Newport Christian is an independent congregation of Christians that identifies itself as part of the Restoration Movement, also known as the Stone-Campbell Movement. For a detailed history, please see this Wikipedia entry; but here’s the thumbnail: In the early 1800s, many believers saw the problem of Christians in America being so divided, so they started a unity movement. They had several slogans that have characterized the movement ever since.
- One of these is the proclamation that we should be “Christians only, but not the only Christians.” This means that we believe we are to follow Jesus as the Bible outlines it, to the best of our knowledge and ability, but that we are also very reluctant to label those we disagree with as something other than “true Christians.” In short, we try to paint with a broad brush and leave the true judgment up to God. Of course, we often do disagree with others who call themselves Christians, and we will debate the issues with them (in the proper time and place); but we hope to do so in a spirit of grace and tolerance.
- Another of our historical mottoes is “Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent.” Of course, this cannot be followed in an absolute fashion, but the thought is that unless the Bible directly addresses a subject, or if there is not a clear biblical principle that applies to the subject, we will not make too big of a deal about your beliefs regarding it.
- Along with that, there is a third slogan: “In essentials, unity; in opinions, liberty; in all things love.” Again, the emphasis here is upon grace, upon cutting people some slack. We believe we are called upon, as followers of Christ, to make judgment calls, but not to judge the individual believer. The truth is that everything that is important is not a matter of eternal life or death. We may disagree, but we should both realize that we need not agree completely to both be earnest followers of Jesus.
So, for these reasons, it is difficult to say, “we believe in this, this & this, but not this.” We are small congregation, but our members come from many different backgrounds. The truth is that we disagree with each other about a lot of things.
However, for clarity’s sake, here is a short list of things that are true about Newport Christian Church:
- We celebrate the Lord’s Supper (Communion) each and every Sunday, no exceptions. Plus, it’s “open” Communion — any believer can partake.
- Our worship gathering on Sundays is fairly informal, with music that leans more toward contemporary than traditional; but on any given week we might have reinterpretations of traditional songs and hymns.
- We don’t “pass the plate,” but there is a box at the back of the room in which to put your tithes/offerings/gifts. We view giving as a form of worship and believe we are stewards, or caretakers, of all that God has given us in this life.
- We believe that we are all sinners and that we can be saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), in baptism (Colossians 2:12), and for good works (Ephesians 2:10).
- Consequently, if you respond to a challenge to follow Jesus and commit to him, we’re going to formalize that commitment in baptism (full immersion). We believe that when we read about salvation experiences in the New Testament, the new believers were immersed in water.
- We take the Bible and our faith seriously, but we also really try not to major on minors and get caught up in the little stuff that ultimately doesn’t matter.
- If you’re a bit of an “odd duck,” then likely you’ll feel right at home here.
- We’re not interested in converting you from another branch/denomination/tradition within Christianity, but in pointing you to Jesus. If you love to argue and fight over the finer points of faith, then likely you won’t find us very accommodating of that attitude.
If you have any questions about our church or what we believe, you’re more than welcome to call the church office (541-265-2531) during the work week, but coming and worshiping with us some Sunday morning is the best way to find out about us.