The First Online Church of America is not explicitly affiliated with any particular denomination of the Christian faith. We reject the artificial divisions of the Church as did the Apostle Paul, who said that there was not a church of Paul and a church of Apollo, but one united Church of Christ.
To that end, we seek to connect the brethren with one another and with the Word. We are children of God, saved from sin by our Lord Jesus Christ. While we are open to discussion of the teachings of various denominations (and, in fact, the founder of this church has a history with both the Lutheran and Presbyterian denominations), we seek to avoid the implication that any man has sole or prime dominion over the directly inspired word of God.
The Word of God
We uphold the long-standing teaching of the Church that the Old and New Testaments (66 books in all) are the divinely inspired word of God. As it is written, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
To this end, all exposition upon the Word is never considered dominant over the direct word itself. In addition, while some denominations may place great stock in traditions, we uphold that no tradition which is in conflict with the Scripture is valid for the Church. Even so, we do not discourage those who hold to and study such traditions from discussing them and expositing upon them here, so long as the Word remains supreme.
Posted Scripture on this site is primarily in the King James Version for two basic reasons. The first is the most expedient: the KJV is without copyright restriction and free to be copied as often and lengthily as desired. The second regards interpretation, for we find the KJV to be among the few translations into the English language that strives to preserve both the meaning of the original texts and the phrasing employed by the original works. Other translations are acceptable, but so many are filtered through paraphrase and interpretations of the translators that the original text can be muddled or lost (for comparison, read the works of Paul in the KJV and the Message paraphrase side by side).
We uphold the words of the Apostle’s Creed and Nicene Creed to be concise confessions of the faith of our fathers.
In the Apostle’s Creed, we believe we find perhaps the purest expression of what the Christian believes concerning the Triune God and His Church. We uphold that such a confession is good for both the mind and the soul, both for instruction and for sanctification.
In the Nicene Creed, we find absolute rejection of all Gnostic and mystical teachings that deny either the divinity or manhood of our Lord Jesus Christ. While similar in form and structure to the Apostle’s Creed, we believe the Nicene Creed expresses those same ideas in a clear and steadfast manner.
The Lord Jesus Christ
We affirm that our God is a Triune God – one God in three persons.
The second of these persons, God the Son, is our Lord Jesus Christ. Born unto the virgin Mary (who was betrothed to Joseph, the carpenter) following conception by the Holy Spirit (the third person of God), he lived a sinless life as man and God in one being. He was many things while he lived upon this earth – healer, rabbi (teacher), minister, Lord, servant, and much besides. At the end of his earthly ministry, he was brought before the Sanhedrin and charged with blasphemy (for he claimed not only to be from God, but God Himself); he was taken before the Roman authority Pontius Pilate and sentenced to death upon a cross. Upon that cross he did most surely die, as witnessed by Roman soldiers and Jewish religious authorities alike. He was buried in the tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea, and on the third day he rose from the dead and appeared before his disciples and as many as five thousand at once. He ascended into heaven in the presence of his disciples, and he continues to live and reign now and forever more.
We affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ was given to die in our stead; for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We affirm that this sacrifice for us is sufficient for salvation, and that our Lord has sent His Spirit among us as a comforter and teacher until He should return in glory to judge both the living and the dead. In this Spirit do we find sanctification as we are brought to understanding of His Word.
Finally, we affirm the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ that, if we love Him, we must keep his teachings. In so doing, we affirm to ourselves and the world the great saving work that God has done for us.
Salvation and Sanctification
We affirm that we are conceived in iniquity and born to sin. There is none righteous, no not one. And we are assured that the wages of sin is death, our right punishment for our sinful existences.
Yet God has demonstrated his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. In Christ we are found righteous for His sake, and in Christ we are redeemed. This is a gift not of ourselves, for we were dead in our transgressions and sin. Yet, those whom the Father draws to Christ find salvation in Him, and no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him. So it is that we are shown mercy (for we are spared the righteous punishment for our iniquity) and grace (for we are given the free and undeserved gift of God’s love and salvation).
In Christ we find salvation, and moreover he has sent His Spirit unto us to give us understanding and remembrance of all Christ has said. By His Spirit, we are sanctified (that is, made holy and apart from the sinful man) through baptism of water and the Spirit.
It is our calling to be in this world, but not of this world. For this reason, we become bond slaves to Christ and seek to both understand and live according to His Word.
The Brotherhood of Believers
We believe that there is One God, and One Church which serves Him. We observe that many false prophets and teachers have come preaching a Christ other than that preached by the Apostles, and we reject all claims to special authority of one man or one denomination of believers. Moreover, we reject denominations altogether, as the Apostle Paul instructed us regarding one brotherhood in Christ.
In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile. This means that there is not a specially appointed race of people to whom God shows his love and mercy, but it has become for all men. As such, we are not German nor Jew, not Hispanic nor Asian, but Christians first and foremost. In our communion with one another, Christ alone is our patriarch and our Great High Priest.
Now, the time often comes where races or peoples make war with one another. This is the sad way of life in this fallen world. Yet, in Christ we are all one people – let not a White Christian turn away a Black Christian, nor an American Christian turn away a Mexican or Iranian Christian, but all come together in Christ.
(This does not inherently reject nationalism of any sort, but beyond nationality we share a brotherhood that must be embraced.)
We uphold that the Scriptures are the greatest source of instruction for the Christian. As such, we encourage all to bring back to remembrance what the Scriptures teach, regardless of any church rank, age, or degree of understanding.
In addition, many are the saints that have exposited upon and meditated greatly upon this Word. Insofar as they do not stray from the Scriptures, we find these teachings excellent for insight and illumination.