First Baptist Church — Statement of Faith
What We Believe
God the Father
We believe in only one triune God, eternally existing in three persons- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- each co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, coequal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections, though executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. He is holy, infinite, intelligent, perfect, and personal as well as the Creator, Preserver, and Supreme Ruler of the universe.
We believe the Bible was written by men, but inspired by God so that every word was exactly as God wanted it to be. We believe that God supernaturally preserved His words throughout history so that what we read in the Hebrew and Greek texts (specifically the Masoretic and Textus Receptus) are exactly what God originally said. We believe that a translation that uses these faithful texts honors and best represents the original words of God, which is why FBC uses the King James Version of the Bible.
We believe that Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born by the virgin Mary without ever ceasing to be God. We believe that He lived a sinless life, performed actual miracles, and died on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all men. We believe that He arose bodily from the grave, appeared to many, and ascended into heaven where He fulfills the role of the priest as Intercessor, Head of the Church, Representative, Advocate, and Bridegroom.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who has been involved in history in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and will continue to act through eternity. He was involved in Creation, inspired the Scriptures, indwelt men temporarily in the Old Testament, indwells believers permanently in the New Testament, and convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
We believe that the Holy Spirit at salvation regenerates those who believe, baptizes them into the body of Christ, and permanently indwells them. Afterward, He produces in believers the fruit of the Spirit, calls individuals to Christian service, empowering and directing them in that service, assists believers to understand and apply the Scriptures, and will resurrect believers at the end of the age.
We believe that a number of spiritual gifts that were given to the early church, such as speaking in tongues and gifts of healing, are no longer needed since we have the completed revelation of the scriptures. We believe that speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit. Ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God frequently chooses to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing. Thus we need not seek special manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the area of gifts but seek to heed the admonition to be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit.
We believe that mankind was created by a special act of God, in the image and likeness of God, and also a state of innocence. We believe that in Adam’s sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Man is totally depraved and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. We believe that man is both physical and spiritual, and that his soul will spend eternity in either Hell or Heaven. We believe that though every person is positively inclined to evil, under just condemnation to eternal ruin, he is personally responsible to God for his own sins, and without excuse.
We believe that salvation comes because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who shed His blood, thus paying the full redemptive price, fully satisfying God’s righteous demands, and imputing his righteousness to those who believe. We believe that this salvation is made available to every single person by the grace and mercy of God.
We believe that that salvation is made effective to man only upon his exercise of personal faith in Jesus Christ, which faith is not a meritorious work. We believe that salvation includes justification, regeneration, adoption into the family of God, sanctification, and glorification.
We believe that all the redeemed, once regenerated, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever. It is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh.
We accept the Genesis account as being a historic record of creation and that space, time, energy, and matter, as well as all subsequent beings, were created by God, not produced by any process of evolution. We believe that the six days of creation were six literal twenty-four hour days. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin.
We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward both those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or the use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions.
We believe that in one sense, the church is the body and bride of Christ, and thus made up only of all born-again believers from the time of Pentecost until the return of Christ. They are those who have been called out of the world to serve Christ, who is the Head of the Church. We believe that the church is separate from Israel, and thus not entitled to its promises.
We believe that in another sense, the church is a local body of believers who meet regularly for the purpose of united worship, fellowship, administration of the ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s supper), edification, mutual rebuke, discipline, and effective promotion of the work of Christ throughout the world. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures.
We believe that such local churches should be limited in membership to those who are born again, who desire to follow Christ in obedience, and who have been immersed. We further believe that that the only officers recognized in such New Testament churches are those of pastors and deacons, though the governing of the church is democratic with every member responsible to vote in keeping with his understanding of the will of Christ. We believe that each local church is responsible directly to Christ and not to some other local church or organization, though we recognize that there is value in fellowship and cooperation with other local churches of like convictions.
Things to Come
We believe that Scripture foretells certain future events. We believe in the personal, imminent return of Christ in the clouds, in which the dead in Christ will rise first followed by living believers. We believe that the rapture will be followed by a terrible seven-year Tribulation, which ends with the physical return of Christ to the earth. We believe that the second coming of Christ will be to establish the millennial kingdom, which is a fulfillment of the promises made to Israel, the end of which will be marked by the rebellion and defeating of Satan. We believe that at the end of time, all people will be judged, and those unbelievers whose names are found in the Lamb’s Book of life will be ushered into the blessings of heaven to be forever with the Lord, while all unbelievers will be cast into the Lake of Fire to be tormented with Satan and his angels.