At Christ Church West Chester (CCWC), our basic beliefs represent the simple and foundational beliefs of Christianity.
Our Statement of Faith—the New Hampshire Confession of Faith (1833, Adapted)—puts forth a concise and clear declaration of what we believe as a church based on God’s revelation to us in the Scriptures. This document is not an exhaustive explanation of our beliefs, but it highlights and summarizes beliefs we deem as essential to membership of this local body and faithfulness to our Lord. Anyone pursuing membership and baptism at Christ Church West Chester must agree with these beliefs.
At CCWC we are steadfast in our commitment to historic Christian orthodoxy and joyfully stand alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the ages as we are also guided by widely accepted historic Christian statements of faith: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Chalcedonian Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.
As a church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, we also affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and believe that the Second London Confession (1689) provides helpful expositions of God’s Word.
Statement of Faith
From the time of the Apostles to today, Christians have laid out doctrine (beliefs) in brief, definitive statements. As those who know God, we believe it necessary to set forth in a concise fashion the cornerstone truths of our church as guided by Scripture. Our Statement of Faith summarizes essential Christian beliefs, shows unity in Christ, and guards the church from error.
All who join CCWC are required to affirm the CCWC Statement of Faith, the adapted New Hampshire Confession of Faith from 1833. This statement registers our belief in historic Christianity, evangelical Christianity, believer’s baptism, and congregational polity. Once we as members agree to the statement, we are responsible for believing and living in accordance with it.
Read Our Statement of Faith
STATEMENT OF FAITH (2018)
Adapted from the 1833 New Hampshire Confession of Faith
I. THE SCRIPTURES
We believe the Holy Bible was written by people who were divinely inspired, and that it is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction. God is its author, salvation is its purpose, and truth, without any mixture of error, is its content. Scripture reveals the principles by which God will judge us. Therefore, it is now, and will be to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard for evaluating all human conduct, creeds, and opinions.
(II Tim. 3:16-17; II Tim. 3:15; Proverbs 30:5-6; Romans 2:12; Phil. 3:16; I John 4:1)
II. THE TRUE GOD
We believe there is one and only one living and true God—an infinite, intelligent Spirit. His name is the LORD, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. He is inexpressibly glorious in holiness and is worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are equal in every divine perfection, and they carry out distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
(John 4:24; Ps. 83:18; Heb.3:4; Rom. 1:20; Jer.10:10; Ex. 15:11; Ps.1 47:5; Isa. 6:3; I Pet. 1:15-16; Rev. 4:6-8; Mark 12:30; Rev. 4:11; Matt. 10:37; Jer. 2:12-13; Matt. 28:19; John 15:26; I Cor. 12:4-6; I John 5:7; John 10:30; John 5:17; John 14:23; John 17:5&10; Acts 5:3-4; I Cor. 2:10-11; Phil. 2:5-6; Eph. 2:18; II Cor. 13:14; Rev. 1:4-5.)
III. HUMANITY AND THE FALL
We believe humanity is the special creation of God, made in his own image. God created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. The gift of marriage consists of the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime, and this gift models the way God relates to His people. God created the human race in holiness under his law. By voluntary transgression, however, humanity fell from that holy and happy state. As a result, all people are now sinners, not by external compulsion but by choice. They by nature entirely lack the holiness that is required by the law of God and are actively inclined to evil. Therefore, they are under just condemnation to a sentence of eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
(Gen. 1:27; Gen. 1:31; Ecc.7:29; Acts 17:26-29; Gen. 2:16-17; Gen. 3:6-24; Rom. 5:12; Rom. 5:15-19; Ps. 51:5; Rom. 8:7; Isa. 53:6; Gen. 6:12; Rom. 3:9-18; Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 1:18,32; Rom. 2:1-16; Gal. 3:10; Matt. 20:15; Ezek. 18:19-20; Rom. 1:20; Rom. 3:19; Gal. 3:22)
IV. THE WAY OF SALVATION
We believe the salvation of God’s people is completely by grace, through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God. By the appointment of the Father, he freely took to himself our nature but without sin. He honored the divine law by his personal obedience and made a full atonement for our sins by his substitutionary death, satisfying God’s wrath. He rose from the dead and is now enthroned in heaven. Jesus, the Son, unites in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections and, as such, is qualified in every way to be a suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Savior.
