Purposes, Basis, Articles of Faith, and Covenant
Of First Baptist Church of Niles, Ohio
PURPOSES OF THIS CHURCH FELLOWSHIP
To practice and promote the teaching and preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto all the world as instructed in Matthew 28:19-20.
To declare and practice in daily living Christian graces toward all mankind. (Matt. 5:38-48)
To mutually experience encouragement, challenge and growth in Christian grace by interpersonal fellowship, prayer, praise and study of the scripture. (John 13:34-35, Heb. 10:23-25, James 5:16; II Tim. 3:16)
SCRIPTURAL BASIS FOR THE CHURCH,
BAPTISM, AND ARTICLES OF FAITH
The Church and Baptism
A. The Church, Instituted of God
B. Water Baptism by Immersion
Articles of Faith
We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, inerrant in the original writings, the complete and final revelation of God’s will to man, the supreme standard of all faith and life. (Isa. 40:8; John 10:35; II Tim. 3:16-17; II Peter 1:19-21)
B. The God-Head
We believe in one triune God, eternally existing in three persons; the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit; co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, each with distinct personal attributes but without division of nature or being. (Gen. 1:26; Deut. 6:4; II Cor. 13:14)
C. The Father
The Father is pure spirit. He is Lord of Heaven and earth and possesses all the attributes of Deity: omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, forgiveness and righteousness. He is holy, just, mercy and love. (Matt. 11:25; Mark 14:36; Luke 6:36; John 4:24; Acts 7:49, 17:24, 25; Rom. 11:36; Heb. 1:10-13; I John 4:7)
D. The Son
Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, participated with the Father in creation. The Father sent Him to dwell in human form among men. He was born of a virgin, as revealed by the Holy Spirit. He taught the good news of God’s redeeming love. In the Father’s name, He forgave the repentant, then gave Himself as the sacrificial lamb to save from the penalty of sin whomsoever will have accepted His Blood offering for their sin. He was tried illegally, crucified, died, but the third day He arose, bodily, from the grave and fellowshipped forty days with the believers and, finally, ascended into heaven with the promise to come again. (Matt. 1:20-23; 2:20-23; 3:17; 5; John 1:1-3, 14, 29-34; 10:15, 16; Acts 1:3; 13:33; Rom. 5; 2 Cor. 5:21; I Thess. 4:16,17; Heb. 1:8; 4:14, 15)
E. The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit testifies of and glorifies Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the scriptures, convicts mankind of sin and testifies of righteousness and judgement. He regenerates, baptizes, indwells, and seals the believer. He is the believer’s comforter, prayer helper, and enables the saints to understand the scriptures. We believe that the sign/revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit have fulfilled their purposes and are not applicable to the work of the Holy Spirit today. (Gen.6:3; John 3:5; 15:26; 16:8-11; Acts5:3,4;9:31; Rom.8:26,27; 1Cor.12:13;14:25; 2Cor.1:22; Eph.1:13; Heb. 2:2-4; 1 Cor. 13:8)
God called the world and all things in it into being by the power of His Word, creating it in 6 literal 24 hour days. We believe that God created mankind with a free will in the image and likeness of Himself. Further, we believe that mankind was created physically as male and female to complement one the other in the fulfillment of God’s command to ‘be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth,…and have dominion over…every living thing…upon the earth.’ In light of God’s creative design, we further believe that the Bible teaches that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman, and that sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the bonds of a Biblically defined marriage. Any other form of marriage or sexual intimacy is immoral and a perversion of God’s gracious will. (Gen. 1:26,28; 2:7-9, 16-18,24; Rom. 1:24-29, 7:2; 1 Cor. 6:9-20, 7:1-4; Eph. 5:22- 33; Heb. 15:4; John 1:13; Eph.3:9; Col. 1:16,17; Heb. 11:3)
G. Fall of Mankind
We believe that mankind in his free will disobeyed God and thereby sinned, incurring spiritual death (which is separation from God) and physical death (which is separation of the body to dust). Consequently, all human individuals have a sinful nature and are sinners in thought, word, and deed. We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. We further believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the church. (Gen. 3:1-19; Ps 14:3-4; 51:5; 58:3; Rom. 1:18-32; 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3)
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures as a substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who believe on Him are justified by faith in His shed blood on the cross, and are saved by grace through faith, wholly apart from human merit and works. (John 1:29; Acts 13:38-39; Acts 16:31; Rom. 3:21-28; Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:3-8)
We believe that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith are born again by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, and thereby become the children of God. (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8, 14-16; 5:24; 10:28-29; I Peter 1:23; II Peter 1:4-11; I John 3:1-3)
