What we believe
All our Elders subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith which we call our denomination’s ‘sub-ordinate standard’. This is not to say that it is on a par with the Bible (it isn’t – nothing is). We are simply saying that we believe it to be an accurate summary of what the Bible teaches. If anything goes against the Bible then we go with the Bible.
As a summary, we can say that we believe the following.
These are our core, essential beliefs.
We believe that the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are the verbally inspired Word of God in their entirety (and only these books). These books are the final authority for faith and life (since they are breathed out by God). In their original form they are without error, infallible and God-breathed (inspired) (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21).
There is One God, creator, ruler and sustainer of all that there is (Psalm 24:1; Deuteronomy 6:4). God eternally (i.e. He has always been this way) exists in a community of three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (what theologians call the Trinity). Three persons but one God (2 Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 28:19). Each divine person is co-eternal in being, co-eternal in nature, co-equal in power and glory sharing the same attributes and perfections. This Tri-une (3 but 1) God is all-powerful, all-knowing. He is just, wise, loving, gracious, patient and good. All things were made by him and for him and exist for his Glory.
Jesus is the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Godhead (see reference to the Trinity above). He is fully God and became man without ceasing to be God, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:30-35; Isaiah 7:14). Jesus came to both reveal God (John 1:1-2,14,18; John 14:9) and to redeem sinful man (Mark 10:45). He lived a sinless life in perfect obedience to God; died on the Cross as a willing substitute for our sins, taking the death we deserve as our representative, bearing God’s punishment on sin. After three days He rose (literally, physically) from the dead which assures us of our justification. Justification means that God, the Judge, declares us as righteous and innocent in his sight.
Post-resurrection He ascended into Heaven bodily (where he prays for us as our representative) and where He is exalted as Lord of all at the right hand of God (Acts 1:9; Hebrews 8:2; Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2).
From there He will come again to bring an end to this world and judge the living and the dead (Acts 1:11; Matthew 26:64; Matthew 24:30-31; Acts 17:31). Jesus is the sole mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5). There is no hope, no salvation in anyone else.
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. He is a person, not an impersonal force (Ephesians 4:30; Acts 5:3). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:8) and He comes to live in every Christian (Acts 2:38). He applies the work of Jesus to us, distributes spiritual gifts to us (1 Corinthians 12), teaches us (John 16:14), gives us power for daily life (Acts 1:8) and his indwelling is God’s seal on us until the day of Redemption (Ephesians 4:30).
Sinfulness of Man
We believe that men and women were created equally in the sight of God in his full image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). Humanity has a unique dignity because of this (Genesis 9:6).
Adam and Eve, our first parents, disobeyed God and sinned in the Garden in Eden (Genesis 3). Since then death, pain, suffering and evil entered into God’s good creation. From Adam’s sin every human being inherits a sinful nature (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12) and, by nature, is alienated from God (Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 1:21-22; Romans 3:23).
We believe in the total depravity of the human heart (not that we are as bad as we can be but that every part of us is affected by sin). Of ourselves, we are utterly unable to remedy our lost state in the sight of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
There is a devil (Matthew 4:1-11), who is still working in the world to destroy the souls of men and women and he, his angels and all who do not receive Christ as their personal Saviour will eternally perish in hell (Revelation 20:10-15; John 3:18,19).
We are saved by faith alone, in Christ alone and by grace alone as a gift of God’s grace. Salvation cannot be earned in any way (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:23).
All that needed to be done has been done by Jesus. He lived the perfect life that God demanded, and which we could not, died bearing God’s punishment in our place and rose again triumphing over sin, the devil (Satan) and death (Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
God in his love offers reconciliation, love, joy, life to all people through the Gospel. He forgives sinners whom He calls granting them repentance and eternal life. When our faith is placed in Jesus what Martin Luther called ‘The Great Exchange’ takes place. We get credited with the perfect righteousness of Jesus and our sin is forgiven in Jesus. Once in Christ, believers are kept by God’s power and can never be lost.
In short, salvation is a gift of God through grace received through personal faith in Jesus. We contribute nothing!
To be a follower of Jesus is also to leave isolation behind and to become a member of a family with its responsibilities and privileges. Christians meet together to worship God, to study the Bible and pray and to serve the world and tell others about Jesus. The church is not a building but is the family of God. The sign of belonging is baptism (Matthew 28:18) and because God deals with us in families we baptise both believers and the children of believers. The Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) is the family meal when we remember the love of God for us and are strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
Want to learn more?
The best way to learn more about Jesus is to come along to one of our services (Sundays at 11am and 6pm). You are welcome to stay for tea and coffee afterwards, and to have a chat about what was said in the service, or just get to know us better. If you would rather you can also listen to our services on the internet; just go to the ‘Sermons’ page and follow the link.
However, if you aren’t sure whether you want to go to church, but would like to learn more about Christianity (or us), we would be delighted to hear from you. You might like to attend a Christianity Explored course which is an excellent way to find out more.