Statement of Faith
STATEMENT OF FAITH
The historic Christian faith forms the mission and vision of the First Congregational Church of Hamilton. Doctrine matters for our preaching and teaching, and therefore for our thinking and living as we take the gospel of Jesus Christ to our broken world. Proclaiming redemption’s hope requires understanding the breathtaking nature of redemption’s scope.
I. WE BELIEVE
That God who is one in being exists eternally in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (1), each holy and loving. God created everything that exists (2), upholds it by his power, and rules sovereignly over it (3). In relation to the creation, God’s knowledge is exhaustive (omniscience) (4), his power unlimited (omnipotence) (5), and he is present everywhere (omnipresence) (6).
(1) II Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; I Pet. 1:2. (2) Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:16-7. (3) Ps. 50:10; Prov. 21:1; Dan. 4:3a; Is. 40:6-31; Acts 2:23, 4:27-8; II Thess. 2:11; Heb. 1:3. (4) Ps. 139:1-6, 15-18; Heb. 4:13. (5) Job 42:1-2; Ps. 115:3; Matt. 19:26. (6) Ps. 139:7-10; Jer. 23:23-4.
II. WE BELIEVE
That Christ was the incarnate second person of the Godhead, conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary, fully human (7) and fully divine (8) in one person. He died, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven (9), from whence he will return bodily and in glory (10).
(7) Matt. 1:18-21; Gal. 4:4; Rom. 1:3-4. (8) Jn. 1:1-2; Phil. 2:6-11; Tit. 2:13 Heb. 1:8-9; (9) Acts 2:33-6; Eph. 1:20-22; Heb. 1:3. (10) Matt.24:30-31; Acts 1:11; Phil. 3:20-1; I Thess. 3:13, 4:15-6.
III. WE BELIEVE
That all human life has worth and dignity because all people are made in God’s image (11). As such, they have been created to know and serve him, but this image is now marred by sin. In our fallen condition, we are in rebellion against God, his truth, and his law (12). We are alienated from him and under his judgment (13).
(11) Gen. 1:26-7; Jas. 3:9. (12) Rom. 1:18, 3:10-20, 8:7. (13) Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:5-8; Heb. 9:27.
IV. WE BELIEVE
That God the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible, giving us truth that is entirely free of error in its original autographs. It is an authoritative disclosure of God's character, will, and ways. It is by this Word that he instructs, corrects, guides, and nourishes the Church (14).
(14) Ps. 119:89, 160; Jn. 17:17; II Tim. 3:1; I Pet. 1:19-21.
V. WE BELIEVE
That in his death, Jesus justified us when he was judged for our sin and we were credited with his righteousness (l5). In this way he effected our reconciliation with the Father (16). His death is the only means of salvation (17), provided solely by God's grace (18), and its benefits are received by faith alone (19).
(15) Rom. 3:25; II Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:1b. (16) II Cor. 5:19; Rom. 5:8-10. (17) Matt. 10:32-33; Jn. 5:24; Acts 4:12,17:30-31. (18) Rom. 3:24, 4:1-5, 11:6; Eph. 2:8-10. (19) Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8; Heb. 11:6.
VI. WE BELIEVE
That the Holy Spirit imparts to us a saving understanding of Christ's death (20) and regenerates us, giving spiritual life in place of spiritual death (21). This initiates the life of obedience and spiritual growth God intends for his people. This growth shows itself in a love of the biblical Word, a hunger for righteousness, a desire to serve others, and a commitment to see God glorified as the gospel is taken to the nations (22).
(20) Jn. 15:26, 16:7-11; (21) Jn. 3:3-8; Jas. 1:18; I Pet. 1:3, 23. (22) Ps. 119:11, 18, 24, 27-28, 31-32; Matt. 5:6, 20-26; 28:18-20; Rom. 13:8; Gal. 5: 13, 16-23.
VII. WE BELIEVE
That those who belong to Christ should assemble regularly for worship, fellowship, prayer, and teaching (23). They are to seek the Church's purity, preserve its unity, and respect its government (24).
(23) Acts 2:42; Eph. 5:19-20; Heb. 10:25. (24) Eph. 4:1-6; Heb. 12:14; I Pet. 2:9-10.
VIII. WE BELIEVE
That the Lord's Supper is a celebration of Christ's finished work on the cross which symbolizes and confirms to his people the benefits of his death (25). We make provision for both infant dedication and infant baptism. Children being baptized enter into the covenant under which at least one parent stands (26) but each child needs to come into a saving relationship with Christ for him or herself in due course. For believers, baptism declares publicly an existing identification with Christ in his burial and resurrection (27)
(25) I Cor. 11:23-6; Heb. 7:27. (26) Acts 16:15; I Cor. 7:13-4; Col. 2:11-12. (27) Acts 8:36-8; Rom. 6:4-5.
IX. WE BELIEVE
That the kingdom of God inaugurated at Christ's first coming will be consummated at his second coming (28) when the dead will be raised. At the final judgment, believers and unbelievers will be separated forever. At that time, evil will be eradicated and Satan will be punished (29). Unbelievers will enter into an eternal, conscious separation from God, and the people of God will serve joyfully in his presence forever in the new heavens and earth (30).
(28) Rev. 19:20-1, 20:10, 14-15, 21:4. (29) Matt. 25:34-40; Rom. 14:12; Jude 6. (30) Rev. 22:1-5.
X. WE BELIEVE
That the Church is called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (31). To this end we will act compassionately toward the poor and needy, pursuing justice for the afflicted. (32)
(31) Mark 12:29-31. (32) Deut. 15:11; Ps. 82:3-4; Is. 1:17; 58:6-7; Micah 6:8; James 1:27.