As part of the Church of England in Southern Africa (CESA), we trace our roots back to the Reformation in England. We hold to the 39 Articles as being a good summary of the truth of the Bible, and in our services we uphold the principles of the 1662 Book of Common prayer. We affirm the orthodox teachings of the Bible with regards to:
We believe that only the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired, and therefore inerrant, Word of God. These books provide us with a perfect treasure of divine instruction and narrate God’s purpose in the creation of the world, His plan for salvation in Jesus, and the standard by which He will judge the world. The Bible is the true centre of all Christian union and will remain to the end of the world (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Matthew 5:18; John 10:35, 17:17).
The Triune God
We believe that the one true God exists eternally in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that these, being one God, are equal in deity, power, and glory. God is infinite, eternal, and perfect in beauty, holiness, goodness, truth and love. We believe that God not only created the world but also now upholds, sustains, governs, and providentially directs all that exists and that He will bring all things to their proper consummation in Christ Jesus to the glory of his name (Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 104, 139; Matthew 10:29-31, 28:19; Acts 17:24-28; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 1:9-12, 4:4-6; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:4-6).
The Person & Work of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, fully God and fully man, who became human without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. He was sent by the Father to reveal God and redeem sinful humanity. He lived a sinless life and offered himself as a penal, substitutionary sacrifice for sinners. Through his vicarious death for sinners, he revealed God’s perfect love and upheld God’s perfect justice. He was vindicated by the Father through his literal, bodily resurrection from the dead. After being raised from the dead, he ascended into heaven and was seated at the Father’s right hand, where, as our high priest, he makes constant intercession for believers. He is the only saviour for the sins of the world (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-18; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 3:23-25; 8:34; 1 Corinthians 15:1-28; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:15-23; Hebrews 7:23-25; 9:13-15; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2:21-25; 1 John 2:2).
The Absolute Depravity of Humanity
We believe that humanity was originally created in the image of God, righteous and without sin, but through Adam’s disobedience the human race has fallen. Humans are therefore totally depraved – born subject both to imputed and inherent sin, and are therefore by nature and choice the children of God’s just wrath. Humans are unable to save themselves or contribute in any way to their acceptance before God (Genesis 1-3; Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:9-18, 5:1-12; Ephesians 2:1-3).
The gospel is the good news concerning God’s Son – that Jesus (the crucified Nazarene man) is the Christ (the promised saviour King) our Lord (our divine ruler and judge) and expressing this saving rule in the events of his incarnation, atonement, resurrection and return to judge (in which the crucifixion is central). Who Jesus is and what he did secured for those who believe this gospel the blessing of life in the kingdom of God, as promised in the Old Testament. (Romans 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
The Way of Salvation
The gospel is the end of all human pursuits for righteousness in that it announces that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. No ordinance, ritual, work, or any other activity on the part of man is required in order to be saved. God alone, because of His mercy and sovereign election, through the power of the Holy Spirit, brings spiritually dead people to new life, awakening faith and repentance. Those who turn from sin and look to Christ alone for their righteousness are justified before God – having the righteousness of Christ imputed to them (John 1:12-13; 6:37-44; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 3-4; 8:1-17, 10:8-13; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:3-7). Trusting Jesus as our only source of acceptance before God enables us to genuinely and joyfully do that which is pleasing to God. Through this gospel empowered obedience, the Holy Spirit makes us progressively conformed to the image of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:21-22; Philippians 2:12-13). We believe that once salvation is obtained, it cannot be lost. Those who are truly redeemed are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (Romans 8:31-39).
The Holy Spirit’s Empowering of Believers
We believe that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the church of the first-century are operational today. Though not essential for salvation nor an indication of spiritual maturity, these gifts are designed to testify to the presence of the kingdom and to empower and edify the church to fulfil its calling and mission and therefore are to be earnestly desired and practiced (Acts 2:14-21, 4:29-30; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 28-31; 14:1-33; Galatians 3:1-5).
We believe that the church is the primary instrument through which the triune God is fulfilling His redemptive purposes in the earth. In the context of the church, God calls sinful men and women to live as the New Covenant community, observing the sacraments instituted by Jesus and exercising their Spirit apportioned gifts for God’s glory in relation to one another and the world. The church demonstrates the reality of God’s kingdom through the proclamation of the Gospel, pastoral care and leadership, and ministry to the poor and marginalized through sacrificial giving and practical service (Isaiah 58:6-12; 61:1; Matthew 16:17-19; 28:18-20; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 1:22-23; 3:7-21; 4:11-16; Hebrews 10:23-25; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10).
The Sacrements of the Church
We believe that water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two sacraments of the church to be observed until Christ’s return. Both sacraments visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when they are celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer (Matthew 26:26-29; Romans 6:3-11; 1 Corinthians 11:23-24; 1 Peter 3:21).
The World to Come
We believe in the literal second coming of Christ at the end of the age when He will return to the earth personally and visibly to consummate His kingdom. At this time, Christ will raise the dead from the grave and separate the righteous from the wicked. The wicked will be consigned to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy in fellowship with the Triune God. This judgment will forever fix the final state of men in heaven or hell, on the principle of God’s just and holy judgment in Christ (Matthew 25:46; John 5:25-29; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, 35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12; Revelation 19:1-21; 20:11-15; 21:1-22:15).