First Congregational Church

of Rochester

11 Constitution Way w P.O. Box 98 w Rochester, MA  02770

508.763.4314

 
 
   

 

 

 

WHAT IS A CONGREGATIONALIST?

INTRODUCTION

 As Congregationalists we are best described as are those who accept the Bible as the sufficient rule in matters of faith and practice. Therefore we, base the organization of our church government, upon biblical foundations. The great central text of Congregation­alism, is Matthew 18:18-20, in which Christ says to the early Church:

 “Of truth I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what so ever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that: they shall ask; it shall be done for them of my Father, which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”   This passage has led Congregationalists to draw two key principles of Faith.  First, that Christ alone I the Head over His Church. Second, that each local Congregation is complete in itself.

 Our history here in America goes back to the fall of 1620, when a small group of Puritans, known as separatists, came to this country.  One hundred and two people crowded into a space made for seventy-three and began a long cold journey across the Atlantic waves. For two months they traveled in exposure, and all because of a dream of becoming the kind of people that God wanted them to be. These were the people of the Congregational Way.

 From these simple people would come one of the greatest nations ever to exist on the face of the earth. From these men and women would come the first public school system, many of the great universities, human rights, great benevolences and the caring for the sick. From these men and women would come great a document which would change the shape of their world. 

 There are three words which described these people of the Congregational Way: Faith, Freedom, and Fellowship.  This same description still applies today.

 FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES

 FAITH  -  Not simply faith in faith, but faith in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is a personal faith experience known to many as conversion to Christ, or redemption. It is entering into a Covenant Relationship with God though faith in the work which Christ accomplished of Calvary’s Cross.  It is a faith built upon substance and not mere symbolism.

 FREEDOM - By this we mean the soul liberty of each individual and each local congregation before God.  We are a freely gathered people under the Lordship of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Although we respect civil authorities our right to gather comes from the Lord.  For we are the Lord’s free people!   We are a Free church, thus we provide an opportunity for all men and women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We support the Freedom of each individual to choose their life’s occupation or education and to strive for excellence in all the God given abilities afforded to them.  We encourage a free enterprising society which allows each individual the opportunity to invest wisely of his means as a good steward of God.

 FELLOWSHIP - Although we are an autonomous people we still find direction and fellowship from other local congregations. We are not isolationist rather we are an active part of the fellowship of churches of like faith and practice. This is so that we might carry out the great mission of the church. To reach and teach all people of the freedom which God has intended for them in Christ.

 CONCLUSION

As a church of the Congregational Way, we have chosen to follow the ways of our spiritual forefathers.  We stand firm and are counted as those who love the freedom we find in and from the Lord.  We hope to hold forth to the generation in which we live the same principles as those pilgrims of old, Faith, Freedom and Fellowship.

 
     

©  First Congregational Church of Rochester.    Updated April 1, 2014