Table of Contents
- Baptist Faith & Message
- Doctrinal Addendum
- Friendly Documents
- Philosophy of Ministry
- Core Social Values
When a person thinks about joining a church, the most important thing to know is the core beliefs within the church in question. Many times people pick a church because of location or programs which the church offers. But the most important issue in choosing a church is,
“What does the church teach to be true? What does the church teach about the person of God? What does the church teach about the Scriptures (The Bible)? What does the church teach about salvation and the Christian life? Is this church in line with orthodox Christian teaching and confession?”
These are the most important questions to contemplate when choosing a church. ln light of this, we have compiled a list of basic core beliefs which our church holds to be true. These are beliefs which come from publications of the Southern Baptist Convention. Some of these core beliefs are not unique to Baptists. Southern Baptists agree with much of the great ecumenical creeds such as The Apostle’s Creed, The Nicene Creed, and The Chalcedonian Creed. Southern Baptists historically are in line with the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Our earliest doctrinal confessions were patterned after the confessions of the English Reformation. Our earliest confessions include the 1644 and the 1689 Confessions which were published by Baptists in England. Other core beliefs listed below are uniquely Baptistic. We have not listed all the doctrinal beliefs which we have published over the years; this would be too wordy and daunting. Instead, we have chosen those beliefs which are essential to our faith and practice. We hope you will prayerfully think about joining the First Baptist Church of Fenton as you think of joining a church. If you have not trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior, we would love to share with you how you can be made right with God through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning work.
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is 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.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44- 46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15- 17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
There 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.
Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 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; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 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.
Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 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; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 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; Revelation 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 the 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.
Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 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; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 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. 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.
Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 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 Savior, 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 as Lord.
- 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 Savior.
- 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.
Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 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; Romans 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 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 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; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.
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.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 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; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 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.
Matthew 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; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.
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.
Matthew 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; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.
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.
Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 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; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 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 age.
Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 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; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.
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.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 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; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20- 21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
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.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 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; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 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.
In 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.
Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 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.
Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 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; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8- 9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
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.
Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 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 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.
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 righteousness among 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.
Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 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; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.
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.
Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.
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.
Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.
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.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 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; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.
Revised September 2014
- Purpose and Format of Doctrinal Addendum – The purpose of the Doctrinal Addendum is to expand and express our common understanding of biblical truth pertaining to the core doctrines of the Christian faith. Although there are other important doctrines to which we append our convictions, we have limited the doctrinal content to five, because we believe these five doctrinal categories undergird faithfully all other doctrinal topics. The format of the Doctrinal Addendum includes a statement of belief, affirmations inferred in the statement, and denials for clarification concerning the statement.
- Use of Doctrinal Addendum – We hope and pray that the Doctrinal Addendum, along with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, will serve as a theological foundation for all aspects of church life, teaching, preaching, and ministry at the First Baptist Church of Fenton.
- Friendly Document Resources – At the end of the Doctrinal Addendum, we have added some friendly documents from which our doctrinal statements may be drawn, and to which we would point others for further study. The inclusion of the Friendly Document Resources does not imply or necessitate our agreement with every aspect of said documents.
- Note on the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit: The person and the work of the Holy Spirit are included in the doctrines of God, Salvation, and the Bible.
- Statement – We confess that the only true and living God is the Lord God, and He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures to be the Triune God in oneness, meaning that there are three persons in the one Godhead. These three persons are: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Yet, they each possess the same essence, nature, quality, and characteristics of the Godhead. At the same time, they also possess distinctive personhood and roles. Each person of the Godhead in perfect union created the universe, and they achieved, and perfected redemption for sinners and the restoration of the fallen created order. The Father wills sinners unto salvation, the Son in human flesh achieves the saving work to save sinners, and the Holy Spirit applies to the soul and life of the believer through regeneration and sanctification the saving work of the Son to believing sinners, fulfilling the will of God.
