What we believe is incredibly important – without out it there is no authentic unity…
The Gospel (Good News) is that God has broken into history in Christ Jesus. He lived a perfect life doing good; was killed; was buried. But on the third day God raised him to life; after 40 days he ascended to heaven. In God’s time he will return to bring justice and establish his perfect rule on earth.
Our fundamental belief is that the Bible is the revealed Word of God. All our preferences should be checked for conformity to what is clearly there. That leaves room for respectful disagreement with one another on many issues. There are however some core teachings about the nature of God, the state of mankind and God’s way of salvation that not only are abundantly clear from the Bible but have real and lasting significance for our way of life. These essential beliefs are summarised in our Statement of Faith, as below.
There is one God, who exists eternally in three distinct but equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is unchangeable in his holiness, justice, wisdom and love. He is the Almighty Creator, Saviour and Judge, who sustains and governs all things according to his sovereign will for his own glory.
The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all his words are true. On the cross he died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, redeeming them by his blood. He rose from the dead and in his resurrection body ascended into heaven where he is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for his people in the presence of the Father.
The Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and to apply his work of salvation. He convicts sinners, imparts spiritual life and gives a true understanding of the Scriptures. He lives in all believers, brings assurance of salvation and produces increasing likeness to Christ. He builds up the Church and empowers its members for worship, service and mission.
God has revealed himself in the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments alone and which was inspired by God through human authors, so that the Bible as originally given is in its entirety the Word of God, without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. The Bible alone speaks with final authority and is always sufficient for all matters of belief and practice.
All men and women, being created in the image of God, have inherent and equal dignity and worth. Their greatest purpose is to enjoy, obey, worship and love God. As a result of the fall of our first parents, every aspect of human nature has been corrupted and all men and women guilty sinners and hostile to God. Every person is therefore under the just condemnation of God and needs to be born again, forgiven and reconciled to God in order to know and please him.
Salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered to all in the gospel. God in his love forgives sinners whom he calls, granting them repentance and faith. All who repent of their sins and who believe in Christ are forgiven, justified by faith alone, adopted into the family of God, sanctified and receive eternal life.
The universal Church is the body of which Christ is the head and to which all who are saved belong. It is made visible in local churches, through congregations of believers who are committed to one another for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, prayer, the administering of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for pastoral care and discipline and for evangelism. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and among local churches by mutual love, respect, care and encouragement.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper have been given by Christ as visible signs of the gospel. Baptism is a sign of union with Christ. It does not impart spiritual life or wash away sin, but symbolises the cleansing that is received by faith alone. (see 4) The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice offered once for all (Heb 7:27 et al) and a sign of continued union with him also and his church. Its benefits are received by faith.
The Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory. He will raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The unrighteous will be sent to eternal punishment and those made righteous will be welcomed into a life of eternal joy in fellowship with God. God will make all things new and will be glorified forever.