Why Have a Connection Class?

Choosing to Join King’s Grant Baptist Church is an important decision. People today will wonder in and out of our services without ever understanding how important church membership is unless pastors and leaders help them understand that, but also properly shepherd them through the process of joining. I include church leaders because the pastor cannot do it alone.

According to LifeWay research, 64% of churches either have nothing to assimilate new members, or no systemic plan to move people towards membership. This is why I offer the Connection Class several times throughout the year.

Connection Classes Help Guard the Purity of the Church: In our culture the statement “I am a Christian” can mean different things to different people, so it is important to make sure that everyone desiring membership in our church understands and believes the gospel. During a class we might find some people have never heard the gospel clearly articulated even if they grew up in church. So, it is so helpful to talk about the “secrets of being a healthy and happy church member.” The key to health and happiness in church membership is understanding salvation. It is so good to hear someone’s testimony along with presenting a basic gospel presentation before they join our church. Our Connection class provides church the opportunity to explain the gospel clearly.

Connection Classes Help People Understand the Church: These classes help people in the church to be “on the same page.” I believe that a prospective member should know what the church believes on essential and non-essential doctrines, the meaning of church ordinances, how a church works, and how it makes decisions, with who we associate and partner, lifestyle beliefs. We also spend time communicating the church vision, core values, and explain its ministry philosophy can be an important aspect of helping someone make the decision to join the church. Teaching these things can also help new people learn what they can expect from the church leaders, processes, and its ministries, and what the congregation can expect out of them.

Connection Classes Help People Plug In to Serve the Church: We need to provide an effective environment to plug people into serving in our church. All members have certain gifts and abilities that can be used in serving God and others through the church. When someone first joins, it can be difficult to figure out where to get involved. We cannot assume that a new member will automatically want to get involved in ministry and will know how to do so. In our Connection Class, people learn that the congregation expects them to get involved, and learn of entry level opportunities for service.

Connection Classes Help Guard the Unity of the Church: When a church emphasizes membership expectations, we are able to raise the bar of membership. While a scary thing, we also should talk about what would happen if church members did not live up to membership expectations. Clarity in the Connection Class goes a long way in setting the church member on the right path. This information can serve to preempt potential church discipline issues later on.

Connection Classes Help People Assimilate Into the Church: We see the class as an opportunity to encourage regular attendees to get to know other potential members of the church, as well as leaders in the church. While the primary purposes of the Connection Class is for church orientation and teaching doctrine, mission, values, and vision, this relational orientation to church leaders is a very positive thing.

The writers of the New Testament assumed that the local churches to whom they were writing had a clear understanding of who was a member of the church and who was not (1 Corinthians 5:2; Colossians 4:5; Galatians 6:10). The Connection Class is one of the most effective ways to examine, assimilate, and clearly guide new members into our church family.

[print_link] [email_link] Adapted from Matt Capps, and Ministry Grid

Related Images:

Paul’s Major Teachings

Aside from Jesus, the apostle Paul is probably the most eloquent and persuasive teacher in the Bible. Many of the doctrines he taught are considered the foundational for the Christian faith.

Born a Jew in Tarsus, he was a Roman citizen, tent-maker, and a Pharisee, responsible for persecution of Christians before his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–9). He became a faithful follower of Jesus, a dedicated missionary, and a respected leader in the early church. Here are a few of his major teachings.

1. Justification by faith: According to Paul, God ushered in a new era through the death of his Son. Under the old covenant, people, such as Abraham, were justified by believing God, looking forward to the promise of the coming Messiah (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:22). Now we are justified, or declared righteous before God, through faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and His atoning death on our behalf. Our justification is based on the work of Christ, accomplished through His blood (Romans 5:9), and brought to His people through His resurrection (Romans 4:25).

2. Jesus Christ as the risen and living Son of God: From the moment Jesus appeared to Paul at his dramatic conversion, Paul never hesitated to proclaim Jesus as the mystery of the ages and the great Redeemer of sinful humanity (1 Corinthians 15:1–20). To Paul, Jesus was the Messiah, God’s Son, the center of the gospel, and the One through whom “all things were created” (Colossians 1:16).

