What We Believe
There is only one God, who exists as three distinct and equal persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is the living God who is almighty, eternal, unchanging and knows all things past, present and future. He is just and holy, gracious and merciful. He is sovereign Creator and Ruler of all things and exercises his sovereignty in Creation, Providence and Redemption. As the Maker and Ruler of all things he is deserving of all praise and glory forever.
God has revealed himself in the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments alone. Every word 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.
God created human beings perfect and in his image, but after being tempted by the devil, they, by their own free choice, disobeyed God and became sinners. Humanity is now corrupted in every part, by sin, and so fellowship with God is broken and all humanity is deserving of eternal punishment.
God alone can deal with human sin and bring about reconciliation to himself. To achieve this, God the Son became man in Christ Jesus. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless, human life and taught entirely without error. He suffered and died in the place of sinners, experiencing on their behalf the just punishment of God for their sins. God, in his grace, forgives and reconciles to himself all who turn to him in true repentance and who trust in Christ’s atoning death. God imputes to them the righteousness of Christ and adopts them as his own children. He thus sets all believers free from the domination of the devil and the corruption of their own sinful nature, and removes from them forever sin’s eternal consequences. Salvation can only be found through faith in Christ.
The gospel is given to us entirely through God’s free and sovereign grace. It is the church’s calling and privilege to proclaim the gospel to all people and to defend it against error. All who hear the gospel and respond in obedient faith receive the full salvation promised to us in Jesus Christ. To reject the gospel is to reject God and his grace and so leaves the one who does so without hope.
The Risen Lord
The Lord Jesus Christ was shown to be the Son of God by his sinless life, teaching, miracles and his bodily resurrection from the dead, in fulfilment of the Scriptures. He has ascended in power and glory to the presence of God, where he now reigns and intercedes on behalf of those who call upon him in truth.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit must work in us before we can enter into salvation. Through the gospel he leads us into an awareness of our sinfulness, and brings us to repentance and trust in Christ. He causes us to be born again, and by his continuing work enables us to understand and respond to God speaking through the Bible and so develops in us the fruits of love and holiness along with the spiritual gifts necessary to build the church.
The Second Coming
God is bringing all human history to a climax which will be marked by the visible return to earth of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory at the Father’s appointed time.
Jesus the Judge
God has appointed Jesus as Judge and there will be a final judgement. Those who believe in Christ will be raised in a glorified body and enjoy eternally and to the full the presence of their Lord in the new heavens and new earth. Those who do not believe in Christ will be banished from God’s presence forever into eternal punishment in hell.
The One Church
All who have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, and upon whom God has bestowed his righteousness as a free gift, belong to Christ. They alone may rightly be called Christians. They alone are members of the one universal and eternal Church of Christ. The unity they enjoy in Christ is to be reflected in their love for one another and in seeking to serve one another in love.
The Gathered Church
Each local church is a fellowship of believers gathered by Christ and committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The church has no need of, nor should acknowledge any other authority over it than his. Through him, the church has direct access to God and enjoys fellowship with other assemblies of his people in a unity which transcends all barriers.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
These have been commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ as an obligation to the churches until his return. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and entry into his church but does not impart spiritual life. The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice which was offered once for all, and involves no change in the bread or wine. Neither baptism nor the Lord’s Supper of themselves convey grace to the receiver, but rightly received by faith are a means of grace.
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, which are congregations of believers who are committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, 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 between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the gospel.