Our Purpose: Our purpose as a church is to display God's glory. We do this by worshipping him, building one another up in him, and telling others about him.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
The God Head There is one eternally-existing God who is the creator and sustainer of all things. As spirit God is Holy and stands in judgment of all that is evil. In nature God is both personal and relational and has revealed Himself through creation, the scriptures, His Son Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and unchanging. Above all, God is love and desires personal relationship with His creation. This one God is made up of three persons which exist in perfect unity and equality, though each can be distinguished from the other and each person has his own unique role or function. Gen. 1-3; Psalm 95:1-7; Neh. 9:5-6; John 4:24; Isa. 6:3; Heb. 13:8; John 10:25-32; 16:5-16; Matt. 19:25, 26; Psalm 139; 1 Cor. 8:6; Matt. 28:19-20; John 14:23-31; Luke 3:21-23; Gal. 4:1-7; Heb. 1; Ex. 3:13-15
God, The Father God is more generally the father of all humanity because of His acts of creation. God loves all of humanity and has a desire for all people to be reconciled to Him by accepting the salvation He offers through His Son Jesus Christ. More specifically, God is the father of all those who become His children through faith in Jesus Christ. God the Father has also been revealed to us as the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 17:26; Eph. 4:6; Psalm 100:3; Rom. 8:12-17; Gal. 3:26; 2 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 4:6; John 1:12; 2 Cor. 1:3
God, The Son Before the creation of the world, the Son existed with the Father and is the Word of God who took flesh as the man Jesus in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Jesus existed both as an historical man and as a divine being who was one with God and was God. Jesus revealed the nature and will of the father in His role as the Word of God. Born of the virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ experienced human temptation and suffering, although He remained sinless. Jesus, the Son, chose to obey the Father’s will and He showed His perfect love for us as He gave up His life for us so that we might be freed from the penalty of sin and be reconciled to God, The Father. Jesus has shown us the power of the Father over death in that Christ was crucified, died and was raised to eternal life. As a result of His obedience to the Father’s will, Jesus is now exalted with the Father and is Lord of heaven and earth and makes intercession for us with the Father. John 1:1, 14; 1 Tim. 2:5; John 10:30; Phil. 2:7; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:1-3; Matt. 1:18, 22, 23; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:8-10; 1 Cor. 15:3-7; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 7:25
God, The Holy Spirit Like the Son, the Holy Spirit has been present with the Father from the beginning. The Holy Spirit was active in the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus was begotten by the Spirit, anointed with the Spirit at His baptism, led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted, filled by the Spirit during His ministry and enabled to perform miraculous acts through the power of the Spirit. The Spirit is to be our helper and our advocate with the Father. It is the Spirit who convicts us of sin in our life and who helps us discern and carry out the Father’s will in our lives. Gen. 1:1&2; Matt. 1:20; Luke 3:22; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1, 14&18; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-15; Rom. 8:26
Scriptures Although written by men, the Bible was inspired by God and through it God chooses to reveal those things about Himself which He would have us know. The Bible is our final authority in matters of faith and practice and we are to study its teachings under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in submission to Christ’s Lordship. 2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Col. 3:16
Humanity God created humanity in His own image and likeness and gave us dominion over and the responsibility to care for all else that He had created. God created us to be in relationship not only with Himself but with others and with nature. God created mankind with a free will. Unfortunately Adam and Eve chose to abuse that freedom and through their act of disobedience, sin entered creation and a great gulf was created between all people and God. Apart from the mediating work of Jesus Christ, we are unable to have fellowship with God. Gen: 1:26&27; Psalm 8:4-8; Psalm 139:1-18; Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Tim. 2:5&6
