ABOUT THE BIBLE: INERRANT AND AUTHORITATIVE
The Holy Spirit directly influenced certain human authors to write in such a way that their writings are the very words of God (2 Peter 1:20-21). Inspiration applies to the totality of Scripture (plenary), and each individual word of Scripture (verbal), not just the thoughts these words communicate. The result of this divine-human process is a Bible that is inerrant in every respect, authoritative (binding upon what we believe and do; 2 Tim. 3:15), and sufficient for salvation and service (2 Tim. 3:17).
ABOUT GOD: HOLY TRINITY
God eternally exists in three persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—who are one in essence, yet distinct in being (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:1, 18; Acts 5:3-4) . God is holy, which means that He is in a category of his very own, unparalleled in splendor and incomparable in glory (Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 57:15).
ABOUT CREATION: OUT OF NOTHING, IN SIX LITERAL DAYS
In six twenty-four hour days (Genesis 1; Exodus 20:11), the triune God (1 Corinthians 8:6; Genesis 1:2; John 1:3) created a perfect universe. He did this by the sheer power of his spoken word (Genesis 1:1-2:3; 2 Corinthians 4:6) using no evolutionary prcoess or preexisting materials (Hebrews 11:3).
ABOUT HUMANS: CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, YET MARRED BY CHOICE TO SIN
As bearers of God's image (Genesis 1:26-27), humans are vested with inherent worth, and are distinctly elevated from the rest of creation (Psalm 139:14-16). Yet when Adam, as the representative head of humandkind, chose to disobey God, he plunged the human race into guilt (Romans 5:12, 14). Because of this, all people have inherited a natural bent to sin which corrupts every part of a person's being and makes him or her incapable of pleasing God (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 8:8). Since all humans are born sinners, we are condemned to eternal death--the unending separation from God, ultimately in the literal Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:34-46; Revelation 20:12-15).
ABOUT JESUS CHRIST: FULLY GOD AND FULLY MAN, PERFECT SACRIFICE FOR SIN
Jesus Christ is fully God (John 1:1, 14; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:5) and fully man (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25). Born to a virgin woman, Jesus united himself to human nature without inheriting a sin nature (Isaiah 7:14;Luke 1:35). In the ultimate expression of love for humans and obedience to God (1 John 4:10, 17; Philippians 2:8), Jesus allowed himself to be executed on a cross meant for the vilest criminals (John 19:17-18). In so doing, Christ was standing in the place of sinners, receiving in himself the full outpouring of God’s wrath against their sin (Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 Peter 2:24).
Yet, Jesus did not remain dead. Having been buried for three days (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), he rose from the dead, not merely spiritually, but in his physical body (John 20:24-28; Luke 24:39-43). By raising him from the dead, God the Father was validating the person and accomplishment of God the Son (Romans 1:3), and demonstrating that what he had done on the cross was effective for salvation (Romans 4:25). Having presented himself for forty days to certain people after his resurrection (I Corinthians 15:3-8; Acts 1:3), Jesus returned to heaven (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:6-11), and there he continues in his role as human mediator between God and humans (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:24-28).
ABOUT SALVATION: GIVEN FOR FREE, RECEIVED BY FAITH
Because we all are sinners, we need salvation that frees us from our sin against God and its consequences. Since God will not accept the efforts of humans to be reconciled to him (Ephesians 2:8-9), salvation is a forensic act of God whereby he declares a sinner to be righteous based on what Christ did on the cross (Romans 8:33-34; Luke 7:29). This forensic act, called justification, causes Christ’s righteousness to be credited to a believers’ account, so that in a real way, that believer is righteous. Neither the believer nor God need pretend it is so. Justification is a gift from God (Romans 6:23) received by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 3:6, 10-11). Although good works do not produce salvation, salvation produces good works (Ephesians 2:10). In fact, the genuineness of faith becomes apparent by the works that come from that faith (James 2:17, 26).
ABOUT SPIRITUAL GROWTH: BECOMING MORE LIKE JESUS
After a person has received salvation, God continues to work in a believer's life to bring him or her to increasingly greater likeness to Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18. This process, called sanctification, is a supernatural work, specifically of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 22-23, 25; Romans 8), and not a result of self-reform (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 13:20-21). It takes place over time (Philippians 1:6;1 Corinthians 1:18; Colossians 3:9-10) and its goal is likeness to Christ himself (Romans 8:29). Yet, the believer must work out this sanctification in his or her own life by seeking to abstain from sin and pursue righteousness (Philippians 2:12-13; Romans 12:1-2).
One key component of sanctification is personal separation from sin, including the sinful influences in the world (James 1:27). Believers are constantly faced with myriads of choices with regard to possessions, entertainment, and associations. These choices are complicated by the indwelling flesh that craves sinful gratification. Thus, Christians must be sure that their minds are able to make choices guided by Scripture, and not their own desires. There are areas in which Scripture does not directly speak to, and even these must be approached with consistently applied and practiced Scriptural principles.
ABOUT CHURCH PRACTICES: BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES
The following acrostic concisely summarizes the important Baptist distinctions:
We believe the Bible is the only authority for faith and practice.
Autonomy of the Local Church
We believe the local church, with God’s help, is capable of and responsible for handling its own affairs.
Priesthood of the Believer
We believe every believer is an individual priest before God.
We believe that the local church observes the two ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper.
Individual Soul Liberty
We believe every individual has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm.
Separation of Church and State
We believe the church and the government, though both are ordained by God, are separate institutions.
We believe that church leadership is designated by two offices: pastor and deacon
Saved Church Membership
We believe church membership is for believers only.