Stratford ARP subscribes to the teaching of Scripture as summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Below is a summary of some of our basic beliefs.
We believe that the Bible is the very Word of God written, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We believe in the plenary, verbal inspiration of the Old and New Testaments, inerrant in the original manuscripts, and preserved throughout the ages.
We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord over all creation and that all things are to be used for the glory of God. We believe that all of life is to be interpreted and understood through the written revelation of God, the Bible.
We believe the doctrine of the Trinity as expressed in the Apostle’s Creed and the ecumenical creeds of Nicaea (AD 325) and Constantinople (AD 381), and summarized in the Westminster Standards: There is One God in three Persons, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
Person and Work of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, fully God and fully man. He possesses these two natures in one person without sin, and as our mediator exercises the offices of prophet, priest, and king.
We believe that justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.
Sanctification (View of Law)
We believe that sanctification is the work of God, whereby He conforms us to the image of Christ according to the moral law of Scripture. Sanctification is the necessary result of being united to Christ by a true and living faith, without which no one will see the Lord.
We believe that God’s dealings with mankind, as set forth in Scripture, are to be understood in terms of covenant. All people are by nature under the covenant of works as children of Adam; but believers in Christ, together with their children, are under the covenant of grace as children of Abraham. The covenant of grace was essentially the same in the Old Testament as in the New.
We believe that covenant baptism is the New Testament sign and seal which superseded the Old Testament sign and seal of circumcision. Baptism is to be administered to believers and their children as a sign and seal of the righteousness of Christ which is received by faith. We believe that teaching in the home and in the church must warn against the errors of presumption on the one hand, and the despising of covenant privileges on the other.
We believe that God tells us how to worship Him in Scripture, and that the preaching of the Word is to be the central element of the service. We believe that the worship service is the covenantal gathering and therefore children should attend at the earliest possible age.
We believe that Christ is the head of the Church and that He rules His Church through elders and deacons. We believe that those called to these offices are men who have been gifted and qualified by God as stated in Scripture (e.g. 1 Timothy 3). Under the leadership of the church, we believe that every husband is to function as the pastor of his own home.
We believe that one of the Church’s primary task is to evangelize the lost in the local community and around the world. This task is not only for the minister, but for every individual Christian as opportunity and gifts permit.