What we teach
The beliefs of Hope Church are summarised by our Statement of Faith:
There is only one true and living God, who exists eternally in perfect unity in three distinct but equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is unchangeable in His holiness, justice, wisdom and love. He is the almighty creator, Saviour and judge who sustains and governs all things according to His sovereign will for His own glory.
God has revealed Himself in the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments alone. Every word was inspired by God through human authors, so that the Bible as originally given is in its entirety the word of God, without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. The Bible alone speaks with final authority and is always sufficient for all matters of belief and practice.
The Human Race
All men and women, being created in the image of God, have inherent and equal dignity and worth. Their greatest purpose is to obey, worship and love God. As a result of the fall of our first parents, every aspect of human nature has been corrupted and all men and women are without spiritual life, guilty sinners and hostile to God. Human beings without Christ are under the control of sin and Satan, who is an actual being, not just an imaginary influence. Every person is therefore under the just condemnation of God, subject to His holy wrath and punishment, and needs to be born again, forgiven and reconciled to God in order to know and please Him.
The Lord Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is the incarnate Son of God, fully God and fully man, in one united and indivisible Person. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all His words are true. On the cross He died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, redeeming them by His blood and triumphing over Satan, sin and death. He rose bodily from the dead and in His resurrection body ascended into heaven where He is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for His people in the presence of the Father.
Salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered to all in the gospel. God in His sovereign love, before the foundation of the world, chose for Himself a people as his own. According to this eternal and gracious plan He forgives sinners whom He calls, granting them repentance and faith. All who believe in Christ are justified by faith alone, adopted into the family of God and receive eternal life. All who come to Him are freely welcomed and are not turned away. Those whom God has called to faith will certainly persevere to the end and be saved.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven to glorify Christ and to apply His work of salvation. He convicts sinners, imparts spiritual life and gives a true understanding of the Scriptures. He indwells all believers, brings assurance of salvation and produces increasing likeness to Christ. He builds up the Church and empowers its members for worship, service and mission. His work is essential for salvation, and for spiritual power and effectiveness to the individual Christian and to the Church.
The universal Church is the body of which Christ is the head and to which all who are saved belong. It is made visible in local churches, which are congregations of believers who are committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; for pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the gospel.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper have been given to the churches by Christ as visible signs of the gospel. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ in His death and resurrection, of forgiveness of sins, of the giving up of oneself to God through Christ to live and walk in newness of life, and of entry into His Church, but it does not impart spiritual life. The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice offered once for all and involves no change in the bread and wine. All its blessings are received by faith.
The Lord Jesus Christ will return personally, visibly and gloriously to this earth. He will raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will be sent to eternal punishment and the righteous will be welcomed into a life of eternal joy in fellowship with God. God will renew this universe to a perfect state and will be glorified forever.