Statement of Faith

 

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” –Colossians 2:6-7

The Legacy Baptist Church beliefs and practices are founded and grounded in the Bible, and are briefly summarized in the following Statement of Faith:

SECTION 1–THE SCRIPTURES

A. We believe that the Bible, both New and Old Testaments, has been given to man by God Himself and that every word is perfect, eternal and without the slightest error in the original writings. (2 Timothy 3:16-17;  2 Peter 1:19-21;  Psalm 119:89, 138:2;  Proverbs 30:5)

B. We believe that the Bible is in truth God’s Word and that it is the supreme and final authority upon earth for all faith and practice. (Mark 7:1-13;  Matthew 5:18;  Luke 16:17)

1. We believe that neither the will of God nor the leading of the Spirit of God ever contradicts the revealed Word of God. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5;  Malachi 3:6;  2 Peter 1:19-21). We reject as error any belief, “revelation”, tradition, or doctrine that contradicts any clear teaching of the Bible. (Mark 7:5-13;  Deuteronomy 13:1-5;  Romans 16:17;  Galatians 1:8-9)

3. We also reject as unBiblical any person, group, or movement that believes that the Bible is not totally and perfectly sufficient to equip God’s people to do any and every work that is good, acceptable, and pleasing in God’s sight.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 4:1-4)

4. We also reject as heretical the belief that God is continuing to give wisdom, guidance, or revelation in our day of equal authority with the Bible.  (Proverbs 30:5-6;  2 Peter 1:15-21;  2 Timothy 3:16-17, 4:1-4;  Revelation 22:18-19)

C. We believe that God has preserved His Word through the ages in existing and available Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible and that not one Word of God’s Word has been lost through copying or human error. (Matthew 24:35;  Mark 13:31;  Luke 21:33)

1. We believe that honest, conservative, and literal English translations (not paraphrases) of the Bible, prepared by saved translators who believe in the inerrancy and authority of the scriptures, are sufficient for the doctrine, instruction, and edification of the Body of Jesus Christ.

2. However, where any question arises regarding a translation, we believe that the Old Testament Masoretic Hebrew Text and the New Testament Received Text (Textus Receptus) manuscripts of the Bible are the final authority.

3. All preaching/teaching done under the direction of this ministry will be conducted using the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible.

SECTION 2—GOD

A. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. (Genesis 1:1;  Deuteronomy 6:4;  Matthew 28:19;  2 Corinthians 13:14;  1 Peter 1:2;  Zechariah 14:3-4;  Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7, 19:24)

B. We believe that these three have precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections. (Hebrews 1:3;  Colossians 2:9;  Leviticus 19:2  compare  Hebrews 7:26  and  Ephesians 4:30)

C. We believe that there exists a voluntary, willing, loving submission between the Persons of the Godhead–the Son to the Father (John 14:31, 15:10, 17:23-26;  1 John 4:16) and the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son (John 14:26, 16:13-14)

D. We believe that Jesus Christ:

1. Is eternal (Micah 5:2;  Isaiah 9:7)

2. Is fully God who took on flesh and dwelt on earth. (Isaiah 9:6;  John 1:1, 20:28; Acts 20:28;  Titus 2:13;  Hebrews 1:8)

3. Became also fully man through the virgin birth (Galatians 4:4;  Isaiah 7:14. Compare  Matthew 1:23;  1 John 1:1; 4:2-3)

4. Has two natures and these two natures exist together without fusion or confusion, without mixture or admixture–He is perfectly God and perfectly man. (Colossians 2:9;  1 John 2:22; 4:2;  Isaiah 9:6;  Galatians 4:4;  Hebrews 4:15, 9:14)

E. We believe that the Holy Spirit:

1. Is a Person–He searches, knows, speaks, testifies, reveals, convicts, commands, strives, moves, helps, guides, creates, regenerates, sanctifies, inspires, makes intercession, orders the affairs of the church, performs miracles, raises the dead, appoints overseers and missionaries, etc. (Romans 8:26, 27;  John 14:26, 16:8, 13;  Acts 8:29, 13:2, 16:7, 20:28)

2. Is fully God–He is declared to be God (Acts 5:3-4), He does the same works, has the same attributes and receives the same honor as the Father and Son. (1 Corinthians 3:16  compare  I Corinthians 6:19, 2:10;  Romans 8:11, 27)

3. Is unchanging and always works in perfect harmony and accordance with the Word of God. (1 John 4:1;  Malachi 3:6;  2 Peter 1:15-21;  John 16:13-15;  1 Corinthians 14:37)

4. Is no longer bestowing such spiritual gifts as apostleship, prophecy (revelation), healing and tongues. These gifts were temporary and needed only in the infancy of the church. They are not to be expected, encouraged, or sought today.  (1 Corinthians 13:8-11)

5. God can heal, but physical healing is not in the atonement. God heals miraculously today when it is His perfect will to do so. Healing cannot be claimed through the guarantee of the atonement. At times, it is God’s will for sickness to not be removed. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10;  James 5:4-16)

6. The gift of tongues (languages) was a manifestation of the Spirit’s power soley for the demonstration of God’s wisdom, purpose, and power in the establishment of the early church, and was always in a language that was currently in use. We believe that tongues fulfilled its purpose in the first century, and ceased to be used before the completion of the New Testament. We further believe that the modern tongues movement is not of God. (Acts 2:16-18;  1 Corinthians 14:22)

