God Has Spoken…
Our God is a God who speaks, explaining and interpreting His world to us. God’s infallible interpretation of the world is recorded for us in the Old and New Testaments. God continues to speak to us by His Spirit through His Word. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are our only rule of faith and obedience.
The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).
Our Confession of Faith
The fullest expression of what we believe the Bible teaches is found in the historic London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. It is a confession in line with the orthodox teaching of the Church throughout the history of the Church.
Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon, said of this confession of faith,
“This ancient document is the most excellent epitome of the things most surely believed among us. It is not issued as an authoritative rule or code of faith, whereby you may be fettered, but as a means of edification in righteousness. It is an excellent, though not inspired, expression of the teaching of those Holy Scriptures by which all confessions are to be measured. We hold to the humbling truths of God’s sovereign grace in the salvation of lost sinners. Salvation is through Christ alone and by faith alone.”
A Brief Summary of Our Doctrinal Beliefs
A. THE SCRIPTURES
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God. They are the infallible, authoritative, and all-sufficient rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. All Scripture is (in its original autographs) the very Word of God, and it is therefore without error and utterly reliable with regard to fact and teaching. It has been graciously preserved with particular care and providence for our benefit today. The Scriptures are to be neither added to nor subtracted from.
B. DOCTRINE OF GOD
There is but one God, the Creator, Maker, Sustainer, and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself all perfections and being infinite in them all. To Him all people owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience.
C. THE TRINITY
There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory.
God created all things from nothing. Adam and Eve were the first humans; they were created by God after His own image in perfect righteousness. The account of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 is historical, not mystical; hense evolution is a theory contrary to a scriptural understanding of creation.
God from eternity decreed all things that come to pass, and He perpetually governs all creatures and events. We affirm the absolute sovereignty of God. However, God is in no way the author or approver of sin, nor does His sovereignty in any way diminish or violate the responsiblity of men.
F. THE FALL OF MAN
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, by their disobedience, lost the righteousness in which they were created and became corrupt. The guilt of Adam’s first sin is imputed to all men, who, being his descendants, are born in a sinful state and condition called original sin. From this corrupt nature, all transgressions proceed because all men are wholly inclined to all evil continually and are opposed to all that is spiritually good in the sight of God. This is often referred to as man’s total depravity. Thus while man is unable of himself to repent of sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, he is completely responsible to do so. This is by no means to deny that a vast amount of virtue prevails through the common grace of God; yet man is unregenerate and essentially alienated from his Creator.
G. THE MEDIATOR
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed Mediator between God and man. Having taken to Himself a human nature, while maintaining His sinlessness, He perfectly fulfilled the law, suffered, and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, rose again the third day, and ascended to the Father, at whose right hand He ever lives to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church, and the Sovereign and Lord of the universe.
Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons to eternal life – not because of foreseen merit or faith in them, but because of His mercy in Christ. Those who have been predestined to be saved are in due time called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
I. EFFECTUAL CALLING AND REGENERATION
By His Holy Spirit and through His Word, God calls us into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ. By this divine work, He enlightens our minds, recreates us in and to newness of life, and renews our wills and affections by the Holy Spirit.
Repentance is a saving grace. The repentant person is convicted of the evil of his sin by the Holy Spirit. Repentance involves a humbling of oneself, self-abhorrence, exhibition of godly sorrow for and hatred of sin, and a purpose to walk before God so as to please Him in all things. Repentance is to continue through the whole course of the believer’s life.
Faith is a saving grace. By faith, we receive and rest upon Jesus Christ alone for salvation as He is freely offered to us in the gospel. Faith is also a grace by which we believe the Word of God to be true and seek to apply its teachings to ourselves.
Justification is an act of God’s free grace whereby He pardons our sins and accounts us righteous in His sight. Justification is based not on anything we have done but only on Christ’s righteousness as imputed to us and received by faith alone. Thus justification is a declarative and forensic act of imputed righteouness, not a process wherein we acquire righteousness before God due to our own sanctification. Justification is by faith in Christ’s work alone, not faith in Christ’s work plus something the believer does. By no means is justification conferred in baptism.
For the sake of His only Son, Jesus Christ, God has been pleased to make all justified persons sharers in the grace of adoption. Adoption is the means by which believers are numbered with, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of, the children of God.
