Click here to listen to the "We Believe" sermon series by Pastor Dennis.
IPC Draft Statement of Faith as accepted at July Council meeting
God the Trinity – We believe in one true, holy, and sovereign God, infinitely wonderful, loving, good, and just, who exists eternally in three Persons of one essence, equally divine and glorious: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God the Father – We believe in God the Father, Creator and Sustainer of all things visible and invisible, who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and present at all times and places, and who is revealed through Scripture and by creation.
God the Son – We believe in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God the Father, through whom all things were made. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary as God incarnate, fully human and fully divine. He lived a sin-free life, and died on the Cross as the perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins. He rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father.
God the Holy Spirit – We believe in the Holy Spirit, who lives within all who have faith in Jesus Christ. He is our advocate, sent by the Father to convict, regenerate, guide, comfort, empower, sanctify, and unite us.
Holy Scripture – We believe that the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the revealed Word of God, divinely inspired by God’s Spirit and recorded through human authors. The Bible is wholly true, inerrant, trustworthy, and authoritative in every matter of belief and conduct, revealing God’s will and guiding us in faith and action. Scripture is understood through prayerful study, which is guided and illumined by the Holy Spirit.
Sin – We believe that we were created for perfect and eternal fellowship with God, who is holy and just. When we think, speak or act in a way that is against God’s will, we sin. Since the fall of Adam and Eve we have all been imperfect sinners, and so we are alienated from God and from each other.
Salvation – We believe that only God’s grace can save us from eternal separation from him, and that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, who redeemed and justified us by his sacrifice on the Cross.
The Church –The Church is the body of all believers in Christ, united by the Spirit in all times and places, with Christ as the head. The Church is called to preach the gospel, make and build up disciples, administer the sacraments, support justice and relieve those in distress.
Christ’s Return – We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will return in power and glory to judge the living and the dead, who will be eternally in fellowship with the triune God or forever condemned and separated from him.
Click here for a PDF of this document.
Dear IPC Congregation,
With the encouragement of the pastors, the IPC council decided last spring that it would be helpful for IPC to adopt a Statement of Faith, and selected a work group to formulate this. There are two main reasons for having such a statement.
The first reason is to present our shared beliefs clearly to those who might wish to join us. Pastor Dennis looked for a statement of faith when he was considering becoming our current interim, and we hope that it can also be part of our current pastoral selection process, as we search for a new senior pastor who will be a good match for us. The statement will also be included in an update to the IPC website, so that those who want to know about IPC can clearly see what we believe and can better decide if they wish to worship with us, and eventually become members.
Second, we believe such a statement of faith will remind us of the fundamentals of faith that we share and will be useful in worship, new members’ classes and the confirmation and installation of new members and elders. We currently have an IPC mission statement, and a covenant that is part of our constitution (all on the “About Us” webpage), but none of these actually give a clear doctrinal statement of our Christian faith.
The work group began by surveying historical statements of faith (including of course the Apostles' Creed that we confirm together on communion Sundays), and statements of faith used by other churches (including especially those churches within the Association of International Churches in Europe and the Middle East, of which we are a member). In addition, the suggestions of our pastors, and the prior work of the IPC “sandwich club” that drafted a statement of faith in 2010 have been very valuable. We considered what were the key common, basic elements that we should include, while attempting to keep the statement usable and concise (less than a page). After deciding on the main elements, we then focused on the content and wording. There is nothing new, novel or original - just an attempt to distill and clearly express the basics of our faith.
Many of you may ask (as some of us did), “Why do we need anything beyond the Apostles’ Creed that we already recite regularly?” The Apostles’ Creed focuses more on the Father and Son, and compresses the Spirit, the Church, Sin, Salvation, Resurrection and Judgement all into the last sentence, and we have attempted to separately and briefly expand on these.
We gave the draft Statement of Faith to the IPC council for their review before their June meeting, and after some feedback it was approved by the council at their July meeting. Although the council could simply have adopted the statement, they felt that it should be presented to the congregation. To this end, it is planned that Dennis will preach a series of sermons, and we will have opportunities for congregational discussion.
IPC is a congregation of wonderful diversity, not just in our home countries, but also in our original denominations and the finer details of our beliefs. As a church in the protestant tradition, it is our goal that a statement of faith will focus on the shared, fundamental beliefs that are the true basis of our reformed Christian faith, while also leaving room for our differences – “in essentials, unity; in inessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” And while we believe a clear statement of faith will attract fellow believers to join us, we will always continue to welcome guests to worship with us.