Scripture - All scripture totally true and trustworthy
God - God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Man - Created in the image of God, fallen into sin
Salvation - Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ
God's Law and Good Works - Moral law binding and valuable in New Testament era
The Church - The body of believers everywhere, organized into particular associations
Christian Liberty - Believers ultimately accountable to God, not men
Last Things - Jesus to return, resurrect the dead, and deliver final judgement
Note: The doctrines below are largely drawn from "The Baptist Faith and Message of the Southern Baptist Convention" (2000), and includes support from "The New Hampshire Baptist Confession" (1833), "The London Baptist Confession of Faith" (1689), and "The Westminster Confession of Faith" (1646). Minor changes and some omissions have been made for modernization, clarity and brevity, as well as for the sake of arriving at a doctrinal core which is most commonly agreeable. In short, if you can agree with any one of those historical Protestant confessions of faith (or with their most fundamental parts), you can probably agree with this one.
Members of East Jordan Church must believe and affirm the following doctrines:
- Scripture - The Holy Bible, in its original autographs, was written by men under divine inspiration and is God's revelation of Himself to man. 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.
- Authority - The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, does not depend on the testimony of any man or church, but depends only on God, who is the author thereof. Therefore, it is to be received because it is the word of God.
- Sufficiency - The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation so that only that which is read therein or proved thereby is required of any man that it should be believed as an article of the Faith or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.
- Contents - Under the name of holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the following:
Song of Songs
RomansThe books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the cannon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.
- God - There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, whose name, transliterated to English is Jehovah. He is 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. 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, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible, reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and 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.
- 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.
- 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, and convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement. He calls men to the Saviour and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the visible Church, 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.
- Man - Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. In the beginning man was innocent of sin, but by sinning against God man 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. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God.
- Gender - God created both male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of distinct gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation.
- Race - The sacred value of all human life 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.
- Salvation - Salvation of sinners is wholly of grace, through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God; Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, 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 Saviour.
- 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, but remains imperfect, such that there remains some remnant of corruption in every man, giving rise to a continual war between the flesh and the Spirit.
- Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
- God's Law and Good Works
- Moral Law - God has given his moral laws, binding them on all human posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promising life on its fulfilment and threatening death upon the breach of it, and has given man the power and ability to keep it. This law continues to be a perfect rule of righteousness. The moral law forever binds all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator who gave it. Neither does Christ in any way dissolve this obligation, but much strengthens it.
- Ceremonial Law - Besides this law God was pleased to give to the people of Israel ceremonial laws containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits. All such ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the New Testament.
- Value of Law for those under grace - Believers are not eternally justified or condemned under the law as a covenant of works, but the law is of great use to believers and others as a rule of life informing them of the will of God and their duty. The law directs and binds them to walk accordingly, discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts, and lives, so that in examining themselves by the law they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin. The law also gives them a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ and the perfection of his obedience. The law is also useful to restrain the believers' corruptions in that it forbids sin, and the threats of it serve to show what their sins deserve and what afflictions they may expect for them in this life, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approval of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof, although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works.
- Law not contrary to grace - A man's doing good and refraining from evil because the law encourages to the one and deters from the other is no evidence of his being under the law and not under grace. The aforementioned uses of the law are not contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with it, the Holy Spirit subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God revealed in the law requires to be done.
- Obedience an evidence of faith - Good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith, and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God. The ability to do good works is not at all of ourselves, but from the Holy Spirit.
- The Church - The universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all. The visible Church, which is not confined to one nation, consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation. Unto this visible Church Christ has given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and does, by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto. Particular Churches, which are members of the universal and visible, are autonomous associations of baptized believers, associated by agreement 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, and in such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are elders and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of elder is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ, and his people are incorporated under no other.
- Baptism - 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 - 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.
- Discipline - Believers, in joining themselves to particular churches and availing themselves to the privileges thereof, are also under the censures and government thereof, according to the rule of Christ.
- Christian Liberty - God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word or not contained in it. But those who, under pretence of Christian liberty, practice sin or cherish any sinful lust thereby pervert the design of grace to their own destruction.
- Last Things - 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 everlasting punishment, and The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward of eternal life with the Lord.