STATEMENT OF BELIEF
The following statement of belief is in three parts. The first part is called The Gospel. This is what someone needs to know and believe in order to become a Christian (a follower of Jesus Christ). The second part is called The Core Beliefs of the Church. Once you are a Christian you begin to learn about the Bible and therefore about God Himself. These core doctrines have been the main beliefs of the Church for nearly 2000 years. The final part is called Our Local Church Distinctives. Outside the gospel and core beliefs of the Church, there are many other beliefs that are open to various understandings or views. These beliefs don't affect a person's salvation, but can impact the way they live as a Christian. A church's view on future events is an example of local church distinctives.
Becoming a Christian requires faith in Christ, which is accompanied by a conviction to follow Him. Following Christ is only possible through constant communion with, and the empowering of, the Holy Spirit.
People are separated from God their creator because of sin Isaiah 59:2, Romans 8:7-8.
People cannot overcome this separation on their own merits. They cannot be good enough, or work their way to heaven. People have no ability to get to God on their own Romans 3:9-20, Ephesians 2:1-3.
God has not left his creation to suffer the due penalty for their sin (physical and spiritual death), but has provided a Saviour, Jesus Christ, His own Son Romans 6:23, John 3:16. Salvation is possible for people on the basis of grace (God granting us something that we do not deserve), and not on the basis of human effort or merit Ephesians 2:4-10, 2 Timothy 1:9.
Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection provided a complete and full salvation for sinners, as He satisfied His Father's holy standard and dealt with the problem of sin. Jesus Christ therefore is the only Saviour and the only way sinners can receive God's forgiveness John 14:6, Acts 4:12, 1 Peter 2:24.
People receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life through repentance and faith. To repent is to change one's mind about personal sin, seeing it as God sees it, replacing self-rule with the lordship of Christ Mark 1:14-18, 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10. Faith is placing one's belief and trust in Christ alone, and His finished work of the cross Romans 3:21-26, John 19:28-30.
The Bible teaches that all who understand the gospel and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved Romans 10:9-13.
The Core Beliefs of the Church
About the Bible
The Scriptures as originally given are without error and written by men who were moved by the Holy Spirit
2 Peter 1:20-21. God’s word is the unique, full and final authority on all matters of Christian living and church practise 2 Timothy 3:16.
There is only one God Isaiah 45:5-6, the sole creator and sustainer of all things Colossians 1:16-17, infinite Psalm 90:2, perfect Psalm 50:2 and eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit Matthew 28:19.
We believe that He is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all those who believe in Christ and who are adopted as His children Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:4-7. God as Father reigns with providential care over His creation, including the flow of human history according to the purposes of His grace Psalm 145:9-19.
Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully human Philippians 2:6-8, born of a virgin Luke 1:34-35, and sinless Hebrews 4:15. On the cross He died as our substitute, once for all time 1 Peter 3:18, taking the full judgement of God the Father for our sin Isaiah 53:4-5. He was bodily resurrected Mark 16:6, ascended to heaven Luke 24:51 and will one day reign over all creation 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.
The Holy Spirit
He convicts people of their sin and need for repentance John 16:8-11. At salvation He permanently indwells every believer, witnessing to their position as children of God Romans 8:16, becoming their guarantee of eternal life in heaven Ephesians 1:13-14, giving them strength to be witnesses for Christ Acts 1:8 and wisdom for daily living John 16:12-15. He gives each believer specific abilities for the building up of the Church 1 Corinthians 12:1-7. The Holy Spirit’s overall aim is to make Christ and His teachings known to humanity John 16:12-15.
People were created in God's image Genesis 1:26, then sinned and so incurred physical and spiritual death Genesis 2:16-17, which is separation from God. All people are born with a sinful nature because of the sin of the first man, Adam Romans 5:12-19.
Salvation comes through repentance toward God and faith in Christ Acts 20:21, and cannot be achieved by any human effort. It is wholly a work of God’s grace Ephesians 2:1-9. By it our sins are forgiven through the shed blood of Christ Ephesians 1:7.
About Future Judgement
Judgement is a certainty for all people Hebrews 9:27. Those who have received salvation, having already been judged in Christ, will enjoy eternal life with Him in God’s presence 2 Peter 3:7-13. Those who reject Christ will suffer the judgement of eternal separation from God in Hell (Lake of fire) Revelation 20:11-15.
About the Church
It is the body of Christ, of which He is the Head Colossians 1:18, made up of all His true followers. It is not restricted by gender, class, race, colour or creed Galatians 3:26-28. The twofold mission of the church is to reach the lost with the gospel, and to encourage and equip believers to obey God Matthew 28:18-20, so that they become more and more like Jesus Christ in character. This transformation is only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Our Local Church Distinctives
As a local church we do have some distinctives that need to be mentioned. While these beliefs have not pre-occupied the Church over the centuries, as those above have, it is important for each local church to be honest about where they lean in regards to these issues.
How we read and understand the Bible
Because the Bible contains spiritual truth, it cannot be properly understood without the help of the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 2:9-16. As fallible people we should seek to understand it in humility, being willing to consider the views of others. We do, however, hold fast to one overall method of Bible interpretation, being the 'literal, historical' method. We take any passage of Scripture to be speaking of literal and historical people, places and events; unless the passage or its context makes it clear that it is referring to allegory, figures of speech, etc.
How we understand the origins of the universe
We believe that the early chapters of Genesis are to be read literally, which is consistent with how the original recipients understood them Exodus 20:9-11, 31:14-18, and how Jesus Himself understood them Matthew 19:4, 8. This leads us to believe that God created the world in 6 literal days.
How we view the role of the Holy Spirit
All believers have been baptised by the Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:13, sealed with the Spirit Ephesians 1:13-14, and commanded to be constantly filled (controlled) by the Spirit Ephesians 5:18. The Holy Spirit's key evidences are that He exalts Jesus Christ John 15:26, 16:14, upholds the truth of God's Word John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13, and transforms believers' lifestyles Galatians 5:16-25.
How the church is led
Elders are to lead the church Acts 14:23, 1 Timothy 3:1-7. This in no way hinders leadership and input from the congregation Acts 6:2-3. Each local church should be self-governing, yet partnership in the advance of the gospel with like-minded churches around New Zealand and the world, is beneficial.
How we view the role of women in leadership
Proverbs 1:8, 6:20 and Titus 2:3-5 give women a teaching and leading role among women and children. The office of elder/pastor in the church, and the responsibility to lead and teach the church is to be taken up by qualified men 1 Timothy 2:11-15, 3:1-7.
How we understand baptism
The Bible says that baptism does not save you, only faith does Acts 16:30-31. Baptism Acts 16:33 is a declaration of new life in Christ. Believers are baptised by being fully immersed in water, reflecting the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Acts 8:36-39. We don't believe in or practice infant baptism.
How we deal with the practice of tongues
In light of 1 Corinthians 14:1-19, we choose not to practice the gifts of tongues in our church services or smaller group gatherings. If individuals in our church desire to speak in tongues, we encourage them to keep that communication between them and God.