The details below provide an outline of the common items that we believe.
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We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were originally “God-breathed”. We acknowledge the sole authority of the Scriptures in all matters of faith and practice.
The Scriptures teach that God is Spirit. There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who are equal in nature, power and glory. God is the creator and sustainer of all things, bringing them to their appointed end. We reverence, worship and serve God.
References: Genesis 1-2, Deuteronomy 6:4, Ecclesiastes 12:13, Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 28:19, Luke 12:10, John 1:14,18, John 4:24, John 14:10,John 17:5,10, John 20:28, Acts 17:28, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Ephesians 4:30,Philippians 2:5-11.
We believe that God created man in his own image, creative, thoughtful, responsible and holy. Man possessed an inner knowledge of the will of God and enjoyed unbroken fellowship with God. However, Adam the first man, the father and representative of the human race, chose to rebel against God.
The sentence that God passed on him was passed on to all mankind, his relationship with God was broken, his nature corrupted, his environment spoiled, his body became subject to death whilst his spirit was in danger of eternal judgement. While he continues to be a responsible being, because of his sinful nature man is both unwilling and unable to submit to God who alone can save him.
In eternity God determined to give eternal life to a great number of people. God did not choose these people because they were any better than others, or because of anything they had done, “but because of His own purpose and grace”.
5. JESUS CHRIST
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man. Because He was without sin He died as a substitute for His people, paying the full penalty for their sin and reconciling them to God forever. His resurrection and ascension assure believers of their resurrection and acceptance in heaven.
6. DEFINITE ATONEMENT
We believe the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ was specifically for His own people. Jesus, addressing His Father in prayer before the crucifixion said, “Father the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those you have given Him”. (John 17: 2). The children of God can talk of “The Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”. (Galatians 2: 2O).
The salvation which has been secured by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ is applied to the children of God by the Holy Spirit. By His powerful and mysterious work, dead souls are awakened into spiritual life and given the desire and ability to repent of sin and believe in Christ as their Saviour and Lord. Awakened by the Spirit, sinners are justified by faith alone and adopted into the family of God.
References: Ezekiel 36:26-27, John 3:5-8, John 6:63, Acts 16:14, Romans 5:1-5, Romans 8:15-16, 1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Corinthians 4:1-6, Galatians 4:6,Colossians 2:13-14, 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6, Titus 3:5-7.
8. HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit, who dwells in the children of God, creates within them a new nature, so that they desire to be like Christ. Yet in this life they are never completely free from the corruption of sin, and their old nature constantly wars against their new nature. Christians, as responsible people, are to work with the Spirit of God, striving to live a life that displays practical holiness and good works.
9. STANDING FIRM
It is possible for a true believer to be overcome by temptation and to seriously backslide, but the saving grace of God cannot ultimately be frustrated. However, Christians are to “work out” their “salvation with fear and trembling”, knowing that a mark of a true believer is that they “Stand firm to the end”.
10. SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will return to the earth in glory, His coming will herald the resurrection of the dead* and the final judgement. The ungodly will hear the dreadful sentence of the Righteous Judge that banishes them from His presence for ever, while the redeemed will be called to take their place in the new heaven and new earth and enjoy God’s glory for ever.
*Footnote. We believe that the spirits of believers, at death, go to be with the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. The spirits of unbelievers are reserved in hell to the day of Judgement. At the resurrection bodies and spirits are reunited.
References: Daniel 12:2, Matthew 25:31-46, Acts 17:31, Acts 24:25,1 Corinthians 15:47-49, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10,2 Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 9:27-28, 1 Peter 1:3-5, 2 Peter 3:13, 1 John 3:2.
11. BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only church ordinances appointed by Jesus Christ, in the New Testament, to be continued until His second coming.
In Baptism a person shows that they are identified with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, that their sins have been washed away, and that having come to the end of their old way of life they are setting out on a new way, following Christ. As baptism speaks of the beginning of the Christian life it was naturally the first step of obedience for a Christian in the New Testament and preceded entrance into the local church. Baptism is rightly administered by the total immersion of the believer in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We believe that this mode alone is scriptural and clearly demonstrates burial and resurrection and washing.
While baptism is initiatory, the Lord’s Supper is a continuing ordinance, where we remember the sacrificial death of our Lord Jesus Christ. When our Lord instituted this Supper He broke bread to symbolise His broken body and poured out wine to symbolise His shed blood, instructing His followers to do the same until He returns. As this Supper expresses the unity of the church as one body in Christ, each member of the local church should aim to be present.
We believe that Christians in a particular area should join together to form a local church. The local church should meet regularly for worship and prayer, for the preaching of the Word of God and to proclaim the gospel.
Each member of the local church is required to give themselves to one another, seeking the well being of the other members as opportunities arise. The fellowship should be characterised by humility and brotherly love as the members use the gifts God has given them to build one another up in the faith, to spur one another to love and good works, to carry one another’s burdens, and to correct and rebuke one another.
References: Acts 2:42,44, Romans 12:1-10,15-16, 1 Corinthians*,Ephesians 4:1-3,32, Ephesians 5:19, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 1:27,Philippians 2:1-11, Colossians 3:12,16, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, Hebrews 10:24-25, James 5:13-16.
* Especially 1 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Corinthians 14:26-40
13. ELDERS AND DEACONS
We believe that God gives elders and deacons for the administration of the local church. According to the Scriptures an elder must be a man of unquestionable godliness, sound in faith and able to exercise leadership in the church. The work of the eldership includes the ministry of the Word, pastoral care, enforcement of discipline, and the promotion of evangelism. It is desirable to have at least one elder set aside for full time service.
The Scriptures require the same spiritual qualifications in a deacon as in an elder. The deacons are responsible for the business and secular affairs of the church. The Scriptures, however, do not maintain fixed boundaries between the two. There is a measure of overlapping.
We believe that members who bring dishonour to God and His church by persisting in the denial of fundamental doctrine or by their ungodly conduct ought to be disciplined. In matters of personal disputes the guidelines that our Lord gave in Matthew 18: 15-20 should be followed. All discipline in the church should be exercised with love and patience, and the end in view must always be the repentance and reconciliation of the offender, and the purity and blessing of the church.
We believe that like-minded churches within a geographical area should seek fellowship together. In the Scriptures we find examples of churches conferring with one another in matters of doctrine, discipline, social concern and worldwide evangelism.
References: John 10:16, Acts 15:1-31, Acts 16:1-5, Acts 20:28-31,Romans 15:26, Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 6:14-16,2 Corinthians 8, 2 Corinthians 9, 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15, 2 John 10.
These matters are expanded with Scripture references in “We Believe – The Baptist Affirmation of Faith 1966 & A Guide for Church Fellowship.” This is published by Grace Publications Trust for Grace Baptist Assembly. We commend this publication.
Articles of Faith, revised January 1984