Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here

SUMMARY OF BELIEFS AND PRACTICES

I. Our Belief in God:

We believe there is one living and true God, the self-existent, sovereign, transcendent, perfect, infinite and eternal creator of the universe. He is revealed in the unity of the Godhead as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, each having a distinct ministry in relation to His creation and His people.

 A. God the Father is the Supreme Ruler of the universe. He providentially directs the affairs of history, nations, and people according to the eternal purposes of His grace.

B. God the Son is the Savior of sinners. Born of the Virgin Mary, He declared His Deity among men, died on the Cross as the only sacrifice for sin, arose bodily from the grave, and ascended back to the Father. He is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for believers until He returns to receive them to Himself from the world.

 C. God the Holy Spirit is the manifest Presence of Deity. He convicts, guides, comforts and teaches spiritual truths according to the written Word, permanently indwells believers, and gifts every believer at conversion for the purpose of ministry.

II. Our Belief in the Word of God:

We believe the Bible, the complete writings of both the Old and New Testaments, is the literal Word of God, verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit, inerrant as originally given by God, and infallible as the standard of our faith and practice.

III. Our Belief in the Nature of Mankind:

Mankind was originally created as male and female in the image and likeness of God, but became a sinful creature by personal rebellion against God and perpetuated a sinful nature to all his descendents. Every person is thoroughly sinful by nature and by choice. He is void of spiritual life and incapable of saving himself. He stands under the righteous judgment and wrath of God, condemned to a literal, eternal, and tormenting hell.

IV. Our Belief in Salvation:

Salvation is the free gift of God by His grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. It is totally the act of God apart from any work or merit of man.

A. We believe in God’s Sovereignty and in Human Responsibility. The facts that God chooses all who come to Him and that man chooses to come to God are entirely consistent in Scripture. In His sovereignty, God purposed, planned and executed salvation in eternity. Man has the responsibility to receive this salvation and be saved, or reject it and suffer God’s judgment.

B. We believe in the redemption from sins by the blood of Jesus Christ as the only sufficient sacrifice for our sins acceptable to God.

C. We believe that salvation includes both repentance, which is turning from sin, and faith, which is belief and trust in Jesus Christ.

D. We believe in justification, which is the total pardon of all sin by God’s declaring the believing sinner to be ‘righteous’ and therefore ‘right with God’ by trusting in the imputed obedience of Jesus Christ.

E. We believe in regeneration, which is the act of God, the Holy Spirit, by which the believing human spirit passes from spiritual death into life in Christ, born again with a new nature.

F. We believe in sanctification. God sets apart every believer as a saint at conversion. All believers are commanded to pursue practical holiness by applying the truths and principles of the Word of God and following the leadership of the Spirit of God.

G. We believe in Eternal Security. Because believers are kept by the power of God and not their own works, salvation can never be lost; thus all believers shall spend eternity in the glorious and heavenly presence of God.

 V. Our Belief in the Church:

A. We believe in the Importance of the Local Church. A New Testament church is a local congregation of born-again, Scripturally-baptized believers united together by a common New Testament faith and fellowship. The church exists to exalt the Lord Jesus through worship, proclaim the good news of His Gospel, and represent Jesus Christ in the world as His body. The church was established and built by Jesus Christ Himself (Mat. 16:18).

B. We believe in the Autonomy of the Local Church. A New Testament church has Christ as its only Head and is free to govern itself apart from ecclesiastical interference.

C. We believe in the two Ordinances of the Local Church. An ordinance is a command of Christ, a picture of Gospel saving truth, explained in the New Testament, and practiced by the New Testament churches

Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer as a public profession of his personal faith in Christ. We practice only believer’s baptism by immersion. This contradicts two practices common among many churches: infant baptism and sprinkling (pouring). Immersion is the only acceptable mode for baptism because it alone preserves the picture of saving truth. No other form pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:1-5). Baptism is not a saving ordinance, but it does picture and profess our salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

 The Lord’s Supper is the sharing of the bread and the cup by the assembled church as a memorial to the broken body and shed blood of Christ and as a testimony to our accountability to obedience.

VI. Our Belief in Christ’s Second Coming:

We believe that God in His own time and way will bring the world to a right end. Jesus Christ will literally return from Heaven in a personal, visible and glorious appearance. We believe that His return is the Blessed Hope, for which all believers should continually watch and pray, and that it signals the consummation of the age and the final disposition of all creation. The world will be judged and all Christians will be brought to live together with the Lord in Heaven forever. We also believe that the time of His return is unrevealed but always imminent.

VII. Our Belief in the Baptist Distinctives:

We believe in the eight Baptist Distinctives. For the sake of memory, we have arranged the major Baptist Distinctives in an acrostic:

B – The BIBLE is our final authority for what we believe and what we do.

This distinctive is the primary Baptist distinctive. All others spring from this absolute trust in the scriptures. [See Biblical Authority below]

A – The AUTONOMY of the Local Church. [See Autonomy of the Local Church below]

P – The PRIESTHOOD of the Believer. [See Priesthood of the Believer below]

T – There are TWO Ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. [See Two Ordinances below]

I – The INDIVIDUAL’S Soul Liberty. [see Individual Soul Liberty below]

S – The membership is made exclusively of SAVED and baptized individuals. [See Saved and Baptized Members below]

T – There are only TWO offices which serve the church: the Pastor and the Deacons. [See Two Offices below]

S – The SEPARATION of Church and State. [see Separation of Church and State below]

 

THE BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES EXPLAINED

Biblical Authority

The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, Baptists accept as true. No human opinion or decree of any church leader or group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith which attempt to articulate the theology of Scriptures do not carry Scripture’s inherent authority. (2 Timothy 3:14-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:19-21)

Autonomy of the Local Church

The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the Church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus each church is autonomous or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church’s beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and in voluntary associational cooperation, but a Baptist church cannot be subordinate or dictated to by any other body. (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 4.4-6; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5,19,23)

Priesthood of the Believer

Priest is defined as one authorized to perform the spiritual exercises of worship, and especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God. Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His Presence directly in worship and prayer through our Great High Priest Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and people. As priests, we can study God’s Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God. (1 Peter 2:5,9; Revelation 5:9-10)

Two Ordinances

The local church should practice two ordinances: (1) baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection and with the church body; and (2) the Lord’s Supper or communion, commemorating His death for our sins. (Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32)

Individual Soul Liberty

Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm. No one should be intimidated, forced, or coerced to assent to any belief against his will. Baptists have always opposed religious persecution. However, this liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself. (Romans 14:5,12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 1:9)

Saved and Baptized Members

Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer’s baptism. When the members of a local church are believers, a oneness in Christ exists, and the members can endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Acts 2:41-47; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 4:1-3)

Two Offices

The Bible mandates only two offices in the church: pastor and deacon. The three terms – “pastor”, “elder”, and “bishop” or “overseer” – all refer to the same office. Deacons serve to carry out the practical administration of the church’s ministry, meeting and supplying the needs of the members. The two offices of pastor and deacon exist within the local church to lead and serve the church, not as a hierarchy outside or over the local church. (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1.5-9; Acts 20:17-38; Philippians 1:1)

Separation of Church and State

God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government’s purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2.13-17 and the church’s purposes in Matthew 28:18-20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government. (Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 4.19-20 & 5.27-32 & 15:17-29)