What We Believe
Statement of Faith
There is one God, who exists eternally in three distinct but equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is unchangeable in his holiness, justice, wisdom and love. He is the almighty Creator; Saviour and Judge who sustains and governs all things according to his sovereign will for his own glory.
God has revealed himself in the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments alone. Every word was inspired by God through human authors, so that the Bible as originally given is in its entirety the Word of God, without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. The Bible alone speaks with final authority and is always sufficient for all matters of belief and practice.
The Human Race
All men and women, being created in the image of God, have inherent and equal dignity and worth. Their greatest purpose is to obey, worship and love God. As a result of the fall of our first parents, every aspect of human nature has been corrupted and all men and women are without spiritual life, guilty sinners and hostile to God. Every person is therefore under the just condemnation of God and needs to be born again, forgiven and reconciled to God in order to know and please him.
The Lord Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all his words are true. On the cross he died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, redeeming them by his blood. He rose from the dead and in his resurrection body ascended into heaven where he is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for his people in the presence of the Father.
Salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered to all in the gospel. God in his love forgives sinners whom he calls, granting them repentance and faith. All who believe in Christ are justified by faith alone, adopted into the family of God and receive eternal life.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven to glorify Christ and to apply his work of salvation. He convicts sinners, imparts spiritual life and gives a true understanding of the Scriptures. He indwells all believers, brings assurance of salvation and produces increasing likeness to Christ. He builds up the Church and empowers its members for worship, service and mission.
The universal Church is the body of which Christ is the head and to which all who are saved belong. It is made visible in local churches, which are congregations of believers who are committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; for pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the gospel.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper have been given to the churches by Christ as visible signs of the gospel. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and entry into his Church but does not impart spiritual life. The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice offered once for all and involves no change in the bread and wine. All its blessings are received by faith.
The Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory. He will raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will be sent to eternal punishment and the righteous will be welcomed into a life of eternal joy in fellowship with God. God will make all things new and will be glorified forever.
We understand that genuine Christian believers may take a different view on the following matters, but what we believe in these areas inevitably affects the way we organise our church life together. Any Christian who assents to the Statement of Faith of Trinity Church Manchester may become a member, but if they hold a different view on the matters contained in the Doctrinal Distinctives or the FIEC’s statements on Gospel Unity, Women in Ministry and Same Sex Marriage we ask them to respect the beliefs and practices of the church and not to undermine them in any way.
A person may only become an Elder of the church if he wholeheartedly subscribes to these beliefs and is willing to teach and uphold them.
We believe that Baptism into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is an outward sign which marks a person's regeneration and baptism by the Holy Spirit into membership of the Church of Jesus Christ. As such it should only properly be administered to a person who publicly professes faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism should, wherever possible, be administered by immersion in water symbolising that the person baptised has been united with Christ in his death and resurrection.
We believe that a local church congregation should be led by two or more suitably gifted Elders. God created men and women absolutely equal in essence, dignity and value, but also distinct by divine design, having different yet complementary roles in the family and the church. Within the church, both men and women with appropriate gifts and character are expected to lead; however, the office of elder is reserved for qualified men.
The Elders must exercise their leadership of the local church in accordance with the character of Christ’s own leadership of the universal Church, loving the members of the church and working to present them to Christ as holy and blameless. In turn, the members of the church are to submit themselves to the leadership of the Elders in so far as such leadership is exercised in accordance with the Scriptures.
We believe that God is sovereign in the salvation of men and women, choosing some to be saved not on account of any foreseen merit or faith in them but only because of His sovereign good pleasure. It was God’s will that by Christ’s work on the cross he should effectually redeem all those who were chosen from eternity to be saved. This is fully compatible with the offer of the gospel to all people and does not negate anyone’s responsibility to believe or the church’s responsibility to proclaim the gospel. God calls people through such proclamation and works in them by his Spirit so that they respond in faith. This call and work are compatible with a person’s voluntary response to the gospel. Those who are truly regenerate will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives. These truths ought to move believers to humility, confidence, joy, praise and faithfulness in response.
Gifts of the Spirit
We believe that every Christian is baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit the moment they are born again and trust in Jesus Christ and are to go on being filled with the Holy Spirit as they increasingly yield to His power, influence and control. The gifts of the Holy Spirit that were present in the New Testament are still active within the life of the church today, edifying believers and empowering their witness to the message of the gospel. The exercise of spiritual gifts is to be done in submission to the authority of the Bible and the leadership of the elders.