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Our Beliefs

The Bible warns us to be circumspect in our dealings. To be wise as serpants and gentle as doves. It also tells not to be "tossed to fro with every wind of doctine". The following is a list of our basic beliefs and tenets. These we believe are essential to the Christian Faith.

 

I. GOD

There is one living and true God, the creator of the universe (Exod. 15:11; Isa. 45:11; Jer. 27:5). He is revealed in the unity of the Godhead as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who are equal in every divine perfection (Exod. 15:11; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14).

A. God the Father is the supreme ruler of the universe. He providentially directs the affairs of history according to the purposes of His grace (Gen. 1; Ps. 19:1; Ps. 104; Heb. 1:1-3).

B. God the Son is the Savior of the world. Born of the virgin Mary (Matt.1:18; Luke 1:26-35), He declared His deity among men (John 1:14, 18; Matt. 9:6), died on the cross as the only sacrifice for sin (Phil. 2:6-11), arose bodily from the grave (Luke 24:6, 7, 24-26; I Cor. 15:3-6), and ascended back to the Father (Acts 1:9-11; Mark 16:19). He is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for believers (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25) until He returns to rapture them from the world (Acts 1:11; I Thess. 4:16-18).

C. God the Holy Spirit is the manifest presence of deity. He convicts of sin (John 16:8-11) teaches spiritual truths according to the written Word (John 16:12-15), permanently indwells believers (Acts 5:32; John 14:16, 17, 20, 23), and confers on every believer at conversion the ability to render effective spiritual service (I Peter 4:10, 11).

II. THE SCRIPTURES

A. The Scriptures are God's inerrant revelation, complete in the Old and New Testaments, written by divinely inspired men as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Tim. 3:16; II Peter 1:21). Those men wrote not in words of human wisdom but in words taught by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:13).

B. The Scriptures provide the standard for the believer's faith and practice (II Tim. 3:16, 17), reveal the principles by which God will judge all (Heb. 4:12; John 12:48), and express the true basis of Christian fellowship (Gal. 1:8, 9; II John 9-11).

III. CREATION

A. The World--God created all things  in six literal days for His own pleasure and glory, as revealed in the biblical account of creation (Gen. 1; Rev. 4:11; John 1:2, 3; Col. 1:16).

B. The Angels--God created an innumerable host of spirit beings called angels. Holy angels worship God and execute His will; while fallen angels serve Satan, seeking to hinder God's purposes (Col. 1:16; Luke 20:35, 36; Matt. 22:29, 30: Ps. 103:20; Jude 6).

C. Man--God created man in His own image. As the crowning work of creation, every person is of dignity and worth and merits the respect of all other persons (Ps. 8; Gen. 1:27; 2:7; Matt. 10:28-31).

IV. SATAN

Satan is a person rather than a personification of evil (John 8:44) and he with his demons opposes all that is true and godly by blinding the world to the gospel (II Cor. 4:3, 4), tempting saints to do evil (Eph. 6:11; I Peter 5:8), and warring against the Son of God (Gen. 3:15; Rev. 20:1-10).

V. DEPRAVITY

Although man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26: 2:17) he fell through sin and that image was marred (Rom. 5:12; James 3:9). In his unregenerate state, he is void of spiritual life, is under the influence of the devil, and lacks any power to save himself (Eph. 2:1-3; John 1:13). The sin nature has been transmitted to every member of the human race, the man Jesus Christ alone being excepted (Rom. 3:23; I Peter 2:22). Because of the sin nature, man possesses no divine life and is essentially and unchangeably depraved apart from divine grace (Rom. 3:10-19; Jer. 17:9).

VI. SALVATION

A. The Meaning of Salvation--Salvation is the gracious work of God whereby He delivers undeserving sinners from sin and its results (Matt. 1:21; Eph. 2:8, 9). In justification He declares righteous all who put faith in Christ as Savior (Rom. 3:20-22), giving them freedom from condemnation, peace with God, and full assurance of future glorification (Rom. 3:24-26).

