The Doctrinal Statement Of
Faith Baptist Church
I. THE SCRIPTURES:
1. We believe that the Bible is the written record of God’s supernatural revelation of Himself to man. The Bible is absolute in its authority, complete in its revelation, final in its contents, and totally without error in any of its statements. God’s purpose is for the people of God, in every age, to always have in their possession, His infallible and inerrant Word kept intact without the loss of any word (Ps 12:6-7; Matt 5:18, 24:35; Mk 13:31; Lk 21:33; Jn 10:35).
2. We believe in the divine inspiration of the Scriptures in its original autographs /writings (2Tim 3: 16) and its subsequent divine providential preservation in the original languages in the apographs/copies. Verbal (word for word) inspiration without corresponding verbal (word for word) preservation is absurd. This implies that all its words are intact as perfectly preserved by God without any loss of the original words, and that includes the facts of history, geography and science (Ps 12:6-7; Matt 5:18; Matt 24:35; 1Pet 1:25). Both of these are a logical position of faith based solely on the Word of God.
3. We believe that the perfect words of God are preserved and are accessible in the collective witness of the extant 5,000 existing copies of the originals. God has preserved his Word within the totality of the Traditional/Byzantine/Majority Texts (manuscripts/copies) to this day. While the Bible clearly teaches the providential preservation of the verbal revelation of God (Matt 24:35; 1Pet 1:25) we do not have a single copy in its entirety to claim as THE manuscript from the pure lineage of the originals. Nevertheless, God has providentially provided all these copies in order to preserve the Scriptures. Therefore, it is proper to say that preservation has taken place in the totality of the above-mentioned manuscripts.
4. Slight variants have naturally occurred within the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek copies of the originals (autographs) because of the human agencies involved in the copying. For this reason, we do not have a single perfectly pure text with no variations (slight scribal errors). Textual scholars tell us that these variants (‘uncertain words’) are less than 1%, which does not affect the integrity of the whole Bible or the fundamental doctrines. It seems this level of purity is sufficient for God’s purpose to preserve His Word in the copies of the autographs whose exact wording contains some variation. It also makes good sense because uninspired copyist, howbeit in godly fear, were the secondary causation, through ordinary human means, rather than by God’s direct intervention as in the originals, Scripture has been preserved. However, the original words are not lost but by textual studies, we can discern them by comparison and correlation, any variance rectified and established to know the exact, word perfect, infallible and inerrant words of God as it was in the originals. Hence, we do have all the words of God as was given originally in the collective witness of the Traditional/Byzantine/Majority manuscripts today.
5. In the words of G. I. Williamson, we concur that, “We see that God determined that the early copies of the original would be made. True, each erred in a slight degree, but they did not err in the same points…And so, while the true (or perfect) original text would not be entirely reproduced in a single copy, yet it would not be lost or inaccessible because by the majority testimony of several copies, error would always be witnessed against. The true text would be perfectly preserved within the body of witnesses”.
(‘The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes’; pp 14-17.)
Analysis of the above quote:
a. God determined that multiple copies of the original revelatory writings made (i.e. providential preservation).
b. There is not a single copy in its entirety that can claim as the true and perfect copy of the original text (not even the translators of ‘The Received Text’ underlying the KJV claimed that).
c. Each copy had scribal errors in a slight degree, but they did not err in the same points (that is the textual reality).
d. Therefore, the exact words of the originals are ‘not lost or inaccessible because by the majority testimony of several copies’, scribal ‘error would always be witnessed against’. Therefore, we can establish the true words of the original writings by textual studies, recognition, rectification and restoration.
e. Thus, the “true text (words of the originals) would be perfectly preserved within the body of witnesses” (The original words are intact to the jot and tittle).
Conclusion of Analysis:
We have all the exact words of the original writing completely preserved within the body of witnesses of the Traditional/Byzantine/ Majority Texts. They are the source of finding the providentially preserved Bible, kept under God’s particular care and providence, for all ages. This is the most credible position on the issue of revelatory preservation. This is a better view to hold as it has fact, faith and theological logic to support it. Divine Inspiration must guarantee Divine Preservation of every word to the jot and tittle. The punctuated words (i.e. every word, jot and tittle) convey the mind of God through which we understand the meaning of His message.
