In all that we do, both when we are on our own or when we get together, we want to be governed by God’s Word. The following declaration of our faith is a summary from the Bible of what we believe. Our Covenant, also taken from the Bible, sums up how we agree to live together. These two documents, taken together, sum up the shape of our life together.
We believe that God has graciously revealed His existence and power in the created order; and that God has supremely revealed himself to fallen human beings in the person of his Son, the incarnate Word, who is now revealed to us in the written Word. We believe the Bible to be the Word of God; that its sixty-six books, as originally written, were fully and verbally inspired by the Spirit of God and were entirely free from error and have been providentially and reliably preserved for us. We believe that when the Bible speaks, God speaks; and that God speaks clearly in His Word so that by His Spirit the true meaning can be understood. We submit to the Bible as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice, as the standard of truth for every domain of knowledge to which it speaks, and as the true basis of Christian union. “The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule for saving knowledge, faith and obedience. …The whole revelation of God concerning all things essential for His own glory, human salvation, faith and life, is either explicitly set down or implicitly contained in the Holy Scriptures. …The supreme judge by which all religious controversies are to be settled…can be none other than the Holy Scriptures. In the verdict of Scripture, our faith is finally determined.” (Rom. 1:19-20; Heb. 1:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4,21; Matt. 12:3,5; John 8:31-32; 17:17; 20:31; Psalm 119:105; 1 Cor. 2:7-14; Heb. 4:12; 1 Thess. 2:13; Mark 13:31; Acts 20:32)
We believe that “the Lord our God is the one and only true and living God,” the triune God, Creator of all things visible and invisible; that He is sovereign, eternal, and infinitely perfect in both His holiness and love, His greatness and His goodness, and thus worthy of all praise and adoration. We believe that our one God exists eternally in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe these three Persons of the Trinity are equal in every divine perfection, while performing distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence and redemption. “This doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and [our] comfortable dependence on Him.” (Gen. 1:1,26; Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; John 1:1-3; 4:24; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 1:3-14; 4:5-6; 1 Peter 1:2)
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, who orders and sustains all things according to His own sovereign, wise and good purposes to redeem a people for Himself and restore His fallen creation, to the praise of His glorious grace. We rejoice that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and eternal death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Gen. 50:20; Ps. 103:19; 135:6; Isa. 46:10; Dan. 4:35; Acts 2:23; 4:28; Rom. 8:28-29; Eph. 1:3-14; Col. 1:20; Rom. 8:18-25; 1 Pet. 1:2-3)
We believe in the absolute and essential deity of Jesus Christ, in His eternal existence with the Father in pre-incarnate glory, in His virgin birth, true humanity, sinless life, and His miracles and teachings. We believe in His substitutionary atoning death, His bodily resurrection, His triumphant ascension, His ongoing intercession for us, His headship over His body the church, and His personal, visible return to this earth to reclaim His own, to reign on the throne of David and to judge all men. He is the only Mediator, our Prophet, Priest and King, uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections and is therefore in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all sufficient Saviour. (Matt. 1:18-25; John 1:1-3,12,14; 20:28; Romans 3:21-26; 8:34; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:25; Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 15:1-19; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Isa. 9:6; Lk. 1:31-33; Matt. 25:14-46; John 5:22-23; Acts 17:30-31; Heb. 2:18; 4:14-16)
We believe in the absolute and essential deity and personality of the Holy Spirit, who was sent by Christ to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We believe the Spirit of God, the “other” Paraclete (Helper, Advocate), was sent to illuminate, regenerate, comfort, teach, indwell, revive, sanctify, seal and empower believers and to supply spiritual gifts for the building up of the body of Christ. (2 Cor. 3:17; John 3:5; 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:8,13,14; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:9; 1 Cor. 12-14; Eph. 1:11-14; 4:7-16)
We believe that Satan is an evil personality, a created but fallen angel, the author of sin, the arch-enemy of God, and the great deceiver of man. Yet Satan is also a defeated foe through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and he will be eternally punished in the lake of fire. (Gen. 3:1-7; 1 Tim. 3:6; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Peter 5:8; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10)
