Our Beliefs and Structure

                   Our Beliefs and Structure



                                       Iona Abbey

Craigsbank Church is part of the Church of Scotland. Christianity in Scotland goes back to 400 AD,
although the Church of Scotland itself did not become the established church until 1560, following
the Reformation and the work of John Knox and others.

The history of Christianity in Scotland started with Saint Ninian in 400AD. He is said to have led a
mission to Scotland which resulted in many conversions.

In the 5th Century another influential figure, Saint Columba, arrived on the Scottish island of Iona
where he established a monastic community. This worked to spread the Christian gospel in both
Scotland and Northern England.

Read more about the development of Christianity in Scotland



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Central to the Church of Scotland is our love and worship of God through following the teachings and
examples of Jesus Christ. We express our love for God by our love and practical care for each other
and for those we live with and encounter in our daily lives. 

Read more in the Church of Scotland website.



The Bible

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Our beliefs are based on the Bible. Each day this website has a verse from the Bible on the homepage.

The life of Jesus appears in the New Testament part of the Bible in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke
and John. These are called the Gospels. There you can read about the birth, ministry and  the death and
resurrection of Jesus. Our website contains information about key Christian beliefs relating to Jesus and
you can read them in BaptismCommunion and Easter.

The formation of the early church is recorded in the book of Acts. This is short for Acts of the Apostles.


The rest of the New Testament contains letters written by founders of the church, such as the
Apostle Paul, to these new churches to help them develop and grow. These letters remain relevant
today and sections from them are often used in weddings and funerals as well as in church services
and daily Bible readings.
An example of this is 1st Corinthians Ch 13 which begins:

                           If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love
                           others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. Read more..


                                 1st Corinthians 13                © Rob Byron- Fotolia.com 

You can get an excellent summary of Christian beliefs here where all the key concepts are

                                   the Bible can be read online      © Rawpixel – Fotolia


Statements of Faith


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The early church was faced with problems of how to understand and interpret the Bible. There were
different interpretations of fundamental issues. To clarify beliefs and unify members, the early church
set out statements of beliefs. 


                                                                                                          Dave Walker

Two of these statements of beliefs were The Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed. The Nicene Creed was
written in 325AD and the Apostles’ Creed probably earlier.

Statements of faith are useful because they summarise the beliefs of the church but, as Rev Frances
Henderson explains: 

The creeds are a product of their time and written in terms of the philosophical language of the day. In the
light of modern science many Christians find that they struggle with the idea of the Virgin Birth, or the
Resurrection of the Dead. Some may resolve this problem by interpreting the creeds in a more metaphorical
or symbolic way.

These creeds are still used by churches including the Church of Scotland. This is a way of affirming the
faith that unites all Christians across the world and across time, for the creeds are a direct link to our ancestors.
And it means that you can go to any church of any tradition and find you are saying these same words together.

(C of S Eldership, 2015, p17)

The Church of Scotland has its own Statement of Faith which is rarely recited but is helpful in summarising
our beliefs.

We believe in one God:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
three persons living in the unity of love.

We praise God the Father:
in love he created the universe through his eternal Word and Spirit;
by his power he sustains and directs it.
He has made us his sons and daughters,
to share his joy and to live together in peace.

We confess Jesus Christ, God the Son:
in love, by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became one of us;
to fulfil the promise to Israel and to reconcile the world with God.
In his life he was obedient to his Father's will;
he forgave sinners, brought hope to the lost,
healed the sick, and set free those who were oppressed.
In his death on the cross he bore the sin of the world;
on the third day he was raised from death by the power of God.
He triumphed over all the powers of evil;
now he reigns in heaven, sharing his risen life with us.

We trust God the Holy Spirit:
in love he calls the Church into being.
He unites us to Christ, in whom we are justified.
He guides our understanding of the Scriptures,
as he also guided and inspired their writers.
He sanctifies us in sacraments,
and imparts to the faithful the fullness of Christ.
He assures us of forgiveness.
He empowers us to be disciples,
embodying the love of Jesus in the Church and in the world.

We rejoice in the gift of eternal life:
We hope for the coming resurrection, through the resurrection of Christ.
We look for his coming again in power and glory,
to judge the world and to make all things new.
Then all creation shall rejoice in communion with the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit, one God blessed forever.


Structure of the Church

                                                                          Craigsbank Church         

The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian in its structure, governed by a system of local, regional and
national 'courts' or councils.

'Presbyterian' government refers to the sharing of authority in the church by an equal number of 'elders'
(elected from the membership of the church) and ministers. Both are ordained for their special tasks.

The local council is the Kirk Session, consisting of elders and the minister.

Read Behind the Scenes about Craigsbank Church.

More information about the church organisation in general on the Church of Scotland website.