B. The Way of Salvation--Salvation is based wholly on the grace of God apart from works (Titus 3:5; Eph. 2:9). Anyone who will exercise repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved (Acts 16:30-32; Luke 24:47; Rom. 10:17).

C. The Provision of Salvation--Christ died for the sins of the whole world (John 1:29; 3:16; I John 2:1, 2). Through His blood, atonement is made without respect of persons (I Tim. 2:4-6). All sinners can be saved by this gracious provision (Heb. 2:9; John 3:18).

D. Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom--God's sovereignty and man's freedom are two inseparable factors in the salvation experience (Eph. 2:4-6). The two Bible truths are in no way contradictory, but they are amazingly complementary in the great salvation so freely provided. God, in His sovereignty, purposed, planned and executed salvation in eternity; while man's freedom enables him to make a personal choice in time, either to receive this salvation and be saved, or to reject it and be damned (Eph. 1:9-12; 1:13, 14; John 1:12, 13).

VII. SANCTIFICATION

All believers are set apart unto God (Heb. 10:12-14) at the time of their regeneration (I Cor. 6:11). They should grow in grace (II Peter 1:5-8) by allowing the Holy Spirit to apply God's Word to their lives (I Peter 2:2), conforming them to the principles of divine righteousness (Rom. 12:1, 2; I Thess. 4:3-7) and making them partakers of the holiness of God (II Cor. 7:1; I Peter 1:15, 16).

VIII. SECURITY

All believers are eternally secure in Jesus Christ (John 10:24-30; Rom. 8:35-39). They are born again (John 3:3-5; I John 5:1; I Peter 1:23), made new creatures in Christ (II Cor. 5:17; II Peter 1:4), and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9; I John 4:4), enabling their perseverance in good works (Eph. 2:10). A special providence watches over them (Rom. 8:28; I Cor. 10:13), and they are kept by the power of God (Phil. 1:6; 2:12, 13; I Peter 1:3-5; Heb. 13:5).

IX. CHURCH

A. The Nature of the Church--A New Testament church is a local congregation (Acts 16:5; I Cor. 4:17) of baptized believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:41) who are united by covenant in belief of what God has revealed and in obedience to what He has commanded (Acts 2:41, 42).

B. The Autonomy of the Church--She acknowledges Jesus as her only Head (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18) and the Holy Bible as her only rule of faith and practice (Isa. 8:20; II Tim. 3:16, 17), governing herself by democratic principles (Acts 6:1-6; I Cor. 5:1-5) under the oversight of her pastors (Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:7, 17, 24).

C. The Perpetuity of the Church--Instituted by Jesus during His personal ministry on earth (Matt. 16:18; Mark 3:13-19; John 1:35-51), true churches have continued to the present and will continue until Jesus returns (Matt. 16:18; 28:20).

D. The Ordinances of the Church--Her two ordinances are baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer as a confession of his faith in Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:4) and is prerequisite to church membership and participation in the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:41, 42). The Lord's Supper is the sacred sharing of the bread of communion and the cup of blessing by the assembled church (Acts 20:7) as a memorial to the crucified body and shed blood of Jesus Christ (Luke 22:19, 20; I Cor.11:23-26). Both ordinances must be administered by the authority of a New Testament church (Matt. 28:18-20; I Cor. 11:23-26).

E. The Officers of the Church--Pastors and deacons are the permanent officers divinely ordained in a New Testament church (Phil.1:1). Each church may select men of her choice to fill those offices under the leading of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:1-6; 20:17, 18) according to the divinely given qualifications (I Tim. 3:1-13).

Pastors (elders, bishops) are authorized to oversee and teach the churches under the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28; Heb 13:7, 17, 24; I Peter 5:1-4). Each church is responsible to follow them as they follow Christ (I Cor. 11:1; I Thess. 1:6; Heb. 13:17) and to provide a livelihood for them that they might fulfill their ministries (I Tim 5:17, 18; Phil. 4:15-18). Pastors are equal in the service of God (Matt. 23:8-12).

