1. The Triune God
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect both in his love and in his holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, he perfectly and exhaustively knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation, to the praise of his glorious grace.
2. Revelation and Scripture
God has graciously disclosed his existence and power in the created order, and his holiness and moral law in our conscience. But he has supremely revealed himself to fallen human beings in the Person of his Son, the incarnate Word. Moreover, this God is a speaking God who by his Spirit has graciously disclosed himself to us in human words. We therefore believe that God has inspired the words preserved in the Holy Bible, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which are both the record and the means of his saving work in the world. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for our salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks. We confess that both our finitude and our sinfulness preclude the possibility of knowing God’s truth exhaustively; but we affirm that, enlightened by the Spirit of God, we can know God’s revealed truth truly. The Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. As God’s people hear, believe, and do the Word, they are equipped to become maturing disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel.
3. The Creation
With the Bible, we confess that in six days God created the heavens, the earth, the seas, and all they contain; the universe, the whole realm of nature. He created them “very good”—perfectly whole, with no taint of evil, suffering, or death. He created them to be a home for man and the animals, and a theatre for the display of his glory and the outworking of his purposes in history.
We also confess that God created mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. He created them upright, with no taint of evil, suffering, or death. He created them to care for, manage, and govern the world, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus, and, even in our fallen order, are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life.
Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his Church. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather complement one other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the Church: The husband is to exercise headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ; the wife is to submit to her husband in a way that models the love of the Church for her Lord. In the ministry of the Church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to develop their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. However, in accordance with his purposes in creation, fall, and redemption, God assigns distinctive leadership roles to men only (e.g., elder, deacon), and does not permit women to teach adult men, or to exercise authority over them. This principle of male headship in church and home must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments.
5. Probation and Fall
We believe that Adam, made in the image and likeness of God, served as the head and representative of the entire family of man. By yielding to Satan’s temptation and falling into sin, he distorted that image and forfeited both his standing and original blessedness, not only for himself but also for all his progeny. As a result, all people are born alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (i.e., in body, intellect, emotions, conscience, and will), and stand condemned, finally and irrevocably, to death and eternal punishment—apart from God’s own gracious intervention. Therefore, the supreme need of the sinful descendents of Adam is that they should be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath they stand from birth. Their only hope is the undeserved love, mercy, and grace of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore them to himself through Christ.
6. God’s Plan of Salvation
We believe that from all eternity God the Father determined to rescue and restore a great multitude of Adam’s fallen children from every tribe and language and people and nation, and that to this end he chose them beforehand for salvation in Christ. We believe that in the fullness of time God sent forth his only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to accomplish this great redemption through his own righteous life and atoning death. We believe that in love God now sends forth the Church into all the earth to proclaim to good news of salvation in Christ; that he now commands and implores all people everywhere to repent and believe in Christ; and that by the secret working of the Holy Spirit he will effectually call all his children to repentance, faith, and salvation, all to the praise of the glory of his mercy and grace.
7. The Gospel
We believe that the Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. Utter folly to the world, it is the wisdom of God to all whom he illumines; weak and ineffectual to the world, it is the power of God to all who are being saved. The Gospel is Christological: It centers on the person and work of Christ, especially his cross and resurrection. It is biblical: Christ's death and resurrection were according to the Old Testament Scriptures. It is theological and redemptive: Christ died for our sins, in order to reconcile us to God. It is historical: If the saving events did not really occur, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are more to be pitied than all others. It is apostolic: The message was entrusted to, and transmitted by, the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events and truths. And it is intensely personal: Where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are redeemed: forgiven their sins and welcomed into eternal fellowship with God through the Person and Work of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
8. Redemption in Christ
We believe that, moved by love and obedience to the Father’s plan, the eternal Son became a true human being for the redemption of sinners. The Word became flesh, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. The man Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel, was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the Virgin Mary. Perfectly obeying his Father’s will in all things, he lived a sinless life, taught us God’s truth, performed miraculous signs and wonders, and was crucified, died, and buried under Pontius Pilate. In this, he became the Last Adam, serving as the Head, Representative, and Substitute of his people. And in this he accomplished their redemption, living a perfectly righteous life for them, and dying a perfectly atoning death for them. Afterwards, he ascended into heaven, sat down at the right hand of the Father, poured out the Holy Spirit, and sent his Church into the world to preach the Gospel. In this, the High Prophet, Priest, and King of heaven applies the redemption that he purchased during the days of his flesh. Some day he will come again, in order to complete our redemption by raising the dead, transforming the living, and welcoming all his saints into God’s perfected Kingdom. We believe that there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved; that in Christ alone is found forgiveness, righteousness, holiness, redemption, salvation, and eternal hope. Therefore, if any sinful child of Adam is inclined to boast, let him boast in the Lord.
