Statement of Beliefs:
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
The Bible does not attempt to prove the existence of God. Instead, it assumes it as a fact asserting foolishness on those who believe that “there is no God.” (Psalm 14:1) We believe that there is only one God yet there are three persons in the Godhead – the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in the holiness of God, in God’s love as a supreme attribute which forms the basis for God’s mercy, and in the following characteristics of God: omnipotence (unlimited power), omniscience (all knowing wisdom), omnipresence (present everywhere and at all times), and faithfulness (God keeps God’s promises to those who love and obey God). Ultimately, our highest aim in life should be to “Fear God, and keep God’s commandments: for this is the whole duty of humanity.” (Ecc. 12:13)
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God.
Jesus, the Christ
We believe that Jesus is God’s anointed one (Christ, or Messiah) who is the son of God born from the virgin Mary. Our common confession concerning Jesus is that we believe that he is the Christ, the son of God, and that he is our Lord and Savior. We also consider Jesus to be our mediator through his death on the cross. Jesus holds three great offices: he is a prophet who spoke forth for God, he is the true high priest, and he is our king.
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God,
alive and active. We believe that all Scripture
is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,
rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
The Bible is the most remarkable book in the world. It is a collection of the scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament recognized and used as the basis and authority of the Christian faith. We believe that the ultimate author of the Bible is God and that it was written down by people through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Bible has a remarkable and wonderful unity. It was written over a period of 1,500 years on three different continents by some 40 human writers. It was written in three different languages in 66 separate books and yet it is essentially one book. We believe that the Bible should be handled with reverence and that we will someday be judged by our obedience or disobedience of God’s Word.
We believe 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.
Originally from the word “Ecclesia” which means “called out ones,” the Church is composed of those who have been called out of sin and into righteousness. The Christian has been called through the good news of Jesus (gospel) to come out of the world and into Christ for the purpose of transacting business for God. A wonderful definition of the church given by an early leader and reformer, Thomas Campbell, states 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, and of none else; as none else can be truly and properly called Christians.” The church is not a human structure, but rather it is a divine organism belonging to Jesus who purchased it with His own precious blood. Jesus is the head and absolute authority of the Church, but has granted limited powers of self-government in the local church. This power is exercised through the elders who are the rulers and overseers of the people.
We believe that faith is a personal response
to the initiative of God which accepts certain
facts and principles as being true.
According to Hebrews 11:1, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is not only a term used for Christianity (e.g., “contend earnestly for the faith” Jude 3), but it is also descriptive of the life of Christians (e.g., “the righteous shall live by faith” Romans 1:17). The meaning of the word “trust” closely relates to that of faith – an acceptance of certain facts and principles as being true. In order to become a Christian, a sinner must have faith in Jesus. Further, we believe that faith can be developed which in turn produces obedience ultimately pleasing God (e.g., “and without faith it is impossible to please God . . . .”).
We believe that repentance is a
necessary response toward our sinfulness
in view of the saving work of Jesus.
The word for repentance literally means “to have another mind,” or “to change the mind.” We believe that repentance is necessary both for the alien sinner and for the Christian. Jesus said, “unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3). Repentance should not be confused with sorrow, reformation, or fear. Instead, as described by professor J. W. McGarvey, repentance involves three steps: 1. A change of the mind or will, 2. This change is produced by sorrow for sins, 3. This leads to a change in conduct and life. The Bible indicates that once a person has repented that they should try to make restitution as far as humanly possible (e.g., making amends for the wrongs they have done).
We believe that baptism is an appropriate and
necessary act of obedience once a person is a
committed believer in Christ.
Baptism, as it relates to salvation, is an important subject and needs careful consideration. Jesus considered baptism important enough to walk many miles from Nazareth to be baptized by John in the Jordan River and there are eight clear examples of conversion from the book of Acts wherein baptism is specifically mentioned. Baptism, which is immersion into water, is a powerful symbol that illustrates: death and resurrection, new birth, and cleansing. We believe that a person should be baptized into Jesus once they are a penitent believer in Christ. The Bible teaches that baptism relates to salvation (e.g., “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved . . .” Mark 16:16), is for the remission of sins (e.g., “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins . . .” Acts 2:38), is related to redemption (e.g., “so in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27). Professor F.F. Bruce states, “The idea of an unbaptized Christian is simply not entertained in the New Testament.”
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper on a weekly
basis because of its prominence in scripture,
its pattern among early churches, and its
relevance to our lives.
