Castlereagh Fellowship believes that the Bible is the Word of God and is our authority in all matters. It is completely reliable and reveals to us God’s perfect plan of salvation accomplished through Jesus Christ. It contains all the instruction we need to understand God’s will for our lives. We believe that all mankind is separated from God on account of sin and would be lost eternally but for the gracious intervention of God through the sacrificial death and victorious resurrection of his Son. Through repentance from sin and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, any sinner can be saved and become a member of God’s family. All who come to God through Christ in this life are delivered from the certain prospect of eternal separation from God and will enjoy the glorious presence of God forever.
Castlereagh Fellowship believes that:
1. The Holy Scriptures, as originally given, are inspired by God, and every word is infallible. Through them God speaks to us and they are our only authority for what we believe and practice. For us to understand them we need the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
2. There is only one God, revealed in the Bible as three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God in essential unity, co-eternal and co-equal.
3. The Lord Jesus Christ, who is God the Son, was sent into the world by God the Father, became man, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He is perfect eternal God and perfect sinless man.
4. Man was created by God in His own image. Through the sin of Adam, sin and death entered into the world. As a result, every person is born a sinner and is guilty before God and so is subject to God’s righteous wrath and condemnation.
5. The devil is a real person, who, as the god of this age, has set himself to oppose God and His purposes.
6. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross was as a substitute on behalf of sinners and satisfied the claims of God against sin. The sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only ground for salvation and through it there is reconciliation between God and sinful people and redemption from the guilt, penalty and power of sin. He is the only mediator between God and man.
7. On the third day after his crucifixion the Lord Jesus Christ was raised bodily from the dead. He was seen alive by his disciples during the forty days after his resurrection. In his risen, glorified body he ascended into heaven to the right hand of God the Father, before whom he now intercedes on behalf of his people and from where he will personally return.
8. Salvation cannot be earned by our own good works. It is God’s free gift when a person repents of sin and believes in Jesus Christ alone, acknowledging him as Saviour and Lord. Because of God’s undeserved love and mercy, the person who believes in Jesus Christ receives complete forgiveness of sin, is accepted as righteous in God’s sight, becomes a child of God and receives eternal life, which he can never lose. All who have been thus forgiven by God will, at Christ’s return, receive glorified bodes and live with God eternally.
9. All those who have not been saved will be resurrected bodily to be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ and then to suffer conscious, eternal punishment.
10. The Holy Spirit convinces individual people of their sin and leads them to faith in Jesus Christ. He indwells every true believer from the moment of their conversion. It is the Holy Spirit’s task to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in the life of every believer by producing in them increasing likeness to Jesus Christ in character and behaviour, and empowering them for witness in the world.
11. There is one universal church, the body of Christ, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the head. Every believer has been placed into this body by baptism in the Holy Spirit, at the moment of their conversion. (See Appendix A)
We are aware that there are many believers today who have had experiences subsequent to conversion which they call “baptism in the Holy Spirit”. We have no wish to deny the reality of, or the need for, genuine experiences of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We need to be open to all that the Holy Spirit desires to do and to test everything by the Word of God. We believe, however, that the term “baptised in the Holy Spirit” as used in the New Testament refers to the way in which people are made part of the body of Christ.