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What we Believe
The core doctrine that forms the foundation of what we, as pastors at Reading Family Church, teach is:
God – The Trinity
There is one God, who exists eternally in a fellowship of three distinct and equal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who are unchangeable in their holiness, justice, wisdom and love. Together, they created, sustain, and judge all things according to their will and for their mutual glory and joy.
The Father is the head of the Trinity who governs all things according to his sovereign and selfless will, which is to display the excellence of his Son to all people, and through the work of salvation, offer them a share in the love he has for the Son.
The Son – The Lord Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is the one through whom all the knowledge and goodness of God flows to creation. Begotten of the Father, he is fully God and fully man. He is thus the perfect and only mediator between the Father and the human race. He loves and honours the Father by perfectly revealing who the Father is and what the Father does and he works to raise up a people into the same life that he enjoys with the Father.
That work included the following: being conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and living a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all his words are true. On the cross he died for our sins, bearing for us the punishment we deserve from God and thus redeeming us by his blood. He rose 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 and mediates God's grace for the sanctification of our humanity and the future renewal of the universe.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the life giving Lord who is worshipped along with the Father and Son. He proceeds from the Father and the Son to raise up a people into the eternal life of the Trinity. He convicts sinners, imparts spiritual life and gives a true understanding of the Scriptures. He indwells all believers, bringing assurance of salvation and in the baptism of the Spirit, he imparts new abilities and gifts to them. He produces in them the life of the new humanity, which is the life of Christ, in ever increasing measure. He builds up the Church and empowers her members for the obedience of faith.
The Bible is the written testimony of the Father about his Son, and how the Son faithfully reveals the Father in all he is and does. He has given this testimony to the human race through the Holy Spirit. It is inspired by God in its entirety, without error, and is the final authority in all things. It is the all-sufficient foundation for the ordering of life.
The Human Race
All men and women have been created in the image of God. Their greatest purpose is to believe, obey, love and enjoy God. As a result of the rebellion of the first humans - Adam and Eve - against God, every aspect of our human nature has been corrupted and therefore all men and women are spiritually dead: guilty sinners and hostile to God. Every person is therefore under the just condemnation of God and needs to be reconciled to God and born again into the family of God so as to know and please him.
Salvation is entirely a work of God's grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ in his crucifixion and resurrection and is offered to all in the gospel. God in his love 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 – the new humanity – and will receive eternal life in the New Creation.
The universal Church is the body of which Christ is the head and to which all who are saved belong. This body is made visible in local churches, which are congregations of this new humanity - the family of God. These people are given by God to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, prayer, the recovery of true community, the administering of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, pastoral care and discipline, and evangelism. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between local churches exists in the Holy Spirit and flourishes only where they are faithful to the gospel.
Baptism and the Lord's Supper
These have been given to the church by Christ as visible signs of the gospel. A believer’s baptism is a powerful public confirmation and seal of our union with Christ and represents the believer’s entry into the Church. The Lord's Supper is a commemoration of the cross of Christ and an experience of our ongoing participation in and dependence on Christ as our unifying head. Whilst Christ is powerfully present ministering to believers in this sacrament, it involves no change in the bread and wine.
The Lord Jesus Christ will return personally and bodily in glory to consummate history and fully restore his cosmos. He will bodily raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will be condemned to eternal punishment and the righteous will be welcomed into a renewed earth to live in eternal, joyful and direct fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To God be glory and praise forever. Amen.