What We Believe
The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)
We have adopted as the fullest expression of our faith the Baptist Confession of 1689. The ultimate authority in all matters of faith, order, and morals is and must be the Bible alone, which truth is clearly set forth in the opening article of the Confession itself. This historic document, albeit imperfect, is an excellent summary of "the things most surely believed among us" and we find it to be an assistance in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness.
The Doctrines of Grace
Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not — indeed he cannot — choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ — it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of salvation— it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.
This Doctrine in the Bible: 1 Cor. 2:14; Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12; 2 Cor. 1:9; Eph. 2:1-3, 12; Jer. 13:23; Ps. 51:5; John 3:3; Rom. 3:10-12; Job 14:4; 1 Cor. 1:18; Acts 13:21; John 5:21; Matt. 11:25; John 14:16; John 3:19
God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before fore the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause God’s choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.
This Doctrine in the Bible: Eph. 1:4-5; Rom. 8:29-30, 33; Rom. 9:11-23; John 15:16; Psalm 65:4; 105;6; Mark 13:20; 2 Thess. 2:13; Matt. 24:24, 31; 1 Thess. 1:4; Rom. 11:7; 1 Tim. 5:21; Rom. 11:5; 2 Tim. 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1; 2:9; 5:13; 1 Thess. 5:9; Acts 13:48; John 6:37, 65; 13:18; 15:16; 17:9
Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save his elect people and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in their place. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ’s redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which unites them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, therefore guaranteeing their salvation
This Doctrine in the Bible: Matt. 1:21; 20:28; 26:28; John 6:37-40; 10:11, 15, 26; 17:9; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27; Isaiah 53:12; Rom. 8:32-33; 1 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 5:9; 9:28; 10:14
In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The eternal call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By mean, of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God’, grace. therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.
This Doctrine in the Bible: Isa. 55:5, 6, 10-12; Psa. 65:4; John 6:37, 44, 45, 64-66; 8:43, 47; 10:26-27; 12:32; Acts 16:14-15; Rom. 8:14, 28, 30; 9:19; 11:29; 1 Cor. 1:9; 12:3; Phil. 1:29; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:11-14; 2 Tim. 1:9;
Perseverance of the Saints
All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.
This Doctrine in the Bible: John 6:37, 39, 40; 10:28-29; 15:16; Rom. 8:1, 33-35, 38-39; 11:29; 1 Cor. 1:4-9; Eph. 1:14; Phil. 1:6; Heb 6:13, 17-19
Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.
The Five Solas of the Reformation
Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation,which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.
We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.
Solus Christus - Christ Alone
We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.
We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.
Sola Gratia - Grace Alone
We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.
We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.
Sola Fide - Faith Alone
We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice.
We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.
Soli Deo Gloria - The Glory of God Alone
We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.
We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.