What do we believe?

Statement of Faith

The Bible:

We believe that the Bible (the Scriptures) is the Word of God that He personally breathed out. God the Holy Spirit carried men along, as a wind carries a sailing ship, causing them to write exactly what He intended for them to write. He did not dictate His Word but rather used the different personalities of these men to write exactly what he wanted in their individual styles (2 Pet 1:21, Gal 3:16).

The Bible does not contain the Word of God, it is the Word of God (Matt 4:4, 2 Tim 3:16, Prov 30:5-6).

There were no errors in the original handwritten biblical documents. God has miraculously preserved His Word through the ages and the Bible is still God’s Word and as such, should determine what every Christian does and how he does it.

The Bible is our final authority and alone is able to thoroughly equip the Christian to live a life that pleases God (2 Tim 3:16-17). No other source addresses human problems as thoroughly and reliably as the Holy Scriptures.

The correct way to understand God’s meaning in the Bible is to use the plain meaning of the words (except where it is obvious that figures of speech are being used), which is discovered by carefully studying the grammar, historical background and literary setting (the immediate context and the passage’s context in the whole of the Bible) of the passage being studied. The Bible never contradicts itself and is the final word on its interpretation—it is self-interpreting.

There is only one valid interpretation of Scripture. There may, however, be multiple applications of one Scripture passage.

God:

God is the supreme Lord and maker of heaven and earth (Gen 1:1, Col 1:16-17). The Bible never tries to prove that God exists. It simply states that He does (Gen 1:1).

The God of the Bible is one being, consisting of three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit – 2 Cor 13:14). The three persons are co-equal and co-eternal (John 10:30). No one was created by the others.

Each person is God (John 6:27, Phil 2:6; Acts 5:3-4), but they are one God, not three gods. They are not different modes or forms of one person, but three persons making up one being (John 10:30, Matt 28:19).

Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God the Father (Heb 5:5; Ps 2:7; Acts 13:33), equal to the Father (Phil 2:6) and yet submissive to the Father (1Cor 3:23; 1Cor 11:3; 1Cor 15:27; 1Cor 15:28). Jesus is the only mediator between God and men (1 Tim 2:5).

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (John 15:26) as does the Son (John 8:42), but He is not begotten of the Father and is therefore not a son.

All three persons of the God-head act as one in all things (creation, resurrection, salvation).

God’s first concern is His glory (Is 48:11, John 17:24) and for this reason God commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).

Jesus Christ:

Jesus the Messiah is God. We know this because among other things:

  • He has the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:10-12).
  • He receives worship and honour (Matt 28:17; John 5:22-23) unlike any creature.
  • The prophecies concerning Jesus call Him God (Mark 1:2-3; Isa 40:3-5).

Jesus has been God from eternity past. He existed before He took on human form (Micah 5:2, Is 9:6, John 1:14, John 8:58).

Jesus is the creator of all things (Col 1:16, John 1:3).

He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of Mary who was a virgin (Matt 1:16, Luke 1:35). He continued to be fully God while taking on human form. He remains the God-man forever.

Jesus never sinned, even though He was tempted in every way as we are (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus Christ acquired all of the limitations (but not sins) of humanity by the addition of His human nature. He also voluntarily submitted Himself to the will of His Father, taking the form of a slave (Phil 2:7). In other words, He freely chose to limit the use of His divine powers except where and when He was directed by the Father. He hid His brilliant radiant beauty, which He had before He took on human form. At no time did Messiah Jesus give up any of His divine attributes.

The blood of Jesus the Messiah, representing His life (Lev 17:11), was given to ransom whoever should believe in Him, from the debt of guilt that came from breaking God’s law and not conforming to the standard of His perfection (Rom 3:23, Mk 10:45).

Jesus kept God’s Law perfectly and having done that, paid its penalty (Gal 3:13)—the price for our sin (1 Tim 2:6). God was satisfied with Jesus’ offering of Himself (1 John 2:2). Jesus died in the place of the sinner (2 Cor 5:21), restoring the relationship between God and that sinner (2 Cor 5:18-19). His death was able to cover the sin of all men, but only brings about restoration for those who receive Him (Matt 10:40; Matt 18:5; Col 2:6).

After the third day, Jesus rose from the tomb in bodily form (John 20:20-29). He later went up to heaven (Acts 1:9-11) where He remains, Head over the church. Here too, Jesus continues to intercede for all believers (Heb 7:25; Rom 8:34; 1John 2:1) as High Priest.

