If you want to see a formal statement of what the church believes, you will find that in the church’s Doctrinal Basis. On this page you will find an informal summary of those beliefs.
In the beginning…
We begin our journey with God. If you were to ask people in the street what God is like, you’d probably get a different answer every time! No one can see God, so there are many different ideas about who/what God is. The only way we can really know what God is like is if he tells us, and we believe that he has! We believe that the Bible is God’s word – entirely true and reliable – which he has given to us so that we can know him.
So what is God like? The first thing we find out about him in the Bible is that ‘God created’. So we believe in God as the maker of the universe – one who exists outside of time and space, and who is in control of all that happens in the universe.
Enter people, and things go wrong
Next we encounter people. The Bible tells us that originally the earth was a very good place (unlike now). God made people to live there, and to have a good relationship with himself. However, things went wrong. The people decided they didn’t want to live in obedience to God but would rather do their own thing. (This rebellion – seeking to do what we want rather than what God wants – is what the Bible calls ‘sin’.) God punished their disobedience by separating them from himself, and by placing a curse on the whole of creation.
Just like the first people, we have all rebelled against God. We lie, we steal, we are greedy – and, most significantly, we simply ignore God most of the time! This is a very serious thing, and we all deserve to be punished for our rebellion. How can we escape getting what we deserve?
Enter Jesus, to put things right
This is where a key figure enters the picture: Jesus. Jesus was a man who lived in Israel about 2,000 years ago. But he was no ordinary man, as everyone would admit. He performed many great miracles. He was a great teacher, and millions strive to live by what he taught. But there was something unusual about his teaching. Rather than simply pointing people to God, he kept pointing people to himself! He said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ and urged people to ‘Come to me‘ to find rest for their souls. Was he a bit full of himself? Or mad? It seems to make more sense to believe that he was exactly what he claimed, and what the Bible claims about him: the very Son of God – God in human form.
So why would God come to earth as a man? Remember the problem we had earlier? All of us deserve to be punished for our rebellion – for our sin. The Bible tells us why Jesus came: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners‘! He came to enable us to escape getting what we deserve. How? By being punished himself – in the place of sinners. This is why Jesus died on the cross. He died so that those who trust in him won’t be punished for their sins, but will have a restored and everlasting relationship with God. And his death isn’t the end of the story: three days after dying, he rose from the dead and was taken up into heaven after appearing to many people.
How does this affect me?
So finally we come to us. Where do we fit into all of this? Well, we have all rebelled against God and deserve to be punished for this – eternally. There’s no way we can make up for this by doing good things – we will still fall short of God’s perfect standards. But if we come to Jesus for help – whoever we are and whatever we have done – we will receive forgiveness of all of our sins and begin a new and eternal life.
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