God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He is absolutely holy, infinitely good and great, all powerful, all present, all knowing and eternal. He has revealed Himself in three persons: The Father, son and Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God. God created the heavens, the earth and all that exists in them including people. He continues to care for and govern His creation, working out His sovereign purposes for all that He has made.
ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son, co-equal with the Father and Holy Spirit. He came to earth and took on humanity, still fully God and now and forever also fully human. This incarnation was achieved through the virgin birth. Jesus lived a sinless human life in perfect obedience to the Father in a role of humility taken on with His incarnation. He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice for sin and as a substitute in our place through His death on the cross. By the Holy Spirit’s power, God the Father raised Him bodily from the dead, in a conquest over death. This resurrected Jesus, the Father lifted to His right hand of power and made Him Lord of all. Christ there intercedes on our behalf and has sent the Holy Spirit to be His representative on earth. The Gospel presents this crucified, resurrected and glorified Christ as the Saviour of the world with the news that at the climax of the ages, He will return to earth to judge the living and the dead.
ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and Son. He was revealed first in the Old Testament as the “Spirit of God” but with the incarnation took on a new role of being the Spirit from the Father upon Jesus Christ. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus fulfilled His ministry. Then on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon and inhabited believers. The church was born by the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is present in the world to make humankind aware of sin and our need for Jesus Christ, and to bring us to salvation. The Holy Spirit is received at conversion and permanently lives in believers, providing us with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives believers spiritual gifts at conversion, to be used in service for God. Christians should seek to live daily under His control.
ABOUT THE BIBLE
The Bible is the written and living Word of God to humankind. All sixty-six books are God’s Word to us. The Bible is inerrant in its entirety, and is our supreme authority on all matters relating to God and life, surpassing all human reason and tradition. It was written by human authors, but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. While Jesus Christ alone is the authority in all matters of Christian belief and living, His will in such matters is either specifically revealed in, or is consistent with, His Word.
People are made in the image of God and are the supreme focus of His creative work. People are highly valuable to God. Human value is guaranteed from this divine likeness and this is true for all humanity and not just Christians. Although every human being still displays evidence of their divine creation, they also display marked fallenness from their originally created potential, due to what the Bible calls “sin”. Sin separates us from God. It effects our relationships, attitudes, and even our physical bodies. Sin ultimately cuts us off eternally from God. From the moment the human race fell, every individual has been hopelessly lost and destined for eternity in hell, unless God were to graciously intervene. We are not innocent victims of sin, but guilty of going our own way.
Salvation is a free gift demonstrating God’s love, mercy and grace, and is provided by the Lord Jesus Christ through His atoning death and His powerful resurrection. Salvation is only available through Jesus Christ, who is exclusively “the way” (John 14:6). Salvation is solely provided by God without any contribution from us. We are saved by grace alone through faith, without works. Salvation is on one hand something that is possessed at the moment of conversion – where we are saved from the penalty and power of sin – and is also something to be expected when Christians who are alive at Jesus’ return will be saved from the presence of sin. Salvation occurs when we repent and trust in Jesus Christ, responding appropriately to the gospel.
People live forever. After physical death they continue to exist, either to be eternally punished in hell because of their sin, or to be eternally in God’s glorious presence because of their salvation. Heaven and hell are real places of eternal existence. Jesus Christ will return visibly and victoriously from the presence of God the Father, to gather His people to Himself and culminate His conquest over Satan, sin and rebellion. All people, both believers and unbelievers, will be raised bodily to appear before God. The only two eternal fates will be heaven or hell. There will be a new heaven and a new earth, and creation will be so transformed that righteousness will characterise believers and the new heavens and new earth forever.
ABOUT BAPTISM & COMMUNION
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only two ordinances given by Jesus Christ to be observed by His Church. Baptism is a physical and symbolic act. Baptism does not save a person. Neither does the Bible portray it as an ‘extra grace’ or a phenomenon which achieves something spiritual or supernatural in a person’s life. (eg. To lift us to ‘a higher plane’ than we were before).
Communion is a memorial of thanksgiving for the sacrifice of Jesus, with the bread representing His body and the grape juice representing His blood. Jesus commanded His disciples to remember Him by partaking of the bread and grape juice. These are symbols, and Jesus does not literally come down from heaven to inhabit the bread and grape juice at communion. Communion is to be regularly practised until Jesus returns. It is also a powerful witness to unbelievers who are looking on, as through communion we proclaim Jesus’ death.
The Bible teaches that Christians should surrender every aspect of their lives to be a “spiritual service” or “offered ministry” to God. In this sense, every Christian is to minister as a servant of Christ, both in the world and within the context of the local church. Serving Jesus in the natural sphere of everyday life is as important to Him as service under-taken in a church building. Each Christian is given one or more spiritual gifts. It is these gifts that give balance to the Body of Christ and enable Christ’s work to continue and the church to grow.
The empowerment for service comes from intimacy with Jesus Christ through prayer, obedience to His Word, dependence on the Holy Spirit and appropriate placement in ministry. There are some Christians who are called by God to serve in full time pastoral and leadership roles. Those who are called to this service have specific responsibilities within the church, and their calling must be confirmed by the church. It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the good news concerning Jesus Christ and His reconciling work on the cross and its implications with those God leads across their path, both through life and word.
ABOUT THE CHURCH
The universal Church consists of all persons – in heaven now or still living on earth – who confess Christ as their Lord and Saviour. The local Church is a smaller community of believers who meet regularly for worship, fellowship, teaching from the Scriptures, and serving each other. A healthy church is outward looking, seeking to reach the lost. Christ alone is the head of His church, both universal and local. The Church is known as the Body of Christ. No other person, group, or religious organisation can profess to be the head of the Church.
Jesus prayed for unity in His church, but this is not the broad, ecumenical kind of “unity” that some call for today, with churches invited to combine with other groups (even cults) which do not hold to solid biblical teaching. Jesus desired unity among born again Christians. When He prayed that people would be “one,” the people He referred to were believers (John 17:20-23), and this is the oneness we must aim for. Jesus wants oneness in His Church.