Those who are united to Jesus Christ are, by regeneration, renewed in their whole nature after the image of God, and are set apart by God to share in His holiness. This is definitive sanctification. Because of the remaining effects of the former corrupt nature, there is also a progressive aspect to sanctification whereby the Holy Spirit, by virtue of indwelling the believer, promotes true holiness of life. Sin’s power over the believer is broken, the evil desires to which sin gives birth are increasingly weakened, and the Christian more and more lives according to the Word of God. This is holiness without which no man will see the Lord.
Those whom God has accepted in the Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, and to whom He has given the precious faith of His elect, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace. On the contrary, they will certainly persevere in the state of grace to the end of their lives and thus be eternally saved. This outcome is certain because God will never repent of having called them and made gifts to them. Furthermore, God continues to work in His chosen ones faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Holy Spirit that lead to immortality. Many storms and floods may arise and beat against the elect, but they will never be removed from the foundation and rock that they stand upon by faith. Nevertheless, through unbelief, temptations, allurements of the world, and indwelling sin, the sight of God’s love may be temporarily hidden from them and they may fall into dreadful sins. God, however, is still the same and they shall surely be kept by the power of God unto salvation. They will enjoy their purchased possession, because they have been engraved upon the palm of His hand, and because their names have been written in the Book of Life from all eternity.
P. THE CHURCH
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, which is composed of God’s elect in every age. According to His commandment, Christians are to gather in local churches. To each local church He has given authority and responsibility for administering order, discipline, and worship. The officers of a church are elders and deacons. The church administers the public means of grace, which is the spiritual food that God has provided whereby Christians mature. The means of grace whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption are His ordinances, especially the proclamation and explanation of the Word of God, the administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and prayer.
Baptism is an ordinance of Jesus Christ obligatory for every believer. The proper mode of baptism is by immersion in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is a symbol of the believer’s union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. It signifies the washing away of sins and is a prerequisite to church membership.
R. THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ and is to be observed by His church until He returns. It is to be administred with the elements of bread and the fruit of the vine. It is in no sense a re-sacrifice of Christ. Its purpose is to commemorate Christ’s death, confirm the everlasting covenant in Christ’s blood, and strengthen union with Christ in His love as well as union and communion with other believers. Unforgiveness between members and unconfessed sin should be dealt with before coming to the Lord’s table.
S. EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS
It is the duty of every church and every Christian to extend the gospel to all men everywhere. As faith comes by hearing the Word of God, we are to seek by all methods sanctioned in Scripture to persuade men to seek Jesus Christ and His salvation.
T. THE LAW OF GOD
God has commanded us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is the summary of God’s Law (Luke 10:25-27). The Ten Commandments (as given to Moses in Ex. 20:1-21) especially articulate the moral law of God. This moral law, which is expressed in the precepts of Scripture as a whole, provides the Christian with a guide for life. We affirm the perpetuity of the moral law, including the continuing validity of the Fourth Commandment. A man is not justified by the works of the Law, but only through faith in Christ Jesus (Ga. 2:16); even so, we reject antinomianism or any other teaching which claims that God’s moral laws are not binding upon believers today (Matt. 5:17-19). The Old Testament ceremonial laws, having been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, do not bind the consciences of believers today. Principles embodied in Old Testament civil laws are timeless, but their specific applications were to the covenanted nation of Israel.
The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and does good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all one’s might. However, the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself and so limited by His own revealed will that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.
V. THE STATE
Civil government is ordained of God. It is the duty of Christians to obey those who have rule over them in all matters consistent with the teaching of Scripture. Christians are also to pray for their rulers.
W. THE RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe in the visible, personal, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ
The bodies of men after death return to dust but their spirits return immediately to God – the righteous to rest with Him, the wicked to be reserved under darkness until the judgment. The bodies of all the dead, but just and unjust, will be raised.
Y. THE JUDGMENT
God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when everyone shall receive according to his deed. The wicked will go into everlasting punishment in Hell with the devil and his angels. The righteous, with glorified bodies, will live and reign with Christ forever.
