Statement of Faith
A statement of faith is an expression of how we understand the unchangeable things about God and how He has chosen to reveal Himself to this world. This can be expressed differently but is essentially a summary of foundational truths.
FOUNDATIONAL TRUTHS & PRACTICE
A foundation is a rock to build a structure on and the same is true of a foundational truth. The Christian faith has many foundational truths given to us by God that are not a matter of opinion but rather form the basic standard of belief for any Christian. Each Christian community develops practices to respond to these truths and these are as varied as the stars in the sky because they are about us responding to God’s truths. These are open to opinion because they are different for each person.
Christians and churches can respond to God differently because we are all unique, and so if one person chooses to, for example worship by standing still and another by dancing, that is fine. Christians should find unity in foundational truths and celebrate that we all respond to God’s truth differently. So, the Christian faith is made up of foundational truths (the unchangeable facts about God and His kingdom) and faith practices (our response to these foundational truths.)
There is only one God, creator of the Universe and everything in it.
God reveals Himself to us as a trinity of three equal persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Although one in character and purpose, the three members of the Godhead have different primary functions:
The Father rules and creates with absolute authority,
Jesus is the Saviour of humankind,
and the Holy Spirit is the revealer, teacher and empowerer.
These are some unchangeable truths
God has always existed. God is all powerful.
God created everything for His pleasure and everything He created is good.
God is good and there is no evil in Him.
God gives us freedom of choice to accept Him or reject Him and
do what is right or wrong.
Evil came into the world through Satan and is propagated when
we choose to reject God’s ways.
God is everywhere. God knows everything.
God is love. God is just and true.
God is merciful and forgiving. God is worthy of all worship.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God never changes.
God is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
The nature of Jesus
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in Him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:1-5
CHRISTS WORK OF SALVATION
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”
All of humanity has sinned by rejecting God’s rule over our lives. The price of sin is physical death, as well as spiritual death in the form of separation from God in a place called Hell for eternity. Jesus offers everyone salvation from the consequences of their sins.
He achieved this by paying the price for the sin of all humankind (atonement), throughout all ages, by His sacrificial death on the cross. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
It is only through His redeeming love, mercy and grace that we can once again be part of God’s chosen people, in right relationship with Him. Reliance on our own righteous acts is futile as they are totally inadequate.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Everyone is invited by Jesus to: Confess their sins, Repent of their sins, and Invite Him to be their Saviour and Lord. Through Jesus, we can have eternal life – unbroken fellowship with the Lord. When physical life on earth comes to an end, Christians have a place prepared in Heaven.
All need to be saved. All can be saved. All can know they are saved. But not all will be saved, for some will choose to reject Jesus and His gift of salvation. As Christians, we need to join a community of believers, so that together we can strive to live a holy life, without sin.
There are five moments of grace to consider.
Even before we are aware of Jesus, He is working in our lives through the Holy Spirit to persuade us of God’s amazing mercy and love, and to draw us to the moment of decision.
At some point, either gradually or instantly, we become aware of God’s grace and choose to give our hearts to Jesus, repent of our sins, and become followers of Christ. In that moment, we are saved, our sins are forgiven and we become Christians. We are justified, in other words it is just as if we have no sin in our lives.
Our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12.) We start a life with Jesus Christ as our central focus. His will becomes our purpose and reason for living. This is the point that you can truly call yourself a Christian.
OBSTACLES TO GRACE
Things that tempt us to sin are called obstacles to grace. As Christians, we strive to live pure and holy lives but there are things which hinder our growth in the Lord. In our attempt to deny unhealthy self-interest and to live for Christ, we need to identify the stumbling blocks with the help of the Holy Spirit.
We need to daily examine our hearts and agree with God that there are areas of sin. This is called confession. Thereafter we need to seek His forgiveness. These acts take the form of prayer between us and God. We should then desire to follow through by doing things that show that we are sincere and truly sorry for our sin. This can involve us confessing our sin, apologising to people and turning away from the sinful behaviour.
There are five moments of grace to consider.
THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF GRACE
Just as there are obstacles to grace, so there are many building blocks of grace which God gives us to help us strive for personal holiness and perfection.
Studying the Scriptures.
Doing acts of charity or good works.
Being part of a Christian community.
Worship and listening to Christian music.
Christians practice each one of these in order to increase God’s grace in our lives.
The goal of every Christian is to live a pure life striving for personal holiness. This cannot be achieved in our own strength but God gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us through the process of gradually getting rid of the sin in our lives and replacing it with holy habits.
This process of becoming more Christ-like is called sanctification.
The Holy Spirit graciously assists us in mirroring the characteristics of our role-model, Jesus.
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
While Christians celebrate the coming of the promised Holy Spirit on the occasion of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, like Jesus Christ, has been present from the beginning. He was active throughout the Old Testament at particular times and in specific places.
God sent the Holy Spirit to guide the people of Israel. His visible presence took the form of a pillar of cloud or fire. It was called the Shekinah (‘dwelling’ or ‘settling’ in English). Another Hebrew word used to describe the Holy Spirit is Ruach, which means ‘breath’ or ‘wind’. It is a life-force that sustains all living things.
Jesus promised that, after His resurrection, the Holy Spirit would come to live inside all believers permanently. Pentecost marks the beginning of this season of ministry when the Holy Spirit fell like fire on the early believers and they began to preach and operate in His power and authority.
“The Holy Spirit teaches us what we need to know. He guides us into all truth and brings to mind God’s Word as we need it.”
JOHN 16:13, JOHN 14:26
“The Holy Spirit leads the church in spreading the Gospel, and empowers believers supernaturally through equipping us with a variety of spiritual gifts.”
1 PETER 4:10-11
“When the Holy Spirit is active in the lives of Christians, we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
The Holy Spirit operates in the lives of every believer:
Before they accept Jesus in calling them to repentance.
After conversion, the Holy Spirit lives in the heart of each believer, working from within.
At times through an extra anointing called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is an activation and empowering for service which takes many forms.
The book of Acts provides many examples of the manifestations resulting from this work of the Holy Spirit.
“When they accept Jesus – as the Scriptures say no one can say Jesus is Lord except for by the Spirit of God.”
1 CORINTHIANS 12:3
There is only one holy church which is the body of Christ.
There are many different expressions of that church in denominations and congregations but they are still part of the one church.
The church is made up of Christians who believe and follow Jesus.
All Christians should be baptized. This is a symbolic inclusion in the church.
The means, frequency and mode of baptism is a matter of opinion and will be different in various denominations or congregations.
God calls and anoints shepherds to lead His people in various places but what they are called (priests, pastors or reverends) is a matter of opinion.
Christians have the responsibility of affirming that call on a person’s life.
Christians should hold the shepherds accountable.
Christians should supply the shepherds’ needs so that they can fulfil their call.
Shepherds are there to provide spiritual leadership but the work of the church is done by all.
A Christian should be studying Scripture so as to live a life of Scriptural holiness.
I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and a primary way that the Lord reveals Himself to us.
The Bible is a collection of 66 books making up the Old and New Testaments and includes many genres and styles of writing.
A Christian should take care to properly interpret the Bible, taking into account content, context, background and style of writing.
Where our will is out of step with the apparent meaning of Scripture, it is us who need to bend towards Scripture, not Scripture that needs to bend towards us.
I believe in the traditional Christian marriage between one man and one woman.
This is the only appropriate place for sexual activity.