Formerly known as Hout Bay Christian Fellowship and
Hout Bay Church International
ECCLESIASTICAL GOVERNMENT AND PRINCIPLES
1.1. “Act” means The Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 (as amended);
1.2. “Group” means the Financial Group appointed by the Eldership;
1.3. "Church" means Shoreline Church;
1.4. "Eldership" means the Lead Elder together with the other Elders;
1.5. "Elder" means a person appointed and recognized by Ephesians 4 Ministries Gifts for the purpose of overseeing the affairs of the Church;
1.6. "Lead Elder" means the Lead Elder of the Church;
1.7. “PBO” means a Public Benefit Organization as defined by the Taxation Laws Amendment Act No. 30 of 2000;
1.8. “PBA” means a Public Benefit Activity as defined under Part 1, Schedule 9 of the Act;
1.9. “Team” means one or more recognized Ephesians 4 Ministries gifts.
1.10. In this Constitution, which consists of Section I, Section II and the Statement of Faith (Section III), unless the context indicates to the contrary, the masculine shall include the feminine gender and the singular include the plural and vice-versa.
2.1. The Church shall be called Shoreline Church, previously known as Hout Bay Church International under non-profit organization number: 930007605.
3.1. The Church shall have its offices and shall be located at: 120 Milner Road, Hout Bay, Cape Town or such other address as may be decided upon by the Eldership from time to time.
4.1. The Church is organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, educational, philanthropic and benevolent purposes.
4.2. For the avoidance of doubt, the Church’s activities and resources are aimed at the furtherance of its objects, namely:
4.2.1. to carry out the PBA set out in Clause 5 (a) of part 1 of the Ninth Schedule of the Act:
(a) The promotion or practice of religion which encompasses acts of worship, witness, teaching and community service based on a belief in a deity; and
4.2.2. to carry out the PBA set out in Clause 4 (a) of part 1 of the Ninth Schedule of the Act:
(a) The provision of education by a ‘‘school’’ as defined in the South African Schools Act, 1996, (Act No. 84 of 1996).
4.3. The Church is established pursuant to and subscribes to the Statement of Faith annexed as Section III hereto, which Statement of Faith may not, in any manner whatsoever, be amended or repealed to any extent unless so amended or repealed by the Elders.
4.4. The Church shall have the following specific purposes:
4.4.1. To conduct a local church under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ and under the leading of the Holy Spirit in accordance with all the commandments and the provisions set forth in the Holy Bible.
4.4.2. To observe a creed; code of doctrine, discipline and form of worship in accordance with the Statement of Faith annexed to this and marked Section III.
4.4.3. To establish membership of the Church by congregants subscribing thereto in the manner prescribed in this Constitution.
4.4.4. To establish regular Church meetings pursuant to clause 4.4.2 hereof for the fellowship of its congregants.
4.4.5. To establish children's ministries, youth ministries and the like for the religious instruction of the children and youth.
4.4.6. To spread the Gospel through meetings, religious services, seminars, crusades, radio, television, social media, applicable media and technology, establishment of church literature and the like.
4.4.7. To provide food, clothing and other necessities for the underprivileged and to raise funds for the furtherance of this cause.
4.4.8. To support missionary work and the like.
4.4.9. To promote and encourage co-operation with other similar organizations.
4.4.10. To plant churches in other locations, including outside of South Africa.
4.4.11. To assist and support the provision of education by a school as defined in the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996, as amended, including the loan of funds to such schools for the purpose of provision of education to its learners.
5.1. LEAD ELDER
5.1.1. In accordance with 1 Timothy and Revelation 2:1, the Church believes that within the polarity of the Eldership, one Elder will be the lead visionary or presiding Elder. The Lead Elder should be the one in the Eldership who motivates change and vision in the life of the Church. Together with the other Elders in the place of prayer and discussion they can formulate vision, direction etc. The Lead Elder however has the final say in all decisions pertaining to the life of the Church notwithstanding the clauses regarding the removal of the Lead Elder.
