial remembrance that was inaugurated by Jesus he commemorated the Passover with his disciples (Matthew 26:17, 26-28).

It continues to be observed by Christians in memory of the Lord’s sacrificial death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). The emblems, unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, symbolize the body and blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:16).

Churches of Christ observe the Lord’s supper every Sunday. The reason for weekly observance centers on the determination to adhere to the New Testament instruction. Describing the practice of the 1st-century church, we read, “on the first day of the week we came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7).

Respected historians such as Neander and Eusebius affirmed the Christians in early centuries observed the Lord’s supper every Sunday.


What do we believe about the Bible?

Since God has vested “all authority” in Christ (Matthew 28:18), and since He serves as God’s spokesman today (Hebrews 1:1,2), it is our conviction that only Christ has the authority to say what the church is and what we should teach.

And since only the New Testament sets forth Christ’s instructions to his disciples, it alone must serve as the basis for all religious teaching and practice. This is fundamental with members of Churches of Christ. We believe that teaching the New Testament without modification is the only way to lead men and women to become Christians.

Jesus prayed for unity (John 17). And later, the apostle Paul begged those who were divided to unite in Christ (1 Corinthians 1). We believe the only way to achieve unity is by a return to the Bible. Compromise cannot bring unity. And surely no person, nor group of persons, has the right to draw up a set of rules by which everyone must abide. But it is altogether proper to say, “Let’s unite by just following the Bible.” This is fair. This is safe. This is right.

So churches of Christ plead for religious unity based upon the Bible. We believe that to subscribe to any creed other than the New Testament, to refuse to obey any New Testament command, or to follow any practice not sustained by the New Testament is to add to or take away from the teachings of God. And both additions and subtractions are condemned in the Bible (Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18,19).

This is the reason the New Testament is the only rule of faith and practice we have in churches of Christ.

At Central Church of Christ in Bedford, we believe the Bible is powerful. There is no other book like it in the world. Each Sunday and through all of our points of connection with individuals and families, the Bible is the source of our truth and the substance of our teaching. The Bible says that “faith comes from hearing,” that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. (Romans 10:17). Each Sunday we teach right from the Bible to offer hope and to encourage increasing faith for everyday living.

How does one become a member of the church of Christ?

Churches of Christ do not speak of membership in terms of some formula that must be followed for approved acceptance into the church. The New Testament gives certain steps which were taken by people in that day to become Christians. When a person became a Christian, he or she, at the same time became a member of the church.

The same is true of Churches of Christ today. There are no separate ceremonies or rules which one must follow to be inducted into the church. And, when one becomes a Christian, that person, at the same time, becomes a member of the church.

On the first day of the church’s existence, those who repented and were baptized were saved (Acts 2:38). And from that day forward all those who were saved were added to the church (Acts 2:47). According to this verse (Acts 2:47) it was God who did the adding.

Therefore, in seeking to follow this pattern, we neither vote people into the church nor require them to follow a required series of studies. We have no right to demand anything beyond their obedient submission to the Savior.

The conditions of pardon which are taught in the New Testament are:

1) One must hear the gospel, for “faith comes by hearing the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

2) One must believe, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).

3) One must repent of past sins, for God “commands all men, every- where to repent” (Acts 17:30).

4) One must confess Jesus as Lord, for he said, “He that confesses me before men, him will I also confess before my father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).

5) And one must be baptized for the remission of sins, for Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every- one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins …” (Acts 2:38).

Emphasis On Baptism

Churches of Christ have a reputation for placing much stress on the need for baptism. However, we do not emphasize baptism as a “church ordinance,” but as a command of Christ. The New Testament teaches baptism as an act which is essential to salvation (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16).

We do not practice infant baptism because New Testament baptism is only for sinners who turn to the Lord in belief and penitence. An infant has no sin to repent of, and cannot qualify as a believer.

The only form of baptism we practice in churches of Christ is immersion. The Greek word from which the word baptize comes means “to dip, to immerse, to sub- merge, to plunge.” And the Scriptures always point to baptism as a burial (Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3,4; Colossians 2:12).

Baptism is extremely important because the New Testament sets forth the following purposes for it

  • Entrance into the kingdom (John 3:5)
  • Entrance into the church (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:23)
  • Forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38)
  • The gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)
  • The washing away of sins (Acts 22:16; Titus 3:5)

     *   Connection to the death and resurrection of Christ Romans (6:3-4)

     *  Union with Christ (Galatians 3:27)

     *  Salvation (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21)

Since Christ died for the sins of the whole world, the invitation to share in his saving grace is open to everyone (Acts 10:34,35; Revelation 22:17).