We are believers in Jesus Christ who simply come together as Christians where we live to worship the Lord, study His word, pray, and preach the gospel. Our aim is to serve and love Him, for the building up of the Church, the Body of Christ.
As a gathering of the church here in Chicago, we testify to the fact that Jesus Christ came the first time to deal with the problem of our sins and to resurrect from the dead so that we could receive His divine life; thus today, based on the finished work of Christ, the offer of salvation is freely made to all who will receive it by faith in Christ.
As the church we testify also to the fact that Christ will come a second time, apart from sin, to establish His kingdom on the earth.
What is the Name of this Church?
We are incorporated as “The Church of the Chicagoans,” but that is only for legal purposes, or for practical matters such as designating this website. We don’t take such descriptions as our actual name, which is why we don’t display this as a name at the top of our website.
In the New Testament, the believers simply came together wherever they lived to be the church in that place, e.g., the church of God in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2), the church in Ephesus (Rev. 2:1), or the church of the Thessalonians (1 Thess, 1:1). We do refer to ourselves as “the church in Chicago” or “the church of the Chicagoans,” but only to describe who we are. Again, we don’t want to consider such designations as a special name for ourselves.
To “denominate” literally means “to give a name to; designate” (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition). If we take a denominational name for ourselves, we would be dividing ourselves from our fellow believers who have not taken that same name. That is why, instead of giving ourselves a particular name, we just refer to ourselves as the church in the city where we live. This is the New Testament way.
For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
– First Corinthians 1:11-13
In fact, a few verses before this, the Apostle Paul speaks of the fellowship God has actually called us into:
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
– First Corinthians 1:9
This is the genuine, New Testament fellowship, and one of the ways we show that we are in this fellowship is by refusing to be called by any name other than the name of Christ (cf. Rev. 3:8). According to the Lord’s own word in His prayer on the night He was betrayed, it is by remaining in this fellowship to be genuinely one with our fellow believers that we show the world He really is the Christ, the one sent by the Father:
I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
– John 17:20-21
Do You Have a Creed?
Yes: The Bible is our creed! Our hope is to enter into all that the Bible unveils to us concerning God’s purpose for the church and for our own Christian lives.
We do believe in all the basic items of the orthodox Christian faith; that God is triune, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that the Son of God existed eternally with the Father, and was born of a virgin to be incarnated as a man, Jesus Christ. He then lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our redemption, and rose bodily from the dead on the third day. Today He is at the right hand of God, waiting until He returns to establish His kingdom on the earth.
These are the basic items of the faith; they are the basic beliefs that all real Christians must hold in order to be Christians. However, if we go beyond these matters to make a creed concerning our specific beliefs, we can easily and needlessly divide ourselves from our fellow believers.
Moreover, in principle, even the best creeds can become a replacement for the Bible, the Word of God. This is a great loss for any believer, for the whole truth of the Christian faith could never be contained in any creed; it is only found in the Bible, and we must never add to or take away from that (Rev. 22:18-19). As we stand together for Christ, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all the truth (John 16:13), and as we grow in Christ we will eventually become clear as to the faith we should hold:
Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.
– Ephesians 4:13-15
How Do I Join this Church?
In the New Testament, the only way to enter into the genuine fellowship of the Body of Christ, and thus to join the New Testament church, is by believing in Jesus Christ and being born again with His divine life to become a member of the Body of Christ. The New Testament is absolutely clear on this point.
This means that, in reality, all of the believers in Christ living in Chicago, including yourself if you live in this city, are already in the local church here; there is no need for you to “join,” because you already did that when you believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior.