The truth of the Gospel is really good news and is the message through which Jesus has promised to liberate people’s hearts. We are not the centre, Jesus is. What makes God’s Word uniquely distinct is it is not primarily advice about how to live a good life, but a revelation of who God is, what He has done, and what He promises to do for those who turn to Him and trust Him. Only this sin-destroying, affection-transforming message of Christ’s finished work on the cross can transform people’s hearts. Therefore we will keep on announcing this good news in a way that is bold yet joyful, relevant yet reverent, intelligent yet compassionate. The Gospel is the inexhaustible promise that satisfies our restlessness and makes sense of every question that life throws our way.
We are to respond to God’s initiating grace by gladly living out every area of our lives for Jesus’ fame. As Paul wrote, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Because we’ve been liberated through Jesus’ death and resurrection, our entire reality is essentially an unrelenting ‘thank-you’ to God for what He has given us through the Gospel. Our speaking, our singing, our praying, our giving, and our serving are all acts of joy-filled worship.
We don’t go to church, we are the church. When Jesus frees us, He makes us part of His family. We believe that God has created us in such a way that we are only truly healthy when we live life in community. Gospel Communities aren’t just a good idea; they’re our primary instrument through which we see Jesus making us more like Himself.
As C.S Lewis once said, “Our delight is incomplete until it is expressed.” God has woven our joy into His mission. We believe that found people find people and therefore we desire to generously serve our city by demonstrating and declaring the gospel in our workplaces, universities, schools, neighbourhoods, and networks. Mission is not an extra-curricular activity to us, but a lens we see all of our lives through.
God: Our Father
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine yet distinct Persons. This is commonly known as the Holy Trinity: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God is the Ruler and Creator over all things, perfect in both his love and his holiness, and is therefore worthy of all glory and worship.
Jesus: Our Saviour
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death and to validate that the way of salvation is through Him alone. He ascended to heaven, where he exercises all authority and will one day return again to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Holy Spirit: Our Helper
The Holy Spirit is also fully God, co-equal with both the Father and the Son. He is present in the world to make people aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also indwells every believer from the moment of salvation, providing the Christian with power for ministry, understanding of God’s Word, comfort through trials and guidance in doing what is right. The Christian seeks to be led by the Spirit daily.
Humanity: Beautiful and Broken
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in his image and placed them in the Garden of Eden to live out their identity as his creation in loving harmony with himself and one another. However, Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, believing Satan’s lie that they could instead become like God. This is when sin entered the world, marring our relationship with God, one another, and ourselves. We are sinners by nature and by choice and our sin has alienated us from God, placing us rightfully under his just and holy wrath. Incapable of regaining a right relationship with God through our own efforts, our greatest need is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.
The Bible: How We Know God
We believe that human beings do not have to guess or speculate about who God is or what he is like. While the Bible is for us, it is not primarily about us. Instead, the Bible is God’s Word to humanity about himself, revealing his will, nature, character, being and his saving work in the world. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments comprise the totality of Scripture and were penned without error by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit, serving as our highest written authority in this world. We believe that all of Scripture ultimately points to and climaxes in Jesus, who is the Word become flesh. We are called to enjoy, study, and submit to the Word of God.
The Gospel: God Saves Sinners
Although people are completely sinful, God had a plan in place to lovingly save and redeem a people for himself. Throughout the Old Testament, we read what God will do to save his people from their sins. In the New Testament, we see this plan fulfilled perfectly in Jesus Christ who came and lived a perfect life of obedience before God, died in our place by being crucified for our sins, and was raised from the dead on the third day. This is the “gospel” or “good news.” The Holy Spirit draws us to Christ our Saviour and gives us faith to believe in him. “Whoever believes that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead will be saved.” The gospel alone is the power of God for salvation. It is the inexhaustible promise that satisfies our restlessness by restoring us into relationship with God, giving us eternal life with him both now and forever. Salvation cannot be earned or achieved through our good works, only received by faith. In this way, salvation from beginning to end is entirely a work of God's sovereign, electing, undeserved grace.
The Sacraments: Baptism & Holy Communion
We believe that Jesus gave his church two primary sacraments or symbols to be observed regularly: water baptism and Holy Communion. By repentance of sin and faith in Jesus, the Bible instructs us to be baptised in water by immersion as a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Baptism is the outward demonstration of our inward change of heart; therefore we do not baptise infants but confessing believers who have willingly trusted themselves to Christ. Holy Communion is a regular observance the church shares together as a reminder that Jesus alone is the great Saviour who died on the cross, in our place, for our sins, to bring us to God. The bread and juice/wine represent Christ’s body that was broken and his blood that was shed for us. We believe that observance of these two sacraments is for confessing Christians only.
The Church: God’s People
We believe that in the confession and true repentance of our sins to Jesus, we are now seen as totally blameless and holy in our relationship with God. No longer children of wrath, by grace we have become children of God whom God sees in the same way that he sees his Son, the Lord Jesus. This is what the church calls “justification.” The community of people who believe this are “the church.” So while our new relationship with God is personal, it is not individual – we have been saved into God’s family. We believe that we are to gather together in large and small settings to worship God, proclaim and celebrate the gospel, and share our lives together for his glory.
