About

What We Believe

We're a gospel church

The Bible's summary of the gospel (ie, 'good news') is:

'that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, then to the twelve…'

(1 Corinthians 15.3-4).

The background to that is the Bible's diagnosis of what's gone wrong in the world – namely, that we've each rejected God as our rightful ruler, and lived our own way instead. The result is that we hurt others, ourselves and God's world – but, above all, that we deserve God's judgement.

Against that background the amazing news is that, in his love for us, God gave his Son to become a man and to die on the cross – taking the judgement we deserve, so that we could be forgiven without God compromising his justice. God then raised Jesus from the dead to show that his claims were really true. And we believe Jesus is alive in heaven today as the rightful ruler and future judge of all people.

So the greatest need of anyone is to receive his forgiveness, along with his Spirit to change and enable them to live for Jesus as Lord. That's why in our services we regularly say the Creeds – which remind us that God is not just personal, but three-personal: the Father, the Son and the Spirit who work together in our salvation.

We're a Bible church

Since we believe Jesus is the Son of God, we accept his view of the Bible. So on his authority, we believe it to be inspired by God – which means that, by his Spirit, God supervised the human writers of the Bible so that what they wrote was exactly what he intended, to communicate his truth.

As a result, we believe that the Bible is God's Word and so has supreme authority, above human reason or church tradition, to tell us what to believe and how to live. But we also believe we should use both reason and tradition to understand the Bible rightly. We believe, as well, that the Bible is a unity; that it remains God's living, contemporary Word to us today; and that it's all we need to know, to come into relationship with God and to live in relationship with him this side of heaven.

Practically, that means the Bible is at the centre of all we do, as we aim to know and serve Jesus, and make him known.

We're an Anglican church

Since we believe in the supreme authority of the Bible, we're committed to the legacy of the Anglican reformers of the sixteenth century. They recovered a Biblical view of the gospel in the face of unbiblical church traditions. Their 'protest' against those traditions led to them being called 'Protestant' (in contrast to the Roman Catholic church, which didn't accept their reforms). Sadly, 'Protestant' Christians then divided over secondary issues – but the Anglican reformers drew up a doctrinal basis, The Thirty-Nine Articles, which enables Christians to unite around what is primary (ie, essential for salvation) whilst allowing for disagreement on what is secondary (eg, issues to do with baptism).

St Joseph's is an example of this in practice, as our church unites Christians from a wide range of denominational backgrounds to live, work and witness together for the Lord Jesus Christ.

The official definition of our doctrinal basis is Canon A5 of the Church of England (in which 'Holy Scriptures' means the Bible):

"The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal."

For more information, see David Holloway's article The Biblical Identity of the Church of England.

Another useful resource is a sermon series we're working through on the Thirty-Nine Articles called Who is God?