The Lord’s Supper
Jesus instituted a memorial dinner composed of common materials (bread and juice) so that his death on the cross could be observed around the world. While Jesus did not explicitly command the time and frequency of observance, there is convincing evidence from scripture that the first church celebrated communion frequently. In fact, Acts 20:7 implies that communion was celebrated every Sunday. And, there are several examples from history which demonstrate that the church celebrated communion on a weekly basis. Robert Milligan says, “During the first two centuries the practice of weekly communion was universal, and it was continued in the Greek Church till the seventh century. Such as neglected it three weeks in succession were excommunicated.” We celebrate communion every Sunday in keeping with the traditions as handed down from the early church and because we cherish the meaning of communion. We celebrate communion weekly because we appreciate the opportunity to: “remember the Lord” (I Cor. 11:24), be reminded of the cross, be comforted in our salvation through the Lord’s death, proclaim our love for him, and be reminded of the Lord’s return.
We believe that prayer is a natural
expression of one’s relationship with God.
We believe that God hears our prayers,
assists us with praying, and answers
our prayers according to God’s will.
There is no mention of God commanding people to pray, but prayer seems to have begun freely and spontaneously. Prayer to God should be as natural as a child talking to its Father and Mother. When we truly know and understand God, then we will desire to talk with God. One of the great blessings the Christian enjoys is the assistance of the Holy Spirit in prayer. The apostle Paul writes, “in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26). God answers prayer! We can have confidence that if we offer an acceptable prayer, according to God’s Word, that our prayers will be heard and answered according to the will and wisdom of God.
We believe that the giving of money is
an important aspect of worship. We
believe that giving should be motivated
by love and described as generous.
The term stewardship relates to various phases of Christian responsibility such as the giving of time, ability, and money. We believe that stewardship through the giving of money is an important aspect of worship. First, the giving of money to God demonstrates one’s recognition that everything belongs to God. Second, Christians are called to be wise stewards of God’s money (since God owns everything) and are thus to handle money in such a way as to please God. Third, God demonstrates his own radical generosity by giving us his most precious son, Jesus. Consequently, God has set an example of radical generosity that we should take seriously. God’s blessings are always commensurate with our responsibilities and God has never required people to give God other than what God has first blessed people with. The standard giving amount in the Old Testament was called a tithe, which is 10%, and was collected at various times for various reasons throughout the year. Rather than the Old Testament standard of giving a ten percent, we believe that giving is a grace associated with worship and prompted by one’s love. Professor Denver Sizemore concludes about giving that “it is a grace or Christian attainment that God develops in our lives, not an incidental Christian experience, but a definite act of obedience springing from the love of God.”
We believe that the church exists to save lost
people and to teach believers so that they might
become mature. Every Christian participates
in the mission of the church.
The Mission of the Church
The church exists to teach everyone concerning Christ and to bring them to saving faith in Him. (Matthew 28:19-20) This involves baptizing them into Christ, continuing to teach obedient believers until they are built up and established in Him, and ultimately to bring honor to God. All Christians are engaged in the mission of the church because the very nature of Christianity is missional. We believe that Christianity has an exclusive claim on God – it is the only true religion. And, since all have sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23), only in Christ can salvation be found. Consequently, out of our consciousness of the world’s desperate need for salvation and in obedience to the command of Christ to “make disciples of all nations,” every Christian is engaged in the mission of the church.
We believe that Jesus will return to the earth
a second time to judge the living and the dead.
We want to live in eternity with God and God’s people.
The Coming of the Lord
One cannot read the New Testament without sensing the importance of this key doctrine. The Lord will return to the earth to receive those who through faith and obedience have obtained salvation. (I Thess. 1:10, 2:19, 3:13, 4:15-18, 5:23). A Christian should respond to this certainty by being separate from the world (e.g., denying ungodliness and lusts), maintaining personal holiness, being sincere, sober, unselfish, patient, faithful, watchful, and working diligently. When we stand before God we will want to hear God accept us and reward us. Christians in every generation have looked for and expected Jesus to come in their lifetime which is appropriate. The anticipation of God’s second coming motivates the Christian to live righteously, watch faithfully, and work diligently.
We believe that the content of person’s faith matters. This conviction is rooted NOT in some kind of pride (e.g., we want to be right and better than everyone who disagrees with us), nor is it rooted in the fallacy that we have it all figured out. Instead, we acknowledge that God alone is perfect and that our doctrines represent our very best and most faithful efforts at interpreting the Bible. The Bible is the final authority on all matters at Fayetteville Christian Church. Consequently, there are no organizations, synods, committees, conventions, or pastors who oversee our church doctrines and who may or may not vote such into or out of existence. Each believer, aided by the Holy Spirit, has the responsibility to engage God’s Word for themselves and the church elders are charged with the responsibility of maintaining sound doctrine in the congregation. Above is a very brief overview of how we interpret at least twelve key doctrines.