5.1.2. A new Lead Elder shall be appointed at the discretion of the current Lead Elder.
5.1.3. The spiritual leader of the church shall be the Lead Elder, who is accountable in team.
5.1.4. The Lead Elder shall determine the ecclesiastical function of this Church. The Lead Elder shall prepare guidelines regarding the worship services of the Church, spreading and teaching the Gospel and ministering to the congregation of this Church.
5.1.5. The Lead Elder shall remain in office for as long as he walks in accordance with the New Testament standards required of this office. In the event of there being any reasonable cause to suspect that the Lead Elder is not fulfilling these standards by being involved in gross sin, consistent immorality or serious unrepentant heresy, then the Elders shall call a Special Meeting to evaluate this.
5.1.6. At least one representative of the Team shall be present at any meeting held in terms of clause 5.1.5 above.
5.1.7. At any such Special Meeting each member of the Eldership and each representative of the Team shall have one vote and a resolution put to the vote shall be decided by a majority.
5.1.8. In the event of the Lead Elder, in the evaluation of the Eldership, not fulfilling the standards required of this office or being unable or unwilling to hold office for any other reason, then the Eldership shall in consultation with the Team make the necessary arrangements.
5.1.9. The Eldership may at a Special Meeting convened as aforesaid accept the resignation of and liberate from office its Lead Elder, or may for good cause dismiss such Lead Elder or elders from his or their offices, in accordance with the terms of any contract or engagement entered into with them by the Church.
5.2.1. The Lead Elder shall nominate certain persons to act as Eldership. These persons must at all times of their appointment be bona fide members of the Church and adhere to the Statement of Faith. The Eldership, together with at least one representative of the Team, will appoint those persons so nominated to assist the Lead Elder in the carrying out of the functions of the Church.
5.2.2. Each member of the Eldership shall remain in office as long as he walks in accordance with the New Testament standards required of this office (see 1 Timothy 3: 1-7; Titus 1: 6 – 9; and in the spirit of 1 Peter 5: 1 – 4). In the event of there being any reasonable cause to suspect that any member of the Eldership is not fulfilling these standards, then the Eldership shall call a Special Meeting to evaluate this (see Matthew 18: 15 – 17; 1 Timothy 5: 19 – 20; and 2 Corinthians 2: 5 – 11).
5.2.3. In the event of any member of the Eldership, in the evaluation of the Eldership, not fulfilling the standards of this office or being unable or unwilling to hold office for any other reason, then the procedure in terms of clause 5.2.1 hereof shall apply for the election of a new member.
5.3.1. The Eldership shall nominate certain persons to act as Deacons. These persons must at all times of their appointment be bona fide members of the Church and adhere to the Statement of Faith.
5.3.2. Each Deacon shall remain in office as long as he walks in accordance with the New Testament standards required of this office (see 1 Timothy 3: 8 – 13; Act 6: 3 – 7). In the event of there being any reasonable cause to suspect that a Deacon is not fulfilling these standards, then the Eldership shall call a Special Meeting to evaluate this.
5.3.3. At any such Special Meeting, each member of the Eldership shall have one vote and a resolution put to the vote shall be decided by a majority.
5.3.4. In the event of a Deacon, in the evaluation of the Eldership, not fulfilling the standards of this office or being unable or unwilling to hold office for any other reason, then the Deacon shall be released from his duties and/or asked to step down.
5.3.5. Following the procedure set out in clauses 5.3.2 to 5.3.4, the Eldership may for good cause dismiss a Deacon from his office, in wise consultation with the Team, in accordance with the terms of engagement entered into with them by the Church.
5.4. THE MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION
5.4.1. The Church shall be constituted of and include among its members:
184.108.40.206. those who were members of the Church as at the date of adoption of this Constitution; and
220.127.116.11. such persons as may be received into membership after the date of adoption of this Constitution.
