Our Beliefs

Two slogans reflect the open and inclusive nature of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible,” is our way of saying that belief in Jesus Christ and affirmations of the Word of God in Scripture are the true expressions of faith.

A second slogan, “Not the only Christians, but Christians only,” reflects our belief that the oneness of the church is essential to the fulfilling of God’s mission in the world. We are committed to sharing in the ecumenical ministries of the church, and thus we share in both service and worship with congregations of other denominations and traditions. Part of our identity includes:

  • Open Communion – The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is celebrated in weekly worship and is open to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
  • Freedom of Belief – Disciples are called together around one essential of faith: belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Persons are free to follow their consciences guided by the Bible, the Holy Spirit, study and prayer, and are expected to extend that freedom to others.
  • The Oneness of the Church – All Christians are called to be one in Christ and to seek opportunities for common witness and service.
  • Baptism by Immersion – In baptism, the old self-centered life is set aside, washed away, and a new life of trust in God begins. Although Disciples practice baptism by immersion, other baptism traditions are honored.
  • The Ministry of Believers – Both ministers and lay persons (those who are not ordained by the church) of both genders lead in worship, service and spiritual growth.
  • Above All – Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, who offers saving grace to all who seek it through His Son.

Communion

At the table of the Lord we celebrate with thanksgiving the saving acts and presence of Christ” – From the Preamble of the Design for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Communion TableSharing of the Lord’s Supper (or communion, as it is often called), is at the heart of what members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) do when they gather for worship. A marked characteristic of Disciples is an emphasis upon the importance of the Lord’s Supper as a basic part of weekly worship. Without it, worship would be incomplete.

The observance of the Lord’s Supper reaches back to the upper room where Jesus met with his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. At that moment, before he was taken prisoner, tried, and nailed to a cross, Jesus sought to express the meaning of his life and the events in which he was involved. What he said and did is recorded in the first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) as well as in the Apostle Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. Paul writes:

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

Within the Disciples of Christ it is customary to say that Christ is the host at the communion table. It is the Lord’s Supper, and we come at his invitation. Therefore, no other person has the right to offer that invitation or to bar anyone from sharing in it. All who believe in Jesus Christ, regardless of persuasion, are invited to partake (in keeping with the Disciples’ desire for the unity of the church).


Baptism

In the practice of baptism, the old self-centered life is set aside and a new life of trust in God begins.

Baptism in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) takes a good deal of water since we practice baptism by immersion, wherein the whole body of the person is submerged in the water. This is used because it mirrors New Testament practice. In addition, Disciples see the use of the specific form of baptism as powerfully symbolic as it recalls Jesus’ own baptism; it acts out dying with Christ and emerging to new life. It is a “putting on” of Christ. The person being baptized by the minister experiences the support of the community of believers, the Body of Christ.

Disciples typically are baptized when they can express as a personal choice their desire to become part of the Body of Christ.

Infant Dedication is a common Disciples tradition. A baby is brought into the environment of a loving church where parents and congregation pledge themselves to nurture the child in the love of Christ. An infant so dedicated “confirms” that dedication with a faith-response, usually during the early teenage years.

First Christian Church recognizes other forms of baptism as valid. A person baptized in another Christian tradition wishing to join our congregation is simply asked: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and proclaim him Lord and Savior of your life?” The person who answers, “I do,” is welcomed into the congregation.


Chalice

chaliceThe chalice symbolizes the central place of communion in worship for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The X-shaped cross of the disciple Andrew is a reminder of the ministry of each person and the importance of evangelism.