First Presbyterian Church
Fifth and Race Streets
--Services at 9:30 AM--
Parking available in the lot across the street
Committed to God
You'll find churches of many sizes in many communities throughout North America. All are called to demonstrate the love of God and the relevance of Christ's message of salvation to a society that is weary of sin, hollow materialism, and shattered relationships. We seek to be faithful to that call through our gospel ministry here.
We enjoy meeting together to worship our Creator and Redeemer. In worship, God's people adore him, bring him thanks, ask for his help, and receive the blessing of his presence. Through the preaching of the gospel, God announces his saving acts and calls people to believing and obedient response to his Word.
Through faithful teaching, our members grow spiritually. We seek to obey God's laws because such obedience pleases him. So we not only embrace the teaching of God's Word, but also strive to demonstrate its application in our lives.
Our churches care about people. We show concern for the poor and for victims of such catastrophes as famines and earthquakes. We'll show you this love and concern as you involve yourself with us. Our goal and purpose can be summed up in the motto of one of our congregations, "Preaching all of God's Word; sharing all of Christ's love."
Grounded in Scripture
Our modern age has witnessed the progressive rejection of authority. God's Word, the Bible, has not been spared. However, our church believes that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, the only infallible rule for our faith and conduct.
We believe that the Bible alone gives us the correct knowledge of who God is and how we may please him. It teaches that God the Father gave up his Son Jesus Christ to death on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of his people. We want to share with you the joy that comes from a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Presbyterian in Character
Beliefs: Our church is not new. We trace our historical roots to the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation and its seventeenth-century doctrinal statement, the Westminster Confession of Faith, along with its Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Our church understands the importance of defending and maintaining the truths of God's Word. Our minister, elders, and deacons sincerely receive and adopt these Westminster standards as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures and known as the Reformed faith.
Government: From the time of Abraham in the Old Testament, God's church has been led by wise elders, men gifted by God and called to govern his church. The word presbyterian comes from the New Testament Greek word presbyteros, meaning "elder." Our church has followed this biblical pattern for church government. Local church elders, along with the pastor, form a "session" to care for the spiritual welfare of our members. Matters of common concern for churches in a given region, such as establishing new congregations and ordaining ministers, are regulated by a body of ministers and elders called a "presbytery." Annually, representatives of our presbyteries form a "general assembly" to give the whole Church direction and advice.
What the Future Might Hold....
What is the future for First Presbyterian Church? While no one can predict the future, we can plan for what we would like to do with the Lord's blessing. We hope that when you visit us, you will not only see the wonderful community that we already are, but also see what wonderful things the Lord may do through us for the future. God's covenant people do rejoice in the past and God's great works on our behalf, but we also plan for the future and envision what that might hold for us, with the Lord's blessings.
Our Church is located in an older section of the community, and is itself over 100 years old. It is in very nice condition and is a wonderful place to meet. With the Lord's blessing, we would like to strengthen our congregation to the point where we can build a new church in a new setting.
Our worship services will remain "traditional," however we are looking forward to the publication of a new hymnal for our church that will include all 150 psalms as well as traditional hymns and some contemporary songs. We encourage those with musical gifts to bring their instruments to church to assist in our worship of the Living God!
(What follows is a brief account of our faith in Jesus Christ).
THE LORD OUR GOD
There is only one true God, the Creator and Judge of all things, who has freely revealed himself through his word and works as an infinite, eternal, and unchangeable Spirit, perfect in his wisdom, goodness, and power. This one true God exists eternally in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each of whom are equally and fully God.
This triune God has spoken with authority and clarity to our world in nature and in Scripture. God's revelation is one harmonious message, with Scripture given by verbal inspiration to lead us to faith in a Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in their original texts (the "autographs"), and their message of salvation comes to us faithfully and reliably, but not inerrantly, in the various manuscript copies and translations that have descended to us today. In this fashion, God has preserved his inerrant word for us and our salvation.
All things were created by God, and all things exist for his own glory. Whatever comes to pass in this world has been ordained by God before the world began, yet God is not the author of sin, nor is he to be blamed for our wickedness.
