CRC – WHAT WE TEACH:
- We teach that the Bible came from God (in that the Holy Spirit guided the human writers without over-riding their personalities), reveals everything we need to know about God and to do His will, is authoritative and without error. 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21.
- We teach that there is one supremely glorious God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who is holy, just, merciful, gracious, patient, abundant in goodness, love, faithfulness and truth, and without beginning or end. Exodus 34:6; Genesis 1:1-2, 26; Isaiah 48:11b; Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:10-11; John 1; John 15:16; John 17:1,5; Romans 15:30; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 1:15-17.
- We teach that God created and sustains all things, by His word, as the Bible says. Genesis 1; Hebrews 11:3, Hebrews 1:2-3.
- We teach that the devil is the enemy of God. He has been defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and will be cast into the lake of fire for everlasting punishment. Ephesians 6:11-12; Revelation 20:10.
- We teach that God originally made a man and woman like himself (Adam and Eve). They disobeyed God and as a consequence all people inherit their fallen nature and are separated from God. Everyone is helpless and unable to work their way back to God and therefore come under his judgment. (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 53:3; Isaiah 53:6a; Luke 19:10; Romans 3:20, 23; Romans 5:12.)
- We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God. We teach that He truly became a human being, without diminishing His God-hood, being born of the virgin Mary. (John 1:1,14; Philippians 2:5-7.)We teach that He lived a perfect life, fulfilled all that God requires for those who believe in Him and fully reveals God to us. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Matthew 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15, 19; John 14:7-9.)We teach that His death was a sacrifice for sin and took the full judgment of God against sin for all who place their faith in Him. (Romans 3:24-26; Isaiah 53:4-6; Hebrews 9:26-28; 1 Corinthians 15:3).We teach that He came back to life physically on the third day, as foretold and confirmed in the Bible, thus vindicating His claims and identity as the Son of God. (Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 2:18-22).We teach that He ascended to heaven and now sits at the right hand of God, interceding for His people as their all-sufficient High Priest. (Acts 1:9; Ephesians 1:20-21; Hebrews 4:14-16, 7:24-8:2).We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ will personally return again soon to receive His people to Himself (referred to as the rapture), to reign on this earth, to judge all people and then to reign forever with His perfected people in a new heaven and new earth. (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Luke 1:32-33; Isaiah 9:6-7; John 5:25-29; Revelation 19:15-16, 20:4; Revelation 21).
- We teach salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, a salvation that cannot be lost, delivers the believer in Christ from the penalty and power of sin, and ultimately from the presence of sin. (Titus 3:4-7; Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 5:8,9; Rom. 6:8.)
- We teach the sovereignty of God, that God will draw to Christ all those He chose before time began and predestined to salvation. Alongside Divine sovereignty, we teach human responsibility, including that salvation is freely offered to all and that anyone who acknowledges their sin and takes hold of God’s free gift of forgiveness will escape judgment and receive God’s Spirit. (Ephesians 1:4-5; John 6:37; Romans 9:11-18; John 3:1-21; Romans 10:8-13.)
- We teach that the Holy Spirit is a Divine person, co-equal with the Father and the Son. He is present in the world to make people aware of their need for Jesus Christ and to bring glory to Christ. We teach that without the Holy Spirit’s work, no one can come to Christ. He seals, indwells, empowers and makes a new person of everyone who believes on Jesus Christ. He leads the Christian into understanding of the Bible and discernment of spiritual truth from false teaching. He baptises every believer into the body of Christ (the church) upon conversion and at that moment gives them one or more spiritual gifts for serving God by building up the church.We teach that those who are truly saved will persevere in faith to the end of life. (James 2:17; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:16; Colossians 1:22-23; 1 John 2:4-6, 19.)
- We teach that everyone born of God’s Spirit belongs to His church (Eph 1:13-14). Jesus Christ is the head of the church (Col 1:18). The church exists to glorify God through worship (John 4:23-24); proclamation and teaching of the Bible (1Tim 4:13, 2Tim 4:2); disciple-making (Matt 28:18-20); accountability (Gal 6:1-2); sharing together in community and loving one another (John 13:34-35); prayer and mission – especially to those who have not heard the gospel (Col 4:1-2). We teach that the faith and witness of the church is nurtured and sustained by observing the ordinances of the Lord which are:
- Baptism of believers by immersion (Acts 9:36-38)
- The Lord’s Supper (1Cor 11: 23-26)
Clark Road Chapel is a small part of Christ’s church and is led, under Christ and through sacrificial service, by a team of elders, assisted by ministry leaders and deacons (1Tim 3:1-12).
