Our Beliefs
 
Over the last 2000 years, Christianity has influenced the lives of people around the globe to be more loving, serving, and complete. The sad fact, however, is that while we worship a God of unity, his people have often divided over a variety of issues. The story of God’s church in America is one of dramatic positive impact. But it is also a picture of division and separation.
 
The Christian Church represents a fresh approach.  It began a few hundred years ago as people from all denominational backgrounds began to pursue a simple approach to expressing their faith. Using the New Testament as the source of guidance, The Christian Church emphasizes unity around the “essentials” of Christianity and freedom regarding the “non-essentials” (or those things that seem to foster strong opinions but are not related to salvation and eternal destiny).
 
This focus on the core values of the faith, on Jesus as Lord, and on the Bible as the ultimate standard for life choices creates an atmosphere that is grace-based and which encourages disciples to keep the main thing the main thing instead of becoming distracted by peripheral issues.
 
Many God-seekers are drawn to such “uncluttered Christianity,” with the result being that the Christian Church has been the fastest growing evangelical group in America for the last 10 years.
 
Over one million individuals identify themselves with this “movement” whose guiding slogan is:
 
In essentials—Unity;
 
in non-essentials—Liberty;
 
in all things—Love.
 
We do not believe we are the only Christians, but we do desire to be Christians only. We just want to be disciples of Jesus. If you are sort of weary and confused by the divisions and just want to pursue Christ, then maybe you need to check us out.
 
 
More About the Christian Church
 
Early Beginnings:
 
The Christian Church is an indigenous American congregation whose roots date back to the early 1800’s.  In America, at the turn of the nineteenth century, the churches were tightly drawn along denominational lines.  Many of the denominational differences originated in Europe and had little, if any, bearing upon the churches in America.
 
Men from various denominations, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and others, began to question the wisdom of denominational separation.  Many Ministers and church leaders from various backgrounds and denominations began to encourage all Christians to unite on their common beliefs: the authority of the Bible and the Deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Out of this grass roots movement the Christian Church was born.  The Christian Church was the fastest growing church in America for the first seventy-five years of the nineteenth century.
 
 
 
FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH STATEMENT OF FAITH
 
The Christian Church purpose was not to create a new denomination but to restore the church to the pattern and practice of the New Testament church as founded by the Apostles.  Therefore, First Christian Church strives to model the characteristics of the New Testament Church in worship and practice.  The motto: “Where the Bible speaks, we speak.  Where the Bible is silent, we are silent” describes the attitude of the First Christian Church on matters of doctrine and opinion.  Grace is offered on all issues and the greatest amount of liberty is offered on matters of opinion.
 
 
THE BIBLE
 
First Christian Church believes the Bible is God’s Holy Word.  The Bible is inspired by God (“All Scripture is inspired by God…” 2 Timothy 3:16).  It contains God’s revelation to mankind without error. Therefore, God’s Holy Word must be the sole authority for the church.  As Christians we must submit our minds and wills to the Bible and allow Biblical principles to govern our lives.
 
This statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs.  The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole final source of all that we believe.  For the purposes of First Christian Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Senior Pastor and Elders are First Christian’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
 
 
COMMUNION
 
Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, was instituted by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on the night He was betrayed (Matthew 26:26-29).  Jesus told us to “do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).  The Lord’s Supper is a central part of our worship.
 
Each Sunday we observe the Lord’s Supper as was the custom of the Disciples and Christians in the New Testament Church. Luke wrote: “And on the first day of the week, we were gathered together to break bread…” (Acts 20:7).
 
All believers are invited to participate.  One need not be a member of First Christian Church to remember Jesus Christ.
 
 
BAPTISM BY IMMERSION
 
First Christian Church practices baptism by immersion.  The Greek word, “baptizo,” from which we get the word “baptize,” simply means to “dip or immerse.”  Jesus, Himself, was immersed in the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17) and He instructed His Disciples to baptize by immersion.
 
