Benefits and Limitations of a Statement of Faith
Although the Bible is the only authority in matters of faith and practice, a statement of faith can serve as an excellent summary of what we believe the Bible teaches. Many people claim to believe the Bible, yet disagree on vital issues. A statement of faith provides necessary definition.
It also serves as a helpful teaching tool by providing a concise summary of biblical truth. We recognize that any statement of faith is a fallible, human attempt to summarize the riches of God’s revelation and should therefore be open to further revision in the light of Holy Scripture. The following is a summary of what is taught as Biblical truth at Princeton Baptist Church.
WHAT WE TEACH
I. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
We teach that the Bible is God’s complete written revelation, and the sixty-six books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired in all parts) word of God and cannot be added to or subtracted from (1Co 2:7-14; 2 Pet 1:20-21; Rev 22:19; Prov 30:6).
We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1Co 2:13; 1Thess 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2Ti 3:16), infallible, and absolutely inerrant in the original manuscripts. We also hold to a grammatical historical interpretation of Scripture which affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Gen 1:31; Exo 31:17).
We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice, being fully sufficient for every human need and all that pertains to life and godliness. (Mat 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17; 1Co 2:13; 2Ti 3:15-17; Heb 4:12; 2 Pet 1:3, 20-21).
We teach that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man (2Pe 1:20-21) without error in the whole or in the part (Mat 5:18; 2Ti 3:16).
We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true contextual and/or prophetic interpretation. The precise meaning is to be found as one diligently applies the literal, grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the leading of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1Co 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of all believers to give themselves to the diligent study of the word of God in order to be able to ascertain the true intent and meaning of the Scripture, recognizing that proper, accurate application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture always
stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
We teach that there is but one living and true God (Deu 6:4; Isa 45:5-7; 1Co 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes and substance, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Mat 28:19; 2Co 13:14; Isa 48:12-16), each equally deserving worship and obedience.
A. God the Father
We teach that God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Ps. 145:8,9; 1 Cor. 8:6). He is the Creator of all things (Gen. 1:1–31; Eph. 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps. 103:19; Rom. 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Eph. 4:6), but He is Spiritual Father only to believers (Rom. 8:14; 2 Cor. 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Eph. 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chr. 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Hab. 1:13), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Pet. 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Eph. 1:4–6); He saves from sin all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Heb. 12:5–9).
B. God the Son
We teach that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, being co-equal, consubstantial, and co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit (Joh 10:30; 14:9).
We teach that God the Father created all things according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom, and for whom, all things continue in existence and in operation (Joh 1:3, 10; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:2; 1 Cor 8:6).
We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the status and privileges of deity
but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally existing second person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-man (Phil. 2:5–8; Col. 2:9).
We teach that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Mic. 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9,10; Col. 2:9).
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23,25; Luke 1:26–35); that He was God
incarnate (John 1:1,14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over
God’s kingdom (Ps. 2:7–9; Is. 9:6; John 1:29; Phil. 2:9–11; Heb. 7:25,26; 1 Pet. 1:18,19).
We teach that, in the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity laid aside His right to the full prerogatives and privileges of coexistence with God. The eternal Son of God took on an existence appropriate to a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Phil. 2:5–8).
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary, a payment for the penalty of sin, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Rom. 3:24,25; 5:8; 1 Pet. 2:24).
We teach that the death of the Lord Jesus Christ is efficacious. That is Christ’s death accomplished its intended purpose which is freedom from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that the believer at the point of saving faith is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God (Rom. 3:25; 5:8,9; 2 Cor. 5:14,15; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18).
We teach that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now intercedes as our Advocate and High-Priest (Matt. 28:6; Luke 24:38,39; Acts 2:30,31; Rom. 4:25; 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
We teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (Joh 5:26-29; 14:19; Rom 1:4; 4:25; 6:5-10; 1Co 15:20, 23).
We teach that Christ will return in His own way and His own time to establish his kingdom (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess 4:13-18; Rev 20).
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one through whom God will judge all mankind, both the saved and unsaved in every generation, at the Great White Throne Judgment (Matt 25:31-46; Joh 5:22-23; Rev 20:11-15). As the mediator between God and man (1Ti 2:5), the head of His body the Church (Eph 1:22; 5:23; Col 1:18), and the coming universal King who will reign on the throne of David (Isa 9:6; Luk 1:31-33), He is the final judge of all who are not trusting in Him as Lord and Savior (Mat 25:14-46; Act 17:30-31, Rom 1:19-20; 2:12-13).