6. Some hold to the Erasmus-Scrivener’s edition of the Received Text that underpins the KJV, as the true copy of the original writings. As they rightly say so, it is their personal faith with no textual proof or the consensual support of past and present textual scholars. However, it is an acceptable position and not something to quibble about for the KJV-Received Text is part of the bigger body of the traditional extant 5,000 manuscripts, known also as the Textus Receptus (The Received Text).
7. The Bible is not only infallible (cannot make a mistake in its teaching) and inerrant (contains no error) in the original writings, but it is also infallible and inerrant today in the copies of the originals by extension. This is faith-logic. Any apparent discrepancies in the bible are not an error but can be reconciled. Difficult passages of the Bible are to be studied not doubted. God’s Word is to be understood not critiqued.
8. We reject the Alexandrian/ Minority /Wescott-Hort texts. Westcort and Hort based their text on a small group of manuscripts, which the Church of God at the close of the 4th century rejected, and discarded. The early Church recognized the Majority/Traditional Text as the true copies of the originals and copies were made of them for generations. These are the existing documents of over 5,000 manuscripts. The Westcott and Hort text has downplayed many passages of Scripture especially with regard to the deity of Christ (cf.1 Tim 3:16). It also omits many important passages like Mark 16:9-21, John 7:53- 8:11, and 1 John 5:7. The People of God always had the true copies of the originals. To accept the Westcott and Hort text as a more ancient and reliable text is to say that the people of God have not had the true copies of the originals for 15 centuries (AD 330 to 1881), but has been using an inferior and faulty text all along.
9. We will endeavour to use Bible translations that employed verbal equivalence method (word-for-word, of which the KJV is known for) rather than the dynamic equivalence method (thought-for-thought). Keeping in mind that versions or translations are never superior to the inspired and preserved Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Scriptures, we need to consult these original texts for a truer exposition, comparing Scripture with Scripture. All Bible versions may be consulted for study purposes. However, for public reading and private devotion, Faith Baptist Church prefers the KJV (2Tim 3:16-17; 2Pet 1:19-21; 2Pet 3:16; Jn 10:35; Ps 89:34; Ps 138:2; Heb k6:18).
10. We also like to state that there are Bible believing Christians and Churches who may use other versions, which we do not approve of, but we will not judge their faithfulness and devotion to the Lord as inferior to ours or brand them unkindly with unedifying jargon. Our view on Bible preservation will not be the measuring rod to judge the faith of others in the Bible as long as they uphold the fundamentals of sound doctrine. In all things, we will practice Christian love.
There is one true and living God the Creator of the universe and all that is in it. We do believe that God created the universe out of nothing and that He created all things perfectly in six literal or natural, and not figurative or poetic days (cf. John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3). He is eternally existent manifesting in the three Persons of the Trinity: God, the Father; God, the Son; God, the Holy Spirit. (Gen 1:1-2; 1Tim 3:16; 1Jn 5:7; Deut 6:4; Isa 7:14, 9:6).
III. JESUS CHRIST:
A. His Identity –
We believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God Who exists eternally as God. He is the Saviour whom God sent into the world to redeem the world. (Jn 1:1-34; Col 1:15-18; 2:9; Phil 2:9).
B. His Incarnation –
We believe that He took upon Himself flesh and dwelt among men here on this earth and that He was fully God and fully human. (Jn 1:14; Phil 2:6-8).
C. His Virgin Birth –
We believe that he came to earth in the flesh by way of the virgin birth. He was conceived in the womb of a virgin who had never been with a man; therefore, He had no earthly father (Isa 7:14; Matt 1:18-23). Isaiah 7: 14 is strictly a messianic prophecy historically fulfilled only by Jesus Christ who was conceived supernaturally in the womb of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit as announced by the angel (Matt 1:22-23; Luke 1:26-35).
D. His Death –
We believe He died on the cross at Calvary as man’s substitute, suffering the wrath of God for man and paying the full penalty of man’s sin. (Mt 27:3-54; 1Cor 15:1-4).
E. His Blood –
We believe His blood, shed at Calvary is the only atonement for the sins of every person born and it is sufficient to cover all sins. (Heb 9:24-28; Eph 1:7; 1Jn 1:7).
