First Presbyterian Church is an inviting, Bible-based, Christ-centered, and family-friendly congregation, welcoming all who enter its doors to join in worship and sacraments, whether they are visitors, newcomers looking for a church home, or someone looking for a place to rest for the moment. All are invited to join fellow worshipers in their Christian journey, no matter where they are in that journey.
Worship through quality teaching and beautiful music are essential elements of worship at FPC. The adult choir, professionally directed, and accompanied by a pianist and organist (when available), lead services in a spiritually meaningful way.
The Christian journey is nurtured from birth and continued in programs designed to teach and foster Christian maturity. From Sunday school classes to Bible study for children, teenagers, and adults, people fellowship as they learn, encouraged to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. Because Jesus taught the world to love thy neighbors wherever they are, mission work begins with three year olds and continues through mature adulthood with study and participation in local, national, and international missions.
First Presbyterian Church of Bainbridge was chartered in 1852 by the Presbytery of Florida. Five of the twelve petitioners were already members of the Quincy Florida church so they became the official founding members. A handsome building with an organ and gallery on three sides was completed in 1854 on the corner of Troupe and West streets. It burned in 1874 along with most of the business district. The Communion service along with the pulpit Bible and Session minute book were saved. The second building was erected in 1877 on the northwest corner of Broad and Evans streets.
Construction of the current building was begun in 1899, and the building was dedicated in 1910. Important architectural features include a soaring vaulted ceiling and beautiful stained-glass windows. A Sunday School room (now additional sanctuary seating) was added in 1920. Douglas Hall (additional classrooms) and Ward Fellowship Hall were constructed in the 1950s and are named for former pastors. The Climax Presbyterian Church merged with the Bainbridge church in 1970. A complete renovation of the sanctuary and Ward Fellowship Hall was undertaken in 2000 and completed in 2003.
Today the church is a member of the Flint River Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The church is best known in the community for its relevant but historically reformed approach to worship and its superb choral music.
We invite you to worship with us in our beautiful sanctuary. We pray that you find peace for your soul and renewed vision for service in God’s kingdom.
For a brief summary of what we believe, our church affirms the “Five Solas” of the Reformation, which are, as helpfully described by Rev. Justin Holcomb on the Christianity.com website, as follows:
The Five Solas are:
Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
If you would like to explore these points further, a helpful summary is included as follows:
The Scriptures are our ultimate and trustworthy authority for faith and practice. This doesn’t mean that the Bible is the only place where truth is found, but it does mean that everything else we learn about God and his world, and all other authorities, should be interpreted in light of Scripture. The Bible gives us everything we need for our theology.
Every word of the 66 books of the Bible is inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit also helps us to understand and obey Scripture.
2 Peter 2:20, the Bible is about Jesus Christ and his role as God and Savior. Additionally, Romans 15:4 is 2 Timothy 2:16.
SOLA FIDE AND SOLA GRATIA
We are saved solely through faith in Jesus Christ because of God’s grace and Christ’s merit alone. We are not saved by our merits or declared righteous by our good works. God grants salvation not because of the good things we do, and despite our sin.
As humans, we inherited (from our ancestor Adam) a nature that is enslaved to sin. Because of our nature, we are naturally enemies of God and lovers of evil. We need to be made alive (regenerated) so that we can even have faith in Christ. God graciously chooses to give us new hearts so that we trust in Christ and are saved through faith alone.
God graciously preserves us and keeps us. When we are faithless toward him, he is still faithful.
We can only stand before God by his grace as he mercifully attributes to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ and attributes to him the consequences of our sins. Jesus’ life of perfect righteousness is counted as ours, and our records of sin and failure were counted to Jesus when he died on the cross.
Sola fide and sola gratia express the teaching of Ephesians 2:8:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
God has given the ultimate revelation of himself to us by sending Jesus Christ, Colossians 1:15. Only through God’s gracious self-revelation in Jesus do we come to a saving and transforming knowledge of God.
1 Timothy 1:5. Because God is holy and all humans are sinful and sinners, 1 John 1:1 Hebrews 7:25 Romans 8:34. Neither religious rituals nor good works mediate between us and God. Acts 4:12 by which a person can be saved other than the name of Jesus. Hebrews 7:23, and his sacrificial death alone can atone for sin.
SOLI DEO GLORIA
Glory belongs to God alone. God’s glory is the central motivation for salvation, not improving the lives of people—though that is a wonderful by product. God is not a means to an end—he is the means and the end.
The goal of all of life is to give glory to God alone: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). As The Westminster Catechism says, the chief purpose of human life is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
Justin Holcomb is an Episcopal priest and teaches theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and Knox Theological Seminary. Justin wrote On the Grace of God and co-authored with his wife Lindsey Rid of My Disgrace and Save Me from Violence. He is also the editor of Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and at JustinHolcomb.com
While the above Five Solas are a great summary of our beliefs, we are also a Confessional Church, and we adhere to the Creeds and Confessions of the Ancient and Reformation Era Church.
- The Apostles’ Creed
- The Nicene Creed
- The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647)
- The Heidelberg Catechism (1653)
If you do not know Jesus Christ as Savior, or you are uncertain about your relationship to him, please consider and pray about these truths from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, known as the Romans Road to Salvation:
The Romans Road to salvation is a method based on the biblical principles found in the New Testament book of Romans to explain how a person can come to faith in Jesus Christ. Shared with millions of people around the world, the Romans Road explains why we need salvation, how God provided salvation, how we can receive salvation, and the results of salvation.
The Romans Road begins with acknowledging our human sinfulness. Romans 3:23 teaches, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We have all done things that displease God (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10).
The Romans Road then explains the consequences of sin. Romans 6:23 teaches, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This refers to spiritual death and separation from God for eternity.
Next the Romans Road teaches how God has provided salvation. Romans 5:8 states, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we deserve death, Jesus has offered a way of life. He alone has provided a sufficient answer to the sin and spiritual death we face.
The Romans Road then teaches how we can receive salvation. Romans 10:9 says, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Verse 13 adds, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'” Salvation is available to anyone who will turn to Jesus for eternal life (John 3:16). This occurs when we believe Jesus is Lord and that He literally came alive again from the dead.
Finally, the Romans Road shares the results of salvation. Romans 5:1 declares, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The result is a relationship with God. This includes peace (Romans 8:1) and security (Romans 8:38-39).
Would you like to follow the Romans Road to salvation? If so, here is a simple prayer you can pray to God. The words of this prayer will not save you; only Jesus saves you! However, this may be a helpful example of how you can agree with God about your sin and accept His salvation:
“Dear God, I realize I am a sinner deserving of death. I can never be forgiven or reach heaven by my own good deeds. But you have provided salvation for me. I place my faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for my sins, rose from the dead, and offers me the gift of eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life.”
Please contact Pastor John Erthein if you would like to discuss any spiritual concerns. God bless you!