This document is not a complete summary of all we believe. As a Christian Reformed Church we uphold the confessions of the European Reformation and look to these confessions for a fuller summary of our Christian beliefs.

The confessions speak to some issues that we class as ‘secondary’. We believe that secondary issues need not get in the way of someone being considered a full member of our Church family provided that:

  • They can lovingly bear with our confessional stance being taught and practiced
  • They are happy not to cause trouble, disunity or conflict with regard to secondary issues they personally disagree with
The Confessions also speak to other issues that we class as ‘primary’. These issues are so core to our faith, life, teaching, and practice that someone cannot be considered a full member of the Summerleas family unless they uphold these beliefs themselves.

In order to make these Core Beliefs more accessible, we have compiled this document. Please take the time to read it, pray about the teaching you read here and decide whether you can agree with what it says.

The Triune 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 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, but 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 a 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
  • Final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks

We know that because we are finite and sinful, we cannot know God’s truth exhaustively, but we affirm that, by the help of the Holy Spirit, 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. They were to serve as God’s agents by caring for, managing, and governing creation, and were to live 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 and are both called to move beyond passive self-centredness to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life.

Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a special union called marriage. This union establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, and ultimately serves as a picture 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.

The Fall

We believe that Adam, made in the image of God, distorted that image and forfeited his original blessedness—for himself and through him the rest of humanity—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 (e.g., physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) and condemned finally and irrevocably to death—apart from God’s own gracious intervention.

We also believe that human sinfulness has affected the rest of the created order. It has been ‘subjected to frustration’ and this (coupled with ongoing human sinfulness) can make life in this world hard and painful.

The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy anger we stand; the only hope of all human beings (and the rest of the created order) 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 foolishness to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved.

This good news is about Jesus, is centred on the cross and resurrection: 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.

This good news is:

  • Biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures)
  • Theological and concerning salvation (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)
  • Intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved)

The Redemption of 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.
  • Perfectly obeyed his heavenly Father and 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
  • Is seated at the right hand of God the Father, exercising in heaven and on earth all of God’s sovereignty
  • Is our High Priest and righteous Advocate

We believe that by his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus acted as our representative and substitute. He did this so that in him we might be declared righteous in the sight of God. On the cross he paid for our sin, satisfied God’s anger, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe.

By his resurrection Jesus was vindicated by his Father, broke the power of death, defeated Satan, 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.

The Power of the Holy Spirit

We believe our salvation, is applied to us by the Holy Spirit. We believe he:

  • Is sent by the Father and the Son
  • Glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ
  • Is present with, and in believers
  • Convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment
  • Gives new life to spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith

In him we are baptised into union with the Lord Jesus, such that we are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

By the Spirit's agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, adopted into God's family, 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 Church

We believe that God’s 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, and he has pledged himself to her forever. The church is distinguished by her gospel message, gathering together, sacraments, discipline, and, above all, by her love for God, and her members’ love for and commitment to one another and the world.

The Gospel 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 humanity, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile all types of people 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. The church is the corporate dwelling place of God’s Spirit, and the continuing witness to God in the world.

The Restoration of All Things

We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with his holy angels. At this time he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated.

We believe in the bodily resurrection of both those who are justified in Christ and those who are not. Those who are not will face judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, but those justified in Christ will live in eternal blessedness in the presence of God in the new heaven and the new earth.

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 holiness, and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace.