- Total Depravity of man:
Man, as result of his fall in Paradise, is in absolute
bondage to Satan and wholly incapable of exercising his own will freely to trust in Christ for salvation. Salvation is therefore dependent upon the work of God Who must give man spiritual life before he can repent and believe in Christ for salvation.
(Gen. 2:16,17; Gen. 6:5; 8:21; 2 Chron. 6:36; Job 14:4; Job 15:14-16; Ps. 51:5; Ps. 58:3; Ps. 143:2; Eccl. 9:3; Is. 53:6; Is. 64:6; Jer. 13:23; Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; John 3:19; John 6:44; John 6:65; John 8:44; Rom. 8:7-8; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1-3; Eph. 4:17-19)
- Unconditional Election:
God, in His sovereign right as Creator, has purposed
from all eternity to save His chosen people to eternal life in His glorious
heaven. This election of a large part of mankind is entirely free and
therefore not conditioned on any merit or any foreseen act or response
on their part but absolutely sovereign and gracious.
(Deut. 10:14,15; Ps. 33:12; Ps. 65:4; Ps. 106:5; Matt. 11:27; Matt.
22:14; Matt. 24:22, 24, 31; Mark 13:20; Luke 18:7; Rom. 8:28-30; Rom. 8:33; Rom. 11:28; Eph. 1:4; Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 5:9; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter. 1:1-2; 1 Peter 2:8-9; Rev. 17:14)
- Limited Atonement:
Christ died on the cross to secure the salvation of the elect
part of mankind. Sometimes this is also referred to as the "particular
redemption or definite atonement." The salvation that Christ earned includes everything involved in bringing His people into a restored relationship with God as well as restoring their heart condition.
(Matt. 1:21; Matt. 20:28; 26:28; John 10:14, 15, 27, 29, 46; John 17:2, 6, 9, 11; 1 Peter 2:9)
- Irresistable Grace:
Salvation, God makes such sinners willing in the day of His power, and they all will respond to Him with repentance and faith.
(Deut. 30:6; Ps. 110:3; Ezek. 36:26-27; Dan. 4:35;
John 1:12-13; John 3:3-8; John 5:21; John 6:37 & 44;
Acts 16:14; Eph. 2:4-52; Tim.1:9; Titus 3:5)
- Perseverance of Saints:
The elect sinners are not only saved by God's sovereign
grace but also are kept in faith by God's almighty power. Therefore each
regenerate soul is absolutely secure in his or her salvation and will
persevere to the end. Scripture does not maintain that all who profess
the Christian faith are certain of their salvation.
(Is. 54:10; Jer. 32:40; Matt. 18:12-14; John 6:39; John 10:28; John 17:2, 11, 12, 15; Phil. 1:6; Phil. 3:20-21; 2 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:18; 1 Peter 1:4-5; Jude 1, 24-25)
These "Five points of Calvinism" cannot be found anywhere in Calvin's
writings in the "TULIP" form. They were cherry picked by the
Arminians in the following century as five points they disagreed on, thereby
provoking a response from Reformed people in defending them. This
inadvertently may have led to a further one-sided view of what the Reformers
Calvin extensively taught the responsibility of man as well as the
sovereignty of God.
The following five points can also be gleaned from the writings of
Calvin and other Reformers.
1. God sincerely calls to sinners to repent and come to Christ,
and we are all accountable in our response to this (i.e. we all have a duty,
from little children to the elderly, to seek God through His Word and prayer
at personal, family, and church levels.)
2. Although we are saved by faith alone, yet faith without
works (the fruits or indicators that we will be judged by) is dead.
3. Nobody will suffer in hell because they were not elected.
They will be punished because of their sins against the law, and wilful
rejection of the gospel.
4. We are to discern people, starting with ourselves, by
fruits, not by doctrinal positions.
5. Everyone is welcome at the feet of the Lord Jesus, and
no-one pouring out their heart in repentance to Him, as an unworthy sinner,
will ever be rejected.
"The two parts of a Christian life are: (1) The love of righteousness; that
we may be holy, because God is holy, and because we are united to Him, and
are reckoned amongst His people; (2) That a rule may be prescribed to us,
which does not permit us to wander in the course of righteousness, and that
we may be conformed to Christ. The sum of Christian life is to deny
ourselves." (John Calvin, points 49 and 50 from the summary of The
Institutes of the Christian Religion)
In summary, when a sinner is saved then all glory is to God alone, and when
a sinner goes lost the fault is man's alone. In addition, if any doctrine
of the Word of God, e.g.: Predestination, is giving us hard thoughts about
God, or is leading us to be passive under the preaching, or hindering
Christ-like living, then the safest course is "park" the doctrine to one
side, pray to God for further light, and fixate ourselves on the law and
gospel that we are accountable to.