- We teach that at death a person’s spirit does not sleep or cease to exist, but goes immediately to punishment (for those who have rejected God) or blessed rest in God’s presence (for those who have believed on God as Saviour). At the last judgment, by Jesus Christ, the dead will be raised either to everlasting life with God (for the righteous) or everlasting condemnation in hell (for the unrighteous). Ecclesiastes 12:7; Luke 16:19-31; Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; John 5:25-29; Revelation 20:11-15.
CRC Practices / Distinctives
The above section on “what we teach” outlines our teaching on matters that we believe to be of foundational importance. The section below on “distinctives” is subsidiary to the “what we teach” section. It outlines our practices in matters which can be seen as controversial and where sincere and godly Christian have differing viewpoints. We do not require you to agree with all these practices, but we do ask that you respect our stance and to not cause division by pushing for a different practice in these areas:
- We emphasise that any spiritual gift must be used in love, in accordance with Biblical commands and for the unity and good of this church, including submission to church leadership. We believe that the filling of the Holy Spirit has to do with being under His control, and is manifested primarily by holy living, and not by the presence or absence of any particular spiritual gift. We do not subscribe to the seeking of sign gifts in preference to speaking or serving gifts. We do not encourage the use of tongues in our Corporate worship.
- We believe that God still heals today and practice prayer for healing in accord with James 5:13-16. However, we believe that God is not duty-bound to heal. He often uses sickness and other difficult circumstances for the maturing of our faith and the display of his power in our weakness.
- We believe marriage, consisting of the lifelong “one flesh” union of one man and one woman, is a very good gift from God and is the only God-pleasing context for the expression of sexual desire. We believe that any other union of a sexual nature is outside God’s will. We believe that a Christ-centred marriage and family, in which each member embraces their God-given role, is one of the most powerful witnesses to Jesus Christ that we can offer to a broken world. We also recognise that some are gifted by God to remain single and that this is an honourable calling with many advantages. Ephesians 5:21-33; Genesis 2:18-25; Romans 1:26-28; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Matthew 19:3-12; 1 Corinthians 7.
- We believe that men and women are equal in Christ but different by God’s design and that this is a wonderful gift. We encourage both men and women to use their spiritual gifts and to express themselves fully in worshipping and living for God, within the Biblical guidelines that exist to maximise our joy. The Elders have a particular responsibility for Biblical teaching and for over-sight (overall leadership and governance) of CRC. Eldership is for duly appointed men who meet the Biblical criteria set out in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9 and 1 Peter 5:2-3. Leadership of, and teaching (of the congregation) at, our corporate church services is by trustworthy and appropriately gifted men approved by the elders. Under this leadership the congregation (men and women) are encouraged to take a full and active part in our worship. The scope and freedom of congregational participation is massive and the following are merely examples: audible prayer, public reading of the Bible, testimony, words of encouragement, distributing communion elements, song-leading, drama, children’s talks etcetera (Gen 1:26-28, 2:15-25; Gal 3:28; Col 3:16; 1 Tim 2:11-14, 3:1-7; 1 Cor 14).
- We aim to celebrate the Lord’s Supper (communion) at every Sunday morning corporate church service (with occasional exceptions). Partaking of the emblems is to be preceded by self-examination and reflection on the significance of Christ’s death (1 Corinthians 11:26-28).
- Baptism can take place in the church building or at a public place (e.g. a beach) where church members can attend. Any person being baptised must be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the elders are satisfied that this is so.
- Appointment of elders is by invitation of the current eldership and approval by the congregation. The elders put to the congregation the name of the man who is being considered for eldership and the congregation is given a period of time to give feedback (in person or by correspondence bearing the correspondent’s name) as to the candidate’s suitability for eldership. Members of the congregation are also free to suggest potential candidates to the elders.
- Leaders (Elders, Deacons and Ministry Leaders) when appointed are presented publicly to the congregation and prayed for. The role of the elders is to feed, equip and oversee the functioning of the church at CRC. The, Deacons oversee the practical workings and finances of the church. The Ministry Leaders work out the expression of our Vision Statement.
- Membership of CRC is voluntary.
- We encourage CRC members to give financially to the work of the church. Giving should be regular, cheerful, as to the Lord and in accordance with a person’s income (we do not set a required percentage but are happy to give members guidance in this area upon request). Church members are kept informed as to the financial status of the church, primarily at an annual church meeting at which the church treasurer (a Deacon) gives a report. Church members are provided with an annual receipt for their giving which can be used to claim a tax rebate.
- At CRC we practice church discipline in accordance with the principles set out in Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 5:1-8 , 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 and Titus 1:10-13 and 3:1.