What We Believe and Affirm
As a church, we value the truth. God calls us to uphold His truth and conform ourselves to it in word and deed (1 Tim 3:15). God’s truth did not always characterize us. With the rest of humanity, we also morally opposed the truth about God (Rom 1:18). Only by a work of divine grace do we now embrace and celebrate the truth that is in Jesus Christ and that reveals Him unto us for salvation (John 14:6; 1 Cor 2:6-16; 2 Tim 2:25). We still may not know God’s truth fully due to our own sin and human limitations, but we do know God’s truth sufficiently for salvation and life with God.
The following distinctives and affirmations help summarize some of our own commitments as a church to upholding and practicing God’s truth. These distinctives should also assist our guests and inquirers as they learn more about us.
To be a Baptist church refers to our convictions about what the Scriptures teach on the nature, practice, and priorities of a local church (also known as our “ecclesiology”). At the very least, that means we affirm the autonomy of the local church, maintain regenerate church membership, enjoy the priesthood of all believers, and celebrate the two ordinances of Believers’ Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We also see the Great Commission as a cooperative effort, and so we partner with other SBC churches for mission through the Cooperative Program, the IMB, and the Missouri Baptist Convention. Being a Baptist certainly does not mean that we alone have the edge on truth, but it is our humble contribution to practicing only what will promote further gospel faithfulness.
To be an evangelical church first and foremost means that we strive to be faithful to and centered upon the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as God has revealed it in Scripture. God saved us through the gospel; he continues to transform us by the same gospel; and he means for the gospel to set the priorities of all we are both in confession and in practice. Historically speaking, this also means we uphold the essential truths of the Christian faith—such as the existence of the triune God, the complete deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, His virgin conception, His incarnation as the eternal Son of God, the pervasive sinfulness of all humanity, Christ’s substitutionary death as the only way of salvation, His physical resurrection, His sure return, salvation by God’s grace alone through faith in Christ alone, and the infallibility and divine authority of the Bible—and seek to walk humbly in accordance with them.
- Romans 1:1-7
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
- 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; 15:1-2
- Colossians 1:23
To be an elder-led church refers to how we practice church leadership. Subjecting ourselves to the Scriptures, our conviction is that each local church has recognized, affirmed, and submitted to the leadership of biblically qualified elders. These elders provide the spiritual oversight of the congregation through prayerful submission to God’s word which expresses itself in the regular discipleship, leadership, protection, and care of God’s flock. Our elders are always available for discussion in church matters, and are eager to interact with members regarding the work of ministry and the life of the church. Thus, we practice congregational involvement under the spiritual care of elders.
- Acts 14:23; 20:17
- Ephesians 4:11-16
- 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17-21
- Titus 1:5-9
- 1 Peter 5:1-4
- James 5:14
- Hebrews 13:7, 17
- Acts 15:2-6, 22
- 1 Timothy 5:19-20
- Matthew 18:17
To be evangelistic means that we, as missionaries, are constrained by the love of Jesus Christ to extend the free offer of salvation to all people without distinction. God’s love indiscriminately offers to all peoples Christ in all His saving power through the gospel; and people must believe the gospel in order to be saved. Christian proclamation is God’s chosen means by which sinners hear the gospel. Therefore, we plead with sinners to acknowledge God’s love for them in Christ so that they may not perish and we pray they will respond in repentance and faith. God’s sovereignty over everything, even salvation, does not compromise but compels our devotion to primary evangelism and discipleship, since His gracious will ensures that rebels will believe.
- Isaiah 45:22
- Matthew 28:18-20
- Acts 10:43; 17:30
- 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
- John 3:16-21
- Luke 24:47
- Romans 10:14-15; 15:20-21
- Acts 2:38; 3:19; 14:21
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
- John 10:16
- Acts 13:48; 18:9
- 2 Timothy 2:10
- Revelation 5:9-10
What is the Gospel?
The just and gracious God of the universe looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His power over sin in the resurrection so that all who turn and trust in Him will be reconciled to God forever.
We affirm that a biblical presentation and a biblical response to the Gospel includes five key elements. These five key biblical elements are:
The character of God (Romans 1:18-20, 2:1-16, 3:22-24, Isaiah 43:6-7):
God is the just and gracious Creator of all things.
Realize that we belong to Him, are accountable to Him, and are created to glorify Him.
The sinfulness of man (Romans 1:21-25, 3:9-20, 3:23, 6:23):
We are each created by God, but we are all corrupted by sin.
Admit areas of rebellion, be honest with God about sin, and turn from it.
The sufficiency of Christ (Romans 3:21-26, 4:25, 5:6-10, 5:18, 8:1-4):
Jesus Christ alone is able to remove our sin and reconcile us to God through His death. He alone satisfies the wrath of God for our sins.
Recognize that we are helpless to be reconciled with God apart from Jesus Christ.
The necessity of faith (Romans 1:17, 3:20-31, 4:22-25, 6:11-14, 8:10-11, 10:9-13):
We are reconciled to God only through faith in Jesus. There is nothing we can do to become right with God.
Faith that leads to salvation involves turning from sin and self-sufficiency. We turn to Jesus and trust in Him as Lord, confess Him as Lord and Savior.
The urgency of eternity (John 3:14-16, 36, John 10:27-30, 17:3, 1 Timothy 1:16-17, Hebrews 9:12, 1 John 5:11-13):
Our eternal destiny is dependent on our response to Jesus.
Cry out to God to save you of your sins, put your faith in Jesus Christ and confess Him as Savior and Lord.
We affirm that Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's 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. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. 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. It is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be evaluated. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
- Exodus 24:4
- Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19
- Joshua 8:34
- Psalms 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 2:16ff.; 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
We affirm 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. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
- Genesis 1:1; 2:7
- Psalm 19:1-3
- Romans 8:14-15
- Hebrews 11:6; 12:9
- 1 Peter 1:17
- 1 John 5:7
We affirm that man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's 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. Therefore, all have 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 person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
- Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6
- Psalms 1; 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; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29
- 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22
- Ephesians 2:1-22
- Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.
We affirm there is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's 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, a change of mind and of heart. Faith is the confession of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
Justification is God's 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.
Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace will continue throughout the regenerate person's life.
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; 15:1-16; 17:17;
- Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32
- Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 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; 3:1ff.
- 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:
God's Purpose and Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, 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 the glorious display of God's 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, and 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 31:31ff.
- 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; 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
- James 1:12
- 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10
- 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2
We affirm that a New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local body of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each church operates under the Lordship of Christ. In such a church each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are elders and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of elder or pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
- Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20
- Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 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 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14
- Hebrews 11:39-40
- 1 Peter 5:1-4
- Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3
Baptism and the Lord's Supper
We affirm that biblical baptism is by water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to church membership.
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby followers of Christ, 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
The Christian and the Social Order
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives 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 Jesus Christ.
In the spirit of Christ, we affirm that Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, 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. 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
- Micah 6:8
- Zechariah 8:16
- Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35
- Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 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; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1
- Galatians 3:26-28
- Ephesians 6:5-9
- Colossians 3:12-17
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12
- James 1:27; 2:8
We affirm that 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 procreation of the human race.
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.
- Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20
- Exodus 20:12
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9
- Joshua 24:15
- 1 Samuel 1:26-28
- Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16
- Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6, 15; 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 5:8,14
- 2 Timothy 1:3-5
- Titus 2:3-5
- Hebrews 13:4
- 1 Peter 3:1-7
Missions and Evangelism
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 man's spirit by God's 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. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations.
We affirm that it is the duty of every child of God to 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.
- 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; 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