What are our beliefs based on? When we look back to the first century after Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see that Christians practiced a simple faith. They followed the instructions of Jesus and his inspired followers-men like Paul, Peter, and John. Today we have these instructions in the letters and books of the New Testament. Surely all Christians can agree on these teachings! So we try very hard to model our Christian life on the church described in the New Testament.
Do we have a creed or statement of beliefs? Because we take the whole New Testament as our guide we try not to make short lists of things to be believed-short lists are always incomplete. We prefer to talk and teach about what’s found in the Bible. But here are some answers to questions you may have.
Who is Jesus? Jesus of Nazareth is a historical man who lived in the first century AD in Israel. We believe that he is the Son of God and the promised Messiah (Christ) of the Old Testament. He was crucified as a payment for our sins, died, was buried, and was raised up alive, proving his claims. He promised that whoever believed in him and followed his teachings would be made right with God. As a church we exist to tell people about Jesus and to live out his teachings.
What is the Church? The Church of Jesus Christ is a group of people, not a building or an organization. It includes all Christians in all places and times. Our local church is a group of Christians who gather here. The Bible writers compared the church to a family and also called it the body of Jesus Christ.
How Do I Become a Christian? In the early years of Christianity, those who are called Christians had done five things. They heard Jesus’ message about who He is, and believed it. They responded with deep determination to change their lives and live for Him in the future. (Some call this “repentance.”) They expressed their belief before witnesses (“confession”) and were immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins (“baptism”). We encourage anyone today to do these same things to become a Christian.
How is your church organized? In New Testament times, each local congregation was independent, under the oversight of a group of leaders. The terms shepherds, pastors, elders, presbyters, overseers and bishops were all used for these leaders. There was no overall structure or organization tying local congregations together. We try to follow that example today.