Our Doctrine

At First Christian Church we believe in the following doctrine.

Inspiration of Scripture

              We believe all scripture is literally, "God-breathed or inspired.  2 Timothy 3:16 states, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  2 Peter 1:20, 21 also states, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.                                                                                                                                                                             However, the greatest source for the inspiration of scripture comes from the very lips of Christ himself who sated in Matthew 5:18, "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  Jesus was known to quote scripture as the final authority and often introduced the statement with the phrase, "It is written, as in his encounter with Satan in the temptation in the wilderness as found in Matthew 4.  He also spoke of himself and of events surrounding his life as being fulfillments of the Scripture, i.e. Matthew 26:54, 56.

The Trinity

            We believe the Trinity is made up of three eternal persons in one divine essence according to Matthew 28:19 and John 15:26.  We are saved by Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit which allows us total contact with God. (Rom 8:11)  Creation (Gen 1:1), the incarnation (Lk 1:35), atonement for our sin (Heb 9:14), the resurrection is attributed to the work of all three persons.  The Father (Acts 2:32), the Son Jn 10:17,18), and the Holy Spirit (Rom 1:4). Salvation is also the work of all three person (1 Peter 1:2). 

The Deity of Christ

            John 1:1 states, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  Through this verse we learn even though Jesus took upon himself full humanity and lived as a man, he never ceased being the eternal God who has always existed, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the source of eternal life.               Jesus also claimed equality with the Father according to Matt 11:27, Jn 5:17, 18, Jn 8:58, and Jn 14:9-10.  He taught and spoke with divine authority (Matt 5:20-28, Jn 3:34 and Mark 13:31).  He claimed to be the supreme object of saving faith equally with the Father (Jn 10:30, 14:1, 17:3).  At times He pointed to Himself alone as the true object of men's faith and devotion, with no mention of the Father (Matt 4:19, 11:28, Jn 33:36, 21:15-22).  He claimed to be the Son of God at his trial (Mark 14:61-64, Lk 22:69, 70).                                                                                            Jesus received, accepted, and encouraged worship of Himself (Mat 14:33, 28:9, 10, 28:16 -18, Jn 9:35 -39 and Jn 20:27-29).  He also claimed to be able to forgive sins (Mk 2:5, Lk 7:48, Jn 8:24, 36).  He claimed to be the life (Jn 14:6).  He claimed authority to execute the final judgment (Jn 5:27). 

Virgin Birth

            We believe Jesus was miraculously conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary without sexual union with man (Matt 1:18-25, Lk 1:34-35).  Jesus is God's Son not by adoption but by nature and his life was free from sin (2 Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22, 1 Jn 3:5).  Born of a woman, he was fully human - liable to all temptations of a fallen race (Heb 4:15). Jesus' humanity revealed his (and God's) complete identification with humankind.  The virgin birth also intersects Jesus' incarnation with his preexistent glory (Rom 1:3-4, Philp 2:5-8).                    In addition according to Rom 5:15-19 and 1 Cor 15:20-22, 45-49 we as human beings have all inherited Adam's sinful nature and God's punishment for sin.  Since Jesus was not conceived by the seed of a man but by the Spirit of God, he did not inherit man's sinful nature.  Therefore, through Jesus as the second Adam, God has made a new and perfect start for humanity possible.

Christ's Resurrection

            We believe Jesus experienced a very real death (Matt 27:50, 1 Cor 15:3, Gal 1:3,4) and a very real resurrection (Matt 28:5-7, Jn 20:26, 27, Acts 1:3, Acts 2:24, Rom 1:4, 1 Cor 15:20).  Jesus had a material body after His resurrection.  He could be seen by people's eyes (Lk 24:40).  He could be touched with ther hands (Lk 24:39), Jn 20:27, Matt 28:9).  He declared He had a real body of flesh and bones (Lk 24:39).  As proof he ate honey and fish in the disciples presence (Lk 24:41-43, Acts 10:41).  He had the same body he had at death.  The nail prints were in his hands and feet and the wound was in his side (Jn 20:25-27).  Those who saw him recognized him as the same Jesus who had been crucified and buried in the tomb.  Jesus was raised from death to immortality and is no longer subject to death (Rom 6:9, Rev 1:18, Col 1:18, Acts 26).                                                                                                                 We believe Christ's resurrection is the fundamental message of the Gospel.  The Apostle Paul said Christianity rises or falls on the truthfulness of the fact that Jesus has been raised from the dead (1 Cor 15:12-20).  It is a vital part of the gospel message that Christ provides the basis of salvation; the resurrection of Christ makes possible the application of salvation.  God raised Christ from the dead and has exalted him at His own right hand. (Acts 2:32, Acts 5:31, Eph 1:20, Phil 2:9-11, Heb 1:3, Rev 3:21).  This is so Christ might be Head of the Church (Eph 1;22, 23, Col 1:18, 1 Peter 2:4-8) and Lord of all believers.  He makes intercession and acts as advocate for the believer (Rom 8:34, 1 Cor 1:8, 2 Tim 1:12, Heb 2:18).  His resurrection transformed the lives of the apostles and made the Church a tremendous influence in winning thousands to Christ. 