God is holy, transcendent, sovereign, and good in all that He is and does. Truth and goodness are defined and characterized by God’s nature and being. He is eternally God in all His holy attributes, and there is no other God now or forever, except the Lord God who revealed Himself in Holy Scripture.
- Affirmations –
- We affirm that there is only one living and true God.
- We affirm that God has always been, is, and evermore will be God.
- We affirm that God is eternally in Triune form.
- We affirm that God is the Creator of the entire universe.
- We affirm that God is sovereign over all He has created.
- We affirm that God is authoritative over all things and the entire human race; all is accountable to Him and will give an account to Him.
- We affirm that God is the measure of all truth and goodness.
- Denials –
- We deny that God is polytheistic (in the form of many gods).
- We deny that God is only one person revealed in different modes (Modalism) or manifestations.
- We deny that God is insufficient, uninformed, or limited in any way.
- We deny that God can act in any way, except in what is commensurate with His nature and being.
- Statement – We confess that the eternal Son of God, in obedience to the heavenly Father, took upon Himself human flesh and became a man. In His human flesh, He achieved perfect righteousness under God’s Law, dying a sacrificial, substitutionary death upon the cross for the atonement of the sins of sinners for whom He was dying. These are considered before God to be righteous on the basis of Jesus Christ’s achieved atonement for them on the cross. Jesus Christ rose from the dead, conquering death, sin, and evil. As such, Jesus Christ is now the embodiment and the source of all life, real and eternal. Jesus Christ ascended to heaven to serve savingly as the mediator for the sinners for whom He died. Jesus Christ will return victoriously and gloriously in human history at the end of time to complete the salvation of saved sinners in their human experience, and He will consummate the age, fulfilling God’s perfect will for history and the restoration of the fallen created order. Jesus Christ, thus, is the one and only Savior, Lord, and Messiah for all time, saving those who are chosen by God, called by the Spirit, and who exercise faith in Jesus Christ for their personal salvation.
- Affirmations –
- We affirm that the only begotten Son of God came in human flesh to earth as Jesus Christ; thus, we affirm that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in human flesh.
- We affirm that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life in His human flesh.
- We affirm that as the sinless Son of God, His righteousness is counted for the justification before God of all sinners who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
- We affirm that all the sins for all Christians (those who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord) were paid for in full by the suffering and atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
- We affirm that all who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are fully forgiven by God of their sin, and they are considered to be perfectly righteous before God through the righteousness of Jesus Christ applied on their behalf.
- We affirm that Jesus Christ rose physically and victoriously from the grave, and He is Lord of all.
- We affirm that the real, historical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead validated His atoning, saving work on the cross.
- We affirm that Jesus Christ, the risen Lord, ascended to heaven to continue His saving work as Mediator for those whom He saved on the cross. In His mediation, Jesus Christ eternally presents His atoning merits to God the Father on behalf of those for whom He died.
- We affirm that Jesus Christ is the sovereign Lord of all.
- We affirm that Jesus Christ will physically, victoriously, and consummately return to the earth in human history to fulfill God’s will in salvation and the restoration of the created order.
- Denials –
- We deny that there are other ways to be saved, except to be saved in and through Jesus Christ.
- We deny that there are other ways to God, except through Jesus Christ and His saving work.
- We deny that Jesus Christ was not God.
- We deny that Jesus Christ was not human.
- We deny that sinners add righteousness to what Jesus Christ provides.
- We deny that the cross is insufficient to save sinners.
- We deny that sinners must add anything to the saving work of Jesus Christ.
- We deny that Jesus Christ only rose spiritually from the grave.
- We deny that Jesus Christ is not coming back.
- We deny that there is no hope for human history.
- We deny that the world will be saved through any human effort, individual or collective.
