We believe God called this local church (ARCC) into existence in 1948 as a unique, but not exclusive, expression (or representation) of God’s people everywhere—what is often referred to as the Universal Church or the Body of Christ. We exist for a purpose. That purpose is best outlined in Jesus’ Great C0-Mission in Matthew 28:19-20. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” We have distilled this command of Jesus into a brief Mission Statement:
“Inviting all to Jesus…Following Him together.”
Traditionally, the “inviting” has been referred to as evangelism or sharing the “gospel”, which means good news. However, prior to speaking the good news verbally, we believe we must pray for and serve those people that God has strategically placed in our lives. This is about 8-15 people for most of us. Inviting also means asking those you already know to attend a church event with you. Inviting can include being a welcoming and non-judgmental person.
The “following” is usually referred to as discipleship, literally being a student of Jesus. We need to belong to a community of faith where we encourage and help one another live the life Jesus demonstrated. This is a life long pursuit.
The Christian faith is (shockingly) all about Jesus Christ! In fact, it is usually when Christians forget this that they start getting into trouble! So we encourage all to consider the call to follow Jesus (on his terms), and to faithfully follow Him every day and in every way. Without getting into some heavy duty theology, we believe that an active faith in Jesus is the key to recovering our “image of God” (Genesis 1:27) and living earthly lives under the reign and rule of God. (Matthew 6:10)
Finally, we know that we are not alone in this pursuit (“following Him together”). Not only do we as a church family strive to help one another out with life (Lord knows we don’t need any more enemies), we seek to link arms with all those who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior and believe in His great Co-Mission of making more and better disciples. See John 17:21-23 In particular, we are associated with the Growing Healthy Churches Network (GHC) – a region of the American Baptist Churches USA (GHC was formally known as American Baptist Churches of the West). Make sure you check out theTeammates page under “Ministries” for links to the websites of GHC and some of the other Christian churches or ministries we actively partner with.)
Statement of Beliefs
We believe in one God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, three persons yet but one God of whom the Holy Bible speaks. (Isaiah 44:6; Psalms 8:1, 97:9; Romans 1:18-20; Psalms 19:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:15; I Corinthians 2:9-10; John 4:24; Jeremiah 10:10; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 10:30.)
We believe in the deity and the humanity of Jesus Christ, who is none other than God the Son in human form, and in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells forever. (Galatians 3:13; I Timothy 2:5; John 1:14; Colossians 12:9; Romans 9:5 Hebrews 2:14; Matthew 26:38; Luke 1:31, 2:52; Hebrews 4:15, 7:26.)
We believe in the deity and work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been sent by the Father and the Son to present Christ to us and equip us for His service. He is God’s indelible mark of ownership on us, revealing God’s truth to us, putting us right with God, interceding in our behalf and giving life to our mortal bodies on the day of resurrection. (John 3:5,6; Titus 3:5,6; Ephesians 2:8, 3:17; 2 Timothy 1:9; John 16:8-11.)
We believe that the human race was created by God and in His image. Creation was for fellowship with God which is made possible by humanity’s unique capability to respond to his Creator. God gave our race stewardship over the earth. Our first parents responded against God (rebellion), thus imputing sin upon the whole human race. As sinners, we have corrupted ourselves and alienated ourselves from God. As such, we stand under the penalty of universal death and eternal separation from God and in desperate need of a Savior. (Genesis 1:27, 28; Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24; Genesis 3:6; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Romans 5:12, 18, 19; 1 Corinthians 15:21, Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:23)
We believe God loves people even though they have become His enemy. God devised a plan whereby people might renew their broken relationship to God, and bring wholeness to themselves. This salvation is only and altogether through simple faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is always accompanied by works and repentance. Without such faith there can be no salvation here or hereafter. (John 3:16; Acts 3:19; Romans 10:9-17; Matthew 7:21-27.)
