What We Believe
Baptists have historically been non-creedal churches. We have resisted the writing of any summary beliefs that, even unconsciously, began to substitute for the "scripture as our only statement of faith." For clarity and communication purposes, however, the following statements can be confidently made about our convictions.
"In essential beliefs, we have unity.
In non-essential beliefs, we have liberty.
In all our beliefs, we show charity."
1. About God
God is the Creator and Ruler or Sovereign of the universe. He is all-wise and all-knowing, all-powerful and omnipresent. He has eternally existed in three personalities, called the Triune God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.
2. About Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is co-equal with the Father. In the flesh, He was both human and divine. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death and His authority to give eternal life to all who will turn from their sins and receive Him by faith as Savior and Lord. He ascended to Heaven's glory and when God brings the world to its appropriate end, He will return again personally and visibly to earth to judge the world in righteousness and to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
3. About the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and Jesus Christ. He is present in the world to convince people of their need for the Savior and to draw them to Him. He brings believers from spiritual death to spiritual life, guaranteed for eternity. He also lives in every Christian from the moment he/she receives Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth and guidance in doing what is right in order to become like Christ (called sanctification). The Holy Spirit gives believers spiritual gifts when they become Christians for the purpose of service. As Christians, we seek to live daily under His control.
4. About the Bible
The Bible in its entirety is God's Word to us. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the sufficient authority and supreme and final source of truth for Christian beliefs and practical living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without error.
5. About Human Beings
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to become like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God's creation and God's love. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an innate attitude of disobedience toward God called "sin," which separates people from God, condemns us to be eternally lost and causes many problems in life. As "sinners," people are responsible for all sin they have committed and are under the control of the very real and personal enemy of God, Satan. Only through personal repentance of our sin and a faith commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord can we be forgiven, "saved," made sons and daughters of God forever.
6. About Salvation
Salvation is God's free gift out of His grace to us. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by personally trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness and salvation through His death and resurrection can anyone be saved from sin's penalty, which is separation from God in everlasting punishment, and to eternal life. When we turn from our self-ruled lives and turn in faith to Jesus, we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life.
7. About Eternal Security
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation from the moment he/she receives Christ as Savior and Lord through eternity. Once you have been saved, you cannot "lose" it. After a person is saved, Christian growth toward Christlikeness continues by the grace and power of God through His Holy Spirit, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us security.
8. About Eternity
People are created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or eternally in fellowship with and in the presence of God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life with Heaven guaranteed. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
9. About the Church
The New Testament, in one usage of the word, tells us that the church is the body of Christ in the world today and is the earthly manifestation of His Kingdom. In the most common usage of the word "church," the New Testament refers to a local body of believers who have been identified with Christ in baptism. The head of the church is Jesus Christ. According to biblical examples, the purposes of the church are worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship and ministry to others. Biblical leaders of the church are pastors and deacons, but all members of the church are called to be ministers of God's grace and love. We believe in congregational government with each member having a voice in church decisions, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The two ordinances of the church, practices which the Lord commanded the church to perform in order to maintain awareness of the centrality of His death and resurrection, are baptism and the Lord's Supper.
We believe that God has called First Baptist Church to minister and witness to the entire city and area and that He has called us to be a church for all races and cultures and socio-economic conditions.
10. About Spiritual Gifts
We believe that every believer, at the moment he/she becomes a Christian, has been given one or more spiritual gifts, which are to be discovered and developed for the building up, maturing and stability of the church, the Body of Christ, and for ministry to others. Not for personal benefit, spiritual gifts are special abilities, not to be confused with talents or fruits of the Holy Spirit or roles of Christian service. The primary means by which a Chrisitian learns about spiritual gifts is by getting involved in ministry. As one gets into ministries, he/she finds out what one is fitted to do. One's spiritual giftedness will help him/her discover the purposes for which God brought a new member into our church's fellowship of ministers.