Creeds and Confessions of the church
Christian Reformed churches are confessional churches. This means that they hold to the teachings of the Bible as explained by statements of faith known as creeds and confessions.
One group of these – the Ecumenical Creeds – is held by many Christian churches and comprises the Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed.
Another group is more specifically Reformed in its content, and includes the Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort and the Westminster Confession. You will find these documents in our Book of Forms in the pews. If you have any questions about these, please contact one of the pastors and they will be happy to help.
So what do we believe about…?
The Bible (Holy Scripture) is God’s Word and has no equal because:
- It is inspired by God the Holy Spirit, who led many different men to write it over a 2,000 year period.
- It is infallible in that it is completely reliable and trustworthy.
- It is sufficient because it contains the will of God and reveals all we need to know in order to be saved and live the Christian life.
So the Word of God is the final authority on matters of faith and life, and the standard for the regulation, foundation, confirmation and defence of our faith. (Psalm 12:6; 119:105, 160; Proverbs 30:5; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 1:13; 3:15; 2 Peter 1:20, 21)
The Triune God
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2).
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and born of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. He lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of His people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death and ascended to heaven’s glory. One day He will return to judge the living and the dead and to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:22, 23; Luke 1:34-35; John 1:1-18; 14:10-30; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 1:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; 1 Timothy 6:14, 15; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 4:14-15)
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with Father and the Son. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need of Jesus Christ. He lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with understanding of spiritual truth, spiritual gifts, and power for living the Christian life. As Christians we seek to live under the Spirit’s control daily (John 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 3:16; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 14:16-17; Galatians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13)
People are made in the image of God, and are the supreme object of God’s creation. All human beings are marred by an attitude of rebellion and disobedience toward God (called ‘sin’), and are under the wrath and condemnation of God. (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Psalm 51:4-5; Isaiah 53:6a; 59:1-2; Romans 3:23)
Salvation is a free gift from God, which is received by believing in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. He redeems people from the guilt, penalty and power of sin by taking our place and bearing the punishment we deserve. His resurrection from the dead is the demonstration of His victory.
We are saved to eternal life when we receive this gift in true repentance and faith (John 1:12; 14:6; Romans 5:1; 6:23; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:26; Romans 1:2-4; 1 Corinthians 15 esp. vs 56-57).
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by self-effort, although the Christian is called to strive for holiness. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security (Matthew 5:6; John 10:29; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25; 10:10; 14:1;1 Peter 1:3-5)
Christians look forward to the day when Jesus Christ will personally return to judge the living and the dead, destroy all that is evil and bring into being a new heaven and earth where God’s people will be with God and enjoy Him forever (Matthew 24:36-42; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 2 Peter 3:1-14; Revelation 21:1-4)
Sacraments are symbols given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ to strengthen His people in their faith, and assure them of His forgiveness and love in and through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are called signs and seals. Signs in that they are physical symbols of a spiritual reality, and seals in that they guarantee that what is symbolised is real.
Christ instituted only two sacraments (1) baptism, which is for believers and their children and (2) the Lord’s Supper, which is only for believers.
In baptism the sign is water, which points to the blood of Christ. The seal is the guarantee that as surely as water washes away dirt, so Christ’s blood cleanses us from all our sin. We believe that those who believe in Jesus, and their children, ought to be baptised because they are part of God’s family and enjoy the benefits of belonging to God’s Covenant of Grace (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:39; 1 Peter 2:9; Gen 17:7; Exodus 6:7; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18; Revelation 21:2-3).
In the Lord’s Supper the sign of bread and wine point to the body and blood of Christ. The seal in the Lord’s Supper is the guarantee that as we share in the bread and wine we are reminded that Christ’s sacrifice paid the price and reconciled us to God (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 26:26-29; John 10:11, 26-30; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26).