Jesus will return personally and visibly to rule the earth as King for 1000 years (Rev 19-20:6).

Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, God the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is clearly a person, not a force as:

  • He has intelligence (Rom 8:27), emotion (Eph 4:30) and a will (1 Cor 12:11).
  • He is sometimes referred to with the masculine pronoun “He” (John 16:13-14).
  • His titles confirm this (Acts 16:27, 1 Cor 6:11).
  • His attributes confirm this (omniscience – Is 40:13, 1 Cor 2:12; omnipresence – Ps 139:7).
  • He is associated on an equal basis with the Father and the Son (Matt 28:19).

The Spirit’s main ministry is revealing Jesus Christ, to glorify Him (John 16:14, 15:26). To that end, we see He does a number of works:

  • Conviction of sin (through exposing sin, bringing evidence against the sinner) – John 16:8 11;
  • Regeneration (the event of being born again) – Titus 3:5, John 3:3-7;
  • Baptising (1 Cor 12:13),
  • Indwelling (1 Cor 6:19, Rom 8:9),
  • Anointing (1 John 2:27),
  • Sealing (Eph 4:30),
  • Illuminating (1 Cor 2:9-16),
  • Leading (Rom 8:14),
  • Filling (Eph 5:18), and
  • Gifting – equipping God’s people for ministering to one another (1 Cor 12-14)
    NOTE: Certain gifts were used to prove that the changes from biblical Judaism to Christianity were appointed by God, and used to add to the books of inspired holy Scripture. As the church became established and as the New Testament became available, the need for these sign gifts lessened, disappearing altogether by the end of the time of the Apostles. Therefore we believe that the legitimate gifts that can be seen in the true Church today are those that are useful for edification through service (teaching, service, exhortation, giving, leading, mercy etc).

Angels:

Angels are created beings (Col 1:16). They appear to have been created before the creation of the world (Job 38:6-7)—they were present at the creation of the world but are not mentioned as being created during this process. As created beings, angels are not able to mediate between God and man and should never be worshipped (Colossians 2: 18; Revelation 22: 8 & 9).

They were originally all created holy (Jude 6). Some of the angels sinned and so were removed from their original state. We presume that fallen angels are what the Bible calls demons.

Satan:

The Bible speaks about Satan as a person, not simply the idea or picture of evil. Satan was created by God. He was created perfect (Ezek 28:14-15). He was of the cherubim, apparently the chosen or highest ranking angel (Ezek 28:14). His original sin was pride (lifting up of self). This sin led to all other sins (1 Tim 3:7; Isaiah 14:12-20).

Satan does not know everything, he cannot do everything and he cannot be everywhere at the same time. He is forced to submit to the limits set by God (Job 1:12). A Christian can resist him (James 4:7), be on guard against him (1 Peter 5:8) and take a stand against his evil schemes (Ephesians 6:11-18). He will be thrown into the lake of fire in the end (Rev 20:10).

Man:

Man was created by God in a unique way on the sixth day of creation. Man was created in the image or likeness of God (Genesis 1:26; James 3:9). Both male and female are made in God’s image (Gen 1:27). This means man is like God in some ways and is a picture of God in some ways. Even though man sinned, he continues to be like God in some ways—God’s image in man is distorted but not lost (Genesis 9:6).

Man was created for God’s own glory (Isaiah 43:7). This determines man’s entire purpose for life—doing ALL in such a way that God is seen to be as glorious as He is (1Cor 10:31; 1Pet 4:11).

Man was created without sin. God revealed His will for them through a command, which man disobeyed. Having failed, he was separated from God who is life—he died spiritually.

Since that day, sin has ruled in every mortal body of every descendant of Adam and Eve. Each person is a slave to sin from birth (Rom 6:17-18), obeying only their own desires.

Sin:

Sin is transgression of the law or lawlessness (1John 3:4) and anything opposed to the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Sin is abandoning God as the source of life and joy and to love substitutes instead of Him (Jer 2:12-13; James 4:4)).

Every individual human being is thoroughly corrupt (Is 53:6; Rom 3:10-18).

Every part of man has been affected by sin, including his heart (Jer 17:9), mind (Eph 4:17; Rom 8:7; Titus 1:15; Col 1:21) and mouth (Rom 3:13-14). Man is a slave to sin (Rom 6:18-22) from birth—he has no ability to stop sinning until God makes him a new creature through the new birth (see Salvation).

