We are part of the Christian Reformed Church and share some basic beliefs about God, the Bible, and life.
In the Beginning ...
The Bible begins with the words "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"
(Genesis 1:1). Everything - whatever is on earth or in the earth, the vast universe around us, the spirit world we cannot see - exists because God brought it into being.
What God made he provides for and controls, so that every happening today and all the news of tomorrow takes place by his permission and plan.
God himself exists without a beginning. He is spirit and is present everywhere, even though we cannot see him. He is perfectly good. He is only one God - one being. At the same time he is three persons: God the Father, God the son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.
God speaks to us though the Bible. The spirit of God guided the Bible writers so that they wrote without error. The Bible contains all we need to know about God, about ourselves, and about life here and hereafter. It contains good news and bad news.
God requires that we love God more than anyone or anything else, and that we love other people with the same kind of love we normally have for ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40).
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, failed to meet this requirement. Although God had created the first humans with the ability to be good (like he is), they chose rather to disobey God. Thus they spoiled their natural goodness and the perfect world in which God placed them - taking the whole human race into sin with them. The results of their disobedience - suffering, death, and judgment - were passed on to all their descendants, including you and me (Genesis 1-3, Romans 5:12).
All through Old Testament times the prophets told of God's plan for a Saviour. Finally, God sent his Son into the world by causing the miraculous pregnancy of a virgin woman. The son to whom Mary gave birth was and is the sinless Son of God (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-35).
This divine/human person was named Jesus, which means Saviour, "because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Jesus endured the justified anger of God against sin by his humiliating and painful death on the cross. Also according to God's plan, Jesus arose from the grave and then ascended into heaven as our living Saviour.
A well-known Bible verse is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." God will forgive my sins only when I believe that Jesus truly suffered and died in my place and I surrender my life to him.
The ability to believe comes from God. Just as the saving work of Jesus is the work of God, so our personal response of faith is the work of God in our hearts (Ephesians 2:8). What is more, through regular study of the Bible - alone and with other Christians - God will make our faith in Jesus strong and sure.
The basic meaning of the word church is people - people who believe in Jesus as their Saviour and Lord. The Christian Reformed Church is part of the great church that Christ is gathering together out of the entire human race from the beginning of the world to its end. The Christian Reformed Church embraces people of many different nationalities and races - American, Canadian, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, French, Black, Hispanic, Filipino, North American Indian.
When we belong to this great family of God, we also belong to each other as brothers and sisters under God. We are to pray for one another, serve each other in love, and together serve the Lord.
God has given us the Bible to strengthen our faith. He further strengthen our faith by means of baptism and the Lord's supper.
Christ also cares for his church through the service of local church leaders: ministers, evangelists, elders, and deacons. These leaders are selected by the local congregation.
Two or more times per year, each congregation delegates a minister and an elder to a regional assembly called a classis. Once annually each classis in the United States and Canada delegates two ministers and two elders to the denomination's broadest assembly, the synod.
Parents and Promises
Children of believers are members of Christ's church and receive baptism as a sign of that membership. Children become full-fledged members upon public profession of faith. This profession is preceded by careful Christian training. Responsibility for such training begins with parents, who are to train their children by personal instruction and Christian example. The church takes part in the training of children and youth through careful instruction in the Bible and through clubs for various ages and interest groups.
Parent-operated Christian schools and colleges supplement the Christian training of the home and the church in most communities served by Christian Reformed Church.
Sharing the Good News
All Christians take part in telling the good news about salvation in Jesus, in order that others presently outside the church may be welcomed into its fellowship.
Each local Christian Reformed congregation is eager to tell the good news to the people of its own community. In addition, the Christian Reformed Church sponsors mission programs throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as in many other countries. The Christian Reformed radio voice to your local community - and to the world - is the Back to God Hour.
Jesus Is Lord
Jesus Christ is Lord over all. His lordship is to be honored in every aspect of life - individual and social. Living under his lordship, we are to marry in the Lord and are to train our children in the Lord; we are to speak to the conscience of society for the Lord. He is Lord of the marketplace, the capitol building, the university, the sports stadium.
A New Beginning
As soon as Jesus returned to heaven, angels told his followers that some day he would return in the same way as they saw him leave (Acts 1:11). Some day - and only God the father knows the day or the hour - Jesus will come again to judge all the people and to bring about a new heaven and a new earth. The unknown time of Christ's return and the uncertainty of life itself urge us to believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord today!
As Christians we look forward to Christ's return with eagerness, for we know that "he who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). To God be the glory!
Thanks for coming with us on this little tour. We hope that you enjoyed the visit and that what you saw helps you to feel that you know us. We would be happy to learn more about you if you care to tell us. In any event , be assured that we will be glad to see you again when you return. And we'll be delighted if you decide to stay.
Bethel CRC is part of a larger group of churches called the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The CRC was founded in 1857. It includes churches in both Canada and the United States. For much more detailed information on our reformed beliefs click here.