Affirmation of our Faith
I. THE WORD OF GOD
We believe that the Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is the infallible Word of God, verbally inspired by God, and without error in the original manuscripts. We believe that God’s intentions, revealed in the Bible, are the supreme and final authority in testing all claims about what is true and what is right, and in all matters of saving knowledge, faith and conduct. In matters not addressed by the Bible, what is true and right is assessed by criteria consistent with the teaching of Scripture (Psalm 19:7, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Mark 13:31, John 8:31, 32; John 20:31, Acts 20:32).
II. THE TRINITY
We believe that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit); that these are equal in every divine perfection, and that they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence and redemption. We believe eternal God has existed in three persons, from everlasting to everlasting, fully satisfied as one God (Genesis 1:1, 26; John 1:1, 3; Matthew 28:19; John 4:24; Romans 1:19, 20; Ephesians 4:5, 6; Psalm 90:2, 50:8-12).
III. GOD THE FATHER
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. We believe He is the first Member of the Trinity and that He delights in glorifying God the Son. We believe that He infallibly orders all things after the counsel of His own will and foreknows all that shall come to pass, that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer, that He gives perfect gifts and that He saves all who come to Him, through Jesus Christ, from sin, death and hell unto the eternal joy of His presence (Isaiah 6:3, John 4:24, Matthew 3:17, John 17:1, 17:5, Ephesians 1:11, Luke 10:21,22; Matthew 23:9; John 3:16; 6:27; Matthew 7:11, Romans 1:7, I Timothy 1:1, 2; 2:5, 6; I Peter 1:3, Revelation 1:6, Ps 16:11).
IV. JESUS CHRIST
We believe Jesus Christ is the second Member of the Trinity, without beginning or end, and that He delights in glorifying God the Father. We believe that He is the radiance of God’s glory, and the exact representation of His nature. We believe that Jesus Christ is God's only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and that He lived a sinless life. We believe in His miracles, teachings, substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people, and personal visible return to earth. We believe Jesus Christ exists as one Person with two natures, being fully man and fully God, uniquely capable of providing divine righteousness and bearing infinite wrath, for the reconciliation of sinners to God through His Cross-work (Revelation 21:6, 22:13; John 14:13, Hebrews 1:3, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38, John 1:1, 20:28; Romans 8:46, 9:5; II Corinthians 5:21, I Peter 2:21-23, John 20:30, 31; Matthew 20:28, Ephesians 1:4, Acts 1:11, Romans 5:6-8, 6:9, 10; Hebrews 7:25, Hebrews 9:28; I Timothy 2:5, 3:16; Romans 3:25).
V. THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe the Holy Spirit, the third Member of the Trinity, eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son. Without His work no one could come to faith in Christ. He quickens sinners from spiritual death to life, for the express purpose of exalting Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father. He awakens souls to the beauty of God’s glory and applies the work of Christ to sinners through the gift of repentance and faith. His work in regeneration is not the result of water baptism, any outward ritual, or exercise of the human will. His power and presence become resident within at the moment of new birth for immediate and necessary progress in every faculty of the entire person, to conquer sin and to conform to Christ-likeness. He also distributes spiritual gifts to every believer at conversion, according to His sovereign pleasure for the purpose of building up the body of Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, the Spirit of Adoption, the Seal of our Salvation, and the Guarantor of our inheritance in Christ (John 14:16-17, 26, 15:26, 27; John 16:9-14; Romans 8:9, 14-17; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; Galatians 5:22-26, Ephesians 1:13-14, John 14:16-17, 16:14; Acts 5:3, Rom. 8:14-17, Eph. 1:13-14, John 14:16, 17, 26, 15:26, 27, 16:9-14, Romans 8:9, I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; Galatians 5:22-26).
