The fact is, we all build our lives on something. Whether it's what our parents have taught us, or something that feels 'right' to us, having foundations is nothing unusual. Sometime we call this our worldview or our beliefs. They govern our hopes, expectations, beliefs and decision making. For Christians, we want our beliefs to reflect the truth that God has revealed to us through his word, the Bible.
We take the Bible seriously. So seriously in fact, that the foundations of our church are built upon the Bible; it's God's words on paper. In it we learn about who God is, who Jesus is, why forgiveness of sins is so important, and how our lives can be transformed by responding to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord (and so much more!)
There's a lot of words here, but don't worry, come along to our church, ask questions (we welcome them), and take your time learning about it. The Bible tells us that even though we are not going to know everything now or have every question answered, God leads and guides us day by day. And because he loves us, we can trust him.
Here are some of the foundations we uphold at our church:
We hold the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God. What this means is that we can trust it to tell us the truth about the world, about ourselves, and of course about God. Consequently it acts within the church as God’s authoritative word to us. It does not allow us to regard it as just ‘another opinion, or perspective’, that we can take amongst many other ‘alternatives’. We acknowledge the variety of genres, and authors of the biblical texts, but hold without reservation the work of God in both the creation and preservation of his word.
We hold that God is triune: Father, Son and Spirit, three persons in a single unity. We hold that God is perfect in love, in unity, in holiness, in power and in knowledge. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. In love and holiness he is our Redeemer and Protector. He is the Sovereign Ruler and Judge over all things. He alone is supremely worthy of glory, honour, our worship and our praise.
We hold that Jesus Christ is the only and eternal Son of God, who in the flesh is utterly human, and utterly God. We hold that he was conceived of a virgin, Mary, that he was born, raised, and lived as a human in a real time and place. We hold that he was tempted just as we are, but did not sin, rather remained wholly obedient to the will of God the Father. We hold that he was killed at the hands of men by crucifixion, and yet rose to bodily life on the third day following his death. His death was both vicarious and victorious. Vicarious in that his death was a substitutionary death; Jesus died for sin, but not his own sin, rather the sins of the world. In this he endured the punishment and judgment that was reserved for sinners. His death was also victorious in that as our representative, in his death he defeated sin, Satan and death itself, opening up the way for sinners to enter into a renewed and restored relationship with God. Following his resurrection, we hold that Jesus appeared to many people over a period of forty days, before ascending into heaven, where he lives and reigns as the risen King. Here he acts as our priest, our mediator, our intercessor, our advocate, and as the ruler over all. We hold that he will return one day in glory to judge the living and the dead.
We hold that the Holy Spirit has existed eternally in the tri-unity of God. The Spirit has acted as the mediation of God to his creation. He acts to illuminate the minds and hearts of the elect to grasp the reality and truthfulness of the gospel, as it is presented to us in the Bible. The Spirit dwells within believers, both interceding for them and enabling their prayers. Further, the Spirit has an ongoing work within believers to daily conform them more toward the image of God, through their sanctification. The Spirit produces fruit in the lives of believers, and enables them to persevere as Christians. The Spirit is a provider, giving gifts to believers which are to be used in the service of God, and for the mission of his church.
We hold that all men and women are created in the image of God, with dignity, freedom and value. We hold that human nature is utterly sinful, the result of the Fall, resulting in all people possessing a proclivity to sinful behaviour and rebellion against God. Apart from God’s intervention we are totally deserving of judgment from God as the rebellious creatures of his creation. Of our own accord we are unable to turn back to God, relying on him to show mercy to us and un-harden our hardened hearts.
Salvation is the work of God which brings human beings out of their slavery to sin, and into a new and reconciled and eternal relationship with God. We hold that salvation is a free and unmerited gift from God, through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus, by his righteous life, and sin-bearing, representative and substitutionary death is the means by which salvation is made possible. The judgment of the saved sinner is taken by Jesus upon himself, and is a full perfect and sufficient sacrifice for our sins. Through the work of the Spirit, people are able to acknowledge and embrace Jesus as their Saviour by faith. The gift of being united with Christ relates the benefits of both Jesus’ righteousness and atoning work on our behalf. The believer is given new spiritual birth, evidenced by their living faith in Jesus Christ, and voluntary obedience and allegiance to him as their Lord. The saved believer yet still waits for the final consummation of their hope in the coming age.
We hold that the church consists entirely of God’s people across all time and in all places. The church exists as the body of all believers, who are united by the Spirit and exist to worship, serve and glorify Jesus. We hold that the local church consists of men, women and children that gather together regularly, to hear and respond to God’s Word, to pray for and encourage one another, to serve each other and for loving discipline to be enacted. Further, we acknowledge that God gifts and places leaders to shepherd the flock entrusted to them, under the Chief Shepherd Jesus. We also hold that church is not a particular building, denomination or day of the week, but exists in the network of relationships that are developed within the gathering of believers.
With the Reformers, we hold that God has instituted in the new covenant, two sacraments for his people. The sacraments are baptism, and the Lord’s Supper or Communion. The sacraments are given as a means of grace by God to his people, and serve as both reminders of what God has done for his people, as well as a testimony to what he will do.
We hold that the day of the return of Jesus is approaching. This day will see the renewal of creation, the final overthrowing of Satan, and the glorious reign of Jesus not only in heaven, but upon the earth. This day will usher in the new age, and all people will experience a bodily resurrection, and a separation of Christians and the lost. The lost will forever endure the punishment deserved for their rejection of Jesus, whilst Christians will enjoy and delight in the presence of God, and his people for eternity. Marked by singing, celebrating, feasting, joy and satisfaction, this heavenly reality will endure for all time to come, there will be no more death, mourning, sickness, sadness, and suffering.