5.4.2. A member may, at any time, resign his membership of the Church. The procedure for resignation shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the Eldership and amended if necessary from time to time. Such cancellation shall be deemed to take effect upon receipt thereof by the Eldership.
5.4.3. The Eldership reserves the right to withdraw the membership of any member for serious, unrepentant misconduct or similar cause (see Matthew 18: 15 – 17; 1 Corinthians 5: 1 – 5; and Titus 3:10).
5.4.4. No rights or privileges of membership shall be transferable or transmissible in any way. All rights and privileges shall cease upon the death, resignation or cessation of membership, for any reason whatsoever, of the member.
6.1. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS
6.1.1. The Church business year shall end at the end of December and the Annual General Meeting shall be held as soon thereafter as practicable and not later than 30 June of each year.
6.1.2. At such Annual General Meeting reports and audited financial statements shall be submitted by the Elders.
6.1.3. Public notice of Annual General Meeting must be given before the Annual General Meeting can be held. Public notice shall be defined to be a notice which is intimated at church meetings on the two Sundays preceding the day appointed for the Annual General Meeting or which is published by means of a printed or written notice affixed to the door or the notice board of the building where the church normally meets for worship on Sundays, during the Sundays aforesaid.
6.1.4. No business shall be transacted at an Annual General Meeting unless a quorum of members entitled to vote is present at the time when the meeting proceeds to business. 33% (thirty-three percent) of the total membership shall be a quorum for all Annual General Meetings.
6.1.5. Any member of the church who has attained the age of 18 (eighteen) years and has been in membership for the preceding 6 (six) months at the time of the General Meeting shall be entitled to vote.
6.1.6. Voting shall be by show of hands or by ballot.
6.1.7. Any resolution passed by a simple majority of members present and entitled to vote at such meetings shall be binding on the Church until such resolution has been rescinded at a General meeting.
6.2. ORDINARY GENERAL MEETINGS
6.2.1. General meetings may be held as often as the Eldership decides.
6.2.2. Notice of any Ordinary General Meeting shall be intimated at both services on the Sunday immediately preceding the day appointed for the meeting.
6.2.3. Only duly admitted members of the Church who have been members in good standing for a period of at least 6 (six) months and who have at the date of such meeting attained the age of eighteen years shall be entitled to vote.
6.2.4. Voting shall be by show of hands or by ballot.
6.2.5. Any resolution passed by a simple majority of members present and entitled to vote at such meetings shall be binding on the Church until such resolution has been rescinded at a General meeting.
6.2.6. No business shall be transacted at any general meeting unless a quorum of members entitled to vote is present at the time when the meeting proceeds to business. Fifteen percent (15%) of the total membership shall be a quorum for all general meetings.
6.3. SPECIAL GENERAL MEETINGS
6.3.1. Special General Meetings of the Church shall be held only after public notice has been given thereof, which notice shall state the whole of the business to be transacted at the Meeting. For the purpose of this Article, public notice shall be defined to be a notice which is intimated at church meetings on the two Sundays preceding the day appointed for the Meeting or which is published by means of a printed or written notice affixed to the door or the notice board of the building where the church normally meets for worship on Sundays, during the Sundays aforesaid.
6.3.2. At any Special General Meeting only duly admitted members of the Church who have been members in good standing for a period of at least 6 (six) months and who have at the date of such meeting attained the age of eighteen years shall be entitled to participate in discussions about the business to be transacted at the Meeting.
6.3.3. At any such Special General Meeting only the Elders may be entitled to vote.
7.1. The financial matters of the Church shall be controlled by the Eldership who shall take fiduciary responsibility for the affairs of the Church. If, at any time, no Elders have been appointed for whatsoever reason, the financial matters of the Church shall be controlled by the Lead Elder and at least 1 (one) representative of the Team who shall take fiduciary responsibility for the affairs of the Church until Elders have been appointed.
7.2. The remuneration of the Lead Elder will be decided by a Remuneration Committee comprising the Lead Elder and 1 (one) member of the Team. The amount of remuneration will remain confidential. The Remuneration Committee will clarify to the Board that the remuneration is not excessive and proportionate to the Church’s means.
