The Doctrinal Statement of First Baptist Church
I. The Bible
We believe that God has given His complete written revelation to mankind in the 66 books of the Bible (Heb. 1:1,2; Rev. 22:18-19) by inspiring human authors to produce the precise Word of God without error (II Peter 1:20-21; II Tim. 3:16). We believe the Bible to be the only authority for the believer’s faith and practice (John 17:17; II Tim. 3:17).
We believe that the God of the Bible is one God existing in three divine Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each being identical in essence and possessing the same attributes (Gen. 1:26; Deut. 6:4; Prov. 30:4; Isaiah 9:6; 48:16; Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; John 1:1-3; I Cor. 12:3-6).
We believe that Jesus Christ exists eternally as the second Person of the God-head (John 1:1-2; 14:9-11; Heb. 1:3). Jesus Christ became the God-man by means of the incarnation (John 1:14; Phil. 2:5-7) at which time He possessed a complete and perfect human and divine nature while being one person (John 3:13; I Tim. 2:5). This was accomplished through His supernatural conception by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:28-35). We believe that Jesus Christ voluntarily died on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the entire human race (John 10:17-18; II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 10:10-14; I John 2:2). Only Christ’s death satisfied the just demands of God’s holiness, making it possible for anyone to be saved from the penalty of sin (Acts 4:12; Isaiah 53:10-11; I Peter 2:24; I Tim. 2:6; 4:10). Christ’s death was followed by His bodily resurrection and ascension into heaven where He presently intercedes as a Mediator and High Priest enabling all believers to have direct, immediate access to God (I Cor. 15; Acts 1:9-11; I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 4:14-16).
IV. Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit of God exists eternally as the Third Person of the God-head (Acts 5:3-4; Heb. 9:14; Matt. 28:19; Psalm 139:7). The Holy Spirit, in absence of Christ’s physical presence on earth, continues Christ’s earthly ministry (John 14:16-18, 26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:1-2, 8; 13:2).
We believe that God created the human race in Adam and in His own image (Gen. 2:7; Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15:22; Gen. 1:26-27; 2:16-17). Adam’s fall brought sin into the human race (Rom. 5:12) resulting in immediate spiritual death (Gen. 2:17; 3:8, 22-24), eventual physical death (Gen. 5:5; Ecc. 12:7), the depravity of man’s nature (Gen. 6:5; I Cor. 2:14; John 6:44) and the sentence of eternal punishment (John 3:18; Rev. 20:12-15).
We believe that God has provided one way of salvation (John 14:6) from the consequences of sin (Rom. 6:23) through Christ’s blood shed on the cross (Heb. 9:22, 26; I Peter 1:18-19). The hearing of the gospel and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit are necessary to enable the sinner to obtain God’s salvation (Mark 16:15; Rom. 10:17; John 16:8). This salvation is complete and eternally secure for the believer (Heb. 7:25; 9:26, 28; John 10:28-30; Rom. 8:30-39).
We believe that salvation is offered as a free gift (Rom. 6:23) which may be obtained by anyone who will personally, voluntarily, and sincerely repent of his sins (Psalm 51:3-4; Luke 13:3) and trust Jesus Christ to save him (John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9,10) apart from any human merit or “sacrament” (Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 2:20-21).
We believe that a continuing work of salvation called sanctification is present in the life of every believer. At conversion the believer is set apart to God from the power of sin (Rom. 6:6-14; Heb. 10:10,14). Sanctification is a continuing process which transforms the believer’s mind and life-style (Rom. 12:1-2) into conformity to Christ (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 4:12-13) through obedience to the Word of God (Phil. 2:12-13).
VII. The Local Church
We believe that Christ established the New Testament local church to be the organization through which all true believers are to carry out God’s work today (Matt. 16:18; 28:18-20; Acts 2:41-47; I Tim. 3:15). Only those believers who are obedient to the ordinance of immersion following conversion (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:41) and who are following the Word of God as their standard for faith and practice (II Tim. 3:16-17) may retain membership in a true New Testament local church. Each local church is a separate organization which is independently accountable to Christ (Col. 1:18; Rev. 2:3). The local church and human government are separate institutions. Each should allow the other freedom to carry out its respective God-given responsibilities (Matt. 22:15-22; 28:18-21; I Peter 2:13-17).
We believe that the local church is to practice two ordinances. Immersion (believer’s baptism) is a memorial of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and symbolizes the believer’s union with Christ (Rom. 6:3-4). The Lord’s Supper is a memorial of Christ’s death and symbolizes our dependence on Him for salvation (I Cor. 11:23-26).
VIII. Future Events
We believe the next prophetic event to be fulfilled will be the coming of Christ in the air to rapture (catch away) all believers of this dispensation into heaven. This is an imminent (Titus 2:13; Phil. 3:20), pre-tribulational (I Thess. 1:10; Rom. 5:9; II Thess. 2:3-8), personal (I Thess. 4:13-18) return of Christ at which time the body of every Christian will be resurrected into a glorified body like Christ’s (I Cor. 15:51-57). The rapture will be followed by the Tribulation Period of seven years on earth to judge the ungodly nations and bring Israel to national repentance (Jer. 30:7; Matt. 24; Dan. 9:24-27; Rev. 6-19).
We believe the personal, visible return of Christ to earth will conclude the Tribulation Period (Zech. 14:4; Rev. 19). His coming will bring the destruction of the anti-God forces (Rev. 19:19-21; Matt. 25:31-46). Christ’s Millennium Kingdom will be established at this time (Rev. 20). Satan will be bound for 1000 years (Rev. 20:1-3; Isa. 11:1-9; Zech. 14:16-21). The Millennium will be followed by Satan’s final rebellion against God (Rev. 20:7-9). Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire and all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne of God (Rev. 20:10-12). The unbeliever’s eternal destiny will be conscious eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:13-14; Matt. 25:46). Then all believers of all ages will enjoy eternity with God in the New Heaven and New Earth (Rev. 21-22).