What HCC believes in
The short summary of what we believe as a church is found in the following abbreviated statements.
- The Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
- There is one God, eternal and self-existing in three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) who are to be equally loved, honoured, and adored.
- All mankind participated in Adam's fall from his original sinless state and is thus lost in sin and totally helpless.
- The Sovereign God, for no other reason than His own unfathomable love and mercy, has chosen lost sinners from every nation to be redeemed by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit and through the atoning death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ.
- Those sinners whom the Spirit quickens, come to believe in Christ as Saviour by the Word of God, are born again, become sons of God, and will persevere to the end.
- Justification is by faith and through it the undeserving sinner is clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
- The goal of God's salvation in the life of the Christian is holiness, good works, and service for the glory of God.
- At death the Christian's soul passes immediately into the presence of God and the unbeliever's soul is eternally separated from God unto condemnation.
- Baptism is a sign of God's covenant and is properly administered to children of believers in their infancy as well as to those who come as adults to trust in Christ.
- Jesus Christ will return to earth, visibly and bodily, at a time when He is not expected, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
- The gospel of God's salvation in Jesus Christ must be published to all the world as a witness before Jesus Christ returns.
The fuller expression, however, is found in the doctrinal standards set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith, together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and the Book of Church Order, comprising the Form of Government, the Rules of Discipline and the Directory for Worship; all as adopted by the Church.
- Title page, table of contents, and preface
- Westminster Confession of Faith with Scripture proofs (658K)
- Larger Catechism with Scripture Proofs, part 1 (questions 1-115) (418K)
- Larger Catechism with Scripture Proofs, part 2 (questions 116-196) (379K)
- Shorter Catechism with Scripture Proofs
- Scripture Index
If you ask us about our "theological identity," assuming you have great interest in this wonderful topic, we might answer, "We are Reformed and Covenantal!" If you're a bit "sketchy" about what these mean, perhaps the below explanation can shed some light. But of course face-to-face conversation over coffee or other nourishing drinks are always best, so please feel free to talk to us.
What is Reformed Faith?
1. Reformed Faith ("RF" from here) is simply biblical. That is, we are firmly committed to the authority, inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. RF is committed to rigorous outworking of biblical exegesis (meaning, “taking the meaning out” of the text rather than “reading in” to the text, which would be “eisegesis”) in preaching, teaching, counselling and discipleship. RF says that the Bible is the only and the highest authority a man must answer to. All other things come second (WCF I). Regarding “authority, inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible”, Charles Swindoll would say that they are… “The supernatural act of God whereby He so directed human authors of Scripture that, without destroying their individuality, literary style, or personality, His complete and connected thought toward humanity was received/recorded without error or contradiction—each word being supernaturally written and preserved so as to result in an infallible document in the original writings.” In terms of textual transmission, we recognise that there are some variants due to many manuscript productions and transmission over time, but they are all traceable and none of the discrepancies affect the doctrines of the Bible. Therefore, with clear conscience and with great peace, we hold to the belief that the Bible is still the inerrant, infallible and true Word of God.
2. RF is confessional. We are willing to “state” or “confess” clearly what it is that we believe (The Westminster Standards). We are also committed to practice our faith according to those stated convictions, and not veer off course according to whims or devices of man.
3. RF is historical. It finds connection to all the faithful churches throughout history, including movements and events that pursue biblical fidelity such as the Protestant Reformation. RF affirms that all true churches are together characterized by its unity, holiness, apostolicity and catholicity (these need separate explanation). We value the richness of Christian history and tradition—at least those things that are biblical, God-honouring, and life-affirming.
3.1. The Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century, which gave birth to RF, makes RF distinctly grace and faith based when it comes to salvation. In fact, during the movement’s departure from the Roman Catholic church, the Reformers coined the “5 Sola” slogans in order to distinguish their soteriology (study on how one is saved) from the myths, speculations and man-made religion.
3.2. 5 Solas (“only” or “alone”):
3.2.1. Sola Scriptura = The Scripture Alone is the Standard. [2Tim.3:14-17; Psa.119:18; 138:2]
3.2.2. Soli Deo Gloria! = Glory to God Alone! [Rom.11:36; 1Cor.10:31; Eph.3:21; 2Pet.3:1; Rev.1:6]
3.2.3. Solus Christus = Christ Alone! (Only by Christ’s Work We are Saved) [1Tim.2:5-6; Col.1:13-18]
3.2.4. Sola Gratia = Salvation by Grace Alone! [Eph.1:3-8; 2:8-9]
3.2.5. Sola Fide = Justification by Faith Alone. [Gal.3:6-11]
4. RF is Calvinistic. It means that we value the teachings outlined by John Calvin (1509-1564).
4.1. John Calvin was the pastor of Geneva during the early days of Protestant Reformation. He is considered one of the best theologians who ever lived simply for his ability to clearly delineate and expound the Scriptures. Modern biblical theology owes a great deal to Calvin. However, one particular area of teaching stands out as Calvin’s legacy above others—that is, God’s Sovereignty in the redemption of man involving predestination and election [Rom.8 & 9; Eph.1]. This teaching was widely accepted then and even now among many evangelicals. The most recognized opposition to Calvin’s view of salvation was posed by Jacobus Arminius whose followers construed the “5 Points of Arminianism”. Therefore, as a response them, and to clearly outline Calvin’s biblical teaching on salvation, Calvin’s own followers later composed what is now known as the “5 Points of Calvinism,” assigned with the acronym “TULIP”.
4.2. 5 Points of Calvinism (aka. TULIP)
4.2.1. Total Depravity = Humanity’s Radical Spiritual Corruption & Inability/Death
4.2.2. Unconditional Election = God’s Sovereign Choice
4.2.3. Limited Atonement = Christ’s Purposeful Atonement
4.2.4. Irresistible Grace = The Spirit’s Effective Call
4.2.5. Perseverance of the Saints = God’s Preservation of the Saints
4.3. While TULIP outlines an important biblical teaching, an improper or shallow understanding of TULIP and Calvinism can lead to arrogant puffing-up of knowledge [1Cor.8:1] and unfruitful debates which do not honour God nor love our neighbours [Titus 3:9]. Therefore, we recommend taking the time to learn them properly, in light of love and grace of Christ. You may even disagree!
4.4. Another way to understand predestination is to view it as “retrospective theology” and not “speculative gospel.” Meaning, it was meant to deepen a believer’s faith in view of God’s sovereignty and mercy in saving of that person (retrospective), NOT to hinder a person in consideration of the gospel (speculative). Predestination and election are not the most helpful topics for those newly investigating God and the gospel. They should rather be pointed to Christ in history, the cross and the empty tomb for positive consideration. We shouldn’t “second guess” God.
5. RF is Covenantal. It sees the continuity between the Old Testament and the New Testament. It sees the thread of God’s redemptive promise running through all of the OT that is now fully fulfilled in Christ. It sees the relationship between God and His people developing and sharpening in the history of redemption. There is continuity between Israel and the Church through the ministry of Christ. God is singularly possessive of His people, claiming blood-relationship through Christ. He is our God, and we are His people. Because of this, God’s covenant people are not mere volunteers or attendees of a religious institution. Those who are organically connected to God through Christ’s blood-covenant are also inseparably tied to one another as eternal brothers and sisters. Covenant is all about promise and fulfilment, and its resulting blood-relations (Christ’s blood). This deepens our view of the Bible and ministry the way God intended. [Lev.26:12; Jer.30:22; Rev.21:5-7]