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What We Believe

New Hope Community Church is a Christian Reformed church. We trace our spiritual heritage back to the Reformation and adhere to such timeless creeds as the Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Confession of Faith.  If you are familiar with these creeds, then you know for the most part the basic beliefs we confess.  If not, we have included some of the main points below.

1. The inerrancy of Scripture (Sola Scriptura)

We believe the Scriptures, (the Holy Bible) are the inerrant and infallible Word of God. We believe the Scriptures constitute the entire revelation of God; that the Bible is complete and perfect, and that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is the way God speaks to His people today. In other words, His will for mankind is revealed through His written word, and the illumination of that word by the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds.

2. Salvation is by grace alone (Sola Gratia)

We believe we are saved by grace alone. This means that even though we are undeserving of salvation, God in His infinite love and mercy has seen fit to bestow upon us His grace and redeem us, to forgive us of our sins and to reconcile us into an eternal relationship with Him. We believe this incredible salvation is a free gift from God and does not depend in any way on our own merit.

3. Salvation is through faith alone (Sola Fide)

We believe we receive this gift throught faith alone. It is through the simple act of belief that God has "confounded the wise" of this world and brought about the salvation of those who will simply place their trust in Him. We place the accent on "faith alone."  It is not faith, plus our own good works, it is not faith plus anything, but faith alone that leads us to an understanding of God's plan for our lives and His salvation of our souls.

4. Salvation is in Christ alone (Solus Christus)

We believe we are saved by Christ alone. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." This means "salvation is of the Lord," and of the Lord only. There is absolutely no other way. We believe  Jesus Christ was the divine Son of God, the Messiah who is at the same time fully God and fully man. We believe  Jesus was God incarnate, who out of His great love for us humiliated himself by taking on the nature of a human and placed Himself under the Law. We believe  Jesus lived a perfect life without sin and His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead was effective for the salvation of those who place their trust in Him.  We believe when Jesus died on the cross, His sacrifice was accepted by God as an atonement for the sins of His people, thereby simultaneously redeeming those sins and removing them "as far as the east is from the west".  When Jesus rose from the dead, it was the culmination of God's Redemptive Plan, and served to show His victory over both sin and death-- thereby eradicating the curse of the Fall.

5. The Sovereignty of God (Soli Deo Gloria)

We believe all glory belongs to God.  The Reformed faith places the strongest emphasis on God's Providence and His work in the history of His Creation.  We believe that only God is sovereign and therefore only God is deserving of glory.  This is the purpose for which we were made-- to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. 

It is impossible to fully understand the difficult doctrines of the Reformed faith (such as election, reprobation, limited atonement, and the perserverence of the saints), unless the absolute sovereignty of God is presupposed and emphasized.  We affirm that God is in control of both history and our lives and that we are a part of His universal church, which He alone protects and insures that even the very "gates of hell" will not prevail against it.

6. The Love of God.

If we live for a thousand eons, we will never begin to plumb the depths of God's love for us.  This was manifest when He humiliated Himself, took on the attributes of a human, became flesh, placed Himself under the Law, and walked among us.  It was manifest by the way He lived His life, as a suffering servant who had come to serve rather than be served.  It was manifest in the way He died, to accept the penalty for the sins of His people, as an atoning sacrifice to reconcile them to stand in the presence of a holy God.  It is still manifest in the loving kindness of His covenant faithfulness to His people-- a faithfulness that will see us through all trials and tribulations until we are resident with Him forever.  Such love is indescribable and unfathomable.  The kind of love that would "save a wretch like me"-- even a wretch who is dead in tresspases and sins.

7. The Holiness of God

As stated above, we believe God is love.  We also believe that God is holy.  This means He is both immanent and transcendent.  He is immanent in that He is accessible to His creation through His Spirit who lives in our hearts.  He is transcendent in that He is separate from His creation and far above it.  His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways.  He is omipotent, omniscient, eternal and infinite.  His holiness means He is infinite in His perfection and righteousness.  Therefore, nothing that is not perfect can be in His presence.  This is a real problem for the human race, because of the Fall and original sin of Adam and Eve and the fact that God cannot bear "to look upon iniquity".  So even though God is infinite in His love, He is also infinite in His holiness.  And because He is infinite in His justness-- He must punish sin. 

There is much talk in Theological circles these days about the love of God and how it is so great that it will overcome even the worst of mankind's sin.  That "no sin is so great that God cannot forgive it" and therefore repentance is not necessary.  This is often used as a rationale to "soften" God and make Him only loving and kind, and ultimately "wish away" the necessity for hell and retribution.  But we believe (as we have explained above)-- that even though it is true God is absolutely loving, it is His absolute holiness that creates the necessity for judgement and retribution of the wicked, and confirms the necessity of eternal punishment.  It also confirms the need for a Savior.  It is God's holiness that makes the crosswork of Christ so essential.  For without it--even though God loves His creation with an unfathomable love-- because He is both holy and just, He must punish sin.  We believe these truths are firmly established in the comprehensive teachings of Scripture.

 

8. The Triune Nature of God

We believe that God is one in essence and three in person: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is greater than the Son only in the sense that he is "unbegotten." The Son is eternally begotten of the Father. This does not mean there was a time when the Son "was not." It does not mean that the Son is a creature, created by the Father. We believe that the word begotten refers to the filial relationship between the Father and the Son. This means that the Father and the Son are equal in power, omniscience, and glory; both are infinite and eternal, both are completely and truly God. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is fully God and is co-equal with the Father and the Son. The evidence that the Holy Spirit is God was revealed through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Christ himself indicated the Spirit to be a co-equal person of the Godhead by stating that it was better for him to leave so the Spirit would come (John 14:15-18). The Holy Spirit remains as a gift to those who have been called by God (Acts 2: 38-39).

 

9. The Deity of Christ

We believe that Jesus was truly the Son of God.  Not in the sense that all men are sons of God, and all women are daughters of God through Adam and Eve.  But truly divine in His nature.  We believe Jesus is the second member of the Godhead, who took on the attributes of a human at His humiliation, and became flesh at His incarnation.  But there was never a time when He was not fully God, although He was also fully man.  We affirm with the Nicene Creed that Jesus is indeed "very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father".

10. The Humanity of Christ

We believe that even though Jesus was fully God in His divine nature, He was at the same time fully human in His human nature.  He was a single person-- undivided, but at the same time two natures.  Once again in the words of the Nicene Creed, Jesus "came down from heaven; he became incarnate... and was made human."  This humanity was necessary to consumate God's marvelous plan of Redemption, which had been decreed before the foundations of the world, whereby God Himself in human form would solve the problem of sin once and for all. We believe Jesus was perfect in His humanity, to fulfill the requirements of a perfect sacrifice-- one without blemish or spot-- and so He "in every respect has been  tempted as we are,  yet without sin."