BAPTIST STATE CONVENTION
Southern as applied to Baptists describes a religious denomination, not a geographical
area. At first, Southern Baptists occupied
the southern region of the United States; they now live in all fifty states. With
mission work all over the world, they are truly a global people.
Baptists make up the largest non-Catholic denomination in America. They claim
over 41,000 churches and more than 15,000,000 members. Church members differ in
cultural, economic and educational backgrounds. And they do not always agree on
some biblical or doctrinal
matters. Still, Southern Baptists hold in common certain beliefs that shape their
(See Baptist Faith and Message)
The Baptist Heritage
as a denomination, began in May 1845, in Augusta, Georgia. Yet their faith roots
deeply in English and early American religious life.
In 1609, John Smyth
formed the first Baptist church in Holland. Two years later, Thomas Helwys organized
the first English Baptist church. In 1639, Roger Williams founded the first Baptist
church in America. This church, in Providence, Rhode Island, still exists.
The Baptist zeal for evangelism led to a strong commitment to missions. In
the early 1790's, an English cobbler named William Carey became a pioneer Baptist
missionary. Luther Rice and Adoniram Judson set in motion the American Baptist
missions movement in the early 1800's.
Baptist in the United States
formed the Triennial Convention in 1814 to support foreign missions. Delegates
from missionary societies and other Baptist bodies met every three years for this
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Southern Baptist Development
As Baptists migrated into the South, they brought their doctrines and styles of
worship. In the late seventeenth century, one group settled in Charleston, South
Carolina. In the mid-1700's another group came to Sandy Creek, North Carolina.
Charleston group stressed an educated ministry and structured worship. The Sandy
Creek Baptists emphasized evangelism, revival and freedom to express feelings
in worship. All these elements can be found among Southern Baptists today. |
Baptists split in May 1845. Northern Baptist leaders resisted the appointment
of slaveholders as missionaries. Baptist leaders of the South disagreed and resented
what they called unfair control over their life. The Southern Baptist Convention
(SBC) grew out of this rift.
But the young convention still showed a
commitment to missions and evangelism. Its constitution called for cooperation
from the churches to spread the gospel. This concern remains at the heart of the
denomination. And the Home and Foreign Mission Boards, formed in 1845, still send
Throughout their history, Southern Baptists have
carried out diverse ministries. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, founded
in 1859, and five other seminaries train ministers. Since 1891, the Sunday School
Board (now called the Lifeway Christian Resources) has produced materials for
Bible study and spiritual development.
Southern Baptist Doctrines
major doctrines are concerned, Southern Baptists share many of the great essentials
of the Christian faith with other Christian bodies. However, some beliefs are
especially important to them:
| 1. Southern
Baptists believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. For them it is authoritative,
reliable and never misleading. It is the guide for faith and practice. In the
Scriptures, God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and has declared His purpose
for all creation.|
2. Each person is able to come to God for himself or herself. There is no
need for a third party to tell a person how to pray, how to interpret the Scriptures,
or how to vote in church. All believers are ministers or servants of God. This
is called the priesthood of believers.
3. Southern Baptists insist that for one to be baptized into a church's fellowship,
he or she must claim Jesus as Savior and Lord of life. Thus, only believers may
be baptized. Baptists practice baptism by immersion. They hold that baptism is
a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It also symbolizes the
fact that the new believer has died to his or her old life and has been raised
to live a new life with Christ.
4. Southern Baptists believe in the right of each church to manage its affairs
with no central authority except that of Christ Himself. Freedom does not rule
out cooperation. The Southern Baptist Convention enables churches to pool and
distribute their money for supporting ministries at home and around the world.
This plan is called the Cooperative Program. Churches also support Southern Baptist
causes through special offerings, designated gifts and other channels.
Baptists affirm that God has assigned specific duties to the state and to the
church. The 1963 Baptist Faith and Message states: "Church and state should be
separate." Baptists object to government interfering with the church.
Beliefs Revised Preamble
the Baptist Faith and Message Study Committee
to the Southern Baptist Convention
- June 14, 2000
The 1999 session of the Southern Baptist
Convention, meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, adopted the following motion addressed
to the President of the Convention:
|"I move that
in your capacity as Southern Baptist Convention chairman, you appoint a blue ribbon
committee to review the Baptist Faith and Message statement with the responsibility
to report and bring any recommendations to this meeting next June in Orlando."
