WHAT WE STAND FOR
Open House is a church that aligns itself with the theological beliefs of the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia.
Why do we belong to the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia and why do we call ourselves a “reformed” church?
The denominational designation “reformed” has a long history, going back to the time of the 16th century. At that time the church was subject to wide-spread abuse and had hidden many truths about the Bible. God raised up a number of great leaders (men like Martin Luther and John Calvin) who rediscovered many biblical truths that had long been dormant and challenged the church with the need to “reform” or change. A drastic revolution took place where many millions of church members adopted this need for change and a movement called the “Reformation” took place.
We believe that the truths that were re-established at that time are just as important and precious today and we stand on the shoulders of that tradition. We believe the principles of the great Reformation are the basis for ongoing reform in the life, worship and work of our church.
Reformed Churches are also Confessional Churches. The Christian Reformed Churches of Australia subscribe to the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort and the Westminster Confession. Copies of our doctrines, creeds and confessions are available upon request. Confessions are not innovations devised by churches, but rather faithful expositions of the truth of Scripture put in plain language for everyone to understand.
Reformed churches have five core beliefs:
1. Scripture Alone
2. Christ Alone
3. Faith Alone
4. Grace Alone
5. God’s Glory Alone
We believe the Bible is the Word of God. In it, God has revealed himself to us and only as we get to know the Bible do we get to know God. Because it is his Word, it has authority. We want to submit our lives to it; following its principles and testing everything we do and teach by its standards.
So at Open House we place a strong emphasis on teaching, preaching and coming to know the Bible.
The Bible reveals Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who became human. He came into this world to be our Saviour. We are not saved by our good works, or our attempts to be religious, or our nice lifestyle. He alone is the bridge between God and mankind. In his death on the cross he paid the price for our sins (our inability to do what is right) and turned away the anger of God from us. In his resurrection Jesus secured victory for us over sin, death and condemnation. New life can be found in him and only in him.
So at Open House we talk a lot about Jesus Christ. He is our focus and our King. We believe the work of the Holy Spirit, which is Jesus’ spirit on Earth. The Holy Spirit gives us faith to believe in Jesus, draws our attention to him, helps us understand his Word, makes us more like him, gives us gifts to use in serving others and enables us to share the good news about him to the world.
The only way to be saved by Christ is to have faith in him. Meaning, to fully depend on him. We are saved by believing in Jesus and accepting his death and resurrection in our place.
So at Open House we call people to believe in Christ – to trust him and not rely on themselves or anyone else for becoming right with God.
This salvation in Jesus is not something we have earned or deserved. It is the free gift of God. This is called “grace”. Another definition of “grace” is “undeserved favour”. We believe this is the greatest gift God has given us – an undeserved blessing in the fact that Jesus restored us to God and to a life of hope and purpose when we had done nothing to deserve it. Our new life is an experience of joy, peace, hope, love and purpose and all of that is a free gift from God!
So at Open House we stress that God’s grace to us is to be celebrated and enjoyed and it is to motivate us in living good and grateful lives to God like children do to a loving father.
GOD’S GLORY ALONE
We believe that God alone is worthy of praise and worship. He is our Creator and Redeemer. He is to be honoured, loved, respected and praised.
So at Open House the focus is on God and his glory. Worship is not just what we do at church – all of our life is worship. In everything we do, we are responding to the God who made us and saved us. Every area of life is to be embraced as an area of service to God and an expression of love for him.