Every so often, someone will visit the church and they will say they are looking for a “Bible-believing” church. I’m always curious just what it means to be a Bible-believing church. If someone came up to me and asked if First Christian is a Bible-believing church, I already know what my answer would be.
The answer would be no.
Now, before you think that I’ve gone crazy or that this church is filled with heretics, let me explain. I preach from a Bible passage every Sunday. We have a weekly Bible Study. So, we do take the Bible seriously. But we don’t believe in the Bible, because this is not the center of our faith. When people say they are looking for a Bible-believing church, they are probably looking for a church that has the same interpretation as they do.
So, again we don’t place our faith in the Bible. The Bible is important for Christians because it is a record of God’s story with creation. We can learn how to live faithful lives from the examples of people presented in the Bible. But the Bible isn’t something to “believe” in.
We are not a Bible-believing church but a Jesus-believing church. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, one that came to live with us, the one that healed the sick and brought good news to the poor. We believe in the Jesus that sacrificed himself, dying on a cross. We believe in a Jesus who defeated death by raising from the dead. We believe in a Jesus who ascended into heaven and one day will return.
We Disciples are non-creedal, but creeds can summarize what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The Apostles Creed sums up the faith in a succinct matter:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
This is what we at First Christian believe in. Notice it says nothing about the Bible. The creed says we place our trust in the God who is three-in-one. This is where the Bible comes in. The Bible helps us understand this person we believe in.
Do we believe in the Bible? No. But we do believe in the God, the one who created heaven and earth, the one born of Mary who was crucified, died, buried and rose again, the one who is Spirit and gathers Jesus believers together to be church.
That’s what we believe in here at First Christian. What do you believe in?
-Dennis Sanders, pastor