- Statement – We confess that all people who ever lived, do live, or will live throughout the world and throughout time are created by God’s will and power. Each person, being created by God, possesses a capacity to know, love, and enjoy God. This was God’s will for the human race, and it is the makeup of all humans everywhere, regardless of distinction or race. However, this capacity to know, love, and enjoy God was deadened by the entrance of sin into the human race when Adam and Eve sinned. In Adam and Eve’s sin, the human race fell into sin, creating and generating throughout succeeding generations of humans a nature and will to sin. Thus, all humans are sinners through the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. The resultant sin nature in all humans pervades all aspects and levels of human life and experience. Human mind, will, and emotion are sinfully twisted because of this sin nature. The sin nature in every human is such that each sinner is Totally Depraved by the sin that possesses him or her. This does not mean that every sinner is as sinful in act and deed as they might be, but it does mean that there is absolutely no inherent rightness or righteousness in any aspect of human life and experience prior to salvation in Jesus Christ. Further, the sin nature means that the sinner is incapable of doing anything righteous before God until the Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner unto salvation. All sinners need to be saved by God through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and only those who trust savingly in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will be saved. Those who trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will live eternally with God in transcendent love, beauty, joy, and holiness in heaven. Those sinners who do not trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will spend eternity in hell existing under the eternal condemnation and judgment of God.
- Affirmations –
- We affirm that every human being since Adam and Eve is a sinner; thus, all humans everywhere throughout history are sinners.
- We affirm that sin affects every aspect of one’s humanity.
- We affirm that though the sinner’s sin is part of every aspect of his or her humanity, by God’s common grace* many sinners are not as sinful as their sinful nature could make them.
- We affirm that all sinners deserve God’s just judgment and condemnation.
- We affirm that sinners sin because they are sinners.
- We affirm that sinners cannot save themselves from their sins.
- We affirm that sinners need to be saved through Jesus Christ.
- We affirm that sinners can be saved through Jesus Christ.
- We affirm that sinners cannot be saved in any other way except through Jesus Christ.
- We affirm that under conviction of sin and the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit in the sinner’s heart, in accord with the Father’s free will, sinners are awakened and effectually drawn to Jesus Christ for salvation, repenting of sin and believing only in Jesus Christ for salvation.
- We affirm that in regeneration the Holy Spirit causes sinners to repent of sin and believe in Jesus Christ unto salvation.
*Common grace is God’s sustaining and maintaining grace given to the entire human race and all of His creation by which He protects, cares for, and upholds all that God created. Common grace is not saving grace.
- Denials –
- We deny that only certain classifications of people can be saved; this includes race, nationality, or culture.
- We deny that sinners possess anything inherently good in God’s sight.
- We deny that sinners can save themselves.
- We deny that there is any area of life where sin does not touch, invade, or saturate; this includes all parts of human life, nature, and personality.
- We deny that sinners do not need saving through Jesus Christ.
- Statement – We confess that all people are sinners, and all people need to be saved through Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior of sinners. The salvation of sinners is achieved by the elect will of God predestining those sinners upon whom the Father has placed His saving mercy. The salvation of these sinners is effectually achieved through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross, whereby Jesus Christ suffers and dies for the forgiveness of sins and the application of Jesus Christ’s active righteousness before God on behalf of sinners (Justification), whom God eternally chose unto salvation. Jesus Christ rose from the dead as the Lord of life, and gives eternal life to all for whom He died. Jesus Christ ascended to heaven to mediate and intercede for these people. One day Jesus Christ will return from heaven as the victorious and conquering Savior to complete God’s will for human history, restoring the created order from its sinful fallenness, and to consummate every promise made by God in the gospel for those whom He saves. This salvation is experienced in those who will be saved through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit applying the sovereign grace of God in all experiential aspects of salvation in the Christian’s life, including the following: Regeneration (New Birth), whereby the sinner is re-created into a child of God in heart and nature, demonstrated outwardly through the manifestation of Conversion (Repentance from Sin, Faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord); Sanctification, which is described in the Scriptures as perseverance in faith in Jesus Christ, enduring commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, growth in Christ-like character, and the diminishing of the power of sin; and finally, salvation will be ultimately experienced as Glorification wherein the Christian enters into his or her heavenly joy through physical death, experiencing absolute perfection, infinite comfort, and eternal joy and love in the glory and presence of God forever and ever. When Jesus Christ returns to reconstitute the material universe according to the holy will of God, the Resurrection of the Christian’s body will occur, finalizing and fulfilling the saving work of God in the Christian’s human experience. The Christian will live forever in perfect harmony and joy with God in heaven.
