First Church is a Church of God congregation in full agreement with its teachings. The church in its community and around the world is a clear and concise presentation. The witness of the church to the world is summarized in the following basic beliefs of the Christian faith.
We believe in the Bible as God’s only inspired, inerrant and authoritative revelation of Himself to man in written form (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7).
We believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1), His virgin birth (Matt 1:18), His sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21), His miracles (Acts 10:38), His vicarious death as the only sacrifice for the sin of the world (1 John 2:2), His bodily resurrection from the dead (Luke 24:39), His ascension to the right hand of God as our intercessor (Hebrews 4:14), and His future return in glory, first to rapture His church (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) and second, to establish the kingdom of God upon the earth (Revelation 20:6). We believe in the finality of Christ’s mediatorial work for the redemption of humanity and the present freedom of access to the Father (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25).
We believe in the new birth as the only means of receiving eternal life. The new birth involves a cleansing and deliverance from the penalty and power of sin. It is effectuated through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from sin (John 3:3,5,7; Ephesians 2:8,9; 1 Peter 1:18-20).
We believe in divine healing for the total man, spirit, mind and body and that this healing is accomplished in the redemptive work of Christ on the cross and appropriated in the believer’s life through prayer (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24; James 5:13-15).
We believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit as an enduement of power for all believers (Acts 2:4,38-39; 10:44-46; 19:1-6; Ephesians 5:18). This baptism results in a deeper expression of spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22,23), a greater growth in Christ-likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18), a genuine manifestation of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-11), and a more effective prayer life (Romans 8:26, 27).
We believe in the process of spiritual development (sanctification) wrought in the believer’s life by the Holy Spirit. The growth involves daily dying to sin and living unto righteousness (Romans 6:1-23), finds expression in a holy life (Hebrews 12:24) and will be culminated at the return of Christ (1 John 3:2).
We believe in the resurrection from the dead. First, the righteous unto eternal life and second, the ungodly unto eternal damnation (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28,29; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15).
We believe in the sacraments of the church established by Jesus Christ our Lord; the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-30; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)and baptism by immersion as a symbol and witness of the new birth (Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 3:20-22).
PRACTICAL BIBLICAL COMMITMENTS
We will give priority to fulfilling family responsibilities, to preserving the sanctity of marriage and to maintaining divine order in the home.
Priority Of The Family
The family is the basic unit of human relationship and as such is foundational to both society and the church (Genesis 2:18-24). The divine origin of the family, along with its foundational character, makes it imperative that we give priority to ministry to the family, both from a personal and corporate standpoint. The practice of Christian disciplines and virtues should begin in the home (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7). Therefore, our families should establish some pattern for family devotions and should endeavor to provide a Christian environment in the home (1 Timothy 3:3, 4; 5:8).
Sanctity Of Marriage
Marriage is ordained of God and is a spiritual union in which a man and a woman are joined by God to live together as one (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:7). Because of the divine character of marriage, it is a lifelong commitment (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Sexual involvement, either before marriage or with someone other than the marriage partner, is strictly forbidden in Scripture (Exodus 20:14; 1 Corinthians 6:15-18). Understanding the sanctity of marriage, partners should strive to maintain a happy, harmonious and holy relationship. Should divorce occur, the church should be quick to provide love, understanding and counsel to those involved. The remarriage of divorced persons should be undertaken only after a thorough understanding of and submission to the scriptural instructions concerning this issue (Matthew 19:7-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2, 3; 1 Corinthians 7:2, 10, 11). Should a Christian desire to remain single, this decision should be respected and should be seen as a viable scriptural alternative (1 Corinthians 7:8, 32-34).
Divine Order In The Home
When God created man, He created them male and female (Genesis 1:27). He gave them distinctly different characteristics (1 Corinthians 11: 14, 15; 1 Peter 3:7) as well as different responsibilities (Genesis 3:16-19; 1 Peter 3:1-7). In God’s order, the husband is head of the home (Ephesians 5:22-31; Colossians 3:18, 19), parents are to nurture and admonish their children (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21), and children are to obey and honor their parents (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20). In order for harmony to exist in the home, God’s order of responsibility must be observed.
We will engage in those activities which glorify God in our body and which avoid the fulfillment of the lust of the flesh. We will read, watch and listen to those things which are of positive benefit to our spiritual well-being.
Glorifying God In Our Body
Our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost and we are to glorify God in our body (Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 10:31). We are to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Examples of fleshly behavior which do not glorify God are noted in several passages of Scripture (Romans 1:24; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8). Sinful practices which are made prominent and condemned in these scriptures include homosexuality, adultery, worldly attitudes (such as hatred, envy, jealousy), corrupt communication (such as gossip, angry outbursts, filthy words), stealing, murder, drunkenness and witchcraft. Witchcraft has to do with the practices of the occult, which are forbidden by God and lead to the worship of Satan.
Reading, Watching And Listening
The literature we read, the programs we watch and the music we listen to profoundly affect the way we feel, think and behave. It is imperative, then, that the Christian read, watch and listen to those things which inspire, instruct and challenge to a higher plane of living. Therefore, literature, programs and music which are worldly in content or pornographic in nature must be avoided. A Christian is not to attend (or watch on television) movies or theatrical performances of a demoralizing nature (Romans 13:14; Philippians 4:8).
Benefiting Spiritual Well-Being
The use of leisure time in the life of a Christian should be characterized by those activities which edify both the individual and the body of Christ (Romans 6:13; 1 Corinthians 10:31,32). We are to avoid places and practices which are of this world. Consequently, a Christian must not be a part of any other types of entertainment which appeal to the fleshly nature and/or bring discredit to the Christian testimony (2 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 22; 1 John 2:15-17).