C. God the Holy Spirit
We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, eternal, not created, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity including intellect (1Co 2:10-13), emotions (Eph 4:30), will (1Co 12:11), eternality (Heb 9:14), omnipresence (Psa 139:7-10), omniscience (Isa 40:13-31), omnipotence (Rom 15:13), and truthfulness (Joh 16:13).
In all the divine attributes He is co-equal and having the same substance with the Father and the Son (Matt 28:19; Act 5:3-4; 28:25-26; 1Co 12:4-6; 2Co 13:14; Jer 31:31-34; Heb 10:15-17).
We teach that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine will with relation to His elect. We also recognize His sovereign activity in creation (Gen 1:2), the incarnation (Matt 1:18), the written revelation (2Pe 1:20-21, John 14:25-26), and the work of salvation (Joh 3:5-7; 6:63).
We teach that the Holy Spirit was given by the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26) to complete the building of the body of Christ, which is His Church (1Co 12:13; Eph 2:21-22). The broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, issuing the call of God in the hearts of men, effecting the regeneration and conversion of the elect, and transforming believers into the image of Christ (Joh 16:7-9; Act 1:5; 2:4; Rom 8:29; 2Co 3:18; Eph 2:22).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ at the moment of conversion (1Co 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers for service, and seals the saints of God unto the day of redemption (Rom 8:9; Eph 1:13; 1Pet 1:3-5).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine teacher who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they were moved to write God’s revelation, the Bible. Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (John 16:13; Rom 8:9; Gal 5:16; Eph 5:18; 2Pe 1:19-21; 1Jo 2:20, 27).
We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts, but glorifies Christ by revealing Him to His people, implementing His work of redeeming the lost, and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 15:26; John 16:13-14; Act 1:8; 1Co 12:4-11; 2Co 3:18).
We teach that man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created in all spiritual, moral, and physical perfection, with a rational nature, intelligence, emotion, will, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Gen 2:7, 15-25; Jam 3:9).
We teach that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world (Isa 43:7; Col 1:16; Rev 4:11).
We teach that in Adam’s disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, which is sin, man lost his innocence, incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death, became subject to the wrath of God, and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. Man has no recuperative powers that enable him to recover himself, and thus he is hopelessly lost. Man will never seek after God on his own (Rom 3:10-11), he is a slave to sin (John 8:34; Rom 6:17), spiritual things are complete foolishness to him (1Co 1:18; 2:14), his heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9) and will only do evil continually (Gen 6:5). Therefore,man’s salvation is nothing of himself, but wholly by the sovereign act of God through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:13; 6:44-45; Eph 2:1-9; 2Pe 1:1; 2Ti 1:8-9; 2:25; Act 13:48; 1 John 1:8).
We teach that because all men were in Adam, his guilt was justly imputed to every man, and a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception (Rom 5:18-19). All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psa 14:1-3; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12).
We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ in the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12-13; Eph 1:7; 2:8-10; Tit 3:5; 1Pet 1:18-19).
We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Rom. 8:28–30; Eph 1:4–11; 2Thess 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:1,2).
We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezek. 18:23,32; 33:11; John 3:18,19,36; 5:40; 2Thess 2:10–12; Rev. 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37–40,44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).
We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not in any way dependent on any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Eph. 1:4–7; Titus 3:4–7; 1 Pet.1:2).
We teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign bu the exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Rom. 9:11–16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 11:25–28; 2 Tim. 1:9).
We teach that the Christian does not know who God has elected to salvation, so he is responsible to evangelize or share the gospel with as many people as he has opportunity to share with. God has established the Christian’s duty and privilege to evangelize because He has elected some to salvation and He has determined to save sinners through the preaching of the gospel. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom 10:13-17; 1Co 1:18-21, 1Thess 2:13-14). The gospel therefore should be offered to all people indiscriminately (Matt 28: 19-20).
God’s good pleasure to save sinners by a substitutionary atonement was founded in the love and justice of God. It was the justice of God that required the demands of the law to be met and His love that provided a way of escape for lost sinners. The atonement is the only means for the salvation of sinful man (Luk 24:26; Gal 3:21-24; Heb 2:10; 9:11-14; 10:1-14). If there were any other way to satisfy the justice of God, it would have been rendered (Act 4:12; Joh 8:23-24; 14:6).
