Our Beliefs
Introduction: The following statements are a brief synopsis of our core beliefs that are the basis for all that we teach and preach.  The source of all that we believe is the revealed Word of God, the Bible.  We faithfully strive to proclaim and live by these convictions so that we can more clearly know, love and serve God.
 
WHAT IS THE BIBLE?
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. The Bible is inspired by God and is the truth without any mixture of error. It is the sole authority for life.
 
(Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalm 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21)
WHO IS GOD?
WHO IS GOD?
Many people have differing ideas about the nature of God. Most of those ideas have one thing in common – they are the product of human intellect. The Bible is the only trustworthy source for understanding Him. Scripture teaches that there is one God and He alone is the Ruler of the universe because He created everything we can see -- and even everything we can't see -- out of nothing. He eternally exists in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and one. He is perfect in His many attributes of holiness, love, power, knowledge, justice, and mercy.
 
(Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7)
 
WHO IS JESUS?
Jesus Christ is God's Son. He is co-equal with the Father. While on earth, Jesus took on humanity without relinquishing any of His deity. As such, He is both God and man. He was born of a virgin. He lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of His people by dying on a cross. He died to pay the price of the penalty of our sins in order that we might be restored back to a right relationship with God.  As God, Jesus is the Creator of mankind, and he alone was fit to die for all mankind. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
 
(Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalm 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16)
 
WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is the divine helper, assistant, counselor and instructor. He is present in the world to make us aware of our need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer at least one Spiritual Gift (a spiritually enhanced ability such as mercy, leadership, teaching) that empowers them to serve in the church in a special way.  As Christians, we seek to live under His leadership daily.
 
(Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalm 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17)
 
WHO IS MAN?
Man is the pinnacle of God's creation and the only being on the earth that God made in His own spiritual image, with the moral ability to choose right from wrong. Every person, although endowed with the image of God, inherited a disobedient heart from Adam, the very first man. This disobedience and rebellion (called sin in the Bible) mars our hearts and – unless rectified through Christ – forever keeps man from forming a relationship with his Creator. Sin also keeps us from being the kind of person God created us to be and damages our human relationships and endeavors and produces many painful consequences.
 
(Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalm 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11)
 
WHAT IS SALVATION?
Salvation is God’s free gift of forgiveness of our sins and restoration to a right realtionship with Him now and forever. We receive this gift through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. Repentance means turning away from our sin and turning towards Christ. Faith means trusting in Christ alone for the forgiveness and cleansing of our sins. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, His perfect obedience is credited to us so that God sees us as the righteousness of Christ.  Every person who truly is saved is eternally secure in the Lord Jesus Christ and will spend eternity in heaven, while those who die in their sins will spend eternity in hell. Salvation also enables believers to experience the abundant life that Jesus provides.
 
(Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5)
 
IF I ACCEPT JESUS AS MY SAVIOR, IS MY SALVATION FOREVER?
God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ. If you have made a genuine commitment of faith in Jesus, you cannot lose your salvation. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. God’s grace and power enable us to persevere in faith until the end. True recipients of salvation are truly transformed by Christ and would never seek to use the guarantee of eternal life as a shameless license to sin. 
 
(John 3:16; John 10:27-29; Rom. 8:35-39; John 6:37,39; Eph. 1:13-14; John 5:24)
 
HOW DO WE GROW AS BELIEVERS?
God has set us apart (sanctified us) for the purpose of growing us to become more like His Son. Jesus’ devotion to God, lifestyle of integrity and compassion and unwavering commitment to live by the truth of God’s Word is our supreme example.  As we pray, worship, study God’s Word, receive encouragement from Christian fellowship and serve the Lord, the Holy Spirit of God transforms our heart in order to change our character and actions. The goal isn’t that we know more about the Bible and go to church more often. Those are means to the end of developing a deep personal relationship with Christ. God's promise is that when we reach heaven, He will complete the process of permanently making every believer like Jesus.

(Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalm 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17)
 
WHY IS EVIL PRESENT IN THE WORLD?
While God will one day do away with all evil, He currently allows evil in the world - which provides mankind a choice. Without a choice between good and evil, our devotion to God would be artificial and robotic rather than genuine. Therefore, God permits evil and suffering, even though the Bible makes it clear that He is not the author of evil. Satan is the source of all evil and will suffer an eternity of separation from God for his choices. (Hell was originally prepared for the devil and his demons.) Evil is present in the world because of mankind's choice in the Garden of Eden. Because of Jesus, we have the opportunity to choose the goodness of God's grace over evil.  While God could eliminate evil immediately by drawing the world to a close, He endures the grief of waiting to do so in order to give more people the opportunity to come to faith in Him. God is able to cause all things, even the evil in this world, to work together for the good of those who love Him. God is grieved by our suffering and comforts us in our time of need and gives us the grace to endure.

(Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:1-24; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12; Psalm 100:5; John 3:19; Psalm 81:12; Revelation 12:7-9; Revelation 20:10; 1 Corinthians 15:56; Colossians 2:15; 1 John 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 8:28-29)
 
HOW WILL I SPEND ETERNITY?
God made you to exist forever. Heaven is a perfect place, and since none of us is perfect we were all headed for an eternity of separation from God. That's why God sent Jesus: to pay the price for our sins so that we can spend eternity with Him. What you decide about Jesus Christ in this life will determine where you will spend eternity. If you reject Him, you'll spend it eternally separated from God in Hell. If you accept Him, you'll spend it eternally with Him in Heaven. Hell is a place of separation, suffering and darkness. Heaven is a place of eternal joy in God's presence.
 
(Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13)
 
WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
The Bible tells us that the church is the body of Christ in the world today. The New Testament tells us the church is a local body of baptized believers. The head of the church is Jesus Christ. The biblical purposes of the church are worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship and ministry to others. God never intended for Christians to be separated from the life of the local church. Just as an arm or a leg can’t survive without being connected to the human body, believers don’t thrive when disconnected from the church body. For that reason, God commands the church to gather together each week. 
 
(Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3)
 
WHAT IS THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS?
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell.  The righteous will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
 
(Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13)
 
BAPTIST DISCTINCTIVES
The following beliefs are distinctive to most Baptist churches, including ours. These beliefs are what make us unique from other denominations within our larger Christian family. These beliefs are borne out of our scriptural convictions and are intrinsic to our identity.
 
WHAT IS BAPTISM?
Baptism is a picture and an illustration—a symbolic act. Baptism by immersion best illustrates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (when someone is baptized they are “buried” beneath the water and then they rise up from it).  Immersion (putting under water) rather than sprinkling or other forms of baptism also conforms to the basic definition of the original word used for Baptism in the Bible (Greek: baptize), which means to plunge, dunk or submerge under water. Baptism isn’t necessary for salvation, but it is the biblical way that a new believer announces to the world his new-found faith in Christ. 

WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
Our church practices what is known as Believer’s Baptism.   Before we baptize someone, they must first exercise faith in Jesus Christ, believing that He died for their sins, was buried, and rose from the dead. An infant or person who does not understand God’s plan of salvation cannot make that kind of commitment. The Scriptural order is belief first, followed by baptism. Baptism is limited to those who have personally trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior. Since the Bible commands all Christians to profess their faith in Christ and express their allegiance to Him through Believer’s Baptism, you must be baptized by immersion in order to become a member of our church.
 
WHAT IS THE LORD’S SUPPER?
The Lord’s Supper (also known as communion) is an ordinance of the church. It was instituted when the Lord shared the Passover meal with his disciples before His crucifixion. We observe the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s atonement (death on the cross to make us right with God) for our sins.  It is a proclamation of His death and an assurance of His second coming.  We ask only those who have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ to participate in the Lord’s Supper. The elements of bread and grape juice are used as symbols of Christ’s body that was broken and His blood that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins.

IS THERE ANYONE WHO STANDS BETWEEN ME AND GOD?
We affirm the “priesthood of all believers.” Through Christ alone, each person is able to come to God for himself or herself. Laypersons have the same right as ordained ministers to communicate with God, interpret Scripture, and minister in Christ's name. All Christians are called to offer up spiritual sacrifices of service and praise.
This doctrine is first and foremost a matter of responsibility and servanthood, not privilege and license. That is why the church relies so strongly on volunteer service and leadership from its lay members. It is of course, a perversion of this doctrine to say that all views are equally valid, that you can believe anything and still be a Baptist or that the pastor has no unique leadership role.
 
WHO GOVERNS OUR CHURCH?
We believe in the local autonomy (self-governance) of the church. Each church has the right to manage its affairs with no central authority except that of Christ Himself, who is the ultimate head of the church.  To organize and standardize the way we operate, our church governs itself according to our constitution and bylaws. Freedom does not rule out cooperation.  We are a cooperating church with the Southern Baptist Convention. This means that we voluntarily cooperate with other Baptist Churches in pooling and sharing money for the support of missionaries and ministries at home and around the world. This plan is called the Cooperative Program.
 
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND THE SECULAR GOVERNMENT?
We stand for a free church in a free state. Neither one should control the affairs of the other. We support the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, with its "establishment" and "free exercise" clauses. We do, of course, acknowledge the legitimate interplay of these two spheres. For example, it is appropriate for the state to enact and enforce fire codes for the church nurseries. It is also appropriate for ministers to offer prayer at civic functions. Neither the Constitution nor Baptist tradition would build a wall of separation against such practices as these.
 
While we believe that a free church in a free state serves both best, we do not believe that the church should be silent on socio-political matters that shape the moral climate and practices of our country. We have a biblical obligation to unashamedly proclaim the truth of God’s Word regarding matters of morality and religious liberty. 
 
OTHER F.A.Q.’s (Frequently Asked Questions) ABOUT OUR BELIEFS:
 
  • What does this church believe about speaking in tongues?
The Bible does speak of the spiritual gift of tongues that was given to believers during the formation of the early church. While the Bible does not explicitly say that this gift has ceased, it does set very strict parameters for speaking in tongues. In fact, most of what little the Bible says about speaking in tongues serves to prohibit it, not promote it. Some scholars also argue that the gift of tongues is not the ability to speak an “angelic language” but to speak a known language other than your own, as was the case at Pentecost. Taking all this into consideration, First Baptist Church does not directly deny the possibility that God, in His Divine prerogative, might bestow the gift of tongues on people today; however, we do not endorse the practice of speaking of tongues in our worship services and various small group gatherings (i.e. Sunday School, discipleship groups) within our church family because it would, for all the reasons listed above, create confusion and division. Accordingly, we do not believe that the scriptures teach that speaking in tongues is a “second blessing” given to believers as a witness of salvation.       
 
  • What does this church believe about homosexuality?
We affirm God's plan for marriage and sexual intimacy – one man, and one woman, for life.  Homosexuality is not a "valid alternative lifestyle." The Bible condemns it as sin.  It is not, however, unforgivable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They too, if they repent and place their faith in Christ,  may become new creations in Him.

  • Where does this church stand on the issue of abortion?
Procreation is a gift from God, a precious trust reserved for marriage.  At the moment of conception a new being enters the universe, a human being created in God's own image. This human being deserves our protection, whatever the circumstances of conception.

 

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