INTRODUCING our CHURCH

We believe in the GRACE of God

We are BAPTISTs

We are a CHURCH

SUMMARY

The name Grace Baptist Church does not refer to a building, but to a group of people who gather together in Christchurch, New Zealand, to worship God, who has revealed Himself in the Bible. Our desire is to live lives of obedience to Him who created the universe and to whom we owe our existence.

Grace Baptist Church (GBC) began holding meetings at Middleton Grange School in February 1995. Since that time we have held services to worship the Living God and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ each Sunday morning, though our venue changed to Kirkwood Intermediate School in December 1997. Our meeting venue changed again in April 2006 to the performing arts centre at Heaton Intermediate.

Though this particular church has been in existence for a relatively short time, we are not a new religious group. GBC began with the support of other independent Baptist churches in New Zealand and overseas, and is a member of the International Fellowship of Reformed Baptists. The published summary of what we believe is a document known as the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith; this presents the teaching of the Bible in a systematic and summarised form. However, the Bible alone is our authoritative guide to what we believe and practice, and we trace our history, not to 1689, but to the first century and the teaching of Jesus Christ, the unique Son of God.

Our name highlights what we think are three important elements of what we believe, what we practice and what we are:


We believe in the GRACE of God to sinners

Grace means undeserved favour - being given something good, not because we have earned it or deserve it, but because the giver has freely chosen to impart it as a gift. We believe and preach that salvation from sin is God's gracious gift to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us that men and women, boys and girls, are incapable of earning God's favour (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10-20). Despite this God has chosen to save those who will come to Him through Jesus Christ (John 6:35-40; Romans 3:21-26). It is only because God Himself has provided a substitute for sinners that they can be saved. Jesus Christ was that substitute, taking upon Himself the punishment that should have been given to others (Romans 5:6-8; 1 John 4:10). That is why belief and trust in Him and His work on the cross is necessary for salvation. This is God's amazing grace - eternal life and perfect pleasure is guaranteed to all who will trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:1-10; Psalm 16:11).


We are BAPTISTs

We believe that Jesus Christ commanded His followers to baptise those who believed the message of the Gospel (Matthew 28:19). The Gospel is the good news that sinners can be saved from the punishment deserved for sin by repenting of this rebellion against God and believing in Jesus Christ's saving work on the cross, as described above (Matthew 9:13; Luke 24:46-47; Romans 10:9-10).

We believe that Christ's command to be baptised is for those alone who have personally trusted Him.  Therefore, we do not baptise infants, but only those children and adults who are able to declare their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. The book of Acts (the history of the beginning of the church in the Bible) has many examples of people first believing the Gospel message and then being baptised (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 16:14-15, 31-34; Acts 18:8).

We believe the example of baptism in the Bible is that of total immersion in water - the whole body is momentarily lowered under the water and then raised again (Mark 1:9-11; Acts 8:35-39). While the examples in the Bible indicate the need for this type of baptism, the meaning of baptism requires it. Baptism is, firstly, a symbol of being united to Jesus Christ - the picture is that of being buried with Christ and being raised again to a new life in Him - dying as slaves to sin but being raised to life as servants of God (Romans 6:3-13; Colossians 2:11-14). A further picture of baptism is that of being washed clean from the defilement of sin (Acts 22:16).

The only real fulfilment of the examples and symbols of baptism revealed in the Bible is the baptism of believers by total immersion in water. This is what we believe and practice, not because the act of baptism in any way contributes to our salvation, but because Jesus commanded it as a physical testimony to what has occurred in spiritual reality.


We are a CHURCH

We are called a church because we are a group of people who have been saved by Jesus Christ and who meet together to worship Him as Lord and God, and to preach the message of the Bible (1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:15).

The Bible describes true churches as those where the truth as revealed in the Bible is loved, proclaimed and obeyed (Acts 6:2-4, 7; 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14). They believe that the whole Bible is God's Word and is, therefore, totally trustworthy (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Apostle Paul warned the leaders of the church at Ephesus to take care of the people in the church there because others would come and teach things that were wrong. Paul pointed to his own example of preaching the whole Word of God as the correct focus for the spiritual health and eternal well-being of the church (Acts 20:27f).

The message we preach each Sunday is the message of the Bible. It is a message which tells us what we should believe and how we should live in order to please God and find true and eternal happiness.


In Summary

At Grace Baptist Church we preach the wonderful message of God's grace as revealed in the Bible. We baptise those who publicly profess their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. We welcome into membership baptised believers who desire to commit themselves to the care, discipline and fellowship of the church (Acts 2:40-42).

 

The Bible references cited on this page are intended to point readers to illustrative passages only. They do not, by themselves, present an exhaustive treatment of the issues; readers are encouraged to consider them in the light of the whole of Scripture.


©Grace Baptist Church 2012 - Please contact us if you would like further information