BEREAN BAPTIST CHURCH – “OUR STATEMENT OF THE FAITH”
Adopted – January 25, 1997
In John 17:17, Jesus prayed to His Father concerning His Apostles that He would “sanctify them according to Thy truth; Thy word is TRUTH.” There is a no more fundamental basis for fellowship with God and with one another and other local churches than God’s holy, revealed, eternal truth. Jude exhorted his readers to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) as something more important than revelling in the joys
and blessings of the salvation they held in common.
The Apostle Paul constantly pressed for truth and sound doctrine to be believed, preached and held as the standard for all conduct and associations (1 Tim. 1:3-5; 4:1, 16; 6:3-6, 20-21; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:15; 3:14-17; 4:3-4). The witness of the Scriptures is to the fundamental importance of knowing and acting on the truth.
We believe that our understanding of the faith once delivered is essential for our ministry, fellowship and associations. This document is our statement about what we believe is THE FAITH. By mutual agreement to this statement of doctrinal beliefs, we find true unity of the Spirit and of the faith and God’s blessing (Eph. 4:1-16).
2A. THE SCRIPTURES…
1b. We believe that the Bible is the true and eternal Word of the true and living God and that it consists of the 66 books historically recognized by Bible-believers as the Scriptures (39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament).
2b. We believe that the Scriptures are verbally and plenarily inspired (that is “Godbreathed”) by God. We also believe that inspiration extends to the purposeful divine selection of the individual words in the original languages. As such then, the Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and effective unto that which God desires of them.
3b. We believe that the Scriptures constitute the completed revelation of God to mankind and that He is therefore no longer giving direct divine revelation to any person today.
4b. We further acknowledge that the Scriptures are our only and final rule and authority for faith and practice as Christians and as a Christian church and the true basis for Christian unity.
5b. We acknowledge the importance of having God’s Word in our own language and believe that the translation of the Scriptures must be in direct correspondence to the original languages as found in the Masoretic Text of the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus of the New Testament in order to be authoritative. We believe therefore, that the best and most accurate translation in the English language is the King James Version and therefore is the version that will be used for all public reading and preaching from the pulpit of Berean Baptist Church.
[Deut. 4:2; 29:29; Isa. 40:8; 55:11; Jer. 26:2; John 17:17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pt. 1:19-21; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Rev. 22:19]
3A. THE GODHEAD…
1b. The Tri-unity of God
1c. We believe that there is ONE and only ONE living and true God…a holy, infinite, perfect and eternal Spirit Being, sovereign Creator of the heavens and the earth, the One to whom all creation is accountable.
2c. We further believe that this one God is ONE in undivided and indivisible nature and essence but exists in THREE co-equal yet distinct persons….the Father, the Son,and the Holy Spirit. This is part of the mystery of God that the finite mind of man cannot fully comprehend but which is revealed by God of Himself in the Scriptures.
[Gen. 1:1; Ex. 15:11; Deut. 4:35; 6:4; Isa. 44:6-8; 45:5,6; 46:9,10; Zech. 4:9; Matt. 28:19; Mk. 12:29-32; John 17:3; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; 1 Jn. 5:7; Rev. 4:8]
2b. The Father
1c. We believe that the Father is the first person of the Godhead and ensures the execution of the divine will in all of creation. In the work of redemption the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour and then the Spirit to be the Sanctifier of all believers.
2c. We further believe that the Father is of the same essence as the Son and the Spirit and possesses all the attributes of God. We believe that the Father is uniquely the father of the nation Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the believer in Christ.
3c. We believe the Father is sovereign in all that He does and cannot be corrected, He is never wrong. His dwelling place is the throne in heaven from where He watches over everything. Nothing can thwart His purposes. The will of the Father is final.
4c. We believe the Father holds all creation and time in His holy hand and He is bringing His plan for the ages to completion. He is to be worshipped in spirit and truth and is to be the One to whom we pray.
[Ps. 68:5; 89:26; Isa. 9:6; 63:16; 64:8; Jer. 31:9; Mal. 1:6; Matt. 6:9; 24:36; Jn. 5:26; 16:23; Acts 1:7; 1 Cor. 8:6; 15:24-28; Eph. 4:6; Jas. 1:17; 1 Pt. 1:17; 1 Jn. 3:1; 5:7; Rev. 3:21]
3b. The Son
1c. We believe that the Son is the second person of the Godhead and has eternally subordinated himself to the Father in the work of redemption. The Son is of the same essence as the Father and Spirit and possesses all the attributes of God.