The atonement made propitiation to God, reconciling God to chosen sinners by the removal of the wrath of God through the substitutionary work of Christ. The Scripture sets forth the atoning work of Christ as a propitiation (Rom 3:21-26), a canceling the penalty of sin (Heb 7:26-27; 9:6-15), reconciliation (Rom 5:10; 2Co 5:18-19), and redemption (Mat 20:28; Rom 3:24; 1Co 1:30; Eph 1:7), thereby fully accomplishing its intended purpose.
We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the soul is quickened and divine life is imparted (Joh 3:3-7; Tit 3:5). It is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the power of the Word of God (Joh 5:24; Rom 10:13-17, 1 Peter 1:23). Having been regenerated, the sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, is brought to repentance and responds in faith to the gospel. (1Jo 5:1; eph 2:8-9; phil 1:29).
Genuine regeneration will manifest itself in fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct (1Co 6:18-20; Gal 5:17-25; Eph 2:10) as the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Eph 5:17-21; Phi 2:12b; Col 3:16; 2Pe 1:4-11).
This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (2Co 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Rom 8:17; Col 3:4; 1Pet 1:3-5; 1Jo 3:2-3). It is impossible for man to achieve sinless perfection in this life, but holiness will be the primary direction of his life and is the basis of his assurance (Heb 6:11-12; 1Jo 1:8).
We teach that the justification of sinners is an instantaneous act of God (Rom 3:21-26; 8:33) by which He legally declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Isa 55:6-7; Luke 13:3; Act 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Rom 2:4; 5:1; 2Co 7:10) and confess Him as Sovereign Lord (Rom 10:9-10; 1Co 12:3; 2Co 4:5; Phi 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Rom 3:20; 4:6), and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Col 2:14; 1Pet 2:24) so that our sins are forgiven, and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1Co 1:30; 2Co 5:21). By this means God is enabled to be “just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26).
We teach that there are two distinct aspects of sanctification, the first one being positional and the second one being progressive.
We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous, having to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition, and should not be confused with progressive sanctification (Act 20:32; 1Co 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2Th 2:13; Heb 2:11; 10:10; 13:12; 1Pet 1:2).
We teach also a progressive sanctification beginning at the point of conversion by which the practice of the believer is continually brought closer to the position he enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Spirit, the believer is both enabled and compelled to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ (Joh 17:17, 19; Rom 6:1-22; 8:29; 12:2; 2Co 3:18; 1Thess 4:3-5; 5:23).
In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict–the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh–but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. The total eradication of sin in this life is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Gal 5:16-25; Eph 4:20-24; Phi 3:12; Col 3:9-10; 1Pet 1:14-16; 1Jo 3:5-9). Hence, we do not teach a sinless perfection, but we do teach that the believer’s life will necessarily be characterized by the pursuit of holiness (1Co 5:9-13; Tit 1:16; 1Jo 2:3-6; 3:9-10).
We teach that all the redeemed once saved are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John
5:24; 6:37–40; 10:27–30; Rom. 5:9,10; 8:1,31–39; 1 Cor. 1:4–9; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 7:25; 13:5; 1 Pet. 1:4,5; Jude 24).
We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an excuse for sinful living and carnality (Rom. 6:15–22; 13:13,14; Gal. 5:13,16,17,25,26; Titus 2:11–14).
We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the
Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Cor. 6:14–7:1; 2 Tim. 3:1–5).
We teach that out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation from any association with religious apostasy, and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Rom. 12:1,2; 1 Cor. 5:9–13; 2 Cor. 6:14–7:1; 1 John 2:15–17; 2 John 9–11).
We teach that believers should be separated unto the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 4:17-24; Heb 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness demonstrated by a continual pursuit of holiness (Mat 5:2-12; Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 7:1; Heb 12:14; Tit 2:11-14; 1Jo 3:1-10). However, a believer is not to withdraw in isolation from the world; the world is his God-ordained place of ministry (Mat 5:13-16, Joh 17:15; 1Co 5:9-10). Rather, he is to expose the deeds of darkness as one who is in the world but not of the world (Eph 5:1-17).
V. THE CHURCH
A. The Makeup of the Church
We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the Church (1Co 12:12-13), the Bride of Christ (2Co 11:2; Eph 5:23-32; Rev 19:7-8), of which Christ is the head (Eph 1:22; 4:15; Col 1:18).
