Statement of Faith*
I. Of the Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Bible, comprised of the Old and New Testaments, was written by men divinely inspired, and is therefore a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any admixture of error, for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God would have us live, and by which also he will judge us; and that, together with our Lord Himself, it is, and until the end of the world shall remain, the true center of Christian unity, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tested.
2 Pet. 1:20-21, Psalm 19; Prov. 30:5-6, John 10:35, II Tim. 3:16-17; Mt. 7:24ff, 24:35, John 12:48; Is. 8:20, 1 Cor. 1:10, 1 Tim. 6:3-4, 2 Tim. 1:13
II. Of the One True God
We believe that there is one, and only one, true and living God; that he is an infinite, personal Spirit, owing his existence to none; and that he is eternal, immutable, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, holy, wise, loving, kind, faithful, and just. / We believe that God is intimately and intricately related to the universe as its creator, sustainer, ruler, judge, and redeemer; and that before the foundation of the world he foreordained, and now, by an all-controlling providence, continually brings to pass, all events, yet in such a way that he is neither the author of sin, nor does he violate the free will of moral agents, whose decisions flow from themselves alone. / We believe that in the unity of the Godhead there are three divine persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; that these three share a common essence, and are therefore equal in every divine attribute and perfection; and that each divine person executes distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. / Finally, we believe that the triune God immutably and eternally overflows with delight in who he is and what he does; that in the Gospel he lovingly invites all men everywhere to experience this same unspeakable joy through simple faith in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ; and that he is inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, adoration and love.
Dt. 6:4, Mark 12:29, 1 Thess. 1:9; Ex. 3:13-15, Acts 17:34; Ps. 90:2, Is. 40:28, Jn. 8:58, 1 Tim. 1:17; Mal. 3:16, James 1:17; Psalms 139:1-6, 147:5, Dan. 2:20f, Mt. 6:8, Rom. 11:33f; Ps. 139:6-7, Jer. 23:23, Acts 17:24; Ps. 62:11, Jer. 32:27, Mt. 19:26; Ex. 15:11, Is. 40:25, Jn. 17:11, 1 Pet. 1:15; Deut. 7:9f, John 3:16, 1 Jn. 4:7 / Gen. 1:1, Is. 45:12-18, Jn. 1:1f, 1 Cor. 8:6; Ps. 104:27-30, Acts 17:27; Is. 26:8-9, Rom. 2:5-6, 8:20-22; Is. 45:7, Rom. 8:28; Ex. 6:6-8, Mark 10:45, Jn. 3:16, Eph.1:7; Is. 46:10, Am. 3:6, Acts 4:27-28, Rom. 8:28, Eph. 1:11, James 1:13f, 1 John 1:5; Eph. 1:14, Rom. 11:36, Rev. 4-5 / Mt. 28:19, 1 Cor. 8:6f, 2 Cor. 13:14, John 10:30, 14:11; Eph. 1:1-14, 1 Pet. 1:1-3 / Ps. 135:6, Neh. 8:10, Zeph. 3:17, Mt. 3:17; Jn. 15:11, 17:13, 2 Cor. 1:24, Gal. 5:22, 1 Pet. 1:8, 1 Jn. 1:4
III. Of the Creation
We believe that in the beginning God created a good, fully formed, fully functioning universe in six literal days; that on the sixth day he created the man Adam from the dust of the earth, and also his wife Eve from one of Adam’s ribs; that both of them were created in God’s image and likeness, and granted life, privilege, purpose, responsibility, and fellowship with their Maker in the Garden of Eden. / We also believe that the Flood of Noah’s day and the Dispersion of mankind at the tower of Babel were true historical events; and that both the Bible and good science together oppose and refute every effort to relegate Genesis 1-11 to the category of myth or poetry, or to accommodate biblical cosmogony to millions of years of progressive creation or cosmic evolution.