2c. We believe that the Son became incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ at the precise moment that God’s plan called for it to happen (Gal. 4:4). Jesus is thus both God the Son and the Son of God in his incarnation (that is, God in the flesh, John 1:14).
3c. We believe that Jesus was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit and that He was virgin born. We further acknowledge that Jesus Christ lived a perfectly sinless life by the power of the Spirit and totally within the will of the Father thus qualifying Him to be the perfect sacrifice for the sin of mankind.
4c. We believe that Jesus died on the cross as the sinner’s substitute, fully of His own accord. He did not die a martyr’s death, nor was His life taken from Him, rather, we believe He voluntarily gave His life up for us. We also believe in the fundamental importance of the blood of Christ, shed as the means of remission of sins.
5c. We believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead three days and three nights after His crucifixion victorious over sin, death, Satan, and the grave. Christ is alive today in a glorified body and will never experience death again.
6c. We believe that Jesus ascended back into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. We believe Jesus Christ today intercedes for His people before the Father in heaven and rules in the midst of His churches on earth. We believe that He is keeping His promise to not leave nor forsake those who belong to Him.
7c. We believe that Jesus Christ will personally return to this earth when the Father gives the command. We believe that His return is imminent. We further believe that His return will be both pretribulational [to rapture the church] and premillennial [to establish His kingdom on earth as the prophets foretold].
[Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; 28:6; John 1:1-4, 14; 14:3; Acts 1:11; 15:16; 1 Cor. 15:50-52; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:6-8; Heb. 1:8; 7:25; 9:28; 1 Pt. 2:22; 3:18]
4b. The Holy Spirit
1c. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead and has eternally submitted himself to the Father and the Son in the work of redemption. We believe that the Spirit is a divine person possessing all the attributes of personality and of deity. He is equal with the Father and with the Son and is of the same nature.
2c. We believe the Holy Spirit’s work in the world is to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment with the intent of leading people to faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. For those who believe in Christ, the Spirit regenerates and baptizes them into the body of Christ, indwells and seals them for eternity, fills, guides, teaches them the ways of righteousness and illuminates the truth of the Scriptures to their minds.
3c. We believe that the Spirit endues believers with spiritual gifts upon conversion and that these gifts are to be employed in the service of others and for the building up of the Body of Christ, the Church. We further believe that certain gifts were sign gifts given to authenticate the apostles and prophets during the founding of the Church and that these sign gifts were temporary and ceased with the death of the Apostle John and the completion of the New Testament at the end of the first century AD. We believe that the continuing gifts of the Spirit involve gifts of speaking and serving (1 Pt. 4:10,11).
4c. We believe there is a distinction between the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament in which He was with God’s people and came upon them for service and His ministry in the New Testament since the Day of Pentecost and during this church age in which He indwells God’s people, empowering them to be witnesses unto Christ and filling them with power to serve.
5c. We stand opposed to those who teach a “second work of grace” subsequent to salvation, the continuation of spiritual sign gifts, such as healing, miracles, and speaking in tongues, and the reception of extra-biblical revelation from God to so-called “prophets” in the church today. We will not fellowship nor partner with any charismatic group, be it a church, parachurch organization or any other so-called “evangelical” group
with a charismatic emphasis.
[Gen. 1:2; Ex. 31:1-5; Ps. 139:7; John 7:39; 14:16-18, 26; Acts 1:5; Rom. 8:9-27; 1 Cor. 6:19,20; 12:13; Eph. 1:13,14; 5:18; Heb. 9:14]
1c. We believe in the personal existence of Satan, the Devil.
2c. We believe that he was created by God as a perfect, angelic spirit being but because of pride rebelled against God and became the great adversary of God and His people. We believe that he is the leader of all evil spirits, the deceiver, the god of this present world, the father of lies, and the accuser of the brethren. We believe that his powers are vast but strictly limited by the will of God who overrules his wicked devices for good.
3c. We believe that Satan was defeated and judged at the cross and therefore his final doom is certain. We believe that Christians can have personal victory over Satan through their spiritual position in Christ, the whole armor of God, the blood of the Lamb, the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. We believe that the Scriptures teach us to resist the devil and he will flee from us.