We believe that this world (history) will one day come to an end. This end is designed by God and only He knows the day and the hour when it will happen. Should death precede this final end, conscious existence will continue in a manner and place determined by life before death. Should we be alive at the end, we shall behold the personal second coming of Jesus Christ, the judge of all humankind, and be reunited with those who preceded us in death. All will be judged according to their fitness; has eternal life been found in Christ through faith. Those fit for Heaven will be assigned there – those fit for Hell will be assigned there, and that forever. (Hebrews 12:23; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Luke 23:43; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; Luke 16:22, 24; Psalms 49:14; John 5:28, 29; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Matthew 25:41.)
We believe that Jesus Christ is the only Head of the Church, that all believers are equally priests unto God; that ordination, while it recognizes position, bestows no power. That the Church is God’s agent in the interim between Christ’s resurrection and His Second Coming. As an agent of God, it carries forth the divine vocation of Jesus in selfless-service and loving sacrifice. (Matthew 16:21-25. Acts 2:42-47; Ephesians 1:10, 22, 23; John 10:16, 11:52.)
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, written in the words of men. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Isaiah 8:20.)
Excerpts from our Church Constitution
We, the members of the First Baptist Church of Carmichael, CA, DBA: American River Community Church, placing our faith wholly in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation, accepting the Bible as the inspired word of God and affirming our covenant with God and each other, do, therefore, band ourselves together as a body of believers in Jesus Christ, adopting for our government the following articles:
Article I – Doctrine
We stand in the tradition of historic Baptist principles and specifically declare our adherence to the following:
- We believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
- We believe in the authority of the Bible and its sufficiency as our rule and guide for faith and practice.
- We believe in the right of private interpretation of Scripture and in the competency of the individual in direct approach to God.
- We believe in the absolute separation of church and state.
- We believe in a regenerate church membership.
- We practice the symbolic ordinances of Believer’s Baptism by immersion, and the Lord’s Supper.
- We believe in the independence of the local church and its interdependence in associated fellowship with other Christian bodies of similar beliefs.
- We practice majority rule.
- We believe in the spiritual unity of all Believers.
- We believe in a world-wide program of evangelism and mission
Article II – Membership Covenant
Having been led by the spirit of God to profess our faith in Jesus Christ and, having been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we do now solemnly and joyfully affirm our covenant with God and with each other.
We pledge to serve Christ in the fellowship of this congregation. We shall endeavor to love one another, to remember one another in prayer, to share in each other’s joys and to sustain each other in times of distress.
We aspire to be a fellowship of the concerned where the lost may find Jesus Christ, sinners may find pardon, seekers may find meaning for their lives and where all who come may find welcome. We shall strive to be responsible church members through faithful attendance, study and giving.
We shall seek to be obedient to Christ in our daily living. Within our homes, in our labor and while at leisure we shall strive for attitudes and actions which will reflect God’s spirit working through us. Believing that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, we shall endeavor to avoid experiences and habits which defile the body and hinder our witness.
Bound together in a fellowship of faith with all who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we will pray and labor for a spirit of unity among all Christians.
Believing that our call to be a church is a call to witness in the world, we dedicate ourselves anew as servants of the Lord of all life. Whenever people are in bondage to ignorance, poverty, fear or prejudice, we shall strive for justice, freedom, dignity and peace. Whenever people are separated by barriers of hostility and distrust, we shall be ministers of God’s reconciling love. As we pledge our support to the work of our Missionaries throughout the world, we commit ourselves to the mission to which God calls us all.
Acknowledging our human frailties and ever seeking forgiveness, we profess our need of the Holy Spirit and commit our lives to Jesus Christ and through Him to the care, the judgment, the deliverance and the mercy of the Almighty God. Amen.
We are egalitarian evangelicals. That means we have a long history of giving women places to serve and lead in the local congregation. Women do serve in all areas of the church according to their gifts and calling. Women preach here, they serve Holy Communion, they serve as Diaconate chairpersons. Divorced persons may also serve in leadership capacities.
We are welcoming of every person but we don’t affirm every lifestyle choice. The practice of behaviors the Bible labels as sin will not be affirmed, celebrated or blessed.
We believe in heterosexual marriage.