Gen. 1:31, Ex. 20:11, Eccl. 7:29, Rom. 8:20, 2 Pet. 3:5; Gen. 2:18ff, Mark 10:6, Rom. 5:12f, 1 Cor. 15:45f; Gen. 1:26ff, 2:17-17, 3:8, 5:2, Psalms 8:3f, 115:16 / Mt. 24:37f, 1 Pet. 3:19f; Luke 3:23-38, John 8:44, Eph. 5:30-31, 1 Tim. 2:13-14, Heb. 4:1-10, 11:1-7, 1 Jn. 3:12
IV. Of Angels, Satan, and Evil Spirits
We believe that in the beginning God created a spiritual heaven, populated by an innumerable host of personal spiritual beings called angels; that they were created to enjoy the vision of God, worship him, and minister to the heirs of salvation. / We believe that one of these angels, a cherub called Lucifer, willfully fell from his state of innocence and became Satan, the adversary of God and of his people; and that Satan also induced a multitude of other angels to join in his rebellion, which angels the Bible calls demons. / We believe that as a result of the fall of Adam, wherein he believed and obeyed Satan rather than God, the world-system came into being; that the world-system, like fallen man, is hostile to God and is animated by self-centered pride, lust, and rebellion; that it is controlled by the ruler of this world, who is Satan, together with his host of evil spirits; and that the world-system at large will continue to lie in his power until the consummation; but also that one of the great goals of Christ’s redemptive mission was, and is, to transfer a chosen people from the Domain of Darkness into his own spiritual Kingdom of light and love; and that Christ has succeeded–and will yet fully succeed–in accomplishing this mission. / We believe that Satan nevertheless remains a formidable foe, seeking to tempt, deceive, persecute, divide, frighten, and oppress God’s children; that such spiritual warfare is ongoing, and poses considerable danger to the saints, requiring on their part great wisdom, sobriety, vigilance, and perseverance; but that Christ himself has prayed for them, so that, despite their manifold tests and occasional failures, they will never again fall under Satan’s power and into his kingdom. / Finally, we believe that towards the end of the present evil age, Satan will indwell, animate, and empower a personal Antichrist, who will lead the world astray and severely persecute the saints; but that shortly after his appearing, both Satan and the Antichrist, together with all their followers, will be turned in hell for eternal destruction by the Lord Jesus Christ at his return, to the praise of the glory of his perfect justice.
Col. 1:6, Heb. 8:9; Is. 6:1f, Heb. 1:14, Rev. 4:5f, 5:11ff / Is. 14:12-15, Ezek. 28:11-19; Jude 6, Luke 10:17, Rev. 12:1f / Gen. 3:1-6, Luke 4:6; Jn. 7:7, 8:23, 14:30, 15:19, 1 Jn. 2:16; Jn. 12:31, 16:11, Eph. 6:12; Gal. 1:4, Col. 1:13; Jn. 12:31, 16:13, 1 Jn. 4:4, 5:4-5 / 2 Cor. 10:4, Eph. 6:12, 1 Tim. 4:1f, Rev. 12:13ff; 1 Pet. 5:8, James 4:7, 1 Jn. 4:1-2; Luke 22:31f, John 17:11-12, 1 Pet. 1:5, 1 Jn. 5:18 / Dan. 7:1f, 2 Thess. 2:1ff, 1 Jn. 2:18, Rev. 20:7-10
V. Of the Fall of Man and Nature
We believe that the man Adam was created in a state of innocence, and also under a law (or covenant) from his maker, such that by eating from the Tree of Life he would have lived forever in perfect holiness and in union with his triune God, whereas by eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil he would surely die, both spiritually and physically; that in Eden he stood as the head and representative of the entire family of man; that by a voluntary transgression he, together with his wife, fell from his state innocence into sin, and therefore under divine wrath and condemnation; that his transgression was imputed (or credited) to all mankind, and that his new sinful nature was imparted to all mankind, so that now all men are sinners by standing, nature, inclination, and choice, and are without excuse or defense in the sight of God; and also that through Adam’s transgression the physical creation itself, in diverse ways, was subjected to violence, decay, and futility, thereafter to stand as a permanent reminder to the children of men of the character, consequences, and gravity of man’s sin.