7.3. With the exception of the remuneration of the Lead Elder which shall be dealt with in accordance with clause 7.2 above, the Lead Elder may determine fair and reasonable remuneration for services rendered to be paid to its members and other employees of the Church, and may, in addition authorise the reimbursement to any person of any expenses actually incurred and necessarily incurred in their capacities as Elders, members or employees of the Church whilst performing duties for and on behalf of the Church.
7.4. Every member or employee of the Church may, at the discretion of the Eldership, be indemnified by the Church against expenses actually, necessarily and reasonably incurred by such person arising out of the defence of any action suit or proceeding where such person is made a party, provided that:
7.4.1. Such action, suit or proceeding arises out of the performance and is within the scope of such person's employment by the Church.
7.4.2. Such action, suit or proceeding does not arise out of negligence or misconduct on the part of such person.
7.4.3. The Eldership may require that legal costs arising out of such action, suit or proceeding be taxed by the appropriate taxing authority prior to payment thereof by the Church, and if such costs are accepted by the Eldership, the Church may pay in addition the cost of such taxation.
7.5. The Eldership may meet together for the dispatch of business in relation to financial matters, adjourn and otherwise regulate their meetings as they deem fit. The following shall govern such meetings:
7.5.1. The Lead Elder or a member of the Eldership appointed by him shall act as Chairman of the meeting. Should he fail to attend the meeting within thirty minutes after the time advertised therefore, the persons present shall appoint a member of the Eldership to act as Chairman.
7.5.2. The Eldership shall appoint a person to act as Secretary at such meetings and the Secretary shall record the Minutes of the meetings. Such Minutes shall be deemed to be an accurate record of the proceedings of the relevant meeting.
7.5.3. Meetings shall be convened upon such notice, or in such manner, at such a time, date and place as shall be determined by the Eldership from time to time.
7.5.4. A quorum shall be constituted by a majority of the members of the Eldership, provided that if any person is unwilling to attend such meeting, or fails within thirty minutes after the time specified for such a meeting to begin to attend, such meeting shall be deemed properly constituted without such member, should a quorum be present.
7.5.5. Non-receipt of notice by any person entitled thereto shall not invalidate the proceedings of any meeting.
7.5.6. Further, attendance of a member at a meeting shall constitute a waiver of such notice of such meeting unless such attendance is for the express purpose of objecting to the transaction of any business by the Eldership because a meeting has been unlawfully convened.
7.5.7. At any meeting, a resolution put to the vote shall be decided by a show of hands and a majority of those members present shall constitute an adoption by the Eldership of any resolution proposed provided that:
18.104.22.168. Every member shall have one vote.
22.214.171.124. In the event of a deadlock, the Chairman shall exercise the casting vote.
7.5.8. A resolution in writing signed by all the Elders for the time being entitled to attend and vote at meetings, shall be valid and effective as if the same had been passed at a meeting duly convened and held.
8.1. The Church shall have power to buy, sell, donate, let or hire, loan with or without security, exchange, transfer, receive by way of donation or otherwise, movable and immovable property and to invest its funds in Government or Municipal stock, mortgage bonds, or on fixed deposit or otherwise, in Banks, Post Offices or approved organisations and shall further have power to borrow money with or without security in such manner as the Church shall think fit, negotiate loans from Bankers or others by overdraft or otherwise and by passing mortgage and notarial bonds for registration with the proper authorities, and to open and operate banking accounts, and to make, draw, accept, discount, execute and issue promissory notes, bills of exchange and other negotiable and transferable instruments to guarantee the performance of contracts by any person or duly constituted Church having objectives wholly or partly similar to the objectives of this Church and to enter into guarantees or suretyships of every description.
9.1. The Church shall be an independent body, free from control by or interference from any denomination or other church professing the same principles.
