Watermark Church
Statement of Faith

As a church, we are whole-heartedly committed to pursuing and preserving truth as described in the Scriptures. We hold that the Scriptures are God’s Word, and as such teach us everything we need to know for both life and faith. We also recognise that our true convictions affect every decision we make as a church. The following Statement of Belief should help you understand how the Bible’s teaching shape who we are and how we seek to live out our faith.

Core Beliefs

The Bible

We believe that the Bible, made up of 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament, is the inspired and written Word of God. As such, the Bible is God’s infallible, authoritative and eternally true revelation of salvation in Jesus and living a godly life and it is the primary way that we get to know God, understand the gospel and learn how to live out our faith. We believe that through the Holy Spirit, we encounter God in His life-changing powerful Word.

Implications: Everything we do as a church is to be shaped not by cultural pragmatism but by God’s Word. Our preaching is expositional so that it is God’s Word – not our opinions – which are being proclaimed. We will approach contemporary issues primarily seeking the wisdom of Scripture as our guide. We encourage every believer to be regularly delighting in and submitting to God’s Word and every Community Group to be centered around His Word. We commit
to allowing this Word to shape our view of the world, to challenge our assumptions, opinions and behaviour so that our lives increasingly come in line with its teaching.

Scripture References: John 20:31, Romans 10:14-17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Trinitarian God

We believe in one God eternally existing in three equally divine persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is the Creator, and is Sustainer and Sovereign over all things. The Son, Jesus Christ, is the Eternal Word through whom all things were made, God in human flesh, fully God and fully man, who came to this world, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life and died for our sins, rising bodily from the dead three days later. He ascended into heaven from where He reigns as Lord over all, Head of His church and intercessor for His people. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Living God, who convicts of sin, draws people to Christ, gives life and lives in every person who has received Christ. He comes to glorify the Son who came to glorify the Father. He is to be worshipped and honoured together with the Father and the Son.

Implications: Firstly, because God is a relational community of love, we will only be fully human as His image-bearers when we are deeply involved in loving community. Secondly, because He is a God of unity and diversity, this means He delights in the diversity of cultures, races, ages, genders and personalities as part of His one body. This doctrine also shapes the way that we view marriage and the church: men and women are equal in value and respect but with differing roles; and in the church, members having different gifts but being equal in dignity and worth.

Scripture References: Genesis 1:1, Matthew 3:16-17, John 1:1-3, 16:8-9, Acts 2:38, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Ephesians 1:13-14

Humanity

We believe God created humans, male and female, in His image to live in relationship with God and for the display of His glory. Made to represent God in His creation, we were to rule wisely over creation through our care, management and governing of the world. In God’s gracious purposes, men and women are not interchangeable but each possesses a unique glory as image-bearers which complements the other in mutually enriching ways.

However, tempted by Satan, humanity rebelled against God. We became subject to divine wrath, under the curse of death, inwardly corrupt and incapable of returning to God on our own. In our natural state, being held in slavery to sin and Satan, mankind cannot please God. Humanity is therefore at war with God, lost and without hope apart from the salvation found in Jesus Christ.

Implications: We see humanity with both hope and realism. Every person has intrinsic dignity and worth apart from their moral or external achievements because they are God’s image-bearers. Therefore, humans are capable of doing great good in the world. However, because of our rebellion against God and worship of self, we can also do unimaginable evil and harm. We then rejoice at the common grace revealed in culture and in the good works of others but cry to God for mercy to save us from ourselves. We align ourselves continually to the Bible’s teaching on how humans flourish to determine our thinking in all areas of life including our finances, work, relationships and sexuality since we recognise our natural tendency to follow our own desires instead of God’s.

Scripture References: Genesis 1:26-28, 2:23-24, Genesis 3, John 3:5-8, Romans 3:11-12, 23, Ephesians 2:1-3

Salvation

We believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ’s atoning death alone. Motivated by love for humanity and jealous for His glory, God the Father, sent His Son to live the perfect life that all humanity had failed to live and die the death that all humanity deserved to die. Jesus’ substitutionary death on our behalf satisfied God’s righteous anger against us by paying the penalty for our sin in full. Only through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour can we receive this gift of eternal life, rather than eternal judgment, be justified and declared righteous before Him and be reconciled with God as our Father and us as His children. The Holy Spirit regenerates our hearts, imparting to us a new nature and spiritual life so that we become a new creation with new desires and a new holy disposition to love and serve God.

Implications: We humbly recognise that we have done nothing to deserve God’s grace. This undermines all cultural, racial, socio-economic, intellectual or moral feelings of superiority and unites us as His people to celebrate God’s goodness and to respond in grateful obedience. This great salvation by grace alone causes us to be joyful and generous worshippers of God and it also compels us to preach the gospel boldly to others, calling them to repentance and faith, so that they may share in God’s great salvation.

