We don't have any official doctrine or creed; instead we rely on a simple confession of faith:
- “We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and we proclaim him Lord and Savior of the world.”
The items on this list don't rise to the level of doctrine, but they describe some of the ideas that we have come to appreciate in our fellowship:
- We believe that God redeems and forgives sinners. We welcome other sinners into our fellowship; sinless people would probably be more comfortable worshiping somewhere else. God is ready for His children to come home.
- We believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world, alive and at work in the world through people who are committed to sojourning through life with him.
- We believe that as Christian people, we are called to do our best to put the teachings of Jesus, found in the Bible, into practice in our lives. While we may never get this right, we believe we're called to try our best.
- We believe that each person is responsible for reading the Scriptures and understanding them to the best of his or her ability.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit empowers people to grow, change, develop, mature and learn. We're grateful for this, because it means there's hope for us.
- We believe that God loves everyone, and that as followers of Jesus we have a responsibility to reflect that love to everyone, without exception. "Whoever does the will of God is my mother and my brother and my sister."
- We believe that differences of opinion on theology or biblical interpretation are insufficient cause to deny fellowship to our brothers and sisters in Christ; it isn't what we know about Jesus that binds us together, but Jesus himself, present in our midst.
Here's another set of ideas that have sometimes been associated with our tradition…
- A Biblical approach to life and issues in which the Bible is taken seriously, though we are not bound by literalism.
- A worship that involves the people. We are participants, not spectators, in worship.
- Practical sermons that seek to inform, enlighten and entertain while equipping us to live in the real world.
- A willingness to not only tolerate, but to welcome and celebrate differences of opinion.
- An ecumenical integrity that lets us serve the entire Christian community, and not just those of our denomination.
- A strong sense of Christian Community. We follow the person of Christ, not the details of any doctrine or creed.
- A sense of ministry that involves every Christian, and not just clergy.
- A weekly celebration of Holy Communion that is open to all believers.
- An emphasis on Christian living that is descriptive, and not harsh or legalistic.
…and these ideas have been used descriptively of Disciples congregations all over the country:
- Open Communion: The Lord's Supper, or Communion is celebrated in weekly worship. It is open to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
- Freedom of belief: Disciples are called together around one essential of faith: belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Persons are free to follow their consciences guided by the Bible, the Holy Spirit study 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 life of trust in God begins. Although Disciples practice baptism by immersion, other baptism traditions are honored.
- Belief in the oneness of the church: All Christians are called to be one in Christ and to seek opportunities for common witness and service.
- The ministry of believers: Both ministers and lay persons lead in worship, service and spiritual growth.