These statements express the basic Christian beliefs that The Vine church leadership consider to be foundational for teaching, fellowship and full membership at The Vine. The majority of statements reflect beliefs largely held in common by Christian churches globally and through the ages. A few of the statements, particularly those on social justice, work and creativity are not so commonly found in other church statements of faith, but are deemed important by The Vine leadership for expressing our beliefs in these key areas of Christian teaching and living. The purpose of articulating what we believe is to help strengthen and safeguard the faith of Vine members and to provide a sound and life-giving framework for church teaching and ministry.
We believe that the one true God is all good, all loving, all powerful, all present, and all knowing. God exists as three equal persons in one eternal communal being: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The triune God created, sustains, and redeems the world. God is sovereign over all things. He is merciful, just, and perfect in all His ways. God alone is worthy of our worship. He is personal and desires to be known. His essential nature is love.
We believe that the eternal Father spoke the world into existence, sent His Son to redeem it, and sends His Spirit as the seal of our redemption. He was known to Israel as Yahweh, and is uniquely revealed in Jesus Christ. The Son and Spirit give glory to the Father. The Father gives glory to the Son for his sacrificial life and death. God the Father will judge the world, but has also acted in mercy towards it. He adopts us as sons and daughters through Christ who reconciles us to Him. As our loving Father He is the source of our true worth and identity.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, incarnated through the virgin birth, fully divine and fully human, the image of the invisible God. Jesus lived a sinless life, called all people to follow Him, was crucified for the sins of the world, was bodily raised from the dead as a sign of the new creation, and ascended to the Father who placed all things under His lordship. He indwells believers through the gift of the Holy Spirit. He will return to judge and redeem the world.
We believe in the creative and eternal Holy Spirit who is equal to the Father and the Son. By the Holy Spirit Jesus was conceived in Mary, anointed for ministry, and raised from the dead. The Spirit was poured out at Pentecost to empower the church to bear witness to Jesus. The Spirit reveals Christ, sanctifies the believer, assures us of salvation, distributes gifts for ministry, and manifests the love of God in our hearts.
We believe that Scripture is the inspired, authoritative written word of God, penned by people through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Both the Old and New Testaments testify uniquely to God’s true nature and His saving acts in history. Scripture must be prayerfully interpreted both individually and corporately with the help of the Holy Spirit and with an appreciation for its historical context. One of the ways God governs the community of faith is through Scripture as we apply it to our lives and publicly proclaim its message of hope.
We believe God reveals Himself in various ways. Though uniquely authoritative, Scripture is only one of the ways God makes Himself known. God is revealed through creation which hints at His glory; through human experience as He touches people’s lives; through Church tradition which bears witness through history; and above all through Jesus Christ, God’s ultimate self-revelation. God still speaks today, though all prophetic and direct revelation must be tested against Scripture and weighed by discerning believers.
We believe that God created all things and that the world was created good. Its original state was one of shalom: peace and wholeness. God delegated authority to humanity to rule over and care for creation. Creation testifies to God with its endless beauty, but it also suffers presently as a consequence of human sin. It will be released from bondage and renewed when Christ returns. Till then we glorify God through our concern for the environment and stewarding of creation.
We believe God created humanity as male and female to bear His image, to fill the earth, to worship Him and enjoy His company eternally. He created us as unique, relational beings, and placed us in families to love one another. Every human being images God, though sin tarnishes our human nature and limits our capacity to reflect God’s glory. In Jesus Christ – the new humanity – we are reconciled to God and one another, and sanctified so we may image God as He intended.
We believe that sin, our tendency to disobey God, separates us from God and leads to death. Sin is both inherited and personally chosen by all people. We were created with free will and commanded to obey God. The Fall of human beings through yielding to temptation and choosing to sin placed us under God’s judgment and introduced death into the world. Sin damages our relationship with God, ourselves, one another, and creation. Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection defeated Satan and broke the power of sin and death over the life of everyone who repents and believes in Him.
We believe that God in His great mercy offers salvation to all people through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus. Salvation is a free gift through Christ alone, and is received by grace through faith. It is never merited by good works, though good works are our grateful response to God’s saving grace. Salvation is more than a moment of conversion; it is a continual purifying process of transformation to become like Christ as God renews us. The healing of body, mind and soul are all integral dimensions of salvation.
We believe that discipleship is a life-long response to Jesus’ call to follow Him. Faith in Jesus requires obedient response to Him through daily dying to ourselves and rising to new life. Christian discipleship is a costly call, but one that promises human freedom and flourishing. To be a disciple is to live in Christ. Spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting are foundational for shaping such a life. So too is our commitment to Christian community, because we meet Jesus in and through each other.
We believe in the sovereign reign of God on earth as in heaven. The kingdom of God is the manifestation of God’s will on earth and the ordering of all things in accordance with His will. Jesus taught and demonstrated the kingdom of God, which is liberating news for the poor, the oppressed, and the powerless. The kingdom of God contrasts with the imperfect and often self-serving kingdoms of this world. The church is called to partner with God in the extension of His kingdom reign through transforming society and modelling a new community on earth.
We believe that Jesus will return to fully consummate the reign of God which He inaugurated in His first coming. We live in faithful response to Jesus first coming and in the hope of His return, when the dead will be bodily raised to face judgement, and everything will be brought under His lordship. God alone knows the eternal destiny of every person. When Christ returns creation will be regenerated and redeemed humanity will rule with Christ in a new heaven and new earth.
We believe that the universal church is the Body of Christ on earth, empowered by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Jesus until his return. Through the church God’s redemptive plan and purposes are outworked on earth as the gospel is demonstrated and proclaimed to all people. The church is a gathered worshipping community where believers are nurtured and strengthened in faith. The church has a missional mandate and a public ministry of mercy, justice and reconciliation.
We believe that believer baptism and communion are indispensable sacraments, instituted by Jesus to convey grace and to publicly demonstrate our death to sin, new life in Christ, and fellowship with one another as believers. We also believe in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and we consider the gifts of the Spirit to be central to a living Christian faith and witness. Christian marriage is also sacramental in the sense that God ordains it through scripture and blesses it.
We believe that Jesus charges His followers with proclaiming and living the message of the gospel. The call to mission is a call to align ourselves with God’s work on earth. The scope of God’s redemptive activity makes missions more than simply preaching the gospel. The mission of God in which we partner is the transformation of the world through radical self-sacrifice, acts of mercy and justice, peace-making, and the visible testimony of a community that loves one another.
We believe in a God of justice whose heart beats for the poor and marginalised. Our obligation to love our neighbour is second only to our duty to love God, and directly related to it. We see social justice as inseparable from authentic Christian witness. We seek to meet the needs and alleviate the suffering of the most disadvantaged and forgotten people within the church and society.
We believe in the priesthood of all believers, and in the calling of some believers to vocational ministry within the church. We reject any distinction between the sacred and secular spheres. We affirm the worth of all paid and unpaid vocations, and the potential of all work for glorifying God, other than unethical work that dishonours God or demeans humanity. Work glorifies God because it images the one who worked for six days in making creation. Regular Sabbath rest is also grounded in the God’s nature and necessary for humanity.
We believe in an immensely creative God, whom we glorify by using our own gifts of creativity. The one who made a beautiful and diverse creation inspires and calls us to acts of creativity, including the shaping of culture and society. In our worship, work, recreation and relationships we use our creative gifts to redeem and re-envision a world made to manifest God’s splendour.