Together with the early Christian church, this simple confession sits at the very core of who we are and what we believe. We strive to live out the radical implications of this ancient creed and, in doing so, aim to create a welcoming and inclusive community where people from all walks of life can encounter Jesus.
It’s our hope that in this Christ-centred community we can experience transformation through His grace and grow, both individually and collectively, to become more like Him.
With the Church of all times and places, we confess our faith with the words of the Apostles' Creed.
The Apostles' Creed (one of the oldest declarations of the Christian faith written by the early Church)
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried,
descended into hell, rose again from the dead on the third day,
ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
one holy church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
In following Jesus, we believe that the entire moral and ethical framework of God's commandments are encapsulated in two principles of love. A love for God which leads to obedience and devotion to Him, and a love for others which results in compassionate and just treatment of our fellow human beings.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
ICF-Noord is a Protestant church, with a great openness to the work of the Holy Spirit. As a church in the Protestant tradition, we uphold the authority of Scripture as the guiding source of our faith and practice. We believe that salvation is received by God's grace alone, not through our works. We emphasise faith in Christ as the means of reconciliation with God.
Our worship centres on God’s glory alone, acknowledging Christ's unique role as our mediator. We firmly believe that the presence of the Holy Spirit* is essential for the life of the Church, and we eagerly seek His gifts and fruit to manifest in our lives and community. We cherish the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers which empowers every member to serve and minister.
ICF-Noord doesn't fit neatly into the categories of fundamentalist, charismatic, liberal, or orthodox. While we value and maintain a significant freedom in non-essential matters (see below), we take the confession of "Jesus is Lord" very seriously. Our commitment is to both liberty in non-essentials and to pursuing godly lives in unity as a church under the Lordship of Jesus.
*The Holy Spirit is God’s power in action, an invisible force which helps guide us to do God’s will
Intercultural churches like ICF-Noord are absolutely brimming with people from all kinds of backgrounds. Naturally, this creates rich diversity in both conviction and expression of faith. Our unity is found in the essentials listed above. Outside of these, we practice a patient and gracious liberty, especially where members of the body may hold stark differences. Here’s how we deal with such things:
We embrace diversity because we believe God created His world with many colours and loves it that way. We believe and experience the need for “all the saints” to grow in the understanding of that love and to receive more from God. We find this idea in Paul's words to the multi-ethnic church in Ephesus:
“To comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
It's incredibly enriching to read the Bible, seek wisdom, worship God, and pray with people from different cultural backgrounds. And there’s a humility that comes with that, too. Such shared experiences bring us to realise that certain doctrines and practices we’ve inherited have been influenced by cultural or personal preferences. In doing so, we learn more about ourselves, the breadth of God’s Church, and how to maintain healthy unity.
ICF-Noord aims to be a church with Jesus Christ as that centre. He is our essential Truth: “The Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Because Jesus is at the centre, ICF-Noord has a low threshold, yet a high goal. A low threshold because if the proverbial 'tax collectors and sinners' do not feel at home with us, we must be preaching a different gospel than Jesus (Luke 15:1). And a high goal because by focusing on Him, the Spirit will transform us more and more into His image (2 Corinthians: 3:18).
In ICF-Noord, you won’t often hear: "This is what we believe about..." Though we understand the importance of doctrinal points of view (and believe they’ve been revealed to different followers of Jesus throughout the study of God’s Word), we want to be humble enough to admit that only God knows the full extent of these matters.
All the while holding to the conviction that the core of the Gospel remains the same. We are committed to changing lives and impacting our community with the love of Christ, we are not focused on ideologies or doctrines.
We prefer to challenge each other with the question: "What can you personally do, and what can we do as a community, to move closer to Christ?" Determined and devoted, yet without fear, trusting in His grace and in His transformative work within us.
In Romans 14 and 15, Paul writes about dealing with differences of opinion within the Church. He encourages believers to stand courageously for what they believe serves the Lord best. At the same time, he urges acceptance of those who hold different opinions. We want to adopt this attitude so we can grow together by:
"For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."
(1 Corinthians 13:12)