- Affirmations –
- We affirm that Jesus Christ is the one and only Savior of sinners.
- We affirm that all who repent of sin and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are saved.
- We affirm that saving faith is a lifetime experience lived out in perseverance and continuance.
- We affirm that holiness and obedience to Jesus Christ accompanies saving faith.
- We affirm that Christians grow in their salvation experience through sanctification all of their earthly lives.
- We affirm that when Christians die, they immediately go to heaven to enjoy God forever.
- We affirm that all whom God has elected unto salvation will believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
- We affirm that all who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are part of the elect.
- We affirm that salvation is a work of divine sovereign grace fulfilling God’s will and is unto God’s glory.
- We affirm that all the doctrines of salvation should motivate the church to gospel work, missions, and prayer for the lost.
- We affirm that all who refuse Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will suffer eternal punishment in hell after death.
- Denials –
- We deny that salvation is by human works.
- We deny that works do not accompany saving faith.
- We deny that sinners help God to save.
- We deny that sinners save themselves.
- We deny that any doctrine of salvation infers or necessitates that the church is permitted to fail in gospel preaching, missions, or prayer for the lost.
- We deny that any person whom God elected, for whom Christ died, and in whom the Holy Spirit worked unto salvation will ever be eternally lost in hell.
- Statement – We confess that God, by virtue of His eternal and absolute goodness, has wisely chosen to communicate and disclose Himself to the human race, and has done so both in Creation and in the Scriptures. Creation is a limited visual means by which God communicates concerning Himself. In Creation we see God’s mighty power, His wisdom, and His beauty. God has more precisely and sufficiently revealed Himself and His will for and to the human race through the writing of the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. God utilized human language and human writers through whom He gave His revelation of Himself and His will. In doing so, using the capacities and abilities of these writers, God inspired and superintended the transmission of His Scriptures, so that the product of their writing of the Scriptures in the original manuscripts was and is inerrant and perfect in everything the Scriptures teach, assert, and say. Because this is true, the Holy Scriptures are authoritative throughout history, in every place, to every people, regarding everything that the Scriptures say and teach. The Scriptures are sufficient in and of themselves to teach people everything God wants them to know regarding who God is, what is His holy will, what is true, and what is right in His sight. The Scriptures, conveyed in human language, are understandable, and all efforts to interpret the Scriptures must utilize the proper interpretive guidelines to rightly understand what God meant by everything He said in and through the Scriptures. Each Christian and the Church of Jesus Christ must consider and handle the Scriptures as God’s authoritative and all-sufficient guide for every belief and practice of life and behavior. Nothing equals or supersedes the Scriptures in authority.
The means by which God achieves the trustworthy and inerrant Scriptures in human language is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit superintending the transmission of the revelation of God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit enlightens and enlivens the Christian to rightly understand the Scriptures for soul edification, worship, and spiritual growth. The Holy Spirit adds nothing to the Scriptures; but instead, the Holy Spirit engages people by and through the Scriptures for salvation and growth in sanctification.
- Affirmations –
- We affirm that because the Bible is God’s inerrant and authoritative Word to humanity, the church should preach and teach the Bible in all aspects of the church’s ministry.
- We affirm that the Bible should be the foundation for all moral and ethical belief.
- We affirm that the Bible has the final word of authority in all theological and moral aspects in church life.
- We affirm that the Bible will never fail or end; it is eternal and absolute in its nature and power.
- We affirm that the hearing of the truth of the gospel contained in the Bible saves sinners.