SECTION 3—MAN

A. We believe:

1. That man was created directly by God Himself in the image of God. (Genesis 2:7, 18-22, 9:6;  Matthew 19:4;  Psalm 8:5;  Colossians 3:10) By image we mean that:

a. Man has personality involving self-consciousness and self- determination; making man responsible for his choices. (Ezekiel 33:8-9, 18:1-18)

b. Man has a moral nature involving the ability to know right from wrong. (1 Timothy 2:13-14;  John 14:15)

c. Man has the ability to know God. (Exodus 33:13)

2. That man willfully sinned (disobeyed God’s revealed will), thereby incurring the curse of both physical and spiritual death and marring the image of God in man. (Genesis 2:16-17  compare  Genesis 3:6, 19;  Romans 5:12-21)

3. That all people are born into this world with a sinful nature and are now sinners by birth and by choice, positively inclined to evil. (Psalm 51:5, 58:3;  Ephesians 2:3;  Romans 3:23, 8:7)

4. That a true child of God has two births; one of the flesh, the other of the Spirit, giving man a flesh nature and a Spirit nature. The flesh nature is neither good nor righteous. The Spiritual man does not commit any sin. This results in a warfare between the Spirit and the flesh, which continues until physical death, or the return of the Lord. The flesh nature of man does not change in any way with the new birth, but can be controlled and kept subdued by the new man. (John 3:3-7;  Romans 7:15-25, 8:8;  Isaiah 64:6;  Ephesians 2:3;  1 Peter 1:23;  1 John 1:8, 3:9;  Galatians 5:16-23;  Colossians 2:6-7)

5. That man, apart from salvation, can do nothing pleasing to God or meriting His favor. (Isaiah 64:6;  Romans 5:6, 8:8)

6. That all men therefore, upon reaching accountable age, are under just and deserved condemnation to certain eternal conscious punishment in hell without defense, excuse, or strength to save himself. (John 3:18, 36;  James 2:11;  Romans 1:20, 3:19, 5:6, 8:3;  2 Thessalonians 1:7-9;  Matthew 25:41, 46;  Revelation 19:20  compare  Revelation 20:10-15, 21:8;  Matthew 18:14;  2 Samuel 12:23)

B. We believe that God commands all men everywhere to admit their sinful, guilty, helpless condition to God (repentance) and to trust Jesus Christ and His shed blood as their only hope of salvation. (Acts 17:30;  Luke 13:3, 5;  Galatians 3:22;  Acts 3:19)

SECTION 4—SALVATION

A. We believe that God in perfect holiness, hates all disobedience to His revealed will and is compelled by His justice to punish all sin with constant, eternal punishment. (Revelation 21:27, 19:20  compare  Revelation 20:10, 11-15;  2 Thessalonians 1:7-9;  Matthew 25:41, 46;  Mark 9:43-48)

B. We believe that God, in perfect love, came in the person of Jesus Christ, lived a sinless life, and shed His blood and died as the substitute and representative for all mankind. We believe that apart from Jesus Christ there is no salvation. (Romans 5:8, 9;  1 Peter 2:24, 3:18;  Isaiah 53:4-6;  1 John 3:16)

C. We believe that Jesus Christ was raised bodily from the dead proving that He had completely and perfectly satisfied the demand of God that sin be punished. (Romans 3:25, 4:25, 10:9;  1 John 2:2, 4:10;  Isaiah 53:11)

D. We reject the doctrine of limited atonement and hold that Christ’s shed blood is sufficient to totally satisfy God’s wrath for the sins of all men. (1 John 2:2, 4:14;  Titus 2:11;  1 Timothy 2:4, 6, 4:10;  John 1:29, 3:16, 4:42;  2 Corinthians 5:18-21;  Romans 5:12-21)

E. We believe that Jesus Christ has promised to save any persons who will repent (change their mind about sin, and any religion or self-work to attain salvation) and trust Him by faith to save them. All who so trust Christ are instantly born again by the Holy Spirit and become children of God. (Luke 13:3;  John 1:12-13, 3:3-7, 14-18, 36, 6:40, 47;  Acts 20:21, 10:43;  Romans 10:13)

F. We believe that salvation is wholly of God’s grace in response to our faith in Christ and has nothing whatever to do with our own “good works”, status, religion, church affiliation, or merit. (Ephesians 2:8-9;  Titus 3:5;  Matthew 7:21-23;  Romans 4:5)

G. We reject such doctrines of God’s grace that eliminate the necessity of man to exercise his own will to be saved. (Luke 13:3;  John 1:11-12, 3:14-16, 11:26;  Acts 2:37, 16:30;  Romans 10:13)

H. We believe that the salvation is perfectly a matter of Divine Sovereignty and also perfectly a matter of man’s responsibility and free-will. We reject any system of theology that attempts to reconcile these two truths by emphasizing one at the expense of the other. We believe it is God’s will that all would be saved and that none would perish. (Acts 2:37  compare  Acts 2:39; 2:23;  John 6:37, 6:64-65  compare  John 3:16;  Acts 13:48  compare  Acts 13:46;  Romans 11:25  compare  Matthew 23:37;  2 Peter 3:9;  Romans 10:14-17;  1 Peter 1:2)