God created our first parents, Adam and Eve, in righteousness and true holiness. He freely entered into a covenant with them whereby, if they obeyed God perfectly, they would be confirmed in that state of perfection in which they were first created. However, Adam and all of mankind with him broke the covenant by eating the forbidden fruit. Consequently, they fell from that state of blessedness and into a state of sin and misery, bringing death on all mankind. Man became God's enemy, and now is both unable and unwilling to come to God for salvation.
Whatever good things man may do in this world are nonetheless expressions of his rebellion against God, since they are not done in his service or for his glory. They cannot therefore, in any ultimate sense, be considered truly good.
THE WAY OF SALVATION
Salvation from this state of sin and misery comes to us by means of a new covenant, made between God the Father and God the Son, on our behalf. Before the world began, the Father and the Son agreed to save the church through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In accord with this new covenant, God the Son freely clothed himself with perfect humanity, thus becoming fully God and fully man in two distinct natures, yet one person. In the covenant of grace, he became a Surety for us, standing in the place of God's elect for their salvation. He accomplished this salvation by being born of a virgin, living a perfect life, and suffering the penalty for sin by dying on the cross. On the third day, he rose bodily from the dead, thereby showing that the Father had accepted his sacrifice, and that no further penalty for sin remained. He appeared alive to his disciples for a period of forty days, after which he ascended into heaven in their sight, there to sit at the right hand of the Father and rule over the heavens and the earth. Having received the promise of the Father, he poured out the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost.
Now this gracious salvation is freely offered in the power of the Spirit to all who repent and believe on Christ alone for salvation. The Spirit is the third member of the Holy Trinity, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. This salvation is entirely the free gift of God, and does not depend for anything in man for its effect, whether that be the will to believe, the faith of one's parents, or membership in a particular race. It provides a full atonement for sin and imputes the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to our account, making us right with God and heirs of his promise. Our salvation is secure and can never be taken away from those who are in Christ Jesus.
THE NEW LIFE
Those who receive the Spirit of Christ now desire to serve the Lord in the power of the Spirit. A new principle of righteousness is present within them. The reign of sin is broken, and they are being renewed in the image of Christ. With gladness and joy they eagerly enter the courts of the Lord for worship. Like newborn babes, they long for the pure milk of the word of God--it is their meditation all the day. As children of the Father, they rest in his loving provision for all their needs, and gratefully obey his every command.
While made new in Christ, they are not yet made perfect. Sin still remains within their hearts, and continues to exercise a powerful influence over their lives. When Christians fall into sin, they do not continue in sin, but confess their sin to God and to whoever else they've offended, in order to receive forgiveness and be restored back into fellowship. Because they are forgiven, they can boldly witness to those outside the covenant of their need for salvation.
The church is the people of God and the bride of Christ, the seed of Abraham and the true Israel. This church manifests itself more or less perfectly in the public gathering of those who have been baptized and regularly receive the Lord's Supper. The church ordinarily meets on the Lord's Day for worship, fellowship, and witness, and welcomes into its assembly all those who are yet outside the covenant, that they might learn of Christ and be saved.
The officers of the church are those whom Christ has appointed to serve with divine authority. They include elders to teach and govern the church, and deacons to minister to the poor, the sick, and the elderly. Members should respect the rule of their leaders and pray for them regularly.
When our life in this world ends in death, though the body decays in the ground, our soul goes immediately into the presence of the Lord in heaven, there to await the resurrection of the body at the last day. The souls of the wicked, however, are immediately cast into hell to experience the torments and pains of that dread place.
On the last day, when Jesus comes again to judge all mankind, he will render to each man what he deserves. To those who have believed on his name, he will give the fullness of their salvation and the reward of their inheritance, including eternal life, joy, peace, righteousness, and an end to all suffering.
To those who remained outside the covenant of grace because of their refusal to believe, he will give the full fruition of their damnation, casting them finally into hell, where in both body and soul they will remain with the devil and his angels throughout eternity, with no hope of escape.
There is no other place than these two for mankind after death and the judgment. Since no one knows when that last day shall come, each of us should make our calling and election sure and wait patiently for his return.
To God be the glory!
If you would like to learn more about our faith, please contact us to schedule a visit from our pastor, or simply come to our services on Sundays and see our faith in action!