Member Affirmation of Faith
Updated October 2006
I. THE WORD OF GOD
We believe that the Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is the infallible Word of God, verbally inspired by God, and is without error in the original manuscripts. We believe that the Bible is the supreme and final authority in testing all claims about what is true and what is right, and also in testing all matters of saving knowledge, faith and Christian conduct. In matters not addressed by the Bible, what is true and right is to be assessed by criteria consistent with the teaching of Scripture. Psalm 19:7; Mark 13:31; John 8:31, 32; John 20:31; Acts 20:32; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21
II. GOD THE FATHER
We believe in God the Father, an infinite Personal Spirit, Who concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of humanity, hears and answers prayer, and Who saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. To Him alone all creatures owe the highest love, reverence, trust, and obedience. We believe that there is one living and true God, the Maker, Preserver, and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself all perfections, being infinite in them all. Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 145:3; Matthew 23:9; Luke 10:21, 22; John 1:3; 3:16; 6:27; Romans 1:7; 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 10:31; Colossians 1:16-17; 1 Timothy 1:1, 2, 17; 2:5, 6; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 1:6
III. JESUS CHRIST
We believe in Jesus Christ, the preexistent only begotten Son of God, being Himself fully God. We believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary who remained a virgin until after the birth of Christ. We believe in His sinless life, miracles, and teachings; His substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people, and personal visible return to earth. We believe that Jesus Christ is the divinely appointed and only Mediator between God and man; the Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church; and the Sovereign of all creation. Isaiah 53:10-12; Matthew 1:18-25; 20:28; Luke 1:26-38; John 1:1, 14; 20:28, 30-31; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 5:6-8; 6:9, 10; 8:34; 9:5; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 1:15; 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1:1-3; 3:16; 7:25; 9:28; I Peter 2:21-23.
IV. THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in God the Holy Spirit, eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. We believe the Holy Spirit is a Person, Who instead of glorifying Himself, glorifies the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Apart from the gracious working of the Holy Spirit no one could come to faith in Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, that He faithfully preserves all saints until the end for the glory of God alone, and that He perpetually intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Adoption, the Seal of our Salvation, and the Pledge of our inheritance in Christ. John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26-27; John 16:9-14; Romans 8:9, 14-17; 26-27; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Galatians 5:22-26; Ephesians 1:13-14.
V. THE TRINITY
We believe that God eternally exists in three Persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Though He is Triune, we believe God is without division of nature, essence, or being; and that each Person of the Godhead possesses, and is equal in, every divine perfection. We believe the Persons of the Triune God execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of all things, and that God alone, in His Triune Person, possesses exhaustive knowledge and so purposes all things according to the counsel of His own will. Genesis 1:1,26; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; John 1:1,3; 4:24; Romans 1:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:5-6.
We believe that God, from eternity, ordains all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events, yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of moral beings. Isaiah 46:9-11; Psalm 115:3; Proverbs 16:33; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3; James 1:13-15.
VII. THE FALL OF HUMANITY
We believe that man was created by God in His own image and for His glory, but that man sinned and fell short of the glory of God, thus incurring physical, spiritual, and eternal death, which is eternal separation from the favor of God in an everlasting hell. Consequently, we believe that all human beings are born with a sinful nature opposed to God and His law, and are sinners by choice, therefore being under God’s just condemnation. Genesis 1:26-27; 2:17; 3:1-7, 19; 6:5, 12; 8:21; Jeremiah 17:9; John 5:24; Romans 3:9-20; 5:12-19; 6:21, 23; 7:13; 8:6-7; 9:22; Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; James 1:14-15; 1 John 3:14; Revelation 21:8.
We believe that regeneration is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit Who gives life to those dead in trespasses and sins, awakening their minds, and renewing their whole nature, so that they practice repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. This divine work produces the desire to love and practice holiness according to the word of God. We believe regeneration is the work of God’s free and special grace alone, yielding in the regenerate an instantaneous and eternal paramount allegiance to Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we believe that the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration is not the result of water baptism or any outward ritual; but that He indwells every person who trusts in Christ, empowering every Christian to make progress in overcoming sin and in becoming more like Jesus Christ in thought, deed, and love for God. We believe that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to those who have been converted for the purpose of building up the body of Christ. Ezekiel 36:25-26; John 1:13; 3:3, 5-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 3:5; 1 John 5:1.