3. The church as the body of Christ: The only New Testament writer who speaks of the church as a body, Paul emphasized this fact in such passages as Ephesians 1:22, 23; 4:7–16; and 1 Corinthians 12. He also reminded Christians that their various gifts were to be used in building up the body of Christ and that they should work together for the common good of the Christian cause (Romans 12:4-5).

4. The power and influence of the Holy Spirit in the Christian’s life: Paul taught that the Holy Spirit was a more effective power for holy living in the Christian’s life than the old Jewish Law had ever been. The Law told people what to do, but it could not provide the will or the power to do it. God’s Spirit could provide the necessary power and motivation (Romans 8:9–17; Galatians 5:16–25).

5. The second coming of Christ: This includes the consummation of the kingdom of God as the redeemed are received into God’s presence. Paul taught that Christ will return to earth at the end of this age and that all Christians will share in His glory in the age to come (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 1 Corinthians 15:20–28).

[print_link] [email_link] Notes from the Open Bible

Related Images:

Mormon Theology

When I was in seminary back in the 1980′s I wrote a paper on Mormonism, reading a lot of their original and sacred documents. I sense I have a pretty firm grasp of their history and teachings, but let this be a brief synopsis of their theology.

This information does not endorse Mormonism as a valid theological belief system, so allow the Person of the Holy Spirit to guide you in knowing the truth that will set you free (John 8:32). I firmly believe that YOU CAN’T read the Bible from cover to cover and come to the conclusion that Mormonism is true.

The LDS MUST rely on lofty teachings and arguments, with secret knowledge given through their self-appointed apostles. There is biblical condemnation for false teachers by the early apostles:

These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ.You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. (Galatians 1: 6-9)

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong. (Colossians 2:3-5)

Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

Statistics:

  • Founder: Joseph Smith
  • Founding Date: April 6, 1830
  • Scriptures:
    • Book of Mormon
    • Doctrine and Covenants
    • Pearl of Great Price

Organizational Structure:

  1. One prophet leads the Church.
  2. Beneath the prophet in authority is the Council of the Twelve Apostles.
  3. A third group of men are called the First and Second Councils of the Seventy.
  4. All of these men together are called the General Authorities.

Unique Terms:

  1. Local churches called Wards or Stake Centers.
  2. The Temples are not for worship, but are used for ceremonies for the living and the dead.
  3. Less than ten percent of all LDS are allowed to enter these structures.

Theological History:

Born in 1805 in Sharon, Vermont, Joseph Smith would begin just a few years later what would become one of the world’s largest and fastest growing non-Christian religions.

According to the official story of the LDS Church, in 1820 Smith was visited by God the Father and God the Son after praying about which church he should join. He was told by Jesus, he should join none of them for they were “all wrong” and all the Christian church’s doctrines “were an abomination” (Joseph Smith – History 19, Pearl of Great Price).

This First Vision was followed by several visits from an angel named Moroni who, in 1827, allowed Smith to find a set of Golden Plates which had been buried in a hill near Smith’s home in Palmyra, New York. These golden tables became the Book of Mormon, published in 1830.

Doctrines:

Trinity: Mormonism is a polytheistic religion. Joseph Smith declared, “I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370).

Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie spoke about the Godhead in this way, “Plurality of Gods: Three separate personages: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident, from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us, speaking in the proper finite sense, these three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 576-577).

God the Father: Joseph Smith explained, “I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did” (LDS History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 305).

God the Son: Brigham Young stated, “The birth of the Saviours was a natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood, was begotten of his Father, as we were of our father” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 115).

Mormon Apostle McConkie explained, “And Christ was born into the world as a literal Son this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. He was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events (Mormon Doctrine, p. 742).

Jesus, according to Milton Hunter of the LDS First Council of the Seventy, is the brother of Lucifer. “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind” (The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15).

God the Holy Ghost / Holy Spirit: In Mormonism a distinction is drawn between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit.

As LDS Apostle Marion G. Romney stated, “The Holy Ghost is a person, a spirit, the third member of the Godhead” (Ensign May 1977, 43-44).

