Hope Church, Coatbridge is a congregation of the Free Church of Scotland, the largest evangelical presbyterian denomination in Scotland with around 100 congregations and a significant commitment to overseas mission. If you are coming new to Christianity, you will find a helpful summary of what Christians believe by clicking here.
Our beliefs are best described as confessional, evangelical and presbyterian.
We receive the Bible as the Word of God without error, and we believe that the Bible’s teachings are accurately summarised in our Confession of Faith which you can find here. Our minister and office bearers all subscribe to this confession so that there is clarity on where we stand in relation to the great doctrines of the Bible.
We believe in one God who is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. This one God is also three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All that we know of God and what He requires of us we find only in the Bible. God has a plan which covers every detail of every aspect of His creation. The knowledge that God is powerfully working out His wise purposes in all of life is of immense comfort to the Christian even though we may not appreciate the purposefulness of God’s actions at the time.
God made all things for his own glory. Man was made “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. The result of the failure of our representative to hold to this purpose is that all of us are born with a sinful nature that resists and displeases God. Scorning God’s best for us, the course of our lives is one set by self and is characterised by unhappiness and unfulfilled longing.
Sin affects every part of our personality:
- Our understanding, making us unable to “get” the gospel.
- Our affections, resulting in us giving our devotion to anything else but God.
- Our wills, making us unable to do anything that is truly pleasing to God or to respond in faith to the gospel.
However, the Bible’s story line points us to another Representative who will come and redeem rather than ruin us.
This Representative is Jesus, the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises and the focus of the whole Bible.
- Jesus is our Prophet who reveals God to us.
- Jesus is our Priest who offers Himself as the sacrifice that heals our broken relationship with God by bearing sin’s penalty.
- Jesus is our King who calls us to find the only true fulfillment in serving Him.
The Holy Spirit alone is able to bring new life to a person. Until God the Holy Spirit renews a person, he or she will never believe in Christ. For that reason, salvation is all of the Lord. The key factor in someone responding to the gospel is that God chooses to renew that person by the Holy Spirit.
God is under no obligation to save anyone and would be perfectly just to leave us all to our just deserts. Grace is what we call the favour that God shows to people who are totally undeserving of it and it is truly amazing.
Our natural tendency is to think that doing good deeds will win us acceptance with God. The Bible categorically denies this. God retains all glory by setting our efforts to one side. It is only by faith in Jesus that we can have our rebellion against God forgiven and receive Jesus' righteousness in place of our own flawed efforts. That alone can fit us for heaven. To continue in alienation from God will bring people under God's judgement The restoration of our relationship with God comes only through Jesus.
To be a follower of Jesus is also to leave isolation behind and to become a member of a family with its responsibilities and privileges. Christians meet together to worship God, to study the Bible, to pray, and to serve the world and tell others about Jesus. The church is not a building but is the family of God. The sign of belonging to the church is baptism, and because God deals with us in families, we baptise both believers and the children of believers. The Lord's Supper is the family meal when we remember the love of God for us and are strengthened by the Holy Spirit in a special way.
As Christians, we are looking forward to the day when Jesus will return and bring in a new heaven and earth. This is the goal towards which our lives on earth are heading and the certainty of it fills us with great hope!
In saying that we are evangelical in our convictions we mean that we have the Good News (the "evangel") at the centre of all that we do and that we seek to spread this good news, depending on God to bring about spiritual change in people's lives so that they too become followers of Jesus.
Presbyterian means that our congregation is governed by elders. Presbyterianism also involves being connected with other congregations in the denomination. This results in fellowship, support and accountability.