F. His Resurrection –
We believe He rose bodily from the tomb and through His resurrection; we have a sure hope of everlasting life. (Lk 24:1-7; 1Cor 15:1-4; Rom 4:25).
G. His Ascension –
We believe that He ascended into heaven and is now at the right hand of the Father carrying on His ministry of intercession. (Lk 24:50-51; Acts 2:31-33; Heb 7:25; 1Jn 2:1; Heb 12:2).
H. His Return –
We believe in the personal, pre-tribulation and pre-millennial appearing of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ in the air for His church (The Rapture). After the 7 year Tribulation He will then return to earth to set up His kingdom and reign for 1,000 years in fulfilment of the specific promises God made to Israel concerning the restoration to their land, with the Temple rebuilt. This will be a literal fulfillment to the Israelites, and not fulfilled spiritually in the Church. (1Thess 4:13-18; 5:9-11; 1:10; 2Thess 2:1-8; Rev 3:10; Titus 2:13; Isa 26:19-21; Rev 4:1).
I. His Lordship –
We believe He is the Head of the Body into which all true believers are immediately baptised by the Holy Spirit at the time of their salvation. All members of this one spiritual Body should assemble themselves together and identify themselves as local churches. (Acts 2:36; Col 1:18; 1Cor 12:13; Heb 19:25).
IV. THE HOLY SPIRIT:
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God and of the same substance and nature; that He convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgement; bears witness to the truth; is the agent of the new birth; and that He seals, guides, teaches, witnesses to, sanctifies and helps the believer; permanently indwelling every true child of God at the time of salvation.
(Jn 15:26; 2Cor 13:14; Jn 14:16-17; Rom 8; 14-27; 1Cor 12:13)
We believe in the personality of Satan, that he is not merely an abstract power or influence, but a created, personal being; that he is the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air; that he does not possess the attributes of God. Because of his privileged position with God in his creation and his eternal rebellion against God, the Devil and his demons (angels) will suffer forever, punished in the lake of fire. (Jn 8:44; 2Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2; 1Pet 5:8; Ezek 28:13-17; Isa 14:12-15; Rev 20:10; Matt 25:41)
We believe that God created man for His glory and for the purpose of fellowship with Him but sin estranged that relationship with God. (Gen 2:7; 3:1-13)
A. Lost State –
Each member of the human race is fallen, sinful, lost and the regeneration by the Holy Spirit is necessary for salvation. The moment a person realizes their need and believes by faith in Christ alone for salvation, immediately the Holy Spirit indwells and seals that believer. (Rom 3:23; 8:9; Jn 3:7, 16; 5:24; 1Cor 6:19; Eph 1:13-14; Titus 3:5)
B. Salvation –
Man can do nothing of himself to provide his own salvation. It is by grace through faith sinners are saved and it is a free-gift provided by God. Man’s efforts regardless of how good and well intended before or after salvation, have nothing to do with it. Salvation is by the finished work of Christ and we can add nothing to it. (Eph 2:8-9; Gal 2:16; Rom 11:6; Col 2:13; Titus 3:5; Rom 3:22)
C. New Birth –
A true child of God has two births. One is the ‘natural’ and the other ‘spiritual’. The ‘natural’ (or “old nature”) is neither good nor righteous. The ‘spiritual’ (or “new nature”) is given by God. This results in warfare between the old and new natures, which continues until physical death. The old nature of man does not cease to be at salvation, but it can come under the subjection and control of God the Holy Spirit. (Jn 3:3-7; Rom 7:15-25; Rom 8:8; Gal 5:17; 1Pet 1:23; 1Jn 5:18; 1Jn 1:8)
D. Eternal Security and Fellowship –
Every true child of God possesses eternal life, being justified by faith, sanctified by God, sealed by the Holy Spirit and is safe and secure for all eternity. A true child of God cannot lose his salvation, however, a Christian can, through sin, lose his fellowship, joy, power, testimony and incur the Father’s chastisement. The family relationship is eternal, established by the new birth, while fellowship is dependent upon our moment-by-moment obedient walk with the Lord. (2Cor 1:22; Jn 10:27-30; Eph 4:30)
E. Conduct –
A Christian should live righteously and maintain godly works, not as a means of salvation in any sense, but rather as the properly expected evidence of salvation. (Eph 2:10; Titus 3:8)