The sixth LDS prophet, Joseph F. Smith explains that the Holy Spirit is not a person but rather an impersonal force. “You may call it the Spirit of God, you may call it the influence of God’s intelligence, you may call it the substance of his power; no matter what it is called, it is the spirit of intelligence that permeates the universe” (Mormon Doctrine, McConkie, pp. 752-753).

Man’s Destiny: As Lorenzo Snow, fifth prophet of the LDS Church exclaimed, “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be” (Ensign, February 1982, pp. 39-40). This means that every worthy male, according to the standards of Mormonism, will become a god and rule over their own planet. But what about the women? That question was answered by Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth prophet of the Church, when he spoke of Man’s salvation or exaltation as it is called in Mormonism.

“The Father has promised us that through our faithfulness we shall be blessed with the fullness of his kingdom. In other words we will have the privilege of becoming like him. To become like him we must have all the powers of godhood; thus a man and his wife when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go on an earth like this one we are on and pass through the same kind of experiences, being subject to mortal conditions, and if faithful, then they also will receive the fullness of exaltation and partake of the same blessings. There is no end to this development; it will go on forever. We will become gods and have jurisdiction over world, and these world will be peopled by our own offspring. We will have an endless eternity for this” (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, 48).

Other Doctrines Worth Noting:

  1. God the Father is married and there is a Mother God (Answers to Gospel Questions, Joseph Fielding Smith, Vol. 3, pp. 143-144).
  2. All men and women who have ever lived on the earth are the spirit offspring of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Every person was conceived and born in a pre-existent spiritual realm (Mormon Doctrine, p. 589).
  3. Black people are black because of their misdeeds in the pre-existence (Three Degrees of Glory, LDS Apostle Melvin J. Ballard, p. 21).
  4. Temple ceremonies include Baptism for the Dead, Washing and Anointing for the living and the dead (Mormon Doctrine, McConkie, pp. 72-74, 226-228).
  5. Salvation or exaltation, whereby men become gods, is based on one’s own good works or merit (Church News, October 8, 1988, p. 23 and The Religion of the Latter-day Saints, Lowell Bennion, LDS Institute of Religion Director, p. 160).
  6. The Bible is considered usable, but suspect due to its many errors and missing parts (Articles of Faith No. 8, Ensign January 1989, pp. 25, 27).

Biblical Response:

  1. Only one God (Isaiah 43:10, 44:6-8, 45:5-6, 18, 22, 46:9, 48:12, 1 Corinthians 8:4).
  2. Mankind is not a son or daughter of God from a pre-existent birth (John 1:12 “power to become”).
  3. Salvation is a free gift from God, not something to be worked for or earned (Romans 3:24, 4:4-5, 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5-7).
  4. Holy Spirit is a Person, not simply a force (John 16:13-14).

[print_link] [email_link] [ Thanks to www.watchman.org ]

Related Images:

Baptist Faith & Message 1963

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE
Adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention: May 9, 1963

I. THE SCRIPTURES

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of Gods revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34
Psalm 19:7-10; 119:11, 89, 105, 140
Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32
Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46
John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16; 17:11
Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17
Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21

II. GOD

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience.

The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

A. God the Father

God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11; 20:1
Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3
Isaiah 43:3, 15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13
Matthew 6:9; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11
John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7
Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6
Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7

B. God the Son

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ he was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself the demands and necessities of human nature and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, partaking of the nature of God and of man, and in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

Genesis 18:1; Psalm 2:7; 110:1; Isaiah 7:14; 53:1-12
Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16, 27
Matthew 17:5; 27; 28:1-6, 19; Mark 1:1; 3:11
Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46
John 1:1-18, 29; 10:30, 38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50
John 14:7-11, 16:15-16, 28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20, 28
Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5, 20
Romans 1, 3, 4; Romans 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3, 34; 10:4
1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8, 24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21
Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11
Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16
Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28
Hebrews 9:12-15, 24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22
1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14- 15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9
Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16

C. God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts” by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the assurance of God to bring the believer into the fulness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalm 51:11; 139:7
Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32
Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10, 12
Luke 1:35; 4:1, 18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49
John 4:24; 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-14
Acts 1:8; 2:1-4, 38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17, 39
Acts 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6
Romans 8:9-11, 14-16, 26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11
Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19
1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8, 14
2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17

III. MAN

Man was created by the special act of God, in His own image, and is the crowning work of His creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence; whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin, and as soon as they are capable of moral action become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore every man possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5, 7, 18-22; 3; 9:6
Psalm 1:1-6; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5
Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31
Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18, 23; 5:6, 12, 19; 6:6
Romans 7:14-25; 8:14-18, 29; 1Co 1:21-31; 15:19, 21-22
Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11

IV. SALVATION

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, sanctification, and glorification.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of Gods grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.

