Hope Church, Gravesend: Statement of Belief
In common with Christians from the past we hold an unshakable conviction that everything we need to believe and practice as individuals and as a church is contained within the pages of Scripture Alone. The Bible is the only infallible and authoritative Word of God.
No Statement of Faith therefore can possess the same kind of authority as the Scriptures. But if it can be clearly demonstrated that the beliefs outlined are those taught in the Scriptures, then the Statement of Faith possesses a derived authority, and is to be accepted and believed.
The value of adopting a Statement of Faith may be summarised as follows:
- It sets out a system of doctrine that expresses the central truths of Christianity which we can unite around as a church.
- It also unites us to Christians in the past, in particular acknowledging our indebtedness to the Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who recovered the teaching of Scripture with new clarity.
When we formed as a church in 1992 we adopted the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. We continue to assent to the system of doctrine of the 1689 Confession, (alongside its modern helpful reformulation ‘We believe: the Baptist Affirmation of Faith 1966’).
But we recognise that other briefer Confessions of Faith within this tradition are more readily accessible to Christians in our own day. So in 2020 we adopted the following Statement of Belief
, which is held in common with the Association of Grace Baptist Churches (South East). This was first written in 1871, and then updated in 1985 and again in 2014.
Click here to return to 'What we believe’ page.
Click here to view or download a PDF of our Statement of Belief.
- We believe in the one true and living God, co-equal in three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who is invisible, personal, omnipresent, eternal, dependent on none, unchanging, truthful, trustworthy, almighty, sovereign, omniscient, righteous, holy, good, loving, merciful, long-suffering and gracious, the Creator of all things.
- We believe that Almighty God in His great goodness has revealed all that is necessary to life and salvation in the sixty-six books of The Old and New Testaments which is the Word of God. All Scripture was given by inspiration of God, is infallible and inerrant, and is sufficient in all matters of faith and practice. Its authority is derived from its Author and not from the opinions of men.
- We believe that God made our first father Adam perfect, holy and upright. Adam sinned and as the representative and head of the human race brought upon himself and all his offspring death, condemnation and a sinful nature. As a result it is utterly beyond the power of fallen mankind to have a saving knowledge of God, to love God, to keep his laws, to believe the Gospel, to repent of sin or trust in Christ.
- We believe that God, before the foundation of the world, for His own glory chose an innumerable host of men and women to eternal life as an act of free and sovereign grace. This election was in no way dependent upon his foresight of human faith, decision, works or merit.
- We believe that God so loved lost sinners that He sent His Son into the world, conceived of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, unchangeably sinless, both God and man, born under the Law to live a perfect life.
- We believe that God’s Son died at Calvary to effect propitiation, reconciliation, redemption and atonement for His elect people. God bore testimony to His acceptance of His Son’s work by raising Him from the dead for our justification. He ascended to the right hand of His Father and is enthroned in glory, where He intercedes on behalf of His people and rules over all things for their sake.
- We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ shall come again to judge all people, to raise the dead, both righteous and unrighteous, and that the righteous shall be glorified and enjoy everlasting life and the wicked endure everlasting punishment.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven to glorify Christ and to apply His work of salvation. By the mystery of His all-powerful work those dead in sin are brought into spiritual life. They hear the call of God through His Word and are given the desire and ability to repent of sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. The Holy Spirit 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.
- We believe that the elect, who are called by grace, are justified in the sight of God on account of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ which is received by faith alone. They shall persevere in holiness and enter into the joys of heaven.
- We believe that a visible local church is a community of baptised believers who have covenanted together in the fellowship of the gospel and under the discipline of God’s Word. We believe in the necessity of baptism by immersion, into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, on a profession of repentance and faith in order to enter into church membership. The Lord’s Supper is a privilege of local church membership and is administered under the discipline and pastoral care of the local church.
- We believe that the local church is under the authority of Christ alone. A local church is administered by the officers (pastors/elders and deacons) of that church. Under the congregational principle of church order, church members gather to seek the Lord’s mind on matters relating to church life and ministry. Local churches express the unity of the body of Christ with other churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the gospel.
- We believe in church based mission; that it is the responsibility and privilege of each local church to be obedient to Christ’s Commission to go into all the world, starting in its local area, and preach the gospel to all people, seeking to disciple and baptise believers, establishing them in local churches.