Every Fellowship has a Statement of Faith. We fellowship with other churches who are likeminded about the gospel, the Bible and what the Bible teaches.
Because we believe that the Bible is God’s Word, we believe:
The Baptist Faith and Message of the Southern Baptist Convention
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. 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. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
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 purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, 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.
Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17;1 John 5:7.
God the Son
Christ 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 human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on 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, fully God, fully man, 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.
Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 53:1-12; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. 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 guarantee that God will 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.
Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s 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 inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into 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 own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
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 Saviour.
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 unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.
God’s Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.
All true believers 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 their graces and comforts, and 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.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.
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 Saviour, 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 prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
The Lord’s Day
The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.
Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
Evangelism and Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.
Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ’s people.
In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.
Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.
Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.
Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.
The Christian and the Social Order
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.
Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.
Peace and War
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.
The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7
The Fellowship of Congregational Churches (FCC)
The Fellowship of Congregational Churches (FCC) is a small group of evangelical Churches found in five Australian states but mostly in NSW, being what could be regarded as the remnant of the Congregational Church in Australia. In 1977, most Congregational churches in Australia belonging to the Congregational Union, joined the Uniting Church. Only 27 churches in NSW, and smaller numbers in other states, chose to remain out of the Uniting Church and continue as Congregational churches. Therefore, the FCC is now almost 40 years old.
However the history of the Congregational church has an unbroken lineage back to the 16th Century and the Reformation in England. As men studied the Word of God, they came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit that the authoritative guide concerning spiritual things was Scripture alone. From the Lollards and the early Puritans came the first Congregationalists, those who stood for the authority of God’s Word and the independence or autonomy of the local church. Congregationalists were first known as Independents or Separatists. They declared, “every company of Christian men and women, regularly organised for mutual fellowship .. is a church, and stands in immediate relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ .. is responsible to Him alone, and is under the solemn obligation to allow no human authority .. no Pope or bishop or council, assembly or synod .. to come between Christ and itself.”
Baptists found their historical parentage in the early Congregational churches, the Lollards and the Mennonites and Radical Reformers of Europe, alongside the Waldensians, going back to New Testament times. All of these movements impacted upon each other, providing our heritage today.
THE LIVING GOD
God is Almighty, Eternal and Unchanging. He is just and holy, gracious and merciful. He is the Creator and Ruler of all things, exercising sovereign power in Creation, Providence and Redemption, and is deserving of all glory and praise forever.
God is One, existing through all eternity in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
THE WORD OF GOD
God’s greatness and holiness are such, that without His aid, man can neither understand God nor find the way to a right relationship with Him. In His mercy, however, God has made Himself known. He has done this partially through Creation but more fully and clearly to the people of Israel and explicitly and finally in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and the Word of God incarnate. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as originally given and divinely preserved, record, interpret and complete God’s special revelation to us. We therefore accept the Bible as not merely containing but being the divinely inspired and infallible Word of God written and the final and sufficient authority in all matters of Christian faith and life.
Satan is a person, a malignant Spirit, the enemy of Jesus Christ and of the saints, deceiving mankind; and he has been condemned to eternal damnation.
MAN THE SINNER
God created man perfect, but after being tempted by Satan, man by his own free choice, disobeyed God and became a sinner. Man’s whole nature is now corrupted by sin and his fellowship with God is broken.
JESUS THE SAVIOUR
God alone can deal with man’s sin and bring about a reconciliation with Himself. In God’s great plan of Redemption, God the Son became man through the Incarnation. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless human life and taught with divine authority. He suffered and died in the place of sinners, bearing their sin and its guilt and punishment. He thus sets free all believers from the domination of Satan and the corruption of their own sinful nature, and removes from them forever sin’s lasting consequences.
GRACE OF GOD
God, by His Grace, forgives and reconciles to Himself all who turn to Him in true repentance, turning from sin and trusting in Christ’s atoning death. God imputes to them the righteousness of Christ Himself and adopts them as His children.
THE RISEN LORD
The Lord Jesus Christ was shown to be the Son of God by His teaching, by His miracles and by His bodily resurrection from the dead. He has ascended in power and glory to the presence of God where He now pleads on behalf of those who call upon Him in truth.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, must work in a man before he can enter Salvation. He leads the sinner into an awareness of his sinfulness and brings him to repentance and trust in Christ. He brings to birth in him a new and eternal life and, by His continuing work, develops in this new life the fruits of love and holiness.
JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH ALONE
The Scriptures affirm that the sinner is justified by faith alone in the finished work of Christ, that is, by His substitutionary death upon the Cross and His resurrection from the dead. The works of men and the traditions of the visible Chross are of no avail in the Salvation and Justification of men.
THE VISIBLE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST
God is bringing all human history to a climax which will be marked by the personal bodily return to the earth of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory.
JESUS THE JUDGE
God has appointed Jesus as Judge and there will be a final judgement. Those who are saved will be raised in a glorified body and enjoy eternally and to the full the presence of their Lord in heaven. Those who have rejected Christ will also be raised and banished from God forever in hell.
THE ONE CHURCH
All who have been personally redeemed with the precious Blood of Christ and upon whom God has bestowed His righteousness as a free gift, belong to Christ. They alone may rightly be called Christians. They alone are members of the one universal and eternal Church which is the Body of Christ.
THE GATHERED CHURCH
Each local church is a fellowship of believers gathered by Christ and under His sole, sufficient and supreme authority. Through Him, as Head of the Church, it has direct access to God and enjoys fellowship with other Congregations of His people in a unity which transcends all barriers.
The Holy Spirit gives many different gifts to equip all God’s people for ministry, in order to build up the Body of Christ, and He determines what is given to each believer. A gift is to be valued in the Church according to its contribution to the common good.
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Every Christian is called to love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love his neighbour as himself. Therefore, all are to live godly lives, doing all things to the glory of God. The indwelling Holy Spirit makes this new life a reality as they yield themselves to Him.
Baptism is a sacrament ordained by Jesus Christ as a sign and seal of the Covenant of Grace. Where one who confesses faith in Christ is baptised, the sacrament is seen as an outward and visible sign of newness of life through faith in Christ on the part of the candidate.
The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament ordained by Jesus Christ and is to be observed in the churches for a perpetual remembrance and showing forth of the sacrifice of Christ, the spiritual nourishment of believers and a sign of their communion with one another.
THE GREAT COMMISSION
We affirm the obligation to fulfil the Commission given to the Church by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples of all nations.
The Australian Fellowship of Bible Believing Churches
The Australian Fellowship of Bible-believing Churches began in 1996 as a casual gathering of pastors. Soon these pastors, and the churches they represented, began networking together.
The AFBC is a voluntary association of churches and ministry personnel. It provides a network of loving support to churches and individuals through fellowship and practical help.
The AFBC is not a denomination and claims no authority or administration over local churches.
The AFBC stands for the historic baptistic faith, including belief in an inerrant and authoritative Bible and a confident hope in the pre-millennial return of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. The AFBC rejects the practice of tongues and faith healing as contemporary gifts of the Holy Spirit. (See the Doctrinal Statement for full details.)
|DOCTRINAL STATEMENT (February 2016)|
|1. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES|
|We believe in the Holy Bible, accepting fully the writings of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments as the very Word of God; that it was verbally and plenarily inspired and was the product of Spirit-controlled men, and, therefore, is infallible and inerrant in all matters of which it speaks and is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions should be tried.|
|2 Timothy 3.16, 2 Peter 1.19-21|
|2. THE ONE TRUE GOD|
|We believe that there is one living and true God, the infinite, intelligent, personal and loving Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all honour and praise; that in the unity of God co-exists three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct, but harmonious, offices in the Universe.|
|Genesis 1.1, Exodus 20.2-3, Deut. 4.35; 6.4, Ps. 2.7-9, John 1.1-3, Jn. 5.36-40, 1 Cor. 8.6|
|3. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST|