Deacons (ministers, servants) are servants of the churches and assistants to the pastors, particularly in benevolent ministries. Each church may select her own deacons according to her needs, and no church is bound by the act of another church in that selection (Acts 6:1-6).

F. The Ministry of the Church--Her mission is evangelizing sinners by preaching the gospel (Matt. 28:19; Luke 24:45-47), baptizing those who believe (Acts 2:41; 8:12, 35-38), and maturing them by instruction (Matt. 28:20; Acts 2:42) and discipline (Matt. 18:17, 18; I Cor. 5:1-5).

G. The Fellowship of the Church--She is free to associate with true churches in furthering the faith (II Cor. 11:8; Phil 4:10, 15, 16) but is responsible to keep herself from those who hold doctrines or practices contrary to Holy Scripture (Gal. 1:8, 9; I John 2:19). In association with other churches, each church is equal and is the sole judge of the measure and method of her cooperation (Matt. 20:25-28). In all matters of polity and practice, the will of each church is final (Matt. 18:18).

X. Marriage and Family

Marriage and the Family were both instituted by God to preserve the holiness of God in His creation of Man and Woman. Marriage and Family are distinct in their design by God, and both marriage and family exercise complementary ministries for the benefit of society.

We believe that marriage was ordained by God at creation as the sacred union of one man and one woman. (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:24)

 

We believe therefore all sexual relations must be reserved for that union. Christian marriage is a representation of Christ’s relationship to His church. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

We believe that any alteration or perversion of a one man and a one woman union or marriage is sinful, and against God and His plan for humanity. (Leviticus 20)(Romans 1:18-32) This includes adultery, incest, fornication, homosexuality, polyamory, polygamy and bestiality. These are considered perversions to the sacred institution of marriage as it was instituted and ordained by God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11)(Hebrew 13:4)

 

We believe that children are a blessing from the Lord. (Psalm 127 & 128)

Thus all human life is sacred and worthy of protection from the moment of conception. (Psalms 139:13-16)

 

We believe that it is the responsibility of the family to care for those in his family that cannot provide for themselves. (1 Timothy 5: 1-16) These include but are not limited to, the elderly, the orphaned and those who are sick. (James 1:27)

XI. CIVIL AUTHORITY

Human government was instituted by God to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. It is separate from the church, though both church and state exercise complementary ministries for the benefit of society (Matt. 22:21).

Christians should submit to the authority of the government under which they live, obeying all laws which do not contradict the laws of God, respecting officers of government, paying taxes, rendering military service, and praying for the welfare of the nation and its leaders (Rom. 13:1-7; I Peter 2:13, 17; I Tim. 2:1, 2). They should vote, hold office, and exercise influence to direct the nation after the principles of Holy Scripture.

Civil authority is not to interfere in matters of conscience or disturb the institutions of religion (Acts 4:18-20), but it should preserve for every citizen the free exercise of his religious convictions.

Churches should receive no subsidy from the government, but they should be exempt from taxation on property and money used for the common good through worship, education, or benevolence.

XII. LAST THINGS

A. Return--Our risen Lord will return personally in bodily form to receive His redeemed unto Himself. His return is imminent (I Thess. 4:13-17; Rev. 22:20).

B. Resurrections--After Jesus returns, all of the dead will be raised bodily, each in his own order: the righteous dead in "the resurrection of life" and the wicked dead in "the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:24-29; I Cor. 15:20-28).

C. Judgments--Prior to the eternal state, God will judge everyone to confer rewards or to consign to punishment (Matt. 25:31-46; II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:11-15).

D. Eternal States--Heaven is the eternal home of the redeemed (John 14:1-3) who, in their glorified bodies (I Cor. 15:51-58), will live in the presence of God forever (I Thess. 4:17) in ultimate blessing (Rev. 21, 22).

