What we believe

/What we believe
What we believe2016-11-02T12:14:18+00:00

We believe the Bible to be the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. Therefore this determines how we worship, live and the importance we place on the preaching of God’s word. Our constitution contains a brief statement of our doctrinal position which in summary is the Gospel of Christ and the Doctrines of Grace.

Ps.24.1-2

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers”

Table of Contents

Chapter

1.The Holy Scriptures 2Tim.3.16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”

2.God and the Holy Trinity

3. God’s Decree

4. Creation

5. Divine Providence

6. The Fall of Man, Sin and Punishment

7. God’s Covenant

8. Christ the Mediator

9. Free Will

10. Effectual Calling

11. Justification

12. Adoption

13. Sanctification

14. Saving Faith

15. Repentance and Salvation

16. Good Works

17. The Perseverance of the Saints

18. Assurance of Salvation

19. The Law of God

20. The Gospel and its Influence

21. Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

22. Worship and the Sabbath Day

23. Marriage

24. The Church

25. The Communion of Saints

26. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

27. Baptism

28. Lord’s Supper

29. State of Man after Death, and the Resurrection of the Dead

30. Last Judgement

1. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

1.1 The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule1 for saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.2Although the light of nature and the works of creation and providence give such clear testimony to the goodness, wisdom and power of God that they leave people without excuse,3 yet they are not sufficient to give the knowledge of God and his will that is necessary for salvation.4 Therefore it pleased the Lord to reveal himself at various times and in different ways, and to declare his will to his church.5 To ensure the preservation and propagation of the truth, and to establish and support the church against human corruption, the malice of Satan, and the world, he committed his complete revelation to writing. The Holy Scriptures are therefore absolutely indispensable,6 for God’s former ways of revealing his will to his people have now ceased.7

(1) Or, standard
(2) Isa 8:20; Luk 16:29; Eph 2:20; 2Ti 3:15-17
(3) Psa 19:1-3; Rom 1:19-21,32; 2:12a,14-15
(4) Psa 19:1-3 with 7-11; Rom 1:19-21; 2:12a,14-15 with 1:16-17 and 3:21
(5) Heb 1:1-2a
(6) Pro 22:19-21; Luk 1:1-4; 2Pe 1:12-15; 3:1; Deu 17:18ff; 31:9ff,19ff; 1Co 15:1; 2Th 2:1-2,15; 3:17; Rom 1:8-15; Gal 4:20; 6:11; 1Ti 3:14ff; Rev 1:9,19; 2:1, etc.; Rom 15:4; 2Pe 1:19-21
(7) Heb 1:1-2a; Act 1:21-22; 1Co 9:1; 15:7-8; Eph 2:20

1.2 The Holy Scriptures, or the Word of God written, consist of all the books of the Old and New Testament. These are:

The Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

The New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation

All of these are given by the inspiration of God to be the rule1 of faith and life.2

(1) Or, standard
(2) 2Ti 3:16 with 1Ti 5:17-18; 2Pe 3:16

1.3 The books commonly called the Apocrypha were not given by divine inspiration, and are not part of the canon or rule of Scripture. Therefore they have no authority in the church of God, nor are they to be accepted or made use of in any way different from other human writings.1

(1) Luk 24:27,44; Rom 3:2

1.4 Holy Scripture demands belief, yet its authority does not depend on the testimony of any person or church,1 but entirely on God its author, who is truth itself. Therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.2

(1) Luk 16:27-31; Gal 1:8-9; Eph 2:20
(2) 2Ti 3:15; Rom 1:2; 3:2; Act 2:16; 4:25; Mat 13:35; Rom 9:17; Gal 3:8; Rom 15:4; 1Co 10:11; Mat 22:32; Luk 16:17; Mat 22:41ff; Joh 10:35; Gal 3:16; Act 1:16; 2:24ff; 13:34-35; Joh 19:34-36; 19:24; Luk 22:37; Mat 26:54; Joh 13:18; 2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 1:19-21; Mat 5:17-18; 4:1-11

1.5 We may be influenced and persuaded by the testimony of the church of God to hold a high and reverent regard for the Holy Scriptures.1 Moreover the glory of its contents, the efficacy of its doctrine, the majesty of its style, the agreement among all its parts, the expanse of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full revelation it gives of the only way for human salvation, together with many other incomparable characteristics and its complete perfection—all these arguments provide abundant evidence that it is indeed the Word of God.2 Yet, not withstanding this, our full persuasion and assurance of its infallible truth and divine authority comes from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.3

(1) 2Ti 3:14-15
(2) Jer 23:28-29; Luk 16:27-31; Joh 6:63; 1Pe 1:23-25; Heb 4:12-13; Deu 31:11-13; Joh 20:31; Gal 1:8-9; Mar 16:15-16
(3) Mat 16:17; 1Co 2:14ff; Joh 3:3; 1Co 2:4-5; 1Th 1:5-6; 1Jo 2:20-21 with 27

1.6 The whole revelation of God concerning all things essential for his own glory, human salvation, faith and life, is either explicitly set down or implicitly contained in the Holy Scriptures. Nothing is ever to be added, whether by a new revelation of the Spirit, or by human traditions.1 Nevertheless, we acknowledge that the inward enlightenment of the Spirit of God is necessary for the saving understanding of the things revealed in the Word.2There are also some aspects of the worship of God and of church government common to human activities and organizations which may be determined by the light of nature and Christian common-sense, but in accordance with the general rules of the Word which must always be observed.3

