What follows are what we call the “Doctrinal Distinctives” of Aigburth Community Church. We understand that genuine Christian believers may take a different view on these matters, but what we believe in these areas inevitably changes the way we organise our church life together. Any Christian may be a member of our church, but if they hold a different view on these matters we ask they respect the beliefs and practices of the church and do not undermine them. A person may only become an Elder of the church if he wholeheartedly subscribes to these beliefs and is willing to teach and uphold them.
The Sufficiency of the Scriptures
We believe that God speaks to men and women today through the Scriptures. When they are read or explained, whether publicly or privately, God speaks by his Spirit. The Scriptures contain everything necessary for God to say to enable anyone to come to salvation through Christ, and to grow to maturity in Christ so that they might know how to live to please him. Since the Scriptures are entirely sufficient in this regard, no additional word or revelation from God is required to enable a person to know God, or to know his will. This does not imply that it is impossible for God to speak a word by any other means, however if that happens such a word must not be accepted unless it is first tested to determine whether it is consistent with the Scriptures. The New Testament teaches that the responsibility for such testing lies with the elders of the church.
We believe that Baptism into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is an outward sign which marks a person’s regeneration and baptism by the Holy Spirit into membership of the Church of Jesus Christ. Because of this, only people who publicly profess faith in Jesus Christ may be baptised. Wherever possible baptism should be by full immersion in water, symbolising that the person has been united with Christ in his death and resurrection.
The Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a remembrance meal at which Christian believers share bread and wine together to remind themselves of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to encourage one another to trust in the new covenant of salvation which he inaugurated, as well as to proclaim that he will return. Jesus Christ is no more present at a celebration of the Lord’s Supper than at any other gathering of the members of a local church. The Lord’s Supper should be celebrated on a regular basis by the church demonstrating its unity in the body of Christ.
Election and Evangelism
We believe that God is sovereign in the salvation of men and women. Anyone who exercises genuine repentance and true faith in Jesus Christ does so because they have been chosen by God. Knowing this truth should lead to humility and assurance of salvation. However it does not follow from the truth of election that believers need not participate in mission and evangelism. The Church is commanded by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel to all men everywhere, and the proclamation of the gospel is the means by which the elect are brought to salvation.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
We believe that every believer is baptised by the Holy Spirit at the moment at which they are regenerated and brought to true faith in Jesus Christ. Every Christian is therefore filled by the Spirit, but is urged by Scripture to ensure that they go on being filled by Him as they increasingly yield to His power, influence and control.
Leadership of the Local Church
We believe that a local church congregation should be led by two or more suitably gifted Elders. Whilst God created men and women absolutely equal, he also ordained that leadership in the family and in the church should be the functional responsibility of men. For this reason the Elders of the church are required to be men. They are the under-shepherds of Christ, and they must exercise their leadership of the local church in accordance with the character of Christ’s own leadership of the Universal Church. The Elders are to love the members of the church and to give themselves in their service, working to present them to Christ as holy and blameless. In turn the members of the church are required to submit themselves to the leadership of the Elders, in so far as such leadership is exercised in accordance with the Scriptures. Members of the church with appropriate gifts and character, both men and women, may be set apart as Deacons to serve particular needs arising in the life of the church.
Every Member Ministry
We believe that every member of the church is called by God to utilise their gifts by ministering to other members of the church. Caring for, encouraging one another, and sharing the gospel with others is the responsibility of every member of the church family. We all enjoy direct access to God and are each able to minister to others, and where we fail to do this it is our church and community that is impoverished.