One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church

‘We believe in one holy; catholic and apostolic church.’ This is a confession from the Nicene Creed of the First Council of Constantinople, one of the universal creeds of the Christian church. This statement says four things about the church: that it is one, that it is holy, that it is catholic (universal) and that it is apostolic.


No one can be a Christian unless they are united to Christ invisibly, that is by the Spirit. This is the church from God’s perspective. All who are united to Christ are ONE in Him, regardless of their race, gender, age, occupation, or denominational affiliation:

1 Cor. 12:12-13, ‘For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body---Jews or Greeks, slaves or free---and all were made to drink of one Spirit.’


The church is holy because of Christ's redemptive work on the cross, where he paid the penalty for the sins of his people. When we are saved, God applies Christ's payment to our accounts, and we can stand justified before God. He also takes Christ's righteous life and applies it to us as a perfect record of righteousness.

Holy living is also part of the church's calling: as we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit through the means of grace (preaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer), we become more like Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith.

2 Corinthians 5:21, 'For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.'


The word 'catholic' means universal. In this context, 'catholic' is referring to the scope of the church universal, i.e. the body of Christ from throughout all history, and throughout the entire world. It is the whole number of the true invisible church - all those who have trusted in Jesus alone for their salvation, regardless of their physical or historical location.

1 Cor. 12:12-13, ‘For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body---Jews or Greeks, slaves or free---and all were made to drink of one Spirit.’


The church is built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, and this inherently implies that the Bible (written by prophets and apostles) is the only foundation of our belief and practice. Like those who have gone before us, 'Sola Scriptura' is our watch-cry.

Ephesians 2:19-20, 'So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone...'


Protestantism originated with the Reformation, a movement against errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestantism is popularly considered to have begun in 1517 when Luther published his Ninety-five Theses as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgences, which purported to offer remission of sin to their purchasers.

Protestants reject the notion of papal supremacy and the doctrine of transubstantiation. They emphasise the priesthood of all believers, the doctrine of justification by faith alone (Sola Fide) rather than by or with good works, and a belief in the Bible alone (rather than alongside sacred tradition) as the highest authority in matters of faith and morals (Sola Scriptura). Protestants who adhere to the Nicene Creed believe in three persons (God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit) as one God.

The “Five Solae” summarise the reformers’ basic differences in theological beliefs and opposition to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses

The Five Solae

The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged from the Protestant Reformation intended to summarise the Reformers’ basic theological principles in contrast to certain teachings of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. “Sola” is Latin meaning “alone” or “only” and the corresponding phrases are:


The inerrant Scripture (the Bible) is the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behaviour must be measured. It is denied that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.


Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice. Our justification does not rest on any merit to be found in us, nor upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, nor that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.


In salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life. It is denied that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.


Our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father. It is denied that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.


It is affirmed that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone. It is denied that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self- fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.

If anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, ``What have you that you did not receive?`` (1 Cor. 4:7), and, ``But by the grace of God I am what I am`` (1 Cor. 15:10).

Adapted from The Council of Orange (529 AD)


To be Baptist is to be part of a church or denomination that, broadly speaking, holds to believer baptism (typically by full immersion) following a credible statement of faith as the only Biblically acceptable way to administer the ordinance of baptism as commanded by our Lord in his Great Commission (Matthew 28:19–20). This is the view called credobaptism (“believer” baptism), which is held over against the view of paedobaptism (“infant” baptism), commonly practised by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and others.

Baptists also generally believe in the autonomy of the local congregation over the more hierarchically structured denominations such as Roman Catholicism (which is based on an episcopal model of church government) and Presbyterianism (which is based on a presbyterian model of church government).

Within this broad category there are many different types of Baptists who hold various views on soteriology (doctrine of salvation) and ecclesiology (church structure and governance). Baptists come in many different shapes and sizes, but nominally they are all unified on the doctrine of adult believer baptism.

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