(1) 2Ti 3:15-17; Deu 4:2; Act 20:20,27; Psa 19:7; 119:6,9,104,128
(2) Joh 6:45; 1Co 2:9-14
3) 1Co 14:26,40

1.7 Not all things in Scripture are equally plain in themselves,1 nor equally clear to everyone.2 Yet those things that are essential to be known, believed and obeyed for salvation are so clearly set forth and explained in one place of Scripture or another, that not only the educated but also the uneducated may attain a satisfactory understanding of them by using ordinary means.3

(1) 2Pe 3:16
(2) 2Ti 3:15-17
(3) 2Ti 3:14-17; Psa 19:7-8; 119:105; 2Pe 1:19; Pro 6:22-23; Deu 30:11-14

1.8 The Old Testament in Hebrew (the national language of the people of God of ancient Israel)1 and the New Testament in Greek (the common language of that time) were inspired directly by God, and were kept pure throughout the ages by his particular care and providence. They are therefore authentic,2 so that in all religious controversies the church must appeal to them as final.3 But these original languages are not known to all the people of God, who have a right to and an interest in the Scriptures, and who are commanded in the fear of God to read and search them.4 They are therefore to be translated into the common language of every nation to which they come,5 so that (with the Word of God living richly in all) people may worship God in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.6

(1) Rom 3:2
(2) Mat 5:18
(3) Isa 8:20; Act 15:15; 2Ti 3:16-17; Joh 10:34-36
(4) Deu 17:18-20; Pro 2:1-5; 8:34; Joh 5:39,46
(5) 1Co 14:6,9,11,12,24,28
(6) Rom 15:4; Col 3:16

1.9 The infallible rule for the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself. Therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any

[part of] Scripture (which is not a miscellany, but a unity) it must be understood in the light of other passages that speak more clearly.1

(1) Isa 8:20; Joh 10:34-36; Act 15:15-16

1.10 The supreme judge by which all religious controversies are to be settled, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, human doctrines and individual thinkers are to be examined, can be none other than the Holy Scriptures delivered by the Spirit. In the verdict of Scripture our faith is finally determined.1

(1) Mat 22:29,31-32; Act 28:23-25; Eph 2:20

2. GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY

2.1 The Lord our God is the one and only living and true God.1

His substance is in and of himself, he is infinite in being and perfection.2 His essence cannot be understood by any but himself.3 He is an absolutely pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts or passions. He alone has immortality, living in light which no one can approach.4 He is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, in every way infinite, perfectly holy, perfectly wise, absolutely free, completely absolute.5 He works all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and entirely righteous will for his own glory.6

He is perfectly loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth; he forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.7 He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him, yet at the same time he is entirely just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and he will by no means clear the guilty.8

(1) Deu 6:4; Jer 10:10; 1Co 8:4,6; 1Th 1:9
(2) Isa 48:12
(3) Exo 3:14; Job 11:7-8; 26:14; Psa 145:3; Rom 11:33-34
(4) Joh 4:24;1Ti 1:17; Deu 4:15-16; Luk 24:39; Act 14:11,15; Jas 5:17
(5) Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17; 1Ki 8:27; Jer 23:23-24; Psa 90:2; 1Ti 1:17; Gen 17:1; Rev 4:8; Isa 6:3; Rom 16:27; Psa 115:3; Ex 3:14
(6) Eph 1:11; Isa 46:10; Pro 16:4; Rom 11:36
(7) Exo 34:6-7; 1Jo 4:8
(8) Heb 11:6; Neh 9:32-33; Psa 5:4-6; Nah 1:2-3; Exo 34:7

2.2 God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness in and of himself; he is unique in being, all-sufficient in and to himself, not standing in need of any creature which he has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but rather demonstrating his own glory in them, through them, to them, and upon them.1

He alone is the source of all being, from whom, through whom, and to whom are all things;

He has absolute sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do through them, for them, or to them whatever he pleases.2

In his sight all things are open and plain, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent of created beings, so for him nothing is contingent or uncertain.3

He is perfectly holy in all his plans, in all his works, and in all his commands.4

Angels and human beings owe him, as creatures to the Creator, worship, service, and obedience, and whatever else he is pleased to require of them.5

(1) Joh 5:26; Act 7:2; Psa 148:13; 119:68; 1Ti 6:15; Job 22:2-3; Act 17:24-25
(2) Rev 4:11; 1Ti 6:15; Rom 11:34-36; Dan 4:25,34-35
(3) Heb 4:13; Rom 11:33-34; Psa 147:5; Act 15:18; Eze 11:5
(4) Psa 145:17; Rom 7:12
(5) Rev 5:12-14

2.3 In this divine and infinite Being there are three persons, the Father, the Son (or the Word) and the Holy Spirit.1 They are one in substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet this essence is undivided.2

The Father is not derived from anyone, he is neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.3 All three are infinite, without beginning, and therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being. Yet they are distinguished by several distinctive characteristics and personal relations.

This doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our fellowship with God, and of the comfort of our dependence on him.

(1) Mat 3:16-17; 28:19; 2Co 13:14
(2) Exo 3:14; Joh 14:11; 1Co 8:4-6
(3) Pro 8:22-31; Joh 1:1-3,14,18; 3:16; 10:36; 15:26; 16:28; Heb 1:2; 1Jo 4:14; Gal 4:4-6

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