9.2. The Church shall manage its own affairs without reference to any outside authority.
9.3. The Church shall:
9.3.1. Exist in its own right, separate from its members;
9.3.2. Be able to own property and other possessions;
9.3.3. Be able to sue and be sued in its’ own name.
9.4. The Church shall continue to exist even when its membership changes and there are different office bearers.
9.5. This Church is sovereign in the conduct of its own affairs but may seek membership of any other body having similar objects to those of the Church and is free to extend or terminate such membership.
10.1. The Elders and all officer bearers of the Church shall be fully indemnified against all actions, costs, charges, losses, damages and expenses which they or any of them shall or may incur in the execution of their duty, except such as they shall incur by their own wilful or wrongful act.
10.2. Members and/or office bearers are not liable for any of the obligations and liabilities of the Church solely by virtue of their status as members or office bearers of the Church.
11.1. For the avoidance of doubt, the entire Constitution dated 19 March 1989 (“the original Constitution”) (a copy of which is appended hereto as Appendix 1) is hereby repealed and replaced by this revised Constitution. These amendments were made in accordance with clause 9.0 of the original Constitution namely that the repeal of the existing Constitution and replacement with this revised Constitution has been approved by two-thirds of the Eldership after consultation with the Members of the Church.
11.2. Section I and Section III of this Constitution or any portion thereof may only be amended or repealed by way of a resolution of the Eldership passed at a Special Meeting convened for that purpose.
11.3. The meeting shall be convened and constituted in the manner prescribed in this Constitution.
11.4. The Chairman shall preside over the meeting.
11.5. The vote shall be exercised by way of a majority.
11.6. Amendments to Section I should not contradict any clauses in Section II and note must be taken of the preamble in Section II.
REQUIREMENTS REGARDING THE FINANCIAL MATTERS OF A CHURCH AND/OR MINISTRY AS PRESCRIBED BY THE RECEIVER OF REVENUE
In order not to affect its tax exemption status, the following requirements as laid down by the Receiver of Revenue must be adhered to by the Church and these cannot be changed without the prior written consent from the Receiver.
1.1. The only objects of the Church are to:
1.1.1. carry out the PBA set out in clause 5 (a) of part 1 of the Ninth Schedule of the Act, namely:
(a) The promotion or practice of religion which encompasses acts of worship, witness, teaching and community service based on a belief in a deity; and
1.1.2. carry out the PBA set out in clause 4 (a) of part 1 of the Ninth Schedule of the Act, namely:
(b) The provision of education by a ‘‘school’’ as defined in the South African Schools Act, 1996, (Act No. 84 of 1996).
1.2. The Church may itself conduct the activities necessary to achieve this object or, subject to clause 9.2 below, it may provide funds to other approved PBO’s carrying out these activities.
1.3. These activities must be carried on in a non-profit manner and with an altruistic or philanthropic intent.
1.4. No activity may directly or indirectly promote the economic self-interest of any fiduciary or employee. This will not prohibit the payment of reasonable remuneration to employees or office bearers as set out in clauses 3.3.2 and 8.1 below.
1.5. At least 85% (eighty-five percent) of the activities of the Church measured either in cost or in time spent must be carried on for the benefit of persons in South Africa.
1.6. The activities of the Church must be carried on for the benefit of the general public.
2.1. The financial matters of the Church shall be controlled by the Eldership who accept fiduciary responsibility for its financial affairs.
2.2. No single person may have the authority to directly or indirectly control the decision-making powers relating to the organization.
3.1. Solely for Objects
3.1.1. The funds of the Church must be utilized solely for the objectives of the Church, as approved, or must be invested for such future use.
3.2. Prohibition from distribution
3.2.1. The Church may not distribute its funds to any person, unless it is in the course of undertaking a PBA.
3.3.1. All property which the Church may acquire, whether movable or immovable, shall be held and administered solely for the furtherance of its objectives and principles.
