Southern Hills church of Christ
in Custer, SD
Simply working towards New Testament Christianity.
Simply the way it is taught in the Bible.
Who we are
We are a group of people who believe and practice that Jesus Christ and God are our only Judges. We are not governed by any other person or group of people. Even the man who preaches for us, is just another member in the congregation. He is not a pastor, "reverend," or "father" (especially since the last two of these titles refer only to God Himself; Matthew 23:9; Psalm 111:9). We attempt in our worship and lives to practice and teach only what we find in the Bible, nothing more and nothing less.
Jesus Himself said, "the one who rejects Me and does not receive My words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day" (John 12:48). From this we can see that it is true that in the only judgement that matters we will be judged by the words of God and Christ. Therefore nothing else matters. This point is made further when one looks at the result of knowing the word of God versus no knowing. In Hosea 4:6, God said, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. and since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children." Here one can see the clear result of not knowing the word of God. It is destruction, rejection, and being forgotten by God. On the other hand what about knowing the scriptures? Paul complimented Timothy by saying, "From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). One can only be pleasing to God when he knows and does what God has asked him to.
Nothing More, Nothing Less
It is important to remember that we are trying to imitate what we find in scriptures and nothing else. As such, we can neither add to the Word of God commands that He did not give nor take away commands that He did give. This was made clear by the Apostle John when he said, "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book" (Revelation 22:18-19). It is not possible to be pleasing to God if we are not doing all that He has asked us to or if we are doing more than he has asked us to.
James worded it this way, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it" (James 2:10). We can understand this in our everyday lives. For example, if you are pulled over for speeding but are adamant with the officer that you have never run a red light would that get you out of a ticket? Of course not. Likewise for us telling God on the day of judgment that we kept His law except for the one thing we didn't like will not result in being saved.
On the other hand, we cannot make up our own commandments that are more strict than God's and be pleasing, either. This was a problem with religious leaders in the days of Jesus. The Pharisees were binding things upon the people that God had never bound. Because of this, Christ describes them as "blind guides" in Matthew 15:14 and states that they will only lead people into pits of destruction.
Realizing these things, we attempt to only teach what the Bible teaches nothing more and nothing less.
Are We Perfect People?
No, we are not. The bible is very clear that none of us are perfect. Romans 3:23 states, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Furthermore we are taught in 1 John 1:10, "If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His truth is not in us." We cannot claim to be perfect unless we call God a liar. We are also taught in Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death..." Since we have all sinned against God, we are all worthy of the second death, which is the eternal separation from God in Hell (Revelation 21:8).
Why then do we have hope? Because God did not leave us there! In Romans 5:8 we are taught that "God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Christ was sent to die so that we might be saved, according to John 3:16. He was the sacrifice for all sins, according to Hebrews 10:12. Jesus came and lived on this earth as the Son of God, He was rejected by men, and crucified on the cross. All of this so that we could be saved. What do we have to do to gain access to his sacrifice? Is it applied automatically to everyone so that no one is lost? No, Jesus made clear that there are going to be many lost in the end, who have gone on the wide and easy way (Matthew 7:13). Can I deserve this sacrifice to be applied to me simply by doing good things? No, the Bible teaches that even if we do everything we are supposed to and live a perfect life, we are still "unworthy servants" (Luke 17:10). How then can we access His mercy and sacrifice? Only through His death. Romans 6:3-4 teaches us, "do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the Glory of the father we too might walk in newness of life." It is only when we are baptized into His death that His blood will cover our sin.