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“What We Believe”

 

 

I.        THE SCRIPTURES

 

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction.  It has God for its author, and therefore is inerrant.  It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and, therefore, is and will remain to the end of the world the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried.  The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.

 

 II.        GOD

 

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and a personal being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe.  God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience.  The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with distinct attributes but without division of nature, essence, or being.

 

            1.  God the Father

God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purpose of His grace.  He is all powerful, all loving, and all wise.  God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.  He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

 

2.       God the Son

Jesus is the eternal Son of God.  In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.  Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself the demands and necessities of human nature and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin.  He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death at the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.  He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the one Mediator, partaking of the nature of God and of man, and in whose person is effected the reconciliation between God and man.  He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission.  He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

            3.  God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God.  He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures.  Through illumination He enables men to understand truth.  He exalts Christ.  He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.  He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church.  He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption.  His presence in the Christian is the assurance of God to bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ.  He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

 

III.       MAN

Man was created by the special act of God, in His own image, and is the crowning work of His creation.  In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by His Creator with freedom of choice.  By his free choice, man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan, man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence; whereby his posterity inherits a nature and an environment inclined toward sin, and as soon as they are capable of moral action become transgressors and are under condemnation.  Before conversion man is totally depraved in nature.  Only the grace of God can bring man in His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God.  The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His image and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every man possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

 

 IV.       SALVATION

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer.  In its broadest sense, salvation includes regeneration, sanctification, and glorification.

 

1.            Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus.  It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.  Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God.  Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.  Justification is God’ s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ.  Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God.

2.                   Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which he thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and declares us to be righteous in his sight.  Those whom God freely justifies, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous;  not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ’s active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.

3.              Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purpose, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual perfection through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him.  Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.

4.          Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed in eternity with Christ.

 

V.                  GOD’S PURPOSE OF GRACE

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners.  It is consistent with free agency of man and comprehends all the means in connection with the end.  It is a glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable.  It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

 

All true believers will endure to the end.  Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end.  Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair the graces and comforts, bring reproach on the cause of Christ, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

 

VI:        THE CHURCH

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is:

  • a local body of  baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel
  • observing the two ordinances of Christ (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper).
  • committed to His teaching
  • exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word
  • seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth.

 

The church is an autonomous body with each member equally responsible.  It operates under the Lordship of Christ following Scriptural teaching. It is led and overseen by men in the office of elder (pastor) and served by men in the office of deacon.  The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ which includes all the redeemed of all the ages.

 

VII.             BAPTISM  AND THE LORD’S SUPPER

 

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.  It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead.  Being a church ordinance, it is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.

 

VIII.           A Full Doctrinal Statement

For a full doctrinal statement you can refer to “The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689.”  A copy can be acquired by asking for one from the Pastor.

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