I. We believe that a person once saved is eternally secure from all fear of condemnation or punishment for sins. (John 5:24, 3:18, 10:28;  Romans 4:5-8;  Ephesians 4:30;  Philippians 1:6;  Romans 6:8-10)

J. We believe that a truly saved believer can be perfectly certain of his salvation at all points in his life since his salvation depends only upon his faith in the person and work of Christ and not to the slightest degree upon his own worth and works. (1 John 5:11-13; Galatians 2:16, 21, 3:2-3, 5:4-5, 5:13-16, 6:1;  2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15;  1 Corinthians 5:3-5, 11:30)

K. We believe that all who trust Christ for salvation are commanded to make public profession of this faith by being baptized by immersion in water, that this baptism is an act of obedience after salvation and has NO saving power, and therefore only those old enough to repent, believe, and obey are proper subjects for Bible baptism. (Matthew 28:18-20, 3:16;  Mark 16:16;  John 3:23;  Acts 2:38  compare  Acts 3:19, 8:36-39; 10:43-48, 16:30-34;  1 Corinthians 1:17;  Ephesians 1:13-14)

L. We believe that evangelism is God’s means of pointing lost men to the Savior and that this activity is both commanded by God and is essential to the saving of souls in this age. (Romans 1:16, 10:13-17;  Matthew 28:18-20;  Mark 16:15;  Ephesians 1:13;  1 Corinthians 1:17, 9:19-22;  Jude 1:22-23;  Philippians 1:12-18;  Acts 4:12, 5:42;  John 14:6  compare  Acts 1:8;  Mark 13:26-29)

SECTION 5–THE CHURCH

A. We believe that two aspects of the church are taught in the New Testament:

1. The Church as the Body of Christ in Total

a. Definition–We believe that the Church in this sense began at Pentecost and will be removed from the earth by Jesus Christ prior to the Great Tribulation and consists of all persons saved from Pentecost to the rapture. (1 Corinthians 12:13;  Ephesians 1:22- 23, 3:16, 5:23-32;  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

b. We reject as heretical such variations in doctrines of the “Body of Christ”, “Universal Church”, or “Invisible Church” when they leave out or depreciate the God-commanded responsibility of every believer to be a member of, take an active part in, and submit to the ministry of a Scriptural local church as described below. (Acts 2:41-47;  Ephesians 4:11-16;  Hebrews 3:1, 10:24-25)

2. The Church as the Local Body of Christ

a. Definition–The local church is a local body of baptized believers who have voluntarily joined together to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ by fulfilling all aspects of the Great Commission (see Article II), observing the ordinances (see below), and having a government as described in Article IV.

b. We believe that the local church is the only organization upon earth that God has ordained with the responsibility to defend the faith and spread His Word to the ends of the earth. We reject as unScriptural any organization, evangelistic association, missions agency, or parachurch group which is not a ministry of a local church or involved directly with the establishment and strengthening of local churches. (1 Timothy 3:14-15;  Acts 13:1, 2, 14:21-23, 14:26-28, 20:17, 28;  Romans 16:1, 3-5, 16, 22-23;  1 Corinthians 3:4-17;  Galatians 1:2;  Philippians 1:1, 4:15;  Colossians 1:2, 4:16;  James 1:1, 2:1-4;  1 Peter 1:1, 5:1-4)

c. We believe that all saved persons upon earth are commanded to be an integral part of the ministry of a Scriptural local church, including assembling together regularly, exercising their individual gifts for the edification of the church, submitting to one another in love and to Scriptural leaders, supporting the work of the church with prayer and finances, observing the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper regularly, agreeing together upon and carrying out church discipline, caring for the needs of widows indeed as well as the needs of the fellow believers, and striving for doctrinal purity and unity in the church. (Hebrews 10:24-25;  1 Corinthians 11:20, 12:14-30, 5:4-5, 11, 6:1-6;  1 Peter 5:1-5;  Hebrews 13:17;  Ephesians 4:11-16;  1 Thessalonians 5:12-13;  2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14;  1 Timothy 5:3, 17;  John 13:34, 35;  1 Peter 4:10, 11)

B. We believe that Christ has commanded the local church to observe and administer two ordinances–Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

1. Baptism–(See Article V Section 4K)

2. The Lord’s Supper–We believe the Lord’s Supper is commanded by the Lord to remind us of His broken body and shed blood to pay for our sins and to remind us of His promised return. We do not believe that the Lord’s Supper has any saving power. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26;  Matthew 26:29)

SECTION 6–FUTURE EVENTS

A. We believe in the future bodily resurrection of the dead; both of the saved and lost. (John 5:28, 29)

B. We believe that the spirits of the unsaved at death descend immediately into hades where they are kept under punishment until the final day of judgment (Luke 16:19-31;  2 Peter 2:9), at which time their bodies shall be raised from the dead, they shall be judged according to their works, and cast into the place of final and everlasting punishment. (Revelation 20:11-15, 21:8;  Daniel 12:2)

C. We believe that the spirits of the saved at death go immediately to be with the Lord until the rapture of the church at which time their bodies are resurrected and made after the likeness of the resurrected body of Jesus Christ and are taken up from this earth to be continually in the presence of the Lord forever. (2 Corinthians 5:8;  Philippians 1:23, 3:20-21;  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18;  1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-54)