Paige Patterson appointed the committee as follows: Max Barnett (OK), Steve Gaines
(AL), Susie Hawkins (TX), Rudy A. Hernandez (TX), Charles S. Kelley, Jr. (LA),
Heather King (IN), Richard D. Land (TN), Fred Luter (LA), R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
(KY), T. C. Pinckney (VA), Nelson Price (GA), Adrian Rogers (TN), Roger Spradlin
(CA), Simon Tsoi (AZ), Jerry Vines (FL). Adrian Rogers (TN) was appointed chairman.
Your committee thus constituted begs leave to present its report as follows:
Baptists are a people of deep beliefs and cherished doctrines. Throughout
our history we have been a confessional people, adopting statements of faith as
a witness to our beliefs and a pledge of our faithfulness to the doctrines revealed
in Holy Scripture.
Our confessions of faith are rooted in historical
precedent, as the church in every age has been called upon to define and defend
its beliefs. Each generation of Christians bears the responsibility of guarding
the treasury of truth that has been entrusted to us [II Timothy 1:14]. Facing
a new century, Southern Baptists must meet the demands and duties of the present
challenges to faith appear in every age. A pervasive anti-supernaturalism in the
culture was answered by Southern Baptists in 1925, when the Baptist Faith and
Message was first adopted by this Convention. |
1963, Southern Baptists responded to assaults upon the authority and truthfulness
of the Bible by adopting revisions to the Baptist Faith and Message. The Convention
added an article on "The Family" in 1998, thus answering cultural confusion with
the clear teachings of Scripture. Now, faced with a culture hostile to the very
notion of truth, this generation of Baptists must claim anew the eternal truths
of the Christian faith. |
committee respects and celebrates the heritage of the Baptist Faith and Message,
and affirms the decision of the Convention in 1925 to adopt the New Hampshire
Confession of Faith, "revised at certain points and with some additional articles
growing out of certain needs . . . " We also respect the important contributions
of the 1925 and 1963 editions of the Baptist Faith and Message.
the 1963 committee, we have been guided in our work by the 1925 "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 a 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 toward God and faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour
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.
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.
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.
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.
Baptists cherish and defend religious liberty, and deny the right of any secular
or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of
churches. We honor the principles of soul competency and the priesthood of believers,
affirming together both our liberty in Christ and our accountability to each other
under the Word of God.
churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as
a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability. We are
not embarrassed to state before the world that these are doctrines we hold precious
and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice. |
As a committee, we have been charged to address the "certain needs" of our own
generation. In an age increasingly hostile to Christian truth, our challenge is
to express the truth as revealed in Scripture, and to bear witness to Jesus Christ,
who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
The 1963 committee rightly
sought to identify and affirm "certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe,
cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified." Our living
faith is established upon eternal truths. "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."
It is the purpose of this statement of faith
and message to set forth certain teachings which we believe.
The Baptist Faith and Message Statement
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of 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, and the supreme standard
by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All
Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Ex. 24:4; Deut. 4:1-2; 17:19; Josh. 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140;
Isa. 34:16; 40:8; Jer. 15:16; 36; Matt. 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46;
John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Rom. 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Tim. 3:15-17;
Heb. 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
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.
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 knowing, 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.
Gen. 1:1; 2:7; Ex. 3:14;
6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Lev. 22:2; Deut. 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chron. 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3;
Isa. 43:3,15; 64:8; Jer. 10:10; 17:13; Matt. 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11;
John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Rom. 8:14-15; 1 Cor. 8:6; Gal. 4:6;
Eph. 4:6; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; Heb. 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.
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 human nature with
its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet
without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary
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, fully God,
fully man, 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.
Gen. 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isa. 7:14; 53; Matt. 1:18-23; 3:17;
8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16, 27; 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; 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; Rom. 1:3-4; 3:23-26;
5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; 8:9;
Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thess.
4:14-18; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Heb. 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 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;
Rev. 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine.
He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables
men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness,
and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the
moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. 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 guarantee that God will
bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and
empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Gen. 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isa. 61:1-3; Joel
2:28-32; Matt. 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; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Rom. 8:9-11,14-16,26-27;
1 Cor. 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thess.
5:19; 1 Tim. 3:16; 4:1; 2 Tim. 1:14; 3:16; Heb. 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13;
5:6-7; Rev. 1:10; 22:17.
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 and. Therefore,
as soon as they are capable of moral action, they 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.
Gen. 1:26-30; 2:5, 7, 18-22;
3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isa. 6:5; Jer. 17:5; Matt. 16:26; Acts
17:26-31; Rom. 1:19-32; 3:10-18, 23; 5:6, 12, 19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18, 29; 1
Cor. 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Eph. 2:1-22; Col. 1:21-22; 3:9-11.
