First Christian Church of St. Paul is part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We are an American-founded movement with its origins on the American frontier during the Second Great Awakening during the early 19th century. Since its beginning, the Disciples of Christ have endeavored to increase respect, understanding and unity among all believers in Christ.
Disciples strive to remain obedient to the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament by practicing a faith which is socially relevant intellectually sound. Members are bound together in fellowship and service by belief in the central confession of the New Testament “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).
On other matters, the church recognizes the right to exercise freedom of opinion. This principle is a sustaining force in the life of the church. We hold that there should be “in essentials unity; in opinion, liberty; in all things, LOVE.”
Character of our Church . . . Freedom and Diversity
This phrase goes a long way toward describing who we are as a church. Christian unity is one of our important callings, so we in turn allow for a tremendous amount of diversity within the church.
You will find people within our congregation and movement who cover the spectrum from right to left in theology, politics, and philosophy in general. We are a diverse group that finds our unity around the Lord’s Table and in our efforts to further the work of Christ on earth.
You will not be told what you have to believe on specific issues. We trust that through your own spirit-inspired study of Scripture and the gift of reason, you will be able to make up your own mind. New members are simply asked if they believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and accept Him as their Lord and Savior.
So What Do Disciples Believe?
Beliefs and practices usually associated with the Disciples include:
Belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We affirm Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:15-17, Luke 9:20)
The priesthood of all believers. We believe that all Christians are capable of proclaiming the Christian faith and showing others the goodness of God. (1 Peter 2:4-5)
Inclusive, weekly Communion. The Lord’s Supper is celebrated each week and is open to all who believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24)
Freedom of belief. Disciples are called together around one essential of faith: belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. People are free to follow their consciences guided by the Bible, the Holy Spirit, reflection, and prayer, and are expected to extend that freedom to others.
Baptism by immersion. In baptism, the old self-centered life is set aside, and a new, ever growing life in God begins. We believe baptism is into the whole church--the whole Body of Christ--and so while Disciples practice baptism of believers by immersion, as was practiced by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, other traditions are also recognized. (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11)
The oneness of the church. All Christians are called to be one in Christ and to seek opportunities for common witness, testimony, and service. (Romans 10:12-13, 1 Corinthians 12:13)
The ministry of all believers. Both ministers and lay people lead in worship, service, and spiritual growth ministries as a means of expressing their faith. (James 1:22)
Covenental relationships. Each Disciples congregation is autonomous, and we choose to be related as a distinctive movement in a covenant of passion and compassion to carry the Good News of God's love in Jesus Christ to all the world. (Matthew 28:19-20)