Our Statement of Faith…
There is one true God
– who has eternally existed in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who are co-equal and are one in nature, will and Name. There is no beginning or end to the existence of God. God is the creator and sustainer of everything that exists in the universe. Through Him all things were made and without Him nothing could be made.
God is the definition and source of all goodness. He is merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love, yet He is also holy and hates sin. He has set aside a day on which He will judge all humanity.
Revealed and promised throughout the Old Testament of God’s word, the Bible, Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is co-equal with the Father as the unique Son of God. He is eternally and fully divine. According to the scriptures, Jesus was born of a virgin as a man. Taking on human nature, He humbled Himself to live a life of perfect obedience to the Father.
As the only person on earth ever to have lived a perfect life, He qualified as the perfect, spotless sacrifice for sin demanded by the law of God. According to the scriptures, He chose to submit to His Father’s will, suffering and dying on the cross to make full atonement for the sins of mankind. After three days He rose bodily from the grave, according to the scriptures, proving He has conquered sin and death. After 40 days of appearing to His followers, Jesus ascended into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of the Father, as Lord of lords and King of kings. On a day known only to God, He will return to judge the living and the dead.
Jesus is the only way to the Father, and thus the only way to heaven.
The Holy Spirit
Co-equal with the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is fully God. He is present in the world to reveal to people their sin, the righteousness that comes only through Jesus Christ, and the judgement that is to come. His presence indwells each person who accepts Jesus as their Lord, on the basis of what Jesus has done for them at the cross and resurrection.
The Holy Spirit empowers a Christian to live a new life that is pleasing to God, bringing the love and comfort of His presence into believers’ lives. The evidence of this ‘new birth’ can be seen in the fruit of repentance and of selfless godly character, even in the face of persecution, and also in gifts which the Holy Spirit distributes as He wills to believers.
Humans were created very good, in God’s image and likeness. Choosing to be deceived by Satan, the leader of a group of angels created by God which had chosen to reject Him, the first humans also chose to rebel against God, and since then mankind has been in opposition to God and His ways. This is the root of all sin. All humans, and indeed all creation, have been corrupted by this sin nature, and so all have sinned and fall short of God’s perfection.
Yet, because of God’s desire to have a personal relationship with mankind, He has made a way for us to come back to Him, through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To commune with God, a person must trust in Jesus and what He has done for them, in order to be born again by the Spirit (see above). Those who are born of God are adopted as His children and will live eternally in heaven with Him. Those who continue to reject Jesus Christ will suffer an eternity separated from God (see below).
The presence of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life is the deposit guaranteeing the heavenly inheritance that is to come. The biblical notion of hope means that believers can look forward with certainty to that future inheritance, while experiencing a changed life here on earth that goes from one degree of glory to another.
Salvation is the gift of God. It cannot be earned through works but simply received through repentant faith. Once and for all, Jesus has paid our sin debt in full and taken the punishment humanity deserves upon Himself. The wrath of God – His righteous, measured anger towards sinfulness – has been fully satisfied at the cross for those who call on the name of Jesus for mercy. A person’s part is to repent – to turn from the life of sinful rebellion against God and receive, by childlike faith, the gift of eternal heavenly life. This can only be received through Jesus and what He has done for us. There is no other Name given under heaven by which we must be saved.
Heaven and hell are real places and every human will spend eternity in one of these two places. Hell is where Satan and his fallen angels will live, and will be a place of punishment and torment for all who go there, forever separated from the presence of God. Children of God who are received into heaven, will live eternally in His wonderful presence, in perfect relationship with Him, with one another and with His angels. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has the human mind conceived how wonderful are the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.
The Bible is the inerrant revelation of God, every word of which has been breathed by Him for teaching, encouraging, rebuking and training His children in the ways of His righteousness, and showing us everything we need to know about the past, the life we now live and the life to come. Before a person believes, the Bible brings the conviction of sin and warning of the judgement to come. The Holy Spirit supernaturally causes the words of the Bible to become living and active in a person’s life, revealing sin that needs to be removed and bringing the cleansing and new life that are possible only because of Jesus.
Baptism is by full immersion in water. Baptism does not save a person, who must have already put their trust in Christ before being baptised. Jesus commanded baptism, which is seen as a requirement of membership of the church (as evident in the life of the early church, recorded for us in scripture).
Baptism is a public declaration of the inward reality of the new birth by the Spirit, and of the believer’s commitment to follow Jesus. When a person goes under the water, (s)he is declaring that the old self has died with Christ, and as (s)he rises out of the water (s)he affirms that (s)he has been raised to a new life with Him. Thus baptism symbolises the believer’s identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
The Gifts of the Spirit
The Holy Spirit gives a great variety of gifts to the body of Christ, as He wills, including the so-called ‘supernatural sign gifts’ listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. We seek to practise these gifts in accordance with the guidelines laid out in scripture (such as 1 Corinthians chapters 12 to 14). As the Bible says, it is good for a Christian to desire spiritual gifts. The Holy Spirit births gifts in believers for the edification of the people of God and as a sign of His glory to the world. Christians are given different gifts. For example, not every child of God speaks in tongues or has the gift of healing. Neither are such gifts requirements for a person to be born again. Furthermore, God is not limited in His miraculous workings to the gifts He gives His children; He can do miracles any time, any place and however He wants.
As we are told in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, the gifts mean nothing without love, so believers must value walking in God’s love above the gifts. As the same chapter says, the gifts will cease when the fullness of God’s coming kingdom renders them no longer necessary. In the meantime, however, the gifts should be sought and practised, in order to bring glory to God.
As the Lord Jesus commanded, we regularly remember His death on the cross and what it means, when we take communion as a body of believers. Communion is not a requirement for salvation, and should be taken only by those who have put their trust in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. The bread and the wine are symbols of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. These elements do not literally become His body and blood, but are taken to remember what He did for us on the cross. Groups of believers can also take communion outside of church services any time they want.