Our beliefs fall into two broad categories: “essentials” and “non-essentials”.
The essentials are the historic truths of the Christian faith that come directly from the book known as the Bible. Simply put, we believe that men and women are separated from God as a direct result of behavior that is harmful to ourselves and to others. When Jesus Christ died on a cross, He became the perfect sacrifice we need to allow us to have access to God. Everyone has the potential to enter into a relationship with God by responding in faith to Jesus Christ. We receive God’s forgiveness by acknowledging our harmful past behavior, by affirming our desire to have a relationship with Jesus and by pledging ourselves to the Lord. We demonstrate that decision through baptism by immersion. It is our great privilege to know Jesus, and we have a responsibility – in love – to share the truth about Jesus with others and invite them to be part of God’s family.
The non-essentials are the variety of distinctive doctrines and practices that followers of Jesus have adopted over the years. These are areas where sincere Christians can “agree to disagree”. For example, one of our distinctive practices at First Christian Church of Roseburg is to celebrate Communion each and every week. We see this as a vibrant way to express our thanks to God and experience an intimate moment of personal connection with Him in the midst of the worship service. And while we believe that communion should be a central part of weekly worship, we recognize that other churches have different practices…and we respect those differences.
Most importantly, our God is revealed in the Bible as the God of love. Therefore, in all that we say and all that we do, it is our sincere desire to demonstrate God’s love.
In Essentials Unity,
In Non-Essentials Liberty,
In All Things Love
Rupertus Meldenius (1582-1651)
The following statements explain how we understand the essential, unchangeable truths of the Christian faith. These core beliefs shape who we are and how we express our faith in life and in ministry together.
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has existed – since before time began – in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God. (Biblical references: Genesis 1:1, 26-27, 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; II Corinthians 13:14).
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless (perfect) human life and offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross. God raised Him from the dead after three days, vindicating Him and demonstrating His triumph over the powers of sin and death. He returned to Heaven and will come back to earth to judge its inhabitants and will then dwell forever with His own in a New Heaven and Earth. (Biblical references: Matthew 1:22, 23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5; 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 1:3,4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Timothy 6:14-15; Titus 2:13, Revelation 21:1).
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make us aware of our need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of our salvation (when we receive God’s forgiveness for our harmful behavior). The Spirit provides every follower of Jesus with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. As Christians, we strive to live under His positive influence daily. (Biblical references: 2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13; 14:16, 17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18).
The Bible is God’s Word to us. Human authors wrote it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In the Bible God has providentially provided us with a faithful testimony to Divine Revelation in which His words and acts were recorded in human language. God revealed Himself through His word given to the prophets, His acts in history and supremely in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ. As inspired testimony, the Bible is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living, second only to Jesus Himself. (Biblical references: 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalm119:105, 160; 12:6; Proverbs 30:5).
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are scarred by disobedience toward God which the Bible calls “sin.” Sin separates people from God and causes many problems in life. (Biblical references: Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1-2)
People were created to exist forever. Either we will exist eternally separated from God as a result of our sinful behavior, or we will live eternally with God as a result of receiving forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is what the Bible calls Hell. To be eternally with Him involves a new life in a new world, which the Bible describes as “a new heaven and a new earth,” which will actually be one new reality as God makes His dwelling with human beings. The New Heaven and Earth, as well as Hell, are real places of eternal existence. People are choosing their eternal destinies every day. They do this by either following Jesus in faith or choosing to ignore or even oppose Him. Those who receive Jesus into their hearts and lives become children of God, inheriting eternal life in God’s new world. Those who reject Him are actually choosing to live without God forever, separated from the author of their existence and hence incomplete forever. As a result they will be separated, not only from Him and His children, but also from everything good.
(Biblical references: John 3:16; 14:17; Romans 6:23; 8:17-18; Revelation 20:15; 21:1; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9).
Salvation – the forgiveness of sins – is received as a gift, through faith. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves from our sins. This gift from God is made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Biblical references: Matthew 26:28; Romans 5:9; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7). We believe the Bible teaches that people receive God’s grace by putting their faith in Jesus, repenting of their sin, and confessing (acknowledging) Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Being baptized by immersion demonstrates our response to God’s offer of salvation. Accepting Christ is an act of faith that unites us with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, applying to each believer individually the promises of forgiven sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life. Submission to baptism symbolizes a new life as a new creation of God.
(Biblical references: Romans 5:1-2 / Luke 24:45-47; Acts 3:19; 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9 / Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11; 1 John 4:15 / Acts 2:38, Romans 6:1-7; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21)