Constitution of CrossPoint Fellowship Church
Constitution of Fellowship Baptist Church
dba CrossPoint Fellowship Church
5681 North US Hwy 231
Jasper, Indiana 47546
As a body of baptized believers, we place our faith wholly in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. Having bound ourselves together in fellowship and believing it necessary to govern ourselves together in an orderly and efficient manner we do hereby adopt the provisions of the Church Covenant, Constitution, Statement of Faith and Baptist Distinctives contained in this document.
Article I -- Name
The name of this organization shall be Fellowship Baptist Church of Jasper, Indiana, Inc.
Article II -- Purpose
The purpose of this organization shall be to bring glory to God through the advancement of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It shall seek to attain this end through:
1.The worship of God the Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through the written Word. (Philippians 3:3; John 4:23)
2.Preaching the gospel and seeking to win the lost to Christ.
3.Consistent Christian living by conforming with our Church Covenant. (2 Timothy 4:2)
4.Personal evangelism. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
5.Missionary endeavor. (Acts 1:8)
6.Christian education, to teach, and exhort, and train, as the Holy Spirit leads. (Titus 2:1-15; Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 10:25)
7.Administering the ordinances of baptism and communion. (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 11:2-34)
8.And rendering Christian service. (Galatians 6:1-10; Romans 12:1-15)
Article III -- Membership
The membership of this church shall consist of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, who have been baptized by immersion after conversion. No person can be a member of this church who is a member of any secret society or lodge. (2 Corinthians 6:14-19)
Each candidate for baptism shall be taught the doctrine and reason for baptism prior to being baptized.
1. Profession of faith and baptism.
a.Each candidate for membership will relate his or her Christian experience to the pastor and board of deacons, who, having satisfied themselves that the candidate is eligible for church membership, shall recommend the same to the church, who shall vote upon the candidate’s admission to membership.
b.Candidates may be received at any regular service or business meeting of the church by a majority vote.
a.Dismissed members or members on the inactive roll may be restored to the membership upon recommendation of the pastor and board of deacons and a vote of the church.
b.Dismissed members shall be required to give evidence of honest repentance and to make confession of wrong doing before the church, where deemed necessary by the pastor and the board of deacons.
c.Dismissed members may be received at any regular service or business meeting of the church.
Members may be dismissed at any regular service or business meeting by letter or inactive roll, by a vote of the church.
a.A letter of commendation shall be sent to any church for a member in good and regular standing.
b.A letter of dismissal shall be sent to any church for a member not in good and regular standing at the church's request.
(1)When any resident member becomes inactive for more than six months, and there is no noticeable response to efforts to restore the member, he or she shall be placed automatically upon the inactive roll.
(2)All inactive members shall lose their privileges to vote, hold office, or participate in the business meetings of the church.
(3)An active member may be reinstated to active status by meeting with the pastor and deacons and subscribing again to the church covenant. If the outcome of such a meeting is satisfactory to the pastor and deacons, renewed active membership shall be automatic.
(4)Names on the inactive roll shall not be counted when tabulating membership for statistical reports.
(5)Members whose membership becomes inactive shall be notified and encouraged to renew attendance and active status.
(6)Those on the inactive roll, if not reactivated within one year, shall by their choice of inactivity be automatically dropped from the church rolls, and they shall be notified in writing of this action.
(7)A member who is hindered providentially from active membership shall not be classified as inactive.
(1)Members who move from the area and who do not join another church should communicate with our church at least annually if they wish to retain active status here. Otherwise they shall after one year be considered inactive.
(2)Members shall be notified of such action as taken by the church.
1.Any member who has violated the covenant and/or Statement of Faith or been guilty of conduct unbecoming in a follower of Christ shall be considered for disciplinary measures.
2.The pastor and board of deacons shall constitute the discipline committee of the church.
3.In the case of personal differences between members of the church, the board of deacons shall recommend that the parties endeavor to settle their differences in the manner laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:15-18.
4.Any discipline problems must be presented to the discipline committee before bringing it to the church.
5.Where charges are made against a member, the accused shall be notified personally of the nature of the charges and shall be summoned to appear before the discipline committee to make answer to the charges.
6.If the accused person fails to appear on the date agreed on by himself or herself and the discipline committee, such failure to appear will be considered by the discipline committee as an admission of guilt and shall be dealt with accordingly.
