Beliefs

Beliefs matter! As Christians, we are called to defend the faith which was once and for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). Much of the New Testament letters were written to combat false ideas that were trying to take root in the early Christian communities. After the New Testament was written the church still had to wrestle with erroneous teaching about God and Jesus. There were many early (and wrong) views about Jesus that liked the idea of a savior but did not like the idea of him living as a man or that this man was also God. The Christian community fought hard and defended the truth which was passed down by the apostles from Jesus Christ. Early leaders formulated Rules of Faith that the Christian communities needed to hold to. The Apostles Creed is basically one of those Rules of Faith which guides the church in sorting out essential beliefs from non-essential ones. Beliefs that the church has always held sacred from beliefs that have had a wide variety of opinions. The Apostles Creed, as well as other creeds (Such as the Nicene Creed), are statements of essential beliefs. At First Congregational, we are glad to defend and proclaim the ancient truths of the faith while being careful to allow much diversity on non-essentials, of which there are many. There is an ancient dictum which says, “On essentials unity, on non-essentials liberty, in all things charity (love).” Below you will find the essentials.

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. AMEN.

A Systematic Approach with Scripture References (Statement of Faith)

1. We believe that the Bible is the Divinely inspired word and revelation of God, and is therefore our guide to practice and teaching. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21).

2. We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God. The word for God that describes the relationship of unity and diversity in the Godhead is the Trinity. We believe in the Holy Trinity (Mark 12:29, John 1:1-4, Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 5:3-4, 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 1:1-3, Revelation 1:4-6).

3. We believe in the full Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the very God by whom and for whom all things were created. (John 1:1-3, Philippians 2:6-8, Colossians 2:9). We believe in His virgin birth, that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and is, therefore, God manifested in the flesh. (Luke 1:31-35, 2:7).

4. We believe in salvation which was offered to us when Jesus Christ gave us life in our place on the cross for our sin. The Scriptures say that he, “His life a ransom for many,” and “bore our sins in His own body on the tree.” (Matthew 20:28, 1 Peter 2:24).

5. We believe in His physical bodily resurrection from the dead in history and His bodily presence at the right hand of God as our High Priest and Advocate. (Luke 24:39, Hebrews 9:11, 1 John 2:1, and Hebrews 10:12)

6. We believe in the universality and reality of sin in all people. If it was not for the forgiveness offered from God to us in Jesus Christ, we would not be able to attain salvation on our own strength. Salvation is by grace through faith which is lived out in our daily actions as Christian people. (Romans 5:12, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5).

7. We believe in the personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit, Who dwells in believers and Who is here to “reprove the world of sin, and of all righteousness, and of judgment.” We believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit helps us to live out the mission of the church which is to worship God and spread his truth (John 16:7-11, Romans 8:11, Acts 2).

8. We believe in the command which our Lord has given to his Church to evangelize the world, and this evangelization and the edification of the body of Christ is the great commission of the Church. (Romans 1:14-16, Ephesians 4:11-13, 2 Timothy 4:5, Matthew 28:18-20).

9. We believe in the second and visible coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to complete His saving work and establish His world-wide Kingdom. The Nicene Creed tells us he is coming back to judge the living and the dead and that his kingdom will have no end (Acts 1:10-11, Revelation 22:20).

10. We believe in a Heaven of eternal life for the righteous, and in the conscious and eternal punishment of the wicked. We believe that the Trinity is responsible for knowing who is part of God’s kingdom and who is not (John 14:1-3, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, Revelation 20:11-15, 21:1-5, Matthew 25:46).