What We Believe
What you see below is a summary of the fundamental teaching of Bethany Baptist Church. We have examined the scriptures and other sound historical documents to carefully create this document. We consider fundamental doctrine to be that which is essential and core to all the major teachings of the Bible and its teaching regarding salvation.
Purpose of the Church
The fundamental purpose of the local church is to glorify God by proclaiming and obeying His Word. This unwavering commitment to God’s Word is the most basic and vital obligation of the local church. The proclamation of Scripture includes both the preaching of the Gospel and the teaching and equipping of the saints with the goal of helping each other attain the unity of the faith and the knowledge and maturity that results in Christlikeness. Proceeding out of this foundational commitment to the Word is our love for God. It is only through His Word that the church can rightly know and love Him, and thereby obey the commands and patterns of Scripture such as the administration of the ordinances, the proper leading of corporate worship, and other matters of function.
Statement of Faith
1. Concerning the Scriptures
We believe that the Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is without error as originally written. The author of the Bible was God the Holy Spirit who guided the human authors so that the writings they produced were inspired (God-breathed) in every word and as a whole. Because Scripture is a product of God, who cannot lie, the Bible is entirely without error (inerrant) and is actually incapable of error in all that it affirms, not only in the realm of religion but in every matter upon which it speaks. We believe that the Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice, the only sufficient and necessary source to establish the doctrine and practice of both the individual believer and of the church as a whole. The foundation of our unity is God’s Word.
2. Concerning Our Triune God
We believe that there is only one living and true God who is infinite, eternal, self-existing, unchanging, perfect Spirit. He is a personal Being and the Creator, Upholder, and supreme Ruler of the universe. He is indescribably glorious in holiness, and worthy of all our worship, trust, and love. Though one God, He exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is – neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is – eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit is – proceeding from the Father and the Son. These Persons are equal in essence and in every divine perfection, but each has His own distinct work to perform.
3. Concerning God the Father
We believe that God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity, is – neither begotten nor proceeding. He is the Creator of all things by His Word and through His Son. As Creator He is also Owner, the only absolute and all-powerful Ruler in the universe. He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption. His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men, but He is spiritual Father only to believers. He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass. In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin, nor does His sovereignty diminish the accountability of mankind. He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own. He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ, Whom He graciously sent into the world to save sinners and Whom He raised from the dead. He adopts as His own all those who come to Him and thus becomes their Father, keeping them for Jesus Christ. He has set a day when He will judge the world in righteousness through Jesus Christ.
4. Concerning God the Son
We believe that God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, is – eternally begotten of the Father. It was through Him and for Him that all things were created. He is both fully God and fully man. His literal human body was miraculously conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and He was born of a human mother who was a virgin. As our Lord Jesus Christ, He lived a sinless life on earth, died on the cross as our substitute and bore the judgment of our sins, and was raised bodily from the tomb as a testimony to the sufficiency of His sacrifice and as a guarantee of our future resurrection. As the Head of His Body, the Church, He builds, directs, and sustains it. He is now in heaven as the great High Priest interceding for us and will return one day in glory to judge the living and the dead.
5. Concerning God the Holy Spirit
We believe that God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, is – proceeding from the Father and the Son. He is a divine Person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature. He was active in creation, convicts men of sin, and indwells each believer. He also bears witness to the truth of the Scriptures, for it is ultimately the work of the Spirit in our hearts that fully persuades and assures us of its infallible truth and divine authority. He performs various ministries such as regenerating, sealing, guiding, teaching, sanctifying, strengthening, and interceding. The Holy Spirit gives varieties of gifts to believers, which are special abilities for service to the body. He also enables the believer to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires, and He produces fruit in the Christian’s life. It is the believer’s privilege to be filled with the Spirit and thereby to produce fruit unto God’s glory and live in joyful obedience.
6. Concerning Angels
We believe in the existence of angels who are mighty, spiritual beings that were created by God. They serve Him in various ways and are specially appointed to watch over and minister to God’s people. We believe that at some time in the past a large number of angels, under the leadership of Satan, rebelled against God and were removed from His presence. They oppose God and His purposes and rule over the spiritual darkness of this world. Satan is the enemy of God’s people. Although he is very powerful, he is not equal to God and must give account for his actions. He and the other fallen angels are destined to be judged by Christ at His return and ultimately to be eternally imprisoned in the Lake of Fire.
7. Concerning Creation
We believe that in the beginning it pleased God to display the glory of His eternal power and divine nature by creating the world and all things, both visible and invisible. He did so in six days, and all things were very good as originally created. We believe the Biblical account of creation is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God; that Adam was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all people are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, who were created in God’s image and likeness, and are first parents of the entire human race.
Created in God’s Image
All human life is created in God’s image and is therefore sacred. This includes pre-born babies, the elderly, the physically or mentally challenged, from conception through natural death. Because humanity is created in God’s image, life should be treasured and preserved in all stages and conditions.
God’s Design for Gender
Our Creator established human gender in biologically fixed male and female categories1. Seeking to confuse or change this God-given distinction violates God’s creative design and revealed will.
God’s Design for Marriage
God’s created order for marriage is the joining of one man and one woman: both created in the image of God and thus equal in essence and value, though they serve different roles within the marriage. Sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the bonds of a biblically defined marriage. Any other form of marriage or sexual intimacy is immoral and a perversion of God’s gracious will.
8. Concerning the Fall of Man
We believe that man was originally created a sinless being. By voluntary transgression he fell from that sinless state, and, as a result, all are now sinners by nature and conduct and are justly under divine condemnation.
9. Concerning Salvation
We believe that an individual’s personal guilt and depravity make reconciliation to God essential to escape God’s eternal wrath and gain eternal life. Mankind is helpless to provide reconciliation for himself. The good news of the Gospel is that salvation is made free to all by the death and resurrection of Christ. It is initiated by God and is accomplished by grace apart from any human works. The sovereignty of God in salvation does not diminish the responsibility of each individual to accept it by personal faith in Christ, which is the only condition of salvation. Repentance toward God prompted by the Holy Spirit is an integral part of saving faith. All who thus believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are forgiven, regenerated, and justified, and the perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to them. They are given spiritual life which is manifested in their growth in grace. Each believer has been sanctified positionally in Christ, is being sanctified by the continuing work of the Spirit, and ultimately at Christ’s coming will be completely sanctified. True believers are saved forever and can never be lost.
10. Concerning the Church
We believe that the universal Church, the Body of Christ, is made up of all true believers who are placed into this Body by the work of the Holy Spirit. We believe that a local church is an organized congregation of baptized believers associated together by a common faith and fellowship in the Gospel. Its officers are biblically qualified men referred to in Scripture as elders (pastors) and deacons. God has given the local church authority on matters such as membership, leadership, discipline, ministry, and finances as directed in His Word. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by proclaiming and obeying His Word (see “Purpose of the Church” statement).
11. Concerning the Ordinances
We believe the local church is to observe the two ordinances of Baptism and Communion as instructed by our Lord in His Word. They are both a remembrance and proclamation of Christ’s work until He returns. Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer performed in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an outward sign of identification with Christ. A fruit of salvation is obedience in baptism. During communion, the church commemorates together the death of Christ on our behalf by the use of the bread and cup. This commemoration should always be preceded by careful self-examination.
12. Concerning Future Events
We believe in the imminence of Christ’s return. At the end of the age, He will separate the just into His eternal presence and the unjust to endless punishment in the Lake of Fire based on the gift of salvation through faith in Christ or the rejection of this gift.
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