What is a Statement of Faith?
From the time of the Apostles to today, Christians have laid out doctrine (beliefs) in brief, definitive statements. Our Statement of Faith summarizes essential Christian beliefs, shows unity in Christ, and guards the church from error.
Our statement of faith is a revised version of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith from 1853. In summary, we hold to an evangelical Christianity, believer’s baptism, and a congregational governance of the church. Additionally, we are in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention and support the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
We believe that the Holy Bible is the Word of God, written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit, and reveals without error the only way of salvation, the principles by which God will judge the world, and all truths necessary for us to live for His glory. It will remain to the end of time the supreme standard and final authority by which all matters of life and doctrine are to be tested.
THE TRUE GOD
We believe that there is only one true and living God. He is the eternal, infinite Creator and supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. He is merciful, just, and loving and governs all things according to His sovereign will for His glory. He is perfect in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, trust, and love. He exists eternally within one Godhead as three distinct persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each is fully God and equal in every divine attribute and perfection, while executing distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation and redemption.
THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man and woman were created in the image of God for fellowship with Him, but that through the voluntary disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, humanity fell from this exalted state into sin and that all their descendants inherit this corruption. As a result, all human beings are sinners, not by constraint but by choice; being by nature utterly devoid of the holiness required by God and completely inclined to evil. Therefore, human beings, apart from divine grace, are unable to turn to God and are under just condemnation to eternal punishment, without defense or excuse.
THE WAY OF SALVATION
We believe that the salvation of sinners is by the grace of God alone through the work of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. He is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in perfect obedience to the Father. He taught the way of God’s kingdom, worked miracles, was crucified, died and rose from the dead. In His death on the cross, He made full atonement for our sins, bearing in our place the wrath of God against our sin, thereby reconciling us to God and making possible our adoption into the family of God.
We believe that justification is the free gift by which those who believe in Christ are declared righteous. It includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on the basis of Christ’s shed blood and His righteousness imputed to us. It is given freely by God, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the atoning work of Christ. It brings us into peace and favor with God, and secures every spiritual blessing for time and eternity.
THE FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe that salvation is offered freely to all in the gospel, and that it is the immediate duty of all to accept the gospel by a humble, penitent and obedient faith. There is nothing that prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel, which results in his just condemnation.
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again. Regeneration consists in God giving a new heart and a holy disposition to the mind, and it is effected by the power of the Holy Spirit in a manner beyond human comprehension. This inward change secures our voluntary obedience to the gospel, and its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and sanctification.
REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, brought about in our souls by the Holy Spirit in regeneration, whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with sincere remorse, confession and supplication for mercy. At the same time, we heartily receive the Lord Jesus Christ as the only and all-sufficient Savior and thereafter look to Him as our Prophet, Priest and King.
We believe that it was the gracious purpose of God from all eternity to choose some people to be regenerated and saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of His sovereign good pleasure. God’s infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable purpose in salvation is perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, and is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign mercy. It utterly excludes boasting and promotes humility, gratitude, praise, love, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy, and is the foundation of Christian assurance.
We believe that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God and through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are made partakers of His holiness. It is a progressive transformation into the image of Christ that is begun in regeneration and is carried on in the hearts of believers by the work of the Holy Spirit, in the continual use of spiritual disciplines, including reading and hearing the word of God, self-examination, and prayer.
THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
We believe that the only genuine believers are those who endure to the end. Their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors. A special providence watches over their welfare and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
We believe that there is one true, invisible church, which is the communion of God’s people drawn from every tribe, people, language and nation throughout the ages. It is made visible in the local church, which is marked by the right preaching of God’s word and the right administration of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The local church is governed by the word of God, and its offices are those of Elder and Deacon, the qualifications, claims, and duties of which are defined most clearly in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. The mission of the church is to display God’s glory to the world by preaching the gospel and making disciples.
BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that it publicly displays our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior. It symbolizes, in a solemn and beautiful manner, our death to sin and resurrection to new life and is a response to the command of Christ. We believe the Lord’s Supper is the communal commemoration by believers, through the sacred use of bread and wine, of the redeeming love of Christ in His death at Calvary. It is a response to the command of Christ, and is to be preceded always by solemn self-examination.
We believe that civil government has been divinely appointed for the benefit and good order of human society, and that public officials are to be prayed for, honored and conscientiously obeyed, except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
THE WORLD TO COME
We believe that only those who through faith have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of God are truly righteous in His sight, and that all others are under His wrath. At the last day Christ will descend in glory from heaven, will raise the dead from the grave, and will bring both the living and the dead into final judgment. We believe that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be judged and sentenced to endless conscious punishment; that the righteous will enter into endless joy; and that this judgment will forever fix the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness. Those belonging to Christ will have eternal life in the new heavens and the new earth, and will dwell forever with God in righteousness, peace and joy to the glory of God.
We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of society. Families are composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. We believe that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman before God in covenant commitment for a lifetime. Husband and wife are both made in God’s image and have equal value before God; while at the same time possessing distinct roles in the marriage. The husband is to gently lead and sacrificially love his wife as Christ loved the church, and the wife is to graciously submit herself to her husband as the church willingly submits to Christ. We believe that children bear the image of God from the moment of conception, and are a blessing and inheritance from the Lord. Parents are to patiently lead their children in the ways of Christ by intentional instruction, gracious discipline, and consistent example based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents for the glory of God and their ultimate good.