The penalty of death for sin (Rom 6:23, Gen 2:17) has three aspects:

  • Spiritual death – separation from God (Eph 2:14).
  • Physical death – the separation of the spirit from the body (2 Cor 5:6-8).
  • Eternal death – the separation from God for all eternity in the lake of fire (Rev 20:15, Mk 9:47-49).

Salvation:

Salvation is when God the Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the sake of the Name of the triune God (Is 43:25), gave Himself for all men, freeing those who receive Him from every sinful act and purifying for Himself a people who are devoted to Him and delight to do good (Titus 2:14; Rev 5:9). In doing so, He removes the curse of the Law from those who believe (Gal 3:13) so that they no longer need to fear the sentence of spiritual death we all deserved (Rom 8:1). To these (those who receive Him) He gave the right to become the children of God (John 1:12).

To magnify the wonder of His unmerited favour toward mankind, it pleased God to determine, by His own choosing, those who would be saved and become his sons (Eph 1:4-5). This election happened before creation and is connected with God’s foreknowledge in a mysterious way (1 Pet 1:2, Rom 8:29-30). Men do not believe indiscriminately or randomly, but God the Father elects those whom he hands over, as it were, to his Son (John 6:37). At the same time, man’s responsibility to actively repent (which is granted by God – Acts 11:18), believe (Acts 16:31) and come (enabled by the Father – John 6:37) is clearly taught in the Scriptures.

How human responsibility and God’s election work together is a mystery, but in a wonderful way, the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to persuade men to voluntarily and actively repent and believe in the Lord Jesus the Messiah, trusting in the salvation that He provides through His sacrifice (2 Thes 2:13, John 6:37, 44-45, 64-65, Rom 10:13-17).

Jesus the Messiah achieved salvation through making atonement. This means that God’s justice was upheld when Jesus bore the curse and punishment for men’s sin—sin was punished and all those who trusted in the atonement provided, are released from the sentence. Jesus’ perfect life, His death as a substitute and His resurrection (which gives assurance of all God has spoken) combine to provide the way that God accomplishes salvation. There is nothing a man can do to make himself righteous—no works such as keeping the Law can save Him (Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Rom 3:28). The biblical conditions for salvation are clearly given as repent and believe (Acts 20:21, Mk 1:15).

A Christian can have absolute certainty of possessing eternal life (1 John 5:13)—he cannot, at any point, lose his position in Christ (his salvation). This certainty is based on God’s ability to save through the work of Jesus Christ (Rom 8:38-39, Heb 7:25, Rom 8:34, Phil 1:6, Jude 24, 1 Pet 1:5). God’s ability to save is absolutely sure and gives the Christian the ability to be assured in his mind of his eternal position in Christ.

Assurance of salvation is given by the Holy Spirit to the child of God, when he or she bears the fruits of a being a child of God, for example, keeping Christ’s commandments (1John 2:3) and loving fellow Christians (1John 3:14).

Spiritual Growth:

Spiritual growth is the natural and expected result of receiving spiritual life. The Bible teaches each believer to live a life of increasing holiness, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ. Each Christian should live in such a way that he does not bring disgrace on his Saviour and Lord (Rom 8:29; 1Cor 15:49; 2Cor 3:18; Eph 4:21-24).

Before salvation, a man is ruled by his flesh (or old nature) (Rom 8:5-9). After salvation, that old nature is considered ‘dead’ (Rom 6:6-9, Col 3:1-3). This means that the power of the old nature has been broken, having no hold over him. After the new birth, a Christian receives the ability to be obedient to God (2 Cor 5:17). However, the Christian is still able to yield to sin—to give his body to do works of unrighteousness (Rom 6:11-16). This ability to sin (Gal 5:16-17, Rom 7:14-25) will exist within a Christian until he is made perfect at Christ’s return (1 John 3:2). The gradual, advancing process of putting off the works of unrighteousness, renewing the mind and putting on the works of righteousness is called sanctification and will be evident in every true Christian. This happens through obedience to the Word of God (His Word dwelling in us) and dependence on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives in the Christian and enables him to know the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16) and gives him the power to resist the desires of the flesh (Gal 5:16).

The Church:

The word “Church” is the collective word for all Christians, past present and future.

The “local church” is a group of baptised Christians who submit to Christ’s headship and follow the New Testament’s pattern for a local church. The local church is self-governing and is accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ as their head.

