Friday, January 9, 2009

Freedom Baptist Church Confession of Faith

I. God
A. We believe in the one true living God, self-named Jehovah [Y/J.H.W/V.H]. (Though also titled El, Elohim, Adonai, Theos, Kurios etc.) He is beyond all perfection. He is a spiritual, intelligent, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver and Ruler of the universe. He is all-powerful, omnipresent, omniscient, self-sufficient, unchanging, immanent, transcendent and eternal. Even greater than His attributes is His Character. God is the most Holy, all Loving, all Righteous, all Merciful, and all Wise Sovereign Lord of All. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience
B. There is one God-head/substance of God (Elohim), which is composed of three Persons: The Father, Son/Word, and Holy Spirit. These are three distinct persons ye they composed of one ultimate substance. They are equal in power and standing. Yet submit in order to the Father and secondly the Son and Holy Spirit for the sake of order.
C. From before the beginning of Creation was the Logos/word also known as the Son. He is the second person of the Godhead trinity. According to the Father’s purpose and plan, He was manifest in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus originated in the virgin womb of Mary. Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament from the blood-line of Abraham and royal bloodline of David. He is the same person as the Son, yet complete in his humanity, including the mind, soul, and spirit. Though Jesus is the reflection of God and one in person He is dueled in His nature. He is both completely human and completely God.

II. Creation
A. We believe that Jehovah created the Universe out of nothing. We believe that this took place in the first week of creation, which were literal days. We believe the spiritual realms were created during this time as well. This consists of the place of terrors, the chasm and the bosom of Abraham; which are together recognized as sheol/Hades. We believe in the realm of Heaven were God manifest his presence and sits on the throne. He created multitudes of Angels of various ranks and likely races. Through the fall there was a spiritual war and were left many mutations across creation whether they are unclean animals, fallen angels, demons, nephilum or reprobate.
B. We believe in the history of Adam and Eve and the fall in the Garden of Eden. We believe, in the historical account of the curse of the worldwide flood. We believe in the additional rebellion of mankind in the building of the Tower of Babel where ungodly religion was invented. As well as God’s curse of cultural confusion which led to a multitude of languages, ethnicities, and religion.

III. Man
We believe Man (male & female) is the crown of creation. God decided to create Man in his image. In other words, man is a reflection of God’s attributes Man and is composed of a body soul and spirit. God directly makes the spirit of man. The first man was Adam and his wife was Eve made from his rib. Through the deception of Satan, Adam gave away his inherited perfections by disobeying God’s commandment not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result, all people have inherited a sinful inclination across the totality of their being and been imputed the curse of death. Every person has had his or her spirit independently formed by God. The essence of man is Body, Soul, and Spirit. God made only one race of Mankind, though they split into many nations, cultures, languages and even religions. We believe that the traditional family consists of the marriage between one man and one woman. We believe that Christians ought to choose a mate that is also a believer, and that in the process of engagement they ought to honor their father and mother. We believe that the man and woman are encouraged to have as many children as capable. Men are to be supervisors of the family and spiritual guardians of the household. Women help fulfill the man’s destiny and are placed as the heart of the family nourishing the household.

IV. The Bible
A. We believe that God has chosen to reveal His will through the revelation of Holy Scripture. The Holy Bible is ordered according to the traditional protestant Canon. The 39 books of the Old Testament agreed upon by Protestants and the Jews, as well as the 27 books of the New Testament agreed upon by Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant. God has perfectly providentially preserved these books, for us in the Hebrew Masoretic text and the Greek Textus Receptus manuscripts. The Authorized Version nicknamed “King James Version” has been the most outstanding and productive translation of these texts into the English language. God inspired the authors of the Bible to write His very words. In His infinite knowledge God presented His revelation in a way consistent with the style, personality and character of these elect prophets to enable them to best present His words. Every author was willing to present, and was specially sanctified by God for this purpose. So though the Prophets and Apostles have written the Bible, every word finds its origin with the Father.
B. Consequently, the Bible if properly translated and interpreted has no error in what it says directly or implies. The Bible is authoritative for all in what it says and interprets and the Christian is bound to every thing it specifically says to Christians and everything it implies; though the Christian is bound not to add to His divine revelation. The Scriptures must be judged only in light of the whole of scripture. The Bible can be understood using the historical-grammatical method of study in search of the “plain sense meaning”. With this, diligence, a godly desire to learn, and the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the Christian can eventually understand the complete direct meaning of the Bible. The centerpiece of the revelation of God is Christ Jesus.

