Confession of Faith
I. The Scriptures
The Holy Bible is God’s written revelation to man. The sixty six books of the Bible are given to us by the Holy Spirit constituting the plenary (inspired in all parts) Word of God. The Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation, verbally inspired in every word, absolutely inerrant (without any mixture of error) in the original documents, infallible and God breathed. The primary intent of the Word of God is to unfold to us God’s plan of redemption beginning with Creation, the Fall and the promise of a coming Messiah who offer Himself as the substitute for sin. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the central message of the Bible and all Scripture points directly to Him and the good news of His coming. The Old Testament prepares us for the gospel, the Gospels present Jesus and the remainder of the New Testament teaches us how we are to live as believers in the gospel. The World of God is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction that has been preserved for us. It reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the final authority in questions relating to our faith, our teaching and our conduct. All Scripture is testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation, leading sinners to salvation through the Gospel for the glory of God.
II. The True God
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 in the Holy Scriptures as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
A. God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care and goodness 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.
B. 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 entering into human history. 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 Heaven as the living and ever-present Lord.
C. 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 in the Word of God. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and brings about 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 indwelling presence within 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.
III. Creation, Man and the Fall
The opening chapters of Genesis present a historical account of God’s creation of the universe in six literal days. God created all things out of nothing through His own powerful word. 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 and God has ordained the roles of male and female. 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 which brought his consequent total depravity, and need of regeneration. 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.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, 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 and repentance toward God.
A. 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 with unfeigned contrition, confession and supplication for mercy. The believer is thus convinced by the Spirit of God of one’s guilt, danger and helpless state. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior, Prophet, Priest and King relying on Him alone as the only and all sufficient Savior.
B. Justification is the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is Justification; that Justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart, according to the will of God, to God's purposes and made partakers of his holiness. The believer is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, dwelling in him. Growth in grace will continue throughout the regenerate person's life through the Spirit’s use of the word of God, self-examination, watchfulness and prayer. .
D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed in the presence of God forever. The struggle with the flesh, sin and the world will be over by virtue of death or Christ’s glorious return.
E. The Freeness of salvation – the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the immediate duty of all to accept the Gospel by cordial, penitent and obedient faith. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel. This rejection invokes the full wrath of God against him accompanied by just condemnation.
V. God's Purpose Of Grace and the Perseverance of the Saints
Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which He graciously regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is a glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable. It excludes boasting, and promotes humility. It is the foundation of Christian assurance and perseverance
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. This persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors. 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. The Holy Spirit watches over their welfare, and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
VI. The Harmony Of The Law And The Gospel
The Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government. It is holy, just, and good. The inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin. To deliver them from sin and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the Means of Grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.
VII. A Gospel Church
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 ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His word and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Its scriptural officers are Elders or Pastors, and Deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
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.
VIII. Baptism And The Lord's Supper
Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer in the name of the Father, and Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect, in our death to sin, the burial of the old life, and resurrection to a new life. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is pre-requisite 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.
IX. The Lord’s Day
The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance as practiced by the early church. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include the 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.
X. The Righteous And The Wicked
There is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked. Only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem. All who continue in rebellion, disobedience and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse. This distinction holds among men both in and after death.
XI. 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.
XII. The World To Come (Last Things)
The end of the world is approaching and at the last day Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final judgment. A solemn separation will then take place whereby the wicked will be consigned to endless punishment in Hell. The righteous in their resurrected and glorifed bodies will receive their reward and dwell in endless joy in Heaven with the Lord. This judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.
XIII. Civil Government
Civil Government is of Divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society. Magistrates and elected leaders are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. 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. 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.
XIV. 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.
XV. The Family
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.
Sources Used: New Hampshire Confession of Faith (1833), Baptist Faith and Message (2000)