D. We believe in a future literal 7 year period of terrible tribulation upon earth preceded by the rapture of the church and followed by the literal return of Jesus Christ to the earth to reign for 1000 years, after which the present earth and heavens (the created celestial bodies) shall be totally destroyed and the final judgment will take place. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18;  2 Thessalonians 2:7;  Revelation 4:1, 7:14;  Matthew 24:21;  Daniel 9:26- 27)

E. We believe in a literal heaven with a street of gold and gates of pearls; the light of which is God Himself. We believe heaven is a place of unimaginable beauty and joy which will last for eternity. (1 Peter 1:4;  Revelation 21:9-22:5;  1 Corinthians 2:9)

F. We do not believe that there is any hope for any human being to have his eternal destiny changed after his physical death. (Hebrews 9:27;  Luke 16:19ff)

G. We believe in the “blessed hope”–the personal, bodily, pretribulational, premillennial, and imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ in the air to rapture His bride, the church. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18;  Titus 2:13;  1 Corinthians 15:51-55;  John 14:1-3)

SECTION 7—SATAN

A. We believe that Satan is a literal demonic spirit of great power, totally evil, and bent upon the eradication of all knowledge and worship of God from the earth. We believe that his great desire is to be worshiped and glorified as god by all creation. (Matthew 4:4-11;  Luke 4:1-13;  John 8:44;  Revelation 12:9;  Isaiah 14:12-14, 16-17)

B. We believe that Satan’s wicked career is revealed in the Bible and can be divided into periods as follows:

1. Period of Holiness–The period after his creation in which he was holy by creation and by his own choice. (Ezekiel 28:11)

2. Period of Liberty (Rebellion)–The present period when he is allowed by God to roam the heavens and earth deceiving and destroying, head a huge demonic organization, and control the world’s system. (Job 1:6-27;  Revelation 12:10;  Ephesians 6:10-13, 2:2-3;  2 Corinthians 4:4;  1 John 5:19)  During this period he experiences 3 judgments:

a. Judgment of Ezekiel 28:16 when he is cast out of God’s presence, thus ending his holiness and beginning his period of liberty and rebellion.

b. Cross Judgment when his future execution and doom were sealed. (John 16:11, 12:31;  Genesis 3:15;  1 John 3:8)

c. Mid-Tribulation Judgment when he and his forces lose the battle with Michael and his forces and is cast out into the earth. (Revelation 12:7-10)

3. Period of Wrath–The 3 1/2 year period of great wrath beginning in the middle of the Great Tribulation; a fit of emotional anger. (Revelation 12:12)

4. Period in the Abyss– The 1000 year period when he is shut in the abyss during Christ’s reign on earth. (Revelation 20:1-3)

5. The Short Period–The short season in which he is loosed from the abyss and permitted to head a world-wide conspiracy and rebellion against God’s people. (Revelation 20:3, 7-9)

6. The Lake of Fire–The final period of unending horrible torment in the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:10;  Matthew 25:41)

C. We believe that Satan is perfectly evil and is using every available means to deceive the world into believing “The Lie”, including religion, education, government, the media, the occult, music, vice, lies, sin, violence, miracles, prophecies, sins of all kinds and any other natural and supernatural means which violate principles of God’s Word. (John 8:44;  Romans 1:25;  2 Thessalonians 2:9-12;  2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 4:2-4;  Ephesians 6:12, 5:1-12;  Matthew 24:24, 7:21-23;  Deuteronomy 13:1-5)

D. We believe that Satan can be resisted by believers through the power of the Holy Spirit using the means, armor, and weapons that God in grace has provided for them. (1 John 4:4, 5:18;  Ephesians 6:10-18;  James 4:7;  Matthew 4:4-11)

E. We believe that God will not permit an obedient believer to be tempted or oppressed by satanic forces beyond that person’s wisdom or ability to resist. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

F. We believe that God perfectly hates the devil, and has commanded every person to resist the devil while separating from all sin and fellowship with Satan-influenced activities. (Ephesians 5:11;  2 Corinthians 6:14-17;  James 4:7)

SECTION 8—SEPARATION

A. We believe that God has called the saved to holy life separate from sin (1 Thessalonians 4:7) and from communion with this world in at least three areas: Personal Separation, Separation in Questionable Things, and Ecclesiastical Separation.

1. Personal Separation

a. We believe that at least three tests of true love for God are given in Scripture:

1) Willingness to obey Christ’s commands (John 14:15, 21, 23, 15:10-14)

2) Willingness to separate from all known sin (1 Thessalonians 4:7- 8;  1 John 5:2-3  compare  1 John 3:4-10;  1 Peter 1:14-16)

3) Hatred for the satanic world system (1 John 2:15-16;  James 4:4)

b. We believe that this separation is to be:

1) Passive–not participating in, supporting, or taking vicarious pleasure in things which God hates and opposes. (1 Peter 2:11;  Romans 1:32;  1 Thessalonians 4:3-6;  James 1:27b)

2) Active–exposing, warning, and resisting evil by our life and influence (Ephesians 5:11;  1 Timothy 4:11, 6:2b;  2 Timothy 4:2;  Titus 1:11-13;  Romans 12:21)

3) Positive–thinking on, listening to, watching, doing, and using only things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8;  1 Peter 2:12-15)

