What Christians believe
Christians believe that the world and everything in it is created by a loving God who gives meaning and purpose to each person and thing.
No person has ever seen God, and no one is able to understand God fully. But we believe we know what God is like through the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus was born in about 4BC in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth, both places being in present-day Israel.
He learned a trade as a carpenter-builder. At the age of 30, he became a teacher for three years, until he was executed by crucifixion as a common criminal, probably in 3OAD in Jerusalem.
Against all the expectations of his friends, he rose from death, and this one thing compelled his followers to tell people far and wide about him.
Christian life is lived in relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and in common with other Christians in the church seeking to deepen that relationship and to follow the way that Jesus taught.
For Christians God is understood and known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Father… God is love, caring for creation and for every human being as God's beloved child.
Son… God is as he has revealed himself to be in the historical person of Jesus Christ. Jesus' life, death and resurrection holds the key to knowing and loving God, and to making sense of life, before and after death.
and Holy Spirit… God is alive, loving and active today, inspiring faith, justice and truth, sustaining the life of the world, giving spiritual gifts to the church and bearing his spiritual fruit in the world - changed lives and a transformed society
His followers, who were all Jews at first but later included non-Jews, formed a community known as the Church. Its task was to continue the work he had begun. We believe that Jesus is the Messiah foretold in the Jewish scriptures and therefore we believe that the Church has vital role in the unfolding purpose of God.
We become members of this community through the ceremony of baptism whereby we are ‘born again’ into a new relationship with God through Jesus.
God as Father
Jesus taught people to think of God as a loving Father - he creates us, loves us, protects us, provides for our needs, and guides us through life. He is Love. Jesus taught us to speak to Him in prayer as “Our Father”. The word he uses for ‘father’ is ‘abba’ which means ‘Daddy’.
Jesus as Divine
Jesus called himself Son of Man, not Son of God, but he did in fact claim to be divine. He said that whoever saw him had seen the Father. He was the human expression of God, showing God’s will for peace and healing and goodness by his actions and supremely showing God’s love for the world by his death on the cross. After his resurrection, one of his friends could say of him, “My Lord and my God”.
Jesus wants his followers to know that God is with them always. We call his presence the Holy Spirit. God inspires us through His Spirit and gives us gifts to minister His name to others.
Christians use the Jewish scriptures believing that they reach fulfilment in the coming of Jesus into the world. We accept some of the writings of the early Christians also as scriptural - the accounts by his friends of his teaching, death and resurrection, and letters written by the Apostles to the first Churches. We believe that the writers of scripture were inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, and we regard the Old and New Testaments as sufficient to contain our beliefs.
We believe that by dying on the Cross Jesus has won for us forgiveness from the effects of sinfulness. We hope that beyond this life, therefore, we shall be in the presence of God and be united with our loved ones, and that we shall find our fulfilment as human beings in the heavenly life of Eternity.
“God so loved the world
that he gave His only Son
that whoever believes in him
should not perish but
have eternal life.
For God sent the Son into the world
not to condemn the world
but that the world
through him might be saved.”
(John 3, 16-17)
“In this is love,
not that we loved God
but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be
the expiation of our sins.
if God so loved us,
we also ought to love
(1 John 4, 10-11)
If you would like more help ask your local Vicar, Minister or a Christian friend. They will be delighted to help you.
Or write to: The Christian Enquiry Agency (Nor), Freepost, London SEI 7YX
Tel. 0171 6200718
Written by The Revd Philip Norwood
Believing by Numbers
St Mary’s dates back to the time when most people could not read. It made sense to give people easy ways of remembering the essentials of the faith. Even those who can read may benefit from reminders in memorable form. We offer these lists –with short commentaries – as aids for those who want a checklist.
Their significance in the life of the community, as of old, depends on their implications being spelt out within that community. It is within the community of faith that our lives have meaning and purpose.
The Fourteen Articles of Faith – (two sevens)
The Seven Deadly Sins
The Seven Virtues
Seven Corporal works of mercy
The Ten Commandments