|We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, without any essential change in His divine Person became Man by the miracle of the Virgin birth, thus to continue forever as both true God and true Man; that as Man He was tempted just as we are, but never once sinned; that as the perfect Lamb of God He gave Himself to the death of the Cross, bearing the sin of the world, and suffering its full penalty of divine wrath in our place; that He rose again from the dead and was glorified in the same body in which He suffered and died; that as our great High Priest He ascended into heaven, there to appear before the Heavenly Father as our Advocate and Intercessor.|
|Isa. 53.5-6, Matt. 1.23, Matt. 20.28, Col. 2.9, Lk. 24.36, John 1.14, Jn. 1.29, Jn. 8.46, Jn. 20.25-28, Gal. 3.13, Heb. 4.15, Heb. 4.14, Heb. 9.24, Heb. 13.8, 1 Jn. 2.1, Rev. 22.6|
|4. THE HOLY SPIRIT|
|We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person; equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; that He was active in creation; that He convicts of sin, of judgement to come, and of righteousness; that He bears witness to and exalts the Person of Christ; that He is the agent in the new birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies, and helps the believer.|
|Gen. 1.1-3, Matt. 28.19, Mk. 16.20, Lk. 1.35, Jn. 1.33, Jn. 3.5-6, Jn. 14.16-17, Jn. 14.26, Jn. 16.8-11, Rom. 8.14,16,26-27, 1 Cor. 13.8, 1 Cor. 14.21-22, Eph. 1.13-14, Heb. 9.14|
|Because of the present-day revival of the charismatic gifts, we affirm that spiritual gifts are divinely given at the instant of conversion by the Holy Spirit to every member of the body of Christ. The purpose of these gifts is to glorify God and to edify the Church to fulfil its divinely appointed task. There are gifts given to enable every believer to share in the ministry of edification and growth of the church. Revelation is not ongoing, tongues are neither the sign of baptism of the Spirit nor of spirituality and Christ’s atonement was not to guarantee physical healing.|
|Therefore we understand that the present-day emphasis on gifts such as speaking in tongues and healing, such as is used in the charismatic movement today, is not valid. We believe that God can intervene in human history in a miraculous way should he choose to do so, however the occurrence of such interventions today are distinct from the phenomena of the miraculous sign gifts evident in Apostolic times.|
|The exercise of spiritual gifts must always be consistent with Scripture.|
|1 Corinthians 12:14; Ephesians 4:7-16; 1 Peter 2:24; 4:10-11|
|5. THE DEVIL OR SATAN|
|We believe that Satan was created by God as an angel but through pride and rebellion became the enemy of his creator, drawing with him many angels; that he is now the unholy prince of this age and the ruler of all the powers of darkness but is destined, however, to final defeat at the hands of Jesus Christ, and the judgement of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.|
|Ezekiel 28.13-17, Jn. 8.44, Jn. 12.31-32, Jn. 16.11, 2 Cor. 4.4, Eph. 2.2, Eph. 6.12-18, Heb. 2.14, Rev. 12.9-10|
|6. CREATION & FALL OF MAN|
|We believe in the Genesis account of Creation, including the time frame of six (6), twenty-four (24) hour days, is to be accepted literally, not allegorically; that man was created directly in God’s image and after His likeness, and that man’s creation was not a matter of evolution from lower life forms. We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker but by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless state, and in consequence of which, all mankind are now sinners by nature and choice and, therefore, are under just condemnation without defence or excuse.|
|Gen. 1-3, Matt. 19.4, Jn. 8.42-44, Rom. 1.18, Rom. 3.23, Rom. 3.19, Rom. 5.12, Rom. 7.18, Eph. 4.18, I Thess. 5.23|
|We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of Jesus Christ,|
|the son of God, who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, and by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins; that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the just dying for the unjust, Christ the Lord, bearing our sins in His own body; that having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in heaven and uniting in His wonderful person the most tender sympathies with divine perfection. He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Saviour.|
|The New Birth|
|We believe that in order to be saved, the sinner must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Jesus Christ, and that the one formerly dead in trespasses and sins is made partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, not by culture, not by character, nor by the will of man, but wholly by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth.|
|The human response, as evidenced in relation to the new birth, is repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.|
|We believe that the believer who has exercised personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is justified; that Justification is that judicial act of God whereby the believer in Christ is declared righteous, which declaration incorporates the pardon of sin and the imputation of divine righteousness, not because of any works of righteousness on the believer’s part, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood.|
