Statement of Faith
1. THE BIBLE
The Bible is the only rule of faith and practice for Grace Baptist Temple. We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible (sixty-six books), without error, infallible in its teaching and preserved by God’s sovereignty through centuries of copying. We therefore believe it remains completely trustworthy. We believe the 66 books which consist the canon of Scripture, to be the only complete as well as the final revelation of the will of God to man. It is inspired, infallible, inerrant, indestructible, and are the very words of God. This Church will accept and use only the authorized King James Bible for use in the English language. II Timothy 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:19-21; Psalm 12:6, 7; Proverbs 30:5, 6; Matthew 5:17, 18; Matthew 24:35; I Peter 1:23-25; Revelation 22:18, 19.
2. THE TRUE GOD
We believe in the existence of one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, immutable, intelligent Spirit, having a definite, distinctive personality; the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all worship.
We further believe that in the unity of the Godhead there is three persons-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit -equal in essence and in every divine perfection, and, executing distinct yet harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. John 10:30; I Corinthians 3:17; Mark 12:29; I John 5:7.
3. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Triune Godhead. He exists eternally with the Father, was virgin born without change in His Deity and as such is, both, God the Son, and, God, the Son. Christ lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial, substitutionary death for all men, making atonement through the shedding of His precious blood. He was buried, rose with the same body from the grave the third day and ascended to heaven to intercede for all believers at the right hand of the Father. He will appear in the clouds to gather to Himself all redeemed ones prior to the Tribulation, following which He will come in glory to establish His millennial reign of righteousness upon the earth. Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1, 14; Matthew 1:18-25; Philippians 2:6-8; Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:35; Luke 24:2-8, 51; I Thessalonians 4:13-14; Revelation 20:4; I Timothy 3:16.
4. THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe the person of the Holy Spirit to be coequal with the Father and with the Son and of the same nature. He is a Divine Person. The Holy Spirit who is the Third Person of the Trinity, and the Divine Agent in nature, revelation and redemption; that He convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment; that He regenerates, indwells, baptizes, seals and anoints all who become children of God through Christ; that He further empowers, guides, teaches, sanctifies and fills believers who daily surrender to Him. He came to this earth as the fulfilment of Christ’s promise. John 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; John 3:3-6; I Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 1:13-14.
We believe that man was created in the triune image and likeness of God by His direct act and apart from any process of evolution. By voluntary disobedience and transgression to the revealed will of God man fell from innocence and became sinful and subject to the power of the devil. This total depravity has been transmitted to all mankind so that man is not only a sinner by nature, but also by choice and practice, and therefore we are all guilty before God. Mankind is under just condemnation to eternal ruin without defense or excuse, and possesses within themselves no means of recovery or salvation. Genesis 1:26, 27; Genesis 3:6, 10-19; Romans 5:12, 18, 19; John 3:18,36; Romans 3:10-19; Ezekiel 18:19, 20; Romans 1: 18-32.
We believe that salvation is the act of God whereby He reconciles man unto Himself. Salvation of sinners is a free gift by the grace of God, not merited nor secured in any way or by any virtue or work of man. The single ground of salvation is faith in the finished work and vicarious atonement of the risen Son of God for our sins, by operation of the Holy Spirit. It is instantaneous and not a process. With the gift of eternal life the sinner is born again, made a new creature in Christ and is also made a partaker of the divine nature. There is no possibility of salvation or redemption after death. We also believe that Christ’s atonement is not a limited atonement but is available freely to any sinner who will repent and trust Christ for His salvation. Ephesians 2:8, 9; Galatians 3:26; John 3:1-18; Titus 3:4-7; Hebrews 9:11, 22, 27; Hebrews 10:27; I Peter 2:24; I Peter 3:18; Hebrews 7:25; I John 2:2; II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9; Romans 10:9-13; John 6:37; Isaiah 55:1-7; John 5:40; John 10: 28, 29; Romans 8: 35-39; I John 5:10-13.
6b. ETERNAL SECURITY
We believe all who are saved by grace are also kept by grace. We believe upon their death or the rapture, they will be in heaven for eternity. We believe that those who are converted are baptized into the Body of Christ upon salvation and no man or devil can get them out of Christ. In summary, as Christ said, “they shall never perish”.
7. THE CHURCH
We believe the church is a body of baptized believers associated by covenant of faith and fellowship of the Word of God, independent in character and autonomous in function, observing the ordinances of Christ, carrying out the Great Commission, governed by His laws, and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word. Its only Scriptural offices are those of pastors and deacons whose qualifications, claims, and duties, are defined in Timothy and Titus. The true mission of the church is as found in the Great Commission: to make individual disciples of the Lord Jesus; to build up the Church by baptizing converts into membership; to teach and instruct as commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ. The church, as denoted in Scripture, consists of a local assembly of baptized believers united in membership. Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 2:41, 42; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22, 23; Matthew 16:18,19; Hebrews 10:25; I Corinthians 12: 12-27; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Malachi 3:10; I Corinthians 16:1-3; Ephesians 4:11-16.
8. BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
Christ has committed to His Church two ordinances to be observed in accord with the Scriptural guidelines, till He comes again. The Lord’s Supper and Baptism; these are not sacraments and in no way impart grace to the partaker.
Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, signifying our death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ. Baptism does not wash away sin or play any part in the sinner’s salvation but is an obedient response to the Scriptures by the born again child of God. It is to be administered under authority of the Church and is a prerequisite to the privileges of Church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration in which the members of the Church by use of bread and the fruit of the vine (grape juice) remember the death of Christ and His imminent return. At no time before, during or after the partaking of the elements do they ever become or contain Christ’s literal body and blood. Matthew 28:19,20; Romans 6:3-5; Acts 8:36-39; I Peter 3:21; Acts 2:41, 42; Luke 22:19, 20; Matthew 26: 26-30; I Corinthians 11:23-28.
We believe believers should be separated from worldly or sinful practices unto a life of Christian influence and service. It is the duty of every believer to abstain from all appearance of evil and to avoid things whereby a brother or sister is made weak and caused to stumble. We are to give no offense in anything, but by love to serve one another.
10. SATAN AND FALLEN ANGEL
We believe that Satan was created holy, and enjoyed heavenly honours and that through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, Satan fell and drew after him a host of angels. We believe that he is now the prince and power of the air, the unholy god of this world. We hold him to be man’s great tempter, the enemy of God and Christ, the accuser of the saints, the author of all false religions, the chief power back of present-day apostasy, the lord of the antichrist and the author of all the powers of darkness – destined, however, to be finally defeated at the hands of God’s own Son, and to the justice of an eternal judgement in the lake of fire, the place called hell, a place prepared for the devil and his angels. Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:14-17; II Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:10; Matthew 25:41; I Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:10; II Corinthians 11:13-15.
11. HEAVEN AND HELL
We believe there is a radical and essential difference between the believing righteous and the unbelieving wicked. We believe only those who are justified by faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross will be taken to heaven to be with Him. We believe all those who continue in impenitence will be cast into the lake of fire to suffer for their sins for eternity.
12. FUTURE EVENTS
We believe the scriptures teach that at death the spirit and soul of the believer pass instantly into the presence of Christ and remain in conscious joy until the resurrection of the body when Christ comes for His own. The blessed hope of the believer is the personal, imminent, pre-tribulation, pre-millennial appearance of Christ to rapture (catch away) the believers and that He will come in like manner as He went into heaven, that is, bodily, personally and visibly; His righteous judgements will then be poured out on the unbelieving world during the tribulation (the 70th week of Daniel), the last half of which is the great tribulation. The climax of this fearful era will be the physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth in great glory to introduce His kingdom, Israel will be restored, Satan will be bound, and, the curse lifted from the physical creation. Following the millennium Satan will be cast into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet are, and the great white throne judgement will occur, at which time the bodies and souls of the wicked shall be reunited and cast into the lake of fire to burn forever and ever and will be separated from God forever in this awful place of literal and eternal fire and torment. I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-54; Luke 24:39; Acts 1:9, 11; John 14:3; Matthew 25:13; Matthew 24:42; Philippians 3:20,21; Acts 2:29, 30; Revelation 19:11- 20:15.
13. CIVIL GOVERNMENT AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honoured and obeyed; except only in the things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the prince of the kings of the earth. We believe that the church and state should be separate, the state owing the church protection and full freedom; no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be preferred above another by the state; the state should not impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. Romans 13:1-7; Matthew 22:21; Titus 3:1; I Peter 2:13, 14; Acts 5:29; I Timothy 2:1-3; Acts 4:18-20; Matthew 23:10; Romans 14:9-13; I Timothy 2:1, 2; James 4:12.
We believe in the Genesis account of creation, and that it is to be taken literally not allegorically or figuratively. We deny that there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, or between the days of creation. We hold these days of creation to be six literal 24 hour days at which time creation was complete. We do therefore also reject theistic evolution as an unscriptural compromise. We believe that God made man directly and in His own image and that He also directly made all animal and vegetable life. All reproduce “after its kind” as prescribed by God’s established law. Genesis 1; Exodus 20:11; Acts 4:24; Colossians 1:16, 17; Hebrews 11:3; John 1:1-3; Jeremiah 10:12; Nehemiah 9:6; Genesis 2:7, 21-23; Psalm 102:25, 26.
15. THE FAMILY AND MARRIAGE
We believe the family was ordained of God, that marriage is a lifelong, exclusive covenant between one man and one woman. Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-9; Romans 7:1-3.
Because all men everywhere without Christ are lost and bound for the eternal punishment, and because men cannot believe in Him of whom they have not heard, we believe that we are debtors to all men and have the responsibility of giving them the Gospel. Jesus left us the command that we should all be witnesses by life and word to tell all lost men about Christ, and we must support by prayer and financial aid those who go out under sound Baptistic missionary agencies or local churches to represent us in other parts of the world (Rom. 1:18-20; 10:14; Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15).