As Christians, we are commanded by God to be unified in our fundamental beliefs (Eph 4:5; Jude 1:3), and in our day-to-day practice of those beliefs, by having the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-8), and seeking to be able to “speak the same things” (1 Cor 1:10). We determine to accomplish these goals by studying, and holding to the following statement of faith as being a summary of Christian doctrine as presented in the Word of God, the Bible. I believe these things unashamedly, as a Baptist.
A. The Word of God. I believe that the only thing in this universe that is perfect (Ps 19:7), pure (Ps 19:8; 119:140), without error (Ps 12:6,7), and capable of directing men to God (Jn 20:31) is the written word of God, the Holy Bible. By the Holy Bible, I mean the collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, as preserved for English speaking people in the King James Authorized Version (KJV of 1611), and duplicated in other languages by translations that match both the faithfulness of the King James Bible, as well as its fruit (Matt 7:16).
B. God. I believe that the Scriptures present its Author as the One, and only One living (Josh 3:10), true, and eternal God (Isa 45:21; Deut 6:4). I believe that even though the God of the Bible is completely outside of this physical universe (Jonah 1:9), as well as outside of time (Deut 33:27), He has been, is, and will be completely involved in human history (Heb 1:1-3) in order to bring to pass His plan for the ages (Eph 1:9,10). I believe that God is inherently one person, and yet three individual Persons (2 Cor 13:14; 1 John 5:7), and that they are both separate and individual from each other, and yet indivisible as the Godhead (Rom 1:20).
C. God The Father. I believe the first Person of the Godhead is God the Father, and that as the Father of all creation (Isa 45:25,26), He is interested in revealing Himself to His creation (Jn 17:1-3).
D. God The Son. I believe God revealed Himself to His creation in not only His written word, but also about 2,000 years ago through His living Word (Jn 1:1-3), His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord (Heb 1:1,2). I believe that Jesus Christ is God in flesh and bones (Jn 14:9), and was as a human, but without a sinful nature (Luke 1:35; 1 Pet 1:19; 3:18) by virtue of His virgin birth (Matt 1:18-25) as described in the Scriptures, and that He is now in heaven as our High Priest (Heb 7:25,26) interceding for sinners. I believe that He is the Messiah of the Old Testament, and that His only purpose in coming to this planet as a man was to save sinners (Luke 19:10), and give them “life, and that more abundant” (Jn 10:10).
E. God The Holy Spirit. I believe the third Person of the Godhead is the Person of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3,4). I believe that God the Holy Spirit is every Christian’s Teacher and Guide in life (Jn 14:26), and that His role is that first of a Convictor of sin (Jn 16:8-11), then that of Comforter (Jn 14:16), and Intercessor when a Christian prays (Rom 8:26,27). The Holy Spirit provides gifts to born again Christians for the distinct purpose of winning people to Jesus Christ, and the edification of the local church (1 Cor 13:27-31; Eph 4:11,12).
F. Creation. I believe that the Scriptures plainly teach a literal six day creation of this present universe as written in the account in Genesis 1:1-28, and that the account is completely, and scientifically correct.
G. Man. I believe that man was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-28) as described in the accounts in Genesis, and that that image was marred (Col 3:9,10) by wilful disobedience (Gen 3:6; Rom 5:19) when the head of the human race, Adam (Rom 5:12), voluntarily transgressed God’s clear commandment, therefore marring the image of subsequent generations until the virgin birth of a Second Adam that would make a way to have the image restored (1 Cor 15:45-49). By “image”, I am referring to man’s tri-part being: a body, a soul, and a spirit, and that these three parts match God’s Trinity of Persons (1 Thes 5:23). By “marred” I mean that the spirit of man at birth is “dead” (Eph 2:1), and in need of regeneration by the new birth; that man’s flesh is corrupt and cannot serve God (Rom 8:5-8); and that man’s soul is tied to his sin until it is freed from the flesh by spiritual circumcision (Col 2:11-13). By human race, I mean all humans born in every corner of this planet from the time of Adam through to the end of time (Rom 3:23; 5:12,18). By “wilful disobedience” I mean that Adam knew exactly what he was doing when he disobeyed a direct order from God (1 Tim 2:14). The Soul of Man is eternal, and immortal because it alone is what was made in the image of God in Genesis 1:26,27, and 2:7. It is called the “hidden man” or the “inner man” (1 Pet 3:4; Rom 7:20-23; 2 Cor 4:16-18) and is associated with the heart, will and emotions – not the body and the flesh.
H. Hell. I believe in a literal, physical place called hell that Jesus Christ referred to more often than He did heaven. I believe that this place is a place of darkness (Matt 8:12), of unquenchable fire (Matt 3:11-12), of excruciating pain and torment (Luke 16:23-26), of continual death, and yet never being allowed to die (2 Thes 1:7-9). I believe that hell was not created for humans, but rather for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41), and therefore that humans will only go to hell because they deliberately choose to reject the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Rom 2:8,9) which was the only acceptable payment to God for their forgiveness from sin. I believe that the judgement of hellfire is forever (Rev 20:14), and that there is no annihilation of the soul – Those who do not get saved will join the devil (their father, John 8:44) in the “lake of fire” and will be tormented with him forever and ever (Matt 25:46; Rev 14:10; Luke 16:22,23).
