“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty but in all things charity“
Statement of Faith.
1. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to all people. The Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testament, was written by human authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and is therefore the Word of God, infallible and inerrant in the original writings. As the Word of God, the Bible is the final authority for faith and life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21.
2. There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existent in three co-equal persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is sovereign over all things. Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; Romans 11:36.
3. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is truly God and truly man, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, Mary. He lived a perfect and sinless human life, before dying willingly on a Roman cross to pay the penalty for the sin of all people. He was buried, but rose bodily from the dead three days later, triumphant over sin, death and Satan and was exalted to the Father’s right hand in Heaven, given all authority and power. Matthew 3:17; I Corinthians 15:3- 4; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-20.
4. The Holy Spirit’s work is to convict people of their sin leading them to repentance and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. He indwells every believer from the time of their salvation, empowering them in every aspect of their individual and church life. Some of His roles in believers include enabling to live a holy life and be a witness for Jesus Christ, the imparting of spiritual gifts for service, and guiding into all truth.
5. People were created in the image of God to exist for eternity in relationship with Him. The first people created walked in perfect fellowship with God, before Satan deceived them into disobeying God, bringing sin into the world and death as a result of sin. All people have sinned and are therefore guilty in God’s sight, under His wrath, separated from Him and incapable of saving themselves from the consequences of sin. God’s desire is to restore people to a perfect relationship with Himself. Genesis 1:27; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 3:23, 6:23.
6. Salvation (being saved from sin and all its effects) is God’s free gift of grace available to all people, which cannot be earned through good works or self-improvement. The grounds of salvation are the perfect life, atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While salvation is a free gift it must be individually received through repentance of sin and trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. Such people are forgiven of all their sin – past, present and future -, are born again by the Holy Spirit and become children of God. Growing conformity to Christ and endurance in the faith will always characterise those who are truly saved. John 1:12; Acts 20:21; Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-10; Colossians 1:22-23; Hebrews 3:6 & 14; 6:11-12; James 2:17; 1 Peter 1:3-5.
7. The Lord Jesus Christ will return in person to gather His people, to show clearly His Kingdom with power and glory and to judge the world. Those who belong to Him will go to be with Him eternally in Heaven, while those who are not His, will receive eternal judgement in a place of torment called hell. Acts 1:11; 17:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:15, 21:3-4.
8. Satan is a real being who is the enemy of both God and people. He is the deceiver who led people into sin and the accuser of all believers in Christ, who continues to wage war against God and His creation, both physical and spiritual. Satan and his angels were defeated by Jesus Christ at the cross and are destined for eternal judgement by God in the place of torment. Genesis 3:1-7, 14-15; Job 1:6-12; Matthew 25:41; John 8:44; Ephesians 6:11-12; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 20:10.
9. Marriage is the God-ordained covenantal union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. As bearers of the image of God, the purpose of marriage is to reflect the relational nature of God in the world through covenantal relationship and fruitfulness.
10. Expressing the transformed life as a result of having faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, it is our responsibility to meet for worship and fellowship, obey the ordinances of baptism and communion, uphold moral directives and ethical values contained in the Bible (as expressed within the context of their personal life, marriage and relationships with others), share the Good News of Jesus to all the world and be active in expressing God’s love through social justice.
Distinctives of Creekside.
Creekside Community Church also has a number of distinctive views or practices which contribute to our style and practice as a church. We ask church members to study our position on these doctrinal and practical issues. We do not require every member of our church to necessarily agree 100% with every stance we take on controversial issues. However, we do ask that members do not deliberately seek to introduce teaching or practices within the church which are at variance with the perspectives we take as described below. As Augustine, one of the early church fathers, reputably said,
“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty but in all things charity”
Importance of the Bible
We believe that the Scriptures are the final authority for Christian living, and also they are a vital ingredient for Christian growth, as God renews our minds through his Word. For this reason we aim to teach the scriptures regularly and systematically in various ways in our fellowship (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The Lord’s Supper (Communion)
The Lord’s Supper represents the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We do this as a reminder of our unity with Jesus, thanksgiving for what he has done, the sign of the new covenant, and an anticipation of His coming again. We seek to keep the meaning of the Lord’s death and resurrection fresh in our minds by a regular celebration of the Lord’s Supper, as He expressed His desire for us in Luke 22:19-20, and in keeping with the example given in Acts 20:7. This is celebrated in the context of our Sunday church service, but also may from time to time be celebrated in informal contexts in the home (Acts 2:46). We welcome all to participate with us in this who have trusted Christ to be their Saviour and Lord, and are following Him in sincerity. Those who do not know the Lord or who are not living in a right relationship with the Lord should refrain from participating (1 Cor. 11:27-30). Parents should ensure that only children who have a sincere faith in Christ participate, and that this is done with reverence. It is our normal practice that people should begin participation in the communion after they have been baptised, as their first public act of faith.
We are an independent and autonomous church. This means we have no allegiance to an institutionalised church hierarchy who governs our practices and activities. We believe we are answerable to the Lord Himself, our Head, as He has made Himself known to us through the scriptures, rather than any human institution. However, it is worth noting that we have links to the network of churches associated with the Christian Community Churches of Australia (see www.cccaust.org) and that many of our perspectives reflect this heritage.