Scripture References: John 3:5-8, Acts 11:18, Galatians 3:1-3, Ephesians 2:4-9, Hebrews 10:19-25, Romans 11:33-36

The Church

We believe that the Church is not primarily an institution, a building or a meeting but a fellowship of people who have been born again by God, consisting of all genuine followers of Jesus everywhere. Through His Word and Spirit He saves, sanctifies, edifies, guides and preserves His redeemed people. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and to be the body of Christ to fellow believers and the world, as an extension of the ministry of Jesus in the power of the Spirit, by declaring the gospel and making disciples of all nations.

Implications: Being committed to a community of believers (a local congregation) is essential to being a Christian. The main question each Christian should ask about their church is not “what can I get out of it” but “how can I glorify God, serve others and live out the great commission in it?” Because discipleship happens in community, our enjoyment of and growth in Christ is intrinsically connected to how we use the gifts, resources and time that God has given to love and serve His people, and live out the mission of Jesus in and through the church community.

Scripture References: Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:42, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27, Ephesians 5:19-21

Consummation of the Kingdom

We believe in the future, personal, bodily return of Jesus Christ in glory, who will judge the living and the dead, the just and the unjust. He will bring in a new heaven and earth where sin, sickness, suffering and death are no more. Those outside of Christ, along with Satan and his host, will be banished from His glorious and holy presence, enduring eternal punishment forever. Those in Christ will be rewarded, presented blameless before the Father, given new resurrection bodies to live and reign with him in God’s presence forever. Then the eager expectation of creation will be fulfilled and the whole earth will proclaim the glory of God who makes all things new.

Implications: As Christians, we live with a living hope, founded in the gospel. This gives us an eternal perspective for all of life, allowing us to be joyful in suffering, seeing it as ‘light and momentary’ in comparison to the ‘eternal weight of glory’ which is promised in the new heavens and earth. It reminds us that this world is not our final home, that Christ is a more beautiful treasure than anything that money, society or the world can offer, and therefore we live with a willingness to sacrifice our comfort and personal ambitions for the sake of the gospel. Finally, we are aware that while Jesus inaugurated His kingdom on earth, and yet it will only be fully revealed at His coming, this encourages us to keep living by faith, for that day when Christ will return in glory.

Scripture References: Matthew 16:27, Acts 1:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Revelation 20:7-15, 21:1-5, 1 Peter 1, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

Further Theological Convictions

As one joins Watermark, one will notice a number of other theological convictions that shape the way Watermark does ministry. We do not expect all members to embrace all aspects of these convictions but we need members to be aware that these will be taught throughout the church and members should not teach anything contrary to them.

Believer’s Baptism

We believe that baptism is both an instruction from Jesus that all those who have personally put their trust in Christ as Lord and Saviour are to obey, as well as a means of grace and blessing for those who do so. We see baptism by immersion as the best way to represent the dying of the old self and the new birth that takes place at conversion. We do not baptise infants but will dedicate them to express the importance of the partnership between parents and the church community in raising their child in the faith.

Scripture References: Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 6:3-11

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

We believe the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit as clearly seen and taught in the New Testament continue today in the life of the church. We believe spiritual gifts are given to the church and we will encourage them to be used in order to build up and edify Christ’s church – knowing that no spiritual gifts would ever undermine Scriptural authority.

Scripture References: 1 Corinthians 12-14

Complementarian Relationships

We believe that since men and women are created equal in dignity and worth as God’s image-bearers, the family of God need both men and women to utilise their gifts and abilities to lead and serve within the church and the home according to their gifts; with the one exception being, the role of elder / pastor, which is limited to suitably gifted, called and qualified men in the church. Similarly the Bible teaches us that while husbands and wives complement each other in the home, men are called to love and serve their families with sacrificial leadership in the same way that Christ loves His church. We believe that obedience to God’s Word in this regard both glorifies God and is for the good of His people.

Scripture References: 1 Timothy 2:11-14, 3:2, Titus 1:5-6

Elder-Led

We believe that Christ gave servant-leaders to His church, some of whom are elders, also known as pastors. These elder-pastors are the highest human authority in the local church, and are given the responsibility as under-shepherds to love,
care for, disciple and shepherd Christ’s people, helping to bring them to spiritual maturity. While Christ does give elders responsibility to lead and pastor the local church, under the authority of and in submission to the Scriptures, elders are not to ‘rule over’ the congregation but to humbly serve alongside the congregation as fellow saints. Elders will give an account to Christ for the way that they have served His people.

Scripture References: Ephesians 4:11-14, 2 Timothy 2:1-2, Acts 20, 1 Peter 5:1-12. Hebrews 13:17