We believe that the Scriptures are the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17). As such they must be without error as God Himself, the author, cannot err (John 10:35). Christ Himself has guaranteed the preservation of the Scriptures to the end of time (Matt. 5:17-18), and since the forms of communicating with man that God used in the Old Testament have ceased in light of the perfect revelation found in Christ (Heb. 1:1-2), the Scriptures are, as the Westminster Confession states, “most necessary” (WCF 1.1). We believe that the Scriptures are clear (Luke 16:31) such that even a child can rightly understand the main message of the Bible (Matt. 11:25) and that the Scriptures are relevant and sufficient for instruction in all things relating to faith and practice (Acts 20:32, 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
We confess the doctrine of the Trinity as it has been historically put forth in the Nicene creed. We believe there is one God (Deut. 4:35, 39; 6:4, 1 Tim. 2:5) who exists in three persons (Matt. 3:16-17; 28:18-19), the Father being fully God (1 Tim. 2:5), the Son being fully God (Rom. 9:5, Tit. 2:13, 1 John 5:20), begotten from the Father from all eternity (Ps. 2:7, 110:3, Mic. 5:2, John 1:18, 5:26), and the Spirit being fully God (Acts 5:3-4), proceeding from the Father (John 15:26) and the Son (Gal. 4:6).
God is spirit (John 4:24), not corporeal. He is the creator (Gen. 1:1, Isa. 40:28) and sustainer of all (Ps. 104:27-30). He fills heaven and earth (Jer. 23:24) and indeed even all of heaven and earth cannot contain Him (1 Kings 8:27). He is the one who alone has immortality and who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16), the only wise God (Rom. 16:27), whose judgements are unsearchable and whose ways are beyond tracing out (Rom. 11:33). He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Ex. 34:6), the judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25), who is of purer eyes than to look upon any evil (Hab. 1:13). He is the Almighty God (Gen. 17:1) who is high and lifted up (Isa. 6:1) and yet who stoops to care for the poor and afflicted, the widow and the orphan (Ps. 113), whose divine condescension shines forth most clearly in Christ (Phil. 2:6-11), who became man to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).
We confess the historic doctrine of the incarnation as put forth in the Chalcedonian definition, affirming that Christ is fully God (1 John 5:20) and fully man (1 Tim. 2:5), having a human soul with a human intellect (Luke 2:40, 52; Heb. 5:8), affections (John 11:33, 12:27), and will (Matt. 26:39), yet whose personality is that of the eternal Son, sent by the Father (Gal. 4:4). In this way Christ is truly the God-man, a divine person able to save His people from their sins. Without the incomprehensibly great wonder of the incarnation, no one could be saved.
This is because man in his sin is completely cut off from God (Gen. 3:22-24, Isa. 59:2), sin having entered into the world through Adam (Rom. 5:12), by whom mankind was made both sinful (Rom. 5:12) and guilty before God (Rom. 5:16). Through this corruption, all mankind, being united to Adam, the head of the human race, dies in him (Gen. 2:16-17, 1 Cor. 15:21-22) and is in bondage to Satan (Eph. 2:1-3, Col. 1:13) and sin itself (John 8:34). The affects of Adam’s sin have so permeated mankind that what was said of the pre-flood humanity is rightly said of unbelieving man today: that all the thoughts and intentions of his heart are only evil continually (Gen. 6:5), man having been corrupted in his intellect (Rom. 1:21), affections (Jer. 17:9), and will (Rom. 8:7-8). In this state, man can only be saved by the sovereign action of God.
God, being a God of mercy and grace (Ex. 34:6), sent His Son in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4), to redeem a people (Eph. 1:7), chosen in eternity (Eph. 1:3-4) by His substitutionary death on the cross, whereby He redeemed His people from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13), taking on their sins that His people might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). By this sacrificial death, Christ has atoned for sins (Heb. 10:12-14), having appeased the wrath of God (Rom. 3:25, John 3:36) and cleansed us from the stain of sin (Heb. 9:13-14).
Three days after His death, the Lord Jesus Christ was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4), since death could not hold Christ, the Eternal Son of God (Acts 2:24), who has authority to lay His life down and take it up again (John 10:17-18). By His resurrection from the dead, the Lord Jesus Christ has defeated death itself, having brought in the new creation, even as He is the first-fruits of the resurrection to be revealed on the last day (1 Cor. 15:23). By His resurrection He has also justified His people (Rom. 4:24) insofar as the end-time judgement of righteousness seen in the resurrection is applied to His people. Having died to sin, He now lives to God (Rom. 6:10), that His resurrection life might live in His people that they might receive the promised new heart to love God (Jer. 32:39-40, Ezek. 36:25-27), in whom all will live on the last day (1 Cor. 15:22), being made partakers of His resurrection (Rom. 8:23).
This great salvation is received by faith alone (Eph. 2:8), which unites us to Christ (Eph. 3:17), who is for the believer wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). This salvation by faith alone is not antithetical to good works, since the salvation itself includes good works (Eph. 2:10), Christ being made ours not only for our justification but also for our sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30), that the body of sin might be done away with (Rom. 6:6), such that truly faith without works is dead (James 2:17).
This work of grace in salvation is the sovereign work of God who chooses whom to save from all eternity (Eph. 1:3-4), who sends His Son to save those people (Gal. 4:4, Matt. 1:21), and who draws those whom He has chosen to Himself by the Spirit (John 6:44, Deut. 30:6, Jer. 32:39-40, Ezek. 36:25-27). This work of salvation, being the work of God, must be completed on the last day (Phil. 1:6).
We believe that the Church is central to the plans of God, recognizing that God did not choose a mass of individuals from all eternity, but rather a particular people, the Church, the bride of Christ, for whom Christ laid down His life (Eph. 5:25). This Church has an invisible (Eph. 1:22-23) and visible component (Eph. 3:10, 21). The invisible Church is made up of all the elect (Rom. 9, Eph. 1:3-4, Eph. 5:25) whereas the visible Church is made up of believers and their children (Acts 2:39). These two aspects of the Church are linked such that the visible Church is the appointed means by which the elect are called, strengthened, established, and sustained in this life so that the blessings promised to them from all eternity might be fulfilled (Eph. 4:1-16). The Church, being the Kingdom of Christ (Matt. 13; 18:3-4, 15-20, esp. 17), of which He is the head (Eph. 1:22, 5:23), must submit to Christ in all things (Eph. 5:24). The government of the Church, therefore, is not the creation of man but established by the law of Christ, who has appointed a government for the Church with particular offices to accomplish His purposes (Eph. 4:1-16).
We confess and hold to the historic Reformed faith as set forth in the Westminster Standards (Westminster Confession, Westminster Shorter Catechism, and Westminster Larger Catechism). For a fuller explication of our theology, please see those documents here.