(Eph. 2:3, Matt. 18:11, I John 4:10, I Cor. 3:5-7, Acts 15:11, John 3:16, John 1:1-14, Heb. 4:14, Heb. 12-24, Phil. 2:9&14, II Cor. 5:21, Isa. 42:21, Phil. 2:8, Gal. 4:4-5, Rom. 3:21, Isa. 53:4-5, Matt. 20:28, Rom. 4:25, Rom. 3:21-26, I John 2:3, I Cor. 15:1-3, Heb. 9:13-15, Heb. 1:8, Heb. 1:3, Col. 3:1-4, Heb. 7:25, Col. 2:18, Heb. 7:26, Ps. 89:19, Ps. 34)
We believe the great gospel blessing that Christ secures to those who believe in him is justification. Justification includes the pardon of sin, righteous standing before God and his people, and the promise of eternal life founded on principles of righteousness. It is not given because of any works of righteousness we have done but only through faith in the Redeemer’s blood. By virtue of this faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us by God. Justification immediately brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God and secures every other blessing we need for time and eternity.
(John 1:16, Eph. 3:8, Acts 13:39, Isa. 53:11-12, Rom. 5:1-2, Rom. 5:9, Zech. 13;1, Matt. 9:6, Acts 10:43, Rom. 5:17, Titus 3:5-7, I Peter 3:7, I John 2:25, Rom. 5:21, Rom. 4:4-5, Rom. 6:23, Phil. 3:7-9, Rom. 5:19, Rom. 3:24-26, Rom.4:23-25, I John 2:12, Rom. 5:3, Rom. 5:11, I Cor. 1:30-31, Matt. 6:33, I Tim. 4:8)
VI. THE FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a heartfelt, penitent, and obedient faith. Preventing this salvation is every sinner’s inherent depravity and rejection of the gospel, a rejection that aggravates a sinner’s condemnation.
(Isa. 55:1, Rev. 22:17, Rom. 16:25-26, Mark 1:15, Rom. 1:15-17, John 5:40, Matt.23:37, Rom. 9:32, Pro. 1:24, Acts 13:46, John 3:19, Matt. 11:20, Luke 10:27, II Thess. 1:8)
VII. GRACE IN REGENERATION
We believe sinners must be regenerated, or born again, in order to be saved. Regeneration consists of God’s gift of a holy inclination to the mind. It is accomplished in a way that is beyond our comprehension. It is carried out by the power of the Holy Spirit using divine truth to obtain our voluntary obedience to the gospel. The proper evidence of regeneration appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and newness of life.
(John 3:3, John 3:6-7, I Cor. 3:14, Rev.14:3, Rev. 21:27, II Cor. 5;17, Ezek. 36:26, Deu. 30-6, Rom. 2:28-29, Rom.5:5, I John 4:7, John 3:8, John 1:13, James 1:16-18, I Cor. 1:30, Phil. 2:13, I Peter 1:22-25, I John 5:1, Eph. 4:20-24, Col. 3:9-11, Eph. 5:9, Rom. 8:90, Gal. 5:16-23, Eph. 3:14-21, Matt. 3:8-10, Matt.7:20, I John 5:4, 18)
VIII. REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe repentance and faith are sacred duties as well as inseparable graces. They are produced in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God, who convinces us of our guilt, danger, helplessness, and the way of salvation by Christ. And they consist of turning to God with genuine sorrow, confession, and a petition for mercy; receiving heartily the Lord Jesus Christ as Prophet, Priest and King; and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
(Mark 1:15, Acts 11:18, Eph. 2:8, I John 5:1, John 16:8, Acts 2:37-38, Acts 16:30-31 Luke 18:13, Luke 15:18-21, James 4:7-10, II Cor. 7:11, Tim. 10:12-13, Ps. 51, Rom. 10:9-11, Acts 3:22-23, Heb. 4:14, Ps. 2:6, Heb. 1:8, Heb. 7:25, II Tim. 1:12)
IX. GOD’S PURPOSE OF GRACE
We believe election is the eternal purpose of God according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners. Election is perfectly consistent with human free agency and includes all the means necessary to achieve God’s purpose. It is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, which is infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable. Election completely rules out boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and the active imitation of his free mercy. It encourages the greatest possible exercise of human responsibility. The election of individuals to life may be confirmed by its effects in everyone who truly believes the gospel. Election is the foundation of Christian assurance, and confirming our election deserves our greatest diligence.