Gen.1:27, 31, 2:9, 16-17, 3:22, Jn. 17:3, Rev. 22:1, 2, 14, 19; Rom. 5:12ff, 1 Cor. 11:2f, 15:20f; Gen. 3:7ff, Gal. 3:10-14; Gen. 6:12, Ps. 51:5, Mark 7:21f, Rom. 3:9f, 8:7, Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 2:1f; Gen. 3:14-21, Mt. 3:7, Rom. 8:20f, Gal. 5:15, Rev. 22:3
VI. Of Christ and the Way of Salvation
We believe that the salvation of sinners is, and must be, wholly by grace; that this salvation comes to us through the Person and Work of God’s incarnate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; that in accordance with the Father’s eternal purpose and plan, the Son freely took upon himself our human nature; that he was born of a virgin, and was therefore without sin; that he stood before God as the Last Adam, the Head and Representative of his people, whose we are if we believe in him. / We believe that in our behalf he obeyed every divine command and passed every test, thereby acquiring for us a perfect righteousness; that by his substutionary death on the Cross he made a full atonement for all our sins, past, present, and future, and that by this same atonement he fully satisfied the justice of God, propitiated his wrath, and secured for us the blessings of eternal life. / We believe that the Father attested to the truth of all these things by granting that Christ should perform innumerable mighty miracles, fulfill numerous of Old Testament Messianic types and prophecies, rise from the dead to eternal life, and be seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses; and that the Church is to set forth all such evidences in its proclamation and defense of the Gospel. / Finally, we believe that Christ now sits enthroned in heaven above as our eternal Prophet, Priest, and King; and that by uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies, the fullness of his divine perfections, and the merits of his redemptive work on earth, he is in every way qualified to be a suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Savior to those who believe in him and humbly call upon his name.
Eph. 1:6, 2:3, 2 Tim. 1:9f, Titus 2:11f; Jn. 3:16, 14:6, Acts 4:12, 1 Cor. 1:30ff, 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 2:14, 10:5; Is. 7:14, Mt. 1:18-22, Jn. 8:46, 1 Pet. 1:19; Rom. 5:12f, 1 Cor. 11:1, Eph. 1:22, 4:15, 5:23, Col. 1:18, 2:19 / Mt. 3:15, 4:1-11, John 8:29, Gal. 4:4, 2 Cor. 5:21; Is 53:1f, Mt. 20:28, Jn. 1:29-36, 6:22-59, Rom. 3:21-26, 4:25, 1 Cor. 15:1-3, Heb. 1:3, 7:27, 9:12, 1 Pet. 3:18, 1 Jn. 2:3 / John 3:2, 5:31ff, John 20:31-31; Acts 1:3; Acts 2:14-38, Rom. 16:25ff, 2 Pet. 1:16f; / Heb. 2:1-4; Acts 2:33, 5:31, 7:55f, Rom. 8:34, Heb. 8:1-2, 10:12, 12:2, Rom. 8:34, 9:24, Phil. 3:20-21, Col. 3:1, Mt. 11:28f, Acts 2:21, Rom. 10:12-13.
VII. Of the Freeness of Salvation
We believe that in accordance with the Great Commission it is the privilege and responsibility of the Church to make the blessings of salvation known to all men through the proclamation of the Gospel; that, correspondingly, it is the immediate duty of all men everywhere to receive such blessings by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith in Christ; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth except his own inherent depravity and a voluntary rejection of the gospel, which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
Mt. 28:18f, Luke 24:44-49, Rom. 10:14-15, Rev. 22:17; Is. 55:1, Mt. 23:37, Mark 1:15, Luke 14:23, John 5:40, Acts 2:38, 17:30; Mt. 11:20-24, John 3:19, Acts 13:46, 28:23f, 2 Thess. 1:8
VIII. Of the Holy Spirit and His Work
We believe in God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Trinity, who is of one essence with the Father and the Son, who proceeds from them both, and who shares in all the divine attributes; that he was, and is, active in all the works of God, including creation, providence, and redemption; that in accordance with the will of the Father, he was the agent of Christ’s virgin birth, and the invisible power behind all his mighty words and works. / We believe that in the economy of redemption the Spirit’s special mission is to apply the merits of Christ’s work to his people, and that to this end he grants, and secures to them, regeneration, repentance, faith, sanctification, the various fruits and gifts of the Spirit, power for Christian service, guidance, instruction, perseverance, and final glorification. / We believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit occurs at the moment of saving faith, at which time the Spirit seals the new believer in Christ and unites him with his Body for time and eternity. / We believe that the various gifts of the Spirit mentioned in Scripture are normative for all God’s people of all time, and therefore have not ceased or been withdrawn; but also that with the closure of the cannon of Scripture, God’s preferred method for the sanctification of his people is the preaching, teaching, and prophesying of the written Word of God; and that every genuine or supposed exercise of a spiritual gift must be in accordance with Scripture, and is to be judged by it. / Finally, we believe that the Church is the eternal dwelling-place of God by the Spirit, with the result that believers ought always to covet and pray for the fullest possible operation of the Spirit in their midst, even as they yield themselves to the Spirit’s supreme pleasure, which is to exalt the Person and Work of Christ, to the glory of God the Father.