  • The local church is to be organised (1 Cor 14:40; 1 Tim 3:15).
  • It is to have officers. The officers are to be pastors (also called elders and overseers in Scripture) and deacons (1 Tim 3:1-13).The church is to have ordinances – that is, ceremonies to be performed visibly by the local church. These are to be believers’ baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper.The purpose of the church is to glorify God by making disciples of Christ, baptising them, and training them in obedience to Christ (Matt 28:19-20).
        • Pastors have the task of leading, overseeing, and shepherding the local church. The moral and personal qualifications of a pastor are seen in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
        • Deacons have the task of supporting the pastors by service. (Acts 6:1-6). Their qualifications are seen in 1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12-13.
  • In addition, it is to care for its own (1 Tim 5) as well as outsiders (Gal 6:10). It is to praise God (Acts 2:47), be the keepers or guardians of truth (1 Tim 3:15), and be a righteous influence in the world (Matt 5:13-16).
  • The church as a ‘called-out assembly’ is to keep herself separate from corrupting influences (1 John 2:15-17, 2 Cor 6:14-18, Rom 16:17).
  • The church is authorised to discipline unrepentant believers (Matt 18:15-20, 1 Cor 5:3-7, 2 Thes 3:6-15).

Events Of The End Times

Although there is much difficulty and thus much misunderstanding and disagreement over the events of the last times, Scripture clearly describes the following events:

Resurrection and rapture:
There is no soul-sleep, or purgatory mentioned in the Bible (Heb 9:27):

  • At death, the souls of unbelievers go immediately into hell (Luke 16:22-23), in torment they await their resurrection and final judgement after which they will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15).
  • At death, the souls of Christians will be with their Lord (2 Cor 5:8).

According to Paul, Jesus the Messiah is the first-fruits of the resurrection. Those who are His will live again at His coming (1 Cor 15:23, 1 Thess 4:16). The Lord Jesus will bring these with Him at His return. Their bodies will be raised at this time (1Thess 4:14-16). This resurrection of believers will come before the rapture, when those who are alive at the Messiah’s return will be caught up together with the risen dead in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1Thess 4:16-18). Those Christians who are still alive at this time will be caught up to be with their Messiah in the air.

Messiah’s 1000 year reign:
Messiah Jesus will personally return to earth to rule and reign as King for a thousand years (Rev 20:1-7). This kingdom will be a literal, physical kingdom, characterised by peace, righteousness and restored harmony to the creation (Zechariah 13-14; Isaiah 11), a time when Satan is bound—not able to exert his influence on the world.

The tribulation:
Preceding Christ’s return to the earth to rule as King, the earth will undergo a period of judgement and tribulation such as the world has never seen. (Isaiah 26:20, Joel 2:30, Matthew 24:21-22). This period of tribulation will precede Christ’s return to rule as King (Prophecies of Daniel).

Satan’s final defeat:
After the 1000 year reign of the Messiah, Satan will be set loose and he will gather his forces to fight against Messiah. This is when Satan’s rebellion will be finally crushed Rev 20:7-10 (cf. Ezek. 38; 39).

Judgement:
All men will be resurrected and judged according to their works as recorded in God’s books. Having been judged, anyone not found written in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire Rev 20:11-15.

Christian conduct

We believe that spiritual growth is the natural and expected result of receiving spiritual life. The Bible instructs each believer to live a life of increasing holiness, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ, through obedience to the Word of God. God is the one who enables this change by His Holy Spirit who lives in each Christian. Each believer should live in such a manner as not to bring disgrace upon his Saviour and Lord. Leviticus 20:7; Acts 17:11; Romans 8:29; Galatians 5:22,23; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 2:2.

Religious liberty

We believe that each local church is independent and must be free to carry out its God-given responsibilities without the control of any higher human authority, church or political. God has given both the Church and the State specific biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities so that neither institution has the right to control the other. Both of these authorities are answerable to God and governed by His Word. Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-3; Acts 5:29.

Church cooperation

We believe that loyalty to Christ and the biblical principle of holiness require separation from groups and organizations that do not uphold and contend for the truth of God’s Word. True spiritual fellowship is the result of a common faith and practice. Romans 16:17; Ephesians 4:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,7; 1 John 1:6,7; Jude 3.

Statement of faith

This Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing statements accurately represent the teaching of the Bible, and therefore, are binding upon all members. Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 4:1,2; 1 Peter 2:9,10.