What we believe

For a copy of our more detailed booklet “What we believe and How we put it into practice” please email ben@bwoodcraft.com

What we believe

 

A. The Church is not a building but a people. All followers of Christ are Christ’s Church- global. We meet in smaller groups out of necessity and for mutual encouragement, but we are all part of the same worldwide Church. However, (just to confuse things) we also call these smaller groups ‘churches’.

 

When we talk about ‘our church’ we are just using the term conveniently- the church doesn’t belong to us, (or to the Queen, or the Pope) it belongs to Jesus Christ- but this local church here in Yelling we like to call ‘our church’ because we are committed to it and devote our time and resources to it.

 

However, ‘our church’ (Yelling Baptist) does hold some distinctive beliefs that we think are based on the Bible, and these may be different from those of other churches you have come across, so it is useful to define them.

 

B. Before that, we should say that we believe that the Bible is the Word of God- in other words, he inspired the writers & editors, and what is contained in the Bible is the truth about Him. Jesus claims that whatever the Bible says, God says, and that what God says is the truth (Matthew 15:4, John 17:17). Jesus shows that he believes scripture when he repels the Enemy (Satan’s) temptations with it. (Matthew 4:4-10).

We hold the Bible as our authority and this means accepting all that it says even when we don’t like it. After all, if we just picked out what we liked, we would be placing ourselves as the authority.

 

You may say- this is a circular argument- how can you say the Bible is God’s word, based on the fact the Bible says so?

Well, our faith isn’t based on arguments, it is based on experience, and once you experience the power of the Word of God you know it to be true. The Bible and its power speak for themselves in the effect that they have had on people’s lives (including ours). If you don’t believe us, try reading it yourself!

 

Our Core beliefs:

 

1. God is a Trinity, is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving.

 

We believe that there is one God, who reveals himself in three persons each of whom are fully and eternally God. The Trinity is in many ways a mystery, but Jesus gives us several clues as to its nature in John 15:

 

9 …Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe thatI am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to youI do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

 

and John 16:

 

26Butwhen the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father,he will bear witness about me.

 

Therefore the three persons are:

God the Father- The Creator, Sustainer, Judge & Head (authority) of the Trinity.

God the Son- The Eternal Word (John 1:1) and Deed (John 1:3) of the Father. The world was created through him (John 1:3) and will be judged through him (Romans 2:16). He was made incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14).

God the Holy Spirit- God as He works in human beings to comfort & guide, bear witness to the truth about Jesus and change our attitudes toward God himself.

 

We believe that God is Sovereign- this means that all things are in his control (Matthew 10:29).

We believe that God is so great & perfect that we would never be able or willing to approach him unless he made it possible (John 6:44) We can’t come to Jesus just because we think it’s a good idea. If any of us trusts in Jesus it is only because God initiated it. Many people are offended by the idea that faith could be a gift of God, but that is what Jesus said, so it is what we believe.

We believe that God is Love. (1 John 4:16) He doesn’t just love us because he wants to, but because he is love. Love characterises all that he is and does.

 

2. All people are utterly sinful.

 

Another offensive idea! However, we do not mean that people are incapable of doing good, moral, just or nice things, but that at the core of their being, each person is self-centred rather than God-centred; and sin rules each person’s perspectives, desires, motives and purposes.

 

For example, Jesus makes the assumption that we are evil even when talking about the good things we can do (Matthew 7:11). He also talks about ‘all the evils that come from inside and make a man unclean’ in Mark 7:21-3. If we take Jesus seriously, the bad things that we feel, think and do should not surprise us- it is our nature to be this way.

We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. Our corrupt nature gives rise to sinful acts. Therefore we need saving from our sinful nature, not just from sin itself (Romans 7:14-25)

 

3. The Cross is absolutely central.

 

We believe that God the Son, in the person of Jesus, came to earth, lived, preached, performed miracles, suffered and died on a Roman executioner’s cross. Jesus said that his death was the reason that he came to earth (Mark 10:45).

 

If we are held captive to our sinful nature, then Jesus’ death was the ransom-price that bought our release from that captivity. Jesus is the only man to have ever lived without sinning. Because he was also God, he did not have a sinful nature.

 

Matthew 27:15-26 tells us about Barabbas. He was a man who was due for execution- a villain, criminal and terrorist, who was set free when the Jewish crowds chose his life over Jesus’. Barabbas was set free and Jesus, the sinless one, was crucified. Jesus took his place. This is what the Christian can say about his Saviour- “I should have died but Jesus took my place- He died for me.” Rather than receiving punishment we can receive grace (God’s undeserved favour) and eternal life.

 

4. Grace is undeserved and amazing.

 

Grace- God’s undeserved favour- just doesn’t make sense. Why should a God who is holy and good, care about someone who is evil at the core of their being? But God is not conventional. Grace is his biggest surprise.

 

Why should Jesus care about a woman of the streets having forgiveness of sins? (Luke 7:36-50)

What father would welcome back a prodigal son (who had valued his father’s money more highly than his father’s life and squandered all of his inheritance while his father was still alive)? (Luke 15)

Who would dare teach that a cheating tax collector stood uncondemned before heaven? (Luke 18:9-14)

Who would assure a condemned criminal, just about to die, that he would be in paradise that day? (Luke 23:39-43)

 

There is no explanation- except that that is the way God is. He delights in being gracious!

 

5. Discipleship is for life.

 

If you are willing to accept Jesus’ death in your place, and to put God back in his rightful place as the Lord of your life, you can become his disciple.

Discipleship is what happens for the rest of your life once you have become a disciple- it’s the process of becoming more like the person who saved us- Jesus.

 

We believe that once God brings a sinner to Jesus, Jesus will keep him to the end. That doesn’t mean that the believer will never sin, or will never have temptations and trials to endure, or will never doubt his faith. But it does mean that our salvation is secure in the hand of God.

 

“Whoever comes to me I will never drive away…this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:37-9) “…no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

 

Jesus’ didn’t just die on a cross. He also defeated death itself and rose again to a new amazing and powerful resurrection body. He then left the earth and rejoined his Father in Heaven for all of eternity. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead provides assurance that if we follow Jesus, one day we too will rise again and have eternal life. (1 Corinthians 15:20)

 

6. Discipleship encompasses the whole of life.

 

Jesus rules over and cares about all of our lives- nothing is outside His power or concern- not work, church, relationships, hobbies or secrets.

All of our lives must be submitted to his reign. This means obeying his commands that are recorded in the Bible, and submitting to his will as he guides us individually.

 

God’s view of success is not the same as societies. God doesn’t define us by whether we are wealthy or popular. We are defined by what is in our hearts and whether we are willing to do what God wants. If we follow the God who is love, our lives should be characterised by love- we should always love, never judge, always sacrifice ourselves for others, never grumble.

 

We should be getting out there and doing things for God- not sitting down letting everyone else do it. But the ordinary things need to be done too. You don’t need to be a full-time Christian worker to honour God. Even when you are doing ordinary things- playing with your children, washing dishes, standing at the photocopier, fixing a leak- you can still do them for God. What matters is your obedience and your attitude.

 

These 6 beliefs may seem strange to you now- they are controversial, demanding and life-changing. But they are what we believe- peculiar or not. You can’t say now that we didn’t warn you!