Statement of Faith
- Scripture as God's Revelation
- The Fall
- Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit
- A Holy People
- The Church
- Baptism & The Lord's Supper
According to his Word in Scripture, God is known only through his revelation of himself – both his creation and history but definitively in Jesus Christ. To this revelation, the Bible bears God-given witness, such that it too is revelatory. The revelation given in salvation-history is now preserved in sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments in such a way that this revelation and Scripture are inseparable. By the same token Scripture is complete and cannot be added to. The authority of Scripture is that of the ultimate, once-for-all historical revelation. For this reason the Scriptures are sufficient, containing all things necessary for our salvation. In their totality the Scriptures are both God-given and man-made. They are not divine only in part, nor exclusively divine so as not to be fully the work of human writers. It was “breathed out” by God, and he is the author both of the verbal form and of the content of Scripture. Thus Scripture is the Word of God, and is entirely trustworthy in every respect.
Everything seen and unseen came into being by God's creative Word. As created, the natural order reflects the goodness of its creator. Human beings are the crown of God's creation. They alone are made “in his image.” To be fully human comes from knowing God in Christ, who is the perfect image of God and the perfect pattern of human life. All human beings enjoy equal dignity before God, regardless of sex, race or color, from the earliest beginnings of life to the moment of death.
By rejecting God's Word and provision when tempted by the devil, the human race in Adam and Eve fell from the original perfection of creation. They lost the glory of intimate fellowship with him, and his image in them was spoiled. Their sin, transmitted to all generations, has brought upon us all the guilt of divine condemnation, the subjection to evil and death, division and disorder in our relations with each other, and the prospect of judgment. The fall has also blighted the natural order. Disasters expose its brokenness, and men and women selfishly exploit it, instead of sharing it with one another responsibly as stewards to whom it has been entrusted by God.
The eternal Son of God became incarnate man in Jesus Christ. He was conceived by his virgin mother Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. The humanity of Jesus, unlike ours, remained free from sin. Like us, he was tempted at every turn, but he perfectly conformed to God's will in every thought and word and deed. In becoming man, Christ did not cease to be God or divest himself of any divine attribute, but veiled his divine identity. He “emptied himself” by subjecting himself to the lowliness of human life and submitting to death by crucifixion, which demonstrated both God's love and mercy towards sinners and his holy wrath and justice. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only savior of lost humanity. Christ thereby achieved justification for all who believe. In justification God in Christ not only pardons the sins of the guilty but also accepts them as righteous through their faith in him. Although Jesus Christ is both truly and perfectly God and truly and perfectly man, he is but one person. Within the Trinity he is God as the Father is God, and, with the Holy Spirit, is to be worshiped and glorified equally with the Father. At the end of the age Christ will return -in person, visibly, suddenly and in triumphant power and glory. He will bring to consummation God's plans for the whole of creation. There will be “a new heaven and a new earth,” to the glory of God and the unending joy of renewed humanity.
The Holy Spirit is the third “person” of the Trinity; he is God as the Father is God and the Son is God. The Spirit was active in the world from the beginning. As the Spirit of the ascended Son, he is counselor, helper and advocate. He speaks, convicts, shows, guides, teaches, commands, strengthens and intercedes. The Spirit gave God's Word to the world. The Spirit continues to fulfill Christ's promises by bringing glory to him. In his sovereign grace he equips members of the church for their ministries of upbuilding, witness and service among peoples of every race, language and culture.
God's eternal purpose is to create a holy people who will freely worship and serve him. This he accomplishes through sanctification, whereby in Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit his people are made holy. It is the end purpose of all his dealings with the human race. His people are called to be holy as he is holy.
The church consists of all those in every age chosen and called by God to be his believing and obedient people. As such the church is known only to God, and its identity is grounded in his gracious purpose. This church also has an historical and human identity, comprising all who in every place constitute the worshiping community of God's people. The church in all ages is the one people of God. Of this church Christ is the sole King and Head, ruling it by his Word through the Spirit. The church exists to worship God and to serve him by proclaiming his message of reconciliation to the world, by building up its members in their faith and by caring for those in need. The church is called constantly to reform itself in the light of God's Word. As God's Spirit gives his people new insights into the unsearchable riches of his Word, so they are to formulate afresh the church's beliefs and reshape the church's structures and practices, but always in harmony with the Word of God.
Conversion to Christ in repentance and faith finds expression in membership of a local congregation of his church. Essential to the health and growth of believers, this involves a commitment to the worship, fellowship, service and discipline of the congregation. Members are called to devote their talents and resources to encourage, strengthen and edify the church as the body of Christ – not only a center of worship and a means of grace but also a family and a base for evangelism and service. This life of discipleship is marked by: continuing trust in Christ as the only savior, submission to his lordship, dependence on his grace and strength, a love for God that surpasses all human loves, obedience to all the teachings of God's Word, self-denial in the bearing of the cross, the consecration of all our talents and resources to the service of Christ, the renunciation of all known sin, witness to Christ's gospel by word and deed, care for others in need, work for a more just and peaceful society, and an eager expectation of the reappearing of Christ at the end of the age.
As the Father sent Christ into the world, so Christ sends his followers to make disciples of all nations. This unique task of evangelism is the church's primary responsibility towards the world – to declare the message of the gospel as God's ultimate Word to humankind. In its evangelistic calling the church is empowered by the Spirit, who commissions every believer to be a witness to the gospel and who convinces hearers of its truth – and of divine judgment upon those who spurn it. As Christian people we are commanded to love our neighbors and function as salt and light in the world, in the service of the kingdom of Christ and to the glory of God who is the creator and judge of all.