3.3.2. All Immovable Property owned by the church and thereafter acquired by the Church shall be registered In the name of the Church. The Eldership will have the power to lease or sell immovable property
3.4.1. The payment of reasonable remuneration to employees or office bearers conducting the affairs of the Church to achieve its objectives is not limited by the prohibition referred to in clause 3.1.1 above.
3.4.2. The principles governing the payment of remuneration are set out in clause 8.1.
3.5. Investment of Surplus Funds
3.5.1. Surplus funds of the Church may only be invested:
126.96.36.199. With a financial institution as defined in section 1 of the Financial Services Board Act (Act No. 97 of 1990);
188.8.131.52. In securities listed on a stock exchange as defined in section 1 of the Stock Exchanges Control Act 1985 (Act No. 1 of 1985), such as shares listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange; or
184.108.40.206. In any other prudent investments in financial instruments and assets which the Receiver may determine in consultation with the Executive Officer of the Financial Services Board and the Director of Non-profit Organizations.
3.5.2. If the Church receives an investment other than that listed in clause 3.5 as a donation, bequest or inheritance, the investment may be retained in such form unless it is a business undertaking or trading activity.
4.1. In the event of the Church at any time ceasing to exist for any reason whatsoever, or be dissolved, all the immovable and movable property owned by it, and all the rights to property which may have vested in or been acquired by it at such time, shall be transferred to:
4.1.1. A similar PBO approved by the Receiver as a PBO; or
4.1.2. An organization established by law as envisaged in section 10(1)(cA)(i) of the Act which carries on an approved PBA; or
4.1.3. A department or administration in the national, provincial or local sphere of government in South Africa.
4.2. The Financial Board shall be responsible for the legal carrying out of such dissolution.
4.3. The Church shall be deemed to have ceased to exist should the principles of the Church no longer be adhered to.
5.1. The Church is entitled to carry on business or trading only as provided for in this section.
5.2. The Church may conduct a trading activity or business undertaking where the activity is utilised as a source of funding for the PBAs listed in clause 1.1 above, provided that the carrying on of a business involving a commercial activity with the intention of earning a profit, does not in effect become the sole or principal object or activity of the Church.
6.1. The Church may not accept any donation that may be recalled by the donor, except where it is specified that the recipient must abide by the conditions of the donation.
6.2. A donor may not impose conditions which will entitle the donor or a connected person to obtain some direct or indirect benefit from the application of the donation.
6.3. This prohibition does not apply where the donor is another approved PBO or an entity established by or under law which is exempt from income tax in terms of section 10(1)(cA)(i) and which itself is carrying on a PBA.
7.1. The Church must submit all amendments to this Constitution to the Receiver as soon as amendments have been effected.
8.1. The Church may not knowingly be a party or submit itself to be used in any tax avoidance schemes to reduce, postpone or avoid any liability to tax by any person.
9.1. Employees, office bearers, members or other persons serving the Church may receive reasonable remuneration for services rendered to the Church provide that:
9.1.1. The remuneration is not excessive; and
9.1.2. Such remuneration does not economically benefit any person in a manner which is inconsistent with the objects of the Church.
9.2. For the avoidance of doubt, the Lead Elder and Elders, or any other member of the Church having a contract of employment or any other contract for services may receive remuneration whether by way of salaries, fees and emoluments provided the amount of such remuneration and the nature and extent of such contracts have been formally decided upon by the Eldership or if, at any time, no Elders have been appointed for whatsoever reason, by the Lead Elder and at least 1 (one) representative of the Team.
10.1. The Church may donate funds, or otherwise assist, the following:
10.1.1. Any registered PBO;
10.1.2. Any association of persons carrying on PBA’s even if that association has not been approved as a PBO, provided the Eldership have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the funds are utilized for the purpose for which they were provided, namely to promote the PBA carried on by the association of persons. For the avoidance of doubt the funds may not be utilized to economically benefit any single individual person.
