We invite new members of our church to read with us a book by Dale Ralph Davis called ‘the house that Jesus built’. In chapter 1 Davis outlines truths which helpfully summarise our core beliefs:
The Bible is entirely true
Jesus believed and taught that Scripture comes from God and is therefore entirely true. We believe that God has revealed his great plan of salvation to us through the Bible. God inspired human authors to write every word of the Bible, so that the Bible in its original languages in its entirety is the Word of God, without any errors. It contains everything we need so that we can live in a way that pleases God. The Bible is the final word for us as a church on matters of faith and practice. Because this is true, the Bible should be studied and obeyed by God’s people in every generation and culture.
Sinners are perfectly sinful
We believe that as people made in God’s image we are capable of good, kind, loving, moral acts. But we also believe that at the core of our being there is rebellion against God, that the power of sin rules and distorts our behaviour, motivations, desires and perspectives. It is not simply that we do wrong things, rather, Jesus was clear that it is our hearts that produce sinful acts and all sorts of evil. Because this is true, Christians should have a humble view of ourselves as sinners who are only saved by God’s grace and not because of anything good in us.
God is really big
We believe there is only one true God and that he has revealed himself as the ‘Trinity’, which means that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each fully and eternally God. God is unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. God is the creator and the sustainer of our entire cosmos. He is the one who rules over time and history, Lord over nations and us as individuals. He is sovereign in electing, saving, and keeping sinners so that they trust in Jesus as Lord when left to ourselves no one would choose him. Because all this is true, our lives should be lived for the glory of the all-glorious God.
The Cross is absolutely central
Jesus announced that he came ‘not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45). Since sin keeps us slaves and enemies of God, we need the rescue mission of Jesus to have any hope of life with God. That is why the cross is the central symbol of the Christian faith. We believe that Jesus died to take the penalty and punishment for our sin and law-breaking. We believe Jesus did that as an act of obedience to the Father, and love for sinners, becoming our substitute so that our sin was credited to him, and his perfect righteousness is credited to us by faith. We believe Jesus came to make atonement for our sin, facing God’s just anger at sin for us so that by faith in him we can enjoy forgiveness, peace and reconciliation. Because this is true, our faith is in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation from sin and to receive eternal life as God’s gift.
Grace is utterly incredible
We believe that the only explanation as to why a holy God should send his perfect son to die under God’s curse for the sake of rebel sinners is this: Grace! Jesus, the perfect and eternal Son of God lived in obedience and died under condemnation to demonstrate to the world the extravagant love of God that we in no way earn or deserve. Grace is God giving us his Son Jesus. Because this is true, we can share God’s good news with everyone as a gift to be received by faith and with gratitude.
Disciples are continually secure
We believe that what God starts, God finishes. Once God brings a sinner to Jesus, Jesus will keep that person right to the end. As Jesus himself said: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). We believe that one day the Lord Jesus will return. He will raise the dead and will judge the world in perfect righteousness. Jesus will keep his people safe on that day so that we are welcomed into eternal life of perfect love and joy in fellowship with our God and Saviour. Because this is true, our trust throughout all of life is in the finished work of Jesus on the cross for us, and the unbreakable grip he has on his own people.
Life is wholly holy
We believe that God rules over every part of life, and that nothing is ourside of that rule. All of life is holy – our work and leisure, our family and finances, our sex and our sport, our education and our suffering – and therefore all of life is to be lived recognising Jesus is Lord. Because this is true, it gives our everyday lives, and even the most routine or mundane tasks significance as every moment is an opportunity for us to live for the glory of God.
For a more detailed summary of our beliefs as a Reformed church, you can read the Westminster Confession of Faith which serves as our statement of faith.