Mt. 3:16-17, 12:28, John 14:16-17, 15:26, 16:7-8, 13, Rom. 8:9, Gal. 4:6, 2 Cor. 3:17, 13:4; Gen. 1:1-2, Ps. 104:30; Mt. 12:28, Luke 1:35, 4:14, 5:17 / John 3:4-8, 14:26, 15:26, 16:5-15, Acts 5:32, 16:14, 1 Cor. 12, 14, Gal. 5:22f, 2 Thess. 3:13, Titus 3:5, 1 Jn. 2:27 / Mt. 3:11, Acts 10:15-18, 1 Cor. 12:13, Eph. 1:13, 4:30 / 1 Cor. 12:1f, 13:8ff, 14:1-33, Heb. 13:8, 1 Pet. 4:10; Jn. 17:17, Acts 20:32, 1 Tim. 4:11-16, 2 Tim. 3:16-17; John 8:31, 15:7, 1 Thess. 5:20-22, 1 Jn. 2:14, 4:1 / Is. 66:1f, Ezek. 37:27, 43:4f, Luke 11:13, John 16:14, Acts 13:2, 19:1-7, 1 Cor. 6:19-20, 14:1f, Eph. 2:22, 1 Thess. 5:16f, Rev. 1:10, 21:3
IX. Of Justification
We believe that justification is the great foundational blessing of the Gospel; that it is altogether of God’s free mercy and grace; that God alone is the one who justifies sinners, by which is meant that he, having brought his people to faith in Christ, declares them to be righteous in his sight, and in right standing before him and his law; that justification is not, therefore, through the law or through works of righteousness that we have done, but through simple faith in the works that Christ has done in our behalf; that it includes not only pardon for our sins, which God credited to Christ’s account and punished on the Cross, but also the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, which God credits to our account at the moment of saving faith. / We also believe that justification secures for us every other blessing requisite for time and eternity, and that these include union with Christ, reconciliation with God, spiritual adoption as his beloved sons and daughters, preservation in the faith, sanctification, glorification, and more.
Luke 24:46-47, Acts 13:39, Rom. 1:16-17, 5:1-3; Rom. 4:16, 6:23, Eph. 2:8; Zech. 3:2-4, Rom. 8:33, 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Rom. 5:1f, 1 Cor. 1:30-31, Acts 10:43, Eph. 2:8, Phil. 3:7-9, Titus 3:5; Is. 53:11-12, Zech. 3:2-4, John 5:24, Rom. 4:23-25, 2 Cor. 5:21 / Rom. 5:10, 8:15-17, 29-30, 1 Cor. 1:30-31, 2 Cor. 5:18, Gal. 4:1-6, Eph. 1:3
X. Of the Grace of Regeneration
We believe that for sinners to be saved they must first be regenerated or born again; that regeneration consists in the divine gift and creation of a holy disposition of the mind, heart, and will; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in conjunction with the presentation of divine truth, and with the result that it secures a voluntary and joyful obedience to the gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and newness and holiness of life.
Jer. 31:31f, Ezek. 37:1-12, John 3:1-8, Eph. 2:4f, 1 Pet. 1:3; Ezek. 36:26, Rom. 5:5, Heb. 8:7ff; Mt. 13:18-23, Mark 4:26-27, John 1:12-13, 3:8, 12:32, Phil. 2:13; Mt. 5:1-9, 7:15-20, Acts 11:18, 16:14, Rom. 6:4, Gal. 5:16-23, Heb. 12:10, 1 Jn. 5:1, 4, 18
XI. Of Repentance and Faith
We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, yet also inseparable graces, purchased by Christ, and wrought in our souls by the regenerating work of the Spirit of God; that by these—being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, but also of the way of salvation through Christ—we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; and that at the same time we heartily receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our divine-human Prophet, Priest, and King, relying on him alone as our only and all-sufficient Savior.