VI. THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in original innocence, in God’s own image. The moment man sinned he forfeited the indwelling communion of God and entered a state of spiritual death. This inner condition of spiritual death has rendered all man’s faculties lifeless, in their ability and desire, to cooperate with God in being reconciled to God. This state of spiritual death has spread, through the sin of one man, to all men. Consequently, all men are conceived with an inherent spiritual condition that is wholly corrupt and hostile towards God and His Law. As soon as man is capable of moral action, he willfully exercises resistance to God, manifesting his deservedness of divine condemnation. Apart from the intervening work of God’s special grace, man physically dies in his state of spiritual death and passes into an eternal living death (Genesis 1:26, 5:2, Genesis 3, Genesis 2:17, 3:19; Ecclesiastes. 2:11, John 3:14, 5:24, John 5:30, 7:13, 8:12, 10:26; Romans 9:22, II Thessalonians 1:9, Revelation 19:3, 20; 20:10, 14, 15, 21:18; Psalm 51:7, Jeremiah 17:9, James 1:14, Romans 3:19, 5:12, 5:19; Proverbs 28:13, I John 1:9, John 3:16, John 1:13, II Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:1, 6:20; Ephesians 4:18, 2:3).
VII. ETERNAL PUNISHMENT
We believe the necessary and just consequence of all unrighteousness is the infinite punishment of divine wrath. All unrighteousness springs from a heart that is dissatisfied with God. The natural absence of love and adoration for God, even in the best moment of the most likeable person, infinitely offends the eternal honor of God. Therefore, God’s uncompromising justice must vindicate God’s honor with infinite divine wrath. Any unrighteous sinner, who does not trust in Jesus’ wrath-removing sacrifice and substitutionary death on the Cross, will suffer the just measure of God’s divine wrath for all eternity (Luke 16:19-31, Romans 2:5, 1:21; Matthew 12:33-37, Genesis 6:5, 8:21; Isaiah 55:7a, Romans 2:5, 3:25-26; Matthew 25:41, 46; Isaiah 33:14, Daniel 12:2, Mark 9:48, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, Revelation 14:11a).
VIII. THE GOSPEL
We believe the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. In this, we not only believe it is the power of God to convert the unconverted, but that it is also the power of God to advance Christ-likeness in those who are already converted. We believe the message of the gospel is so uniquely empowered because it reveals God to be uppermost in His own affections. In the gospel, God’s holy intolerance of sin, God’s satisfied justice through propitiation, and God’s magnified love in suffering all converge together in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the cross-centered message of the gospel, God’s glory is most clearly displayed by the fullest concert of God’s attributes. Therefore, the gospel is God’s designated vehicle for transferring sinners from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of Light and for the increase of God’s praise in the hearts of God’s people (Romans 1:16, Ephesians 2:1-7, Romans 3:19-26, 5:6-11, Colossians 1:13).
IX. REPENTANCE & FAITH
While repentance and faith are not themselves the essence of the gospel, we do affirm that they are necessary responses to the gospel. We believe repentance and faith are two seamless parts of the same expression. Anytime the Bible explicitly mentions one, in the context of God’s saving grace, the other is at least implied. This response of repentance and faith in Christ must be willingly exercised if a sinner would ever escape God’s judgment and enter the kingdom of heaven. Nevertheless, repentance and faith are gifts from God, supplied by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit; and are therefore, not contrary to, but consistent with salvation by grace. The Spirit of God discloses the beauty of God as it is revealed in the Scriptures and creates a deep awareness of personal sin in the heart of the sinner. When God’s irresistible beauty captivates the heart and draws the sinner off of self, repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ emerges (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15, Luke 13:3, 5, 24:47; Acts 2:37-38, 3:18-19, 5:31, 11:-17-18, 14:27, 15:9, 16:14, 16: 31; John 6:44, 6:65, Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Timothy 2:25, Philippians 1:29, Acts 20:21).
We believe the good news of the gospel has much to do with the fact that God justifies ungodly sinners. Justification is the act by which God declares sinners not guilty and alters their status from condemned sinner to forgiven son. In order for the sinner to be justified, the very righteousness of God must be credited to the sinner’s account. Therefore, justification must occur apart from any human merit or works of the law. Instead, justification must be freely supplied by God’s grace, through the gift of faith, in Christ Jesus alone. God’s justification of the ungodly must mercifully provide God’s righteousness, without violating or compromising God’s justice. The deity and humanity of Jesus Christ alone can furnish divine righteousness and absorb infinite wrath for sinners, by His perfect obedience to the Law and His death on the Cross. We believe justification occurs, once for all time, when the soul is awakened to its deservedness of divine wrath and resigns from all self-righteousness to embrace by faith the fullness of God’s unchanging love and acceptance of sinners in His own Beloved Son (Romans 4:5, 4:6-8, 3:20-24, 3:25-26; John 1:1, 1 Timothy 2:5, Isaiah 53:10a, 1 Peter 1:24, Romans 6:10, Ephesians 2:1-10, Ephesians 1:6).