Justification is Gods gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God.

B. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to Gods purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual perfection through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate persons life.

C. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8
Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6
Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32
John 1:11-14, 29; 3:3-21, 36; 5:24; 10:9, 28-29
John 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31
Acts 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3
Romans 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18; 29-39; 10:9-10, 13
Romans 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 30; 6:19-20; 15:10
2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15
Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14
Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8, 14
James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11
Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5

V. GOD’S PURPOSE OF GRACE

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is a glorious display of Gods sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the cause of Christ, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7, 19-22
Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31
Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22, 31; 25:34
Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48
John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45, 65; 10:27-29
John 15:16; 17:6, 12, 17-18; Acts 20:32
Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7, 26-36
1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11
Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10, 19
Hebrews 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 1:2-5, 13; 2:4-10
1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2

VI. THE CHURCH

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two ordinances of Christ, committed to His teachings, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth.

This church is an autonomous body, operating through democratic processes under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In such a congregation members are equally responsible. Its Scriptural officers are pastors and deacons.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20
Acts 2:41-42, 47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23, 27
Acts 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7
1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12
Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11, 21; 5:22-32
Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 3:1-15; 4:14

VII. BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER

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 symbolizing the believers faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believers death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lords Supper.

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26
Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23
Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7
Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12

VIII. THE LORD’S DAY

The first day of the week is the Lords Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, and by refraining from worldly amusements, and resting from secular employments, work of necessity and mercy only being excepted.

Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7
Luke 24:1-3, 33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1, 19-28
Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10

IX. THE KINGDOM

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and Gods will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6
Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10, 23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29
Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32
Luke 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36
Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19
1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10, 16; 12:28
1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6, 9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22

X. LAST THINGS

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.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9
Matthew 19:28; 24:27, 30, 36, 44; 25:31-46; 26:64
Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40, 48; 16:19-26
Luke 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3
Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5
1 Corinthians 15:24-28, 35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21
Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 2:1-17
1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28
James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7; 1 John 2:28; 3:2
Jude 14; Rev 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13

XI. EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS

It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of mans spirit by Gods Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by personal effort and by all other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8
Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19
Matthew 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53
John 14:11-12; 15:7-8, 16; 17:15; 20:21
Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3
Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5
Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17

XII. EDUCATION

The cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian schools is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christs people.

In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.

Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28
Psalm 19:7; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13; 4:1-10; 8:1-7, 11; 15:14
Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40
1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3, 8-9
1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3
James 1:5; 3:17

XIII. STEWARDSHIP

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemers cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12
Matthew 6:1-4, 19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29
Luke 12:16-21, 42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47
Acts 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2
1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15
Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19

XIV. COOPERATION

Christs people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine; and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christs Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christs people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.

Exodus 17:12; 18:17; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15
Nehemiah 4; Nehemiah 8:1-5; Mat 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20
Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1; 4:31-37; 13:2-3
Acts 15:1-35; 1Co 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15
Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18

XV. THE CHRISTIAN AND THE SOCIAL ORDER

Every Christian is under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in his own life and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus. The Christian should oppose in the spirit of Christ every form of greed, selfishness, and vice. He should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.

Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17
Psalm 101:5; Mic 6:8; Zechariah 8:16
Matthew 5:13-16, 43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35
Mark 1:29-34, 2:3; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25
John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12-14; 1 Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7
1 Corinthians 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9
Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon 1:1-25; James 1:27; 2:8

XVI. PEACE AND WAR

It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.

The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love.

Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9, 38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38
Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2

XVII. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has Left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. 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 propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.

Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7, 24; 16:26; 22:21
John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7
Galatians 5:1, 13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12
1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19

XVIII. THE FAMILY (Added in 1998)

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 Gods 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 for sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in Gods 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 Gods 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.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15
1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalm 78:1-8; 127:1-4; 128:1-6; 139:13-16
Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24
Proverbs 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15
Proverbs 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16
Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9
Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16
Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5
Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7


The 1962 session of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in San Francisco, California, adopted the following motion.

