Since our relationship with God and our attitude toward Him and His Word shape all our thoughts and actions, I thought it might be helpful to give a brief summary of what I believe.
The more time I spend surfing Christian sites on the net, the more I appreciate being able to read a concise Statement of Faith held by those responsible for each website. I feel I should return the favour so visitors to TulipFiction may have a better understanding of the faith that is behind the stories I write.
I am a member of my local Baptist Reformed Church and am committed to the historic Christianity of the Bible as outlined in the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith and similarly described in all the great Confessions of Faith, (e.g. The Thirty-nine Articles and the Westminster Confession of Faith).
You can read the 1689 Confession of Faith (with Bible references) in full here
but following is a brief summary taken from our church information brochure.
I believe the Bible teaches :
The absolute inspiration, authenticity & authority of the Bible
The absolute sovereignty of the Triune God
The essential deity of Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, his sinless life, his vicarious death, and his physical resurrection
The present session of Jesus Christ in heaven & his future return to judge the world & establish his everlasting kingdom
That salvation is by the grace of God alone, on the basis of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and wholly apart from human merit
That the only valid answer to the various evils in present day human society is to be found in the gospel of Christ, "which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who truly believes it"
That God commands all people to repent and to believe the Gospel
That the church is composed solely of repentant and believing sinners who confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and submit to his rule and authority as set forth in the scriptures
That Christians have the solemn obligation to conduct themselves at all times in a manner worthy of the gospel they profess to believe
And in slightly more detail . . .
(as summarised in my church's constitution)
THE SCRIPTURES of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God and are the infallible and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.
THE TRIUNE GOD There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver, and Ruler of all things, having in and of himself all perfections, and being infinite in them all. To him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being. God created all things from nothing as recorded in Genesis 1 and 2. God from eternity decreed all things that come to pass, and perpetually governs all creatures and events. However, he is not in any way the author or approver of sin, nor does he destroy the responsibility of intelligent creatures.
THE FALL OF MAN That sinful condition into which man fell consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the lack of that righteousness in which he was created, and the corruption of his nature whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually, which is commonly called Original Sin, and from which all transgressions proceed. Therefore, although completely responsible to do so, man of himself is unable to repent of sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
THE MEDIATOR Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed Mediator between God and man. Having taken upon himself human nature, yet without sin, he perfectly fulfilled the law, suffered, and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, rose again the third day and ascended to the Father, at whose right hand he ever lives to make intercession for his people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the church, and Sovereign of the universe.
ELECTION Election is God's eternal choice of some persons to eternal life not because of foreseen merit or faith in them, but because of his mercy in Christ. Those who have been predestined to be saved are called, justified, sanctified and glorified.
REGENERATION AND CALLING Regeneration is the implanting of a new heart by the Holy Spirit. God calls us into fellowship with Jesus Christ by his Word and his
Holy Spirit, our minds being spiritually enlightened and our wills and affections being renewed.
REPENTANCE Repentance is a saving grace. The repentant person, by the Holy Spirit, is convicted of the evil of his sin and humbles himself for it, with godly sorrow, hatred of it, self-abhorrence, and a purpose to endeavour to walk before the Lord so as to please him in all things.
FAITH Faith is a saving grace by which we receive and rest upon Jesus Christ for salvation as he is freely offered to us in the Gospel.
JUSTIFICATION AND ADOPTION Justification is an act of God's free grace whereby he pardons our sins and accounts us righteous. This is not based on anything we have done but only on the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith alone. Once justified we are adopted into the family of God.
SANCTIFICATION Those who are united to Jesus Christ are renewed in their whole nature after the image of God. It is a progressive work of the Holy Spirit who dwells in all believers. They are thus enabled to pursue a life of holiness in obedience to all the commands of Christ, though never attaining to perfection in this life.
PERSEVERANCE Those whom God has accepted in the Beloved and sanctified by his Spirit will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace but will persevere to the end.
THE CHURCH The Lord Jesus is the Head of the church which is composed of God's elect in every age. According to his commandment, Christians are to gather in local churches. To each of these churches he has given authority for administering order and discipline. The officers of a church are Elders and Deacons.
BAPTISM Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus obligatory on every believer, in which he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is a sign of his union with Christ in his death and resurrection, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself to God to walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church membership.
THE LORD'S SUPPER The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, and to be observed by his church until he returns. It is in no sense a sacrifice or a means of having sins cleansed. Its purpose is to commemorate Christ's death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, and a renewal of their communion, with Christ and their fellow believers.
EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS It is the duty of every church and of every Christian to extend the Gospel to all men everywhere. As faith comes by hearing the Word of God, we are to seek by all methods sanctioned in the Word of God to persuade men to seek Jesus Christ and his salvation.
THE CHRISTIAN AND THE STATE Civil government is ordained of God and it is the duty of Christians to obey those who have the rule over them in all matters consistent with the teaching of Scripture. Christians are also to pray for their rulers.
THE RETURN OF CHRIST We believe in the visible, personal and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
RESURRECTION The bodies of men after death return to dust but their spirits return immediately to God - the righteous to rest with him, the wicked to be reserved under darkness until the judgement. The bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.
THE JUDGEMENT God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when everyone shall receive according to his deeds. The wicked will go on to everlasting punishment in hell with the devil and his angels. The righteous, with glorified bodies, will live and reign with Christ for ever.