What we believe
We're a gospel church
The Bible has good news for the world (the “gospel”) and it’s summarised like this:
that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, then to the twelve…”
1 Corinthians 15:3–4
This follows the Bible’s diagnosis that what’s gone wrong in the world is we have each rejected God as our rightful ruler, and lived our own way instead. The result is that we hurt others, ourselves and God’s world – but, above all, that we deserve God’s judgement.
BUT the amazing news is that God in his love for us gave his Son up to become a man and to die on the cross – taking the judgement we deserve, so that we could be forgiven without compromising God’s eternal justice. God then raised Jesus from the dead to defeat sin and death – to show that his claims were really true. Jesus is alive in heaven today as the rightful ruler and future judge of all people.
This means every person’s greatest need is to receive Jesus’ forgiveness and his Spirit to change and enable them to live for Jesus as Lord.
This gospel is regularly declared at St Joseph’s in our preaching and other programmes. It is also summed up in the music, the prayers and early church creeds we declare every Sunday.
We're a Bible church
Since we believe Jesus is the Son of God, we submit to his view of the Bible. On his authority we believe it to be inspired by God – which means that by his Spirit God supervised the human writers of the Bible so that what they wrote was exactly what he intended in order to communicate his truth.
As a result, we believe that the Bible is God’s word and so has supreme authority, over and above human reason or church tradition or our experience or any other authority (though of course we do use reason, tradition and experience to help us to understand the Bible rightly).
Practically, this means the Bible is at the centre of all we do, as we aim to know and serve the God who has spoken to us in his word, and make him known to others.
We're an Anglican church
Following from our belief in the supreme authority of the Bible, we are committed to the legacy of the Anglican reformers of the 16th century. They recovered a biblical view of the gospel in the face of unbiblical church traditions.
Their ‘protest’ against those traditions led to them being called ‘Protestant’ (in contrast to the Roman Catholic Church, which rejected their reforms).
Sadly, ‘Protestant’ Christians subsequently divided over secondary issues; but the Anglican reformers drew up a doctrinal basis – known as The Thirty-Nine Articles – which enables Christians to unite around what is primary (that is, essential for salvation and sanctification) whilst allowing for disagreement on what is secondary (for example issues to do with baptism, communion, gifts of the Spirit, etc.).
St Joseph’s is an example of this in practice. Our church unites Christians from a wide range of denominational backgrounds to live, work and witness together for the Lord Jesus Christ.