The authority of God's Word
As a Reformed Congregation we acknowledge the supreme authority of God's Word on all matters of life and doctrine. We see the Bible as the inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16) and therefore as infallible and errorless in its original writings. Since the Scriptures are God's Words, we cannot accept any teachings or practices that are contrary to the written Word of God. As a church we uphold that the King James Version is currently still the most trustworthy translation of the Holy Scriptures in the English language. Therefore that translation is used in our member's families as well as in the public worship services and our school.
Unlike many other churches in NZ, the preaching of God's Word has a central role in our worship services. Preaching of the Word is God's instrument to save lost sinners and to nourish the saved in their faith (Rom. 10:14-17; 1 Thess. 3:10; 2 Tim. 4:2). The preacher explains the meaning of the Word and seeks to apply
it closely to the conscience and heart. In the fruit of this preaching, we confess ourselves entirely dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit Who needs to bring the Word where man can never bring it (1 Cor. 2:4; 1 Thess. 1:5).
Our worship seeks to be God-focused and therefore we strive for a sense of reverence and godly fear as we approach God with prayer, worship Him with singing, and hear that what He has to say to us through His preached Word. In the Bible God has revealed Himself as glorious Being and this majestic glory is to be reflected in our approach to Him (Heb. 12:28-29). For this reason any form of entertainment is excluded from our services. We strive that nothing will be added that would detract from the reverence God is due to receive.
Besides the preaching of God's Word, we join in prayer and singing of Psalms that are accompanied by the organ.
As a Reformed Congregation we fully subscribe to three of the historic Reformed
creeds, also called the "three forms of unity", which we believe fully
agree with the Word of God:
The Belgic confession
The Canons of Dort
We also fully subscribe to the three creeds of the early church, the
Apostles creed, the Nicene creed, and the Athanasian creed.
We also wholeheartedly embrace the Westminster Confession and Catechisms.
We recognize them all as faithful reflections and summaries of Godís pure
Full membership within our church is on a voluntary basis and one will be asked to make a public confession of his or her faith. Such membership doesn't only carry the privilege of being part of a portion of God's worldwide church but also brings along responsibilities. We expect our members to attend the ministry of God's Word as well using their gifts and abilities to the
upbuilding of God's Kingdom locally, nationally and internationally (Matt. 28:19-20). We also expect that our members live Biblically and each of us has a responsibility to watch for the good of others. Through the exercise of pastoral oversight, we hold our members accountable for their walk of life as well as their convictions of Scripture truth.
If a member, after instruction, and where necessary, loving admonition,
continues in a lifestyle that is contrary to the Biblical teaching, or promotes
errors of doctrine, then such a person will face church discipline which may
include exclusion of church privileges and eventually termination of membership
(Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Thess. 3:14).
We recognize that there are three offices to which God calls men. The preacher or pastor who is called to teach; the elders who are called to have leadership role; the deacons who are responsible for the financial aspect of God's ministry. We maintain the conviction that the church offices are only open to men (1 Cor. 14:34-40; 1 Tim. 1:11-12)
Our Core beliefs are also explained in our doctrinal standards, the Three Forms
- The Heidelberg Catechism
- The Belgic Confession of Faith
- The Canons of Dordt
No, we do recognize other churches in New Zealand as true churches of God when the fundamental truths of the Bible are upheld by them. In other words, their adherence to Gods truths determines the degree of fellowship, closeness and cooperation that we maintain with other churches. The more truth we can agree upon, the closer the official relationship will be. We also maintain close connections with like-minded Reformed Churches in other parts of the world and support their missionary activities. Furthermore we believe that the Lord has His own people in a variety of gatherings all around the world.
Such a question is both valid and important. There must be a reason why our families worship together in the Reformed Congregation. The answer has to do with our convictions of Biblical truth. We base our distinctive positions on the Bible and invite anyone to examine them as they are taught publicly every Sunday. We realize that our convictions differ significantly from the main stream New Zealand churches because we consider the Bible to be God's unchanging rule for life and faith throughout all time. We believe that, although our cultural context changes from generation to generation, God's absolute truths are timeless. What was sin 2000 years ago, is still sin today and will be as long as this world exists. What was the only way of salvation then, is still the only way of salvation today.
Formerly people thought we were a "Dutch"
church and therefore only the Dutch were welcome in our church.
Although many of our members immigrated from Holland, at the present there are
more NZ-born members than Dutch-born members in our congregation
Feel welcome at any time to join our services. Usually there is someone to help you to find a place and provide you with a Bible and songbook (Psalter). Make an attempt to attend for a period of time.
also have a small library, which you can use. Besides, if you wish to have
personal help in understanding the Bible, the Elders can arrange this for you."
For any questions call (64 6) 379
Worship Service: 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM each Sunday
Address: In the Ponatahi Christian School's grounds, 6 Howard St,
Ponatahi Christian School: Year 1 13 Christian Education
Phone: Mr. Peter Bertram at 06 379 8840
Address: Howard Street, Carterton
See our contact page
for school contact information.