We’re so glad you’re looking us up. Read on below to find out who we are and what we believe. We’d love to connect with you more directly. Feel free to get hold of us and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.
Sam and I (my name is Phil, by the way) started and led a congregation of our church, Cornerstone Church in South Africa, for the last 8 years. It is a vibrant, cross-cultural community in the heart of Johannesburg’s complex CBD. Our focus was on establishing a genuine Christ-centered community with an emphasis on community development and social transformation.
However, we are convinced that the gospel should be preached in every city, on every continent. We believe that this is done through existing churches and the planting of new churches. We felt that our time in South Africa had come to an end and that we needed to plant a church in Hampstead, London (for more in this story read our blog). In obedience to this call, we have relocated our family (Connor 9, Judah 6 and Evelyn 4) to London and are now living in NW3.
We are slowly beginning to build a community focused on Jesus Christ and we meet regularly in small, informal get-togethers to pray, discuss the Bible and get to know one another. To find out when and where we are meeting, please feel free to get in touch. Everyone is welcome to join in, even if you are a skeptic.
Please read our blog to find out a whole lot more about our journey.
What we believe
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit. This doctrine is a mystery but is nevertheless true.
God the Father is a spiritual being, all powerful, all knowing, holy, eternal, sovereign, just and righteous. We believe that He is love and is infinitely good; and that He has life in Himself and gives life to all things. We believe that He is completely good and has no evil in Him.
Jesus Christ is God with us. He is the only son of God the Father and is both truly and fully human whilst being truly and fully God.
Despite his deity, Jesus came to earth as a human. He was conceived of the virgin Mary, and lived a perfectly sinless life amongst us, healing many who were afflicted with suffering and sin. He was crucified on a cross and died as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all of humanity. After three days, He was raised bodily from the dead, conquering death, and He ascended into heaven.
We believe in His present ministry as our High Priest and Advocate and in His personal and imminent return.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit – who is fully God – lives in every believer from the moment they put their faith in Jesus. We believe He is manifested in and through the life of the believer: that He empowers and equips every believer to continue the work of Jesus in this world. We believe in His definite, yet progressive work of sanctification, commencing at the time of the new birth and continuing until the consummation of Salvation. We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit being an conscious experience in which the believer receives power from the Holy Spirit. We believe in the ongoing supernatural outworking of the Holy Spirit made manifest in the life of the believer.
Sin and Salvation
We believe that God created humanity in His own image. However, we chose to rebel and go our own way, thereby separating ourselves from God. In doing this we sinned against God, and as a consequence, all people inherit a sinful nature which issues in actual transgression involving personal guilt. We believe that because God is just he must judge us all for our own sins. We believe that the penalty for sin is death, physical and spiritual.
But because God is also love, he has reconciled humanity to Himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Anyone who puts their trust (faith) in Jesus and submits their life to Him, is judged as righteous and no longer as sinful. They have been born again of the spirit.
We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments in their original writing are fully inspired of God and infallible. We accept them as the supreme and final authority for faith and life – for individuals and for the church.
The Church of Jesus Christ has a multitude of expressions but is nevertheless one true Church consisting of the whole company of those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ. The Church’s primary function is to carry the presence of God on the Earth. The church is the means through which God extends His Kingdom.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ appointed two ordinances for His church to practise – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We believe that Jesus Christ called His church to testify to the whole world about Him and to proclaim the good news of the gospel. We believe that this is a core part of how Christianity should be lived out.
A deep and devoted love for God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
A true dedication to the Word of God and to prayer.
A complete dependence on the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
A commitment to gospel mission in London, the United Kingdom, and all the world.
A genuine and active love for our family, friends, and neighbours.
Which denomination do we belong to?
We do not belong to any denomination. You may like to think of us of being inter-denominational and independent. We have a history that is part Baptist and part charismatic and a persuasion that tends towards European evangelicalism. Ultimately, we strive to be as true to the timeless patterns and values we find in the Bible and demonstrated in the character and life of Jesus Christ as we possibly can.
Whilst we call ourselves independent, we are not unaccountable or lone-wolfish. We are not fringe. We are well connected with a large, international network of churches and obtain regular and necessary input from an independent team of advisors.
That is quite a complicated answer for what may seem to be a very simple question. The best way to really get to grips with us is to get to know us a little bit by having a good look at what we believe and perhaps visiting us at one of our meetings.