Mark 1:15, Acts 11:18, 17:30, Heb. 12:2, 1 Pet. 3:18; Psalm 51, John 16:8-11, Luke 15:18-21, 18:9-14, Acts 2:37, 16:25-30; Mt. 23:8, John 1:12, Acts 2:36, Phil. 3:3-4, Col. 2:1-3, Heb. 4:14f, 7:25, Rev. 1:5, 17:14
XII. Of Sanctification
We believe that sanctification is the ongoing process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness and conformed to the image of his Son; that it is a progressive work, begun in regeneration, carried on throughout this life, and completed at the moment of death or at the return of the Lord; that it involves the continual use of biblically appointed means, including personal meditation upon the Word of God, faith, prayer, watchfulness, self-examination, obedience, regular participation in the round of church life, and the exercise of one’s spiritual gifts in ministry.
I Thess. 5:23, Heb. 12:10, 2 Peter 1:4; Rom. 6:ff, 8:29, 2 Cor. 3:18, 7:1, 2, Eph. 4:11-16, 20-24, Phil. 1:9-11, 3:12-16, Heb. 6:1, 12:23, 2 Pet. 1:5-8, 3:18, 1 Jn. 3:2; Mt. 7:24f, 26:41, Jn. 15:1-11, 17:17, Rom. 12:1f, 1 Cor. 11:27-32, 14:26, 2 Cor. 13:5, Gal. 6:1, Eph. 6:18, Phil. 2:12-13, Heb. 10:25, 11:1f, 1 Pet. 2:2, 4:10
XIII. Of the Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints
We believe that those whom God has justified and sealed in Christ can never totally and finally fall away, but are eternally secure, and will continue in the faith to the very end; that this persevering attachment to Christ is a gracious work of the triune God himself, and a grand mark that distinguishes his true children from superficial professors; that such preservation is not only consistent with, but positively requires, the active participation of believers, in that they must, and will, abide in Christ and keep themselves in the love of God; that Scriptural warnings to the saints against their falling away are to be taken with utmost seriousness, and are instruments used of God to preserve them in the faith; that from time to time, and possibly to their great injury, the saints may fall into various temptations and sins, with the result that they grieve the Spirit and fall under the chastening hand of their loving heavenly Father; but also that, in the end, and through the intercessions of their Great High Priest, they will renew their repentance and faith, be restored, and go and strengthen their brethren.
Jn. 6:35-40, 10:11-16, 25-30, Rom. 8:29-39, Phil. 1:6, Heb. 13:5, 1 Jn. 3:9, 4:4, 5:18; Ps. 121, Jer. 32:40, Jn. 10:28-29, 14:16-18, 17:9-19, 1 Pet. 1:5, Jude 1; Job 17:9, Mt. 13:20-21, Jn. 6:60ff, Jn. 13:18, 1 Jn. 2:19; Jn. 15:1f, Phil. 2:13, 3:12f, Heb. 6:12, 11:6, Jude 1:21; Jn. 15:5-8, Acts 27:27-32, Rom. 11:12, Col. 1:21-23; Luke 22:31-34, 22:54-62, Jn. 21:15-19, Rom. 8:27, 2 Cor. 2:6-7, Gal. 6:1, Heb. 7:25, James 5:19-21.
XIV. Of the Two Paradigms of God’s Plan of Salvation
We believe that the biblical revelation of God’s plan of salvation is according to two distinct paradigms whose harmony is sure, yet also mysterious and inscrutable to the human mind. // The first is the paradigm of God’s absolute sovereignty in the salvation of his people. In accordance with this paradigm, we believe that in eternity past, out of his mere free grace, and without reference to human works or decisions foreseen, God chose, out of fallen, sinful humanity, a great multitude of persons from every tribe, tongue, family, and nation, that they might belong to his Son; and that in the fullness of time, by that same free grace, God sent his Son effectually to redeem them, after which he also sent the Holy Spirit effectually to call them. / We believe that this glorious display of God’s sovereign grace utterly excludes all boasting; that it is meant to promote humility, gratitude, love, dependency, zeal, trust, worship, and an active imitation of God’s free mercy and grace. / Finally, we believe that the mystery of divine election is consistent with, and positively encourages the use of, the means of grace in the highest degree; that election may indeed be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe; that it is one of the great foundations of Christian assurance and joy; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence. // The second paradigm is that of man’s freedom on probation. In accordance with this paradigm we believe that through his self-revelation in nature, conscience, and the Gospel, God purposes to test every man’s love of God, truth, and righteousness; that in his love, and through these means, he strives with all men, sincerely desiring that they seek him and find him, though he is not far from any of us; that to this end he commands his Church to bring the Gospel to every creature, and all men everywhere to repent and put their trust in the Savior of the world; that everyone who is willing to do God’s will shall see and know the truth of the Gospel; that all who fear him and work righteousness are welcome to him; that whoever so desires may take of the water of life without cost; and that if anyone is condemned, it is because he loved darkness rather than the light, and judged himself unworthy of eternal life. // With the London Baptist Confession, we affirm that the doctrines of election and predestination are indeed high mysteries, and are to be handled with special prudence and care; and that to this end our church will always endeavor to honor, balance, and lovingly proclaim, from the Scriptures, both the paradigm of God’s absolute sovereignty in salvation, and the paradigm of man’s freedom on probation.