IX. REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe repentance and faith are gifts from God, which follow upon God’s gracious drawing of sinners through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Repentance occurs when a person being led by the Holy Spirit is made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, detests and forsakes it, humbling himself with godly sorrow and self-abhorrence and endeavors by the strength which God supplies to walk before Him so as to please Him in all things. Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ, and a clinging to and trusting Christ alone for justification, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. Saving faith is necessarily accompanied by all other saving graces, leading to a life of holiness, the outcome of which is eternal life. Proverbs 28:13; Matthew 3:8-10; Mark 1:15; John 3:16, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 44, 65; Acts 2:37-38; 11:18; 13:38-39; 17:30; 20:21; Romans 2:4-5; 3:21-28; 4:1-5, 17-25; 6:22; 8:1; 10:3-4, 14, 17; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 7:10-11; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 1:29; 3:9; Hebrews 11:6; James 2:14-26.
We believe that only those who trust Jesus Christ as their Savior, by virtue of His atoning death on the cross, and submit to Him as Lord, embracing Him as Supreme Treasure, are justified, delivered from condemnation, and receive eternal life. We believe this Spirit-wrought salvation leads to a growth in grace through persevering, Holy Spirit empowered resolve to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive with Christ. Psalm 51:7; Matthew 13:44; John 1:13; 3:14, 16; 5:24, 30; 8:12; 17:3; Romans 3:21-26; 6:11; 8:1; I Corinthians 15:1-2; II Corinthians 5:17, 19; Philippians 3:7-13; Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:12; 3:1-3; Hebrews 3:12-14; 10:39; I John 1:9.
XI. CHRISTIAN CONDUCT
We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God and the well being of others—particularly by communicating to all peoples the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A Christian’s conduct should be blameless before the world, he should be a faithful steward of his possessions, and he should seek through the strength which God supplies, to realize for himself and others the full stature of maturity in Christ, pressing after a heavenly life in joyful obedience to all Christ’s commands. Ezekiel 36:27; Matthew 5:16, 31-32; 19:1-9; 28:20; John 14:15, 23-24; Romans 1:26-27; 6:1-7:6; 8:3-4, 12-14; 12:1-3; 1 Corinthians 4:2; 6:9-10, 18; 10:31; 2 Corinthians 9:6-9; 12:21; Galatians 5:13-24; 6:7-10; Ephesians 5:3-6; Hebrews 12:1-2; 13:5; Colossians 1:9-10; 3:17; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 1 Peter 2:12; 2 Peter 1:3-11; 1 John 2:3-6; 3:16-18; Revelation 21:8.
XII. THE CHURCH
We believe in one holy universal Church made up of all who trust Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord, and Supreme Treasure. We believe that God calls believers to unite in local churches as a means of helping each other preeminently value Christ by praising Him together, growing in our love and knowledge of Him, stirring each other up to love and good deeds, and practicing all other Christian graces all for the glory of God and the joy of the Christian. Matthew 28:18-20; John 10:16; Acts 1:8; 2:42; 15:36, 41; 16:5; Romans 6:3-4; I Corinthians 11:23-26; 16:1; Galatians 1:1-3; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 4:11-16; 5:19-21, 23; Colossians 1:18; 3:16; Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-25; Revelation 1:4-11.
XIII. THE ORDINANCES
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to His churches: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that Christian baptism occurs by immersion in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as a sign of a person’s fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ and of remission of sins. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is in no sense a sacrifice, but was instituted by Christ to commemorate His death, to stimulate faithful obedience to all Christ’s commands, and to be a pledge and renewal of their communion with Him and with one another. We believe that these two ordinances should be administered and observed until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 26:26-29; 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:23-31; 12:13.
XIV. THE LAST THINGS
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the consummation of His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body and the final judgment of all people leading to the eternal joy of the righteous in the Lord’s presence and the endless suffering of the wicked in hell. Matthew 16:27; 25:31-46; Mark 14:62; John 5:28-29; 14:3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 2:6-11; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:12-28; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13; Revelation 20:4-6,11-15.
XV. CHURCH COOPERATION
We believe that local churches can best promote the cause of Jesus Christ by cooperating with one another in an organized fashion. Such cooperation, whether a local association, state convention, or a denomination, exists and functions by the will of the churches, and is a voluntary cooperation that may be terminated at any time. This being understood, Grace Church is affiliated with Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN; Treasuring Christ Together churches; the Mid-South Baptist Association; the Tennessee Baptist State Convention; and the Southern Baptist Convention. This church may likewise cooperate with interdenominational or nondenominational fellowships on a voluntary independent basis. Acts 15:36, 41; 16:5; I Corinthians 16:1; Galatians 1:1-3; Revelation 1:4, 10-11.