TOPICS TO BE READ TO THE BRETHREN
- CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR
It is essential for our brethren to refrain from expressing opinions and disagreements regarding our rulers. Instead, we should focus on praying to God for the authorities, following the guidance found in 1 Timothy 2:1-4: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
- DOCTRINAL WARNING
Brother Louis Francescon’s messages highlight the detrimental effects of excessive self-love, which leads individuals to idolize themselves and hinders their love for God and others. This self-centeredness causes them to transgress the fundamental commandments encompassing God’s will. Those who receive spiritual gifts face two common weaknesses of human nature. The first weakness is pride, often fuelled by brethren who overly praise and exalt the person manifesting the gift. However, God warns against this, for He rejects those with proud hearts and haughty eyes, as stated in James 4:6, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” The second weakness is rebellion, which arises when these same brethren provoke envy and subject the individual to unjust criticism and persecution. This serves as a test to see whether believers will seek self-justification through rebellion or revenge. Reacting in such a manner leads to defeat, as it distances them from the gift of charity and from entrusting judgment solely to the Lord (Proverbs 19:11; 1 Corinthians 13:7).
- FILMING ASSISTANCE FROM THE WORK OF PIETY IS PROHIBITED
Under no circumstances should we film or photograph the delivery of assistance from the work of piety and post these images and videos on social networks, including the delivery of musical instruments. This practice goes against the teachings found in the Gospels, as written in Matthew 6:2: “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”
- FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Self-employed brethren providing different services should strive to comply with the law, fulfil their tax obligations, and contribute to suitable pension schemes if available. If one is employed in this manner and neglects these responsibilities in the country in which they reside, the consequences can be dire, as when they reach old age, or become sick, disabled, or pass away, they leave their families in a vulnerable or helpless situation. Additionally, it is important that the brethren avoid excessive financial burdens by refraining from excessive credit card use or mortgaging future earnings through payroll loans.
- USE OF THE INTERNET BY THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
The Christian Congregation in the United Kingdom does not utilize the internet or any online platforms for marketing purposes. Our official website serves the purpose of providing the brethren with essential materials, including memoranda, notices, documents, and points of doctrine. These materials are shared with the knowledge and approval of the Senior Council of Elders, addressing subjects of common interest for the brethren.
- IMPROPER USE OF THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO DISPARAGE THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
The Internet has brought about a significant evolution, providing numerous tools for the dissemination of news, opinions, criticisms, and thoughts by ordinary individuals. Unfortunately, this accessibility has allowed unqualified people to share their views as if they were experts on various subjects. Consequently, even those completely lacking knowledge or competence can freely express personal opinions and information without any understanding of the topic at hand. Some individuals openly and aggressively engage in spreading defamatory content or distorting the truth and faith of those serving God. To caution the brethren, the Ministry strongly advises against consuming such content and urges them not to give credibility or attention to information, news, opinions, or testimonies concerning the Christian Congregation in the United Kingdom, the servants of God, the doctrine we uphold, or related matters. Sources of conflicting information are often tainted with falsehoods, which can lead to unrest and doubts among the brethren, distracting from the ultimate work of salvation. The Christian Congregation in the United Kingdom reserves the right to defend itself against any defamatory acts, including those targeting the Ministry and its members.
- SALVATION IS NOT ACHIEVED SOLELY THROUGH KNOWLEDGE
Recognizing the need to know and value the Bible, we have encouraged the Ministry and all brethren to adopt the crucial practice of reading the holy scriptures. This practice is fundamental to Christian life, as it allows us to understand the will of our Heavenly Father in Christ Jesus. Through this sacred learning, we firmly establish faith, charity, and sanctification within ourselves. It is important to remember that our salvation comes through Grace, by faith, not solely through theological knowledge. We should always dedicate ourselves to God through prayers and fasting (1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 11:27), avoiding the presumption that theological knowledge alone will bring the necessary spiritual transformation to live according to the Lord’s requirements. Ephesians 6:18 reminds us to “pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watch thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Romans 10:1; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 1:19; 1 Timothy 4:5). In 1 Timothy 1:5, we learn that “the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” Hebrews 12:14 sets a prerequisite for seeing the Lord, stating, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Additionally, 1 Peter 1:16 emphasizes the call to holiness, saying, “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 1:2). It is essential to understand that the Holy Scripture aims to bring about a profound inner change in individuals through faith in Jesus Christ, leading to new birth, rather than serving as mere religious or intellectual instruction.
- DEFINITIVE REFERENCE OF FAITH
The Bible alone serves as the ultimate and comprehensive authority, providing the definitive knowledge for our indoctrination and safeguarding the purity of our faith in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 1:16, Ephesians 1:13, and 2 Timothy 3:15). Consequently, it is vital that any Christian teachings or knowledge imparted to the Church be firmly and entirely grounded in the Holy Scriptures. Any information that lacks this foundation should be disregarded, as it cannot be considered a reliable source for the instruction and spiritual development of believers.