Our Church Covenant
SECTION 1: OUR NEW COVENANT CONFIDENCE
God has graciously entered into a New Covenant with His people through the work of Jesus Christ, whose obedience and blood infallibly secure all of its benefits for them. By making us members of the one body of Christ, the New Covenant lays upon us responsibilities, not only to God, but also to each other. In this covenant God writes His law upon our hearts and causes us to walk in His ways. Thus, both our desire and ability to obey God spring from the work of Jesus Christ. Christ purchased for us the Holy Spirit, by whose gift of faith we obey, not to establish our own righteousness before God but to express our gratitude for grace. Covenant Baptist Church exists on the basis of the New Covenant and as a local expression of the power and grace of God in that covenant. In our church covenant we confess both our joyful faith in the God of the New Covenant and our willing embrace of its obligations. These New Covenant obligations require that we love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. By the grace of that covenant, we commit ourselves to the following obligations:
SECTION 2: OUR NEW COVENANT COMMITMENTS
I. Our Commitment to Our God
We will seek to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to live before Him in such manner as will manifest this love in our worship, walk and witness.
A. We agree to worship God (1) exclusively (2) scripturally (3) sincerely and (4) regularly.
- We agree to worship only the one true and living God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), who has revealed Himself to us in the Scriptures, only through the mediation of His Son, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- We will worship God in His appointed way in the Scriptures, excluding from our worship anything that He has not commanded while conscientiously observing those duties and ordinances of the New Covenant.
- We will worship God sincerely, avoiding drawing near to Him with lips only, but offering that true heart worship which He seeks from us.
- We will worship God regularly, faithfully observing that public and corporate worship which He commands on the Lord’s Day, while also being diligent to attend all the stated services of the church, except when legitimately hindered.
B. We agree to walk before God in Biblical holiness of heart and life. We recognize the seriousness of taking upon ourselves the name of the one true God in our baptism and church membership. We agree not to take that glorious name lightly, but rather to adorn our profession with honor by ever seeking a closer walk with God through the means of grace which He has appointed, including not only our faithful attendance at public worship, but also the maintaining of both private devotions (Bible study and prayer) and family worship. We will also pursue the salvation and sanctification of our children and other loved ones, by instructing them in God’s truth, while also seeking to exemplify that truth in our godly walk before them.
C. We further commit to honor God by our witness in this world, resisting the sins of this present evil age, while zealously endeavoring both by holy lives and faithful words to advance the Kingdom of Christ in this world by making known everywhere the one true God and the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
II. Our Commitment to Our Neighbors
We will seek to love our neighbors as ourselves, both the members of this church and those outside our membership.
A. We will love one another in this church:
- We will care for each other in temporal things, rejoicing together in God’s blessings, bearing one another’s burdens and seeking whenever possible to actively relieve each other in our trials and sufferings.
- We will care for each other spiritually, watching over one another’s souls. We will each seek to help others on the way to heaven, not only by praying for each other, but also by scripturally encouraging and admonishing one another.
- We will work diligently for the peace of this assembly by maintaining loving relationships with each other. We will seek to avoid sinning against each other in any way, and be quick to repent and seek forgiveness when we have done so. We will be slow to take offense, forbearing with one another, and always ready for reconciliation in conflict, being mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
- We covenant to diligently, sincerely and actively promote the well-being of this church, seeking to sustain its worship, ordinances, doctrine and discipline. We will cheerfully submit to the Christ-appointed leaders of the church, while contributing cheerfully and regularly to the support of its ministry. We will endeavor each one to do all within our power to make this church that which the Head of the church desires it to be.
B. We will love our neighbors who are not part of this church:
- We will love all of our Christian neighbors, realizing that all true brothers in Christ are part of the same household of faith. While seeking to faithfully hold to what we are convinced is taught in Holy Scripture, we will avoid all unholy sectarianism, seeking as far as possible to pursue and maintain the highest degree of friendship and fellowship, while also promoting the temporal and spiritual welfare of all of the family of God.
- We will love our unsaved neighbors, seeking also their temporal well-being. But we will especially, according to Christ’s great commission, seek to make disciples of the lost by clearly and faithfully sharing the saving gospel with them. We will also endeavor to walk before them in true holiness so that we may adorn the saving gospel we share with them. We engage moreover to promote the spread of the gospel of Christ worldwide, by our prayers, finances, and whatever other scriptural means are available to us.
III. Our Commitment to Persevere
We voluntarily and joyfully enter into this covenant, humbly acknowledging our remaining sin and shortcomings, but with prayerful dependence on the Omnipotent Spirit of God who is able to work in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight. We enter this covenant with a serious desire to please our God by keeping it to the best of our God-given ability. If the providence of God should move us from this church, we will endeavor to unite with some other faithful church where we can carry out the duties of this covenant.