Statement of faith
From the apostles right down to today, Christians have laid out what they believe in brief, definitive statements (“statements of faith”). As those saved by Jesus, we believe it necessary to concisely set forth the cornerstone truths of our church as taught in the Bible. Our statement of faith summarises essential Christian beliefs, shows unity in Christ, and guards the church from error.
All who join St Giles in membership are required to affirm this statement of faith, which is a slightly edited edition of the FIEC statement of faith. This statement demonstrates our belief in historic, evangelical Christianity. Once we, as members, agree to this statement, we’re responsible to believe and live in accordance with it.
As a church, we are committed to these truths of historic, Biblical Christianity:
There is one God, who exists eternally in three distinct but equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is unchangeable in his holiness, justice, wisdom and love. He is the almighty Creator; Saviour and Judge who sustains and governs all things according to his sovereign will for his own glory.
- The Bible
God has revealed himself in the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments alone. Every word was inspired by God through human authors, so that the Bible as originally given is in its entirety the Word of God, without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. The Bible alone speaks with final authority and is always sufficient for all matters of belief and practice.
- The human race
All men and women, being created in the image of God, have inherent and equal dignity and worth. Their greatest purpose is to obey, worship and love God. As a result of the fall of our first parents, every aspect of human nature has been corrupted and all men and women are without spiritual life, guilty sinners and hostile to God. Every person is therefore under the just condemnation of God and needs to be born again, forgiven and reconciled to God in order to know and please him.
- The Lord Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all his words are true. On the cross he died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, redeeming them by his blood. He rose from the dead and in his resurrection body ascended into heaven where he is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for his people in the presence of the Father.
Salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered to all in the gospel. God in his love forgives sinners whom he calls, granting them repentance and faith. All who believe in Christ are justified by faith alone, adopted into the family of God and receive eternal life.
- The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven to glorify Christ and to apply his work of salvation. He convicts sinners, imparts spiritual life and gives a true understanding of the Scriptures. He indwells all believers, brings assurance of salvation and produces increasing likeness to Christ. He builds up the Church and empowers its members for worship, service and mission.
- The Church
The universal Church is the body of which Christ is the head and to which all who are saved belong. It is made visible in local churches, which are congregations of believers who are committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; for pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the gospel.
- Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper have been given to the churches by Christ as visible signs of the gospel. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and entry into his Church but does not impart spiritual life. Baptism shows forth firstly the believer’s fellowship with Christ in his death and resurrection unto new life; and secondly, the believer’s faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour. Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice offered once for all and involves no change in the bread and wine. All its blessings are received by faith.
- The Future
The Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory. He will raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will be sent to eternal punishment and the righteous will be welcomed into a life of eternal joy in fellowship with God. God will make all things new and will be glorified forever.
As a church, we are what we believe. While at the same time, how we live matters.
Our church covenant is part promise, part expectation, and part Biblical standard. It’s a document that outlines how we aim, with God’s help, to live as a church. In adhering to this covenant, we follow in the footsteps of believers throughout the centuries. Believers have long pledged to both God and one another to live out the gospel in their communities.
Today, we use our covenant in two key ways. We require all new members to sign it before joining the church. We also publicly reaffirm our commitment to the covenant regularly as a church – we stand as a body and recommit ourselves to it. By featuring the covenant in our life together, we strive to protect ourselves from individual and corporate sin, and we spur one another on to live in light of a greater covenant, one initiated by love, sealed by sacrifice, and kept for eternity by our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Having been brought by God’s grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we now, in dependence upon His Spirit, renew our covenant with each other:
We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)
We will be devoted to one another in family love. With humility and gentleness we will patiently bear with each other, forgiving, encouraging and building one another up, and lovingly correcting one another where necessary. (John 13:35, Romans 12:10; Ephesians 4:2; 4:32, Proverbs 12:1, 2 Timothy 4:2)
We will not neglect to meet together in fellowship and worship or to pray for ourselves and one another. (Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:25; Ephesians 6:18-19; 1 Corinthians 12:20-27)
We promise to nurture children and young people who are in our care, to teach them the truths of God, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of our family, friends and neighbours. (Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Ephesians 6:4)
We will welcome people into our gatherings, into our homes and into our lives as we practice hospitality. (Hebrews 13:2; Acts 2:46; 1 Peter 4:19)
We will rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, helping to carry each other’s burdens. (Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:2)
We will say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions. We will strive to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, as we wait for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 4:20-32)
We will defend and maintain a Bible-based and Christ-centred ministry in this church by supporting and upholding:
- The preaching of the Word of God (2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:12; 4:15)
- The administration of baptism and the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:26-29; 28:16-20)
- The exercising of biblical Church discipline. (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5)
We will contribute cheerfully, generously and regularly to the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations. (1 Corinthians 16:14; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:6-14)
We will serve one another according to the church’s needs and our abilities. (Romans 12:4-8)
We will obey our leaders, submitting to their authority so that their work will be a joy and not a burden. (Hebrews 13:17)
We will, if we ever move away from this place, seek to join with another church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. (Acts 2:42, 1 John 1:7)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13:14)