- REFLECTION OF PARENTS’ GOOD WORKS ON CHILDREN
Children tend to imitate their parents, and the better the works of the parents, the more the children should desire to imitate them. Therefore, it is important for parents to set a good example and maintain a positive family relationship. We also recommend congregating together as a family to encourage each other and live according to the teachings of the Gospel. It is essential to teach our children the importance of prayer, giving thanks to God in the morning, before meals, and at bedtime. Praying together as a family strengthens the bond and prevents family discord. Families that pray together are protected by God, and reading the Holy Bible together enriches our spiritual lives.
- CONSIDERATIONS ON THE COMMANDMENT OF BAPTISM AND NEW BIRTH
Baptism, as an ordinance of the word of God, is meant for all who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. Seeking signs for baptism is unnecessary (Matthew 12:39-40). Instead, we should focus on the sign of believing in the Lord Jesus, understanding baptism as a symbol of death, burial, and resurrection. When we believe and are baptized, we die to sin and rise in Christ to a new life. In Romans 6:4, the apostle Paul explains, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” We recommend baptism for individuals who are over 12 years old, unless they have already received the gift of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in new tongues. This age serves as a reference, considering that at this stage of life, the Lord Jesus Himself demonstrated His wisdom and understanding among the teachers of the Law. This can be found in Luke 2:46, 47, and 49: “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” He also asked, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
- CONSIDERATIONS ON THE COMMANDMENT OF PARTICIPATION IN THE HOLY SUPPER
Participating in the Holy Supper is a celebration of the passion and death of the Lord, to be observed until His return. During these celebrations, Christians partake in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, as commanded by the Lord Himself. It is important for those who preside these services to teach about the significance of participation, as those who do not partake do not have communion with the Lord Jesus. The brethren should be advised to be at peace with one another, both within their families and among fellow brethren and the Ministry. If any offense has occurred, they should seek reconciliation with one another, especially with the Lord. It is essential to have peace not only with everyone but also with God, as being at odds with Him may render one unworthy to partake. As the apostle Paul exhorted in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” Regarding the preaching of the Word during the Holy Supper, the focus should be on the sacrifice and death of the Lord Jesus, rather than becoming overly focused on fervour and manifestations. These distractions can divert the sacred sentiment and lead to excessive joy, with some even seeking after gifts and liberations. Such practices distort the communion and reverence that should be given to the Lord during this solemn occasion.
- YOUNG PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE A NEED, INCLINATION, OR INTEREST IN MARRIAGE
There are individuals who, due to their natural disposition, lack sexual attraction and do not show interest in marital relationships. Although they are completely normal, they may not feel inclined towards conjugal coexistence. For those who recognize this inclination within themselves, it is not advisable to pursue marriage, as there is a high risk of entering into a union that may not succeed, leading to suffering and frustration for both partners. The explanation for this can be found in the Holy Bible, specifically in the Gospel of Matthew 19:12, where it states, “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
- LUST OF THE FLESH
The lust of the flesh refers to the desire for sensual pleasures, such as indulgence, lewdness, lust, and greed. These vices give rise to acts of adultery, prostitution, and fornication. Lust is explicitly condemned in the word of God, and yielding to it amounts to committing iniquity—a sin against the commandments of the Lord. Consequently, engaging in such sinful practices leads to a complete separation from God.
- MANIFESTATIONS CONTRARY TO THE ORDER OF THE HOLY SERVICES, CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S MEETINGS AND OTHER RELIGIOUS SERVICES OF THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Any manifestations that are contrary to the normal order of the Holy Services or any gathering of the brethren and ministry of the Christian Congregation in the United Kingdom is subject to immediate reprimand and, if severe, could lead to the rescinding of the liberty of manifestation of an individual or even, if deemed necessary, to legal and criminal proceedings to be taken against the offending individual. Point 1.6 of the Code of Conduct of the Christian Congregation in the United Kingdom, states that the participation of individual members, volunteers or participants during the holy services is subject to the one presiding the holy service under the guidance of God. The ministering of the holy services is subject to the spiritual conviction of the one presiding. Point 1.7 of the Code of Conduct of the Christian Congregation in the United Kingdom, states that to protect the holy doctrine, the Council of Elders may rescind the liberty of manifestation in the holy services of any member, volunteer or participant and communicate the same to the churches to execute this decision. Any individual who intentionally disrupts or interrupts our religious services may be subject to prosecution under UK law under the Public Order Act 1986. Additionally, if an individual is asked to leave and refuses, this may constitute trespassing. As such, we ask all attendees to respect the sanctity of our services and the rights of others to worship without disruption.
- THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND ITS ASSETS
The goal of the Christian Congregation in the United Kingdom is not to accumulate earthly assets. As a registered Charitable Entity with the Charity Commission of England and Wales, all assets of the Christian Congregation in the United Kingdom are solely owned by the entity. As stated in Article 3, the purposes of the CCUK are as follows: 3.1.1. to advance the Christian faith in accordance with the Articles of Faith, spreading the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, promoting the love of God, with Jesus Christ as our leader and the Holy Spirit as our guide; and 3.1.2. to undertake other charitable purposes that, in the opinion of the charity trustees, put the Christian faith into practice in line with the Articles of Faith. If the entity is dissolved, its liquidation will be carried out in accordance with prevailing laws and Article 28 of the CCUK Constitution, with its assets being designated to charities that follow the same purpose as Article 3 of our Constitution.