WHAT WE BELIEVE
The following is an overview of the essential doctrinal beliefs of the First Christian Church of Saint Ignatius.
God exists as a Trinity, three persons in one being. These three persons are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three are co-eternal and co-equal. They are one being, but they are also distinct persons with distinct functions.
God the Father is the Creator of the universe. He gives life to everything. He is perfect and cannot abide sin, so He must punish unforgiven sin with His wrath.
God the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and indwells Christians at baptism (see “Baptism”). He seals Christians in salvation, and speaks through them when the gospel is preached.
The Bible is the inspired Word of God, inerrant and infallible, and is meant to be used to edify and strengthen the Church in general and individual Christians in particular.
Forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life are available to anyone who trusts Christ as Savior and Lord.
All people were created “Imago Dei,” meaning “in the Image of God,” therefore God values them more than they can ever understand. However, all people have sinned, and are therefore separated from God. Humans are not born sinful, but become sinful when they sin.
We administer water baptism by immersion to those who have confessed their faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God and who have repented of their sin. We understand baptism to be the time when forgiveness of sin is applied to the Christian, as well as the time when the Holy Spirit begins His indwelling presence (Acts 2:38). We do not believe that God grants salvation on the basis of our works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but we also do not see Christian baptism as OUR work. We believe that it is the working of God (see Colossians 2:9-15).
The steps of salvation are: believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, repent of your sin, confess Christ as Lord before others, be baptized by immersion into Him, and live a Spirit-filled life. Salvation comes by grace, through faith, at baptism, and for good works.
The Church is not the building, but it is the gathering of Christians in the name of Christ for fellowship, communion, group praise, and teaching. The Church is both local and global, referring to the immediate body of believers and to all Christians everywhere in all time, respectively. The church is the body of Christ. The mission of the church is to evangelize the lost and edify the saved. The Church is a community that is already a part of Christ, but it is not yet home. A church must be internally strong, with a strong support system, and externally sensitive, bringing others to God in prayer before bringing God to others and loving all others simply because of its Christianity.
Jesus told His disciples to partake in communion in remembrance of Him. It is designed to commemorate His broken body and His spilled blood as He sacrificed His life to give us life. It is an act of worship which unifies the body of Christ. It also connects Christians with God, both as individuals and as a whole. It should be observed regularly.
Those who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior have their sin covered by the blood of Jesus, and will spend eternity in heaven. Those who reject Christ as their Lord and Savior have no way to pay their debt of sin and will spend eternity in hell. God cannot tolerate sin in His presence, and His justice demands a payment for sin. For Christians, that payment is Christ’s blood. For non-Christians, that payment is eternal death.
Jesus Christ will one day return to earth and reign forever as King of kings and Lord of Lords. Since prophecies about the end and about the return of Jesus are sometimes unclear, and often much disputed, this church chooses not to divide over this issue. It is not an issue of salvation, so differences of beliefs on this topic are not considered issues of fellowship.