We believe that sanctification is the enabling work of the Holy Spirit, for the believer’s cooperation in progressive conformity to the image of Jesus Christ, over the course of the believer’s entire converted life. We believe that sanctification is God’s inward shaping of Christ-like desires and thoughts, in all born-again souls, which comes through the Word of God and issues forth in the obedience of faith to all God’s commands out of love and adoration for Jesus Christ and His church. We believe sanctification is the process whereby a believer progresses in the mortification of sin that he might more fully enjoy the indwelling presence of God. We believe God’s sanctifying grace is the immediate and inseparable companion of God’s justifying grace (Philippians 2:12-13, 1 Peter 1:2, Hebrews 9:14, Romans 8:1-4, 8:6; John 17:17, 14:21, 14:23, 8:13; 1 Peter 3:18, James 4:7-10, Romans 6:14, Hebrews 10:14).
XII. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
We believe that any professing Christian must endure to the end to be saved. We believe prayer and the written Word of God, in all of its promises and warnings, are the primary means by which one perseveres. We believe that every born again soul must employ these means, with the entire armor of God, in waging war against sin until the very end. We also believe that none endures by works of the Law but that perseverance itself is ultimately supplied by God’s grace. We believe all those whom God has regenerated will never totally nor finally fall away from their state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end. Though they may fall through neglect and temptation into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, weaken their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the church, and temporal judgments on themselves, they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (John 6:37-40, 10:28-29; Rom. 8:28-39, Rom. 11:22; 1 Cor. 1:8-9, 11:29-32; Phil. 1:6; Col. 1:21-23).
XIII. THE CHURCH
We believe in the universal Church, a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all regenerated persons are members. We believe in the local church, consisting of a company of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on a credible profession of faith, and associated for worship, work, and fellowship. We believe that God has laid upon the members of the local church the primary task of giving the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world (Ephesians 2:19-22, Acts 1:8, Ephesians 5:19-21, Acts 2:42, Hebrews 10:23-25).
XIV. CHRISTIAN CONDUCT
We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God and the well-being of his fellow men, that his conduct should be blameless before the world, that he should be a faithful steward of his possessions, and that he should seek to realize for himself and others the full stature of maturity in Christ (I Corinthians 10:31, Romans 12:1-3, Hebrews 12:1-2, John 14:15, 23-24; I John 2:3-6, II Corinthians 9:6-9, I Corinthians 4:2, Colossians 1:9-10).
XV. THE ORDINANCES
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local church, baptism and the Lord's Supper. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of the believer in water into the name of the triune God. We believe that the Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ for commemoration of His death. We believe that these two ordinances should be observed and administered until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 6:3-5, I Corinthians 11:23-26).
XVI. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
We believe that every human being has direct relations with God, and is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith, that each church is independent and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority, and therefore, Church and State must be kept separate as having different functions, each fulfilling its duties free from dictation or patronage of the other (I Timothy 2:5; Romans 14:7-9, 12).
XVII. CHURCH COOPERATION
We believe that local churches can best promote the cause of Jesus Christ by cooperating with one another in a denominational organization. Such an organization, whether a regional or district conference, exists and functions by the will of the churches. Cooperation in a conference is voluntary and may be terminated at any time (Acts 15:36, 41, 16:5; I Corinthians 16:1, Galatians 1:1-3, Revelation 1:4, 10, 11). This church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and the North Pulaski Baptist Association, and may likewise cooperate with interdenominational fellowships on a voluntary independent basis.
XVIII. THE LAST THINGS
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal felicity of the righteous and the endless suffering of the wicked. (Matthew 16:27, Mark 14:62, John 14:3, Acts 1:11, Philippians 3:20, I Thessalonians 4:15, II Timothy 4:1, Titus 2:13, I Corinthians 4:5, I Corinthians 15, II Thessalonians 1:7-10, Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15).
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