We believe the church today should be the same as the church in the New Testament in organization, name, worship, law of conversion and in principles of Christian living. Only Christ has the authority to say what the church is and what Christians should teach. While members of the church of Christ realize their own personal weaknesses and shortcomings, they believe in the all-sufficiency and perfection of God’s plan for His church. Members of the church hold that the New Testament writers were inspired men of God and believe, therefore, that the New Testament is true and contains the final and complete revelation from God to man (John 16:13, II Timothy 3:16-17, Jude 3).
Following the New Testament as a rule of faith and practice and the Old Testament as an example, members of the church of Christ purposed to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent (Hebrews 8:5, Romans 15:4).
While no one is perfect, God's plan for the church is. People who desire to return to the simple faith of the first-century church should be able to recognize the church of the New Testament when they visit Highland. It's a group of people who throw off creeds of man and follow only the Bible, who desire sincere faith, and who humbly seek God's counsel. Because Christ is the head of the church (Colossians 1:18) and since local eldership is the only governing body set out in the New Testament to oversee the church, we have no earthly headquarters and no outside body makes decisions for our local congregation. Going back to the Bible as our only guide means to restore the original church.
God loves His church. The word "church" means "the called out ones." The church isn't a building – it is people, and if you are part of the church then the blood of Christ cleanses your sins. What makes the church at Highland different from denominations that have all different kinds of names on buildings? First and foremost, we are unified under the Bible. God is not happy with division and Scripture teaches that the body of Christ should be one (Ephesians 4:4-6). The only way to achieve unity is to set aside our personal preferences and follow only the Bible.
1. We don't follow any rules or practices that are not sustained by the New Testament, as that would be adding to or taking away from the teachings of God. The Bible contains everything we need to know about God, how to serve Him and how to worship Him (1 Peter 1:3).
2. The church was established by Jesus (Matthew 16:18) and not man. He said it would happen during the lifetime of those who were listening to His words back then (Mark 9:1) and that it would come with power (Luke 24:49). When the apostles were gathered on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 the Holy Spirit revealed Himself in a powerful way to the apostles. The church traces its roots back to this day alone.
3. The name "church of Christ" is only used to help describe who this collection of people belong to - Christ. This is a name God used in the New Testament to describe His people (Romans 16:16). The point is, the church does not have a name given to it by man and since it belongs to Christ, it's not a denomination.
4. We don't have an earthly headquarters and each congregation is self-governed because that's the structure of the church we see in the New Testament. God knows that man seeks power and gain for himself so the church is governed simply, by faithful men who meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. These are the elders; also called pastors, bishops and overseers. Deacons serve under the direction of the elders and must meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3. Christ is the sole head of the church.
5. The church worships to please God. If the Bible is the inspired Word of God and contains everything we know to please Him, then it will also tell us how to worship God in a pleasing way - not the way man desires. The New Testament provides instruction to teach or preach, to pray, to give, to sing and to take of the Lord's Supper. We focus on the Word of God and seek to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
6. Christ came to seek and save the lost and gave us a plan to be saved. So what's the point of trying to please God and be unified in Him if we aren't willing to accept salvation the way He offers it to us? Since God is holy, our sin separates us from Him. He offers us a way to be restored to Him that requires humbling ourselves before Him. It starts when we hear the Word (Roman 10:17), that leads to faith (John 8:24). We must repent (that means to turn away from our sins, not returning to them, and to submit our will to God) and confess Jesus (Acts 17:30). The New Testament also repeatedly teaches the necessity of baptism (immersion in water) for the remission of sins. It symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:38). It's not a "work" and it's not an "ordinance" but instead, it's the answer of a good conscience toward God to receive the gift He is offering to us all. After we receive salvation, our work is just beginning to live a Godly life (Revelation 2:10).