Christian belief

We believe in one God ...

Our belief in God is central to the Christian faith. The Christian view of God is as the creator of the universe, with all the power that implies, but at the same time as a personal, loving, caring, merciful, and forgiving God.

Our understanding of the nature and character of God is as revealed in the Bible. For example, we learn from the Bible that God demands that we treat each other with fairness, kindness, and justice. God is seen as condemning bad treatment and exploitation of the poor and the weak. He is also seen as providing for the needs of those who seek God's help, and in giving absolute forgiveness for those who seek His mercy. The Bible frequently used the relationship between a parent and child as an analogy of the relationship between God and His people. We understand that the parent is able to forgive and forget anything that the child does that falls short of the parent's expectations, and we also understand that there is no kindness that the parent would withhold from the child. It is the same with God and us.

We believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord ...

As Christians, we believe that Jesus entered human history 2000 years ago as a real human, whilst remaining God. He lived for just over 30 years, spending the last 3 years of his life teaching and healing. He was put to death on a cross as if he were a common criminal, but came alive again after two nights (this is celebrated at Easter). A short while later he returned to Heaven. He promised His followers that one day He will return again, and Christians have remained in hope of this event.

Much of what we know about God is found in what the Bible tells us about Jesus. We see in Jesus the resolution of various contrasts that can be hard to understand. For example, the concepts of justice and mercy, which might seem irreconcilable, are explained through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The Bible describes the relationship between Jesus and His people in terms of several different pictures. These include the shepherd caring for his sheep, as the parent seeking the lost child, and as the bridegroom at the wedding with his bride. All of these point to one who shows love, care and forgiveness.

We believe in the Holy Spirit ...

Jesus promised that when He returned to Heaven He would send the Holy Spirit. The very moment of the fulfilment of this promise is described in vivid detail in the book of Acts in the Bible. The story told there is that the the Holy Spirit came upon all the early Christians, giving them a new power where before they were confused and afraid. The promise of the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us is for all who believe.

We believe in one church ...

This is not the organisation, but the community of Christians worldwide. The Bible speaks of the church as being like Christ's bride, as a vine, and as a body. The church shares common sacraments, such as Baptism and Holy Communion.

And the other bits?

The Bible is 2000 years old at its youngest, and parts are likely to date back another 1000 years or so. It was written to people living in a very different cultures from our own, and facing problems we are never likely to experience. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are many points of detail in the Bible whose interpretation seem somewhat more ambiguous to us. Examples include some of the most distant historical events, and some of the rules given to the God's people. We understand that Christians will have different understandings of some of these points of detail; we consider that this adds to the richness of belonging to the church rather than needing to be a source of division.