Elder Statement of Faith
7.2 Elder Affirmation of Faith (What We Teach)
We declare ourselves to be in substantial agreement with many of the ancient Baptist confessions, such as the London, Philadelphia, and New Hampshire Confessions, which are presently held as confessions of faith by many of our sister churches. However, in light of our own contemporary setting, we declare the substance of our faith in the following articles:
I. The Bible, the Word of God
We believe the Bible, consisting of thirty-nine Old Testament books (Genesis through Malachi), and twenty-seven New Testament books (Matthew through Revelation), was written by holy men of God who were moved by the Holy Spirit so that the result of this cooperative work is the inspired Word of God, that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without mixture of error for its substance, that it perfectly reveals the will of God, and, therefore, is the true basis for Christian unity, and the supreme standard by which all conduct, creeds, and opinions should be judged.
II Peter 1:19-21; II Timothy 3:15-17; Psalm 19:7-14
II. God, the Holy Trinity
We believe that there is one and only one living and true God, an infinite, personal, holy, and good Spirit, the Creator, Sustainer, governor, Judge, and Redeemer, that He is inexpressibly glorious in all His perfections and worthy of all honor, confidence, and love, that in the unity of the one God there are three Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
I Corinthians 8:4-6 I Timothy 4:10; John 4:24; Matthew 28:19; I Timothy 1:17; John 10:30; Romans 11:36; Ephesians 1:3-14
III. The Creation and Fall of Man
We believe that God created man, male and female, in His own image and in righteousness and holiness, though peccable, under His authority, but by voluntary transgression man fell from that holy and happy state, in consequence of which all mankind are now by nature sinners; being from birth utterly void of that righteousness required by the Law of God, positively inclined only to evil and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, and without excuse or hope apart from the love and grace of God.
Genesis 1-3; Romans 3:9-19; Romans 5:12-19; Ephesians 2:1-10
IV. God’s Gracious Purpose
We believe that election is God’s free, sovereign, and gracious choice of sinners from eternity to share in His salvation in Jesus Christ, according to which He graciously regenerates, justifies, sanctifies and preserves them in time through the Gospel, that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign love, being infinitely gracious, wise, holy, and unchangeable, that it utterly excludes all boasting, and promotes trust in God, love, humility, worship and prayer, that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree, that it may be discerned by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel, that it is the foundation of Christian assurance, and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves requires the utmost diligence.
II Thessalonians 2:13, 14; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; Romans 8:28,29; II Timothy 2:10; II Peter 1:10; Colossians 3:12-17
V. The Way of Salvation
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace, through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Himself our human nature (yet without sin); that He honored the Divine Law by His personal and exhaustive obedience, and by His death made full atonement for the sins of His people; that having risen from the dead He is now at the Father’s right hand where He makes intercession for us; and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with Divine perfections, He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all sufficient Savior.
Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 3:13; I Timothy 2:4-6; Romans 4:25; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 7:25; Romans 5:19; Hebrews 2:9-18
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in inclining the mind and heart to holiness, that is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with the Word of the Gospel, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith leading to newness of life manifested in obedience to God’s commandments.
John 3:1-13; 1 Peter 1:22-25; Titus 3:4-6; John 1:12, 13; Ephesians 4:17-24; Acts 2:37-47; James 1:18; 1 John 2:3-6
VII. 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, whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation through Christ, we turn to God with sincere contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy, at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ in His mediatorial offices as our Prophet, Priest, and King and relying on Him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
I John 4:23; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 17:30; Acts 2:37, 38; Acts 11:18; Romans 10:9, 10, 13
VIII. Justification by Grace through Faith
We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to believers is justification; that justification includes the forgiveness of sin, and the gift of eternal life on the basis of God’s righteousness in Christ; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of merit which we have done, but solely through faith and on the basis of Christ’s obedience and death; by virtue of which His perfect righteousness is imputed to us by God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and acceptance with God, establishes the basis for God’s treatment of us as sons, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
Romans 3:31-31; Romans 4:1-25; Romans 5:1-10; Romans 8:14-17; Romans 5:12-21; Romans 8:31-39; II Corinthians 5:21
IX. The Free Offer of the Gospel
We believe that the blessings of salvation are offered freely to all without distinction by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept by cordial, penitent faith, and that nothing prevents the salvation of any sinner but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel, which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
Is 55:1, 2; Romans 1:16, 17; Matthew 11:28-30; Revelation 22:17; Mark 16:15, 16; Hebrews 2:1-4; Matthew 23:37-39; Matthew 11:20-24; Acts 17:30
We believe that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of His holiness; that it is a definitive work begun with a radical separation from sin and to God by our union with Christ; and that this work is continued in the progressive work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers in an on-going separation from sin and to God through the regular use of the appointed means – especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, prayer, watchfulness and Christian fellowship.
