BASIS OF FAITH
As members of the Church of England within the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church we affirm the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds. Standing in the Reformation tradition we lay especial emphasis on the grace of God – his unmerited mercy – as expressed in the doctrines which follow.
God as the Source of Grace
In continuity with the teaching of Holy Scripture and the Christian creeds, we worship one God in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God has created all things, and us in his own image: all life, truth, holiness and beauty come from him. His Son Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, was crucified, died, raised to life from death and ascended to reign in glory.
The Bible as the Revelation of Grace
We receive the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the wholly reliable revelation and record of God’s grace, given by the Holy Spirit as the true written word of God. The Bible has been given to lead us to salvation, to be the ultimate rule for Christian faith and conduct, and the supreme authority by which the Church must ever reform itself and judge its traditions.
The Atonement as the Work of Grace
We believe that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. Though sinless, he bore our sins, and their judgement, on the cross, thus accomplishing our salvation. By raising Christ bodily from the dead, God attested him as Lord and Saviour and demonstrated his victory over death. Salvation is in Christ alone.
The Church as the Community of Grace
We hold that the Church is God’s covenant community, whose members, drawn from every nation, having been justified by grace through faith, inherit the promises made to Abraham and fulfilled in Christ. As a fellowship of the Holy Spirit manifesting his fruit and exercising his gifts, it is called to worship God, grow in grace, and bear witness to Jesus and the Kingdom of God. God’s Church is one body and must ever strive to discover and experience that unity in truth and love which it has in Christ, especially through its confession of the apostolic faith and in its observance of baptism and holy communion.
The Sacraments as the Signs of Grace
We maintain that the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion proclaim the Gospel as effective and visible signs of our justification and sanctification, and as true means of God’s grace to those who repent and believe. Baptism is the sign of forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Spirit, new birth to righteousness and entry into the fellowship of the People of God. Holy Communion is the sign of the living, nourishing presence of Christ through his Spirit to his people: the memorial of his one, perfect, completed and all-sufficient sacrifice for sin, from whose achievement all may benefit but in whose offering none can share; and an expression of our corporate life of sacrificial thanksgiving and service.
Ministry as the Stewardship of Grace
As the People of God, we share in a royal priesthood common to the whole Church, and in the community of the Suffering Servant. Our mission is the proclamation of the Gospel by the preaching of the word, as well as by caring for the needy, challenging evil, promoting justice and a responsible use of the world’s resources. The Church is called to promote and support all acts and words of Grace throughout creation, both within the environment, power, commerce and community, and to courageously oppose all those activities and influences that seek to undermine God’s Grace. It is the particular vocation of our clergy and ministry team to build up the body of Christ in truth and love, as pastors, teachers, and servants.
Christ’s Return as the Triumph of Grace
We look forward expectantly to the final manifestation of Christ’s grace and glory when he comes again to raise the dead, judge the world, vindicate His chosen and bring His Kingdom to its eternal fulfilment in the new heaven and the new earth.
The Practical Outworking of Grace
In pursuance of our orthodox evangelical heritage St James’ Church, and its ministers, gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.
We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. This view of humankind is taken to reflect our belief in the unchangeable nature of God, in whose image we are made, whilst acknowledging our weaknesses and frailty.
This Basis of Faith is a local expression of our evangelical Anglican heritage, which reflects that of the Church of England Evangelical Council.