11.1. The Church may not use its resources directly or indirectly to support, advance or oppose any political party.
12.1. Any books of account, records or other documents of the Church must be retained and carefully preserved for a period of 5 (five) years after the last date of an entry in any book or, if kept in electronic or any other form, for a period of 5 (five) years after completion of the transaction, act or operation to which they relate.
12.2. It is the responsibility of the Board to ensure that the necessary records are kept.
13.1. An Annual General Meeting of the local church members shall be held within 6 (six) months after the financial year end of the church in accordance with clause 6.1 of section I above. At such Annual General Meeting the Eldership shall submit a report on the financial position of the church as follows:
13.1.1. The Annual Financial Statements of the Church shall be available to its members two weeks before the intended Annual General Meeting for their perusal.
13.1.2. The Annual Financial Statements shall be drawn up by a person with a thorough knowledge of accountancy.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
There are central truths/ beliefs that we are committed to. We honour the Creeds, Church Councils, Catechisms, Confessions and Congresses that have been instrumental in shaping the thoughts of the Evangelical church since the time of Christ until today and these have helped shape our own statement below. For broader doctrinal issues we understand there are a range of interpretations among believers and we want to allow for freedom of conviction as long as these use the Scriptures holistically as their basis. ‘In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas’ is a Latin phrase that is more often translated as “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.”
2.1. Overarching beliefs:-
2.1.1. We ultimately exist for the glory of God and the display of His splendour. (Psa. 115:1; Eph.1:6,12,14)
2.1.2. Jesus takes central place and unlocks the meaning of the Bible for us. He is the supreme, full and final revelation of God’s character and purposes, he is the embodiment of the Scriptures, mankind’s ultimate Judge and only Redeemer. He is the standard-bearer of truth and the final word on all matters pertaining to life. Jesus is the personification of love, wisdom, goodness, life, truth, grace, compassion, holiness, justice and righteousness. (Heb.1:1-4; Jn. 5:39-40; Lk. 24:25-27; Col. 1:15-20)
2.1.3. The Bible is God’s unique revelation for all time and for all people and is entirely trustworthy. The Old and New Testaments in their original writing are fully inspired of God. No other writings are vested with absolute divine authority and, as such, should be sought to be understood and applied as the final authority for faith and life. (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; James 1:22-25; Rom. 10:17). We view the Bible as a genuinely human product, but one whose creation was superintended by the Holy Spirit, preserving the authors' works from error without eliminating their specific concerns, situation, or style. This divine involvement allowed the biblical writers to communicate without corrupting God's own message both to the immediate recipients of the writings and to those who would come after.
2.1.4. In one God, creator of heaven and earth, infinitely perfect and eternally existing as a loving community of three Persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit- each fully God, coeternal and coequal, yet each personally distinct from the other. (Genesis 1:1,26; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1,2; 4:24; Acts 5:3,4; Romans 1:20; Ephesians 4:5-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14). God is the eternal King exercising sovereignty in creation, revelation, redemption and final judgment.
2.1.5. God is love and expresses that love eternally as a communion of three Persons (1 Jn. 4:16; Jn. Chapters 13-17). His call to love Him with all our being, love our neighbour as ourselves, and love one another as fellow believers is in response to his love towards us (1 Jn.4:19), demonstrated supremely on the cross and poured into the heart of believers by the Holy Spirit (Mt. 22:36-40; Jn. 15:12; Ro. 5:5-8). Love is the characteristic mark of Jesus’ disciples (Jn. 13:34-35) and the benchmark for all we say, think and do (1 Cor. 13:1-13). Other essential attributes of God’s nature coupled with his love are “God is light” (1 John 1:5); Life eternal (John 1:4; 6:35, 47,63) and Spirit (John 4:24).
2.2.1. God created people in His image and likeness, male and female, desiring they live in communion with Himself and in community with one another. He endowed men and women with dignity and worth, asking of them to steward His creation.