- We affirm human writers and books to the degree that they correctly and appropriately agree with and mirror the truths found in the Scriptures.
- We affirm that Jesus Christ in His saving Person and Work is the focus of the message of the Bible.
- Denials –
- We deny that there is or will be any more divine revelation from God to the human race outside of the Bible throughout human history.
- We deny that the Bible is insufficient in any way pertaining to theological belief and moral obedience in this life.
- We deny that the Bible is only one of many books through which God speaks in divine revelation.
- We deny that the Bible contradicts itself in any way.
Friendly Doctrinal Documents
We confess as a church that all true knowledge comes from God’s holy Word, the Bible. And we further confess that often our understanding of what God’s Word teaches comes from historical doctrinal confessions, creeds, and catechisms that help inform us as to the teaching of the Scripture.
Although no human confession, creed, and catechism possesses the same authority as the Scriptures, to the degree that these doctrinal documents rightly perceive and present Scriptural teaching, the same documents bring a help and value to the life, teaching, and ministry of the church.
The following doctrinal documents have helped to inform us as to our understanding of the teaching and doctrines of the Scriptures. We include them here in order to give historical and theological context to our present doctrinal confession.
Disclaimer: By including these doctrinal documents in our Doctrinal Addendum, we do not infer our agreement with every idea communicated in these documents. However, we readily and wholeheartedly express our deep gratitude to God for the many biblical and gospel truths rightly taught and conveyed in these “friendly” documents. We consider these documents to be “friendly” because they have been a great help to us to formulate our understanding of the teaching of the Scripture.
Note: The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is not included in this list because we have included the BFM 2000 in our doctrinal confession to which this Doctrinal Addendum is appended.
- Philadelphia Confession of 1742
- 1689 London Baptist Confession
- Abstract of Principles (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) 1858
- New Hampshire Baptist Confession 1833
- Heidelberg Confession 1563
- The Charleston (South Carolina) Baptist Confession and Catechism 1767 (Charleston Association of Baptist Churches in Charleston, South Carolina)
Purpose: In this Philosophy of Ministry, First Baptist Church of Fenton seeks to bridge our convictions concerning what is true to how we do ministry in and through the church. A church’s philosophy of ministry provides practical guidance as to how a church can and should conduct their ministry in the context of what they believe to be true. A philosophy of ministry works like a compass to guide and direct a church’s ministry focus and activity. Without a unified philosophy, the church becomes directionless, and sometimes it becomes fragmented for lack of vision and direction. A philosophy of ministry keeps this from happening.
Format: This philosophy of ministry is divided categorically into several sections, each offering a major aspect to our philosophy of ministry. Each category significantly contributes to the overall philosophy.
Goal: Our overarching goal in our church’s belief, life, and ministry is to be faithful to the biblical vision God has given to the church. As a church, we are absolutely committed to faithful living, proclaiming, and serving within the context of this biblical vision. In essence, we seek to be faithful to God by bearing witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in all aspects of church life, proclamation, worship, and service. Each section of this document explains what will help us to be faithful to the gospel.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton will seek to bear witness (presenting what the Bible says and means by what it says about the gospel of Jesus Christ) to the saving work of Jesus Christ in His cross, resurrection, and exaltation in all categories of our church life and ministry. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will preach and demonstrate the gospel in every ministry of the church.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton will seek to focus on the biblical text (being textual while bearing witness to the gospel as indicated in number 1 above) in all aspects of our ministry, calling all to hear what God has said in the Scriptures for the salvation and edification of their souls. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will always use the text of the Scriptures in all of our ministries.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton recognizes and seeks to demonstrate a continual dependence upon the sovereign grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit to achieve God’s will in the lives of people. As such, we will resist the drift to focus on programs as life-changing agents; instead, we will work to be genuine, prayerful, theologically accurate, and loving in the presentation of the gospel to people. We will trust in God to achieve His will in the hearts of people. We do believe that appropriate methods and programs are needed to put into practice in ministry what we believe about the gospel. However, when programs dictate the message, or when methods become more important than the message, we will make necessary changes to put the emphasis back on the gospel of Jesus Christ and the sovereign work of God in saving sinners and sanctifying and growing Christians. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will use programs to implement our doctrines in ministry practice, but we will not emphasize programs instead of the truth and ministry.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton will be God-centered, instead of being man-centered. Thus, we will seek to be faithful to what God has said in the Bible about all aspects of life, belief, and Christian service. We will be cautious so as not to accommodate the desires and demands of people in our ministry, knowing that faithfulness is found in pleasing God, not people. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will follow God as taught in the Scriptures in our ministries, rather than accommodate the preference and sensibilities of people.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton will strive to be biblically accurate in all our ministries. We will always seek to reflect truly and genuinely the core teachings of the Scripture in our life, beliefs, and service. We believe that our ministries should be extensions of our doctrine, and doctrine should express itself in ministry. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will be doctrinally accurate in the nature, goal, and implementation of ministry in the church.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton will seek to live out in practice and life the beliefs that we hold to be true. Thus, we will seek to be authentic, genuine, sincere, trustworthy, responsible, and obedient in our church life and ministry. We commit ourselves to Christian integrity in individual and church life. As we make this commitment, we continually acknowledge our tendency to sin and our weakness and human frailty; thus, we beseech God to have mercy upon us to help us, aid us, strengthen us, guide us, and regularly renew and restore us for His service. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will be sincere, honest, loving, humble, and dependent upon God in our ministry.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton will seek to be loving and kind in all of our life and ministry. We will seek to deal gently and caringly with all to whom we minister. In addition, we commit ourselves to mercy ministry and caring for the needy as we have opportunity, demonstrating in life the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will be kind, caring, and loving in our entire ministry.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton will seek to be eternal in vision, focus, and emphasis. We know that short-term compromises do not achieve long-term benefits. We will live and serve today, knowing that we are accountable to God, and we seek God’s eternal glory in all that we do. Thus, we will be faithful in the present, and we will not judge our ministry by immediate “success.” We commit in the hands of God all that we do to use us as He wills for His glory. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will structure and evaluate our ministry so that we will be eternal in our focus and effort.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton will seek to flavor all of our life and ministry with godly encouragement and comfort to church members, seeking to generate in the church membership perseverance in Christian faith and obedience to God’s Word. We will also seek to exhort and urge each other in the church membership to be faithful and true to God, as taught in the Bible. First Baptist Church of Fenton will encourage all church members to grow in Christ, develop their God-given gifts, and be active for Christ both in the ministries of FBCF and in daily life. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will ministry so as to encourage each other in ministry.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton will emphasize genuine, biblical, God-centered, and godly worship, because this is what God has said He desires from His people. We do not believe that worship should reflect the preferences, opinions, or desires of people. Rather, worship should be a reflection of God’s nature and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Further, we believe that worship is for Christians; only Christians worship. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will supremely value worship, and we will focus our worship on God rather than the desires of people.
- First Baptist Church of Fenton will integrate this philosophy of ministry in every ministry area of our church, being careful to be unified in our church ministries. We commit to bind ourselves together in life, ministry, and service. Although we acknowledge our differences and the contrasting nature and need for different ministries, we will strive to be unified and consistent together with our ministries lest they become detached from the church body and vision. Therefore, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, will refrain from allowing any ministry in our church to drift away from this philosophy of ministry; we will integrate all our ministries under this vision and conviction.
Explanation and Rationale:
What are “core social values?” Why should a church speak on such issues? The Church of Jesus Christ is a light in a world of darkness and sin. Jesus Christ authorized and commissioned His Church to proclaim the truth through history until He returned. This is our task given to us by Jesus Christ Himself. This involves theological preaching and teaching, and this also involves the living of life and speaking out about social issues and problems of every generation. To be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, the church must proclaim the doctrine of the gospel, and it must proclaim the social values of the gospel.
