What follows is a summary of what we believe and do not believe on certain important subjects.
We believe the Bible is the Word of God and therefore is without fault or mistakes. It is God's rule for us to guide what we believe, how we live and how we worship. We believe it is the duty and right of everyone to read the Bible. We believe with the Westminster Confession of Faith that the Bible should be in the 'vulgar (common) language' of people and it is therefore important for people to have an accurate translation in modern English.
We believe God is a Spirit who is perfect, eternal, unchangeable and infinite. God is three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the one God. This is a great mystery but this should not surprise us as God is beyond understanding.
We believe that God made this world in six days, all out of nothing and we reject the theory of evolution as being man in his blindness grappling in the dark. The amazing creation that see all around us makes known something of the wonderful wisdom, power and goodness of the Creator.
Men and women were made by God in His image which means they initially had a perfect soul to know and love God with in a living relationship. That image has been damaged by the fall but can be restored in Jesus Christ.
We believe Adam and Eve the first humans rebelled and sinned against God and thereby brought God's curse and judgement on all people. SIN means we are in our hearts enemies of God and unable to do anything in ourselves to gain salvation. SIN means every human deserves God's eternal wrath in hell.
We believe that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man, two natures in the one person. He was born of the virgin Mary and has lived a sinless life. Jesus is the One Mediator between God and man. We believe that Mary while truly blessed of God in being the mother of Jesus, is not sinless and has no role of mediation between sinners and God.
Jesus in dying on the cross endured God's wrath for the sin of His people. The cross is the only way that God's wrath could be propelled away from people who are all sinful.
The salvation which Jesus died to accomplish, is received by people as they are born again by the Spirit of God. When people are born again the Spirit changes them inside and produces in them faith and repentance.
FAITH is to receive and rest on Jesus Christ alone for salvation as He is offered to us in the Gospel. It is trusting in Jesus death alone to pay the price for our sin and to satisfy God's justice.
This is coming to see the seriousness and awfulness of sin as something terrible and against God. Repentance is to consciously turn away from sin, to turn to Christ and follow Him in a life of new obedience.
We strongly reject this belief that by just saying a prayer brings forgiveness and salvation. The way to come to Christ for salvation has to include true conviction of sin, faith in Jesus death to propel away God's wrath, and genuine repentance in turning from sin to follow Christ as Lord. If Christ is not your Lord then He is not your Saviour.
The church of Jesus Christ is made up those who profess faith in Christ and their children. The church at different times will have different degrees of purity and impurity and will never reach perfection while here on earth. We reject the ecumenical movement and believe in co-operation and fellowship only with churches which believe the true gospel of Jesus Christ. We reject though the narrow separatist theology of some churches which prevents true gospel believing churches and true believers from having fellowship and partnership together in the Gospel.
Baptism is for those who give a credible profession of faith in Christ and for their children. Baptism is a sign of God's grace and the inward cleansing every person needs. Water baptism does not cleanse but points to the inward work of the Holy Spirit at rebirth which alone brings salvation. When Christian parents have their children baptised they do so in light of God's covenant promise to be their God and the God of their children. A person should be baptised only once.
Communion or the Lord's Supper remembers Jesus' broken body and shed blood to save sinners. The bread and the wine remain bread and wine and we reject the blasphemous teaching of the Mass that it is a repeated sacrifice for sin. Those taking the Lord's Supper should be true believers in Jesus and they should examine themselves beforehand so as to take communion in a worthy manner. At the Lord's Supper believers in faith spiritually feed on Christ who is spiritually present at the table.
The worship of God should be entered into with both reverence and joy. The different parts of worship should only be what God in His Word prescribes as acceptable as worship is first and foremost for God's glory and pleasure and not for people's entertainment. People will know the greatest blessing in worship when they come with faith in Christ seeking His glory and will.
The teaching and applying of God's Word should be at the heart of every service of worship. The preaching of God's Word is God's primary means of seeing the unsaved coming to Christ and salvation and the saved being built up in their faith and Christian life. We are strongly committed to systematic expository preaching which is preaching through books of the Bible part by part. This means all of God's truth is covered and a constant dwelling on personal 'hobby horses' avoided.
'HEALTH AND WEALTH GOSPEL'
We reject the teaching that that if someone is a faithful Christian they will always know good health and wealth and always have healing from sickness. The bible clearly teaches that suffering, including sickness, will be the normal experience of God's people and part of God's plan of developing them spiritually and preparing them for heaven. God can and does heal today, but it is not always His will for His faithful people.
The Presbyterian Church is a cessationist church, believing that with the completion of the Bible, the New Testament gifts of prophecy and tongues are not for the church today. The Spirit anointed preaching of the completed Word of God is what is needed today to equip Christians for every work of service. We believe there is a very real danger for churches and Christians today to be distracted from the vital preaching of God's Word.
THE ROLE OF MEN AND WOMEN
We believe in a complementarian position in regards to men and women within the church. Men and women have been made equal before God, both made in His image. Men and women although equal, have different and complementary roles in the family of God. Men have the role of headship and leadership within the church, which includes teaching in public worship. Women have a vital and supportive role working alongside men in showing Christ's love practically and also a vital teaching role in teaching children, young people and other women. We humbly believe that the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in ordaining women for the ministry and eldership are wrong as the Bible clearly teaches men alone should be ministers and elders.
We believe at the end of this world Jesus Christ will come again and that His return will be physical and visible to all. Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead, to condemn the unsaved to hell and to bring the redeemed into the new heaven and earth. We believe the teaching of a secret rapture of Christians before the end of the world has no Biblical warrant.
When a Christian dies their soul goes to be with Christ in heaven which is a place of absolute joy and a place without sin or suffering. When Jesus comes again at the end of the world the Christians' souls will be re-united to their glorified resurected bodies and they will enter the new heaven and new earth forever.
When an unsaved person dies they go to hell which is a place of conscious suffering and torment. When Jesus comes again the souls from hell will be released and reunited to their resurrected bodies of shame and then they will be cast into the lake of fire (hell) forever. The only way to escape going to hell is to be born again and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sin.
CONFESSION AND CATECHISMS
A doctrinal summary of what the bible teaches is found in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Every ruling elder of Brookside church has publicly declared these standards to be a summary of their personal beliefs.
Along with the Longer & Shorter Cathecism , the Westminster Confession of Faith is commonly referred to as "Subordinate Standards" due to the fact they are written by men, and therefore sub-ordinate to the Bible.