Sin Anything which separates us from God is sin. This includes unbelief, rebellion or falling short of God’s perfection. God does not force us to obey Him. Rather, He has given us free wills and the freedom to choose obedience or disobedience. Adam and Eve chose disobedience and this resulted in a blurring of God’s image in us, as the tendency to sin was then passed to all people down through the ages with death being the final end. God is a just God who must stand in judgment of all that is sinful and holds each one of us accountable for our own sin once we reach an age where we are able to recognize it. On our own we are unable to overcome our tendency to sin or to compensate for our sin. Our only hope lies in a personal relationship of faith in Jesus Christ. Isa. 1:2-4; Rom. 3:23; Gen. 3:1-7; Rom. 5:12; John 15:22; Rom. 1:20; Rom 7:15, 18; Eph. 2:14-18
Salvation Through the death of Christ on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, God has promised salvation for humanity. It is only God’s grace and great love for His creation which makes this possible. We can do nothing to earn our salvation nor do we deserve it, but we can receive this gift from God through repentance and faith in Christ. Through our repentance and by our faith we are able to be born again spiritually, becoming reconciled to God, redeemed by Christ’s blood, changed from being guilty to innocent and adopted into the family of God. We have the assurance of eternal life with God and all the spiritual resources needed to live our lives according to the Father’s purpose and in His will. John 3:1-21; Matt. 27:1-28; Rom. 10:4-13; Eph. 2:1-10; 2 Cor. 5:12-21; Rom. 5:6-11; Gal. 3:1-14; Rom. 6:15-23
The Church There exists both the universal church made up of all believers who claim Jesus as Saviour and Lord and the local church which is the body of believers in a given community who have gathered together to fulfill Christ’s mission in that place. The church is described to us in scripture as being the Body of Christ with Christ being the Head of the church and individual believers making up the various parts of the body. God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body just as he has desired and each are needed to make the body complete. All members of the Body of Christ have a ministry to each other. Through the Holy Spirit they are given gifts which will enable them to fulfill this ministry and be extensions of God’s grace to the unsaved world. God calls certain believers to be “apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” The church gathers together to worship God, to provide fellowship for and nurturing of its members and to spread the Gospel to those who do not know Christ. Eph. 1:22-23, 5:23; 1 Cor. 12:24-27; Col. 1:18; Acts 2:42-47; Gal. 6:2; Eph. 4:1-4, 11-16
The Christian Life As Christians, our mandate is to love God with all our being and love our neighbour as ourselves. As Christians, we are to strive to live our lives in obedience to Jesus Christ as we are enabled through the dwelling of the Holy Spirit within us. We are to find our direction and guidance for living the Christian life through maintaining an active prayer relationship with God and through reading and studying God’s Word. As we do this, setting our minds on the things of the spirit, our peace and joy will increase as we gain a new awareness of sin which needs to be confessed and we are challenged by God to follow Christ even more closely. Matt. 22:37-39; Rom. 8:5-6; 1 Pet. 1:13-15; Rom. 6:12-18
Last Things Scripture teaches us that Christ will return to earth in glory at a future time which will be decided by God and is known only to Him. When this happens, Christ will judge the living and the dead and they will receive their reward or punishment. Because of their faith in Jesus Christ, believers will be saved while unbelievers will be separated from God which will be their eternal punishment. Because we do not know when this will happen, we are to watch carefully for the Lord’s return and to live our lives in such a way that we are bringing glory to His name. We are not to become preoccupied with trying to figure out the details of His return, rather we are to continue with the ministry that He has given us. Scripture also tells us that before the Lord returns, there will be much wickedness upon the earth. As believers, we can have the assurance that God has prepared a place for us and when the new heaven and earth are revealed, we will experience them in the fullness of their glory. 2 Thess. 1:7; Acts 17:31; Matt. 25:36; 2 Tim. 4:1; Matt. 25:46; 2 Thess. 3:7, 10, 13; Rev. 21:1-5
Lordship of Christ Christ is the Head of the Church and we, as His followers, are the Body through which His Spirit functions. Christ’s authority is over all and we are to give unquestioning obedience to His authority. The very concept of Lordship would have Christ reign in the heart, mind and life of every believer. Jesus Himself said, “You call me teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am” and He claimed that “all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18; Phil. 2:9-11; John 13:13; Matt. 28:1
Authority of the Scriptures As Baptists, we believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God. Scripture is to be our final authority in matters of faith and practice, and we are to study its teachings and use them under the guidance of the Spirit as we strive to live our lives in the will of God. 2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Col. 3:16