 The Holy Spirit

            We believe the Holy Spirit is God.  He is not only a personality, but is a divine person, in as much as he is God: co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent with the Father and the Son.  However, he is designated as the third person of the Trinity just as with people there may be persons of equal station, but in position they are subordinate to others.  It is the same with the Holy Spirit.  As a being equal with the Father and Son, but in positon he is subordinate to the Father and gives precedence to the Son.  Evidence of this claim is found in Acts 5:3, 4 and 2 Cor 3:17 where he is referred to as God.  He possesses divine attributes such as omnipotence, Lk 1:35, omniscience, 1 Cor 2:10, omnipresence Psalm 129-7-10 and holiness, Eph 4:30.                                                                                                       We believe the Holy Spirit makes regeneration possible for all people (Jn 3:5, Titus 3:5).  Liberates us from the principles of sin and death (Rom 8:2).  Inhabits believers (1 Cor 6:19, 20, 2 Cor 6:16).  Attests to our "sonship (Rom 8:16).  Helps believers act as Christ directs (Rom 8:5, Gal 5:22, 23).  Provides help for our daily problems and in praying (Rom 8:26, 27).  Empowers us to serve God and do His will (Acts 1:8, Rom 12:6).  Become part of God's plan to build up His church) Eph 4:12, 13) Sanctifies believers (2 Thes 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2) Augments the inner-being (Eph 3:16).  Provides information and illumination (Jn 14:26, 1 Jn 2:20, 27).  Calls us for special service (Acts 13:2-4).  Supplication (Rom 8:26, Jude 20, Eph 6:18).  Provides believers the power to communicate the word (1 Thes 1:5).  Reveals the deep things of God to believers (1 Cor 2:4-14).  Provides believers the "fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22, 23). 

The Creation and Fall of Man

            We believe man was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26, 27) Human beings are not self-made or the product of random chance (Ps 8:2, Rom 1:25, James 3:9).  People are invested by God with a special dignity, appointed as rulers of the world under God, summoned to possess and subject it and to rule all other creatures (Gen 1:27 “ 2:3, Ps 8:5).  Human beings were originally created good (Gen 1:31, Eccl 7:29).  Being in the image of God does not constitute a physical form of Godliness but rather provides people a mental facet to His image, i.e. the ability to think, worship and reason  People also have the moral facet for righteousness and holiness (Gen 2:7, Job 33:4,5 ).                                                                                                                                                                          We believe Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden thereby sininng against God which resulted in their spiritual death (Gen 2:17).  As the first man, Adam represented all of humanity before God.  When Adam fell, humanity fell.  "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (Rom 5:2).  One aspect of the curse that sin brought upon all mankind was a change of man's heart from being good, holy and upright to being evil, unholy, and corrupt.  "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen 6:5).

Redemption of Humanity

            We believe redemption for humanity is only possible by God's grace through Jesus Christ (Rom 3:24).  Jesus came to earth according to God's will (Acts 2:23, 1 Peter 1:20).  He gave his life up as a ransom for all (Mk 10:45, 1 Tim 2:6).  Through the judgment of sin in Christ, God is able to forgive repentant sinners and give them righteous standing before him (Is 53:6, 2 Cor 5:21, Gal 3:13).  Because Christ loves us, he freely gave himself up as an offering and sacrifice fur us (Eph 5:2).  He did this so that those who believe in him (Rom 3:22) might receive atonement and "be saved from God's wrath (Rom 5:9) through "the precious blood of Christ (1 Peer 1:19).  Because of Jesus, God will then present us "faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24).                          We believe salvation is open to anyone willing to follow God's commandants and live by His will.  Salvation is the free gift of God, but there are conditions for receiving this free gift.  First one must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that through Him only can a person obtain salvation (Jn 3:17, 18, Acts 4:11-13).  Acceptable faith requires obedience to God's will (James 2:16).  Upon believer, repentance is necessary for salvation) Lk 13:3).  Repentance is a change of will, deciding to follow the will of Jesus and not self.  Confession of one's faith is also a requirement (Rom 10:9, 10).  Confession is not just a tone time statement of belief, but a continual statement shown through one's life.                                                                                                                                                             We also believe Christ's death was/is a saving act and was/is the only means of salvation.  Jesus' death was/is all-sufficient and lacked(s) nothing (Jn 11:25, 26, 1 Thes 5:9, 10, Heb 7:24, 25).  Salvation is not possible by our own works or merit (Rom 4:1-7, Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5-7).   Salvation is solely by Christ's person and work as a gift of God (1 Jn 5:5-13, Acts 4:12, Phil 3:8-9). 

