One way to explain that is to tell you our full name. We are "Faith Community Christian Reformed Church."
FAITH COMMUNITY is one congregation in the Christian Reformed denomination. We often abbreviate that by saying we are part of the CRC. CRC stands for Christian Reformed Church. Let's break that down a little.
Faith Community is CHRISTIAN: We belong to Jesus Christ, and we want to follow Him. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he is the center of human history.
Faith Community is REFORMED: We grow on a branch of the church tree that emerged from the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.
Faith Community is a CHURCH: We believe God has called us to be a people who belong to Him and live for Him.
We believe in the Triune God. That is, God has revealed Himself to us as one God in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We believe in God the Father who created heaven and earth and all that is in them. This all-powerful God is not some remote entity, rather He is our loving, heavenly Father, as revealed to us by Scripture and God’s Son, Jesus.
We believe in God the Son who came to this earth as Jesus Christ, died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and arose from the dead to give us new life.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit who lives in the believer and continually nurtures the believer that he may grow in his understanding and expression of the Christian life.
We believe that God does His work through the ministry of the church.
We believe that the church is compelled to be involved in a Word and Deed ministry, faithfully teaching and preaching the Bible, which is God's inspired revelation of Himself, and doing the works of Christ as we reach out in compassion to the lost and needy.
We believe that through faith in Jesus Christ we receive the forgiveness of sins, one day will be raised from the dead, and share in the glory of eternal life.
Everything we believe—what you just read, and what follows—is all grounded in God's Word, the Bible. Check it out:
God acted first in creation. (Genesis 2:15-17)
Humankind rebelled—sinned. (Genesis 3:6-13)
Yes, both creeds and confessions!
As a congregation, we hold to three ecumenical creeds dating back to the early church:
1. The Apostles’ Creed – This creed is called the Apostles’ Creed not because it was written by the 12 apostles, but because it contains a brief summary of their teachings.
Text of the Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
2. The Athanasian Creed – This creed consists of two parts, the first sets forth the orthodox doctrines of the Trinity, and the second deals primarily with the incarnation and the two natures of Jesus Christ.
3. The Nicene Creed – This creed, also known as the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, is a statement of the orthodox faith of the early Christian church in opposition to certain heresies, especially Arianism.
As a Reformed congregation, we stand on three confessions written at the time of the Protestant Reformation:
1. The Heidelberg Catechism – This confession has 3 parts: Our sin, our salvation, and our service to God. It begins with a personal confession that "our only comfort in life and earth is that we are not our own, but belong, body and soul, to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ." We use the Heidelberg Catechism as a tool both in teaching and preaching.
2. The Belgic Confession – The Belgic Confession was written in 1561 as a statement of faith to defend Reformed Christians against persecution. It covers such doctrines as our view of Scripture, the divinity of Christ, our responsibility to the government, and the end times.
3. The Canons of Dort – The Canons of Dort explain what have been called the 5 points of Calvinism: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.
As a Reformed congregation, we also stand on the five great “Alone” doctrines of the Protestant Reformation:
1. Scripture Alone– We believe that the Bible alone is the ultimate authority for our faith and life. We believe the Bible is inspired and inerrant (God's Word and without errors). Neither church tradition nor subjective feelings are the authorities for life. God's Word is the powerhouse to drive our worship, evangelism, education ministry, and growth in discipleship.
2. Christ Alone– We believe that Jesus alone is the way to God. As the only God-man, Jesus Christ fully paid the penalty for our sin by his perfect life and his death on the cross. Nothing we do can or needs to be added to Christ's work.
3. Grace Alone– We believe that as human beings we have no claim on God. The only thing God owes us is punishment for our sin. We can never earn anything with God. Apart from God's mercy and the work of his Spirit in our hearts we would never believe nor be saved. God alone gets the credit for salvation.
4. Faith Alone– We believe that by faith alone we can receive the benefits and blessings of Jesus' life and death. God has accomplished our salvation and all we must do is receive it with a believing heart. Through faith, we become right with God.
5. Glory to God Alone– As a church we live to bring glory to God. God alone deserves our praise. Our aim is that our ministry would have one goal: To bring honor to the God who's made us and saved us. We will constantly work to minimize the names and ministries of people and lift up our minds, hearts, voices, and hands to God alone.
Sure. Question and Answer #1 of the Heidelberg Catechism really speaks to many of our hearts:
Q. What is your only comfort (strength) in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.