Statement of Faith

 

(Click here for Word document version)

The following comprise the Scriptural beliefs of this church and its members.

 

The Bible

 

We believe the Holy Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It is inerrant and infallible in its original manuscript which is to be taken as verbally inspired. The Bible is perfectly preserved in the text known as Textus Receptus, Received Text, from which the Authorized King James Version of the Bible is translated. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ. (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20-21; Prov 30:5; Heb 4:12)

 

God

 

We believe 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. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence and obedience. The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. (John 4:24; Psalm 83:18)

1. God the Father
We believe God as Father reigns with providential care 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 loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. (Matt 6:9; John 16:28)

2. God the Son
We believe Christ is the eternal Son of God. Jesus Christ is God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God the Father, taking upon Himself the demands and necessities of human nature and identifying Himself completely with mankind, yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His 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, partaking of the nature of God and of man, and 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 all believers as the living and ever present Lord. (Heb 13:8; John 14:6; Acts 4:12)

3. God the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination, He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. 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 presence in the Christian is the assurance of God to 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. (John 16:13; John 16:8)

The Depravity of Man

 

We believe Man was created by the special act of God, in His own image, and is the crowning work of His creation. 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, whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin, and as soon as they are capable of moral action 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 man possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. (Gen 1:27; Gen 3:6-24; Rom 5:12; Rom 5:19)

Salvation

 

We believe 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, sanctification, and glorification. (Heb 9:14; Heb 9:22)

1. Regeneration or the new birth
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. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God. (Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5; Rom 4:5; Rom 3:24-25)

2. Sanctification
The experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual perfection through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life. (1 Cor 1:30)

3. Glorification
The culmination of salvation and the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

 

The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers

 

1. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40; John 10:27-30; Rom 8:1; Rom 8:38-39; 1 Cor 1:4-8; 1 Pet 1:4-5)

 

2. We believe 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. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, 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. (2 Tim 1:8-9; John 6:37; Psalm 89:30-34)

 

3. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation as stated in God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. (Rom 13:13-14; Gal 5:13; Titus 2:11-15)

The Church

 

1. We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused Bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-again persons who have been baptized by immersion.  (1 Cor 12:12-14; 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 1:22-23; Eph 5:25-27)

 

2. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures.  (Acts 14:27, Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28-32; 1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)

 

3. We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control. (Acts 13:1-4; Acts 15:19-31; Acts 20:28; Rom 16:1; Rom 16:4; 1 Cor 3:9; 1 Cor 3:16; 1 Cor 5:4-7; 1 Cor 5:13; 1 Pet 5:1-4)

 

4. We recognize water baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the Scriptural ordinances for the church in obedience and as a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice. (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; Acts 18:18; 1 Cor 11:23-26)

Separation

 

We believe that all the saved should strive to live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, sinful pleasures, practices, and associations, and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances which reflect the rebellious spirit of the world. (Rom 12:1-2; Rom 14:13; 2 Cor 6:14-7:1; 2 Tim 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11; Lev 19:28; 1 Cor 6:19-20)

The Last Things

 

We believe that According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth. The dead in Christ will rise first, and then we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. After the judgments of God upon this sinful world in the Great Tribulation, Jesus our Lord will come with His saints to establish His Millennial Kingdom. Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The redeemed of Christ, in their resurrected and glorified bodies, will receive their rewards and will dwell in Heaven forever with their Savior. The unsaved will be separated from the Kingdom of God and will be consigned forever to a place of everlasting perdition. (Matt 25:31-34; Matt 25:46; 1 Thes 4:16-18; 1 Cor 15:51-52)

 

Creation

 

We believe that God created the universe in six literal 24-hour periods. (Gen 1; Gen 2; Ex 20:11)

Civil Government

 

We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions:  1) the home, 2) the church, and 3) the state.  Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word.  God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. (Rom 13:1-7; Eph 5:22-24; Heb 13:17; 1 Pet 2:13-14)

 

Human Sexuality

 

1. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.  We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of any attempt to alter one’s gender. (Gen 2:24; Gen 19:5; Gen 19:13; Gen 26:8-9; Lev 18; Rom 1: 26-29; 1 Cor 5:1; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Thes 4:1-8; Heb 13:4)

 

2. We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. (Gen 2:24; Rom 7:2; 1 Cor 7:10; Eph 5:22-23)

 

Family Relationships

 

1. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church.  The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church.  Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church.  (Gal 3:28; Col 3:18; 1 Tim 2:8-15; 1 Tim 3:4-5; 1 Tim 3:12)

 

2. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society.  The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church.  The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ.  Children are an heritage from the Lord.  Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them, through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction.  (Gen 1:26-28; Ex 20:12; Deut 6:4-9; Psalm 127:3-5; Prov 19:18; Prov 22:15; Prov 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; 1 Cor 7:1-16; Eph 5:21-33; Eph 6:1-4; Col 3:18-21; Heb 13:4; 1 Pet 3:1-7)

 

 

 

Divorce and Remarriage

 

We believe that God disapproves of divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies.  Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on the grounds of fornication.  Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon.  (Mal 2:14-17; Matt 19:3-12; Rom 7:1-3; 1 Tim 3:2; 1 Tim 3:12; Titus 1:6)

 

Abortion

 

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

 

Love

 

We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward both those who are not believers and those who oppose us. 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 the use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions. (Lev 19:18; Matt 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom 12:9-10; Rom 12:17-21; Rom 13:8-10; Phil 2:2-4; 2 Tim 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; 1 John 3:17-18)

 

 

 

Lawsuits Between Believers

 

We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians within the church or the church to resolve personal disputes.  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.  (1 Cor 6:1-8; Eph 4:31-32)

 

 

 

Missions

 

We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to support missions.  (Matt 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor 5:20)

 

 

 

Giving

 

We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially.  We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving, and that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel.  We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made. (Gen 14:20; Prov 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Cor 16:2; 2 Cor 9:6-7; Gal 6:6; Eph 4:28; 1 Tim 5:17-18; 1 John 3:17)

 

The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe.  We do believe, however, that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the teaching of the Bible and, therefore, is binding upon all members.  All literature used in the church shall be in agreement with the Statement of Faith.

Agape Baptist Fellowship    

Telephone: (954) 372-7705       

e-mail: agapebaptistfellowship@gmail.com

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