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Our Beliefs

Evangelical Reformed Church Statement of Faith

"Grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone"

Preamble

The following statement of faith is not intended to define our boundaries of fellowship. Some Christians will certainly differ with some of what is set forth here. Such Christians are nevertheless welcome to fellowship together with us. Our basis for fellowship is a biblical confession of the lordship of Jesus Christ, and the pursuit of a godly lifestyle.

This statement of faith does represent the doctrinal understanding of the leadership of ERC, and it is our intention that the teaching and preaching at ERC reflect this understanding.

(Adopted April, 1997) (Revised November 2000, 2010, 2015)

Article I: Creedal Statements

Summary Statement

We believe the Bible to be the only inerrant Word of God. It is our only authoritative rule for faith and practice.

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three Persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is omnipotent, that is, He is all-powerful. He is omnipresent, that is, He is present throughout Creation but not limited by it. He is omniscient, that is, nothing is hidden from His sight. In all things He is limited by nothing other then His own nature and character. We believe the God we serve is holy, righteous, good, just, loving and full of mercy. He is the Creator, Sustainer, and Governor of everything that has been made.

We believe in the true deity and full humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father and in His personal return in power and glory.

We believe in the full deity of the Holy Spirit, acknowledging Him together with the Father and the Son as Creator and Redeemer.

We believe that because of Adam’s sin all mankind is in rebellion against God. For the salvation of such lost and sinful men, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary.

We believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone, and that faith without works is dead.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and lost; those who are saved to the resurrection of life, and those who are lost to the resurrection of damnation. We believe in the spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are also in agreement with the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Larger Catechisms and the Westminster Shorter Catechisms.

Article II: Governments

Introduction

We believe that God has ordained various governments among men. The three basic governments are civil government, church government and family government. All of these governments are dependent on the grace of God, common or special, working in individuals to bring about self-government.

We deny that the authority of these governments should be set against one another. God has ordained them all, and assigned to them differing responsibilities.

Q2: What are your beliefs about communion?

It is a “means of grace”, that is, a means by which God strengthens and encourages the believer’s faith. Christ does this by being spiritually present in the common elements of the bread and the cup. As a result, it is at this Table that we have “communion ” with Him and are fed spiritually. For a more detailed answer see Lord’s Supper.

Family Government

We believe that God has ordained the husband to be the head of his wife, and that he is answerable to God for the spiritual state of everyone in his household (Ephesians 5:23).

We deny that the hierarchy established by God in the family diminishes in any way the worth of women in the sight of God, or elevates their husbands (Galatians 3:28), or eliminates individual spiritual responsibility.

We believe that Christian parents have an obligation before God to provide their children with a godly understanding of the world in which they are growing up. To this end, Christian education, however administered, is essential (Deuteronomy 6:1-6).

We deny that the state or the church has the ultimate obligation to rear our children. That responsibility belongs to the parents (Ephesians 6:4).

We believe that marriage is ordained by God and is between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6), and that man has no authority to sever what God has joined together. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Marriage, divorce and remarriage must be regulated biblically, not culturally.

We deny that compassion for the divorced requires any softening of the biblical teaching on the subject, nor do we believe the divorced should be treated as an outcast.

Church Government

We believe that each local gathering of the visible church is to be governed by a plurality of men called elders, each of whom must meet the requirements for church leadership (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4).

We deny that someone can be called by God to such leadership when his life or family is not in order. Seminary training, long experience, and gifts of leadership or communication are no substitute for obedience (1 Samuel 15:22).

We believe that each local gathering of the visible church is to be served by a plurality of deacons, each of whom must meet the requirements for church service (1 Timothy 3:8-13).

We deny that such service can be rendered properly when a deacon’s life does not meet the criteria set by Scripture.

We believe the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, to be the sole authority for faith and practice in the church. The laws of the Old Testament, including the Mosaic code, are normative for Christians today, provided they are understood and applied according to the teaching of the New Testament (Romans 13:8-10).

We deny that the grace of God in Christ has changed in any way the definition of right and wrong. Rather, the Spirit works in us to accomplish the righteous requirements of the law (Romans 8:4).

We believe a great Commission has been given to disciple the nations to Christ. The instrument for accomplishing this is the preaching of the gospel prior to the return of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).

We deny that the church should stop working as though we are living in the last generation (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).

We believe the Lord commissioned His church to undertake the discipleship of the world (Matthew 28:18-20). At that time, He commanded baptism with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism with water is therefore a sacrament of the Christian church, and the elders of the church are responsible to ensure that baptisms are administered in a scriptural fashion, and that the proper signification of water baptism is preserved and maintained. We affirm that water baptism signifies union with Christ (Romans 6:3-7), the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), the washing away of sin (Acts 22:16), the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5), the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:6; Acts 10:44,47), and the circumcision of the heart (Colossians 2:11-12). Because baptism is also the initiatory sacrament into the New Covenant, as circumcision was to the Old Covenant; children of one or more Christian parents are also to be baptized (Acts 2:38-39, Acts 16:29-33).

We deny that water baptism imparts grace by means of water. God imparts grace to His saints to enable them to obey Him (2 Corinthians 9:8), and strengthens them further by grace in that obedience (Heb. 12:14-15). The faithful observance of water baptism constitutes one part of that obedience.

We believe that legitimate modes of water baptism include immersion, pouring, or sprinkling in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We deny that the scriptural meaning of water baptism is nullified by the mode of application.

We believe the Lord’s Supper to be a symbol of the body and blood of Christ, though we acknowledge its mystery and Christ’s spiritual presence in it. Christians should regularly eat at this table, as long as they are not under the discipline of God, or God’s people (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

We deny that the Lord’s Supper imparts grace by means of the bread and cup. It is, however, a participation in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:14-17), and God blesses faithful participation in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 10:16-17), and disciplines faithlessness in it (1 Corinthians 11:30).

We believe the sign gifts which were apparent in the first century church were not given as a normative pattern for subsequent generations (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).

We deny that a church must manifest such gifts in order to please God in worship (1 Corinthians 14:20-22).

Civil Government

We believe that Christians are to live quiet and peaceful lives, in true submission to the civil magistrates ordained by God as His servants (Romans 13:1-7).

We deny that this submission is absolute. When civil authorities require something forbidden by God, or forbid something required by God, the duty of Christians is to humbly, respectfully, and submissively disobey (Acts 4:19-20).

We believe that Christians should be involved in the political process. Christ required His followers to be salt and light in the world, and He did not exclude civil government from that Christian influence (Matthew 5:13-16).

We deny that the power of the gospel is to be found in political involvement. We do not believe civil government to be a savior (2 Corinthians 10:3-6), and deny that the church is a political organization.