2.2.2. God is grieved and angered by unbelief and rebellion. His desire is to reconcile all things to Himself through a free and unconditional offer of grace. Salvation cannot be earned by human effort, religious observance or personal goodness. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and draws people to Christ. When Christ returns, he will judge the living and the dead based on our response to his revelation. In addition, in accordance with their faithfulness to Christ, believers will receive an inheritance which includes heavenly rewards. (Genesis 1:26, 27; 3:1,24; Romans 3:25; 5:12-18; 1 John 1:8).
2.3.1. In the fullness of time, God honoured His covenants with Israel and His prophetic promises of salvation by sending His Son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus Christ, in accordance with the Scriptures, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary whilst retaining his status as God, true man and true God. Living a sinless life and by his death on the cross, he paid the penalty for our sins thereby satisfying the divine justice of God. His bodily resurrection approves his Lordship. Anyone acknowledging his substitutionary sacrifice and Lordship over their lives, by faith receives the gift of eternal life and adoption into God’s family. He died and rose again to reconcile all people to God and to free them from the power of sin and the devil’s power. (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13). The Lord Jesus Christ commanded all believers to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and to disciple men of every nation (Mt. 28:16-20).
2.3.2. Until his personal return to this earth for the second time, Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, acting as the only reconciling mediator between a holy God and sinful people, and acting as the believer’s High priest and Advocate. When He returns, He will dwell with redeemed mankind on the new earth and heaven in an everlasting Kingdom. Finally, God will be all in all and His kingdom, His rule and reign, will be fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth, recreated by His Mighty power in which righteousness dwells and in which He will forever be worshipped.
2.4. The Church as the Spirit Empowered Community
2.4.1. The ascended Christ has poured out His Spirit and has given various ministries and ministry gifts (Eph 4:11; Phil.1:1; Rom. 12:4-8; 2 Cor. 12:10ff) to the church in order to bring all believers to the place of Christian maturity in understanding and truth, and the performance and function of the ministry.
2.4.2. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer, empowering and equipping them for service, with accompanying supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Believers are to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit, staying in fellowship with Him. (John 16:5-15; Romans 8:16, 23, 26, 27; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31) The Spirit also reveals the Father and the Son to us, pouring out their love into our hearts, and conforming our characters to reflect theirs. This transformational process requires our participation, including whole-hearted trust and obedience, and the disciplined pursuit of God and his will. The local church gathers for worship, prayer, instruction, encouragement, mutual accountability and community with each other. Therefore the new birth and personal confession of faith in Christ are essentials of Church membership. Though it has multitudes of diverse expressions, there is only one Universal Church of Jesus Christ. It consists of all who have a relationship with Jesus Christ and crosses ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, national, generational, gender and denominational lines. The primary purpose of the Church is to use every possible means to advance the Kingdom of God, primarily through the gospel in order to make disciples of all nations. (Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; Ephesians 2:19-22; 4:12-16; Hebrews 10:24-25) We believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the Church, and that every local church has the right under Christ to decide and govern its own affairs. God instructs His people to assemble together regularly for worship, for participation in ordinances, for edification through the Scriptures and for mutual encouragement.
2.4.3. In the priesthood of all believers, expressing their love and care towards one another by use of their gifts, time and resources.
2.4.4. The Lord Jesus Christ appointed two ordinances - Baptism in water and the Lord's Supper - to be observed as acts of obedience and as perpetual witnesses to the cardinal facts of the Christian faith; that Baptism is the full immersion of the believer in water as a confession of identification with Christ in burial and resurrection and that the Lord's Supper is the partaking of the emblems symbolic of the Saviour's body and shed blood, in remembrance of His sacrificial death till His return. The only form of baptism we practice is believer’s baptism by immersion. (Baptism: Acts 2:38-41; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 8:26-40; 10:47; 18:8; Romans 6:3-4. Communion: Acts 2:42-46; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
2.4.5. Marriage is a creational ordinance and covenant ordained by God between a man and a woman. Any physically immoral relationship outside of marriage is contrary to Scripture.
2.4.6. The Church is open to any further truth which the Holy Spirit may illuminate from the Scriptures.