Who is Jesus?
Mad-man or Messiah?
It’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t have an opinion on who Jesus is and what He is about. There are more paintings, songs and books about this one person than anyone else in history. Every year there is some new theory about who He is and what He did. Even our date system pivots around this man. But why?
Was He a prophet; a good man; a teacher; a revolutionary; or a madman with a god-complex? What is it about this man that has spurned so much adoration and so much hatred? Let’s examine some of the facts that lead Christians to believe what they believe.
Jesus is a historical figure
While the Discovery Channel and the like regularly give airtime to some new conspiracy theory around Jesus’ existence and life, the fact is that most historical scholars would never dream of disputing whether Jesus was a real, historical figure.
Jesus was a human
Jesus was a human like everyone else but he performed many miracles in his life. These miracles showed that God was with Him and had appointed Him to establish God’s Kingdom (his rule) on earth – where justice, love, mercy and grace reign. Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies found in the Old Testament that confirm Him as God’s saviour of humanity.
Now you know where all the good movies get their ideas from. Except this isn’t the Matrix or Harry Potter, this is real. By living a perfect and sinless life before God, and by perfectly carrying out God’s mission of love to the world, and by resisting all the temptations of the Devil, Jesus did not carry the guilt that we all carry before God.
Jesus was unjustly executed
Jesus was crucified by the plan of God, carried out by men. By arranging his crucifixion, despite His innocence, Jesus’ contemporaries sought a temporary political victory for their nation over the occupying forces of Rome. But it became something far different – Jesus’ death achieved a spiritual victory for all of humanity. As the perfect human, he traded his life to satisfy God’s justice against all of
As the perfect human, he traded his life to satisfy God’s justice against all of humanity’s sin. For God must uphold justice, as we would expect from any king. Except, God’s love and mercy for humanity meant that the only way he could satisfy both his justice and love was to pour out his justice (wrath) on a willing, perfect substitute. Jesus was that willing substitute and He, therefore, paid the price of our sin on our behalf.
Jesus rose from the dead
Jesus rose from the dead and was seen by over 500 people before ascending to heaven. His resurrection was the final victory over death, meaning that all who trust in Jesus step into this victory and will not die eternally. It also means that all who trust in Him can enjoy God’s life right now and know God personally.
The resurrection was also Jesus’ victory over the Devil who was not able and can now never stop God’s plan of redemption for humanity. God’s true character of being both perfectly loving and perfectly just show how empty the Devil’s philosophies and ideas about God, which are pervasive in this world, actually are.
Christians trust Jesus rather than themselves, their good works or even their religious works to save them from God’s justice. That’s what it means to ‘have faith in Jesus’. His rising from the dead proved that God declares humanity free. All that remains is for people to accept this freedom from God.
Jesus is God
He is the all-powerful ruler over all things physical, social and individual; over nations, political systems and the individual heart; over death, wrongdoing, and guilt. Whether we believe this or not doesn’t change the reality of who He is. Jesus Christ is the central message of the Bible, the figure that all of history points to, and the focal point of humanity’s future.
Jesus can be personally known
It doesn’t matter your culture or background, Jesus has promised to give you His Holy Spirit so that you may know Him personally, as He is alive today. To become a Christian you simply decide to put your trust in Jesus for salvation rather than in anything else – be it yourself, money, or even a religion. It’s Jesus alone who brings life and He is willing to give it to all who simply trust in Him. There is nothing else required of you except simple trust!
We love talking about Jesus so if you have any more questions, please ask!
New Covenant Ministries International
In a larger context, we partner with New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI), a trans-local ministry team with an apostolic heart that is comprised of men and women who, through partnerships based on friendship, help pastors / elders build their local churches in doing the work of Jesus Christ’s Kingdom in their areas and also provide opportunities for churches to bring the Gospel to regions beyond their own borders.
Cornerstone Church, Johannesburg
Cornerstone Church is a wonderful church in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was planted in 1983 and has been diligently proactive in planting churches and proclaiming the gospel all over the world. Cornerstone is currently being led by Marcus and Adele Herbert and a fantastic team of elders and their wives.
We have been a part of Cornerstone for most of our lives and now we have the privilege of being sent by them to plant a church of our own.