Hell is the place of eternal punishment and suffering (Luke 16:19-31) for the devil, his angels (Matt. 25:41), and the unredeemed (Rev. 20:10-15).

ADDENDUM

NOTE: The following statements are not to be binding upon the churches already affiliated with this association, or to require adoption by churches petitioning this body for privilege of cooperation, or to be a test of fellowship between brethren or churches. However, they do express the preponderance of opinion among the churches of the Baptist Missionary Association of America.

1. We believe in the premillennial return of Christ to earth, after which He shall reign in peace upon the earth for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6).

2. We believe the Scriptures to teach two resurrections: the first of the righteous at Christ's coming; the second of the wicked at the close of the thousand-year reign (I Thess. 4:13-17; Rev. 20:6, 12-15).

We endorse the New Hampshire Confession of Faith as a representative compendium of what Baptists have historically believed through the centuries. This confession was consulted and provided a pattern and guide for the formulation of these doctrinal statements. As there are several versions and editions, we refer particularly to the edition in J. E. Cobb's Church Manual third edition, published by the Baptist Publications Committee of Texarkana, TX.

 

The New Hampshire
Baptist Confession, 1833

(The New Hampshire Confession)

1. Of the Scriptures

We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction;1 that it has God for its author, salvation for its end,2 and truth without any mixture of error for its matter;3 that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us;4 and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union,5 and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.6

 

2. Of the True God

We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth;7 inexpressibly glorious in holiness,8 and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love;9 that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;10 equal in every divine perfection,11 and executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.12

 

3. Of the Fall of Man

We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker;13 but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state;14 in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners,15 not by constraint, but choice;16 being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin,17 without defense or excuse.18

 

4. Of the Way of Salvation

We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace,19 through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God;20 who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin;21 honored the divine law by his personal obedience,22 and by his death made a full atonement for our sins;23 that having risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven;24 and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all- sufficient Saviour.25

 

5. Of Justification

We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ26 secures to such as believe in him is Justification;27 that Justification includes the pardon of sin,28 and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness;29 that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood;30 by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God;31 that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.32

 

6. Of the Freeness of Salvation

We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel;33 that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith;34 and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel;35 which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.36

 

7. Of Grace in Regeneration

We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again;37 that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind;38 that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth,39 so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel;40 and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.41

 

8. Of Repentance and Faith

We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God;42 whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ,43 we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy;44 at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Saviour.45

 

9. Of God's Purpose of Grace

We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners;46 that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end;47 that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable;48 that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy;49 that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree;50 that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel;51 that it is the foundation of Christian assurance;52 and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.53

 

10. Of Sanctification

We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness;54 that it is a progressive work;55 that it is begun in regeneration;56 and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means—especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.57

 

11. Of the Perseverance of Saints

We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end;58 that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors;59 that a special Providence watches over their welfare;60 and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.61

12. Of the Harmony of the Law and the Gospel

We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government;62 that it is holy, just, and good;63 and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin;64 to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible Church.65

 

13. Of a Gospel Church

We believe that a visible Church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers,66 associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel;67 observing the ordinances of Christ;68 governed by his laws,69 and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his Word;70 that its only scriptural officers are Bishops, or Pastors, and Deacons,71 whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.

 

14. Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper

We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer,72 into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost;73 to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life;74 that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a Church relation; and to the Lord's Supper,75 in which the members of the Church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ;76 preceded always by solemn self-examination.77

 

15. Of the Christian Sabbath

We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath;78 and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes,79 by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations;80 by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private81 and public;82 and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God.83

 

16. Of Civil Government

We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society;84 and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed;85 except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ86 who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.87

 

17. Of the Righteous and the Wicked

We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked;88 that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem;89 while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse;90 and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.91

 

18. Of the World to Come

We believe that the end of the world is approaching;92 that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven,93 and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution;94 that a solemn separation will then take place;95 that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy;96 and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.97