We believe in the reality and personality of Satan. He is a created being of great beauty and power, “the prince of this world, the god of the age and the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” He fell through pride, and will be judged and cast into the lake of fire. (Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-14; Ez. 28:12-18; John 8:44; 2 Cor. 4:4; 11:13-15; Eph. 2:2; Rev. 20:1-3, 7-10)
K. Return of Christ
We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, His ascension into heaven, His present life there for us as our High Priest and Advocate and His personal, bodily, visible, premillennial return to establish His Kingdom on earth and to reign as the only potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Luke 24:26-43; John 20:24-29; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-16; 10:6)
L. The Rapture of the Church
We believe that at any moment the rapture of the saved may occur, “when the Lord Himself, shall descend from heaven to catch up His people to meet Him in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord”. (John 14:1-3; I Cor. 15:51-58; I Thess. 4:13-18)
M. Heaven and Eternal Judgment
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all the dead. The saved are to be resurrected to a life of eternal glory and bliss in heaven with God, and the unsaved raised to eternal judgment of conscious suffering and woe in the lake of fire. (Dan. 12:2; Matt. 10:28; 18:8-9; 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-49; John 5:28-29; II Thess. 1:6-9; Rev. 20:6, 11-15; 21:1-8)
We believe that it is the privilege and responsibility of every believer to be a personal soul winner and to do his utmost to give the gospel of Christ to the whole world. (Matt. 4:19; Mark 16:15-16; John 17:18, 20-21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20)
We believe that we are called to be a separated people to abide in Christ, to walk in the Spirit and to enjoy victory over the world, the flesh and the Devil. (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 2:14; Gal. 5:16; Eph. 2:10; Col. 3:1-17; I John 2:15-17)
We believe that there are two ordinances of the church.
Q. Eternal Life
We believe that all who have been truly born again by the Spirit of God through faith in Christ are eternally secure. We believe it is the privilege of all such to be assured of their present salvation and eternal security. While the Christian is eternally secure, he is still subject to sin which will break his fellowship with God making confession of sin to Christ a necessity in our daily lives. (John 5:24; 10:20-29; Rom. 8:33-39; Eph. 5:25-27; Phil. 1:6; II Tim. 1:12; I John 1:8-9; 5:11-13)
R. Church Finances
We believe the only methods of financing God’s Work are tithes and offerings of God’s people as set forth in the scriptures. (Lev. 27:30-33; Mal. 3:10-12; I Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:12; 9:6, 7)
S. Statement of Biblical Authority
The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final authority of all that we believe. We believe that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the literal, grammatical, historical interpretation of the Bible and its teachings and, therefore, is binding upon all members of First Baptist Church. We further believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to the Statement of Faith and conduct themselves accordingly.
OUR CHURCH COVENANT
We believe we have been led by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, (John 1:12-13; Acts 16:30, 31; I Cor. 12:3) and on the profession of our faith, (Acts 2:41; 18:8; Rom. 10:9, 10; I; I Peter 3:15) have been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; John 4:4; Acts 10:48). We do now in the presence of God, (Rom. 12:1-8; I Cor. 12:4-31; Eph. 4:1-16) angels and this assembly most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 12:1, 9, 14; Gal. 5:16, 18, 25) to walk together in Christian love, (Eph. 5:1-2; I Peter 1:22; I John 4:11) to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and service; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; (I Cor. 11:1-2; I Peter 4:10-11) to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor and the spread of the gospel through all nations (Matt. 23:23; Rom. 25:26-27; I Cor. 16:1-2)
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions, to spiritually educate our children (Gen. 24:36; Deut. 6:6-9; Prov. 22:6; Mark 1:35, 46); to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances (Dan. 12:3; Mark 5:18-20; John 4:29-42; 2 Cor. 5:20-21); to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment (Rom. 13:1-14; Col. 3:17; Eph. 5:15-17; I Peter 2:11-17); to avoid all tattling, backbiting and excessive anger (Rom. 6:11-13; Eph. 4:26, 29-32; James 1:19-21, 26); to abstain from the sale and use of illicit drugs and intoxicating beverages and to be zealous in our efforts to promote and encourage Christian living (Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13-23; I Cor. 6:19-20).
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer (Rom. 15:1-7; Gal. 6:1-2, 9-10; I Thess. 5:14; James 5:16); to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling, courtesy and speech (Matt. 25:34-40; Eph. 4:29-32; James 1:26-27; I Peter 3:8-12); to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay (Matt. 18:15-35; Luke 17:3, 4; Col. 3:12-13; James 1:19-20).
We moreover, engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church of like precious faith where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word (I Cor. 15:58; Eph. 3:21; I Tim. 3:15; Heb. 10:24, 25).