V. The Law
We believe that God in his infinite love has provided mankind with a direct revelation of his love, they we may follow Him and not trespass His laws, which would incur his wrath. He has provided mankind with the holy law to point us towards the light. In the Old/Mosaic covenant the Hebrews followed all the OT law in order to be sanctified and draw closer to God. In the New Testament we have a better Covenant. We draw closer to God the same way that we are justified, through faith in the saving work of Christ, living out our lives removing the sins of the flesh and growing the fruits of the spirit. The Holy Law of God is still of great use to us. The Ten Commandments serve as an infallible compass of truth. The Old Testament Law of God serves the believers as a way of wisdom, and the non-believers as a convicting schoolmaster pointing us all towards our need for Christ.
The purist summary of God’s law is that we shall love the Lord with all our heart, soul and might. And that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

VI. The Dispensations
Through the ages God has chosen to progressively reveal His will concerning his relationship with mankind. He has revealed this through several different covenantal relationships that are known as “Dispensations”. Each dispensation is a new relationship in history whereby man is obligated to follow and God establishes blessings and curses based upon obedience. Man’s own sinful condition, and inability to have self-righteousness continuously spurs on the next dispensation. Each dispensation builds upon another drawing us to deeper need for Christ and a closer relationship with God through the history of redemption.
We understand that there are seven major dispensations, which precede the New Heavens and the New Earth. The age of Innocence which is prior to the fall in the Garden of Eden. The age of Conscience, which governed from the days of Adam to Noah. The age of Government which governed Noah to Abraham. The age of Promise, which governed from Abraham to Moses. The age of the Law which governed from Abraham to John the Baptist. The age of Grace which governs from Paul till the Second Coming of Christ. The millennial reign will last for a 1000 years closing the cycle of the heavens and earth.

VII. Israel, the Kingdom of Heaven and the local church and the Great Whore
A. Through the ages and dispensations God’s elect has been composed of both literal and spiritual bodies. They have always been a part of one spiritual body, the Kingdom of God. In the earthly realm the elect were historically congregated in the nation of Israel. Yet the nation transgressed God’s Law and as a result loss the blessings from God. Then they rejected the Messiah Jesus Christ. As a result, they were to be the most cursed people on earth and had a partial hardening of their people so that few have received the benefits of the New Covenant and salvation. Yet, God in his great mercy blesses the Jews when they follow him and he will not revoke his promises. Therefore in the end-times the Jews will be restored to all of their blessings, they will repent to serve Jesus Christ, they will receive the blessings of His salvation, and He will rule the world from their throne.
B. The Local Church is the designated body of God’s elect. They are armies of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Body of Christ. However most confessors of Christ have not been born-again but fallen into apostasy. The faithful and obedient bride of Christ will stay faithful and pure to God’s Word and as a result will be Raptured away to be forever with Christ. But the unfaithful will become seduced by the Great Whore of Babylon and be in danger of God’s Judgement and condemnation.