Therefore, First Christian Church holds to this ancient form of baptism because it is in keeping with the teachings of Jesus and the example of the New Testament Church (Acts 8:25-39).
 
 
CHURCH GOVERNMENT
 
First Christian Church is locally governed and led. We have no denominational headquarters or overseers.  Jesus Christ is recognized as the only true head of the Church: “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23).  God’s Holy Word is the authority for structure and practice of church government.
 
First Christian Church, therefore, adopts the New Testament pattern for church government.  The church selects Elders.  An elder is simply a “pastor, overseer shepherd” of the congregation. It is his job to shepherd and care for the spiritual needs of the congregation and provide spiritual leadership and direction for the church.  A complete description of the qualifications of elders can be found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-10.
 
Deacons are selected by the Elders and affirmed by the congregation to help the elders.  A deacon is simply a “servant.”  His job is to take care of the physical needs of the congregation and aid the elders.  In reality, deacons are servants of the congregation.  An account of the first selection of deacons is found in Acts 6:1-6.
 
The Elders and Deacons meet periodically to oversee the needs, ministries and purpose of the church.
 
 
SALVATION
 
First Christian Church believes that a person is saved by grace through faith.  The Apostle Paul wrote: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
 
We are saved because of the work of Christ on the cross. The Apostle Paul wrote: “But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  Yes, the death of Christ on the cross made it possible for us to be saved from our sins.
 
The wonderful Scripture “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16) illustrates the depth of God’s love for us.  Salvation is a gift from God.
 
However, the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ must be accepted in order to claim the promise. We must say to God, through our mind and actions, that we accept Jesus Christ as His Son and God’s promise of forgiveness and eternal life.  Holy Scripture outlines the steps we must take in order to claim this wonderful promise.
 
…believe in the Lord Jesus Christ___
 
Faith is believing that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and that Jesus Christ died for our sins, rose again and now dwells with God in heaven.  Faith also involves the element of trust.  When you have faith in Jesus you give your life to Him.
 
…repent of your sins___
 
Repentance is a genuine sorrow for sinning against God.  Repentance involves the changing of one’s mind with regard to sin.  It is being sorrowful to the point you never want to sin against God again. The Apostle Peter when asked by the multitude on the Day of Pentecost what they should do to be saved replied: “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).  We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
 
…confess Jesus Christ as Lord___
 
Jesus made a wonderful promise when He said: “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).  The Apostle Peter gave us the example to follow when he was asked by Jesus, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Peter replied: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
 
…be obedient to Jesus in baptism___
 
Jesus said “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:16).  Jesus told His Disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).  We are to be baptized out of obedience to our Lord and Savior. Baptism is a natural part of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord.
 
Yes, we are saved by grace through faith.  Are these steps we take works?  No they are a positive acceptance of what God has promised in accordance with His Word and His Will.
 
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image.  Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death.  We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life (Psalm 139).
 
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female, and that these two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen 1:26-27).  Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
 
 
MARRIAGE
 
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 2:18-25).  We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other.
 
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and the use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
 
Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as a covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, First Christian Church will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman.  Further, the pastors and staff of First Christian Church shall only participate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one man and one woman.  Finally, the facilities and property of First Christian Church shall only host weddings between one man and one woman.
 
 
MEMBERSHIP

 

First Christian Church asks no more for membership than what is required to be a Christian.  Those who have been obedient to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, through faith, repentance, confession and baptism, we welcome to join the church.
 
People often ask, “I was not baptized in a Christian Church.  Do I need to be re-baptized?”  No.  If you were baptized by immersion in obedience to Jesus Christ, there is no need for you to be baptized again.  And you will not need a letter of good standing from another church nor will we vote on your membership.
 
First Christian Church welcomes all who proclaim “Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God” and that “He is Lord of their life.”  After all, isn’t that what a Christian proclaims?
 
 
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If you have any questions, please call or email our ministers: Ron Nolen, Senior Pastor, or Kevin Adkins, Minister of Music and Connections, at (478) 987-5428.