We believe in One Lord, One Church, One Faith—to which all Christians of all churches in all times and in all places belong.
In 1809, Thomas Campbell, one of the founders of the Christian Church movement in the United States, wrote the following statement:
That the Church of Christ upon earth is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one; consisting of all those in every place that profess their faith in Christ and obedience to him in all things according to the Scriptures, and that manifest the same by their tempers and conduct . . . (Declaration and Address, 1809)
This statement is a good snapshot of the faith of First Christian Church. It leads to the following conclusions:
1. We give priority to the Bible in our beliefs. For membership we do not require any statement of faith beyond this: I believe that Jesus is the Messiah (or Christ), the Son of the living God, and I receive Him as my Lord and Savior. Instead of a statement of beliefs, the content of our faith is best summarized by any one of the great statements of the Bible regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ (for example, Isaiah 53, John 1:1-18, Acts 10:34-43, Romans 8, Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 1:15-20). Although we trust the Bible’s witness, however, we do not believe that any one interpretation of the Bible is error-free. We understand that different Christians and different churches understand the Bible in different and complementary ways.
2. We understand ourselves to one part of the entire people of God. We want to be supportive of the other churches in our community. First Christian Church is in relationship to the family of churches known as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), but because of the commitment of that family of churches to be in relationship with other groups, we understand ourselves to be in relationship with any church or group that acknowledges Jesus as Lord and Savior. This is why anyone who considers themselves a Christian is welcome to participate in the Lord’s Supper in our church, and why a Christian from any background can join our church without being rebaptized. We have a slogan that sums it up: “we are not the only Christians but are only Christians.”
3. We are committed to learn from all expressions of the Historic Christian faith. Even though we seek a simple faith, we do not seek a simplistic faith that will only affirm vague generalities about the love of God. Instead, we wish to learn from all Christian traditions the best ways to understand and to live out the Bible’s teaching. In those matters where all the churches agree, we wish to agree also. If you come from a Christian tradition, we hope that you find that tradition honored among us; but if you are new to the Christian faith, we hope that among us you will be able to sample all of the expressions of that faith—that you will feel yourself one with Christians of all times and places.