VIII. Salvation
A. Election) Before their was time, God the father purposed to present a bride to the Son, This chosen Bride is in fact a vast body of believers whom we know as the Elect. Election is the gracious purpose of God, by which He regenerates, Justifies, Sanctifies and Glorifies sinners. It is in harmony with God’s Foreknowledge of man’s free agency and choices. Though it is not founded or based upon their acts of will or work; instead upon God’s loving and gracious nature. Through this mystery God works all things for good to those who love Him.
B. Drawing) Due to its depravity, mankind has a sinful inclination to draw away from God. Therefore upon hearing the gospel, the Holy Spirit draws the recipient and reasons with their souls making them responsible to believe.
C. Propitiation) The act of Christ which can reconcile mankind with the father. As Law–breakers, mankind has fallen from the intended glory of God. Instead they are separated from all fellowship with God. They are destined to rot in Hades for ages until the day judgment when they will receive penalty, which is the unhindered, wrath of God. Jesus of Nazareth was the only suitable Sacrifice, being the only begotten Son of the Father. This blood propitiation was made potentially for all mankind. Though only effective for those who believe.
D. Justification) is the process where God judges a saint to be righteous and having their sins atoned for, they are imputed Christ Righteousness and therefore declared righteous, while their sins were propitiated by Jesus upon the cross. This deed is accomplished through faith alone and not with works.
E. Adoption) this is the first-fruits of justification where we have the status of adopted children of God. We’re no longer slaves but children awaiting inheritance. We are also part of the vast family of God and no longer alone. Because we are adopted however, we still retain our creaturely nature and are not to be confused with deities.
F. Regeneration) the process by which a Christian is born-again. When a saint first places faith in Christ they are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Their spirits are given life. Their mind begins a process of being renewed. They proceed to bear the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patients, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control.
G. Conversion) is the natural by-product of regeneration. Where by a non-believer becomes a disciple and Christian. When they are born-again inwardly they must convert outwardly. The confession of sin, confession of faith, repentance, baptism and the joining with a local church mark this act. This marks the entrance in New Covenant Life and church life.
H. Sanctification) The process where we empowered by the Holy Spirit cultivate our new spiritual nature and conquer the old nature of our flesh. For the believer this is a life long on-going battle. Though we can move from immaturity to maturity in our execution of the Christian life, we are spiritually equal with one another being sinners saved by grace. The lifelong (yet unattainable) goal of sanctification is to obey God and abstain from sin.
I. Perseverance) 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, we thereby they grieve the spirit
J. Glorification) The final process of perfection for the saints. Saints at this point are conformed to the image and likeness of God. They are now clean and morally perfected. Their life is everlasting in the presence of God.

IX. Church
We believe that the Christian church is a congregation gathered together based upon the faith that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God”. This group was designed and formed by Jesus Christ himself. Members of Christ Church are also called his Body. They are identified as those who have confessed Christ and believe in Him and have surrendered to the New Covenant joining the church through Baptism. They preserve new Covenant membership through continued Congregation attendance and observance of the Lord’s Supper. Christ governs the church, primarily through democratic process within the membership of each autonomous congregation. The administration and teaching is headed by the Pastor/Bishop; this ministry of word is inclusive of other elders depending upon the Occasion. The New Testament limits the office of Pastor/elder to men, as do we. Deacons have an office of servitude to the community and congregation in terms of lay ministry. They are servants who by example lead the congregation in ministry and evangelism.
The New Testament implies that the Kingdom of Heaven is a Church. It also refers to the eschatological raptured church of the End-times. Though according to the Bible there is no such thing as the invisible New Testament church.

X. Baptism
We believe Christian Baptism to be the immersion of a born-again believer into and out from the water in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of 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. It is a testimony of their faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership. This is the only Christian ordinance of Baptism.

XI. The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His Second Coming. This is a time of self-examination encouraging the sanctification of the believer. Unbelievers and those in sin should restrain themselves for Fear of the Lord.

XII. The Lord’s Day
This is a day commemorating the first day of the week when the Lord arose from the grave. It is a Christian Institution for regular observance. It is not the Old Covenant Sabbath. (The Sabbath was on the 7th day of the week) Though Christians have the freedom to consecrate it as their Sabbath. If this be the case, then it would be proper to refrain from secular and unnecessary work, to meditate throughout the day on Godly things and to refrain from worldly chatter. The day includes the observance of the Lord’s supper, the collecting of tithes and/or offerings, and the reading and preaching of the word of God. The day is inclusive of other forms of Christian worship such as prayer, music (psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs), fasting, charity, evangelism, teaching, church business etc. Though these practices are not bound to the Lord’s Day.