9. The Justification of Sinners
We believe that Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified. By his sacrifice, he bore in our stead the punishment due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf. By his perfect obedience he satisfied the just demands of God on our behalf. By faith alone that perfect righteousness is credited to all who trust in Christ alone for their acceptance with God. Inasmuch as Christ was given by the Father for us, and his obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. We believe that a proper zeal for the knowledge, service, and glory of God flows from a good understanding of this free justification.
10. The Power of the Holy Spirit
We believe that this salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to his people by the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and, as the “other” Helper, is present with and in believers. By his powerful and mysterious work, he regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, and spiritually baptizing them into union with the Lord Jesus, so that they stand justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. By the Spirit’s agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive his sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and for the duration of this age he indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like life and service.
11. The Kingdom of God
We believe that those who have been saved by grace through the Spirit's gift of repentance and faith in Christ have thereby entered the Kingdom of God. Henceforth, they delight in the blessings of the New Covenant, which are the blessings of the Kingdom: the forgiveness of sins, inward transformation, love for God, and eager anticipation of the glory that is yet to be revealed. Thus, the Kingdom is the direct spiritual reign of God and Christ over all who believe. We believe the Kingdom is already present, but not yet fully realized; that it is ever growing and moving towards the final redemption of all creation, which will occur at the Second Coming of Christ. Presently, it is the invasive power of God, rescuing all who believe from Satan’s domain of darkness, and transferring them to the Kingdom of Christ, all through the preaching of the Gospel. The presence of the Kingdom inevitably creates a new community of human life together under God. Kingdom citizens now live under the law of Christ; it is, in essence, a law of love, moving them to serve all men, and to seek their good, especially through the proclamation of the Gospel. We believe that Christ calls his children to live as salt and light in the earth, neither withdrawing into seclusion from the world, nor becoming indistinguishable from it. Since our citizenship is in heaven, we are to reflect the glory of heaven's High King, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God.
12. God’s New People
We believe that God’s New Covenant people, the Church, has been called out of every tribe, language, family, and nation, transferred into God's Kingdom, and even now is seated with Christ in the heavenly places, in the Jerusalem above. This universal Church is manifest in local churches, of which Christ alone is Head. Thus, each “local church” is, in fact, the Church, the household of God, the assembly of the living God, and the pillar and foundation of the truth. The Church is the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the apple of his eye, graven on his hands, and he has pledged himself to her forever. The Church is distinguished by her Gospel message, her sacred ordinances, her discipline, her unique mission, and, above all, by her love for God, and her members’ love for one another and for the world. Crucially, the Gospel we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may properly be overlooked. Christ Jesus is our peace: He has not only brought about peace with God, but also peace between alienated peoples. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity; to reconcile, in one Body, both Jew and Gentile to God through the cross, by which he put to death all that formerly separated them. The Church is the corporate dwelling place of God’s Spirit, and the continuing witness to God in the world.
13. Baptism and Communion
We believe that Christ ordained two sacraments: water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Concerning baptism, the Scriptures instruct new converts to be baptized in water, preferably by immersion, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is a sign of their union with Christ in his death and resurrection, and also of their spiritual cleansing. We practice believer's baptism only, eagerly watching for the marks of true repentance and faith in our children, so that we may see them baptized as well. Regarding the Lord's Supper, the Scriptures instruct believers regularly to enjoy, with Christ and one another, a sacramental meal of bread and wine (or grape juice). We do this reverently, with all due self-examination, as a memorial of our Lord's death on the cross, as a sign of our present communion with him, and in joyful anticipation of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in the World to Come. Thus, both sacraments have multiple meanings and purposes. They serve as God’s pledge to us, as a divinely ordained means of grace, as public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and as anticipations of his return and the consummation of all things.
14. The Consummation
We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his holy angels, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and when he will create and introduce the Kingdom in its full and final form. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust: the unjust to eternal conscious punishment in hell, the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of the Triune God in the new heavens and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day, Christ will present the Church, his beloved Bride, faultless before himself and his Father, solely because of the obedience, suffering, and triumph of her beloved Husband and King. All her sin will be purged, and all its wretched effects forever banished. Henceforth, God will be all in all, and his people enthralled by the immediacy of his ineffable holiness. And to all eternity all things will be to the praise of his glorious grace.
Note: The Mercy Hill Statement of Faith is based, in large part, upon the doctrinal statement of the Gospel Coalition. It is also based, in spirit and content, upon the great Reformed confessions of faith, especially the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the the London Baptist Confession. We count it a privilege to benefit from these rich summaries of biblical truth, and to stand on the theological shoulders of our spiritual forefathers who wrote them. We encourage the Mercy Hill family to turn to them often for edification, encouragement, and joy in the faith.
To examine these documents, please visit: http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html