Statement of Faith Introduction
Baptists emphasize the soul’s competency before God, freedom in religion, and the priesthood of the believer. However, this emphasis should not be interpreted to mean that there is an absence of certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified. It is the purpose of this statement of faith and message to set forth certain teachings which we believe.
We believe the Bible to be the inerrant, verbally inspired Word of God and the supreme and final authority in doctrine and practice (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Peter 1:21; John 17:17). Though Scriptural truth is spiritually discerned (I Cor. 2:13, 14), it is not subjective or a matter of personal opinion (II Peter 1:20). Ultimately, its reliability rests on the promises of God that it is powerful, will endure, and will accomplish what God pleases (Isaiah 40:8, 55:11; Matthew 5:18; Hebrews 4:12).
We believe in one God eternally existing in three equal persons — Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who have the same nature and attributes, but who are distinct in office and activity (Matthew 28:19; II Cor. 13:14). God is immutable (Psalm 102:26, 27; Mal. 3:6), eternal (Psalm 90:2, 15a; Isaiah 57:15), omnipotent (Psalm 115:3), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12), omniscient (Psalm 147:5), and too holy to look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Yet, He is not wishing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9). He is the Lord of history, declaring the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) and working all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God (John 1:1; 17:5, Hebrews 13:8) became man without ceasing to be God (Hebrews 2:17, 18; John 1:1, 14; Phil. 2:5-10), having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:35), in order that He might reveal God (John 8:19; 14: 7, 9) and redeem sinful man (Gal. 3:13; 4:4, 5). We believe that He accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice (II Cor. 5:21). We believe that our redemption and salvation are guaranteed by His literal physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 4:25; I Cor. 15:1-4, 17, 20). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is now in heaven, where as High Priest He fulfills the ministry of intercession and advocacy for His people (Hebrews 1:3, 3:1, 7:23-25; I John 2:1-2).
The Holy Spirit
We believe that God-the Holy Spirit is a person (John 14:16, 17, 26) who convicts people of sin (John 16:8), regenerates those who receive Christ as savior (John 3:5-8), baptizes them into the church (I Cor. 12:13) the body of Christ, indwells them permanently (Romans 8:9; I Cor. 6:19), seals them unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13, 4:30) and fills those yielded to Him (Eph. 5:18). To those who live in submission to the Spirit, He leads, gives assurance and prays for them (Romans 8:14, 16, 26). He also bestows spiritual gifts on each one in order to equip for ministry and edify the church (Eph. 4:11, 12). These gifts are not for personal gratification (I Cor. 14:12), but for the benefit of the believing community and the world.
We believe that salvation is a gift of God (Romans 5:15, 6:23) and is received by man through personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sin (II Cor. 5:21) We believe that man is justified by grace through faith apart from works (Romans 3:21-28; Gal. 2:16; Eph.2:8-10; Titus 3:5). We believe that all true believers, once saved, are kept secure in Christ forever (Romans 8:1, 38-39; John 10:27-30) having been called according to His purpose and grace which was given us in Christ before there was time (II Tim. 1:9).
We believe that at salvation we are justified, declared righteous and set apart or sanctified on the basis of the finished work of Christ (Romans 5:1, 16, 4:5; I Cor. 1:2; Heb. 10:10). Experientially, however, believers may be immature (Heb. 5:12-14). The faithful Christian’s life is characterized by a walk of faith (Romans 14:23; II Cor. 5:7; Gal. 3:11; Hebrews 11:6) in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18) toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14). Thus, we may be His disciples as we abide in His word (John 8:31). Experiential sanctification (Eph. 4:7-15, 5:26, 27; I Thes. 5:23; II Tim. 2:21) or discipleship is not to be equated to the possession of eternal life. A disciple bears much fruit (John 15:8) but, unfortunately, there are carnal believers (I Cor. 3:1) who not having the joy of faithfully abiding in Christ (John 15:9-11; Gal. 5:22; Phil. 4:4-7) have not produced good fruit, but at the Judgment Seat of Christ they are saved, yet as through fire (I Cor. 3:11-15).
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age. Gen. 1:1; Isa. 9:6-7; Jer. 23:5-6; Matt. 3:2; 4:8-10, 23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Rom. 5:17; 8:19; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Col. 1:13; Heb. 11:10, 16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Rev. 1:6, 9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.
We believe that the Church, the Body and Bride of Christ (Eph. 1:22, 23; II Cor. 11:2), is a spiritual organism, made up of all born-again persons of this present age (Eph. 2:19-22, 3:6-10, 4:4, 5; Col. 1:18; Hebrews 12:23). We believe that the Church began at Pentecost (John 7:39; Acts 2:4) and that a believer is placed into the Church by the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:13). We believe that the Church is distinct from Israel (Eph. 3:3-6, 9, 10; Romans 11:1, 11, 25-29). We believe that the local church is an assembly of professed believers in Jesus Christ who are voluntarily joined together in one locality (Romans 16:1-5, 23; I Tim. 3:5) for the purposes of worship, study of the Word of God, observance of the ordinances, Christian fellowship, and to be equipped for Christian service (Acts 2:42, Eph. 4:11-13).
We believe that Christ instituted the ordinances of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper which are to be observed by believers until He returns (Matthew 28:19-20; I Cor. 11:23-26). We believe that water baptism is a picture of our identity with Christ in His death and resurrection. It depicts the death of the old man and new birth in newness of life and thus is for believers only (Romans 6:3-6; I Peter 3:21). This precludes infant baptism. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of Christ’s death, the elements being symbols of His body and blood. We believe that every Christian has a right to partake of the elements of the Lord’s Supper but that participation must always be proceeded by solemn self-examination (I Cor. 11:23-29).
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord. Isa. 2:4; 11:9; Matt. 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27, 30, 36, 44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40, 48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 4:5; 15:24-28, 35-58; 2 Cor. 5:10; Phil. 3:20-21; Col. 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; 5:1 ff; 2 Thess. 1:7 ff; 2; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7 ff; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Rev. 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
Evangelism and Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ. Gen. 12:1-3; Ex. 19:5-6; Isa. 6:1-8; Matt. 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9- 10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Rom. 10:13-15; Eph. 3:1-11; 1 Thess. 1:8; 2 Tim. 4:5; Heb. 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Rev. 22:17.
Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament. Ex. 17:12; 18:17 ff; Judg. 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Neh. 4; 8:1-5; Matt. 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1 ff; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Cor. 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 1:6-10; Eph. 4:1-16; Phil. 1:15-18.
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power. Gen. 1:27; 2:7; Matt. 6:6-7, 24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Rom. 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Gal. 5:1, 13; Phil. 3:20; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation for the human race. Created in the image of God, a person’s gender is indelibly determined before birth. Persons who have attempted to alter their God-ordained original gender err and are not candidates for marriage. Gen. 1:26-27; Deut. 22:5; Psa. 139:13ff.. Family relations should be guided by the principles of Gen. 2:22; Matt. 5:32; Eph. 5:21ff.; 6:1-4. Additional references: Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Josh. 24:15; 1 Sam. 1:26-28; Psalm 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Prov. 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 2:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Eccl. 4:9-12; 9:9; Mal. 2:14-16; Matt. 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 7:1-16; Col. 3:18-21; 1 Tim. 5:8,14; 2 Tim. 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Heb. 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7. [As amended by the congregation in church conference August 12, 2015]