|Jn. 3.3, Jn. 3.16, Acts 15.11, Rom. 3.24-25, Rom. 5.1, Rom. 6.23, 2 Cor. 5.17, Eph. 2.8-9 Gal. 2.16,|
|Phil. 2.7-8, Heb. 2.14-17, 2 Peter 1.4, 1 Jn. 4.10, 1 Jn. 5.1|
|8. SANCTIFICATION & SEPARATION|
|We believe that sanctification is the divine setting apart of the believer unto God accomplished in a threefold manner; first, an eternal act of God, based upon redemption in Christ, establishing the believer in a position of holiness at the moment he trusts the Saviour; second, a continuing process in the Christian as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the life; third, the final accomplishment of this process at the Lord’s return.|
|We believe the Scriptures teach that every believer should be separated unto God, and by the aid of the Holy Spirit, should walk in Christian love and holiness, exhibiting qualities of honesty, purity, integrity, loving kindness, all undertaken in the spirit of humility. We also believe that every believer is admonished not to love the world or the things of the world, but rather to flee evil desires, doing all things to the glory of God.|
|We believe the Scriptures teach that the integrity of biblical doctrine must be vigorously defended. Therefore, we kindly separate from any church, organisation or individual that teaches or tolerates doctrinal error as per the AFBC doctrinal statement. We reject ecumenism, which is to say that we refuse to sacrifice biblical convictions for the sake of unity in relation to evangelism or fellowship.|
|We believe that the Scriptures teach the principle that we should avoid fellowship or involvement with the unsaved in any combined Gospel ministry.|
|Jn. 17.17, 1 Cor. 1.30, 2 Cor. 3.18, 2 Cor. 6.14, Gal. 1.8-9, Eph. 5.25-27, I Thess. 4.3-4, 1 Thess. 5.23-24, 2 Tim. 2.16-18, 1 Jn. 3.2, 2 Jn. 9-11, Heb. 10.1-14, Jude 24-25, Rev. 22.11, Jude 3|
|9. THE LOCAL CHURCH|
|We believe that a local church is a congregation of believers under the discipline of the Word of God and the lordship of Jesus Christ organised to carry out the commission to evangelise, to teach, and to administer the ordinances of Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that the local church has the right of self- government free from interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organisations; and that the one and only Superintendent is Christ; that it is Scriptural for local assemblies to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel; that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its cooperation.|
|Acts 2.41-42, Acts 15.13-18, 1 Cor. 11.2, I Cor. 12.12-13, Eph. 1.22-23, Eph. 3.1-6, Eph. 4.11; 5.23, Col. 1.18|
|10. BAPTISM AND LORD’S SUPPER|
|We believe that Christ only gave two ordinances to His disciples – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe both are symbolic in nature and neither confer any saving merit upon the recipient, but are to be undertaken after salvation. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a born again believer into water, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to show forth a solemn and beautiful emblem of our identification with the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, through whom we died to sin and rose to a new life. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of His death until He comes, and should be preceded by solemn self-examination and is to be observed by believers only.|
|Matt. 3.16, Matt. 28.18-20, Jn. 3.23, Acts 2.41-42, Acts 8.36-38, Rom. 6.3-5 1, Cor. 11.23-28|
|11. THE RETURN OF CHRIST|
|We believe in the pre-tribulational return of Jesus Christ for His Church. This will be followed by a seven-year tribulation on the earth, climaxed by the pre-millennial return of Christ to the earth with His Church to usher in a literal thousand-year kingdom with the Saviour reigning. This will then be followed by the Great White Throne Judgement of unbelievers, and ultimately a new earth and new heaven.|
|Isa. 9.6-7, Dan. 9.25-27, Matt. 24.29-31, Luke 1.30-33, Jn. 5.28-29, Jn. 14.2, Acts 2.29-30, 1 Cor. 15.42-44, 1 Cor. 15.51-54, Phil. 3.20-21, 1 Thess. 4.13-18, Rev. 20.1-6, Rev. 3.10, Rev. 20.14-15, Rev. 21.4|
|We believe that Israel is distinct from the Church. The promises of God, including the restoration of a redeemed remnant to the promised land under the reign of Jesus Christ her Messiah, will be literally fulfilled.|
|13. CIVIL GOVERNMENT|
|We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; that rulers are to be prayed for, conscientiously honoured and obeyed, except only in those things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ as found in Scripture, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the kings of the earth.|
|Matt. 22.21, Acts 23.5, Rom. 13.1-7|
|We believe that marriage is the God-ordained union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of others, voluntarily entered into for life. This association will only solemnize marriages that conform to this Biblical definition.|
|Gen. 2.24, Matt. 19.4-6, Rom. 1.26-27|