(II Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-14; I Peter 1:1-2; Rom. 11:5-6; John 15;16; I John 4:19; II Thess. 2:13-14; Acts 13:48; John 10:16; Matt. 20:16; Acts 15:14; Ex. 33:18-19; Matt. 20:15; Eph. 1:11; Rom. 9:23-24; Jer. 31:3; Rom.11:28-29; James 1:17-18; II Tim. 1:9; Rom. 11:32-36; I Cor. 1:26-31; Rom. 3:27; Rom. 4:16; Col. 3:12; I Cor. 3:5-7; I Cor. 15:10; I Peter 5:10; Acts 1:24; I Thess. 2:13; I Peter 2:9; Luke 18:7; John 15:16; I Thess. 2:12; II Tim. 2:10; I Cor. 9:22; Rom. 8:28-30; John 6:37-40; I Thess 1:4-10; Isa. 42:16; Rom. 11:29; II Peter 1:10-11; Phil. 3:12; Heb. 6:11)
We believe sanctification is the process by which we are made partakers of God’s holiness, according to his purpose. Sanctification is a progressive work. It begins in regeneration and continues in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and by God’s appointed means. These means include the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, prayer, and the oversight and fellowship of the visible church.
(I Thess. 4:3; I Thess. 5:23; II Cor. 7:1; II Cor. 13:10; Phil. 3:12-16; I John 2:29; Rom. 8:5; Eph. 1:4; Pro. 4:18; II Cor. 3:18; Heb. 6:1; II Peter 1:5-8; John 3:6; Phil. 1:9-11; Eph. 1:13-14; Phil. 2:12-13; Eph. 4:11-12; I Peter 2:2; II Peter 3:18; II Cor. 13:5; Luke 11:35; Luke 9:23; Matt. 26:41; Eph.6:18; Eph.4:30)
XI. THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS
We believe all genuine believers endure to the end. Their persevering obedience to Christ and attachment to his people are the primary mark distinguishing them from superficial professors. A special providence watches over their welfare, and they are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation.
(John 8:31; I John 2:27-28; I John 3:9; I John 5:18; I John 2:19; John 13:18; Matt. 13:20- 21; John 6:66-69; Job 17:9; Rom. 8:28; Matt. 6:30-33; Jer. 32:40; Ps.121:3; Ps. 91:11-12; Phil. 1:6; Phil. 2:13; Jude 24:25; Heb.1:14; II Kings 6:16; Heb. 13:5; I John 4:4)
XII. THE HARMONY OF THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL
We believe the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral governance. It is holy, just, and good. Fallen human beings are unable to fulfill the precepts of the law, which the Scriptures attribute entirely to their love of sin. A chief purpose of the gospel is to deliver people from this love and to restore them through a mediator to a sincere obedience to the holy law. The visible church’s means of grace share this great purpose.
(Rom. 3:31; Matt. 5:17; Luke 16:17; Rom. 3:20; Rom. 4:15; Rom. 7:12; Rom.7:7,14-22; Gal.3:21; Ps. 119; Rom.8:7-8; Josh. 24:19; Jer. 13:23; John 6:44; John 5:44; Rom. 8:2-4; Rom. 10:4; I Tim. 1:5; Heb. 8:10; Jude 20&21)
XIII. A GOSPEL CHURCH
We believe a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, joined together by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel. A visible church observes the ordinances of Christ, submits to his laws, and exercises the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his word. The only scriptural officers of the church are elders (also called overseers or pastors) and deacons, whose qualifications and duties are defined in the epistles to Timothy and to Titus.
(I Cor. 1:1-3; Matt. 18:17; Acts 5:11; Acts 8:1; Acts 11:21-23; I Cor. 4:17; I Cor. 14:23; III John 9; I Tim. 3:5; Acts 2:41-42; II Cor. 8:5; Acts 2:47; I Cor. 5:12-13; I Cor. 11:2; II Thess. 3:6; Rom. 16:17-20; I Cor.11:23-24; Matt. 18:15-20; I Cor. 5:6; II Cor. 2:17; I Cor. 4:17; Matt. 28:20; John 14:15; John 15:12; I John 14:21; I Thess. 4:2; II John 6; Gal. 6:2; Eph. 4:7; I Cor. 14:12; Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23; Acts 15:22; I Tim. 3; Titus 1)
XIV. BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is a solemn and beautiful emblem that declares our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior as well as our union with him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life. Baptism is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and the Lord’s Supper. We likewise believe that the Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby the members of the church, following earnest self-examination, use bread and the cup in a sacred manner to commemorate together the dying love of Christ. The ordinances belong to the gathered church, marking off believers from unbelievers and making the church visible on earth.
