We are Fairhope Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and one of the questions I often get is “what is a Disciples of Christ?" In the simplest of terms, we are followers of Jesus Christ, and confirm Jesus as the head of the church. We are called a New Testament church which again simply means we lean on the teachings and life experiences of Jesus as examples on how we are to structure our daily lives and how interact with others.
While we are a New Testament church, we believe the entirety of the Bible is the inspired Word of God and authoritative for instruction and guidance for our daily lives.
All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16, ESV.
We believe in baptism by immersion but honor all forms of baptism as a sign of our new life as committed followers of Christ.
Having been buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God who raised him from the dead. And you who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, Colossians 2:12-13, ESV.
We also celebrate the Lord’s Supper each time we gather as a body of Christ recalling the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. The bread a symbol of his broken body, the wine (grape juice) a symbol of his spilled blood reminds us of the terrible price Jesus paid to remove the stain of sin from our lives, to cleanse us and to make us whole once again.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took the cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, “Drink of it all of you for this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26028 ESV
The table is also the place of hope, of confession and of love as even though Jesus left this table to go to the cross bearing our sins and inequities, God had the last word through the resurrection of Jesus three days later. It is through this resurrection that we too have hope in our resurrection through the grace and love of our God.
For is we have been united with him in a death like his we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his, Romans 6:5. ESV.
And it is this table that is also unifying, a place where all are welcome, where all have a seat and where all are loved and this fits into our call for the unity of all Christians for we are all one in Christ Jesus.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body though many are one body, so it is with Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:12.
But the main thing is love. Love for all people as dictated by these two passages; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself, Luke 10:27. And this is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you, John 15:12.
It is this love that grounds us and it is at the foundation of everything we do; love for God and love for neighbor whoever that neighbor may be.
And this feeds into our identity statement; “We are a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us.” This is who we are as Disciples of Christ.