4) Negative–putting off evil so that we can put on good. (Ephesians 4:22-27)

c. We believe that personal separation involves at least the following areas:

1) Our speech. (Ephesians 4:31, 5:3;  Colossians 4:6)

2) Our behavior. (1 Peter 2:12)

3) Our moral principles. (1 Thessalonians 4:6-7;  Exodus 20:1-17)

4) Our appearance, dress, and hair length. (1 Thessalonians 5:22;  Deuteronomy 22:5;  1 Corinthians 11:14-15;  1 Timothy 2:9-10;  1 Peter 3:1-6)

5) Our choice of friends. (Proverbs 13:20)

6) Our choice of counselors. (Psalm 1:1)

7) Our occupation. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

8) Our choice of things we read, see, do, and the music we listen to. (Philippians 4:8)

2. Separation in Questionable Things

a. We believe in the individual priesthood of the believer.

1) This means that God has given to every person the privilege of direct access to God. (1 Timothy 2:5;  Hebrews 4:16;  1 Peter 2:9;  Revelation 1:6)

2) This means also that every person has the right to interpret the Scriptures for himself in order to discover its facts and truths and to establish his own beliefs, convictions, and practices from this study. (2 Timothy 2:15;  Acts 17:11;  Galatians 5:1)

3) This does not mean that an individual has the liberty to twist, doubt, or disobey the original intent of the Scripture as God has revealed it in the Bible. We also believe that a local church and/or another believer has the liberty to disagree with and if necessary not accept into fellowship those deviating from sound doctrine and practice. (2 Peter 3:16;  Matthew 5:17-20;  1 Corinthians 5:1-13)

4) This does not mean that our liberty in Christ extends to the point of:

(a) sin (Ephesians 5:11-12;   1 Thessalonians 5:8)

(b) carnal behavior (Galatians 5:13-15;   1 Peter 2:16)

(c) behavior that may tempt or weaken the faith of others (see “d.” below)

b. We believe that it is not God’s will for believers to judge one another with respect to things indifferent to God. (By “things indifferent” we mean things about which God has given no clear statement or principle in His Word, or things that He has said in His Word that make no difference to Him.) (Deuteronomy 29:29) In things indifferent the following principles apply:

1) The strong should receive the weak and not argue with them about their opinions. (Romans 14:1-3a)

2) The weak should not judge the strong because things indifferent have nothing to do with our standing before God. (Romans 14:3b-12)

3) God deals with each according to his own conscience in things indifferent and God has called all believers to peace in such matters. (Romans 14:5b, 19, 22-23)

c. We believe that as believers we are called by God to limit our liberty in Christ in matters that we may not consider to be sin but could tempt others to sin or that would be considered to be sin. (1 Peter 2:16; Romans 14:13;  1 Corinthians 8:9, 13; 1 Thessalonians 5:22). Several principles to govern our conduct in this area would be as follows:

1) Does it glorify the Lord? (1 Corinthians 6:20, 10:31)

2) Could it be a stumbling block to other believers? (Romans 14:13, 20-21;   1 Corinthians 8:9, 13)

3) Will it harm my body? (1 Corinthians 6:19-20;  Ephesians 4:30)

4) Do I want to reap this later in my life and in the lives of my children? (Galatians 6:7-8)

5) Will it build and strengthen my Christian life? (1 Corinthians 10:23, 6:12)

6) Does it make me look, act, or become more like the world? (1 John 2:15-16;  James 4:4)

7) Do I have doubts about whether it is right or not? (Romans 14:22-23)

8) Does it seem evil or questionable to others? (1 Thessalonians 5:22;  1 Corinthians 10:23-33)

3. Ecclesiastical Separation

a. We believe that God desires love and unity among all true believers and that this unity be based upon the doctrinal truths of His word. (John 13:34-35, 17:21-23  compare  John 17:17;  1 Corinthians 13:6;  Philippians 1:9-10;  Deuteronomy 13:3-4)

b. We believe that God has commanded all believers to:

1) Form no spiritual unions with or be found in cooperation among unbelievers. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)

2) “Mark” and “avoid” those who cause divisions or teach doctrinal error regardless of their “good words and fair speeches” (Romans 16:17-20)

3) “Withdraw” from those who:

(a) do not consent to the words and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Timothy 6:3;  Titus 1:16-2:15)

(b) teach doctrine not promoting godliness. (1 Timothy 6:3;  John 9:11)

(c) become argumentative over unimportant questions. (Titus 3:9-11;  1 Timothy 6:4)

(d) believe that material gain is a sign of godliness and God’s approval. (1 Timothy 6:5)

4) “Rebuke sharply” those whose behavior does not conform with sound faith and doctrine appropriate for believers. (Titus 1:13-2:15;  1 Timothy 6:1-2, 5)

c. We also believe that it is unwise to work together with believers who do not hold to a firm stand of separation since compromise leads to apostasy and sin. (Exodus 34:12-14;  Numbers 33:51-55;  Deuteronomy 7:1-5;  Judges 1:36, 2:1-23; Solomon, Asa, etc.)

d. We therefore disavow the position both of those organizations and fellowships:

1) Where unbelief and error has developed to the point where apostasy is recognizable and indisputable, and

2) Where the position of separation does not conform with that stated above since any other position constitutes an unScriptural compromise which may lead to apostasy and sin. We believe it is right to pray for those true Christians who hold this error, but we believe it is wrong to work with or cooperate with them.