II Peter 1:4-11; Lamentations 3:40; Romans 6:1-23; Matthew 26:41; Romans 7:5, 6; Matthew 6:9-13; Ephesians 4:17 – 6:20; Ephesians 6:9-13; Acts 20:36
XI. The Perseverance of the Saints
We believe that real believers endure in faith and holiness unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from false professors of the faith; that a special providence watches over their welfare, and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto final salvation and glory.
John 6:39, 44; John 6:66-71; John 10:26-29; Matthew 10:24-33; Matthew 13:1-23; I Peter 1:3-5; Matthew 25:1-13; Romans 8:28-39; I Peter 2:1-10
XII. The Church of Christ
We believe that the Church of Jesus Christ in the most inclusive sense consists of all the elect of God in every age who have or shall come to faith in His Word concerning Jesus Christ. This is the one Body of Christ consisting of all who have true faith in the Gospel. We believe that visible love and unity ought to prevail between all true believers in our common Lord and gladly pronounce a benediction upon all who love Him in sincerity.
We believe that the primary emphasis given to the doctrine of the church in the New Testament is to local churches in various geographical locations, each having its own ordinances, order, and officers. We believe these churches to be congregations of baptized believers, associated in fellowship of the Gospel for worship, ministry, evangelism, instruction, and observance of the ordinances, according to the Word of God; that its officers are pastors and deacons; that its only Head is Christ, and under whose directing Spirit each church is separate from the state, free from human ecclesiastical authorities, and Divinely authorized to decided its internal and external affairs.
Hebrews 12:22-24; I Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 4:1-6; Galatians 1:2; Romans 12:4, 5; Revelation 2:1-29, 3:1-22; Matthew 16:18; Philippians 1:1; I Corinthians 12:13; Acts 2:37-47; Ephesians 2:11-3:21; Acts 14:23; John 17:1-26; Acts 18:1-11; John 13:34, 35; Hebrews 10:23-25; Ephesians 6:24; I Timothy 3:1-13, 14, 15
XIII. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, to show forth our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect, in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is a prerequisite to the privileges of membership in the local church. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a sacred commemorative meal in which believers participate by partaking of unleavened bread and wine in order to remember and “show forth” His dying love until His return, preceded always by solemn self-examination.
Acts 2:41; Luke 22:17-20; Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 26:1-19; Romans 6:3-6; I Corinthians 11:17-34; Acts 2:27-41
XIV. The State
We believe that Civil Government is ordained by God for the interests and good order of human society, and that civil leaders are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed; except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in Scriptures.
Romans 13:1-10; I Peter 2:13-17; I Timothy 2:1-3; Acts 5:25-29
XV. The Last Things
We believe that at the Last Day the Lord Jesus Christ will descend from heaven and will be visibly manifested as Lord to the whole world. At that time He will judge and condemn all who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel. The wicked will be condemned to everlasting torment in Hell. Moreover, the Lord Jesus will on that Day glorify His elect and receive them into the everlasting joy of His presence. At His coming the Lord Jesus Christ shall usher in the Age to Come and shall establish His everlasting Kingdom in the New Heavens and New Earth wherein righteousness shall dwell forever. We confess our confidence in these things with the prayer, “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!”
Acts 1:11; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; II Thessalonians 1:6-10; II Timothy 4:1; John 6:37, 39, 44; II Peter 3:10-14; Revelation 20:11-15; Revelation 21:1-27, 22:1-21
XVI. Marriage and Human Sexuality
We believe that marriage is an institution ordained by God and is between one man and one woman. It is not lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband, at the same time. It is the duty of Christians to marry in the Lord. We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other and that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. Therefore, any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexual conduct, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, any use of pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, is against the design of God and is therefore sin.