What we believe
Beliefs matter – they ultimately translate into the way we think, the way we feel and the way we act. Beliefs based on biblical texts are usually called “doctrines”. Learn more about what we believe!
One God, three Persons
We believe in the one true God who lives eternally in three persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The doctrine of the Trinity is a complex one; not surprising, it has often been misunderstood both by Christians and non-Christians. The 6th century Athanasian Creed explains it best:
“(…)we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal.
Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty(…)”.
We believe in the divine inspiration and supreme authority of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, which are the written Word of God—fully trustworthy for faith and conduct.
The Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy summarizes our beliefs about the bible in the following way:
1. God, who is Himself truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.
2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: It is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.
3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.
5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited of disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.
We believe in the love, grace and sovereignty of God in creating, sustaining, ruling, redeeming and judging the world.
In accordance to our belief about the bible we affirm that God created the world (Gen 1-2), sustains it and will eventually renew it to come and dwell with all believers (Rev 21).
We do not subscribe to belief systems solely based on either creationism, intelligent design or evolutionary theory. We recognize all of them to be in a theoretical stage and highly speculative in many of their arguments. Beyond any doubt, we believe that all hard evidence produced by any of these schools of thought will serve well in helping to understand scripture more correctly and affirm it’s divine authorship.
We agree with Albert Einsteins famous quote that “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” We encourage believers to peruse scientific careers if they choose to. We, however, recognize that the much-heated controversies on creation and evolution are secondary to understanding the person of the Triune God, Jesus’ atoning death on the cross and His second coming.
Jesus' atonement for our sins
We believe in The atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross: dying in our place, paying the price of sin and defeating evil, so reconciling us with God.
Because all have sinned and are therefore under death sentence, all must trust in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus for the remission of sins. There is no other way to reconcile with God except through the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus.
Those who trust in Jesus Christ have access to the Throne of Grace by His sacrifice and by His sacrifice alone. Good works are acceptable to God only as a love offering given to Him because of His worthiness, and have no bearing on our acceptance, standing or approval, all of which were accomplished by the cross.
Good works offered for the purpose of acceptance, standing or approval are therefore an affront to the cross by which all of these things were gained for us by Jesus. Good works are not offered for His approval, but for His joy and glory, and must be offered through the Son (I Peter 2:5) in obedience to Him. Therefore, the goal of our walk with Jesus is obedience and trust.
We believe in the justification of sinners solely by the grace of God through faith in Christ.
We believe, as it is said elsewhere, that “no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again; and that no degree of reformation however great, no attainments in morality however high, no culture however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven; but a new nature imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit through the Word, is absolutely essential to salvation, and only those thus saved are sons of God.”
We also believe that our redemption has been accomplished solely by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin and was made a curse for us, dying in our place; and that no repentance, no feeling, no faith, no good resolutions, no sincere efforts, no submission to the rules and regulations of any church, nor all the churches that have existed since the days of the Apostles can add in the very least degree to the value of the blood, or to the merit of the finished work wrought for us by Him who united in His person true and proper deity with perfect and sinless humanity (Lev. 17:11; Isa. 64:6; Matt. 26:28; John 3:7–18; Rom. 5:6–9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 6:15; Eph. 1:7; Phil. 3:4–9; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:18–19, 23).
We believe that the new birth of the believer comes only through faith in Christ and that repentance is a vital part of believing, and is in no way, in itself, a separate and independent condition of salvation; nor are any other acts, such as confession, baptisms, prayer, or faithful service, to be added to believing as a condition of salvation (John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; 5:24; 6:29; Acts 13:39; 16:31; Rom. 1:16–17; 3:22, 26; 4:5; 10:4; Gal. 3:22).
We believe in the Church, the body of Christ both local and universal, the priesthood of all believers—given life by the Spirit and endowed with the Spirit’s gifts to worship God and proclaim the gospel, promoting justice and love.
We believe, as one statement of faith puts it so beautifully, “in the one, holy, universal Church. All who repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and form the living Body of Christ, of which He is the head and of which we are all members.”
In accordance with our beliefs about salvation, we affirm that belonging to a local expression of the universal church is by no means a requirement of salvation. But as a piece of coal will get cold very soon after it has been taken out of the fire, so we encourage all believers to find a local church to which they feel God called them to be part of and in which they can continuously experience the warming love of God and their fellow church members.
We believe in the priesthood of all believers and reject all ideas of spiritual authority of one person over another. Jesus made it very clear that all authority had been given to him (Matt 28) and so the church is a body of equal yet different parts that work together in obedience to the head.
Ordinances of Water Baptism and Holy Communion
We believe in the ordinances of water baptism and holy communion as a sign of and not a means to salvation.
We affirm that salvation is only possible by grace through faith alone; neither baptism nor communion are a requirement for it. Yet we do recognise the spiritual power of remembering Jesus’ atoning death and our co-crucifixion with Him in the ways that He himself taught us: by baptising one another in water and partaking of the communion bread and wine after it’s prayerful dedication.