We teach that the church is a unique spiritual body designed and built by Christ, made up of men and women in every age who have been saved by grace through faith. The Church is distinct from Israel, though at the return of Christ the elect remnant of Israel will be grafted into the Church and eternally joined to Him (Rom 11:1-32)
We teach that the establishment, autonomy, and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament (Act 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Gal 1:2; Phi 1:1; 1Thess 1:1; 2Th 1:1) and that the members of the Church Universal are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies for edification, worship, prayer, and the ministry of the word (1Co 11:18-20; Heb 10:25).
We teach the obedient submission of believers to the leaders God has appointed over them (Heb 13:7, 17), the necessity of discipleship (Mat 28:19-20; 2Ti 2:2), the mutual accountability of all believers to one another (Mat 18:5-14), and the practice of church discipline in accordance with the standards of Scripture (Mat 18:15-22; Act 5:1-11; 1Co 5:1-13; 2Th 3:6-15).
We teach the autonomy of the local church with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any external hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Tit 1:5). Churches are to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the one true faith. However, through its elders and their interpretation and application of Scripture, each local church should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. (Act 15:19-31; 20:28; 1Co 5:4-7, 12-13; 1Pet 5:1-4).
We teach that God uses the church as His primary instrument to accomplish His purpose in the world. To that
end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph 4:7-12). He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the body of Christ (Rom 12:5-8; 1Co 12:4-31; 1Pet 4:10-11).
B. The Leaders of the Church
We teach that the one, supreme authority for the church is Christ (1Co 11:3; Eph 1:22; Col 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The Biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders or bishops, men called to the primary responsibilities of prayer and the ministry of the word (Act 6:1-4). While all elders are not pastors, the role of pastor/teacher is a specific function within the office of elder (Act 20:28; Eph 4:11). Additionally, God has also appointed deacons to the operational and administrative leadership responsibilities of the body. Men functioning in these offices must meet the spiritual qualifications set forth in the Scriptures (1Ti 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9; 1Pet 5:1-5).
C. Spiritual Gifts
We teach that the early church was given two classes of spiritual gifts: 1) miraculous gifts given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message; 2) ministering gifts given to equip believers for edifying one another and for accomplishing every facet of the work of the ministry. With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture is the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1Co 13:8-12; 20 Rom 12:6-8; Heb 2:3-4; 2Co 12:12). While no one possesses the gift of healing today, God does hear and answer the prayer of faith in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luk 18:1-8; 2Co 12:6-10; Jam 5:13-16; 1Jo 5:14-15). The ministry gifts, however, are spiritual graces essential to the life and health of the Church, and will continue to operate until the Lord’s return at the end of the age.
We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Act 2:36-42).
- Believer’s Baptism
Christian baptism by immersion (Act 8:36-39) is the visible demonstration of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to new life (Rom 6:1-11; Col 2:11-12). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ (Act 2:41-42), and is a pledge in the presence of God and His saints to live a life of good
conscience before Him (1Pet 3:21). Baptism has absolutely no saving merit or regenerative power; salvation is entirely the work of Almighty God in accordance with the eternal decree of the Father (Eph 1:3-6), as accomplished on the cross by the Son (Rom 5:9-10), and applied by the Holy Spirit (Tit 3:5).
- 2. The Lord’s Supper
We teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration andproclamation of Christ’s death until He comes. The Lord’s Supper is reserved for those who have been born of the Spirit of God and must always be preceded by sober selfexamination (1Co 11:28-32). The Lord’s Supper is an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way in fellowship with His people (1Co 10:16). However, the elements of communion are nothing more than a representation of the flesh and blood of Christ.
E. The Mission of the Church
- Exalting the Lord
We teach that it is the primary mission of the church to bring glory to God. Therefore the corporate meeting of the church is for the exaltation of God in worship: expressed in prayer, music, and the reading and preaching of God’s word (Rom 11:36; 1Co 14:23-25; Eph 3:21, Psalm 150, col. 3:16).
- 3. Evangelizing the Lost
We teach that Jesus Christ has given the church an enduring commission to evangelize the lost, with this responsibility extending to every believer. Biblical evangelism must involve both the spoken word and the unspoken testimony of a life transformed by the grace of God in Christ (Mat 28:19; Act 1:8; 1Thess 1:2-10; Tit 3:1-8; 1Pet 2:12; 3:1-4, 15).
li>Edifying the Saints
We teach that the saints are edified through the means of grace by the instruction of the Word (Eph 4:13-16; 2Ti 2:2, 15; 3:16-17; 4:1-2), by biblical fellowship (Act 2:46-47; Heb 22 10:25; 1Jo 1:3). and by the corporate observance of the ordinances (Luk 22:19-20; Act 2:38-42).
