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An introduction to the church

Our mission statement

A summary of what we believe

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We are a group of people who meet together formally and informally to worship and serve God, and for mutual encouragement and support. The church began holding public meetings at Kelvin Grove Community Centre in February 2005 and has held weekly meetings every Sunday since then, though the venue changed to the hall at Russell Street School in June 2006.

Our church has only begun recently but we have a historical heritage which can be traced back almost 400 years to the period of the Reformation of the Church in Europe. Indeed, we believe the Reformation was itself a rediscovery of the practices of the Early Church which were built upon the foundation of the Word of God and its application by New Testament believers. The historical statement of our faith is the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, which presents the teaching of the Bible in a systematic and summarised form. Nevertheless, it is the Bible itself which is our authoritative guide to what we believe and practice. A brief summary of our basic beliefs can be found by clicking here.

The name Grace Reformed Baptist Church reflects and explains who we are among the churches in Palmerston North:


Grace means undeserved favour - being given something good, not because we have earned it or deserve it, but because the giver has freely chosen to impart it as a gift. We believe and preach that salvation from sin is God's gracious gift to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us that men, women and children, are incapable of earning God's favour (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10-20). Despite this God has chosen to save those who will come to Him through Jesus Christ (John 6:35-40; Romans 3:21-26). It is only because God Himself has provided a substitute for sinners that they can be saved. Jesus Christ was that substitute, taking upon Himself the punishment that should have been given to others (Romans 5:6-8; 1 John 4:10). That is why belief and trust in Him and His work on the cross is necessary for salvation. This is God's amazing grace - eternal life and perfect pleasure is guaranteed to all who will trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:1-10; Psalm 16:11).


Christianity is a historic faith which, under God's blessing, has withstood attacks from both outside and inside the church. We appreciate our heritage and have a deep respect for the men and women who gave their lives in the fight for freedom to worship God according to a conscience bound only by his word. For this reason we uphold the five watchword's of the Reformation: Scripture Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone, the Glory of God Alone:

  • Scripture Alone: the Bible is the infallible revelation of God and is the only authority by which we may know what to believe and how to live in a manner pleasing to him (Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).
  • By Grace Alone: the forgiveness of sin (our rebellion against God expressed in various ways) is given freely as the undeserved favour of a loving God (Romans 5:15; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:7).
  • Through Faith Alone: salvation is received only by faith (trust/belief) in the provision of forgiveness and new life as a gift from God; it cannot be earned through living good lives (Romans 5:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • In Christ Alone: the substitution of Jesus Christ in the place of the sinner (taking the sinner's deserved punishment and providing freedom from slavery to sin to serve God as rightful Master) is the only means by which God's holy justice is satisfied and sinners can be granted forgiveness (Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 Peter 3:18).
  • To the Glory of God Alone: the purpose of God's saving work is to enable us to honour him as we were designed to do. The method of salvation glorifies God's grace and those saved by him live thereafter to magnify his eternal love (Romans 11:33-36; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Jesus Christ commanded His followers to baptise those who believed the message of the Gospel (Matthew 28:19). The Gospel is the good news that sinners can be saved from the punishment deserved for sin by repenting of this rebellion against God and believing in Jesus Christ's saving work on the cross, as described above (Matthew 9:13; Luke 24:46-47; Romans 10:9-10).

Christ's command to be baptised is addressed to those alone who have personally trusted Him.  Therefore, we do not baptise infants, but only those children and adults who are able to personally declare their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. The book of Acts (the history of the beginning of the church in the Bible) has many examples of people first believing the Gospel message and then being baptised (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 16:14-15, 31-34; Acts 18:8).

The examples of baptism presented in the Bible are of total immersion in water - the whole body is momentarily lowered under the water and then raised again (Mark 1:9-11; Acts 8:35-39). While the examples in the Bible indicate the need for this type of baptism, the meaning of baptism requires it. Baptism is, firstly, a symbol of being united to Jesus Christ - the picture is that of being buried with Christ and being raised again to a new life in Him - dying as slaves to sin but being raised to life as servants of God (Romans 6:3-13; Colossians 2:11-14). A further picture of baptism is that of being washed clean from the defilement of sin (Acts 22:16).

The only real fulfilment of the examples and symbols of baptism revealed in the Bible is the baptism of believers by total immersion in water. This is what we believe and practice, not because the act of baptism in any way contributes to our salvation, but because Jesus commanded it as a physical testimony to what has occurred in spiritual reality.


We are called a church because we are a group of people who have been saved by Jesus Christ and who meet together to worship Him as Lord and God, and to preach the message of the Bible (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2; 1 Timothy 3:14-15).

The Bible describes true churches as those where the truth as revealed in the Bible is loved, proclaimed and obeyed (Acts 6:2-4, 7; 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14). They believe that the whole Bible is God's Word and is, therefore, totally trustworthy (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Apostle Paul warned the leaders of the church at Ephesus to take care of the people in the church there because others would come and teach things that were wrong. Paul pointed to his own example of preaching the whole Word of God as the correct focus for the spiritual health and eternal well-being of the church (Acts 20:27f).

The message we preach each Sunday is the message of the Bible. It is a message which tells us what we should believe and how we should live in order to please God and find true and eternal happiness.


At Grace Reformed Baptist Church we proclaim the wonderful message of God's grace as revealed in the Bible. We uphold the historic faith of Christianity. We baptise those who publicly profess their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. We welcome into membership baptised believers who desire to commit themselves to the care, discipline and fellowship of the church (Acts 2:41-42).


The Bible references cited on this page are intended to point readers to illustrative passages only. They do not, by themselves, present an exhaustive treatment of the issues; readers are encouraged to consider them in the light of the whole of Scripture.


Please contact us if you would like further information



by Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Palmerston North, New Zealand