We believe that God created man in His own image, male and female, giving to human life an inherent sanctity (from conception). We believe God made man holy under the law of his Maker; but man voluntarily transgressed the command of God and fell from that holy and happy state. As a result of Adam’s sin, the whole human race was plunged into sin, guilt and ruin, so that all people deserve death spiritually, physically and eternally. We believe all mankind are sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration; and that man is radically depraved in all areas of life and is spiritually dead and utterly incapable of pleasing God or saving himself, and thus is hopelessly lost unless God intervenes. The greatest need of humanity is to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; the only hope for humanity is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to Himself. (Gen. 1-3; Jam. 3:9; Eccl. 2:11; John 3:14, 18-19,36; Romans 1:18-32; 3:10-23; 5:6-10; 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3)
Because of man’s lost and sinful state, we believe that salvation is totally of God, not of man, through the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ on the cross. We believe that we are saved because God, by His free and sovereign grace alone, has chosen from eternity past to regenerate us by His Spirit and to grant us faith and repentance by which we freely embrace Christ. We believe that by faith alone in Christ alone, apart from any human merit or works, the believing sinner is justified and declared righteous as an act of God through an astonishing transfer, in which our sins are imputed to Christ and His righteousness is imputed to us. Thus, we are given eternal life and adopted into God’s family to be conformed to the image of Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace. (Eph. 1:3-14; 2:8,9; John 1:12; 3:5, 6, 16; 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; Romans 3:21-26; 5:1; 8:28-29; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; John 3:3-7; Titus 3:4-7)
We believe that we are positionally sanctified (“set apart”) and viewed by God as “saints” from the day of conversion. We also believe that Christians, by God’s grace and His indwelling Spirit, will progressively live out their new identity in Christ through God’s appointed means of grace, especially the local church, Scripture, prayer, and daily obedience. We believe we are saved by faith alone, yet the faith that saves is never alone but is always accompanied by fruit which evidences the true child of God. “So believers grow in grace, moving towards mature holiness in the fear of God, pressing on towards the heavenly life in gospel obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head and King has prescribed for them in His Word. …repentance is to continue throughout the whole course of our lives.” Thus, we believe that every Christian ought to separate from the worldliness and apostasy of our day and live a transformed life to the glory of God as we faithfully fulfill our God-given callings in society and live as salt and light in a dark and decaying world. (Acts 20:32; 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11; Matt. 7:21-23; Jam. 2:17-26; Gal. 5:6, 16-25; Eph. 4:22-24; Php. 3:12; Col. 3:9-10; Mark 13:13; 1 Jn. 2:19; 2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; 1 John 1:9; Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 1 John 2:15-17). We also believe that all the redeemed will “certainly persevere in grace to the end and be eternally saved”; that the child of God is kept secure by His power until safely home in Heaven because nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We believe this assurance is not a cause for “loose living” but for making one’s calling and election sure and for gladly risking our lives in the cause of Christ. (John 10:28; 1 Pet. 1:5; Romans 8; 1 John 3; 5:13; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; 1 Cor. 15:58; Heb. 10:32-39)
We believe in the universal church, a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all regenerated persons are members. We believe members of this one spiritual body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies. We believe the local church consists of a gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on a credible profession of faith and associated for the purpose of exalting God through evangelizing the lost and edifying and equipping the saints for service. We believe that the church is distinguished by her gospel message, her sacred ordinances, her discipline, her great mission, and, above all, by her love for God and by her members’ love for one another and for the world. We believe that the church should display to the world a spiritual, Christ-centered unity that transcends ethnicity, age, or any other barrier, a unity that can only be produced through the gospel. (Acts 2:41-47; 1 Cor. 12; John 13:34-35; Eph. 2:11-22; 4:1-16; 5:19-21; Heb. 10:23-25). We believe that the reading and expounding of Scripture must be central to the life of the church, as the fountain from which all other ministry flows. We believe the local church is responsible to seek the restoration of sinning members and the purity of the church through corrective discipline as taught by our Lord in Matthew 18. We believe that Sunday is the Lord’s Day, in which we gather for corporate worship in the name of our Saviour who rose on the first day of the week. (Psalm 1, 19, 119; 1 Tim. 4:13 2 Tim. 4:1-5; Matt. 18:15-22; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; Rev. 1:10; Acts 20:7). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local church, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of the believer in water in the name of the triune God and as a confession of identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a time of communing with Christ and remembering Him through the bread and the cup that depict His broken body and shed blood on our behalf. (Matt. 26:26-29; 28:18-20; Acts 2:42; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 10:16-22; 11:23-26). We believe in the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right to appoint its own leaders. We believe the only scriptural offices in the local church, under Christ’s headship and according to the biblical qualifications, are: elders/pastors who give teaching and oversight in shepherding the flock, along with deacons who coordinate ministries of mercy and care for practical needs in the church. We believe it is good for like-minded local churches to fellowship and cooperate with one another in the cause of the gospel; and that we ought to “pray continually for the good and prosperity of Christ’s churches everywhere.” (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1:5-9; Heb. 13:7,17; Acts 6:1-6; Matt. 6:9-10; Mark 9:40; Acts 15; Php. 1:12-18)