7.If the accused appears before the discipline committee, there shall be a full and fair hearing of the case and the discipline committee may be empowered to vote that the accused is innocent of the charges. If, on the other hand, a majority of the discipline committee present, vote that the accused be excluded from the membership of the church, or such other discipline as the case may warrant, the church must either approve the recommendation or hear the case itself.
8.All discipline enacted by the church must conform to the standards of God's Word as found in Matthew 18:15-18, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 and Galatians 6:1.
9.It is understood that this clause shall not be used as an excuse for unnecessary severe ness in minor matters, but that the discipline committee shall always use kindness, consideration and Christian love in determining the cases for discipline and the method of procedure in such cases. The church should always respect the decision and recommendation of the discipline committee and try to carry out such recommendation in the spirit of love for all concerned.
A member shall be considered in good standing when he or she shall regularly attend this church services, communion, contribute to the church program in proportion to his ability, and demonstrate in his daily living the Christian way of life.
Article IV -- Officers
The officers of this church shall be pastor(s), deacons, trustees, church clerk, treasurer, financial secretary and Sunday School superintendent.
Only those persons may hold office who have acknowledged Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and who have been active members for one year of Fellowship Baptist Church (unless recommended by the pastor and deacons). Each officer of the church shall be required to subscribe to the articles of faith of the church. Upon refusal of any officer to do so, his office shall be declared vacant.
A. The Pastor.
a.He should meet the qualifications according to 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.
b.He is given of God to the church. "And he gave some...pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11,12).
a.The board of deacons shall constitute the pulpit committee of the church.
b.A preliminary investigation of possible candidates shall begin as soon as possible after the resignation, removal or death of a pastor.
c.A prospective pastor, after investigation, shall meet with the pulpit committee, then supply the pulpit of this church for a number of meetings specified by the pulpit committee.
d.A special business meeting shall be called by the pulpit committee to consider a call for the prospective pastor. A two-thirds (2/3) majority of the members present and voting by secret ballot is required to call a pastor.
e.Only one prospective pastor shall be considered at a time.
f.The result of the special business meeting shall be made known to the pastor under consideration as soon as possible after such meeting. If the vote is favorable and if he accepts the call, he and his wife shall become members of the church. The terms of the call, such as salary, allowances and benefits as well as vacation time shall be given to him in written form after the formal call.
a.He is called for an indefinite period of time and shall continue as long as that relation is mutually agreeable to himself and/or this church.
b.Termination of office.
(1) By resignation.
The pastor may resign at any time and his duties be terminated thirty days from the date of his resignation or at another time mutually agreeable to the pastor and the church.
(2) By church action.
If twenty-five percent (25%) of the active membership submit to the deacons a request for the dismissal of the pastor, with the specific relevant causes in writing, the church shall decide the matter at a special business meeting called for this purpose. The meeting shall be announced in two public church services, and preferably by written notification to the members, prior to the special meeting. If two-thirds (2/3) of the voting members present vote for the pastor's dismissal, he shall be considered dismissed.
c.The pastor's salary, benefits, etc. shall be recommended to the church initially by the deacons, and all subsequent reviews and recommendations should come from the deacons. The salary and benefits shall be reviewed at least annually, but may be reviewed at any time during the year as deemed appropriate.
a.The pastor's duties shall be in fulfillment of 1 Peter 5:1-4.
b.The pastor is ex-officio member of all boards and committees.
c.The pastor shall act as the moderator of the business meetings, except when the board of deacons deems it wise for the chairman to act in such capacity.
5. His privileges.
a.He may call for a meeting of the church or of any committee or board thereof at such times as experience proves necessary.
b.The pastor's attendance at conferences and his absences for special speaking engagements shall be approved by the deacons.
c.He shall select the person to supply the pulpit in his absence.
d.Any additional paid staff member will be selected by the pastor and board of deacons, recommended to and approved by the church. If dismissal becomes necessary the matter will be handled by the pastor and the board of deacons. The pastor shall have final authority in the action to be taken.
e.The Pastor, with the Deacons approval, may make expenditures of up to $2,500 without church approval. Any expenditure exceeding this amount must be submitted by the Deacons, who will in turn submit to the church for approval by majority vote of the members present at any regular or special business meeting.
B. The Deacons.
a.The deacons shall meet the New Testament standards as given in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
b.The deacons are chosen by "the whole multitude [congregation]” (Acts 6:3), in order that the spiritual mission of this church, “prayer and the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4) may be kept preeminent.
