What We Believe
What are the core essential beliefs that unite and empower us as a church? First Pres has a history of encouraging a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, lived out within community. Coming out of our tradition of the Reformed movement of the Christian church, we center our worship services on the scriptures as they point to Jesus. We believe that we are called and equipped through the power of the Holy Spirit to actively be salt and light to our community – both inside and outside of the church.
As the senior pastor and primary preacher, here are what I see as the foundational doctrines of First Pres:
We believe… in Jesus Christ: Standing at the center of who we are as a church is the person of Jesus Christ. We believe that in God’s love, Jesus became that human being who knew no sin and brought us out of sin. It is Jesus who has, through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead, exclusively revealed himself to be God in the flesh. He is our source of comfort and of hope. He calls us into a nurturing relationship with him; the best gift God could give us. He is our true King, the one who brought those who believe in him into his Kingdom, to live for him, not only in eternity but here and now as ambassadors for his Kingdom.
Colossians 1:15- 20
We believe… in the Trinitarian God: Alongside Christians throughout the ages, we affirm that there is one God, made known to us through the Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Triune God is the Creator and has created all good things. The Father has sent us the Son, and the Father and Son have given us the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit. God created us in his image, and though humanity sinned (and sins to this day) and moved away from God, God never failed in his sovereign plan to bring his people back to relationship with him. We believe that Jesus is the culmination of the Triune God’s covenant promise to rescue and redeem his people, and someday all of creation.
We believe… in the Church as the Body of Christ: We affirm the joy that God has given to us as we live in fellowship with each other, and that our fellowship is a gift from God that we must nurture. It is a joy for us to do “life together” as a church. We believe that with the gift of the Holy Spirit our church is empowered and compelled to be an active witness to the Kingdom of Jesus. We believe that we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and equally, and actively, we are called to love our neighbor in the name of Christ. We affirm that we are called to collectively be a witness to the beauty, truth, and grace of Jesus as we live out the values of his Kingdom.
We believe… in the Authority of Scripture: Where do we derive these beliefs about God and about the church? We do so from the scriptures, the Old and New Testaments. We believe that the bible is the authoritative word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. We believe that the bible is trustworthy for the ways in which we live our individual and communal lives. We affirm that scripture is the one objective source that we can rely on to give evidence to God’s revelation of himself and who we are meant to be. We also recognize that the scripture contains mystery, and, alongside the Reformed heritage to which we belong, we allow “scripture to inform scripture,” to look to see the big picture of what God is communicating to us. The words of scripture breathe life into our lives and point us to Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.
Luke 7:22-23 22
Luke 24: 25-27 25
John 1:14-18 14
II Timothy 3:16-17
We believe… In God’s Redemption and Sanctification: We believe that God is the rescuing and sending God. We believe that in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God rescued us from our sinful natures and God’s plan to be in full relationship with us came to fruition. We believe God initiates our salvation with his gift of grace. We respond to the initiation of Christ’s redemptive grace by receiving it with faith. In other words, there is no way to earn our salvation, we must accept it in the faith we have in Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ alone.
When we have received Christ’s redemption, the Holy Spirit moves into our lives and gives us power to work toward our sanctification. Sanctification, by definition, means to increase in holiness. We are called by Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live out the ethics, morals, and values of the Kingdom of God. These are our “good works.”
It is not just our inner lives that the Holy Spirit is sanctifying, it is also our witness. We believe that the Father sent the Son, and that the resurrected Lord gave us the Holy Spirit. We believe that in giving us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit is now sending us out to be witnesses to Jesus and to his Kingdom. Central to our sanctification is to share with others – through our words and our actions – the values of the Kingdom of Christ as we invite others into a relationship with Jesus.
These then are essential doctrinal beliefs for First Pres. We believe them to be true. We believe that we are called to live them out. Our core values as a church are built on this foundation.
To God be the Glory!
John Sowers, Senior Pastor