Many people have questions about who BCC is and what we represent. We would like to talk about this, so here we have collected answers to some of the questions.
What is the difference between BCC and other Christians?
BCC is a Christian church belonging to the Protestant branch of Christianity, and in short, this is central to our beliefs:
- The BCC Federation’s basis of faith is built on the Bible as the Holy Scriptures, given by inspiration from God, containing everything people need for their salvation, and with the Bible as the only authoritative scripture.
- We believe in God the Father, the Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth.
- We believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before time, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born into the world of the Virgin Mary.
- We believe that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, will teach us and remind us of all that Jesus has commanded us.
- We adhere to the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed.
Our basis of faith is further based on the teachings, values and Christian content that Johan O. Smith represented.
We believe that Jesus came with both forgiveness of our sins, and a new life in growth and development as a follower of Jesus. We believe that after the atonement by Jesus’ death, we will be saved by His life.
Does BCC believe that its own members are the only ones who are saved?
No, absolutely not. Jesus made atonement possible for all people by suffering death on the cross (Romans 5:18).
We believe that all people who call on the name of God and believe in His Son Jesus Christ can have their sins forgiven and be saved (John 3:16).
What are BCC’s views on homosexuality and on the ethics of cohabitation?
BCC respects the right of all human beings to make personal choices according to the rights established by society, and believes that all human beings are loved by God, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.
At the same time, we believe that the Bible has established marriage between a man and a woman as the framework for a sexual relationship. We therefore believe that living in cohabitation or a homosexual relationship is not in accordance with the Bible’s instructions.
How does BCC view women?
BCC works to ensure that both women and men are included and equal in the church. Women in BCC participate in various boards, in the Assembly of Representatives and a number of other church tasks. They also actively participate in church gatherings through prayer, singing, and speaking in the congregation.
Where does the name “Smith’s Friends” come from?
The nickname was used after BCC’s founder, Johan Oscar Smith, began to gather friends for Christian meetings. “Smith’s Friends” has never been the name of the church, and it is not a name we want to use.
In recent times, the term has probably often been used due to ignorance, but we want to be referred to by the church’s correct name: BCC (from Brunstad Christian Church).
What is the connection between BCC and Brunstad?
The place Brunstad in Sandefjord municipality in Norway, has been used for international BCC conferences since 1956. The conferences here are still an important arena for fellowship in the faith even though the church no longer owns the place, and the head office and the church’s daily operations are located in Moss municipality.
In recent times, the conference facility at Oslofjord has undergone extensive development, and BCC use the place for all its conferences, as well as for events such as youth camps, family days and activities for children and young people.
Who can become a member of BCC?
Membership is open to anyone who supports and professes BCC’s beliefs and objectives.
Membership is granted via BCC’s local churches, and there are contact persons in each local church who can be contacted if someone wants to come and hear the message preached in order to assess whether membership is relevant for them.
What happens if someone chooses to leave BCC?
It is easy to opt out if you want to, and there are no sanctions for those who leave the church.
Most maintain a good relationship with friends and family in BCC, even if they choose to leave the church.
Why do BCC members do volunteer work?
Volunteering is the mainstay of BCC, and church activities are largely based on voluntary efforts or work, by members.
This is done just as in other non-profit organizations, sports clubs etc., and there is a tradition of volunteering that we are proud of. This good volunteering also characterizes fellow believers in many countries.
Many voluntary hours are spent weekly in the form of care work, preaching, music and singing, and facilitation of activities and events in the local churches.
What does it cost to be in BCC?
BCC’s churches have no membership fee. There is no requirement to pay for attending Sunday meetings, youth gatherings, and Sunday school, but the local churches are of course dependent on members contributing to cover joint operating costs.
The local churches have a lot of activities, church halls, and activities for children and young people, and the costs for this are mainly covered by donations from the members, who contribute as they wish and according to their means. The board of each local church is responsible for preparing budgets according to the desired level of activity and costs, and convening an annual meeting. The members vote regarding the budgets and adopt these at the annual meeting, and the agreed cost level is covered by donations from the members. In Norway, the ordinary subsidy from the Norwegian state covers only a small part of the church’s activities.
How is the money used in BCC?
In the BCC Federation centrally, it is the Assembly of Representatives that approves budgets and grants allocations each year, and this is based on budgets and business plans from the federation organizations that receive grants. Donations from the local churches to BCC centrally are thus used in accordance with the decisions made by the Assembly of Representatives. Members receive information about what the money is used for via information broadcasts, presentations and annual reports.
At the local level, members vote on the budgets for their local churches. The board of each local church is responsible for preparing budgets, and convening the annual meeting, where the budget is adopted jointly.
Who decides in BCC?
The two highest bodies in the BCC Federation are the Assembly of Representatives and the Elders.
The Elders have the spiritual and visionary leadership. They are responsible for managing the church’s teachings, and the Christian content of the church’s events.
The Assembly of Representatives is the highest authority in all practical, legal and financial matters. It consists of representatives elected by and from among the members and meets at least once a year. The body decides on amendments to the bylaws, annual budget limits, and is the granting authority that allocates funds and grants to further the objectives.
The other organizations that are affiliated with the federation, either as joint organizations or as member organizations, have boards and leaders who have an independent responsibility for their respective entities.
Is BCC an open church?
Yes, BCC is a natural part of a modern and pluralistic society.
BCC has open registration and resignation, and there are no sanctions for those who choose to leave or join other denominations.
Our members are people you meet in ordinary areas of everyday life: at work, when you pick up your children at day care, or meet other parents at school. They have all kinds of educational and cultural backgrounds, and make different choices based on their own requirements and personal freedom.
BCC also collaborates with several different organizations in Norwegian society, including the Christian Council of Norway and The Association of NGOs in Norway.
Does BCC have any sacraments?
We do not practice sacraments in the traditional sense as a means of grace, but both communion and baptism are performed in the local congregations.
How did the church become international?
Ever since the beginning, the message has been spread by individuals sharing their experiences of living as a disciple of Jesus and preaching from their own lives. First along the Norwegian coast, then in Denmark, then further into Europe, the USA and so to all continents.
Which holidays are celebrated in BCC?
BCC celebrates all the major Christian holidays, including Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost and Christmas. These holidays are also marked at our international conferences.
Apart from these, BCC members normally also celebrate other occasions, such as birthdays, national days and the like.
Can members of BCC drink alcohol?
There is no alcohol ban in BCC. The Bible warns against drinking too much. How the individual understands this is a personal matter.
BCC organizes drug-free activities for children and young people, which gives them a good alternative to a harmful culture with drugs and destructive behavior.
What is the BCC view on abortion?
As Christians, BCC has great respect for all life, including unborn life, as we believe in God as the Creator of all people. Nevertheless, assessments relating to abortion are a personal matter, not a church issue.