“Since the report of the Committee on Statement of Baptist Faith and Message was adopted in 1925, there have been various statements from time to time which have been made, but no overall statement which might be helpful at this time as suggested in Section 2 of that report, or introductory statement which might be used as an interpretation of the 1925 Statement.

“We recommend, therefore, that the president of this Convention be requested to call a meeting of the men now serving as presidents of the various state Conventions that would qualify as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention committee under Bylaw 18 to present to the Convention in Kansas City some similar statement which shall serve as information to the churches, and which may serve as guidelines to the various agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is understood that any group or individuals may approach this committee to be of service. The expenses of this committee shall be borne by the Convention Operating Budget.”

Your committee thus constituted begs leave to present its report as follows:

Throughout its work your committee has been conscious of the contribution made by the statement of “The Baptist Faith And Message” adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1925. It quotes with approval its affirmation that “Christianity is supernatural in its origin and history. We repudiate every theory of religion which denies the supernatural elements in our faith.”

Furthermore, it concurs in the introductory “statement of the historic Baptist conception of the nature and function of confessions of faith in our religious and denominational life.” It is, therefore, quoted in full as part of this report to the Convention.

(1) That they constitute a consensus of opinion of some Baptist body, large or small, for the general instruction and guidance of our own people and others concerning those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us. They are not intended to add anything to the simple conditions of salvation revealed in the New Testament, viz., repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

(2) That we do not regard them as complete statements of our faith, having any quality of finality or infallibility. As in the past so in the future Baptists should hold themselves free to revise their statements of faith as may seem to them wise and expedient at any time.

(3) That any group of Baptists, large or small have the inherent right to draw up for themselves and publish to the world a confession of their faith whenever they may think it advisable to do so.

(4) That the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Confessions are only guides in interpretation, having no authority over the conscience.

(5) That they are statements of religious convictions, drawn from the Scriptures, and are not to be used to hamper freedom of thought or investigation in other realms of life.”

The 1925 Statement recommended “the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, revised at certain points, and with some additional articles growing out of certain needs …” Your present committee has adopted the same pattern. It has sought to build upon the structure of the 1925 Statement, keeping in mind the “certain needs” of our generation. At times it has reproduced sections of the Statement without change. In other instances it has substituted words for clarity or added sentences for emphasis. At certain points it has combined articles, with minor changes in wording, to endeavor to relate certain doctrines to each other. In still others, e.g., “God” and “Salvation” it has sought to bring together certain truths contained throughout the 1925 Statement in order to relate them more clearly and concisely. In no case has it sought to delete from or to add to the basic contents of the 1925 Statement.

Baptists are a people who profess a living faith. This faith is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ who is “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” Therefore, the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is Jesus Christ whose will is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

A living faith must experience a growing understanding of truth and must be continually interpreted and related to the needs of each new generation. Throughout their history Baptist bodies, both large and small, have issued statements of faith which comprise a consensus of their beliefs. Such statements have never been regarded as complete, infallible statements of faith, nor as official creeds carrying mandatory authority. Thus this generation of Southern Baptists is in historic succession of intent and purpose as it endeavors to state for its time and theological climate those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us.

Baptists emphasize the souls competency before God, freedom in religion, and the priesthood of the believer. However, this emphasis should not be interpreted to mean that there is an absence of certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified.

It is the purpose of this statement of faith and message to set forth certain teachings which we believe.

Herschel H. Hobbs, Chairman Howard M. Reaves Ed. J. Packwood C.Z. Holland W.B. Timberlake C.V. Koons Malcolm B. Knight Dick H. Hail, Jr. Charles R. Walker Walter R. Davis Garth Pybas V.C. Kruschwitz Luther B. Hall Robert Woodward Douglas Hudgins Paul Weber, Jr. R.A. Long Nane Starnes C. Hoge Hockensmith Hugh R. Bumpas David G. Anderson E. Warren Rust James H. Landes R.P. Downey

 

Related Images: