What We Believe

OUR VISION

To be a bible-saturated, gospel-focused, Spirit-filled community of worshippers who love Jesus, love the world and love one another.

OUR VALUES

A worshipping community

Our highest calling in life is to glorify God and enjoy him with all of our being, our whole lives surrendered to Christ as gifts of adoration and praise. This means we aim to live Christ-honouring lives through all we do and in all our dealings with those around us.

This passionate Christ-honouring principle extends to our musical worship too. When we gather we want to join with the celebration of heaven, to be a people characterised by extravagant and intimate worship. We want to be a people who prize corporate God-focused, Christ-centred worship. We will always look to prioritise time for this when we gather together to enable us to praise Jesus and dwell in his presence.

A bible-saturated community

We believe that the bible is God’s very word and as such value it extremely highly.

We believe God’s word is unchanging and as such is a faithful standard in life to measure everything else up to. Our aim is to not simply hear the bible taught but within this teaching to dive deep into what the bible says and be trained to think biblically for ourselves, as we learn to apply the bible to the whole of life – or as 2 Timothy 2:26 puts it, to learn how to “rightly handle the word of God”.

We believe that the focus of the bible is God himself. In a culture which is obsessed with self the bible lifts our gaze from ourselves and points us to him.

A relational community

The bible shows us an example of church life that is a family rather than an organisation, where relationship is more important than structure.

This means that although structure and systems are important and also valued (they are surely needed to provide a firm foundation for growth and biblical accountability) it remains essential that this relational aspect of church life is prized and any such systems are always secondary to this value of community rather than the other way around.

In practice this means we will seek to ensure that any structures we put in place work to better facilitate our community and resist the temptation to formalise, continually looking for how to outwork true family community in how we do church together.

A Spirit-filled community

We believe that every believer has been sealed with The Holy Spirit, who is a guarantee of our inheritance, indwelling us and empowering us to live godly lives. One of the primary roles of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to give us confidence that we are children of God (Rom 8:15-17).

The bible encourages us to continually be filled with The Holy Spirit throughout our lives (Eph 5:18). Just as a sailing ship needs its sail to be full so that it can move forward, so too do we need The Holy Spirit to fill us so we can move on in our walk with him, day by day experiencing his love and grace, resisting temptation and becoming more like Jesus.

The bible also speaks of The Holy Spirit empowering his people with gifts to build up the church. There are a variety of gifts mentioned and we are encouraged that not everyone has the same gifts but rather God gifts us each differently to be a blessing to those around us.

At Hope Community Church we are expectant that when we gather he will express these gifts through us and we therefore aim to allow space for this.

Some of these gifts may involve God bringing something to mind to encourage individuals or the church as a whole. When this happens it is important to remember that these gifts are secondary to God’s revealed will in scripture and therefore all such encouragements must be submitted to the bible and weighed according to what it says. If in doubt the bible always wins.

A grace-filled community

We believe that all mankind are sinners rightly deserving the judgement of God for our sin and yet Christ’s substitutionary death on our behalf and his physical resurrection from the dead have opened up the path to forgiveness for all who would believe in him.

We believe in the complete sovereignty of God in this salvation, there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favour and nothing we can now do to lose it. He chose us before the foundation of the world to be his people (Ephesians 1:4) and he continues to empower us to become more like him day by day until one day we will be with him forever.

Life with God is not an endless set of rules and regulations, it is instead a daily relationship of learning to trust him more and seeking to honour him though all we do.

When we fail Hope Community Church will encourage, support and when needed correct, all within a context of love, acknowledging our dependence upon him who is the one who is working out his good and perfect purposes in and through us.

An equal yet diverse community

We believe that no matter our age, ethnicity or economic status, everyone is equal in worth and dignity.

Our worth is not bound up in what we do or our position in life, it is not even in what we believe but rather it is intrinsic to us being people made in the image of God. It is our firm belief (based on the example of the trinity) that greater authority in role or different types of gifting/calling does not equal greater worth.

For example one simple way we express this is we don’t refer to those in leadership with special titles. Someone may be a pastor but that is his role, not his title. Those in any form of leadership have no greater worth than any other church member.