The End Times.
            We believe in a premillennial, time of tribulation, non-dispensational view of eschatology.  We believe the end of history will begin like sudden birth pains with seven years of tribulation starting with an unprecedented period of warfare, famine, and persecution of believers. (Dan 9:24-27, 1 Thess 5:3) It will spawn the rise of the Antichrist, a world dictator.  (Dan 9:27, Matt 24:15, Rev 12:7-17) There will be terrible suffering within the church at the hands of the Antichrist. (Matt 24:9-12,15-28, Rev 7:9-17) During this time God will pour out his wrath in a series of unprecedented cosmic plagues with only unbelievers suffering. (Rev16) The end of the world as we know it will be at hand and all unbelievers will cry out to the mountains, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! (Matt 24:29,30, Luke 21:25-27, Rev 6:12-17)
            After the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David. (Matt 25:31, Luke 1:31-33, Acts 1:10,11,2:29-30) and establish his Messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth.  (Rev 20:1-7) During this time the resurrected saints will reign with him over Israel and all the nations of the earth. (Ezk 37:21-28, Dan 7:17-22, Rev 19:11-16).  This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world. (Dan 7:17-27, Rev 20:1-7)
             This kingdom will be the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel (Is 65:17-25, Ezk 37:21-28, Zech 8:1-17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience. (Deut 28:15-68) The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Matt 21:43, Rom 11:1-26) but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing. (Jer 31:31-34, Ezk 36:22-32, Rom 11:25-29) This time of the Lord's reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Is 11, 65:17-25, Ezk 36:33-38) and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan. (Rev 2:7)
            Following the release of Satan after the Thousand-year reign of Christ (Rev 20:7) Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and Jerusalem, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Rev 20:9).  Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matt 25:41, Rev 20:11-15).
            After the end of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thess 1:9, Rev 20:7-15) the saved will enter an eternal state of glory with God, after which the old earth and heaven will be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth where only righteousness dwells. (Eph 5:5, Rev 20:15,21,22) Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Rev 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will forever enjoy fellowship with God and one another. (Jn 17:3, Rev 21,22)  Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled his redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor 15:24-28) where our triune God will reign forever and ever. (1 Cor 15:28)

 The state of the souls of believers between death and the resurrection.
           
We believe upon physical death there is no loss of spiritual consciousness. (Rev6:9-11) that all redeemed people will pass immediately into the presence of Christ. (Luke 23:43, Phil 1:23, 2 Cor 5:8)  However, there is a separation of soul and body (Phil 1:21-24) and that for the redeemed, this separation will continue until the rapture (1 Thess 4:13-17,2 Thess 2:1) which initiates the first resurrection (Rev 20:4-6, Matt 24:31,37-41,2 Cor 15:51-57) when soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord.  (Phil 3:21,1 Cor 15:35-44,50-54)  Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in a joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ.  (2 Cor 5:8)

 The state of the souls of unbelievers between death and the resurrection
           
We Believe in the bodily resurrection of all people and the unsaved go to judgement and everlasting punishment.  (Dan 12:2, Jn 5:29, Rev 20:13-15) We believe the unsaved at death will be kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26, Rev 20:13-15) when the soul and the resurrection body will be united. (Jn 5:28,29)  They shall then appear at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 2:11-15) and will be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matt 25:41-46) and cut off from the life of God forever. (Dan 12:2, Matt 25:41-46,2 Thes 1:7-9)

