New Hope Reformed Church Distinctives
We Are Biblical
We begin our discipleship with the conviction that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. No belief or practice of our church should exist, save that it rests securely upon a "thus sayeth the Lord." We believe that Scripture is useful, and sufficient for all areas of life as we are told in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
We Are Confessionally Reformed
We hold the doctrines of the Reformation without compromise and declare this freely to God and the world in our confessions. These doctrines are summed up well in the outline called “The Five Solas” (sola means alone). They are Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria, Solo Christo, Sola Gratia, and Sola Fide.
Sola Scriptura: Scripture Alone is the Standard
We believe the Bible, the Old and New Testaments, is inspired and is the infallible, inerrant Word of God.
As such, it is the guide for and sufficient for all areas of life.
The Scripture says,
"Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law." (Psalm 119:18) "I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name." (Psalm 138:2) "But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Soli Deo Gloria! For the Glory of God Alone
We believe that all of life is to be lived for the glory of God alone. In fact, we believe that we were created for that very purpose, to glorify God in all that we do, in all areas of life.
The Scripture says,
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31). "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 4:11). "And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 1:6). "To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen. "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:36).
Solo Christo! By Christ's Work Alone are We Saved
We believe that we are saved by faith in Christ who is the sole mediator between God and man. John Calvin, one of the Reformed fathers, said in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, "Christ stepped in, took the punishment upon himself and bore the judgment due to sinners. With his own blood he expiated the sins which made them enemies of God and thereby satisfied him...we look to Christ alone for divine favor and fatherly love!"
The Scripture says,
"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Timothy 2:5-6). "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:13-18)
Sola Gratia: Salvation Is by Grace Alone
A central cry of the Reformation was salvation by grace-the reformers returned to the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. We believe our righteous standing before God is imputed to us by grace because of the work of Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Scripture Says:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence." (Ephesians 1:3-8).
Sola Fide: Justification Is by Faith Alone
The cry of the Reformation was ‘justification by faith alone’. We believe that we are saved from our sins only because God, in His mercy and grace, has given us faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior. We are justified, made right before God, not by any good works that we do but only the gift of faith in what Christ has done for us. Even this faith is not a good work that saves us because it is also a gift from God, by His mercy.
The Scripture says,
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9). "Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you." So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them." Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident for, "The righteous man shall live by faith." (Galatians 3:6-11).
As a Reformed Church and a historic Congregational church, we hold to the system of doctrine taught in the Savoy Declaration of Faith and the Heidelberg Catechism. This distinctively makes us a confessional church as we hold to and confess the truths taught in these important documents. We do not hold these documents, which were written at the time of the Protestant Reformation to be equal to the Bible. Rather, they are tools that teach biblical truths in a systematic way. We would encourage you to read these documents to learn more about what we believe, which is what the historic Christian faith is. If, as you read, you have questions or comments, please contact Pastor Russ who would be glad to answer any questions you may have.
As a confessional church, we do not just wish to teach these truths but rather truly study and learn them and then apply them in our everyday lives. As such, we encourage families to study the confessional tools together, even to memorize them. The Heidelberg Catechism was written and designed just for that use-it is a tool written in question and answer form and is useful for adults and older children to learn and memorize. Another tool that we find useful is The Children's Catechism. Set up in the same way, question and answer form designed to teach basic Christian truths in a systematic way, it is written in simpler language and breaks the concepts taught down into smaller parts so it is quite appropriate for families with younger children (approximately ages 3-10). To read our creeds and confessions and find resources for family discipleship visit our Creeds and Confessions page.
We Are Congregational
We are a body of disciples who have covenanted one with another in this particular place and time to walk in the Faith together, and to “stir one another up to love and good deeds”. Our biblical officers (Pastors, Elders, and Deacons) do not live out the faith for us; rather, they serve us as leaders and help us with the responsibility God has given us in Christ to live personally before Him.
Our congregation's confession of faith is the Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order. Written in 1658, it is an adaptation of the Westminster Confession of Faith (most of the Confession and the Declaration are identical with only a few changes made for clarity and a few paragraphs adapted to reflect a congregational understanding of church government).
The appendix of the Savoy Declaration details our understanding of Christ's institution of the church and how it should be biblically governed. Also important to an understanding of the governing and order of the church is The Cambridge Platform. This document was written by colonial New England Congregationalists to those at the Westminster Assembly in England; to learn more or read this important historic document visit our Creeds and Confessions page.
We are Liturgical
We hold a high view of worship and we believe that it is proper in worship to recite and renew the entirety of the covenant God has with us in Jesus Christ. We believe that the worship of God is to be done according to Christ's teaching, "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). With this in mind, we have sought to design our worship services to focus on God and His Word, not on man, built on elements that we believe the scriptures teach are necessary for true worship. These elements include: the reading of the Scriptures, the sound preaching of the Word, the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, prayer and the proper administration and receiving of the sacraments (Baptism and the Lord's Supper).
Our worship service includes the following elements each week:
~Call to Worship ~Singing of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs ~Prayer ~Confession of Sin ~Confession of Faith ~Reading of Scripture ~Sermon ~The Lord’s Supper ~To learn more visit our This Lord's Day page
We Are Family Integrated
New Hope Reformed is a family integrated church. This way of living is drawn directly from our doctrine, what we believe. We believe that the family is the most basic building block that God chooses to work in-the church is a “family of families.” Our desire is to encourage and disciple (train) families to be all God made them to be since the strength of the church is dependent upon the strength of individual families.(Deuteronomy 6:7; Ephesians 6:1-4).
Families Worship Together
One of the first things you will notice at New Hope is the presence of babies and small children in the service. We believe families should worship God together and children, from an early age, should be taught to participate in the worship service. Rather than being stopped at the door and pointed to the nursery, we welcome your entire family into worship together.
Inter-generational Discipleship Ministry
One of our goals at New Hope is to teach parents to evangelize and disciple their children and their neighbors. We emphasize the ministry of hospitality, family worship, catechism, and family discipleship. All of our services, education meetings, times of fellowship and other ministries have an inter-generational focus. Rather than separating families, we worship, learn, and fellowship together encouraging those of all ages to participate appropriately.
Education as a Key Component of Discipleship
Jesus said, “A pupil is not above his teacher, but everyone after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Whoever educates a child is discipling (training) that child. At New Hope, we seek to help parents see the importance of Christian education and to help them make biblical choices as it relates to this part of their children’s discipleship.
One educational tool/system that we encourage families to use are the Reformed catechisms-tools written to teach basic biblical truths in a systematic way. More information and resources that can be used in family training and discipleship can be found at our Creeds and Confessions page.
Family takes time. Therefore, at New Hope, we are committed to “creating space” for families to spend time together (Ephesians 5:16). We do not offer a set of programs that run families ragged. We believe it is much more important for you to spend more time around your family table enjoying one another’s company, and serving Christ and your neighbors through hospitality and using your family's unique gifts and graces.
The current state of the family has left many people with poor models or no models at all when it comes to the biblical family. Consequently, many people simply do not know what a biblical family looks like. At New Hope we are committed to the discipleship of individuals and families with a view toward establishing sound biblical principles upon which godly homes are built (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 2:6). No two families look alike and it not our goal to shape and mold families into a particular image or style; it is our goal and desire to teach Biblical principles and lay the ground work for each family to serve Christ together, in the church and in the world as He designs and calls them.