Yet just as we are all made equal in God’s image we are also created diverse with gifting and calling, God did not make us clones of each other, but rather he has designed us each to be a unique part of his body with varied roles and skills worked out within a biblical framework. We see this expressed in the bible through Paul’s discussion in 1 Cor 12:12-31 of the different parts of the body and also in the calling of some to different areas of leadership in church life for example in 1 Timothy chapters 2 & 3 where we see clear qualifications and frameworks for those called to lead and serve the church.

An equipping community

Jesus didn’t call us to simply tell people his good news, rather he sent us to make disciples.

We believe that means we are to be a church which seeks to equip one another to step out into all God calls us to.

On a one-to-one level we encourage accountable relationships where people can meet up and sharpen one another in the things of God (Prov 27:17) and on a bigger scale we seek to train and equip in specific areas of service so that the church is better served and people can be released into the calling God has on their lives.

A serving community

We believe that every church member has something they can bring to church life and we gather not to be entertained but to be involved.

In this we look to cultivate a sonship attitude rather than that of a hired hand where we take seriously our responsibilities and where the attitude of the heart and the strength of gifting go hand in hand with neither outweighing the other.

We look for excellence in all areas of serving, seeing it as part of our worship to Jesus. Within this we understand that excellence is about us giving our best and a different level of gifting will apply to differing environments. We speak of this as “spheres of gifting”, for example you may need a greater level of ability to play an instrument in a larger context than you may within a smaller one but our attitude should be the same in all contexts.

An outward community

We believe that God calls us into community for the community, he has blessed us to be a blessing to others.

By this we mean that Jesus didn’t just save us to hang out with each other till we go to heaven, rather he saves us and calls us into community so we can in turn be a blessing to the wider community around us.

This will express itself in many different ways including social action, community events and looking for areas of need within our neighbourhoods and the lives of those we meet, seeking the welfare of our community (Jer 29:7).

The greatest blessing we can bring is the good news of Jesus which goes beyond simply a hope in this life but also hope into eternity and so in all that we do we will seek do it in Jesus name sharing the good news of his death and his resurrection.

Hosea 2:15 talks of God making the valley of trouble into a door of Hope, we believe that Jesus meets us where we are in the midst of our joys and our troubles and in that place he becomes a door into this wonderful Hope of knowing life with him.

A sending community

We believe that each local church should have a mindset that goes beyond their locality and looks to be a blessing to the nations, to be churches that plant churches.

The great commission in Matt 28:18-20 tells us to go to all of the earth with this good news of Jesus and so at Hope Community Church we seek to cultivate a sending culture, encouraging and supporting those amongst us who feel called to take the gospel throughout the UK and beyond to the nations of the world.

OUR DOCTRINAL STATEMENT

The tri-une God

We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love and glorify one another. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect both in his love and in his holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, he perfectly and exhaustively knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation, to the praise of his glorious grace.

Revelation

God has graciously disclosed his existence and power in the created order, and has supremely revealed himself to fallen human beings in the person of his Son, the incarnate Word. Moreover, this God is a speaking God who by his Spirit has graciously disclosed himself in human words: we believe that God has inspired the words preserved in the Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which are both record and means of his saving work in the world.

These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks. We confess that both our finitude and our sinfulness preclude the possibility of knowing God’s truth exhaustively, but we affirm that, enlightened by the Spirit of God, we can know God’s revealed truth truly.

The Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. As God’s people hear, believe and do the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel.

Creation of humanity

We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in his own image. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s agents to care for, manage and govern creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church and civic life.

Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord.

In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men is grounded in creation, fall and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments.

The fall

We believe that Adam, made in the image of God, distorted that image and forfeited his original blessedness — for himself and all his progeny — by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation. As a result, all human beings are alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (eg, physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually) and rightly condemned finally and irrevocably to death — apart from God’s own gracious intervention. The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; the only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.

The plan of God

We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose them. We believe that God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and that he will one day glorify them—all to the praise of his glorious grace. In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer.

The gospel

We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. Utter folly to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is christological, centering on the cross and resurrection of Jesus: the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if his death and resurrection are not central (the message is: “Christ died for our sins . . . [and] was raised”).