2. Their election.
a.The deacons shall be three or more in number, as qualified men are available.
b.The deacons shall be elected for an office of three (3) years. No deacon shall succeed himself in office after serving two (2) full consecutive terms. Exception may be made in extenuating circumstance, by a ¾ affirmative vote of Members present and voting.
c.Vacancies occurring during the year may be filled for completion of the unexpired term, at any business meeting duly called upon the recommendation of the Pastor and Deacons.
3. Their duties.
a.It shall be the duty of the deacons to engage actively in all the spiritual work of the church, seek out such members as need special help and encouragement, inquire into the fitness and qualifications of applicants for membership, visit the sick, to assist the pastor in all matters relating to the spiritual interests of the church.
b. The board of deacons shall constitute the pulpit committee, whose duty shall be to select and present to the church candidates for the pulpit, and to supply the pulpit while the church is without a pastor.
c. In the event of a vacancy in the pulpit the chairman of the deacons shall assume leadership of the church (assisted by the deacon board) until such time as a pastor is called.
d.The deacons with the approval of the Pastor may make expenditures of up to 2% of the church budget without Church approval. Any expenditure exceeding this amount must be submitted by the deacons for church approval by majority vote of the Members present at any regular or special business meeting.
1. The trustees shall be three or more in number. They shall elect from their number a chairman who will have general oversight of their work. One-half (1/2) of the full number of the trustees shall constitute a quorum. The trustees shall make a full report of their activities to the church at each annual meeting or as requested by the church.
2. Their term of office shall be one (1) year.
3. It shall be the duty of the trustees to care for the property of the church to superintend any improvements that are entrusted to a special committee and to perform such business concerns of the church as shall be from time to time assigned to them by the church. The trustees are at all times servants of the church and subject to corporate action.
4. The trustees shall not have authority to sell, lease, give away or dispose of in any manner, church property exceeding one percent (1%) of the current fiscal year church budget.
5. The trustees with the approval of the Pastor may make all expenditures relating to buildings and grounds not to exceed two percent (2%) of the church budget without Church approval. Any expenditure exceeding this amount must be submitted by the trustees for church approval by majority vote of the Members present at any regular or special business meeting.”
6.The trustees may approve all property expenses connected with their sphere of service as outlined above, not to exceed $500, unless approval of the Pastor is obtained.
D. The Church Clerk.
The clerk shall keep an accurate record of the proceedings of the church, give notice of church business meetings, and keep a register of all the members of the church. The clerk shall issue letters of dismissal, request letters of transfer from other churches, and perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the church and any legal correspondence when necessary.
E. The Treasurer.
The church treasurer shall be elected by ballot vote, for a one (1) year term and must be a person who has been a member for one year (unless recommended by the pastor and deacons).
The treasurer shall, as directed by the church trustees, make all disbursements. The treasurer shall make a full report to the church at each annual meeting and when otherwise directed by the church.
F. Financial Secretary.
The financial secretary shall be elected in the same manner and for the same term as treasurer.
The financial secretary shall count all monies, with help when deemed advisable, keep a record by name and number of the offerings of all individual givers, and shall immediately, after the first of the year, issue to any giver an up-to-date record of his or her offerings.
G. Sunday School Superintendent.
The Sunday School superintendent shall be elected for a term of one year and must be a person who has been a member for one year (unless recommended by the pastor and deacons). The Sunday School superintendent shall supervise the teaching ministry and the business administration of the Sunday School. He shall appoint, in conjunction with the pastor and necessary assistants, all departmental superintendents and teachers, subject to the approval of the board of deacons. He shall preside at all meetings of the Sunday School cabinet. He shall make sure that all Sunday School teachers and officers subscribe annually to the Sunday School standards.
Article V -- Manner of Election
1. The nominating committee shall be made up of the pastor, two deacons, one trustee, and two members selected by vote of the church two weeks prior to the meeting of the nominating committee to select possible names to be placed on the ballot for each office to be filled.
2. The nominating committee shall meet four weeks prior to the annual business meeting of the church for the election of officers.
3. A list of individuals recommended for office shall be posted two weeks prior to the annual business meeting for the election of officers. One nomination per office may then be received from any member in good standing by the nominating committee, whose task shall be to consider the person nominated with the result to be the insertion of that name on the ballot or both the nominee and the one making the nomination shall be informed as to the reason for the omission from the ballot.
4. Voting shall be by secret ballot.
Article VI -- Meetings
A. Meetings for Worship.
1.The church shall meet each Sunday for public worship both morning and evening. Occasional changes may be made by the pastor and deacons.