Deut. 29:29, Is. 40:28, Rom. 11:3, 1 Cor. 8:2, 13:8-10 // Is. 41:8-10, 43:1-7, John 15:16, Rom. 3:11, 9:6-26, 11:5-6, Eph. 1:3-14, 2:1f, 2 Thess. 2:13-14, 2 Tim. 1:8-9, 1 Pet. 1:1-2, Rev. 5:9; Is. 53:8, Mt. 20:28, John 10:15, 17:9, 19, Rom. 8:31ff, Eph. 5:25, John 10:16, Rom. 8:30, Acts 13:48, 15:14 / Luke 18:9-14, John 15:5, Rom. 3:27, 1 Cor. 1:26ff, Eph. 1:5-6, Col. 3:15, 2 Thess. 2:13f, Rev. 5:8f / Luke 18:7, Jn. 8:31, Phil. 3:12; Mt. 7:15f, Acts 11:23, 1 Cor. 15:10, 1 Thess. 1:2-10; Rom. 4:16, Eph. 1:6, Col. 3:12f, 1 Pet. 2:4-9; Col. 2:1-3, 2 Pet. 1:1-11, Heb. 6:1-12 // Gen. 2:16-17, Rom. 1:18f; Gen. 6:3, Acts 17:26f; Mt. 11:28f, 28:18f, Luke 24:46-47, Acts 17:23, Rom. 10:14f, Col. 1:23, 1 Tim. 2:5, Rev. 14:6; John 7:17; Acts 10:35; Rev. 21:6, 22:17; John 3:19, Acts 13:46 // LBC III:7, Acts 20:27, 2 Tim. 3:16-17
XV. Of the Harmony of Law and Gospel
We believe that the moral law of God, written on human hearts and fully revealed in the Bible, is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government, and is spiritual, holy, righteous, and good; but also that, for this very reason, it stands as a deadly menace to fallen, sinful man, placing him under condemnation and in danger of eternal punishment due to his natural inability and unwillingness to obey and fulfill it; and that because of this, no flesh can or will be justified by the works of the law. / However, we also believe that by placing them safely in Christ, God has delivered his children from the curse of the Law, as well as from their natural hostility to it; and that as a result of this God’s law is no longer a burden to them, but a delight, since they now are ever-increasingly willing and able to walk in the footsteps of their holy Master, fulfilling the righteous requirement of the law in the freedom of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Ex. 20:1-17, Mt. 5:17, 22:34-40, Luke 16:17, Rom. 1:28ff, 2:12-16, 7:7-12; Josh. 24:19, Rom. 7:13-24, Rom. 4:15, 8:7-8, Gal. 3:19, Heb. 12:18-21; Gal. 2:16, Rom. 3:20 / Gal. 3:13, John 5:42, Heb. 8:7-12; Psalm 40:8, 119:97, Mt. 11:30, Rom. 8:3-4, Gal. 5:1, 13, Heb. 8:7-15, 1 Jn. 5:3
XVI. Of a Gospel Church
We believe that a visible church of Christ is an assembly of born-again, baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; that it seeks to observe the ordinances of Christ and to be governed by his laws; that the members thereof may freely exercise the gifts, rights, and responsibilities invested in them by God’s word; and that its only scriptural officers are Elders (Overseers, Pastors) and Deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are set forth in the New Testament.