(Acts 8:36-39; Matt. 3:5-6; John 3:22-23; John 4:12; Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:12; Acts 16:32-34; Acts 18:8; Acts 10:47-48; Gal.3:26-28; Rom.6:4; Col. 2:12; I Peter 3:20-21; Acts 22:16; Acts 2:41-42; I Cor. 11:26; Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; I Cor.11:28; I Cor. 5:1-8; I Cor. 10:3-32; I Cor. 11:17-32; John 6:26)
XV. THE LORD’S DAY
We believe the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and points to the rest that awaits the people of God. It should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
(Acts 20:7; Gen. 2:3; Col. 2:16-17; Mark 2:27; John 20:19; I Cor. 16:1-2; Ex. 20:8; Rev. 1:10; Ps. 118:15, 24; Isa. 58:13-14; Isa. 56:2-8; Heb. 10:24-25; Acts 11:26; Acts 13:44; Lev. 19:30; Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2-3; Ps. 26:8; Ps. 87:3; Heb. 4:3-11)
XVI. Civil Government
We believe civil government exists by divine appointment for the benefit and good order of human society. Government officials are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed. The principle exception is for matters contrary to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
(Rom. 13:1-7; Deu. 16:18; II Sam. 23:3; Ex. 18:23; Jer. 30:21; Matt. 22:21; Titus 3:1; I Peter 2:13; I Tim. 2:1-4; Acts 5:29; Matt. 28; Dan. 3:15-18; Dan. 6:7-10; Acts 4:18-20; Matt. 23:10; Rom. 14:4; Rev. 19:16; Ps.72:11; Ps. 2; Rom. 14:9-13)
XVII. THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked. Only those who are justified by faith in the name of the Lord Jesus and sanctified by the Spirit of our God are truly righteous in his judgment. In contrast, all those who continue in impenitence and unbelief are wicked in his sight and under the curse. This distinction among people holds both at death and afterward.
(Mal. 3:18; Pro. 12:26; Isa. 5:20; Gen. 18:23; Jer. 15:19; Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 6:16; Rom. 1:17; Rom. 7:6; I John 2:29; I John 3:7; Rom. 6:18,22; I Cor. 11:32; Pro. 11:31; I Peter 4:17-18; I John 5:19; Gal. 3:10; John 3:36; Isa. 57:21; Ps. 10:4; Isa. 55:6-7; Pro. 14:32; Luke 16:25; John 8:21-24; Pro. 10:24; Luke 12:4-5; Luke 9:23-26; Ecc. 3:17; Matt. 7:13-14)
XVIII. THE WORLD TO COME
We believe the end of the world is approaching. At the last day Christ will descend from heaven and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution. A public separation will then take place, in which the wicked will be justly assigned to endless punishment and the righteous to endless joy. This judgment will determine forever on principles of righteousness the final state of people in heaven or hell.
(I Peter 4:7; I Cor. 7:29-31; Heb. 1:10-12; Matt. 24:35; I John 2:17; Matt. 28:20; Matt. 13:39-40; II Peter 3:3-13; Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7; Heb. 9:28; Acts 3:21; I Thess 4:13-18; I Thess. 5:1-11; Acts 24:15; I Cor. 15:12-58; Luke 14:14; Dan. 12:2 John 5:28-29; John 6:40; John 11:25-26; II Tim. 1:10; Acts 10:42; Matt. 13:49; Matt. 13:37-43; Matt. 24:30- 31; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 22:11; I Cor. 6:9-10; Mark 9:43-48; II Peter 2:9; Jude7; Phil. 3:19; Rom. 6:23; II Cor. 5:10-11; John 4:36; II Cor. 4:18; Rom. 3:5-6; II Thess. 1:6-12: Heb. 6:1-2; I Cor. 4:5; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:2-16; Rev.20:11-12; I John 2:28; I John 4:17; II Peter 3:11-12)
Our church covenant is equal parts promise, summary of expectations, ethical statement, and biblical standard. We summarize how we promise to live together in the covenant. It forms the ethics, or the moral principles, of our worldview and holds out a biblical standard by which we live. Our acceptance of this multifaceted document follows the practice of believers throughout the centuries who have pledged to God and one another to live out the gospel in community.
We use our covenant in two key ways today. We require all new members to sign it before joining the church. We also reaffirm our commitment to the covenant at all members meetings, when we stand as a body and recommit ourselves to it. By featuring the covenant in our life together, we strive to protect ourselves from individual and corporate sin. Of equal importance, we spur one another on to live in light of a greater covenant, one initiated by love, sealed by sacrifice, and kept for eternity by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Read Our Covenant
Having, as we trust, been brought by divine grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give up ourselves to him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, relying on his gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully renew our covenant with each other.
We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We will walk together in brotherly love as becomes the members of a Christian Church, exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other, and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require.
We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others.
We will endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of our family and friends.
We will rejoice at each other’s happiness and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows.
We will seek, by Divine aid, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, remembering that, as we have been voluntarily buried by baptism and raised again from the symbolic grave, so there is on us a special obligation now to lead a new and holy life.
We will work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines.
We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
We will, when we move from this place, as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
Our constitution was first adopted by the membership on Sunday, September 9, 2018.