What do we believe?
We all know that churches have different beliefs and practices. The truth is that for many people, specific beliefs on specific issues matter.
This list of frequently asked questions is an attempt to be clear about what our beliefs are in different areas. Hopefully, they will allow people to make a clear choice as to whether they would like to partner with us in fulfilling our role in God’s mission to this community.
The other aim is to get people to think about what it is that we hold dear as a church. Too often the leadership of the church has had beliefs that are not talked about. We would like to promote conversation amongst people so that beliefs can be shared and our aim of unity is sought.
We invite you therefore to submit any questions you might have to the elders for inclusion on this page.
Belief in the trinity is of extreme importance. The early church fathers fought long and hard to retain this image of God which has become core to Christian belief and practice.
Even though there is no single reference to Trinity in the Bible the way Jesus describes his relationship to the Father and the Spirit can lead us to no other conclusion.
Down through the years, people have said that belief in the Trinity is important but have gone no further with it. But trusted scholars are beginning to show us that understanding the type of relationship that exists between Father, Son and Spirit which we call parousia is important because it describes the type of relationship we are called into with God and each other.
We believe that the Living Word of God is Jesus! The bible reveals Jesus to us. We find a partial revelation in the Old Testament which can be summed up in three words “Someone is coming”. There is a full revelation of Christ in the New Testament where we see the true nature of God revealed. We also believe that as it says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Bible has value for the casual reader but as you understand more of the language in which it was written, the people it was written to and the general context in which it was written the you will appreciate what it has to offer.
We need to begin by stating that we believe that Jesus will come again. It was one of the things he taught his disciples and was a definite hope for the early church. Whether Jesus returns tomorrow or at a time beyond our life, he will return. The early church had believed His coming would be soon, and they greeted one another with the word “Maranatha” (“Our Lord, come!”). We also believe that we need to be prepared for His coming, whenever it happens.
The interpretations of the end times have been many and varied. We believe that we need to be about the task that God has set us and leave the future in the hands of God.
In 2 Corinthians 5:18, Paul writes, “And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him“
We would rather focus on sharing the good news about Christ and his saving power than on preaching something of which we are not sure and is not Christ centred. While we do not preach about the end times on Sunday morning we are currently studying it in our Bible Studies where together we can learn what it has to say to us.
The priesthood of all believers is a fundamental characteristic of Churches of Christ. What it means is that ALL people have the role of priests in the church. That is we are all called to be listening to God, using our skills for building up the church and sharing the gospel with others
In the traditional church, the authority of God rested with the priest or pastor. We believe that this is contrary to what scripture teaches about the church being a body in which every part works together and Christ is the head (1 Corinthians 12:12-26)
What this means in the everyday life of the church is that every person’s contribution is valued according to their skills. The elders and Pastor are there to assist people to reach their potential and to test their calling by Spirit.
This all sounds very good and positive but in reality, we often fail at doing this. There are times when people who come forward are not supported or encouraged in their ideas. We as a church need to be much more focussed on recognising the spirit at work in others and assisting them to realise their vision.
The idea of the priesthood of all believers remains our goal and we will continue to pursue it.
The specific instructions were given to timothy, not to allow Women to preach but there seems to be a problem between what is said in those few verses and the overall themes of the New Testament such as Galatians 3:28 where Paul says
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”
We believe that Paul’s comments to Timothy were situational, that is, to be applied to a particular time and place. Some of you may say that Paul’s argument was one appealing to nature, but in 1 Corinthians 11:13-15 he makes the same appeal to nature in women having long hair.
Where there is incongruity between a few verses and the overall revelation of God through scripture we must be in favour of the latter.
Many women have been gifts of preaching and teaching and we feel that it would be wrong not to allow them to use their gifts to God’s glory