We seek to maintain a strong emphasis on the truth of the “priesthood of all believers”. This means firstly that Christ Himself is our priest, senior pastor, and archbishop. Secondly, it means that all Christians are called to be ministers and priests in the church, in the different ways God has gifted you. However, the Bible also describes a human leadership within the church in which God raises a group of elders to oversee the church. The Bible also describes leaders who are financially supported to be able to devote their time to the leadership and ministry of the church. Deacons (and deaconesses) were also recognised as exemplary members who served in practical ways.
Our church practises baptism for Christians only (Mt 28:19), and by the means of immersion. Water baptism is the outward symbol of the baptism of the Spirit, which at the point of conversion, places the believer within the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13). Though it does not confer forgiveness of sin or reception of the Spirit, water baptism expresses outwardly and visibly the confession of faith the believer has in Christ. Furthermore, it is the symbol of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection with which the believer identifies himself with Christ in these experiences (Rom 6:3-5). If you wish to be baptised to symbolise your salvation and identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Rom 6:2-3), please speak to one of the leaders who can discuss this with you.
We believe that men and women are absolutely equal in essence; dignity and value but are different by divine design (Gen 1:27, Gal 3:28). The Bible also teaches that God has created us to live within ordered relationships, where we are equally accountable to God for our common roles in service to Him. Men and women are together the recipients of spiritual gifts designed to empower them for ministry in the local church and beyond. Therefore, both men and 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 Biblically unique principle of male headship in marriage must not be confused with, nor give any hint of, domineering control. Rather, it is to be the loving, nurturing and humble care of a godly man who is himself under the kind and gentle authority of Jesus Christ. Similarly, the role of Elder is limited to Biblically qualified men who have been appointed by the Elders of Creekside Community Church, and this must not be considered one of stature or special privilege, but instead characterised by responsibility, sacrifice and humble service.
The Elders of Creekside Community Church have been given the responsibility under the headship and authority of Jesus Christ to provide oversight and the authoritative public preaching and exposition of the Word of God in corporate assembly for the building up of the body. In our case, we consider the Sunday morning gathering to be the main representation of the corporate assembly in which Elders would provide the main teaching segment. On irregular occasions (eg. A visiting missionary or specialised topic) a non-elder under the oversight of the Elders would share for the purpose of building up the church.
Among the primary roles, Scripture calls elders to lead the church (1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet. 5:1-2), preach the Word (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 4:2; Titus 1:9), protect the church from false teaching (Acts 20:17, 28-31; Titus 1:9) pray for and visit the sick (Jas. 5:14; Acts 20:35), equip the saints for ministry (Eph. 4:11-12) and use proper judgment in theological and doctrinal matters (Acts 15). In shepherding, overseeing, leading, caring for and praying for the church, elders practice sacrificial oversight. Therefore, although we encourage all men and women to actively participate in the life of the church, we reserve the office of elder, and the responsibilities unique to it, for certain qualified men within the church. Scripture is clear in affirming that those who have accepted the responsibility of teaching will be held to a higher account (Jas 3:1). Apart from the role of pastor/elder, we believe the Bible explicitly encourages and assumes that women will be involved in the serving and leading of the ministries of the church.
We believe that all true Christians belong to the body of Christ, the Church, whatever the social class, age, nationality or denominational background (1 Cor 12:13, Col 3:11), and so we are happy to welcome all such people into our local expression of the church in Christ’s name. The only reason for exclusion from Christian fellowship is because of serious moral rebellion inconsistent with the Christian life (1 Cor 5:11) or serious doctrinal error on basic doctrines (2 John 7-11). Differences of opinion on secondary doctrinal matters (matters not essential to salvation) can be expected to exist within the church; these should never be an opportunity for a break in fellowship but rather for greater learning from one another, as we all strive to come to a more accurate understanding of the Word of God together. Fellowship includes more than just a welcome to church meetings or participation in the Lord’s Supper; it extends to the sharing of our time, hospitality, finances and whole lives with one another, especially in Community Groups where we encourage as many as possible to participate.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is fully God and is a person, not a force or influence. God gives the Holy Spirit to all true believers, and equips them with spiritual gifts for the upbuilding of the church. While we are not a charismatic church, we believe in our full dependence on the work of the Holy Spirit to bring His power amongst us to extend God’s kingdom. Individuals are free to practice what they believe in regards to spiritual gifts in their personal lives, but we ask in regards to our public church services that people submit their exercise of spiritual gifts to the discernment of the leadership of the church.
Difficult Doctrinal Issues
Within the Christian church, there are numerous topics on which Christians differ in their interpretation and application of the scriptures, such as the relationship between God’s election and human free will, or the understanding of the sequence of events in relation to the return of Christ. Traditionally, we have held a pre-tribulation, pre-millennial view of eschatology which is helpful to have as a framework but it is not a dogmatic issue. We believe that it is possible for different people with different convictions on difficult issues such as these to fellowship harmoniously together within our church, provided their views are in broad agreement with our general statement of faith found earlier in this booklet. We ask people to develop convictions on difficult topics such as these, based on careful study of the scriptures and of the views of other Christian leaders. However, we ask people to refrain from promoting disunity on topics such as these, and to recognise that these are secondary doctrinal matters rather than essentials of the faith.