I. Heaven. I believe that God has a reward (Matt 5:11,12) for those who are His people (Heb 12:22,23), and that that reward is composed of an eternity with Jesus Christ in a place called the New Jerusalem, more commonly known as “heaven” (Rev 21:2-27).
J. Salvation. I believe that all men, women, and children are sinners (Rom 5:12), and that all humans who are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong (Jonah 3:11), are accountable to God for every sin that they commit and must atone for every one of them somehow (Rom 6:23). I believe that man’s sins do not make him or her a sinner, but that he sins BECAUSE he is a sinner (Rom 5:19). Man’s sinful state separates him from the holy God that created him (Rom 8:7,8), and will keep him out of heaven unless he acts to change his destiny (Luke 13:2,3). I believe that God ordained that man’s sins could not be paid for in any other way than through the sacrifice of an innocent lamb (Ex 12:5). From Adam’s fall all through the Old Testament, regular, bloody animal sacrifices were required to approach God (Heb 9:6-13). These sacrifices of the Old Testament enabled man to meet with God at a blood-sprinkled Mercy seat (Exod 25:21,22), but required a priestly order to continually maintain the sacrificial system. This system involved sinful humans and was flawed in that it was limited to man’s imperfections (Heb 9:6-9). Then, “in the fullness of time” Jesus came, as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world” (Jn 1:29). I believe that Jesus Christ is THE ONLY way to get forgiveness of sins, and to go to heaven when a person dies (Jn 14:6). I believe that Jesus Christ paid for ALL the sins of the past (by redeeming them through His blood [Eph 1:7]), and future, by making a perfect, and eternal “once-for-all” sacrifice on the cross (Heb 10:12). I believe that a man is saved by faith alone (Eph 2:8,9) in the finished and completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Col 1:20,22), and that His blood cleanses a soul from the penalty of sin by having paid for each and every sin committed by the human race. I believe that salvation consists of three parts: 1) recognizing that every individual is responsible for their sins, to a Holy and Just God, 2) that Jesus took the responsibility for those sins on the cross, even though He wasn’t at fault, and 3) that by accepting Jesus Christ’s offer to take my place in judgment for my sins, I am allowed to go free (as Barabbas was allowed in Matthew 27)!
K. The Security of the Believer. I believe that a born again believer is completely secure in Christ (Jn 10:27-29; 1 Pet 1:23), and that there is absolutely no way whatsoever that that person can affect their relationship with God the Father (2 Tim 2:13; 1 Jn 5:13; Heb 12:5-11; Eph 1:4,5) because their salvation is based upon what Jesus Christ did (1 Pet 3:18; Jude 24), and not what they did. I believe that a Christian can affect his or her “fellowship” with God by disobeying clear Biblical commandments and not confessing them and forsaking them as sin (1 John 1:8,9).
L. Satan. I believe that the Scriptures plainly reveal a spiritual being whose sole desire is to deceive mankind (Rev 12:9; 19:20; 20:3,8), and turn them away from the simple plan of salvation, and force them to live in the darkness of their sins, until they join the devil in his eternal judgment (Matt 25:41).
M. The Church. I believe Jesus Christ commanded every born again Christian to assemble together in local, physical, visible places (Matt 18:20; Heb 10:25) for the purpose of worship, preaching, gathering of tithes and offerings, sending out missionaries (Acts 13), evangelizing (Matt 28:19,20), baptizing new converts, and edification. I believe that all Christians are part of Jesus Christ’s “body” (Rom 12:5; Col 1:18), which is also called “the church”, but that that “body” has not assembled yet, but will, in heaven (Heb 12:22,23). I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ gave Christian churches three fundamental ordinances (commandments of our Saviour, just to believers): Believer’s Baptism (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 8:36-38), for public identification with His death, burial, and resurrection; the Lord’s Supper (1Cor 11:20-34), for remembrance of what our salvation cost Him; and the task of loving one another (John 13:34; 1 John 3:23).
N. Baptism. I believe that baptism is the act of obedience to the command by Jesus Christ (Matt 28:19,20; Acts 2:41,42) to fully submerge a believer into water, in order to identify the believer with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6:3,4), and to testify to the world that that believer is a new creature because of salvation. Generally speaking, Believer’s Baptism, by context, means to go into and then come out of water (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:9,10; Acts 8:38,39), as in complete immersion, and by definition is the only thing that can picture a burial, whereas all other definitions (i.e., sprinkling, dipping, etc.) cannot picture this. I believe that baptism associates the believer with the doctrine of the church administrating it (1 Cor 10:1-4), and therefore is the method ordained by Jesus Christ to keep the church pure from false teacher who may want to enter the church as ravenous wolves, not sparing the flock (Acts 20:28,29).
