WHAT WE BELIEVE
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are coequal and are one God.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is coequal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all men by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven's glory and will return again to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. The Christian seeks to live under His control daily.
The Holy Bible was written by men who were divinely inspired by God. Through the Bible, God reveals Himself to humankind. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without error, for its content.
Man is made in the spiritual image of God to be like Him in character. He is the supreme object of God's creation. Although man has tremendous potential for good, he is marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called sin. This attitude separates man from God.
Man's soul was created to exist forever. He will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are places of eternal existence.
Salvation is a gift from God to man. Man can never make up for his sin by
self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness can man be saved from sin's penalty. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.
Because God gives man eternal life through Jesus Christ, the believer is secure in the salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives this security.
The local church is a group of baptized believers in covenant with Christ and each other whose purpose is to believe, teach, and obey the Word of God and pursue the Great Commission.
The vast majority of passages in the Bible on the church refer to local congregations of believers. In addition, in a few passages, the word church is used to refer to the universal Body of Christ which includes all believers of all ages from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation. Every born again believer is a member of the universal church; every born again believer is also responsible to attend and serve through a local Bible believing and teaching church.
While individual churches are to be autonomous locally, each church may cooperate and affiliate with other like-minded congregations and organizations to expedite the Great Commission. Any cooperation must never compromise faith and commitment to the Word of God.
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience demonstrating the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior. Baptism also demonstrates the believer's death to sin, burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. Baptism points to the future as well when every believer will be resurrected by Jesus from death and given a new, glorified body.
Baptism is a command given by Jesus to the church (church ordinance), and, thus, it is a prerequisite for local church membership.
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic observance of obedience whereby baptized believers, through partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine, remember the death of Jesus and look forward to His return.
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised, and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to attempt to make disciples of all nations. Every child of God should seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
God is the source of all blessings. All that we have and are, we owe to Him. We are therefore under obligation to serve Him with our time, talents, and material possessions. We should recognize these as entrusted to us by God to use for His glory and for helping others. According to the Bible, Christians should contribute of their resources and talents cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Gospel.
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in their own lives and in human society. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including, but not limited to, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, polygamy and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the philosophies of men which are contrary to His Word. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and promote sincere religious opinions without interference by the government.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for having children (birth or adoption).
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
God’s plan for sexual expression is between one man and one woman for life in the context of holy matrimony. Consequently, any form of sexual participation outside of holy matrimony is a deviation from God’s plan and purpose and a perversion of God’s design. Examples of perversion of God’s plan for human sexuality include, but are not limited to, adultery, fornication, polygamy, homosexuality, and pornography. First Baptist Church teaches that all people are to be loved with the love of Christ regardless of their backgrounds or lifestyle choices; however, First Baptist also affirms that each believer, like Christ, must speak the “truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Consequently, acceptance of a person is not equivalent to approval of lifestyle choices.
God designed gender and assigns one of two genders to each person at his/her conception: male or female. Gender is a gift of God and a part of the goodness of His creation.
We will love and minister to those who are struggling with gender confusion; nevertheless, we recognize only two genders, male and female, and believe they are assigned by God at conception and revealed in the God-given biology of each human being.