CONFESSION OF FAITH
We take the whole Bible, the 66 commonly received books of the Old and New Testaments, as our confession of faith. Although we accept no man-made confession as finally authoritative, we receive the 1689 Baptist Confession as true to the Bible. We present below a summary to instruct and guide our members and to preserve us against false doctrine.
1.1. Scripture: The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are equally and in every part the Word of God, without any error, a sufficient and final revelation of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience. They must be received as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. No other writings are accepted as Word of God or as having any such authority.
1.2. God: There is only one eternal God, who is Spirit, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things. He is self-sufficient, having in and of Himself all perfections and being infinite in them all. He accomplishes all things according to His will and for His own glory, yet He is not the author or approver of sin, nor does He destroy the responsibility of His intelligent creatures. This God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three equal and distinct persons.
1.3. Man: God created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, by a definite creative act, after His own image. The historic fall from the original righteousness in which mankind was created is the source of all the evil in the world. The guilt of Adam's sin is reckoned to all his descendants, so that all men are conceived in a state of guilt, corruption, separation from God and condemnation to eternal death. This state is known as original sin, and from it proceed all actual transgressions. Therefore, although completely responsible to God to perform what He has commanded, man is completely unable of himself to do any spiritual good, not even to repent of sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
1.4. Salvation Planned: From all eternity God has planned to save for Himself out of lost and fallen humanity an innumerable multitude, not because of any foreseen faith or merit on their part, but because of His mercy in Christ, who He appointed as the only Mediator, the prophet, priest and king of those whom the Father had given Him. All whom God has thus determined to save will certainly be called, justified and glorified.
1.5. Salvation Accomplished: According to the plan of God, Christ, the eternal second Person of the Godhead, united to Himself a real human nature through the womb of the Virgin Mary, becoming fully God and fully man in one Person, yet without sin. For the salvation of His people, He perfectly kept God's holy law, voluntarily suffered and died as a full and sufficient substitutionary sacrifice for them and thus making reconciliation to God for them. He was buried, rose bodily on the third day, ascended into heaven with the same body and sat down at the right hand of the Father. In heaven He now reigns over all things for the church and makes continual intercession for His people.
1.6. Salvation Applied: The exalted Christ sends forth the Holy Spirit to apply the fruits of His accomplished redemption to all His people, which application is essential unto salvation. The new birth, the giving of a new heart, by which the sinner is enabled to repent and believe, is not an act of man's free will and power, but the result of the effectual and gracious working of the Holy Spirit, who works when, where, and how and in whom He pleases. By this work, often referred to as regeneration, the Spirit enlightens their minds and renews their wills and affections, as God effectually calls them into fellowship with His Son through His Word. The immediate fruits of regeneration are:
1.6.1. Repentance - Repentance is a gift of God, whereby the Holy Spirit convinces a person of the wickedness of his sinfulness and his acts of rebellion against God, so that he turns to God in sorrow in order to walk in obedience before Him and to please Him. No one is saved without genuine repentance and unreserved submission to Christ as Lord.
1.6.2. Faith - Faith is a gift of God by which a person receives and rests on Jesus Christ alone for salvation, as He is freely offered to sinners in the Gospel. Although a person is saved through faith alone, this faith never stands alone but is accompanied by all the other fruit of the Holy Spirit.
1.6.3. Justification and Adoption - Justification is an act of God's free grace by which He pardons all the sins of His people, past, present and future, and reckons them as righteous in His sight on account of the righteousness of Christ imputed to them and not because of anything done in them or by them. Faith in Christ is the only instrument of justification. All those who are justified in Christ receive the promised Holy Spirit of adoption, so that they are truly sons of God.
1.7. Sanctification and Perseverance Sanctification is two-fold -
(i) Definitive: at conversion believers are united to Christ in His death to sin and resurrection to new life. As a result the rule of sin in their lives is broken and they willingly seek to be ruled by the Word of God.
(ii) Progressive: sanctification, which is the process of being entirely conformed to the image of Christ, will be perfectly completed only on the last day. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in us through our mortifying sin and obeying the commands of God. Because of indwelling sin, all believers experience a constant welfare between the flesh and the Spirit. However, the indwelling of the Spirit is the seal and guarantee that every true believer will persevere in the faith until the end.
1.8. The Church
1.8.1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only head of the universal church, His body, which is made up of all the people of God of all ages. Christians ought to gather together in local churches, to each of which Christ has given the necessary authority to administer order, discipline and worship. A true local church is recognized by the true preaching of the Word of God, proper administration of the ordinances, and the exercise of spiritual discipline. The only officers of a local church are its elders and deacons.
1.8.2. Ordinances: - Christ has instituted and given to His church two ordinances, Baptism and the Lord's Supper:
188.8.131.52. Baptism is an ordinance of Christ in which a believer is immersed in water upon profession of faith as a sign of his union with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Baptism does not make a person a Christian, nor is it essential to salvation, but it is a means of grace to believers who are being baptized. It is a sin to neglect this ordinance because Christ has commanded that believers be baptized.
184.108.40.206. The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of Christ in which the assembled believers eat bread and drink the cup. These are signs of the broken body and shed blood of Christ. This ordinance should be observed repeatedly by the Church until Christ returns. It is in no sense a sacrifice but is designed as a memorial of Christ's death, and it is a means of grace by which believers draw near to Him in faith. It is also an affirmation of the unity of all true believers.
1.8.3. Government - The office of elder has alone been appointed by Christ. Such elders are given spiritual authority to oversee the local church in accordance with Christ's Word.
1.8.4. Evangelism and Missions - It is the duty of every church and every Christian to extend the Gospel to all men everywhere, in recognition of the insufficiency of natural revelation unto salvation and that there is salvation only in the Name of Christ. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Go, and so the principal means for discipling the nations is the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. The goal of such work is the establishing of other local churches, under the headship of Christ, with their own officers directly responsible to Christ.
1.9. The Christian Life
1.9.1. The Law of God - God's revealed will is summarized in the ten commandments which, although they cannot justify the sinner, are binding on all men and form the continuing rule of life for every believer. This includes a regard for the sanctity of the Lord's Day, Sunday, which is the day set apart by believers unto the Lord in the New Testament in fulfillment of the fourth commandment.
1.9.2. The State - Civil government is ordained of God, and it is the duty of every Christian to submit to the civil authorities in all matters consistent with the teaching of Scripture. Christians are especially commanded to pray for their rulers.
1.9.3. Christian Liberty - The Christian must always seek to have a conscience void of offence towards God and man. God alone is the Lord of the conscience, and the believer is not held subject to the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any way contrary to or not contained in His Word.
1.10. The Last Things
1.10.1. Death - The bodies of men at death return to dust, but the souls of the righteous to rest with God, and the souls of the wicked to be reserved under darkness until the judgement.
1.10.2. Return of Christ - At a day and hour which no man knows, Christ will return to this earth personally, bodily and in glory.
1.10.3. Resurrection and Judgement - On that appointed Day, God will judge all men by Christ Jesus. The bodies of all who have died, both the just and the unjust, will be raised and united with their souls. The resurrected dead together with all those who are alive at His coming will be publicly judged according to their works. The wicked will go into conscious and everlasting punishment, and the righteous into everlasting life.