O. The Lord’s Supper. I believe that the Lord’s Supper is a serious reminder that the local church, as a body of believers regularly partakes of in order to remind its members of the cost of their salvation, as well as for spiritual cleansing, that the church may keep itself pure from carnality (1 Cor 11:28-30).The Lord’s Supper is simply a memorial – a time to remember what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. (1 Cor 11:24,25). It is not either a continuation of the crucifixion, or a repeat of the sacrifice of the cross. Only saved individuals, Scripturally baptized as a profession of their faith in Christ, and living in a godly, Christian manner as members of a local church, have a right to, or can properly partake of the Communion of the Lord’s Supper in our Church. This means that baptism is a prerequisite to the memorial supper and the local church is to judge the qualifications of those who enjoy its privileges.
P. Membership. I believe that a local church is to be composed of only born again believers (1 Cor 12:13), that have chosen not only to obey Jesus Christ’s command of baptism (Acts 2:41), but also, have decided to join together with an organized body of believers for the expressed purpose of soul-winning and discipleship based upon the doctrines of the word of God (Acts 2:42).
Q. Separation. I believe that the Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor 6:19,20), that God owns the body of the Christian, and that God judges the Christian according to how he or she treats God property! God commands Christians to be different from the world (2 Cor 6:17; 1 Jn 2:15-17), and to not only be “peculiar” (1 Pet 2:9) but to be so “peculiar” that they are “foolish” in the eyes of the world (1 Cor 1:18). I believe that the Bible teaches that Christians are not to marry non-Christians (1 Cor 6:14), and that they should not look like them, talk like them, or even live like them in areas of promiscuous and immoral dress, or vulgarity of conversation (1 Tim 2:9; 4:12; 1 Pet 3:1-9). The area of a Christian’s music and entertainment must be very conservative and sober (Col 3:16,17; Eph 5:8-11). We also believe that Christians have different levels of maturity (we are not all the same), and ought to be given time to grow and mature (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18).
R. Missions. A world- wide program of missionary evangelism in accordance with the New Testament principles, methods, and doctrine. Baptists have always known that the whole world is lost, and in need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we have always endeavoured to proclaim that Gospel locally, and throughout the world at all costs. The mission of the local New Testament Church involves winning souls, baptizing them, training them into a Biblical culture, and reproducing themselves in their local area (Jerusalem), then in their Judea, and then in their Samaria, and in the uttermost parts of the earth as well (foreign missionaries) (Matt 28:19,20; Acts 1:8).
S. Giving. God’s people are commanded to bring their tithes (1/10th of their gross income) into the storehouse (Mal 3:6-10) on a regular basis, on the first day of the week (Sunday; 1 Cor 16:1,2) when the local church meets. The tithes are for the payment of the expenses and maintenance of the Church, and its activities. Extra giving in addition to the tithe is used to support missionaries, and for various other evangelism.
T. The Second Coming. I believe the only hope for this world as a whole is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I believe that there will be only a downward trend in human depravity (2 Tim 3:1-9), that will only be broken by the intervention of the physical return of Jesus Christ to rule and reign on this planet (Rev 19:11-16). I believe the next event on God’s calendar is the “catching away” of Christians who are alive at the Rapture (1 Thes 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:51,52; 2 Tim 4:8; Rev 22:12,20). After the Rapture, Satan will reveal his anti-christ, and a one-world government will be set up during a seven year period of time called the Tribulation. At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will return to this earth, and defeat the anti-christ’s army, regenerate the earth to be like it was in the garden of Eden (Isa 11:1-9), and bind Satan for 1000 years. After a 1000 year reign, Jesus Christ will loose Satan for a short time just before casting him into the lake of fire forever (Rev 20:10). At that time, this present heaven and earth will pass away, and God will create a new heaven and earth for His people for all eternity (Rev 21:1).
U. Godly Works. I believe in righteous living and godly works not as a means of salvation in any sense, but as its proper evidence and fruit; and therefore as Christians, we should obey the Word of our Lord, seek the things which are above, walk as He walked, accept as our solemn responsibility the duty and privileges of bearing the Gospel to a lost world; remembering that a victorious and fruitful Christian life is possible only for those who in gratitude for the infinite and undeserved mercies of God have presented themselves wholly to Christ (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 2:10; Philippines 2:16).
V. The Ministry Of Spiritual Gifts. I believe that God is sovereign in the bestowment of all his gifts; and that the gifts of evangelists, pastors, and teachers are sufficient for the growth and maturity of the saints today; that the working of sign miracles gradually ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established; that the gift of tongues was never the required outward demonstration of either baptism or the filling of the Spirit of God; that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith in accord with His own will, for the sick and afflicted (John 15:7; 1 Cor 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Cor 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-16; James 5:14-16; 1 John 5:14,15).