We believe that it’s necessary and beneficial to hold to certain beliefs because there is such a thing as objective truth.
We believe that all truth comes from God. Not only is he the source of all truth, he is the source of everything. He created the world out of nothing. As the creator, some of these truths he reveals to us in nature. We know his truth more fully, however, from his Word which he has specially given to us. We call this the Bible. Although it is made up of 66 books written by various human authors, the Holy Spirit as the divine author brings all of the Bible into a wonderful unity and coherence. It truly is unlike any merely human book that has ever been written. The Bible tells us the message of salvation from sin and shows us the pathway of freedom and true life.
The entire message of the Bible is summed up and fulfilled in Christ Jesus. He is God himself, yet he is a man. He is the Word in the flesh; he came to earth as a man to live and die for us. God loves his creation so much that whoever believes in Jesus and confesses him as Lord will find abundant and eternal life in him. Faith in Christ is the key to leaving behind a life of sin leading to death and embracing a life of blessing and peace that will never end.
The church was established by Jesus when he was still living and ministering on earth, and it has persisted for over 2000 years despite much external opposition and internal fragmentation. We who make up the worldwide church are often weak and imperfect in and of ourselves, and so you may have had poor experiences in the church before. Sometimes people mistreat one another; sometimes the teaching is false and harmful. Nevertheless, God is gracious and compassionate and he preserves his church. We believe that everyone is called by God to put their trust in his Son, Jesus, and to join themselves to a local church that preaches the gospel message as the Bible teaches it, that baptizes and participates in the Lord’s Supper as a means to strengthen faith, and that loves its members enough to keep them accountable and help them grow in their walk with the Lord.
We believe that over the centuries the church developed many extra-Biblical teachings and practices that cannot be defended. In the 16th century, the resistance to these unbiblical developments came to a head in the movement known as the Protestant Reformation. God used many men and women in the 16th and 17th centuries to re-establish believers in the truths of the Bible and to re-focus them on the salvation found in Jesus Christ. During this period, several documents were produced that the church across the world continues to find extremely helpful in summarizing what it is that Scripture teaches. Together with the creeds developed by the ancient church, these form what we call our secondary standards. We believe the following 6 documents to be faithful summaries of the Bible that help us in our faith and life.
The Ecumenical Creeds
The Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed date from the early centuries of the Christian church. Creeds, also called “symbols of faith,” are concise and authorized statements of the essential tenets of the faith. The believing community employs these creeds for testimony, instruction, and worship—including setting forth normative expressions of Christian truth and serving as the standard for theological inquiry. Although many kinds of creeds exist, the ecumenical creeds have the broadest recognition within the Christian church. They are called “ecumenical” because they have been approved and accepted by a large portion of the churches of Christendom.
The Three Forms of Unity
The Three Forms of Unity is a collective name for the ‘Belgic’ Confession of Faith, the Canons of Dort, and the Heidelberg Catechism, which are accepted as official statements of doctrine by many of the Reformed churches.