“A SURE FOUNDATION”
What Does First Baptist Church Believe?
Just the mention of the word “doctrine” often causes some to think, “This is unkind, uninteresting, and unnecessary.” However, a church without solid biblical doctrine is like a body without a skeleton or a building without a foundation—a tragic collapse is inevitable. When doctrine is presented accurately, it is both interesting and invigorating. The local church is to be the “pillar and ground” of the Truth (I Tim. 3:15). We are instructed to know what we believe and why—to be stable Christians in a very unstable world. The following outline, accompanied with scripture, represents where we are doctrinally as a church.
- The Scriptures – We believe the Old and New Testaments to be verbally inspired by God, and that they are the final authority in faith and life (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Peter 1:19-21).
- The Godhead – We believe the Godhead eternally exists in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…that these three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections (Gen. 1:1, 1:26, Matt. 3:1-17; Matt. 28:19-20; II Cor. 13:14; Rom. 8:9).
- The Lord Jesus Christ – We believe in:
- His eternal existence as God (Heb.1:8);
- His incarnation by means of the Virgin Birth (Luke 1:35, Isa. 7:14);
- His death on the cross as the substitutionary atonement for sin (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:14);
- His literal bodily resurrection from the dead (Luke 24:36-43; Acts 10:40-41);
- His present ministry of intercession in Heaven (Acts 1:9; 1 John 2:1; Heb. 3:1-2);
- His personal, bodily return to earth (Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16; Col. 2:9; Matt. 26:64).
- Holy Spirit – We believe the Holy Spirit, the Third person of the Godhead, convicts men of sin (John 16:8); regenerates, indwells, seals (I Cor. 3:16; Eph. 1:13-14), and sets believers apart unto a holy life. He keeps and empowers believers day by day (Acts 18). He is the teacher of the Word of God and the guide for our daily life (I Cor. 2:13). Anyone who does not have the Spirit living in him is not a child of God (Rom. 8:9).
- Man – We believe:
- Man was created innocent and pure (Gen. 1:26);
- Adam fell through the sin of disobedience (Rom. 5:19);
- Thereby all men are corrupted in body, mind, and soul (Rom. 5:12; Jer. 17:9; Eph. 2:3);
- Therefore, all are in need of redemption.
- Satan – We believe in the reality and personality of Satan (Job 1:6-9; Job 2:3; Matt. 4:1-11; I Peter 5:8; James 4:7).
- Salvation – We believe:
- That salvation is solely by grace through faith in the blood, sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God (Eph. 2:8-9).
- All who receive Him are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and become children of God (Titus 3:5).
- All who are truly saved are kept forever (John 10:27-30).
- However, God cannot overlook sin in His children and will chasten and correct them in love (Heb. 12:5-8).
- The Church – We believe:
- That the local church is composed of regenerated baptized believers voluntarily united together for the purpose of worship, edification, fellowship of believers, spiritual growth, and service.
- That it has been commissioned by Christ to propagate the Gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
- That the local church has absolute right of self-government, free from interferences of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that the one and only superintendent is Christ, through the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:41-47; 4:33-37; 5:1-20; Eph. 4:11-16).
- The Ordinances – We believe that Christ gave only two ordinances to the church to be observed “til He come.”
- The Lord’s Supper. It was left us as an ordinance by the Lord Himself (Matt. 26:26; 27:28; Mark 14:22-24; and others) for a memorial of His death until He comes. It should be taken only by obedient Christians and should not be taken unadvisedly but with the examination of one’s life (I Cor. 11:23-34).
- Believer’s Baptism. We practice baptism by immersion because of the example of our Lord Jesus while He was here on earth (Matt. 3:13) and because of the command given by our Lord to be baptized (Matt. 28:19). We believe that the Scriptures clearly teach believer’s baptism only (Acts 8:37).
It should be made clear that there is no saving power in baptism—it is meant as a public testimony of discipleship for those who are already saved—giving a clear picture of the fact that the believer is dead, buried, and raised spiritually with Jesus Christ by faith in Him (Rom. 6:6).
- The Future – We believe in the personal premillennial return of Jesus Christ. He will come: a) for His saints together at the rapture (I Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13); b) with His saints to set up His Kingdom on this earth (Jude 14-15). We believe in the eternal conscious blessedness of the saved and the eternal conscious punishment of the lost (Luke 16:19-31).
- Separation – We believe it is our duty to call the attention of believers to the Scriptural teaching of separation, and that we should abstain from worldly practices and live a life devoted unto the Lord (Rom. 12:1-2; II Cor. 6:14 – 7:1; I Peter 1:15-16).
- Missions – We believe it is each Christian’s privilege and responsibility to be a witness for Christ in life and in word and seek to lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ (Rom. 10:14; Matt. 28:19-20).
As we conclude this section on doctrine, let me leave with you the very appropriate title of one of my favorite articles written by Dr. Doug McLachlan. His title captures in a nutshell what we are attempting to do here. We are, “Maintaining the Foundation and Rebuilding the Superstructure.” While doctrines never change, methods do (I Cor. 9:19-27) in order to minister to the people of our day in our culture. May God make us as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.