The Priesthood of Believers The principle of the priesthood of believers means that every person may have direct access to God through the mediation of Christ without any assistance from the church, a sacrament or a priest. To every person “the way of prayer is open, the door of forgiveness ajar, and the gate of salvation wide swung.”* A second implication to the priesthood of believers is that we have each been given a priestly function. We have a ministry to one another and are to care for and watch over one another. Soul liberty is another principle that we hold as Baptists. Just as each person has direct access to God, each person is a free moral agent, made in the divine image and each person is responsible to God for his or her actions. Each person must be left free to believe or not to believe in God, to obey or disobey Him, to worship or not to worship Him according to the dictates of each one’s own conscience. Eph. 2:18; Rom. 5:1, 2; Matt. 6:6; *Basic Baptist Beliefs by Gordon C. Warren
Baptism As Baptists we hold to the practice of baptism by immersion. The symbolism of immersion is important for us. It preaches the Gospel in an acted parable. It symbolizes the death of Christ for our salvation and His resurrection for our justification. It symbolizes the believer’s profession to have died to sin and to rise up to walk in newness of life with Christ. The baptistery becomes, in symbol, a grave where the old life is buried. Mark 1:4-11; Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2; 12; Acts 8:38-39
Regenerate Church Membership The church is not an institution created by humans. Rather it is divine in nature with Christ as its founder and its head. Since the church is spiritual in nature, it follows that to be a member of the church one must have a spiritual relationship with its head, Christ. As Baptists, we believe that the criteria for church membership is that the individual seeking membership has experienced this saving grace of Christ. “Everywhere in the New Testament the very heart and core of vital religion is the personal relationship of each individual soul with God. On this fundamental principle the gathered church rests.* Eph. 1:22-23; John 3:16, 18; *Dr. A. Dakin, President of Bristol Baptist College
Separation of Church and State As Christians, we are instructed to obey the governing bodies unless what they are asking of us is contrary to the will of God as revealed in His Word. While we are to strive to meet our full obligation of true citizenship, we are to obey God ahead of the state. Due to the lordship of Christ, the church should never come under the authority of a civil governing body in the areas of Christian belief and conduct. Both Church and government “should not encroach upon the rights or obligations of the other.”* Separation of church and state does not mean separation from the state though. We are to influence each other for good but not control each other. Rom. 13:1-7; Acts 5:27-32; *(pamphlet) Christians Who Are Called Atlantic Baptists Congregational Government Because of our insistence upon the Lordship of Christ, the priesthood of all believers, the authority of scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we believe that each congregation is directly accountable to God in all areas of faith, practice and belief. We believe that each congregation is able to make decisions and conduct itself in a way that would find favor in God’s eyes. As United Baptists, we do believe that God has called us to be unified and to put aside any differences we may have and join together for the glory of God to work together to carry out His mission upon the earth.
Having been led, as we believe, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized, we do now solemnly and joyfully covenant with one another/renew our covenant with one another.
We promise, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk circumspectly in the world; be just in our dealings; faithful in our engagements; cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; participate in one another’s joy’s; hear one another’s burdens and sorrows; be slow to take offence and always ready for reconciliation.
We will not neglect the service of the Church, and we will observe secret prayer and the reading of the scriptures, earnestly seeking therein the help of the Holy Spirit.
We will strive for the advancement of this church and will sustain its worship, ordinances, and doctrine; that, according to our ability we will contribute regularly to its support and ministries, and that we will endeavour to lead to Christ our friends and acquaintances.
We will cooperate with other churches and Christian agencies in the fight against all organized and unorganized evils; practice temperance in all things; and be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Saviour.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place, we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
Humbly confessing our past sins, we pray for the grace and strength to keep these, our holy vows, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.