Mt. 26:28, John 10:16, 1 Cor. 1:1-3, 11:25, 12:13, Phil. 1:3-7, Eph. 2:11-18, 1 Jn. 1:1-4; Mt. 7:24ff, 16:17-19, 18:15-20, 28:20, John 14:15, Acts 2:42, 1 Cor. 4:17, 11:12, 23-25, Gal. 6:2, 1 Thess. 4:1-2, 2 Thess. 2:15, 3:6, 2 John 6; Rom. 12:1f, 1 Cor. 12:4ff, 14:12, Eph. 4:7, Heb. 13:17; Acts 14:23, 20:28, Phil. 1:1, I Tim. 3, Titus 1
XVII. Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Lord of the Church has ordained two, and only two, sacraments, to be administered regularly until his return. / The first, Christian Baptism, is the immersion in water of a believer into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that it shows forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, together with its effect in our death to sin and our resurrection to newness of life; and that it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership. / The second sacrament, the Lord’s Supper, is observed whenever the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, commemorate together the dying love of Christ, and participate afresh in the redemptive fruits thereof. We believe this sacrament is always to be preceded by careful instruction and solemn self-examination, through which it may properly result in spiritual refreshing, gratitude, and joy.
Mt. 3:5-6, 13-17, 28:18-20, Mark 16:16, John 4:2, Acts 2:37-42, 8:12, 10:47-48, 16:32-34, 18:8, 22:16, Gal.3:26-28, Rom 6:4, Col. 2:12; Acts 2:38, 8:12, 9:17f, 10:47-48, 19:1-6, 22:16, I Cor. 1:13f, 12:14, Pet. 3:18f / Matt. 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:14-20, (Jn. 6:41-58), I Cor. 10:14-22, 11:23-34, Jn. 15:11, 1 Jn. 1:4
XVIII. Of the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day
We believe that the Sabbath Day, which in the beginning God set apart as a day of rest and worship for all mankind, and which at the giving of the Law he instituted as a day of rest and worship for his OT people, stood as a type and picture of the eternal rest that he now offers to all men—and commands them to enter—through the Gospel. / We believe that Christians do in fact enter this rest, first at the moment of saving faith, then more fully at the entrance of their spirits into heaven, and still more fully at the resurrection of the righteous at Christ’s return. / We believe that in order to underscore the perpetuity of the believer’s rest in Christ, the NT does not, by an ordinance, tie the worship of God to the Sabbath or any special day of the week. / But we also believe that through a holy tradition inaugurated by Christ himself on the day of his resurrection, and perpetuated in the practice of the early church, God’s people are invited and encouraged to designate the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day; that on that day they do well to assemble themselves together in order to celebrate and be refreshed in the spiritual rest he has given them, through a reverent, joyful observance of the ordinances of NT worship; and that in so doing God will be pleased, Christ exalted, his people blessed, and the world confronted afresh with the Good News of the Gospel.
Gen. 2:3, Ex. 20:8, Mark 2:28, Col. 2:16-17 / Heb. 4:3-11, Rev. 14:13, 20:4-6 / Rom. 14:5, Col. 2:16 / Mt. 28:1, Mark 16:2, John 20:19, Acts 20:7, Rev. 1:10; Isa. 56:1-5, 58:13-14, 1 Cor. 16:2, Heb. 10:26; Isa. 56:1-5, 58:13-14, Mark 2:27-28, 1 Cor. 11:26
XIX. Of Civil Government
We believe that the institution of civil government is by divine appointment, that it exists for the interests and good order of human society, and that its proper role is the administration of justice, consisting in the impartial application of God’s law; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, honored, and, so much as possible, conscientiously obeyed. / However, we also believe that in the providence of God, good or tolerable governments can become bad; that in such circumstances it is the positive obligation of the Church to speak prophetically to rulers, calling them back to God, truth, and righteousness; that for conscience’ sake it may, at times, be necessary to disobey man’s word out of obedience to God’s; that God’s people, together with other men of good will, may at times lawfully withdraw themselves from beneath a wicked government, so as to create, and/or place themselves beneath, a good; and that at all times their supreme loyalty is to Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of their conscience, and the one true Ruler of the kings of the earth.