We believe that God’s glory and fame must be spread to the ends of the earth for the joy of all peoples. We believe that apart from conscious faith in Christ, there is no hope of salvation for the nations. We believe God has laid upon the members of the local church the primary task of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world; and that God, in His sovereignty, has placed us in this city, among these people, at this time, for the advance of His kingdom. We believe that missions is the process of evangelizing the lost and planting churches; and we believe that it is our great privilege and responsibility to participate in this cause both locally and internationally. (Ps. 47, 67; Matt. 16:18; 28:18- 20; Acts 1:8ff; 17:26-27)
We believe that, according to God’s good and wise design, He created men and women equal in value and dignity but distinct and complementary in their function and roles in the home, church, and society. We believe that God has ordained marriage as a heterosexual relationship between a natural man and a natural woman. We believe that marriage and children are gifts from God and that the sexual relationship is only to be enjoyed within the bounds of marriage. We believe God has designed the family and the home to be the primary building block for all of society. (Gen 1-3; 1 Cor. 11:7-9; 1 Tim. 2:11-15; Eph 5:22-33: Rom 1:26-27; Heb. 13:4)
We believe in the personal, bodily and glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom and the hope of the new heaven and the new earth when the curse of sin will be removed forever and God will be all in all to His people. We believe in the resurrection of the bodies of the just and unjust, in the eternal blessedness of the redeemed and in the judgment and conscious, eternal punishment of the wicked. “As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity, so will He have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come, and may ever be prepared to say, ‘Come Lord Jesus, come quickly! Amen.’” (Acts 1:11; Php. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:15-16; 2 Tim. 4:1; Titus 2:13; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29; 14:3; Luke 12:35-40; Rev. 20-22) This Declaration of Faith is a summary of two larger, more detailed doctrinal statements by which the eldership at Antioch are guided in much of their beliefs and teaching: (a) The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (b) The “What We Teach” statement of Grace Community Church.
The following Church Covenant, (as well as the Declaration of Faith shown above), is adopted from Antioch Bible Church. Covenants have long been used by Protestant churches. This covenant is what members of Nelspruit Bible Church commit to upon membership of the church.
(1) Having been brought by divine grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to surrender ourselves to Him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, we do now, relying on His gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully renew our covenant with one another.
(2) We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace as one body in Christ, being slow to take offence and eager for reconciliation. We will submit to our church leaders in the Lord and avoid grumbling or divisive behaviour.
(3) We will walk together in brotherly love, as is fitting for members of a Christian church, exercising an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully admonishing and encouraging one another as needed. We will rejoice in each others’ happiness and endeavour with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows.
(4) We will seek to use our time, gifts and talents to serve others and to build up this body of Christ. We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor forsake attending to the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, nor neglect to pray for one another.
(5) We will be faithful in regular Bible reading and prayer and growing in love for God and others. We will seek to fulfil our biblical responsibilities in marriage and in the home, bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
(6) We will seek, by our example and our witness, the salvation of family, friends and others. We will also endeavour to disciple those in the church who are younger in the faith.
(7) We will seek, by God’s enabling grace, to walk in personal holiness in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, remembering that we have been buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in newness of life. We will seek to not be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and to be salt and light in our community.
(8) We will work together for the continuance of a faithful Bible-teaching ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of this church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
(9) We will, when we move from this place, as soon as possible, unite with another likeminded church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
(10) May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.