2. The weekday service of Bible study and prayer shall be held on Wednesday, occasional changes being made by the pastor and deacons.
3. The ordinance of the Lord's Supper shall be observed, preferably, an average of at least every other month during the year.
4. Additional meetings may be held during the year for the purpose of holding revivals, missionary conferences, etc.
B. Meetings for Business.
Business meetings shall be conducted orderly and in a business manner. Necessary business may be conducted at any regular meeting of the church.
1. Quarterly business meetings shall usually be conducted the second Sunday evening of April, July, October and January.
2. The annual election of officers and the adoption of the new annual budget shall usually be held the first Sunday evening of December.
3. The installation of deacons and other officers shall be held, preferably, on the first Sunday of the year.
4. The annual business meeting for the presentation of the annual reports shall be held at the same time as the fourth quarter business meeting, usually the second Sunday evening of January.
5. Special business meetings may be called by the pastor, the board of deacons, or by written request of any five members of the church, who are eligible to vote. The purpose of the meeting shall be announced from the pulpit and/or published in the church bulletin two public services prior to such meeting.
1. A quorum of 25% of the active resident membership, eighteen years of age or over, shall be required for all business meetings, except where otherwise stated.
2. In incidental business meetings the members present shall constitute a quorum.
Article VII -- Finances
A.The fiscal year shall begin on January 1, and end on the following December 31.
B.Tithes and offerings shall be the means of supporting the church. All other methods shall be discouraged and no commercial attempt will be approved.
C.The church shall operate under one treasurer with assistant treasurers for designated funds as voted upon by the church.
D.An auditing committee shall be appointed annually by the board of deacons. This committee shall consist of three (3) members, at least one having knowledge of accounting methods. They shall examine the records of the treasurer in his presence and report to the church at the January meeting.
E.The financial committee shall consist of the deacons, a representative of the trustees, the treasurer, the financial secretary, the pastor and one additional member from the congregation selected by the deacons.
Article VIII -- Missions
It shall be the policy of this church to support only churches, mission boards, Christian schools and colleges, and individuals who are in hearty agreement with our Statement of Faith both in doctrine and in practice.
Article IX -- Use of Church Building
The church building has been erected and set apart for God's glory and in this sense should be used only for such activities that honor Him and His holy Word.
At the discretion of the pastor and deacons, the church will gladly offer its services for weddings, funerals or special occasions deemed appropriate to be held at the church.
Article X -- Auxiliary Organizations and Committees
1. All organizations considered a part of the church activities are required to confer with the pastor from time to time regarding plans and activities, and all matters of importance that affect the church shall be submitted to the pastor and the board of deacons for approval.
2. All major officers of auxiliary organizations and all regular teachers must be members of the church in good and regular standing, and must meet the standards as set forth in the Sunday School department.
1.All committees of a permanent nature shall be recommended by the pastor and the board of deacons and approved by the church.
2.All committees shall be self-governing but finally subject to the control of the church through its constitution and voted church policy.
3.When any member of a committee fails to attend three (3) consecutive meetings, without just cause, which his office or position requires him to attend, such office or position shall be considered vacant.
Article XI -- Amendments
This constitution may be amended by three-fourths (3/4) vote of members present at any business meeting provided that notice of such proposed amendment had been clearly stated and announced to the church before the business meeting.
Article XII -- Dissolution
In the event of dissolution, any remaining assets will be given to another organization which is, at that time, exempt from Federal Income Tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue code.
Statement of Faith
Section I -- The Scriptures
We believe that the holy Bible, as originally written was verbally inspired and the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore is truth without admixture of error for its matter. We believe that it is the true center of Christian union and the only infallible rule for all human conduct, creeds and opinions. (2 Timothy 3:16;17; 2 Peter 1:19-21.)
Section II -- The True God
We believe the one true and living God is one in essence, possessing three eternal, personal distinctions which are revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, yet executing distinct but harmonious offices. (Exodus 20:2,3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Peter 1:2.)
We believe that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary; and that He is one Person possessing two natures and thus is true God and true man; that He lived a sinless life and gave Himself as a perfect substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all men; that He arose in the very body, though glorified, is seated at the right hand of God interceding for His people, and will return to the earth in keeping with His promises. (Matthew 1:20; John 1:1,2; 4:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:20.)
