that the Bible is God speaking in man’s language and, in the original writings, is exactly as He gave it, word for word without any error whatsoever. It has been preserved by God to be the authoritative standard for every age and every life.
that God exists in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that these three are eternal and are one. We also believe that God is the sole Creator of the universe.
that Jesus Christ in the flesh was both God and man, that he was born of a virgin and that He lived a sinless life, in which He taught and did mighty works and signs exactly as revealed in the four gospels. We believe that He was crucified, dying as a penalty for our sins and was bodily raised from the dead on the third day as the Scriptures declare. Later, He ascended to heaven where He is Head of the Church and interceded for believers. From there He will come again personally and bodily and visibly to this earth to set up an earthly kingdom, afterward to reign forever as King in His universe.
that all are sinners and are guilty before God, and as such are worthy of both physical and spiritual death.
that since in His death the Lord Jesus Christ satisfied all the demands of God’s law, redeeming mankind by shedding His blood and assuming our curse, men and women can have a just standing before God. That is, they can become true Christians. The single basis for this standing is the death of Jesus Christ and an individual’s personal faith in Him.
that salvation with its forgiveness of sins, includes the receiving of a new nature and the assurance of eternal life. It is entirely apart from good works such as baptism or church membership, but is purely by God’s grace.
that a true believer cannot ever forfeit his standing with God. However, sin may interrupt the joy of his fellowship with God and bring the discipline of a loving Heavenly Father.
that the Holy Spirit is a person, that He is God and has all the attributes of God. We also believe that He lives in all believers and that by His ministry every Christian is made to be part of God’s eternal family, is marked off as truly God’s possession, and is specifically and uniquely gifted for Christian service. The Holy Spirit also fills or empowers the believer, in response to confession of sin and yieldedness, then He teaches and guides the believer for effective Christian service.
that all genuine believers are part of the true Church, which in Scripture is referred to as the body of Christ, and that a local church is intended to be a visible expression of this body.
that Christians who die, depart to be with Christ in conscious blessedness. Someday Jesus will come again to take away His living people from the earth. Then, all Christians will have glorified bodies similar to His resurrected body and share in His glory. They will reign with Him forever.
that Satan is a personality, the arch enemy of God and our defeated foe.
that those who refuse the offer of God’s gracious gift of salvation are doomed to suffer eternal conscious separation from Him.
Essential Christian Beliefs
There is one God. He is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He eternally exists in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and one. He is perfect in His many attributes of holiness, love, power, knowledge, justice, and mercy.
Jesus Christ is God’s Son. He is co-equal with the Father. He is both God and man. He was born of a virgin. He lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of His people by dying on a cross. He died to become a substitutionary atonement for the sins of His people. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is the divine helper, assistant, counselor and instructor. He is present in the world to make man aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians, we seek to live under His control daily.
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. The Bible is inspired by God, and is the truth without any mixture of error. It is the sole authority for life.
Human beings are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. As the supreme object of God’s creation, we were designed for dignity. However, Adam’s sin catapulted the creation into a fallen state, and plunged all his descendants into depravity. Thus, all of us are marred by rebellion and disobedience toward God, which is called “sin.” Sin separates people from God and causes many problems in life.
Salvation is God’s free gift to us. We receive this gift through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. Repentance means turning away from our sin and turning towards Christ. Faith means trusting in Christ alone for the remission of our sins. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, His perfect obedience is credited to us so that God sees us as the righteousness of Christ. Every person who truly is saved is eternally secure in the Lord Jesus Christ and will spend eternity in heaven, while those who die in their sins will spend eternity in hell.
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF BETHEL CHURCH
On May 21, 1874 a meeting was held to organize a new mission church on the “fringes” of the growing community of Kingston, an item since we are now considered a “downtown” church! Bethel Congregational Church of Kingston, located at 314 Johnson St., was the result of that vision. Who in that group could have looked ahead through the years and imagined God’s blessing? How we praise God for those with vision so many years ago!
