Holding Fast the Word of Life
As an Evangelical Reformed church—we are evangelical in the historic Protestant sense, for we affirm the formal principle, the Bible as the ultimate authority, and the material principle, justification by faith alone, of the Reformation—we value the Reformed confessions, in particular the Heidelberg Catechism and the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, along with the following Statement of Faith:
STATEMENT OF FAITH
1. The Holy Scripture
God has revealed all that is necessary for life and salvation in the sixty-six books of the Bible, which is the Word of God. All Scripture is inerrant and infallible, transmitted through human authors by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Scripture alone is the final authority in all matters of doctrine and practice. The authority of Scripture is derived from its Author and not from the opinions of men.
2. God and the Trinity
There is one true and living God who exists in three eternal and distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one in being, united in purpose, and equally worthy of glory and adoration. God is invisible, eternal, omnipresent, almighty, all-knowing, unchanging, dependent on no one, sovereign, righteous, holy, just, gracious, loving, merciful, patient, and good.
God created all that now exists in six days from nothing, and it was all very good. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit acted together in the work of creation. Out of all living things, only man was created in God's image. God granted him dominion over all lesser forms of life and over the earth itself.
God orders and directs the universe in every detail. Every event in nature and every human action and decision is according to His decree and purpose. In God's infinite wisdom and power, all things work together for the benefit of His people, and for His glory.
5. The Fall and Its Effects
God made Adam perfect, holy, and upright, appointing him representative and head of the human race. He fell from his original righteousness into sin when he disobeyed God's command. By his sinful act, Adam brought all people into a state of death and condemnation, passing to each of them a corrupt sinful nature.
6. Man's Inability
The Fall brought every man into a state of depravity, meaning every dimension of his being is distorted by sin. Apart from the grace of God, fallen man treats sin as his master, God as an enemy, and the message of the cross as foolishness. Until he is born again, he possesses neither the desire nor ability to love God, to keep His laws, to understand the gospel, to repent of sin, or to trust in Christ.
7. The Birth and Life of Christ
God sent His Son into the world to save His people from their sins. Conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, Jesus was and is both God and man. He was tempted in all things yet without sin, living the perfect life of righteousness on behalf of His people.
8. The Death of Christ
Christ died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for sin, forever finishing the substitutionary work of atonement for His people.
9. The Resurrection of Christ
On the third day, Jesus rose bodily from the grave. The resurrection affirms the deity and authority of Christ and assures believers of their future bodily resurrection.
10. The Ascension of Christ
Jesus ascended into heaven to appear in the presence of God as our perpetual High Priest, presenting Himself as the only acceptable sacrifice for sin. He is the one and only Mediator between God and men, and Head of His church. He intercedes forever on behalf of His people and rules over all things for their sake.
11. Election and Responsibility
Before the foundation of the world, God elected a great multitude of men and women to eternal life as an act of His free grace alone. This election was in no way dependent upon His foresight of human faith, decision, works, or merit. In the unsearchable realm of God's sovereign will, all men remain responsible beings, subject to God's commands to repent and believe, and accountable to God for their rebellion, impenitence, and rejection of Christ.
12. Calling and Regeneration
To accomplish God's redemptive purpose, the Holy Spirit works effectively through the gospel of Christ, regenerating elect sinners and drawing them irresistibly to repentance and saving faith.
The elect are declared righteous in the sight of God because of Christ's perfect life, His substitutionary death, and the imputation of His righteousness. Justification can never be the reward or result of human works or merit, nor does it grow out of an infusion of Christ's righteousness. It is granted through faith alone in the person and work of Christ alone.
According to God's purpose in predestination, the justified are progressively conformed to the image of Christ. All true believers direct their will and affections toward this purpose, putting to death the desires and deeds of the flesh by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit as God's Word is more fully understood and applied. While sinless perfection will never be attained in this life, it is a certainty in heaven.
All who are chosen, called, regenerated, and justified shall persevere in faith and never finally fall away. Perseverance is not a human accomplishment but a work of God through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who creates, sustains, and nourishes a living, growing, transforming, and enduring faith in all true believers.
16. The Church
A local church is a body of baptized believers gathering regularly to share life with Christ and each other, to affirm and proclaim His gospel, and submit to His headship in doctrine and practice according to His written Word. Though Christ shepherds and rules over His church as Head, qualified elders are appointed to shepherd and rule as subordinates. Qualified deacons may be chosen to assist the elders in serving the body as needed. Each member of the church is uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit to edify the body. A local church must recognize and fellowship with the universal body of Christ as represented in other true churches.
Baptism is the first act of Christian obedience. True baptism is immersion in water, symbolizing the believer's cleansing from sin and union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection to new life. Baptism may only be administered to those who demonstrate repentance from sin and make credible profession of faith in Christ.
18. The Lord's Supper
Following their baptism, Christians should regularly partake of the Lord' Supper. By breaking and eating the bread and drinking the cup, believers commemorate the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross. Through the Lord's Supper, they affirm and celebrate their oneness, their separation from the world, and their fellowship with Christ in the New Covenant.
It is the calling of every local church to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that Christ has commanded. It is a priority in evangelism to unite new believers with local churches. Knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men.
20. The Return of Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ shall come again to raise the dead bodily, both righteous and unrighteous. The justified shall enjoy everlasting life in the presence of God in heaven, while the unjustified shall eternally endure God's wrath in hell.
21. The Old Covenant
The Old Covenant, with the Law of Moses as its core, was revealed to the nation of Israel, promising earthly blessings for obedience, and threatening curses for disobedience. The purpose of the Old Covenant was never to offer eternal life, but rather to govern the life and worship of the Old Testament nation of Israel, to reveal the extent of man's depravity, and to foreshadow Christ and the New Covenant.
22. The New Covenant
The New Covenant, established through the person and redemptive work of Christ, provides eternal blessings which are acquired by grace through faith. The Old Covenant was fulfilled in Christ, thus becoming obsolete. God's final words of revelation, given through Christ and His New Testament apostles and prophets, have become the authority concerning Christian conduct, and the interpretative lens through which the Old Testament must be understood and applied.
23. The Glory of God
Christians must live for God's glory alone through their awareness and enjoyment of His Person, submission to His authority, and reliance upon His goodness. In truth, all things that have or will transpire serve to glorify God as their highest purpose.
"For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:36)
Embedded in our Statement of Faith are the following five critical Christian doctrines.
For centuries before the Protestant Reformation, these truths were largely neglected,
even denied, by many church leaders.
THE FIVE SOLAS
1. Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)
The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.
2. Sola Gratia (by Grace alone)
In salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by His grace alone. God's spontaneous and unmerited favor is granted through the calling and regenerating work of the Holy Spirit who releases us from our willful bondage to sin and enables us to repent and believe in Christ.
3. Sola Fide (through Faith alone)
Justification is by grace alone through faith alone. Justification can never be the reward or result of human works or merit, nor does it grow out of an infusion of Christ's righteousness.
4. Solus Christus (because of Christ alone)
Our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary death alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.
5. Soli Deo Gloria (for the Glory of God alone)
God glorifies Himself in all that He does. Therefore we should acknowledge His highest purpose and live for His glory alone.