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Triune Godhead; that He has been and will continue to be active throughout eternity; that, in gracious dealing with mankind, He has inspired the writing of the Scriptures; that He is in the world today convincing men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that He is calling out a people for God from among the Jews and Gentiles; that He regenerates those who believe, places them into the body of Christ, indwells them, and produces in them the fruit of the Spirit, and that He calls individuals to Christian service and empowers and directs them in that service. (John 16:8-11,13; Romans 8:11-14,16; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:30.)
Section III -- The Creation
We accept the Genesis account as being an historic record of creation and believe that the universe with all that is in it was created by God, not produced by some process of evolution. (Genesis 1:2; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16.)
Section IV -- The Spirit Realm
We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless spirit beings known as angels; that many of these continued in their holy state and are the ministers of god; that Lucifer (now known as Satan or the Devil) and many others rebelled against God; that these fallen angels, though defeated in the cross of Christ, still continue to oppose God and His work; that they will ultimately be judged by God and cast into the lake of fire to suffer everlasting punishment, which is their righteous due. (Isaiah 14:12-15; Matthew 18:10; Hebrews 1:14; 12:22; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 20:10.)
Section V -- Man
We believe that man was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God; that through uncoerced disobedience Adam fell from his original state, became depraved in nature, was separated from God, and came under condemnation and the sentence of death; that, because of the unity of the human race and the natural headship of Adam, all men (Jesus Christ only excepted) are born with sin natures and have come under the same consequence of sin. (Genesis 1:3; Romans 1:18; 5:10-21; 6:23;
1 Corinthians 15:45-50.)
Section IV -- Salvation
We believe that salvation is all of grace through the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ who paid the full redemptive price, fully satisfied God's righteous demands by suffering the death penalty for man's guilt, and imputed to man His perfect righteousness reconciling him to God; that salvation is made effective to man only upon his exercise of personal faith in the crucified and risen Christ which faith is not a meritorious work but possible only by the grace of God.
We believe that salvation includes justification, regeneration, adoption into the family of God, sanctification (positional, progressive, and final), and glorification; that one who is truly born again will, by the grace of God, persevere and be kept saved forever. (Romans 8:35-39; 10:9-13; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8,9; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24,25.)
Section VII -- Sanctification
We believe that every saved person is positionally in Christ, completely set apart for God; that in experience the saved person retains his sin nature, which is not eradicated in this life, and thus his present state is no more perfect than his daily experience; that there is a progressive sanctification wherein the saved person is to grow in grace and into Christ-likeness by the unhindered power of the Holy Spirit; that when Christ appears the saved person will conform to his standing.
We believe that progressive sanctification involves separation not only from ungodly living but also from ungodly teaching; that, though we love all men and seek their salvation, there are areas in which we cannot have fellowship with unbelievers; that, in areas of our brethren in Christ, it may be necessary to separate even from our brethren in Christ, if they in turn maintain fellowship with unbelievers. (Romans 8:26; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Jude 1; Hebrews 10:10; 1 John 4:11.)
Section VIII -- Dispensations
We believe that the dispensations are not ways of salvation (this has always been "by grace through faith"), but are stewardships by which God administers His purpose on earth through man under varying responsibilities; that changes in dispensational dealings depend upon changed situations in which man is found in relation to God, to man's failures and God's judgments; that, only three of these are the subject of extended revelation in Scripture; that these three (Mosaic Law, Grace and Millennial Kingdom) are distinct and are not to be intermingled or confused.
Section IX -- The Church
We believe that the Universal Church, which is His body is composed of all the true believers (those who have been born again through a personal acceptance of Christ as Savior) from Pentecost to the Rapture; that this church was brought into being by the Holy Spirit's baptizing into one body all who were believers at the time; that on the day of Pentecost and since that time others have been and are being added to the church as they personally accept Christ as Savior; that at the rapture this church will be complete and will be caught up to be united with Christ as His bride, never to be separated from Him. (Matthew 3:11; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:6.)
We believe that local churches are gatherings of professing believers in given communities, organized for the purpose of united worship, fellowship, administration of the ordinances (baptism and the Lord's supper), edification, discipline, and effective promotion of the work of Christ throughout the world; that such local churches should be limited in membership to those who are born again, desire to follow Christ in obedience and have been immersed; that Christ is the supreme head and every member has direct access to Him and is responsible to seek His will; that the only offices recognized in such New Testament churches were those of pastor (bishop, presbyter, elder) and deacon; that government is democratic with every member responsible to vote in keeping with his understanding of the will of Christ; that each local church is responsible directly, and that there is value in fellowship and cooperation with other local churches of like convictions. (Matthew 18:15-17; 28:18-20; Acts 2:42; 8:38; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 11:26,28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 8-15.)
