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.
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.
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 the fall of our first parents, 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 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 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 for worship, service and mission.
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 gospel.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper have been given to the churches by Christ as visible signs of the gospel. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and entry into his Church but does not impart spiritual life. 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 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.
We understand that genuine Christian believers may take a different view on these matters, but what we believe in these areas inevitably affects the way we organise our church life together. Any Christian who assents to the Statement of Faith of City Church Manchester may become a member, but if they hold a different view on the matters contained in the Doctrinal Distinctives or the FIEC’s statements we ask them to respect the beliefs and practices of the church and not to undermine them in any way. A person may only become an Elder of the church if he wholeheartedly subscribes to these beliefs and is willing to teach and uphold them.
We believe that God speaks to men and women today through the Scriptures. When the Scriptures are read or explained, whether publicly or privately, God speaks by his Spirit. The Scriptures contain everything which it is necessary for God to say, whether explicitly or through deduction by good and necessary consequence, to enable men and women to come to salvation through Christ, and to grow to maturity in Christ such that they might know how to live to please him. Since the Scriptures are entirely sufficient in this regard, no additional word or revelation from God is required to enable a person to know God, or to know his will. Where anyone claims that God is speaking a word by any means other than through the Scriptures, such word shall not be accepted unless it is first rigorously tested to determine whether it is consistent with the Scriptures. In accordance with the teaching of the New Testament, the Elders of the church are the persons within the congregation who bear the responsibility for assessing whether any such word is genuinely from God.
We believe that God is sovereign in the salvation of men and women choosing some to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit or faith in them, but only because of his sovereign good pleasure. It was God’s will that by Christ’s work on the cross he should effectually redeem all those who were chosen from eternity to be saved. This is fully compatible with the offer of the gospel to all people and does not negate anyone’s responsibility to believe or the church’s responsibility to proclaim the gospel . God calls people through such proclamation and works in them by his Spirit so that they respond in faith. This call and work are compatible with a person’s voluntary response to the gospel. Those who are truly regenerate will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives. These truths ought to move believers to humility, confidence, joy, praise, and faithfulness in response.
We believe that Baptism into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is an outward sign which marks a person's regeneration and baptism by the Holy Spirit into membership of the Church of Jesus Christ. As such it should only properly be administered to a person who publicly professes faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism should, wherever possible and practicable, be administered by immersion in water, symbolising that the person baptised has been united with Christ in his death and resurrection, and is the possessor of the benefits thereof.
We believe that every believer is baptised by the Holy Spirit at the moment at which they are regenerated and brought to true faith in Jesus Christ. Every Christian is therefore filled with the Spirit, but is urged by Scripture to ensure that they go on being filled by Him as they increasingly yield to His power, influence and control.
We believe that a local church congregation should be led by two or more suitably gifted Elders. Whilst God created men and women in absolute equality, he also ordained that leadership in the family, within the context of marriage, and in the church, should be the functional responsibility of men. For this reason the Elders of the church are required to be men. The duly appointed Elders of the church are the under-shepherds of Christ, and they must exercise their leadership of the local church in accordance with the character of Christ’s own leadership of the Universal Church. They are to love the members of the church and to give themselves in their service, working to present them to Christ as holy and blameless. In turn the members of the church are required to submit themselves to the leadership of the Elders, insofar as such leadership is exercised in accordance with the Scriptures. Members of the church with appropriate gifts and character, both men and women, may be set apart as Deacons to serve particular needs arising in the life of the church.
We believe that every member of the church is called by God to use their gifts by ministering to other members of the church. Caring for, encouraging one another, and sharing the gospel with others is the responsibility of every member of the church family. We all enjoy direct access to God and are each able to minister to others, and where we fail to do this it is our church and community that is impoverished.
We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit as those who have been made one family in Christ.
We will walk together in love, showing affectionate care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully warning and encouraging each other as occasion requires.
We will not neglect meeting together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others.
We will make every effort to bring up the children entrusted to our care in the training and instruction of the Lord, and by a godly and loving example to seek the salvation of our family and friends.
We will rejoice at each others’ happiness and endeavour with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows.
We will seek, by God’s help, to live carefully in the world, saying no to ungodliness and idolatry, and remembering that, as those who have died with Christ and been raised to new life, we are now to lead a new and holy life in Christ.
We will work together for the continuance of a faithful gospel-centred Bible teaching ministry in this church, as we continue its worship, sacraments, discipline, and doctrines.
We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We will, when we move from this place, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.