|What Do We Believe?|
Congregationalists in general
are not a creedal people, in the sense that we point to a detailed statement
of faith that we can say all Congregationalists believe. Though historically
as a denomination we are part of the Reformed (Calvinist) branch of Christendom,
Congregational ministers and laypeople come from all sorts of traditions.
Our church in Bingham includes folk from Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal,
Methodist, Christian Science, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic backgrounds.
We’re a diverse bunch (one wag has said that most Congregational churches
are actually conglomerational!). While we are all united in our common belief
in the basic tenets of the Christian faith, there is diversity of opinion
among us with regard to some issues. This has been the case in Congregationalism
almost since the beginning. So, as with our forebears, our church’s
stress is not on creeds, but on a covenant. Every Congregational church
has a written covenant as its foundation. The covenant expresses the church’s
râison d’étre. First Congregational Church of Bingham
uses the covenant drawn up by the Puritan founders of The First Church in
Salem, Massachusetts, in 1629:
We covenant with the Lord and one with another
and do bind ourselves in the presence of God,
to walk together in all his ways,
according as he is pleased to reveal himself unto us
in his blessed Word of truth.
We repeat this covenant together whenever we receive new members into our church family. It expresses what we are about as a church: our intent, as fellow-members of the body of Christ to walk together in the ways of the Lord as faithfully as we know how, led by the teachings of Scripture and particularly the teachings of Jesus Christ, as Spirit of God illumines them for us. Such intent transcends whatever theological differences may exist between us, and unites us in a common goal under the lordship of Christ.
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