This good news is biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to God), historical (if the saving events did not happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved).

The redemption through Christ

We believe that, moved by love and in obedience to his Father, the eternal Son became human: the Word became flesh, fully God and fully human being, one Person in two natures. The man Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel, was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. He perfectly obeyed his heavenly Father, lived a sinless life, performed miraculous signs, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven. As the mediatorial King, he is seated at the right hand of God the Father, exercising in heaven and on earth all of God’s sovereignty, and is our High Priest and righteous Advocate.

We believe that by his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute. He did this so that in him we might become the righteousness of God: on the cross he canceled sin, propitiated God, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe.

By his resurrection Christ Jesus was vindicated by his Father, broke the power of death and defeated Satan who once had power over it, and brought everlasting life to all his people; by his ascension he has been forever exalted as Lord and has prepared a place for us to be with him. We believe that salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. Because God chose the lowly things of this world, the despised things, the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, no human being can ever boast before him — Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.

The justification of sinners

We believe that Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified. By his sacrifice, he bore in our place the punishment due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf. By his perfect obedience he satisfied the just demands of God on our behalf and now by faith alone that perfect obedience is credited to all who trust in Christ alone for their acceptance with God.

Inasmuch as Christ was given by the Father for us, and his obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. We believe that a zeal for personal and public obedience flows from this free justification.

The Ascension of Jesus

We believe that Jesus ascended bodily into heaven where he now reigns and intercedes on our behalf before the Father. In his ascension he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists and  the pastor-teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, and he sent The Holy Spirit to be our counsellor and helper.

The power of the Holy Spirit

We believe that this salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to his people by the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and, as the other helper, is present with and in believers. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, and in him they are baptised into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

By the Spirit’s agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive his sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

The Kingdom of God

We believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed.

Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to the city, for all the glory and honour of the nations is to be offered up to the living God.

Recognising whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realised, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of individuals rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God.

God’s new people

We believe that God’s new covenant people have already come to the heavenly Jerusalem; they are already seated with Christ in the heavenlies. This universal church is manifest in local churches of which Christ is the only Head; thus each “local church” is, in fact, the church, the household of God, the assembly of the living God, and the pillar and foundation of the truth. The church is the body of Christ, the apple of his eye, graven on his hands, and he has pledged himself to her forever. 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.

Crucially, this gospel we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may properly be overlooked. Christ Jesus is our peace: he has not only brought about peace with God, but also peace between alienated peoples. His purpose was to create in himself one new man, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both Jew and Gentile to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. The church serves as a sign of God’s future new world when its members live for the service of one another and their neighbours, rather than for self-focus. The church is the corporate dwelling place of God’s Spirit, and the continuing witness to God in the world.

Baptism

We believe that baptism is ordained by the Lord Jesus himself and is connected with entrance into the new covenant community. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and entry into his Church but does not in itself impart spiritual life. It is a divinely ordained means of grace and through the act of baptism we declare our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ.

Baptism as described in the bible is carried out by full immersion in water by believers in Christ, as such we do not believe that the “baptism” of children prior to saving faith counts as a substitute for believers baptism upon their confession of faith.

The Lord’s supper

We believe that the Lord’s Supper is ordained by the Lord Jesus himself and is connected with ongoing covenant renewal. It is simultaneously God’s pledge to us, a divinely ordained means of grace, our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and anticipates his return and the consummation of all things.

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.

Spiritual gifts

We believe The Holy Spirit manifests a variety of spiritual gifts in the life of all believers to build-up and sanctify the church. The bible commands all believers to earnestly desire the manifestation of these gifts in their lives and it is the Holy Spirit that determines the distribution of these gifts in his body, the church. These gifts will always operate in harmony with God’s primary revelation, the bible, and should never be used in violation of biblical parameters.

The restoration of all things

We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with his holy angels, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust — the unjust to rightly face judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as our Lord himself taught, and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness.

On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering and triumph of Christ, all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all and his people will be enthralled by the immediacy of his indescribable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace.

Click the plus icon to reveal more information. Our doctrinal statement is adapted from the confessional statement of The Gospel Coalition.

Hope Community Church