e. We therefore disavow the position of the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, and any other association, fellowship or missions agency that would be in sympathy with them.

f. We stand in opposition to the Ecumenical Movement, Neo-Orthodoxy, New Evangelicalism, and cooperative evangelism programs between churches and people not of like precious faith and practice.

g. We believe in divine healing (James 5:14-15), but we believe that the modern tongues, charismatic, and healing movement violates many direct Scriptural statements and must be rejected as being contrary to sound doctrine. (2 Timothy 3:16-17;  2 Peter 1:15-21;  1 Corinthians 14:27-40  especially I Corinthians 14:37;  Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:20-22;  Matthew 7:21-23)

SECTION 9—RELATIONSHIPS

A. Marriage, Family, and Children

1. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. (Genesis 1:26-28)

2. We believe that marriage is an institution designed and ordained by God that began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and will continue until the termination of this physical universe. (Genesis 2:18-25;  Matthew 19:4-6, 22:29-30;  Ephesians 5:31-33)

3. We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. (Genesis 2:24;  Romans 7:2;  I Corinthians 7:10;  Ephesians 5:22-23)

4. We believe that marriage between a man and a woman is honorable in God’s sight, and the sexual relationship in marriage is good, honorable, and pure. (Genesis 1:27-28, 2:24, 26:8-9;  Hebrews 13:4;  Proverbs 18:22, 19:14, 5:18-19)

5. We reject any and all other sexual relationships as being contrary to Scripture, exceedingly sinful, and facing the certain and inescapable judgment of God. We believe that any form of fornication, adultery, incest, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, pornography, etc. is a sinful perversion of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. (Romans 1:26-29;  Hebrews 13:4;  1 Corinthians 5:1-13, 6:9-11, 6:16-18;  I Thessalonians 4:1-8;  Genesis 19:5, 13;  Leviticus 18:1-30, 20:10-23;  Deuteronomy 22:10-30, 27:20-23;  Matthew 5:27-32)

6. We believe that men and women are equal in position before God, but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and in the church. We believe that God has designed a definite, undeniable, and purposeful structure for the family that will glorify God and evoke His blessing and help. The Biblical order for the family is as follows:

a. The husband has the responsibility before God to be the head of the home and is charged with the responsibility to lovingly lead, teach, protect, and provide for his family. (Genesis 18:19;  Ephesians 5:25-33;  Colossians 3:19;  1 Corinthians 11:3-10;  1 Timothy 5:8;  1 Peter 3:7;  Psalm 75:6-7)

b. The wife has the responsibility before God to be a helper of her husband, to submit to his authority as the church submits to Christ, to be keeper of the home, and to love her husband and her children. (Ephesians 5:22-24, 33;  Colossians 3:18;  1 Peter 3:1-6;  Titus 2:4-5;  1 Timothy 5:14)

c. The parents have the responsibility to carefully and lovingly teach their children spiritual and moral values, and lead them by the example of a consistent life in these taught areas. Parents are entrusted with the responsibility of correcting their children and using Scriptural, corporal discipline, bathed with love, when merited. (Genesis 18:19;  Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:5-9;  2 Timothy 3:15;  Ephesians 6:4;  Proverbs 22:6, 3:11-12, 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15, 17;  Colossians 3:21)

d. The children are commanded to honor their father and mother and to obey them. (Exodus 20:12;  Ephesians 6:1-3;  Colossians 3:20;  Proverbs 1:8-9;  Exodus 21:15-17;  Leviticus 20:9;  Deuteronomy 21:18-20)

7. We believe that children belong to the Lord (Psalm 24:1, 100:3, 127:3, 139:13-16;  1 Chronicles 29:11-14), and that He has entrusted them to the parents to raise, teach, and discipline in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We reject as contrary to Scripture the doctrines of humanism which teach that children belong to the state and that it is the state which has the right and responsibility to raise and educate children. (Psalm 127:3;  Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:7-9;  Proverbs 22:6;  Ephesians 6:4;  Matthew 18:6-14)

8. We reject as unScriptural any organization, government, movement, school, publication, philosophy, or social action group that seeks to weaken, change, or destroy God’s order for the family and home as taught in the Bible and as set forth in this Constitution. (Deuteronomy 27:26, 7:10;  Matthew 7:15-20, 24-27)

9. We believe that marriage is binding until death. We believe, even in cases of fornication, that reconciliation is always God’s desire. Although divorced and remarried persons, or divorced persons, may be involved in Christian service within the church and be greatly used of God, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon. (Matthew 19:3-12;  1 Corinthians 7:10-16  compare  Romans 6:22-7:8;  Malachi 2:14-16;  Hosea 1:23, 2:1-23, 3:1-5;  I Timothy 3:2, 12;  Titus 1:6)

B. Lawsuits Between Believers

1. We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. (I Corinthians 6:1-8)

2. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (I Corinthians 6:1-8)

C. Love

1. We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. (John 13:34-35;  Matthew 5:44-48;  I John 3:17-18)

2. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. (Leviticus 19:18;  Luke 6:31;  Romans 12:9-10, 17-21, 13:8-10;  Philippians 2:2-4;  II Timothy 2:24-26)

