More comprehensive statements of faith can be found in our Creeds & Confessions, ancient documents that summarize our beliefs about the Bible and the Christian faith. The following is a concise summary of what First URC regards as true Christian doctrine.
The Bible is God's disclosure of himself to all people. It was written by human authors guided by the supernatural oversight of the Holy Spirit. Because it is inspired by God, the Bible is true and without error. Therefore, we believe it is necessary, authoritative, sufficient, and clear in all it says about the Christian faith and life. In a lesser manner, the created universe also bears clear and compelling testimony to God’s divinity, power, and glory, and thus beckons humanity to recognize and worship God.
Ps. 19; Ps. 119:105,160; Prov. 30:5; 2 Tim. 1:13; 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Rev. 1:18-21:27
God has revealed himself as the creator and ruler of the universe. He is one in essence and has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-essential, co-equal, co-eternal, and co-powerful and are one God.
Gen. 1:1,26,27; 3:22; Ps. 90:2; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Cor. 13:14
God the Father is an eternal, perfect, personal being who created the universe and is sovereign over all. He mercifully concerns himself with the details of each person’s life and he hears and answers prayers. God saves all who sincerely repent of sin and believe in his Son Jesus Christ.
Mt. 6:9-13; Jn. 3:16; Acts 4:24; Eph. 4:6; 1 Jn. 1:5
Jesus Christ is the only Son of God. He is co-eternal and co-equal with the Father. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived a sinless human life, performed miracles and offered himself as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of his people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days and demonstrated his power over sin and death. Jesus ascended to heaven and will physically return some day to judge the living and the dead.
Isa. 9:6; Mt. 1:22-23; Jn. 1:1-5; Acts 1:9-11; Rom. 1:3-4; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 Tim. 6:14-15; Titus 2:13
The Holy Spirit is co-eternal and co-equal with the Father and the Son. He is present in the world to convict people of their need for Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in every Christian and guides, instructs, revives, equips, and empowers them for Christ-like living and service. As Christians we seek to walk in step with the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Jn. 14:16-17; Jn. 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:12; 2 Cor. 3:17; Gal. 5:25; Eph. 1:13; Eph. 5:15
People are made in the likeness of God and are the crown of his creative work. When the first humans Adam and Eve sinned against God, they plunged the human race into physical and spiritual death. As a result, all human beings are born with a sinful nature, commit acts of sin, suppress God’s clear and compelling disclosure of himself in the Bible and creation, and must be reconciled to God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Gen. 1:27; Ps. 8:3-6; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 5:18,19; 1 Cor. 15:22
Every person needs salvation. Human beings stand condemned before a just and holy God, not only on account of their sinful condition inherited from Adam but also on account of their actual daily sin. Salvation is God’s free gift given to all who sincerely repent and believe in Jesus Christ. The result is forgiveness and reconciliation with God. We can never be saved by good works or self-improvement. Only by repenting and believing in Jesus Christ can we be reconciled to God.
Jonah 2:9; Jn. 1:12,13; Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8-10
Once we receive new life in Christ, we must seek to demonstrate our love for God by obeying him and following him with all our heart, soul, and mind. We constantly strive to grow in Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit and love people as Jesus loved them.
Mt. 22:36-40; Jn. 14:15; Eph. 4:15; 1 Jn. 2:3-6
While the “kingdom of God” refers in one sense to the absolute sovereignty of Christ over all created life, the “kingdom of God” in the Gospels specifically refers to the action of God in Christ toward the eventual restoration of all creation under his authority. Presently, the willing subjects of Jesus’s kingdom are all who identify him as “Lord.” At the final judgment, Christ will cast out any who do not truly know and serve him, and all the world will become visibly subject to his rule.
Until then, Christians should neither withdraw from the world nor become indistinguishable from it, but serve as ambassadors of the kingdom. We are to seek the good of our earthly cities by bearing witness to Christ's sovereign rule and saving work on the cross, and by embodying the character of heavenly citizenship in our everyday living.
Dan. 7:13,14; Mt. 4:17; Mt. 4:23-24; Lk. 11:20; Jer. 29:4-7; Col. 1:13-14; Col. 1:19-22; Rom. 8:19-21
The Bible speaks of the church as a sign, witness to, and embodiment of the kingdom of God. The Bible refers to the church as the body of Christ and the family of God in which Jesus is the head and all of Christ’s followers are members. To remain healthy, the body's members must work together, with each part contributing to each other’s growth and maturity. Since the church represents Jesus Christ to a needy world, God works through the church to reconcile a lost world to himself and be his arm of righteousness in an unrighteous world.
Mt. 16:16-18; Eph. 2:19-22; Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Pet. 2:4-10
Baptism and the Lord's Supper are signs and seals of the covenant relationship between God and his people in Jesus Christ. Baptism is connected with entrance into the covenant community. As such, God grants it to professing believers and their children (For more information, see Rev. Nymeyer's Teaching Series).
Our children should not be excluded from baptism because of their inability to understand its meaning. Just as, without their knowledge, they share in Adam’s condemnation, so are they, without their knowledge, received to grace in Christ.
God’s gracious attitude toward us and our children is revealed in what He said to Abraham, the father of all believers: “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you” (Gen. 17:7). The apostle Peter also testifies to this with these words: “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:39). Therefore, God formerly commanded that children be circumcised as a seal of the covenant and of the righteousness that comes by faith. Christ also recognized that children are members of the covenant people when He embraced them, laid His hands on them, and blessed them (Mark 10:16). Since baptism has replaced circumcision as the sign and seal of the covenant (Col. 2:11–13), our children should be baptized as heirs of God’s kingdom and of His covenant.
As children grow up, their parents are responsible for teaching them the meaning of baptism. - URCNA Liturgical Forms & Prayers
The Lord’s Supper is connected with ongoing covenant renewal and is designed to strengthen our union and communion with Christ and his people. Together, these holy ordinances underscore God’s assurance to us that our entire salvation rests on Christ's one sacrifice for us on the cross.
Mt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:37-39; Mt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:23-26
The Lord Jesus Christ will one day return personally, visibly, and gloriously and will bring his kingdom to its completion and perfection. He will judge the living and the dead, the just and the unjust. The unjust will be eternally separated from God in hell and the just in Christ will be eternally united to God in the new creation (new heavens and new earth). God will be in all in all and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace.
Lk. 24:50-53; Acts 1:11; Rev. 20:11-15; Mt. 25:31-46; Rev. 21:1-8