Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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About West Side

Why We Are Different!

No, we are not just another denomination.

Neither are we inter-denominational. It is our sincere desire to be non-denominational. It is our wish and purpose to wear no other name than Christ’s, and to be known simply as Christians, members of the body of Christ – the church of Christ. Such was clearly true of the Lord’s people in the first century (Ac. 11:26; I Pet. 4:16; Eph. 1:22,23; Col. 1:18; Rom. 16:16). Collectively we refer to ourselves as the church of Christ, the Lord’s church, or some other scriptural description, not in an attempt to be “sectarian,” but on the contrary, to identify ourselves as the church belonging to Christ.

Our emphasis is spiritual, not material or social

As is probably evident to you if you have seen our meeting place, we place little emphasis upon luxurious surroundings. While as individual Christians we seek each other’s association socially, the church is not a “front” for a social club or agency, and therefore the Lord’s treasury is not used to promote social functions. Our aim is spiritual (I Pet. 2:5; I Tim. 3:15).

We strive to be the same church described in the New Testament

It is our purpose to be completely identified with the Christians of the first century. We believe this to be possible to all who will learn, believe and be guided by the plain teaching of the word of God. Jesus declared such to be “the seed of the kingdom” (Luke 8:11). A fundamental truth in nature is that a specific kind of seed, when planted, will always produce after its kind. For example, wheat will produce wheat; corn will produce corn. In a like manner, the word of God, when planted in the hearts of honest people, and obeyed, will produce Christians. Just like it did in the first century. Nothing more – nothing less. We are human, and therefore subject to error, so we recognize the possibility that we may be wrong in our application of the scriptures. But if we can be shown where we are wrong – by the scriptures – we are willing and anxious to change.

We have no human head

There is no man, or group of men, who legislate for the church. We have no one to answer to but Christ. He is at the head of the church (Eph. 1:22) which leaves no room for any human head.

As was true in the first century, there is no inter-congregational organization, but rather independent congregations in different locations with Christ as Lord and Master. According to the authority of Christ, when a congregation matures to the point where men meet the qualifications, overseers (also called bishops, elders or pastors) are appointed to look after the spiritual welfare of the congregation. Such men are appointed only when the congregation determines that they meet all of the qualifications enumerated by Paul in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. They then have the responsibility to “feed the flock” with the spiritual food found in the scriptures, and to be living examples for others to see (1 Pet. 5:1-3). Unlike sectarian groups, our preachers are not “pastors” (unless they meet the qualifications and are so appointed) but are simply teachers of the gospel.

The Bible is our only book of rules

Therefore we have no man-written creed books to follow. We are governed in faith and conduct by the Bible alone. While recognizing and heeding the guiding principles of the Old Testament, we seek to conform to the rules and patterns of the New Testament (1 Cor. 10:4; Heb. 1:1-2; 1 Pet. 4:11). We accept the Bible as being both verbally inspired and infallible in content (2 Pet. 1:20-21; 1 Cor. 2:11-13). Consequently when the Bible speaks upon any given subject, its pronouncement is accepted as final. By its own testimony, no one may with impunity alter a single word of it (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19).

Our plea for unity

We plead for unity among all who obediently respond to the doctrines and commandments given in the New Testament. Such is in harmony with the prayer of Jesus and the pleadings of the apostles (Jn. 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:1-6). We consider such unity to be possible, or Jesus would not have prayed for it. We also note that unity and love for each other was a mark of discipleship in the early churches (Jn. 13:34-35; Ac. 2:44,46; Ac. 4:32). And since division has always been the result of departure from “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”(Jude 3), we believe division can be healed by a return to the revealed truth of God’s word. For this we plead.

What to expect at our assemblies

Our assembled worship procedures are simple, spiritual and orderly, key-noted by the words of Jesus, who said, “true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:23-24). Absent is the frenzied emotionalism so common in churches today. Each element of worship finds its origin in the commands and examples found in the New Testament.

Singing

The entire assembly joins in singing gospel songs. There is no choir or special groups, but simple congregational singing. Since we find no evidence in the New Testament that the early church used mechanical instruments to accompany their singing, we do not use them in our worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

Prayer

The congregation is led in prayer by one of the men in the assembly. We pray, not only to praise and thank God, but also to ask for our needs and the needs of others (I Tim. 2:1-4).

Preaching

The lessons and sermons are designed to teach God’s word so as to encourage compliance by those who listen. It has become increasingly popular for preachers to appear sensational by discussing subjects not revealed in the Bible, advancing fantastic theories and speculations, and even laying claim to miraculous powers. We make no claim for sensationalism – just a period of plain Bible teaching and study.

The Lord’s supper

Like the church in the time the New Testament was written, we partake of the Lord’s supper each first day of the week (Ac. 20:7). The supper consists of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine as memorials of the body and blood of Jesus (1 Cor. 11:20-36).

Giving as we prosper

We do not take up a collection every time we meet, but only on the first day of the week as we have in the example in I Cor. 16:1-2. Should you attend our Sunday service when the collection basket is passed through the entire assembly you are not expected to give. This is the responsibility of our members, not our guests.

Please come and worship with us

When you visit our assemblies, your reception will be friendly, kind and courteous. We believe this to be the natural attitude of those who truly love God and mankind. Though you may at first be among strangers, we hope that you will come to know us well and count us as your friends.

If these matters find favorable response in your heart, we invite you to consider them further. We thank you for allowing us to introduce ourselves.

The Christians at West Side