D. Political Involvement

1. We believe that, as residents of earth, we have a responsibility to be aware of the influence of politics. We recognize that the Bible records for us Christians who operated within, and worked for, civil government. (Genesis 41:37-46;  II Samuel;  Daniel 6:2;  Romans 13:1-7)

2. We also realize, however, that political activism is not our calling, nor is it an effective tool for permanent change. This being so, our church will not sponsor, promote, or engage in political activism as a church ministry. (Matthew 28:18-20;  II Corinthians 10:3-4;  Ephesians 6:12)

SECTION 10—EDUCATION

A. We believe that the only and ultimate purpose of all education upon earth is to enable a person to more fully do the will of God and thus glorify Him. (1 Corinthians 10:31, 6:20)

B. We believe that education is an integral part of the Christian life intended by God to be a lifelong process and includes the learning and teaching of God’s will enabling us to glorify Him with our lives. (Hebrews 5:11-14;  Matthew 28:19-20;  Proverbs 27:23;  compare  1 Samuel 16:17-18;  Exodus 31:1-11;  1 Kings 4:32-34)

C. We believe that the only means God has given the church upon earth to promote His kingdom and glory is through communication of truth to others with prayer and an attitude of genuine love and concern–not by force, violence, government, deceit, gimmicks, etc. (Matthew 28:19-20, 13:1-9, 18-23 especially Matthew 28:19;  Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, 26:52;  John 13:34-35;  Colossians 1:12-13).

D. Thus, we believe it the duty of our church to engage in types of instruction, ministry, classes, schools, institutes, programs, studies, newspapers, etc., that will enable us the opportunity to communicate essential truth to others without violating other principles of Scripture.

E. Thus, we also believe it our duty in love to avoid and expose as unBiblical the teaching or “truth so-called” by any organization, agency, body, government, church, teacher, or entity, which contradicts the true teachings, doctrines, and principles of Scripture. (Romans 16:17;  Titus 1:9-11)

F. As to content, we believe that God expects His people as a church, corporately and individually, to actively communicate that information to others that will most enable them to know and do God’s will.

1. This means prudently tailoring the content being communicated with the learner’s spiritual state, desire, ability, and willingness to learn. (John 16:12;  1 Corinthians 3:2;  Isaiah 28:9-10)

2. This means prudently expanding or limiting the scope and intensity of our teaching in accord with the relationship and influence God has given us with the learner. (John 2:24;  2 Timothy 2:2;  Deuteronomy 6:7)

3. This means prudently balancing the scope and intensity of our teaching of others by the time, abilities, and other responsibilities that God has given us. (John 4:40  compare  Luke 4:42-43;  Mark 3:14;  Matthew 4:19-20)

4. In application this means that:

a. to unbelievers–we speak primarily the gospel (Mark 16:15)

b. to carnal Christians with a limited willingness to listen–we speak the basic truths (1 Corinthians 3:2)

c. to the mature and obedient–we speak the deeper truths of God’s Word (Hebrews 5:11-14)

d. to faithful disciples capable of teaching–we speak everything that we ourselves have the time and ability to communicate to them for fruitfulness in the ministry (2 Timothy 2:2)

e. to our own children–we speak and train them in everything necessary for life and godliness (Deuteronomy 6:6-7;  Proverbs 3:1-4, 4:1-13, 5:1-2, 6:1-15, 6:20  through  Proverbs 7:1ff;  etc.)

5. In application, we do not esteem one day above another with respect to our responsibility to teach and propagate the truth to others. (Acts 5:42, 17:11;  Luke 9:23;  Matthew 28:19-20;  Deuteronomy 6:7) We do esteem it our responsibility to tailor the content taught during any teaching opportunity to that which will most effectively help the learner to know and do God’s will.

6. In application this also means that, in general, the more personal and individually tailored that the training can be, the more effective and fruitful will be that disciple’s life. Compare: Christ’s training of the 12 (and the 3 inner circle) disciples, Moses’ training of Joshua, Elijah’s training of Elisha, and Hanani’s training of his son, Jehu.

G. We do not believe in the so-called distinction between ‘spiritual’ truth and ‘secular’ truth as we believe that all genuine truth, regardless of subject matter originates with God and is clean and profitable to learn. (Genesis 1:1, 4:20-22;  Exodus 35:30-36:1;  1 Kings 4:32-34;  Job 38:41;  Matthew 6:25-33;  John 14:6;  Philippians 4:8a)

H. However, since no human being can learn all the truth that God has both revealed and permitted man to discover, discretion must be exercised as to what subject areas, to what extent, at what point in life, and what intensity of study will best help the student to reach God’s goal for his life. (Isaiah 55:8-9;  Ephesians 5:15-17)

1. We believe that the ultimate responsibility for the above decisions and how an individual redeems the brief time God has given him upon earth lies with that individual. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15;  Ecclesiastes 12:14;  Matthew 12:36;  Luke 12:2-3)

2. We also believe that, until a child is capable of using such discretion, God ordains that others make educational decisions for the child. (Proverbs 29:15b, 22:6, 15;  Ephesians 6:1-4;  Matthew 18:5-10, 14)

a. We believe that God holds the parents primarily responsible for these decisions.