Baptism and Gifts of the Holy Spirit
We believe that every believer is indwelled and sealed by the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion. Separate to this regenerating work, we believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit (or being filled with the Holy Spirit) is a distinct and ongoing experience that is promised to believers in which they are clothed with power for Christ-exalting ministry. Additionally, we believe that believers should desire and pray for the various spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit sovereignly distributes as he wills. All of the spiritual gifts are still in operation and are available to believers for the building up of the church and for the glory of God.
The Restoration of all Things
We believe in the personal, glorious, bodily, and imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ where he will consummate his kingdom. We trust in God’s promise that a day is coming when he will banish sin, sickness, death, decay, and Satan. Those who have rejected God will be eternally separated from him in Hell, while those who have accepted the immeasurable gift of his forgiveness will receive eternal life with him in Heaven. When Jesus returns, he will usher in the New Heavens and New Earth where we will live peacefully and joyfully in harmony with God and one another forever.
Acts 29 Distinctives
1. We are passionate about gospel centrality.
We believe the gospel is the good news of what God has graciously accomplished for sinners through the sinless life, sacrificial death, and bodily resurrection of his Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, namely our forgiveness from sin and complete justification before God; this gospel is also the foundation for our confidence in the ultimate triumph of God’s kingdom, and the consummation of his purpose for all creation in the new heavens and new earth.
This gospel is centred in Christ, is the foundation for the life of the Church, and is our only hope for eternal life; this gospel is not proclaimed if Christ’s penal substitutionary death and bodily resurrection are not central to our message.
This Gospel is not only the means by which people are saved, but also the truth and power by which people are sanctified; it is the truth of the Gospel that enables us to genuinely and joyfully do what is pleasing to God and to grow in progressive conformity to the image of Christ.
The salvation offered in this gospel message is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; no ordinance, ritual, work, or any other activity on the part of man is required in order to be saved.
2. We enthusiastically embrace the sovereignty of God’s grace in saving sinners.
We affirm that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, not on the basis of foreseen faith but unconditionally, according to his sovereign good pleasure and will.
We believe that through the work of the Holy Spirit, God will draw the elect to faith in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, graciously and effectually overcoming their stubborn resistance to the gospel so that they will most assuredly and willingly believe.
We also believe that these, the elect of God whom he gave to the Son, will persevere in belief and godly behaviour and be kept secure in their salvation by grace through faith.
We believe that God’s sovereignty in this salvation neither diminishes the responsibility of people to believe in Christ nor marginalises the necessity and power of prayer and evangelism, but rather reinforces and establishes them as the ordained means by which God accomplishes his ordained ends.
3. We recognize and rest upon the necessity of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit for all of life and ministry.
The Holy Spirit is fully God, equal with the Father and Son, whose primary ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ; he also convicts unbelievers of their need for Christ and imparts spiritual life through regeneration (the new birth).
The Spirit permanently indwells, graciously sanctifies, lovingly leads, and empowers all who are brought to faith in Christ so that they might live in obedience to the inerrant Scriptures.
The model for our reliance upon the Spirit and our experience of his indwelling and empowering presence is the Lord Jesus Christ himself who was filled with the Spirit and entirely dependent upon his power for the performance of miracles, the preaching of the kingdom of God, and all other dimensions of his earthly ministry.
The Holy Spirit who indwelt and empowered Christ in like manner indwells and empowers us through spiritual gifts he has bestowed for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. Although there are different understandings in our network of the nature and function of these gifts, we all recognize that they are divine provisions central to spiritual growth and effective ministry and are to be eagerly desired, faithfully developed, and lovingly exercised according to biblical guidelines.
4. We are deeply committed to the spiritual & moral equality of male & female and to men as responsible servant-leaders in both home and church.
Both men and women are together created in the divine image and are therefore equal before God as persons, possessing the same moral dignity and value, and have equal access to God through faith in Christ. Men and women are together the recipients of spiritual gifts designed to empower them for ministry in the local church and beyond. Therefore, women are to be encouraged, equipped, and empowered to utilise their gifting in ministry, in service to the body of Christ, and through teaching in ways that are consistent with the Word of God.
Both husbands and wives are responsible to God for spiritual nurture and vitality in the home, but God has given to the man primary responsibility to lead his wife and family in accordance with the servant-leadership and sacrificial love characterised by Jesus Christ. This principle of male headship should not be confused with, nor give any hint of, domineering control. Rather, it is to be the loving, tender and nurturing care of a godly man who is himself under the kind and gentle authority of Jesus Christ.
The Elders/Pastors of each local church have been granted authority under the headship of Jesus Christ to provide oversight and to teach/preach the Word of God in corporate assembly for the building up of the body. The office of Elder/Pastor is restricted to men.
5. We embrace a missionary understanding of the local church and its role as the primary means by which God chooses to establish his kingdom on earth.
The church has a clear biblical mandate to look beyond its own community to the neighbourhood, the nation, and the world as a whole; thus mission is not an optional program in the church but an essential element in the identity of the church.
We are called to make Christ known through the gospel and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring his lordship to bear on every dimension of life.
The primary way we fulfil this mission is through the planting of churches that plant churches and the training of their leaders. Our aim is that Jesus Christ would be more fully formed in each person through the ministry of those churches God enables us to plant around the world.
We also believe we are responsible neither to retreat from our culture nor to conform to it, but with humility, through the Spirit and the truth of the gospel, to engage it boldly as we seek its transformation and submission to the lordship of Christ.