As a congregation, we are proud of our heritage of ministry to downtown Kingston. Some formal highlights include:
- 1874 — Organisational meeting to plant a church on the current site, considered to be the “outskirts” of Kingston at the time!
- 1884 — completion of the addition which houses the current International Room (library)
- 1894 — “radical” Bethel pastor J.R. Black brings churches, Queen’s University and the City of Kingston together to open a “new” Children’s Aid Society at 75 Union Street (now the Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington).
- 1925 — independence following the joining of other Congregational Churches into the United Church of Canada
- 1949 — affiliation with Associated Gospel Churches of Canada, which continues today
- 1961 — construction of the East Wing addition housing the Nursery and what came to be known as the “Old Gym”
- 1978 — completion of the sanctuary balcony
- 1984 — completion of front foyer and offices
- 1986 — purchase of 318 Johnson; we also own 324 Johnson
- 1999 — “Build ’99” Facility Development to build the West Wing
- 2004 — West Wing completed (New Gym/Auditorium, new classrooms and connecting space for all)
- 2006 — Fred Grendel comes aboard as Bethel’s new Youth Director; Carmen Gauvin-O’Donnell comes aboard as Bethel’s new Secretary, eventually moving into the Church Administrator’s role; Café Church, “daughter church” of Bethel is approved by the congregation and begins ministry at the Wellington Street Theatre.
- 2007 — Conversion of houses at 318 and 324 Johnson from student rentals to the Bethel House Ministry, in partnership with the Salvation Army Harbour Light Centre, for men leaving the addictions treatment program there. They are able to continue their recovery while living and growing in a healthy community for a period of 6 months to two years.
- 2007 – After many successful years of ministry, Pastor Doug Martin and his wife move back to Southern Ontario. Reverend Lew Worrad is appointed Interim Senior Pastor.
- 2008 — New Senior Pastor Mark Kotchapaw comes aboard on August 1st.
- 2009 — New Director of Family Ministries Jamie Stinson starts on May 1st. Her ministry is holistic as her firm belief and focus is that “what happens at home is more important than what happens at church.”
- 2009 — Café Church moves to her own location on Ontario Street in downtown Kingston and is incorporated as a standalone, non-denominational church.
- 2010 – Conversion and renaming of the Old Gym to “The Upper Room”, as a large meeting room.
- 2011 – The membership approves a new cooperative partnership with the Salvation Army Community Family Centre on Patrick Street as our City Focus, allowing members of the congregation to assist the Salvation Army by volunteering to help out in their many programs there.
- 2011 — The membership approves Bethel’s “new” Vision statement: “Responding to the Heart of God; Transforming the Heart of the City, the Nation and the World”. We say “new” because this is what was being done all along. This process simply put it into words.
- 2011 — Our National Focus, Constance Lake First Nation, grows as we (with Café Church) spend two weeks there in August and, for the second year, send another team up at Christmas with gift boxes and bags for the children and seniors (“Operation Constance Lake”)
- 2011 — the membership approves a new Bethel Constitution and By-Law, superseding the one passed in 1987.
- 2012-13 — Our World Focus this year is the Central American nation of Honduras in partnership with our international workers Ken and Sue Vissers. A team will travel to Honduras on a short missions trip in February to assist in various construction and development projects. Our national Constance Lake ministry grows again as we spend a total of three weeks there (once more, with the help of Café Church). Plans are once again to send a team up at Christmas.
- 2014 – New Director of Worship and Discipleship Amanda Van Halteren comes aboard on October 2nd.
Through the years Bethel Church has been a welcoming family for many different kinds of people, of all ages and all stages of life. The effects of ministry in the lives of people touched by the Gospel are innumerable. Proximity to Queen’s University has provided natural ministry with students and our large student congregation. A strong tradition of involvement in local, national and worldwide mission has also developed through the years and continues to grow. We praise God as Bethel increasingly strives to become a healing church in our city, nation and world.