4c. We believe that the current practice of “spiritual warfare” among some evangelicals that attempts to “bind the strong man,” that is, the Devil, and sees demons as the cause for every vice and problem are unbiblical, unwarranted, unnecessary and ultimately dangerous.
[Gen. 3:1-15; Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19; Matt. 4:1-11; 25:41; Rom. 16:20; Rev. 12:9-11; 20:10]
1c. We believe in the personal existence of demons.
2c. We believe the demons were created by God as perfect angelic spirit beings who rebelled with Satan against God. While we do not know the precise number of demons, we believe they are legion.
3c. We also believe the demons are powerful, subservient to Satan but limited by the will of God. The Scriptures reveal they can afflict human beings
3b. Good Angels
1c. We believe in the personal existence of holy angels.
2c. We believe they were created by God as perfect spirit beings who remained faithful and obedient to God and did not follow Satan in his rebellion. We believe they are an innumerable host, with one named Michael as archangel.
3c. We believe the Scriptures teach that angels are messengers of God, “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:14).
[Gen 28:12; Ps. 91:11; 103:20,21; 104:4; Matt. 4:11; 13:38-41; 18:10; Mk. 8:38; Lk. 1:19,26; 15:10; Heb. 1:4-7; 12:22; 13:2; Jd. 9; Rev. 5:11; 12:7]
5A. MANKIND AND CREATION…
1b. We believe the Scriptures teach that man was divinely created in the image and likeness of God by the direct and immediate act of God and not from any previously existing form of life.
2b. We believe further that God created the universe and all that is in it with the appearance of age in six literal days and rested on the seventh. We believe that God is vitally interested in and involved in His creation, working out His plan and will every step of the way. We believe the theory of evolution to be false as an explanation for the beginning of mankind.
3b. We believe that Adam and Eve were real, historical persons, created in the image and likeness of God and breathed into by the breath of God thus making man a living soul. We also believe that the created order of man first from the dust of the ground and woman second from the man’s rib to be of extreme importance for the proper ordering of society, family and church relationships. We do not believe women to be inferior to men as persons
but we do believe that women are subordinate to men because of the created order and the curse of God because of sin.
4b. We believe that by their transgression of the only command God gave them, Adam and Eve fell from the state of innocence and perfection in which they were created, died spiritually, were separated from fellowship with God, and passed on the depraved, sinful nature to all their descendants in every generation of man.
5b. We believe the result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience is that all men are now sinners by nature and by choice, being utterly devoid of that holiness required by the law,
positively inclined to do evil and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin without defense or excuse.
6b. We believe the need of all mankind is to be saved by God through faith in Christ Jesus and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We believe that man does not commit acts of evil as much as he could because of the restraining work of the Spirit of God in this age.
[Gen. 1:26,27; 2:17; 3:1-24; Ps. 100:3; Isa. 53:6; John 1:3; Rom. 3:23; 5:12-19; Eph. 2:1-3; Col. 1:16,17]
1b. We believe that sin is to “fall short of the glory of God” and is to be understood as, first, the principle or nature of depravity inherent in every person; second, acts of transgression of the law of God; and third, personal guilt.
2b. We also believe that sin is basically self-centeredness and brings death. We believe that sin is so awful that when the sin of the world was placed on Christ, both the Father and the Spirit turned away from the Son as the wrath of God was poured out on Him!
3b. We believe that the only answer to sin in a person’s life is the blood of Jesus Christ, which He shed for the remission of our sins and which washes our sins away.
[Rom. 3:23; 6:12, 13, 23; Gal. 3:10; Jas. 1:14, 15; 2:8-10; 1 Jn. 1:7-10; 3:4]
1b. We believe that salvation is wholly of God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. We believe the faith required for salvation is expressed by repentance of sin and personal trust in Christ as Saviour and Lord.
2b. We further believe that the salvation God provides is immediate deliverance from the penalty of sin, which is death, (justification), the power of sin (sanctification) and ultimately, the presence of sin (glorification) when we see Jesus face to face in glory.
3b. We believe that salvation brings about a change in thinking and conduct, conforming the believer to the mind of Christ and transforming him into Christ likeness. We believe that we are saved to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart, and with excellence.