F. Lives Under Grace –
The true child of God is not under the Law but under grace, saved by grace and disciplined by grace. (Rom 6:14-15; 11:6; 1Cor 10:23-31; 2Cor 3:17)
G. Priesthood –
We believe in the priesthood of the believer. Christ is our Great High Priest and through Him, every born-again person has access to God without a human priest or mediator. The believer has the right and the responsibility to personally study and understand the Word of God in light of the Scriptures as guided and instructed by the Holy Spirit. (Rev 1:6; Heb 4:13-18; 1Tim 2:5; 2Pet 1:20-21)
We believe there will be a resurrection of the saved and the lost; the saved unto eternal life and the lost unto eternal punishment. (Dan 12:2; 1Thes 4:13-18; Rev 20:5-15; Matt 25:41)
We believe that God will judge both the saved and the unsaved and that these judgements will be separate. We believe the Scriptures teach:
A. The Judgement of the Christians –
Christians shall be judged according to their works and will be rewarded or suffer loss as warranted by what they have done since receiving Christ as Saviour. This takes place at the Judgement Seat of Christ. (1Cor 3:11-15; 2Cor 5:10)
B. The Judgement of the Unsaved –
God will judge all the unsaved at the Great White Throne and they will suffer forever because of their sin. (Rev 20:11-15)
IX. THE WORLD TO COME:
We believe that the end of this present world will be by fire and the world to come will be eternal. That in the world to come there will be two eternal places; a place of endless joy for all the people of God and a place of endless punishment for all who have never been reconciled to God by the blood of Christ. We speak of these two places today as Heaven and Hell.
A. Heaven –
Heaven will be a place of beauty, bliss and righteousness where God will dwell with His people forever. (2Cor 12:2-4; 5:1; 1Pet 1:3-5; Rev 21-22)
B. Hell –
Hell will be a place of ceaseless torment, characterized by fire and brimstone, where all who have scorned God’s love will suffer forever. (Lk 16:19-31; Matt 5:22, 29, 30; 23:33; Rev 21:8)
X. THE LOCAL CHURCH:
We believe that the New Testament Church is an organism begun by the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost to baptize believers in the Body of Christ and to be completed at the time the Rapture takes place (Matt 16:18; Acts 2; 10:44-48; 11:15; Eph 5; 1Thes 4:13-18). The Church is built by the Holy Spirit placing individual believers, at the very moment of their salvation by faith in Christ, into the Body of Christ (1Cor 12:13) and, thus, all believers are supernaturally unified. The Body of Christ is manifest in local churches, defined by the Word of God in nature and function as follows:
A local church is an assembly of born-again baptized believers (1Cor 1:2; Phil 1:1).
A. They congregate in a given geographical location (Col 1:2; 1Thes 1:1).
B. They are committed to their Lord Jesus Christ (1Thes 1:2-3; Rom 1:8).
C. They are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1Cor 3:16; 6:19-20).
D. They are living under the discipline of the Word of God (2Tim 3:14-17).
E. They are led by a gifted and qualified leadership (Eph 4:11-16; 1Tim 3).
F. They are organized to perform these functions decently and orderly:
1. Evangelize the community and the world (Acts 1:8; Matt 28:19).
2. Instruct and edify its own members (Eph 4:11-16; 2Tim 3:16).
3. Provide fellowship in Christ with one another (Phil 1:3-7; Acts 2:42).
4. Carry on Scriptural corporate worship (1Cor 14:40).
5. Including the two ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Table (Matt 28:18-20; 1Cor 11:17-34).
A. Governments of State –
We believe in the separation of Church and State with each having separate and distinct areas of responsibilities. (Matt 22:21; Rom 13:1-7; 1Pet 2:13-17)
B. Ecclesiastical Hierarchy –
We believe in the independence and autonomy of the local Church. We believe that no religious hierarchy, group, body, organization, union, convention, association or denomination has any Scriptural grounds to dictate to or participate in the affairs of any local Church. In the view of this belief, Faith Baptist Church has no formal ties with any other church or religious organization in the world. We readily enjoy and encourage fellowship with any church of like doctrine and practice as stated herein and in the Constitution.
