The Holy Scriptures
Our churches believe that the Holy Scriptures, also called “The Holy Bible”, is the Word of God.
This Word has no equal because it is:
- inspired by God the Holy Spirit who caused many different men to write it over a considerable period of time;
- infallible in that it is a completely reliable and trustworthy book which should not and need not be doubted;
- inerrant, meaning that whatever is revealed in it is without error, contradiction, or misrepresentation;
- sufficient because it fully contains the will of God and reveals all that we need to believe in order to be saved.
This Word represents the final rule of faith and life in our churches. We receive it for the regulation, foundation, and confirmation of our faith. It serves as the basis of all authority in our churches.
The Creeds or Confessions
The main teachings of the Bible have been summarized in documents called creeds or confessions. Of the many creeds that have appeared throughout the history of the Christian church, we have chosen to adopt six as our own. Three of these creeds have come to us from the time of the early church, namely the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Three more have come to us from the time of the Reformation of the 16th century, namely the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort.
We consider these creeds or confessions to be faithful summaries of the Word of God. As human documents, however, they possess human authority. Only the Word possesses divine authority. The contents of our creeds or confessions are always subject to and to be tested by the standard of the Word.
The Government of the Church
We believe that not only the faith of the church, but also the government of the church must be regulated by Holy Scripture. As such we believe that the Bible teaches the following principles: the autonomy of the local church; the cooperation and commitment of local churches when it comes to certain common causes and needs; the recognition of the biblical offices of minister, elder, and deacon; the government of the local church has been given to the pastor and the elders; the need for church discipline.
In order to implement these principles in a practical way, we have adopted what is called a Church Order (Constitution). It contains 76 Articles which are divided into four sections dealing with: the offices in the church, the assemblies of the church (consistory, classis, regional synod, general synod), the liturgy of the church (worship services, sacraments, ceremonies), and the discipline of the church.