4b. We also believe that all who are truly born again are eternally secure, kept by God and fully saved.
[John 1:12; 3:16; 10: 27-29; Rom. 8:33-39; 2 Cor. 5:17, 21; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; Phil 1:6; 1 Tim. 1:4-6; Heb. 7:25; Jude 24,25]
1b. We believe that Israel is distinct from the church of Jesus Christ as the special people that God called unto Himself. We believe that the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel) and their descendants belong exclusively to the nation and that God will, according to His plan, bring all His promises to fulfillment.
2b. We further believe that, in this Church Age, Israel has been set aside from God’s use but not out of His care or protection. We believe God will once again restore Israel to His blessing in the millennial kingdom of Christ. We believe that the nation of Israel today, while generally in a state of unbelief, is still the special possession of God.
3b. We believe that Jews today who believe in Jesus as their Messiah are saved and brought into the Church.
[Gen. 12:1-3; Rom. 11:1,2, 25-26; 1 Cor. 10:32]
9A. THE CHURCH…
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Church of Jesus Christ is distinct from Israel and was inaugurated on the Day of Pentecost. We further believe that the Church must be considered in two aspects, namely the church which is His body and the local church.
1b. The “Church which is His Body” We believe that the church which is “the body of Christ” is the entire company of true believers in Christ during the period between Pentecost and the Rapture. We believe that it is a living, growing organism, which was, by the baptism of the Spirit, constituted the Body of Christ and when it has reached its predetermined dimensions, will be caught up (raptured) to be joined with its Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. [Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:19-23; 4:4; 5:23-27; Col. 1:18; Heb. 12:23]
2b. The Local Church
1c. We believe the local church is a company of believers in Christ who have been called out of the world and unto God, baptized by immersion, associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship in the gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word.
2c. We further believe that its Scriptural officers are pastors (also called elders or bishops in the Scriptures) and deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures. We believe the Word of God teaches that these offices are to be filled by godly, qualified men, not women.
3c. We also believe in the priesthood of all believers, and in individual soul liberty.
4c. We believe in the complete autonomy of the local church under the headship of Jesus Christ and that it is free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations. We believe that the sole authority in the local church is the Word of God.
5c. We do recognize the benefit of true local churches of like faith and practice co-operating with each other for the furtherance of the gospel and in contending for the faith, but that every local church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its co-operation.
6c. We believe in the priority of the local church as God’s instrument for spiritual ministry in the world today and that while certain parachurch groups, Bible colleges and seminaries and mission agencies are a helpful arm for the local church, it is wrong for such groups to usurp the place of the local church in God’s plan.
7c. In all matters of membership, polity, government, discipline or benevolence the will of the local church is final.
8c. We believe the true mission of the local church is found in our Lord’s commission to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20…..first, to teach or make disciples of all nations by preaching the gospel in all the world; secondly, to baptize by immersion those who believe; thirdly, to teach and instruct the believers to obey that which He has commanded.
9c. We believe the local church exists to glorify God in every way, evangelize the lost, both at home and abroad, with the gospel of Jesus Christ and edify the believer in his or her faith and equip him or her to serve the Lord Jesus with excellence.
[Acts 2:41-47; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 3:1-16; Titus. 1:5-9]
3b. The Ordinances
1c. We believe that Scripture teaches believer’s baptism. We believe that baptism is the immersion in water of the believer in Jesus Christ, in the singular name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to show forth our union with the crucified, buried and risen Christ, our death to sin and our resurrection to new life. We believe that baptism is a command of the Word of God and a condition of church membership. [Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:41; Rom. 6:3-5]
2c. We believe that the Lord’s table was instituted by the Lord Jesus on the night He was betrayed and that it is the privilege of all believers to partake of its elements. We believe the Lord’s Table is a memorial in which the bread symbolizes the body of Christ given for us and the juice symbolizes the blood of Christ shed for us. We believe that this ordinance should be preceded by solemn self-examination and commemorated regularly until Jesus comes again. We do not believe that participating in the Lord’s Table saves any person in any way. [Luke 22:19,20; 1 Cor. 11:23-32]
10A. CIVIL GOVERNMENT…
We believe that civil government is a divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed, except in things opposed to the will and Word of God. [Mk. 12:17; Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; Titus 3:1-2; 1 Pt. 2:13-17]
11A. THE FUTURE…
1b. We believe in the personal, imminent, bodily and glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2b. We believe that when His Bride, the Church, shall have been completed, He will appear in the air to rapture the Church unto Himself, and take them to heaven where the Judgment Seat of Christ and the marriage of the Lamb will take place.
3b. We believe that at the time the Church is in heaven with Christ, the Tribulation, of approximately seven years, will take place on earth;
4b. We believe that Christ and His Bride will return to earth at the end of the Tribulation to take vengeance on them that know not God and to set up His millennial kingdom on earth;
5b. We believe that after these events will come the Great White Throne judgment when all the wicked of all ages shall be resurrected to stand before God and be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire to endure eternal punishment;
6b. We believe that the righteous of all ages shall enjoy eternal bliss in the presence of God in the New Heavens and New Earth.
[Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:50-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; 2:1-12; Rev. 20:1-6; 11:15]
12A. BIBLICAL SEPARATION…
We believe the Scriptures teach separation as a basic, fundamental part of “the faith once delivered to the saints.” We believe biblical separation involves three aspects….
1b. Personal separation
1c. We believe the Scriptures teach that every believer should be separated unto God from the world, and by the aid of the Holy Spirit should walk in Christian love and holiness, exhibiting qualities of honesty, integrity, forgiveness and lovingkindness.
2c. We further believe that any achievement in these characteristics will be evidenced by sincere humility and genuine zeal for the advancement of the cause of Christ.
3c. We also believe the Scriptures admonish every believer to not love the world neither the things in the world, but rather to flee evil desires, and refrain from questionable practices which feed the old nature, sear the conscience, destroy one’s clear testimony for Christ, offend one’s brother and/or cause a weaker brother to stumble, and fail to glorify God.
[Ps. 1:1-6; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Rom. 14:13, 19-21; 1 Cor. 6:18-20; 10:23, 33; 2 Cor. 7:1; Gal. 5:16-26; Eph. 4: 22-24; 5:7-11; Phil. 4:8,9; 2 Tim. 2:22; Titus 2:11,12; Jas. 4:4; 1 Jn. 2:15-17; 5:19-21]
2b. Ecclesiastical separation from apostate, liberal denominations and all false teaching.
1c. We believe the Scriptures teach that true churches must not enter into any fellowship or join in any common spiritual endeavour, such as worship, evangelism, prayer, education, relief, etc., with those who have rejected Bible truth and the fundamentals of the faith once delivered to the saints and that to do so constitutes direct disobedience to the Word of God.
2c. We further believe the Scriptures command local churches to expose and warn Bible believers about apostasy and false teaching and reprove false teachers and their teaching.
3c. We, therefore, will not join in with any “spiritual” work that would require us to compromise our convictions or cause us to walk contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture.
4c. We, further stand opposed to any fellowship with the World Council of Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, or any other organization or denomination that cooperates in or in any way endorses the ecumenical and/or charismatic movement.[2 Cor. 6:14-18; Gal. 1:8,9; Eph. 5:11; 1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:16-19; 3:5; Titus 3:10; 2 Jn. 9-11]
3b. Separation from disobedient brethren and unbiblical conduct.
1c. We believe the Scriptures teach that true believers are to separate from others who may profess to know Christ as Saviour, preach the gospel and believe in the Bible but who act contrary to sound doctrine. Those who call themselves “evangelical” but who cooperate with liberal or apostate or charismatic denominations and organizations are to be marked out and avoided.
2c. Therefore we will not engage in any cooperative work with those who profess to love the Lord but in action disobey His clear commands. [Amos 3:3; Acts 20:27-31; Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:7-13; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14, 15; 2 Tim. 2:19-26; 2 Jn. 7-11]
We believe the doctrine of Biblical separation is based upon God’s eternal principle of division between truth and error, right and wrong, good and evil and His specific command to be separate from unbelievers and disobedient brethren. We further believe this truth is to be practiced with an attitude of devotion, humility, compassion and grace yet with strong conviction. We believe this doctrine should be upheld not for any sense of self-righteousness, pride or spiritual superiority but for the purity of God’s truth, the glory of God and to impress upon the others the fundamental importance of the truth of God’s word, will and way and to exhort them to repent of their error and return to sound biblical doctrine and conduct.