Note: The independence and autonomy of the local church is in its own authority. It judges its own membership (1Cor 5:9-13; 1Cor 1:2). It elects its own officers (Acts 1:15-26; 6:1-6). It guards and observe the ordinances (1Cor 11:23; 1Cor 1:2). It settles its own internal difficulties (1Cor 6:1-5). In matters involving relations with other churches (Acts 15: 1-2, 22-25, 30); and in the finality of its authority in that there is no higher authority to which to appeal (Matt 18:15-17).
C. Ordinances –
We believe the ordinances given the local church are two: Baptism and the Lord’s Table. Baptism is by immersion by the believer in water thus portraying the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord’s Table is the partaking of the bread and cup by the believer as a continuing memorial of the broken body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ until He returns for us. (Rom 6:3-4; 1Cor 11:2, 23-26)
We oppose and reject any form of liberalism, which seeks to modify the Word of God. We reject any attempt to alter the terms of the Faith without strictly adhering to the Truth of God’s Word as is now being done in the current ecumenical emphasis of the World Council of Churches and other similar organizations interested in “dialogue’ for the purpose of unification. Some identifying characteristics of such organizations are:
1. Substituting man’s reasoning for God’s revelation and undermining the inerrancy, infallibility and authority of the Holy Scriptures. (Prov 3:5; Col. 2: 8; 1 Cor 3: 19).
2. Placing “love” above sound doctrine as the basis for Christian fellowship. Love without Biblical truth is ‘another Gospel’. It is sound doctrine that sanctifies and unites all true believers (Jn 8: 32; 17: 6, 17, 20, 21; 1Jn 5:2-3;Gal 1: 6-9; Eph 4: 15 ).
3. Advocating a re-thinking and keeping an “open mind” concerning the fundamental doctrines of the Faith, such as the inspiration of the Bible and the virgin birth of Christ. Faith in the Word of God and the Son of God is a matter of revelation not investigation and opinion. (2Tim 3:16; 2Pe 1: 16-21).
4. The attempts to make the Word of God accommodate scientific theories such as evolution. The Bible does not contradict true science. True science supports the Scriptures. It often differs with scientific theories that are presented as fact. (Note Gen 1:1; Jn 1:1-3; Col 1: 15,16).
5. Seeking to make the Church more an instrument of social change rather than emphasizing the responsibility of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:17-20 and the eternal welfare of men and women. Doctrine must determine practice. (2Jn 10; Jude 3).
We believe that the individual believer must practice personal separation from sinful deeds and false doctrine (1Cor 10:21; 2Thes 3:6; 2Tim 2:16-17; 2Jn 10-11), and the Church as the Body of Christ must practice ecclesiastical separation from apostasy (2Cor 6:14-17;Rm 16: 17-20; 1Jn 4; 1Tim 6:3-5; 2Jn 10-11). We believe this separation from apostasy, error and sin, be done in a spirit of love and tactfulness but nonetheless done surely and completely. (2Thes 3:6,13-15). However, we readily enjoy and encourage fellowship with any Church of sound doctrine and practice as stated herein and our Church constitution.
XIII. SIGN GIFTS AND THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT:
We believe that the individual sign gifts such as “healing”, “working of miracles”, “tongues” (ie. human languages) and “interpretation of tongues” were temporary in nature. The function of these gifts was to confirm and authenticate the authority and message of the apostles and their associates by “bearing them witness” through the manifestations of supernatural power during the infancy of the early Church. Since we now have the completed Scriptures to authenticate the claims of Christ and to point the lost humanity to Christ, we believe the sign gifts are no longer given today contrary to the claims by the neo-Pentecostal movement (1Cor 13:8-13; 14:22; Heb 2:3-4). However, we do believe that God is sovereign and therefore He works in mysterious ways, as He seems fit and willing in answer to our humble prayer (1Cor 13: 8-13; 1Cor 14: 22; Heb 2: 3-4; Col 2: 10; 2 Pe 1: 2, 3). All claim otherwise is human hubris.
XIV. CONCLUDING COMMENT:
We understand that others may disagree with our doctrinal statement. As long as they hold to the fundamentals of our common faith (‘sound doctrine’) and stand ready to contend for it in meekness and fear (1Pe 3: 15), we are one in unity with them in Christ’s Body. We have to live by conviction, not convenience. So help us God!