Water baptism is the act of ‘immersing’ a new believer in water as a symbolic act of freedom and belonging to Jesus’ family. The Israelites left slavery in Egypt and become a free people from the moment they crossed the Red Sea (Exodus 14). In the same way, the believer states through his water baptism that he has left behind the old life of slavery to sin and death and has entered into a newness of life.
Communion is the act of sharing bread and wine together in remembrance of Jesus’ death for us. Jesus modelled this tradition by instructing his disciples: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’.” (Luke 22). Christians share communion as an act of remembering, but also as an act of proclaiming that Jesus will come back (1 Cor 11:26).
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
The Lord Jesus Christ promised that all who would believe in Him would receive the indwelling witness and presence of the Holy Spirit, and also the empowering by the baptism of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses.
God the Holy Spirit manifests in the believer in various wonderful ways. We believe that every believer should experience the presence of the Holy Spirit as a confirmation that they belong to Christ (The Spirit of Adoption – Romans 8v15), and His empowering (The baptism of the Holy Spirit – Acts 1v4-8). While there are different views on how and whether these are simultaneous or separate experiences, we believe that every believer can and should seek to live “filled with the Spirit”. (Ephesians 4v18). The Spirit-filled life results in a consciousness of His presence, leading, convicting, correcting, comforting and empowering the calling of the believer.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
We believe that all nine gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Cor. 12:4-11 continue to be expressed in the church today and are subject to the order prescribed by Scripture.
The gifts, often a conscious experience, are an empowering work of the Spirit which is distinct from the regenerating work of the Spirit which is offered to every Christian.
We believe in accordance with scripture that these gifts are for the church and it’s ministry and so we practice the laying on of hands for filling of the Spirit, strengthening, healing and for recognition and empowering of those who lead the church.
We do not see this list as necessarily exclusive, and believe that the operation of all spiritual gifts should be thoroughly tested on at least three criteria:
- is it sincere?
- is it in accordance with the overall testimony of the bible?
- does it glorify Jesus?
The Kingdom of God
We believe that the Kingdom of God is a present reality and a future hope, forcibly advancing through the agency of the church.
Jesus taught us to pray: “‘your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The coming of the kingdom of heaven to earth is at the heart of the good news of the New Testament.
The kingdom of God is the gigantic new project that God launched to rescue and redeem the fallen creation. The start of this project was the coming of Jesus and every believer, who has become a new person through receiving the Holy Spirit, is already part of this project.
We therefore see the act of advancing God’s kingdom by means of making disciples as the wonderful and supreme task of the church. We clearly state that Jesus is the head of the church and that all authority has been given to Him which means we firmly reject any form of theology that advocates Theocracy or a system in which Christians dominate over non-believers.
Financial Giving & Tithing
We believe that financial giving is an act of love and so must always be done freely and without compulsion.
We encourage believers to be good stewards of the money that has been entrusted to them, and we practice “tithing” – giving of ten percent of what they receive to God. (For teaching explaining tithing, see this series of short video teachings on “5 truths about the tithe”)
We acknowledge that some Christians may have different views on this. Our biblical conviction is that every believer should “give as you have decided in your hearts to give” (See 2 Corinthians 9v6-12), meaning freely and without compulsion.
Yet, we also acknowledge that our hearts need guiding (by the truth, not our feelings) and guarding (from greed, deception, selfishness, etc) in order that our giving will truly honour God. Therefore, if anyone concludes that the practice of tithing (ten percent giving) is “Old Covenant” and not applicable to Christians, we believe that a proper “New Covenant” application would lead the believers heart to ask: “how much more?”.
We believe that dead believers pass immediately into the presence of Christ, enjoying conscious fellowship with Him and wait for the receiving of the new body.
Jesus himself promised, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (John 11:25). In accordance with that promise we believe that all dead believers will instantly after their death be re-united and enjoy concision fellowship with Christ in Paradise (Luke 23:43).
The bible does not teach that death is a God-purposed part of life; rather it is an enemy of God that has been overcome by Jesus atoning sacrifice on the cross and that will eventually be destroyed (Rev 20).
The Lord Jesus Christ will return bodily, visibly, and personally to conform believers to His own image. He will judge the living and the dead and will effect a final separation of the redeemed and the lost.
We believe the second coming of Christ gives reason for great hope and expectation.
This will be the time when the bodily resurrection of the dead will happen. Heaven and Earth will be renewed and God will come to dwell with humans again. Revelations 21 makes the beautiful promise: “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Far from the popular image of “disembodied souls sitting on clouds playing harp”, this will be the start of God’s gigantic new project. And the original tasks that were given to Adam and Eve and then lost through the fall (Gen 2-3) will be restored to humans: to be “high priests and rulers”, meaning to wisely and lovingly steward creation and to sum up the praises of creation and give them back to God.