Having theological communion means that we have the same Biblical worldview. This allows us to make sense of the world that we live in as the church through the lens of God’s word. We hold the same things as important and vital for the life and ministry of our churches and their members. The theological communion that the churches of the collective have together is because of a unity around the following things:
I. STATEMENT OF FAITH
All the churches of the Cornerstone Collective hold to the primary theological convictions in the below Statement of Faith (FIEC statement of faith of which many of the Collective churches are part)
There is one God, who exists eternally in three distinct but equal persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is unchangeable in His holiness, justice, wisdom and love. He is the almighty Creator, Saviour and Judge who sustains and governs all things according to His sovereign will for His own glory.
• The Bible
God has revealed Himself in the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments alone. Every word was inspired by God through human authors, so that the Bible as originally given is in its entirety the Word of God, without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. The Bible alone speaks with final authority and is always sufficient for all matters of belief and practice.
• The Human Race
All men and women, being created in the image of God, have inherent and equal dignity and worth. Their greatest purpose is to obey, worship and love God. As a result of sin entering our world, every aspect of human nature has been corrupted and all men and women are without spiritual life, guilty sinners and hostile to God. Every person is therefore under the just condemnation of God and needs to be born again, forgiven and reconciled to God in order to know and please Him.
• The Lord Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all His words are true. On the cross He died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, redeeming them by His blood. He rose from the dead and in His resurrection body ascended into heaven where He is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for His people in the presence of the Father.
Salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered to all in the gospel. God in His love forgives sinners, whom He calls, granting them repentance and faith. All who believe in Christ are justified by faith alone, adopted into the family of God and receive eternal life.
• The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven to glorify Christ and to apply His work of salvation. He convicts sinners, imparts spiritual life and gives a true understanding of the Scriptures. He indwells all believers, brings assurance of salvation and produces increasing likeness to Christ. He builds up the Church and empowers its members with gifts for worship, service and mission.
• The Church
The universal Church is the body of which Christ is the Head and to which all who are saved belong. It is made visible in local churches, which are congregations of believers who are committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the teaching of the Bible.
Baptism has been given to the Church by Christ as a visible sign of obedience to Him. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and entry into His Church but does not impart spiritual life.
• The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper has been given to the Church by Christ as a visible reminder of His death. The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice offered once for all and involves no change in the bread and wine. All its blessings are received by faith.
• The Future
The Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory. He will raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will be sent to eternal punishment and the righteous will be welcomed into a life of eternal joy in fellowship with God. God will make all things new and will be glorified forever
II. THEOLOGICAL DISTINCTIVES
1. We are Gospel-centred
To be Gospel-centred means to focus on Jesus, who He is and what He has done, which defines who we are and what we do for God. The Gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1) who came “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:12). Everything we do, say and strive for is for the fame and glory of Jesus Christ.
2. We are Marked by Grace
To be marked by grace means to see the grace of God at work in every area of our lives. Knowing it is only by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8) that we have a restored relationship with Him (1 John 4:10), we therefore seek to show grace to each other and to all who we come into contact with.
3. We are On Mission
To be on mission means to the see the calling of individual believers, local churches and the global Church to enter into the great commission of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). It sees every aspect of our lives and activities as being impacted by a desire to enter into God’s purposes for His world.
4. We are Bible Honouring
We are a communion of churches that read the Bible, obey the Bible, love the Bible and make sense of the world through the Bible. We preach, teach from and lead our churches underneath the full authority of the Word of God.
5. We are Spirit Filled
The Holy Spirit – the third person of the Trinity – is real, active and vital for fruitful gospel ministry. He is the one who fills and empowers the church for gospel ministry. He guides us, leads us, empowers us, rebukes us and we want more of his presence and power at work in our churches. We aim to walk in step with the Spirit, seeking His presence and hearing His voice, embracing and practicing the gifts of the Spirit for the edification and building of the church.
6. We value and honour God’s good design for Men and Women
Our churches want to see gender redeemed, as men and women walk in Biblical masculinity and femininity. Men and women have been created by God in His image with dignity, value and worth, equal yet also different and complimentary. Both maleness and femaleness show forth God’s character in unique ways, providing strength as they come together in their unique calling and roles.
In the Church, women are crucial for fruitful gospel ministry and leadership. We provide the atmosphere and platform for women to flourish in all of their gifts and callings, yet the office of elder is uniquely restricted to Biblically qualified men. Likewise, marriage is a picture of the gospel, a picture of Christ and His Church. A husband is to lovingly and sacrificially lead his wife like Jesus, while his wife is to respond to her husband like the Church responds to Jesus.