XIII. The Great Commission
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and 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 upon a spiritual necessity of regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations.
The gospel means God’s Word and good news. It is concerning the Life of Christ and the New Covenant. It can be summarized by the Death, Burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. It is proper to emphasize major doctrines, such as the virgin birth, the baptism of Christ, the work of Christ his crucifixion and atonement as well as the resurrection and ascension to the right Hand of the Father. The gospel can be amplified by the preaching of the word. Through the preaching of the gospel, the ministry of the Holy Spirit can be enchanced to draw the lost to Christ. Prayer may also be proper for the sake of the spiritual war.
It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness under girded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ. The Great Commission can never be fulfilled without the fruits of the Spirit, discipleship, conversion and baptism.

XIV. Cooperation and separation
We understand ourselves as humbled sinners. The preaching of the gospel is an honor. There is no hierarchy in the proclamation of the gospel and as a result, we are never to hinder anyone else in this duty, but instead to encourage such activity. If others want to join with us in ministering unto God and thereby ministering unto those in need then they are our friends. We welcome all in the cause of God.
However, being the church the local body of Christ, we are to strive to be set apart and holy. While mission labor may allow for cooperation with various Christians, in order to preserve the gospel and doctrines of the New Testament, the local bodies must be separate from error and sanctified from open and blatant ungodly sin. The church must strive for and hopefully accomplish being a consistent regenerate body.

XV. Religious Liberty
A. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and he has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes 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.
B. While it is the divine right of the secular government to wage a “Just 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. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of peace.

XVI. The Christian and society
A. All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. The Christian church is the only everlasting institution whereby we may properly conduct the New Testament Gospel. However other means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful, though 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, 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.

XVII. The work of the Spirit
The Baptism of Christ marks the regulative advent of the Holy Spirit. Christ promised the work of the Holy Spirit. At the day of Pentecost, after the ascension, The Church was Baptized/immersed with the Holy Spirit as evidenced by the Tongues of Fire. The local church then receives power from the Holy Spirit to fulfill the great commission. Born-again Christians then independently receive His gifts. The church has retained all gifts that it was endowed with that Paul recognized. Though the offices of prophet and apostle have ceased due to the completion of the canon and we no longer have their unique sign gifts. The church has retained its gifts regardless of the classification of natural or supernatural.

XVIII. Satan and our war
We believe that there is a real spiritual person named Lucifer, Satan or the Devil. We believe He is the first being to act contrary to God’s moral Will. We believe that he is the being that tempted mankind (Adam and Eve) to bring sin into the earthly realm. We understand that Lucifer was a high ranking Angel. We understand that he has authority over a third of the angels, who are called demons. We also understand that Satan is the “god of this world” and thereby has influence over all power in worldly affairs (economic, political, religious etc.). We also understand that mankind, as a result of the fall is a child of Satan and under his dominion. We understand that Satan was cast out of Heaven, and will never have either dominion or Sovereignty. We know that Satan was also defeated through the cross of Christ and he loses authority over all that are saved by Jesus Christ. We are confident that Satan will be bound to the pits of Hades after Christ returns. We know that Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire at the Great White throne of Judgement.

XIX. End-times
We believe in the immanent and bodily return of Christ. We believe the specific date of his return is permanently removed from man’s record. We know that Jesus will return very quickly to rapture (snatch) all born again Christians into the Bride (end-times church) in the air. The will receive the bema/crowns judgement and then the 7 year tribulation period will begin. Jesus will then descend to the earth with the saints and angels to separate the sheep from the goats and begin to 1000-year reign of Christ. During the period of worldwide peace the devil will be restrained in the pit of Hades. At the end of which he will be briefly released for a finally battle. This will be followed by the obvious victory of Christ and the Great White throne judgement. Saints will be approved to live forever in the New Heavens and New Earth. All-non Christians will be resurrected to be Judge according to their works. Once properly indicted they will be thrown into a literal lake of Fire in which they will burn for all Eternity in what is known as the second death.

P.S. This is my personal confession of Faith for futur reference. It was accepted this year as my Chruches confession of Faith.
I originally entitled it the confession of "Saints Baptist Congregations of Christ" this would be the title of a theoretical movement if my ministry was expanded by God into a movement or denomenation. Saints emphasizing our philosophy about a regenerate church. Baptist referring to our heritage and theology. Congregations of Christ referring to us being the New Testament model Church.