In this document, we, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, seek to identify and address the core social values that we believe and hold. In confessing these things, we believe we are faithfully reflecting the great social values of the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we believe we are faithfully confronting the great social problems of our generation. These are “core” social values because they are fundamental to all human life and experience; these social values are given to us by God in the Scriptures, and they are fundamental to understanding and engaging life itself.
There are significant social issues about which Christians may be concerned that are not addressed in this document. The reason for this is threefold: (1) The comprehensive list of social concerns, and dealing with such issues in a sufficient way, would be too large to engage in a document of this size; (2) There ought to be friendly and cooperative dialogue between Christians about many of these social issues and concerns; and (3) We, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, consider three social issues addressed in this document to be core and fundamental to all other social issues. We believe that if we are biblically accurate and obedient on these three foundational topics, then we have a strong base for considering other social issues. All concerns regarding individual human behavior of Christians should be collated with the doctrine of sanctification.
Core Social Values
- Sanctity of Human Life
Human life is envisioned and created by God. Human life is not random or self-generated. God creates human life; He created human life with intrinsic value and meaning that pervades every aspect of every human being’s existence.
Thus, every human being, regardless of race, nationality, language, physical or mental disability, or socio-economic distinction is infused with a sacred meaning and purpose. Each human being, born or unborn, is created by God and for God’s glory.
This requires and demands that every human being be treated and considered with the utmost respect, dignity, and kindness. God teaches this throughout the Bible.
We, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, seek to respect and lovingly respond to those who are hurt and damaged by any violation of the sacred value of human life. We believe in the love of God, the forgiveness of sins, and the restoration of broken lives through salvation, renewal, and re-creation through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Sanctity of Family and Marriage
The most basic human institution is marriage. Every social unit begins with marriage. Marriage is envisioned and created by God and is His gift to the human race.
Marriage is also a Christian institution, mirroring the gospel of Jesus Christ in its meaning and purpose.
We believe and confess that marriage is originally intended, as given to us by God and taught to us in the Bible, to be between one man and one woman for a lifetime. This union of life is given for our blessing, for the propagation of the human race, and for a demonstration of love and commitment for life.
If God grants children to the union of one man and one woman in marriage, then the will of God governing life and family, as taught in the Bible, should guide the father and mother in the living of life in the home.
Many are hurt and broken by violations of goodness and infidelity of the basic meaning of marriage. Furthermore, many are damaged by failure to rightly implement the teachings of God on this subject in the family. We, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, seek to prayerfully sympathize with and care for those broken by such pain. We believe that Jesus Christ can and does heal those broken by these terrible marriage and family tragedies.
- Sanctity of Religious Liberty
We, the members of First Baptist Church of Fenton, believe and confess that God blesses every human being with the freedom to believe and confess religiously in keeping with the dictates of conscience. We further believe and confess that any attempt on the part of any human organization or agency (including government) to coerce, restrict, define, or determine religious belief and expression is a form of tyranny. Religious liberty is rooted in the nature of God and the nature of humanity as created by God. First Baptist Church of Fenton will speak out clearly and forthrightly against such tyranny, seeking to declare the truth of God’s Word in the Bible on this topic.
First Baptist Church of Fenton prays for all who suffer religious persecution worldwide, especially Christians. We pray that God will grant good leadership in the governments of the world, so that people can worship God in total freedom.
Application and Integration
First Baptist Church of Fenton will seek to be unified in these core social values. We will encourage each other to be thoughtful, meditative, and obedient to God in these areas. First Baptist Church of Fenton will speak out boldly, faithfully, and lovingly on these issues in and through the ministries of the church. We will seek to oppose all forms of violation of these sacred values in our society. We will encourage and seek to facilitate obedience to these biblical values in our church life and ministry, and we will seek to teach these values to our children in our church educational program.