Section X -- Civil Government
We believe that the civil government was instituted of God and is still His means of maintaining peace and order among men; that believers here on earth are responsible in the area of civil government and should participate in it to promote and preserve good order in human society; that civil governments and churches (and fellowships of churches) are distinct from each other, must be organizationally separate, and neither must seek to control the other. (Matthew 18:15-17; 22:21; Romans 13:1-7; Acts 4:19,20; 5:29; Colossians 1:18; 2:14-22; 1 Timothy 2:1-3; 1 Peter 2:13,14.)
Section XI -- Things to Come
We believe that the Scriptures do foretell certain future events, among which are the following:
Rapture of the church. We believe that Jesus Christ will return to the atmosphere of this earth; that the dead in Christ will rise first, then believers who are still living will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air and to ever be with the Lord; that the rapture is the next event on the revealed calendar, and that no prophecy need be fulfilled before it occurs. (1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13.)
Tribulation. We believe that the rapture of the church will be followed on earth by Israel's seventieth week; that, though there will be salvation, this will be a time of great judgments. (Daniel 9:26,27; Revelation 7:4,9,14; 13:6-17.)
Second coming. We believe that following the tribulation, Christ will return to the earth with His glorified saints to establish the millennial kingdom; that during the 1,000 years of pace and prosperity Satan will be bound and Christ will reign with a rod of iron; that at the end of the millennium Satan will be released for a short time, deceive many and lead them in final rebellion but will be destroyed with his armies. (Psalm 2; Isaiah 26:20; Daniel 9:24; 12:1,2; Revelation 20:1-10.)
Eternal state. We believe that the unsaved of all ages will be resurrected and together with the evil angels will be finally judged and condemned to everlasting, conscious punishment in the eternal lake of fire; that all saved of all ages in glorified bodies will enjoy everlasting blessing in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:6,7,15; 21:22.)
Section XII: Human Sexuality
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 (Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1:26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4).
We believe that the only legitimate marriage is joing of one man and one woman by mutual covenant. (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23).
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; 3:4-5, 12)
Section XIII: Sanctity of Life
We believe that human life is sacred because life is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27). We further 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 (Job 3:16; Psa. 51:5; 139:14-16; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44).
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now in the presence of God, angels and this assembly, joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to study the Bible and walk together in Christian love;
To strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness and comfort;
To promote its prosperity and spirituality;
To sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines;
To give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin, and to abstain from all secret organizations;
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.
We also engage to maintain family and personal devotions, to educate our children concerning the Lord and His Word, to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances;
To walk circumspectly in the world and to be just in our dealings with all men, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment;
To be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love, to remember each other in prayer, and to aid each other in sickness and distress;
To cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech, and to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that, when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.
The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, Baptists accept as true. No human opinion or decree of any church group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scripture, do not carry Scripture’s inherent authority.
2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20, 21
Autonomy of the Local Church
The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church’s beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and in an associational tie, but a Baptist church cannot be a “member” of any other body.
Colossians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23
Priesthood of the Believer
“Priest” is defined as “one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God.” Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and people. As priests, we can study God’s Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God–whether we are a preacher or not.
1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 5:9, 10
The local church should practice two ordinances: (1) baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and (2) the Lord’s Supper, or communion, commemorating His death for our sins.
Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32
Individual Soul Liberty
Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm. No one should be forced to assent to any belief against his will. Baptists have always opposed religious persecution. However, this liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself.
Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 1:9
Saved, Baptized Church Membership
Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer’s baptism. When the members of a local church are believers, a oneness in Christ exists, and the members can endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Acts 2:41-47; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 4:3
The Bible mandates only two offices in the church–pastor and deacon. The three terms–”pastor,” “elder,” and “bishop,” or “overseer”–all refer to the same office. The two offices of pastor and deacon exist within the local church, not as a hierarchy outside or over the local church.
1 Timothy 3:1-13; Acts 20:17-38; Philippians 1:1
Separation of Church and State
God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government’s purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1-7 and the church’s purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government.
Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 15:17-29
You may obtain printed Baptist Distinctives brochures (RBP# 5046) containing the above information for distribution to your church by contacting Regular Baptist Press.