The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) developed on the frontiers of America during the period known as the Second Great Awakening (1787-1825). Those early Disciples believed that Jesus was the Christ, and looked to the Bible as the center of the church’s beliefs. They also believed that each person had the responsibility to study and understand the scriptures. The scriptures were clear and understandable, they believed, for those who studied them seriously and with minds open to the leading of the Spirit of God. Some slogans that have been associated with the early leaders of the church include:
Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent.
No creed but Christ.
As you can see from these slogans, Disciples advocate a faith based in Scripture. Open discussion of issues and beliefs is encouraged; toleration, understanding, and respect for others is expected; diversity is common.
The Preamble to the Design of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
During the 1960s, the Disciples began a process of restructuring or reorganizing the life of the church. The document developed and adopted by Disciples across the globe is called The Design. Perhaps the most comprehensive “official” statement of Disciple beliefs is the preamble to this document which reads:
As members of the Christian Church,
We confess that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of the living God,
and proclaim him Lord and Savior of the world.
In Christ's name and by his grace
we accept our mission of witness
and service to all people.
We rejoice in God,
maker of heaven and earth,
and in God’s covenant of love
which binds us to God and to one another.
Through baptism into Christ
we enter into newness of life
and are made one with the whole people of God.
In the communion of the Holy Spirit
we are joined together in discipleship
and in obedience to Christ.
At the Table of the Lord
we celebrate with thanksgiving
the saving acts and presence of Christ.
Within the universal church
we receive the gift of ministry
and the light of scripture.
In the bonds of Christian faith
we yield ourselves to God
that we may serve the One
whose kingdom has no end.
Blessing, glory, and honor
be to God forever. Amen.
At First Christian Church, we offer a two-week mini-course on Disciple history and beliefs. This course is held throughout the year, and is offered after church over a light lunch. The sessions are two hours long, and (in true Disciples fashion) leave room for discussion and diversity. This course is led by the Pastor and is outlined on this page.