Ordinance of Baptism
           
We believe baptism is an outward symbolic rite ordered by Christ to be performed by His Church as a visible sign of certain redemptive truths of the Christian faith.  Baptism is a communion with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. (Rom 6:1-3) It is a carrying out of all righteousness and a copying of the patterns set by Christ. (Matt 3:15) It is in conformity to the commandment of Christ. (Matt 28:19) It is a confession to all present that we belong to Christ and a continuation of the practice of the early church.  We believe baptism should be done by immersion.  (Although, there may be extenuating circumstances when this may not be possible and therefore another mode of baptism may be utilized.)  We base this belief on the fact that the Greek word "baptizein means "to immerse.  This is confirmed by the use of the prepositions "in and "into with "baptizein and by scriptural references to baptism being done in places with large amounts of water. (Luke 3:3, John 3:23) Baptism also signifies our union with Christ in his burial and resurrection. (Rom 6:4, Col 2:12)  We believe everyone who is old enough to recognize their own sinfulness, need for repentance, and willing to obey Christ's command to be baptized is eligible for baptism. (Acts 2:38, Matt.28:19-20)

Ordinance of Communion
           
We believe as we observe the ordinance of communion we are remembering our deliverance from slavery to sin by the death of God's Son. (Luke 22:19, 1 Cor 11:23-26). The Lord's Supper was instituted and commanded by Jesus Christ himself (Matt 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, 1 Cor 11:23-26).  It was based by Jesus on Israel's remembrance of the Passover, but Jesus instituted it as something new for his followers, the church, by which they could worship him through remembering His work on the cross.  Eating the bread and drinking the cup emphasizes and deepens our faith in the sacrifice Jesus made by offering His sinless life to redeem sinful humanity.  We believe communion is an illustration of unity. (1 Cor 10:16,17,1 Cor 12:12). 
            Eating the bread and drinking of the cup as a symbol of our unity in Christ is also found in Paul's comments about not having things in common with or sharing a table with the enemies of God.  (1 Cor 10:20,21)  The bread and the cup of communion symbolize what is involved in Jesus' sacrifice of Himself for our salvation.  The bread represents the body of Christ.  (Luke 22:19) Jesus, the sinless one, took our sins upon Himself.  He became our substitute, bearing our sins in His own body on the cross.  The apostle Peter wrote, "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.¦He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:22,24)  The cup symbolizes Jesus' blood that was shed for the sins of the world.  (Mark 14:24)  Paul spoke of God's love, "God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8)  In Ephesians 1:7 Paul wrote: "In him[Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.

Participation in Communion
           
We believe only believers in Jesus Christ are eligible to participate in the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:41-42,1 Cor 10:21)  The Table celebrates the salvation work of Christ and only those of faith can appreciate it.  Additionally, only believers who are in right standing with God (based on personal self-examination) are able to participate (1 Cor 11:27-34) If one is persisting in unconfessed sin, or if they are experiencing disunity with another believer, they should abstain from participation.  Otherwise, they risk the judgment of Christ himself (1 Cor 11:29-31) 

Purpose of the local church.
           
We believe the primary purpose of the Church is relational.  The Church is a living body that relates to or interacts with people.  The Bible teaches that the Church has to evangelize non-believers as well as edifying fellow believers in the body.  Finally, the Bible teaches that the Church will ultimately exalt and glorify God.  The Apostle Paul identified the church with Christ and stressed the unity of all believers through the world, the Church possesses a divinely given ministry.  Its ministry arises from the church's nature as a people in covenant with God and one another.  The ultimate motivation for the Church must be an overwhelming desire to bring all glory and honor to God.  A thriving community exists when all its members share equally in the process of exaltation, edification and evangelization.
            Exaltation is the overarching purpose for worship and praise in which all people proclaim God's greatness and bring honor to him as a response to what he has done for us. (Is 43:21) We also exalt God through our observance of communion. (1 Cor 11:23-36)  Edification with the church happens when Christians are devoted to one another and honor one another. (Rom 12:10), instruct one another (Rom 15:14), are kind and compassionate toward one another (Eph4:32), encourage one another (1 Thess 5:11), and most importantly love one another. (1 John 3:11)  James 1:27 reminds us of our Christian duty.  The Church is to also be about the business of ministering to those in need, equipping believers with the necessary tools to overcome, understand and repent of sin and remain free from the spiritual pollution of the world.
            Evangelization is proclaiming, following and being good stewards of the Gospel message. (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8)  The Church is to promote and prepare its members for the proclamation of the Gospel.  (1 Peter 3:15)  The Apostle Paul sums up the purpose of the Church best in 1 Cor 12:12-27 when he says "The Church  is God's body and we are his hands, his mouth and his feet in this world.