Salvation involves the redemption of
the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and
Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In
its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification,
and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ
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. Faith is the acceptance
of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.|
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
unto 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 should continue throughout the regenerate person's life. |
Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding
state of the redeemed. |
3:15; Ex. 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matt. 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; Rom. 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 Cor. 1:18, 30; 6:19-20;
15:10; 2 Cor. 5:17-20; Gal. 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16;
Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Tim. 1:12; Titus 2:11-14;
Heb. 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; Rev. 3:20; 21:1-22:5.|
V. God's Purpose of 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.
Gen. 12:1-3; Ex. 19:5-8; 1 Sam. 8:4-7, 19-22; Isa. 5:1-7; Jer. 31:31ff.; Matt.
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; Rom. 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7, 26-36; 1 Cor. 1:1-2; 15:24-28;
Eph. 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Col. 1:12-14; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:12; 2:10,19;
Heb. 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.
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous
local congregation 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 congregation
operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a
congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its
scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted
for service in the church, the office of 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.
Matt. 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; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor.
1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Eph. 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32;
Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:18; 1 Tim. 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Heb. 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4;
Rev. 2-3; 21:2-3.
Related Story Return
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 believer's
faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, 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 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 Lord's 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.
Matt. 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; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 10:16,21;
11:23-29; Col. 2:12.
VIII. The Lord's Day
The first day of
the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance.
It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises
of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the
Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship
of Jesus Christ.
Ex. 20:8-11; Matt. 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7;
Luke 24:1-3, 33-36; John 4:21-24, 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Rom. 14:5-10; I Cor.
16:1-2; Col. 2:16, 3:16; Rev. 1:10.
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 God's will be done on earth. The full
consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this
Gen. 1:1; Isa. 9:6-7; Jer. 23:5-6; Matt. 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; 17:20-21;
23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Rom. 5:17; 8:19; 1 Cor. 15:24-28;
Col. 1:13; Heb. 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Rev. 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15;
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.
Isa. 2:4; 11:9; Matt. 16:27; 18:8-9;
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;
17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58;
2 Cor. 5:10; Phil. 3:20-21; Col. 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thess.
1:7ff.; 2; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter
3:7ff.; 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 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. 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.
Gen. 12:1-3; Ex. 19:5-6; Isa. 6:1-8; Matt.
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; Rom. 10:13-15; Eph. 3:1-11; 1 Thess. 1:8; 2 Tim. 4:5; Heb. 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2;
1 Peter 2:4-10; Rev. 22:17.
Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence.
In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning
is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human
faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, 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 education is necessary to a complete spiritual
program for Christ's people.
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.|
4:1,5,9, 14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Neh. 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11;
Prov. 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Eccl. 7:19; Matt. 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20;
Luke 2:40; 1 Cor. 1:18-31; Eph. 4:11-16; Phil. 4:8; Col. 2:3,8-9; 1 Tim. 1:3-7;
2 Tim. 2:15; 3:14-17; Heb. 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.|
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 Redeemer's cause on earth.
Gen. 14:20; Lev.
27:30-32; Deut. 8:18; Mal. 3:8-12; Matt. 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29;
Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Rom. 6:6-22;
12:1-2; 1 Cor. 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8-9; 12:15; Phil. 4:10-19; 1
Christ's 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 Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense
is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups
of Christ's 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.
Ex. 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra
1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Neh. 4; 8:1-5; Matt. 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20;
Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Cor.
1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 1:6-10; Eph. 4:1-16; Phil. 1:15-18.
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
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, 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.
Ex. 20:3-17; Lev. 6:2-5; Deut. 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zech. 8:16;
Matt. 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; Rom. 12-14; 1 Cor. 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24;
10:23-11:1; Gal. 3:26-28; Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:12-17; 1 Thess. 3:12; Philemon; James
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. Christian people throughout
the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.
Matt. 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Rom. 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Heb.
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.
1:27; 2:7; Matt. 6:6-7, 24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Rom. 6:1-2;
13:1-7; Gal. 5:1,13; Phil. 3:20; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17;
XVIII. The Family
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.
1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Josh. 24:15; 1 Sam. 1:26-28;
Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Prov. 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; Eccl. 4:9-12;
9:9; Mal. 2:14-16; Matt. 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Rom. 1:18-32;
1 Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Col. 3:18-21; 1 Tim. 5:8,14; 2 Tim. 1:3-5;
Titus 2:3-5; Heb. 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.
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