1) This truth is seen:

(a) by the commands of Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:9-10, 6:7;  Ephesians 6:4)

(b) by the fact that parents are always stated in Scripture to be in authority of and responsible for the children (1 Timothy 3:4-5;  Genesis 18:19;  Galatians 4:2) –thus the commands to children to “honor” and “obey” their parents. (Exodus 20:12;  Leviticus 19:3;  Proverbs 3:11-12;  Numbers 30:3-5;  Ephesians 6:1-3) (see also Section 9.E.)

(c) because the parents best know and are most concerned of all people upon earth for the welfare of their children (1 Thessalonians 2:7;  Exodus 2:1-4  compare  Hebrews 11:23)

(d) because God’s judgment for the way children are raised falls primarily on the parents (Proverbs 29:15,17;  Genesis 18:19;  1 Samuel 2:12, 29-34)

(e) by the almost direct relationship between the character of the parents and the character of the children (Exodus 20:5;  Leviticus 20:1-5;  Joshua 7:24)

2) In application we believe that God commands parents to fully control the education and training of their children. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (especially verse 7) commands parents to teach their children diligently when they sit in their house, when they walk by the way, when they lie down at night, and when they rise up in the morning.

(a) We do not believe that this mandate prohibits the parent from delegating a portion of their child’s education to others. It does however, require that the parents maintain control, access, and authority over who, what, how, when, in what manner, in what environment, and from what philosophical perspective the child is being taught. (Galatians 4:2;  Acts 22:3;  Exodus 23:13  compare  Numbers 32:37-38;  Deuteronomy 12:3, 29-31;  Psalm 106:34-35  compare  Psalm 106:40)

(b) We believe that no parent has the right before God to willingly relinquish control of these things. We consider any agency, organization, or state that attempts to usurp this authority from the parent to be unScriptural and operating outside the bounds of their responsibilities. (2 Chronicles 26:16-21)

b. We believe that the church as a whole, and its spiritual leaders in particular, have definite responsibilities before God in the education of children. (Hebrews 13:17;  Acts 20:28)

1) The church’s responsibility lies on one hand toward the parent; and this responsibility is fulfilled by:

(a) teaching the parents the importance of thorough Christian education for their children. This is accomplished by:

• showing the parents the Scriptural commands for such an education as set forth in this section of our constitution.

• showing the parents God’s aversion toward having our children educated by professed unbelievers as defined in Scripture (Proverbs 14:7, 9:6  compare  Proverbs 1:7, 22, 29-30, 18:2, 28:26;  Ephesians 5:11;  Titus 1:10-11)

• showing the parents God’s aversion toward having our children associate with fools. (Proverbs 13:20  compare  15:20, 10:23, 12:16,15:2, 14, 18:6-7, 29:11, 23:9, 26:6; etc.)

(b) helping one another to accomplish the task of Christian education in as much as is God’s will for the church or an individual to do so. This ‘helping’ may involve:

• personal involvement (Galatians 6:2;  Titus 2:3-5;  Matthew 18:5) (in other words: teaching or encouraging)

• using our resources (houses, buildings, office equipment, technical equipment, libraries, etc.) for educational tools. (1 John 3:17)

• using our gifts, abilities, skills, knowledge, etc. (Romans 12:5-13)

• administrating and coordinating the combined efforts of our church to educate our children–the degree of involvement being subject to the will of God, as determined corporately by the church (Acts 20:28;   1 Timothy 5:17)

2) The church’s responsibility lies on the other hand toward the child. This responsibility is seen:

(a) by the commands of Scripture (Matthew 28:20;  Acts 20:27-28)

(b) by the fact that church leaders are stated in Scripture to have authority over those of their flock (Hebrews 13:17;  1 Peter 5:2;  1 Timothy 5:17)–thus the commands to all people of the church including the children to “honor” and “obey” their pastors.

3) We believe that the church’s degree of involvement in the education of children is limited by:

(a) the will of God for the church at that point in time

(b) the willingness of parents to delegate a portion of the child’s education to the church

(c) the parents’ willingness to conform to any requirements that may be established by the church for either the parents or children.

c. We believe that the state has one responsibility in the education of children–to instill in their hearts a fear of practicing evil (evil as defined by the Word of God). (Romans 13:3-5)

1) This responsibility can be fulfilled by bringing quick punishment down upon evildoers, (Romans 13:4;  Ecclesiastes 8:11)

2) This responsibility can be fulfilled by praising those who do good. (Romans 13:4)

SECTION 11—LIFE

A. Abortion

1. We believe that human life begins at conception, and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused killing of unborn, human life. As such, abortion is murder. (Job 3:16;  Psalm 51:5, 139:14-16;  Isaiah 44:24  and  Isaiah 49:1-5;  Jeremiah 1:5, 20:15-18;  Luke 1:44)

2. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental well being of the mother are acceptable. (Proverbs 6:21)

B. Euthanasia

1. We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a sin, regardless of the intention. Life is a gift of God, and must be respected from conception until natural death. (Genesis 1:31, Genesis 2:1-25;  Psalm 139:14-16;  Acts 17:28)

2. Thus, we believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminated suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God. (Exodus 20:13; 23:7;  Matthew 5:21)

C. Capital Punishment

1. We believe that God grants to human government the right to execute criminals, and that He commands that certain crimes to be punished by death. (Genesis 9:6;  Romans 13:1-4)

2. We believe that the primary reason for capital punishment is to punish the offender. (Genesis 9:6;  Romans 13:1-4)

“Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.” –Psalm 119:33