2 Sam. 23:3, Ps. 94:8-11, Rom. 1:18f, 2:12-16, 13:1-7, 1 Pet. 2:13-14; 1 Tim. 2:1-4, Mt. 22:15-21, Rom. 13:7, Titus 3:1 / Ex. 1:8f, Dan. 11:29-35; Ex. 5:1f, 1 Ki. 1:17f, Dan. 5:1f, Mt. 14:1-5; Dan. 3:16-18, 6:7-10, Acts 4:18-20, 5:29; Ex. 2-15, Judges 3, 4, 6-8, 11-12, 15, 1 Kings 11:1-12:24, Dan. 9:29-35; Psalms 2, 72:11, Rev. 1:5, 17:4
XX. Of the Righteous and the Unrighteous
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the unrighteous; that only those who have trusted in Christ, and who are sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are righteous in God’s sight; and that all who continue in impenitence and unbelief are unrighteous in his sight, and remain under the curse of the Law; and that this distinction holds among men for time and eternity.
Gen. 18:23, Is. 5:20, Pr. 10:25, 11:31, 14:32, Mal. 3:18; Acts 10:34f, John 3:36, Rom. 1:17, 6:17-18, 22-23, 7:6, 1 Cor. 1:30-32, 6:9-11, 1 Jn. 5:12; Gal. 3:10, Mt. 7:13-14, John 3:19, 36, 1 Jn. 5:19; Mt. 25:46, Luke 9:23-26, 16:19-31, Rom. 2:8f, 2 Thess. 1:3-10, 2:12, Rev. 22:11
XXI. Of the Intermediate State
We believe that after death, and prior to the resurrection and judgment at Christ’s return, the spirits of the unrighteous descend into Hades, where, in darkness and flame, they consciously know themselves to be debarred from the life-giving presence of God and under his wrath; but that the spirits of the righteous ascend into Heaven, where, in a state of spiritual perfection, they consciously enjoy unhindered fellowship with God, Christ, the holy angels, and the spirits of righteous men made perfect, even as they await their eternal reward at the resurrection of the dead and the day of judgment.
Psalm 73:15-20, Luke 8:31, 16:19-21, 2 Thess. 1:9, Jude 6-7; 2 Cor. 5:6-8, Phil. 1:19-26, Heb. 12:22-24, Rev. 6:9, 20:4-6
XXII. Of the Consummation and the World to Come
We believe that the end of the world is certain and soon to come, but also that a new, glorious, and eternal world will follow in its train; that on the last day Christ and all the holy angels will descend from heaven in power and great glory; that he will raise the dead, transform the living, and bring all men and angels before his judgment seat in the skies above the earth; that he will destroy the present earth and its works by fire, and create new heavens and a new earth, in which righteous dwells; that in that day a solemn separation will occur, based on principles of righteousness, wherein the unrighteous are judged and sent to eternal punishment, but the righteous are rewarded and welcomed to eternal joy; that in the world to come the saints will live in perfect union with their triune God, beholding, enjoying, worshiping, and serving him; and that in heart, word, and deed, they will live for the praise of his glory, and for the praise of the glory of his grace, forever and ever. Amen.
1 Cor. 7:29-31, 1 Pet. 4:7, 1 Jn. 2:17-18, Rev. 22:20; Acts 3:21, Rom. 8:21, Phil. 3:20-21, 1 Pet. 2:13, Rev. 21:21; Mt. 24:29-31, 25:21, Acts 1:11, Heb. 9:28, 1 Jn. 2:28, Rev. 1:7; Is. 25:6-8, Dan. 12:2, Luke 20:27-38, Jn. 5:28-29, 6:40, 11:25-26, Acts 24:15, 1 Cor. 15:20-28, 51-53, 2 Cor. 5:1-5, 10, 1 Thess. 4:13ff; Mt. 24:35, 2 Pet. 3:7; Mt. 13:36-43, 47-50, 25:14ff, Acts 10:42, 17:31, Rom. 2:2-16, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Thess. 5:1f, 2 Thess. 1:3f, 1 Jn. 4:17, Rev. 20:11-15; Jn. 14:1-6; Rev. 21:1-7, 22:1-5; Eph. 1:6, 12, 14, 3:21
* The CLR Statement of Faith is an updated and substantially modified version of the New Hampshire Confession, a popular Baptist confession written in 1833. To view the original, plus other Reformed and Baptist confessions, you may click here and here.