A. Holy Angels
We teach that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9–14; Heb. 1:6,7,14; 2:6,7; Rev. 5:11–14).
B. Fallen Angels
We teach that Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Is. 14:12–17; Ezek. 28:11–19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:1–14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Gen. 3:1–15).
We teach that Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Is. 14:13, 14; Matt. 4:1–11; Rev. 12:9, 10), the prince of this world who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 16:20) and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Is. 14:12–17; Ezek. 28:11–19; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
VII. LAST THINGS (Eschatology)
Since no one knows the day or hour of the Lord’s return, not even Christ Himself in His humanity (Mat 25:13; Mar 13:32), the timing of the rapture of the saints at the return of Christ (1Thess 4:15-17) and the millennial debate between the various positions among premillennialists and nonpremillennialists should not be made a test of Christian fellowship in and of themselves. While the fact of the rapture is undeniable, the conviction regarding its timing together with the millennial issue is subject to one’s presuppositions and the particular interpretive principles applied to unfulfilled Bible prophecy. As such, Peter’s instruction and admonition sets forth an important principle for the saints. When serious consideration is given to the return of Christ and the cataclysmic destruction that will characterize the impending Day of the Lord, the exhortation to Christians is sobering:
“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!” (2Pe 3:11-12)
We teach the historical orthodox Baptist view of death, which is physical death involves a separation of soul and body with no loss of immaterial consciousness. The souls of the redeemed are made perfect in holiness (Heb 12:23) and pass immediately into the presence of Christ (Luk 23:43; Phi 1:23; 2Co 5:8), while the souls of the unsaved are held in torment awaiting final judgment (Luk 16:19-26).
We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (Joh 6:39; Rom 8:10-11, 19-23; 2Co 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Dan 12:2; Joh 5:28-29; Rev 20:11-15). Believers shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the Day of Judgment (Mat 10:32) and made perfectly blessed in both body and soul unto the full, eternal enjoyment of God. The unsaved shall be condemned at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15) and cast into hell, the lake of fire (Mat 25:41-46), where they will be cut off from the life of God, abiding under his undiminished wrath forever (Dan 12:2; Mat 25:41-46; 2Th 1:6-9).
B. The Rapture of the Church
We teach the personal, bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ (1Thess 4:16-17; Tit 2:11-13) to translate His Church from this earth (Joh 14:1-2; 1Co 15:51-53; 1Thess 4:15-5:11) and so the saints shall always be with the Lord.
C. The Day of the Lord
God will pour out the full fury of His wrath upon an unbelieving world (1Thess 4:15- 5:1-10; Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Zep 1:7-18; Rev 14:13-16:21), and these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory with His saints and His holy angels to judge all those living upon the earth (Mat 24:27-31; 2Th 2:7-12; Rev 19:11-21).
D. The Kingdom
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. Gen 1:1; Isa 9:6-7; Jer 23:5-6; Mat 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; Rom 5:17; 8:19; 1 Cor 15:24-28; Col 26 1:13; Heb 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Pet 2:4-10; 4:13; Rev 1:6,9;
5:10; 11:15; 21-22.
E. Last Things
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. Isa 2:4; 11:9; Mat 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; Rom 14:10; 1 Cor 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Cor 5:10; Phi 3:20-21; Col 1:5; 3:4; 1Thess 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2Thess 1:7ff; 2; 1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 4:1,8; Tit 2:13; Heb 9:27-28; Jam 5:8; 2 Pet 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Rev 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
- The Eternal State of the Lost
We teach the historical orthodox Baptistic view of eternal punishment for the finally impenitent. We teach that prior to the final judgment Satan will be cast into the lake of fire where he, the beast, and the False Prophet will be tormented day and night forever (Rev 20:10). At that time Christ, who is the judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne Judgment, separating the sheep from the goats (Mat 25:31-33). The resurrection of the unsaved to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment they will be committed, under the abiding wrath of God, to an eternal, conscious, and unrelenting punishment in the lake of fire with the devil and his angels (Mat 7:21-23; 13:40-42, 49-50; 25:41, 46; Heb 10:26-31; Rev 20:11-15).
- The Eternal State of the Elect
We teach that after the Great White Throne Judgment the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God.
Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Rev 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will forever enjoy fellowship with God and one another (Isa 35:8-10; Joh 17:3; Rev 21, 22). The Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father that in all spheres the Triune God may reign forever and ever (1Co 15:24-28).