Gillespie Memorial Church …
… is part of the Church of Scotland,
a denomination of reformed doctrine and Presbyterian Leadership.
… is a gathered congregation with an Evangelical tradition.
So, what does Reformed, Presbyterian and Evangelical mean?
The Church of Scotland came out of the Protestant Reformation of 16th Century Europe – a spiritual movement across Europe that bought about doctrinal changes such as a complete reliance on Scripture as a source of proper belief (and placed it into the hands, eyes and ears of the people in their own language, and not Latin), and the belief that faith in Jesus is the only way to obtain God’s pardon for sin, and not by anything we may do in this life. In the reformed tradition we uphold that:
The Bible, comprising of the 66 books of the Old Testament and New Testament, is the inspired and inerrant Word of God and as such is the final authority on, and sufficient for, life’s matters
We are declared right by God and saved only by faith alone. While God’s calls us to holy lives, our good deeds are not required or sufficient for salvation.
Grace is the means by which God saves us according to His own favour and not based on anything we might do. His favour is grace alone.
Christ alone and no other is the mediator between God and us. It is only though the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God, that we are reconciled to God the Father.
Since it is God who has saved us by the gift of His Son, and the faith we have is by the power of His Holy Spirit – we can only ever owe ALL glory to God alone.
Presbyterianism is a method of governing a denomination; it’s about structure, polity, and decision-making. The Church of Scotland trace these structures back to the Reformation in Geneva led by John Calvin and others, which inspired the Reformation in Scotland under figures such as John Knox.
Presbyterianism might be described as a system of government by ‘presbyters’, and for us that means government by ministers, deacons and elders gathered in the Kirk Session, the local Presbytery, and the annual General Assembly.
Kirk Session – a group of Elders who meet to govern the running of the local church
Presbytery – a local geographical gathering of ministers, deacons and elders who meet in the body called the Presbytery to motivate and encourage local congregations
General Assembly – a large national gathering of 850 ministers, elders and deacons each May in Edinburgh from all across Scotland, and the wider world.
The term evangelical has been much maligned in society in the late 20th century and into the 21st. It is not related to politics, to social issues, or the secular realm of the world. Evangelicals at heart believe in the traditional teaching of Christianity, consistent with historic orthodoxy as revealed in the Bible.
We believe and teach as follows:
There is only one true God, who exists in three person – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
God is the divine creator of all we can see. In all it’s brokenness, He has a plan to save us, and will one day judge the world and all people.
We believe the brokenness is sin and human selfishness, which has separated us from God.
We believe in the existence of demonic forces and Satan who are enemies of humanity and all that is good and right.
We believe no-one is free of sin, which means we are all in trouble with God.
We believe there is a life after this one on earth.
We believe we have a choice to make concerning the person of Jesus Christ that will affect our life beyond earthly death.
So we believe we can be forgiven and freed from guilt, punishment and the power of the wrong we do, but only because of the death of Jesus.
We believe that Jesus was nailed to a cross and died to pay the penalty for our sin, and was raised from death, conquering forever the grave and securing eternal life for all who believe in Him.
We believe we do not deserve or can earn God’s forgiveness, but only by faith alone in Jesus Christ.
We believe God does this through the power of the Holy Spirit working in people’s lives, turning them from wrong and towards God, bringing them to faith in Jesus Christ.
We believe the Holy Spirit lives in Christians, changing their lives so that they each day are enabled to live more like Jesus.
We believe God does not discriminate regardless of age, gender, race, colour, creed, political affiliation, sexual preference or any other matter, but offers life to all and any who will believe in Him, turn to Him (repent) and follow Him.
We believe the church is a community of true believers in Christ Jesus throughout the whole world, and Jesus is present today through His Church.
We believe that one day Jesus will return, gathering His Church to Himself and righteously judge all, both great or small who will be ‘called-to-account’ for their lives.
We believe that God has gifted his children with unique talents – and all are called to communicate His love and His truth through our daily lives.
We believe we are charged with a social responsibility by God to do all we can to help others.
We believe we all have a financial responsibility to God and are called to offer Him our time, talents and money for the Glory of His Kingdom.