Statement of Faith
At The First Baptist Church of Paden City, we have four distinct but complementary statements summarizing our beliefs to varying degrees of comprehensiveness:
Statement of Basic Beliefs
This statement represents the most simple and foundational beliefs of Christian orthodoxy from a biblical and historical perspective. It captures the basic contours of Christian theology.
Statement of Biblical Doctrine
This statement represents a full summary of the various convictions articulated in the other statements. Together, these statements communicate what we believe as a church and will therefore be foundational for our teaching, preaching, praying, instructing, disciplining and counseling.
This is a series of written pledges based on the Bible which church members voluntarily make to God and to one another regarding their basic moral and spiritual commitments and the practice of their faith. As members, we use this statement to exhort one another to live holy lives, and we challenge brothers and sisters persisting in sin.
Matters Pertaining to Biblical Ethics
This statement captures our convictions on areas that are debated even among “Bible-believing” churches. As the line between right and wrong is blurred in society it is important that as a church we stand on the sure foundation of the Word of God as our authority in every area of life as we are called to “teach, reprove, correct and train in righteousness”
Statement of Basic Beliefs
The gospel is the hope of the world. As we read the Scriptures, we see the overarching themes of God’s providence, power and provision to reconcile mankind and the created world to Himself through the person and work of Jesus Christ. In light of this, we aim to be explicitly gospel-centered in all that we preach, teach and practice.
• The Scriptures are true, inspired by God, authoritative and sufficient. (Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
• There is only one true God, Creator of heaven and earth, who eternally exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-6; Isaiah 46:9-10; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Genesis 1:26; Psalm 45:6-7; Psalm 110:1; Matthew 3:13-17; Matthew 28:17-20; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
• All things exist for the glory of God. (Psalm 148; Proverbs 16:4; Isaiah 61:3; Romans 11:33-36; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Ephesians 1:3-14).
• All mankind, Christ excluded, is sinful by both birth and action. (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23; 5:8, 12-21; 7:18; Ephesians 2:1-3).
• The penalty for sin is physical and spiritual separation from God at death. (Genesis 2:15-17; Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12; 6:23; James 1:14-15).
• Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, was born of a virgin and is both fully God and fully man. (Matthew 1:20; Luke 2:52; John 1:1-4, 14; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-3).
• Jesus Christ died as the sacrificial substitute to pay the penalty for sin. (John 1:29; 10:1-18; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18).
• Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and will one day return. (Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-53; John 1:20-21:25; 1 Corinthians 15:12-34; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 9:28; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 1:7).
• There will be a future physical resurrection of the dead. Only those who turn from sin and to Jesus in faith and repentance will be raised to eternal reward. Those who do not turn from sin and to Jesus will be raised to eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15).
• Only through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and repentance from sin can one be reconciled to God and experience true hope, life and joy for all eternity with Him. (John 3:18, 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:21-26; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Statement of Biblical Doctrine
We accept the Bible, including the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament, as the written Word of God. The Bible is an essential and infallible record of God revealing Himself to mankind. It leads us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Given by God, the Scriptures are both fully and verbally inspired by God and are, thus, free of error. Each book is to be interpreted according to its context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through it in living power. All believers are exhorted to study the Scriptures and diligently apply them to their lives. The Scriptures are the authoritative and normative rule and guide of all Christian life, practice and doctrine. They are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation or worldly wisdom. Every doctrinal formulation, whether of creed, confession or theology, must be tested by the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture.
The Triune God
There is one God: infinite, eternal, almighty and perfect in holiness, truth and love. In the unity of the Godhead, there are three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, co-existent, co-equal and co-eternal. The Father is not the Son. The Son is
not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not the Father. Yet each is truly Deity. One God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is the foundation of Christian faith and life.
God the Father
God the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth. By His word and for His glory, He freely and supernaturally created the world in six literal days out of nothing. Through the same word, He daily sustains all creation. He rules over all and, together with the Son and the Spirit, is the only Sovereign. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good to those who love Him and, in His unfathomable grace, gave His Son, Jesus Christ, for mankind’s redemption. God made all things for the praise of His glory and intends for man to live in fellowship with Him.
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the eternal Word made Flesh, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He is fully God and fully man. Through Him, all things came into being and were created. He was before all things, and in Him, all things hold together by the word of His power. He is perfect in nature, teaching and obedience and is the only Savior for the sins of the world, having shed His blood and died a vicarious death on the cross. By His death in our place, He revealed divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Redeeming us from sin, He rose bodily from the grave on the third day, victorious over death and the powers of darkness and performing many convincing proofs of His resurrection. He ascended into heaven where, at God’s right hand, He intercedes for His people and rules as Lord over all. His return is imminent. He is the Head of His body, the Church, and should be adored, loved, served and obeyed by all.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of new life, convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Through the proclamation of the gospel, He persuades men to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit, a person is led to trust in divine mercy. The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth and dwells within the regenerate. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son who, in turn, came to glorify the Father. He will lead the Church into a right understanding and application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored and worshiped as God, the Third Person of the Trinity.
God made man—male and female—in His own image, as the crown of creation so that man might glorify Him through enjoying fellowship with Him. Tempted by Satan, man rebelled against God. Being estranged from his Maker yet responsible to Him, man became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and, apart from a special work of grace, utterly incapable of returning to God. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to his mind, will and affections. Unregenerate man lives under the dominion of sin and Satan. He is at enmity with God, hostile toward God and hateful of God. Fallen, sinful people, whatever their character or attainments, are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ alone.
The gospel is the good news of God’s grace invading the darkness of this world. It is the grand narrative of creation, fall, redemption and consummation ordained by God and orchestrated through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Christ’s crucifixion is the heart of the gospel. His resurrection is the power of the gospel. His ascension is the glory of the gospel. Christ’s death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases His holy wrath. It also demonstrates His mysterious love and reveals His amazing grace. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. There is no other name by which men can be saved. At the heart of all sound doctrine is the cross of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have in glorifying God because of what He has accomplished.
Man’s Response to the Gospel
The proper response to the gospel is faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, a faith that must be accompanied by repentance from sin. Biblical repentance is characterized by a changed life, and saving faith is evidenced by kingdom service and works. While neither repentance nor works save, unless a person is willing to deny himself, pick up his cross and follow Christ, he cannot become His disciple. This response to the gospel is rooted and grounded in the free and unconditional election of God for His own pleasure and glory. This gospel of grace is to be sincerely preached to all men in all nations.
Man’s Inheritance Through the Gospel
Salvation, the free gift of God, is provided by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Anyone repenting of sin by the miracle of regeneration and looking to Christ and His substitutionary death receives the gift of eternal life and is declared righteous by God as a free gift. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him. He is justified and fully accepted by God. Through Christ’s atonement for sin, an individual is reconciled to God as Father and becomes His child. The believer is forgiven the debt of his sin and liberated from the law of sin and death into the freedom of God’s Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the active agent in our sanctification, seeking to produce His fruit in us. Our minds are renewed, and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality, the Spirit leads us to grow in the knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping His
commandments and endeavoring to so live in the world that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. All believers are exhorted to persevere in the faith, knowing they will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word and deed. The spiritual disciplines, especially Bible study, prayer, worship and confession, are a vital means of grace in this regard. Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence to persevere is based in the sure promise of God to preserve His people until the certain end.
Empowered by the Spirit
The Holy Spirit empowers believers for Christian witness and service. The promise of the Father is freely available to all who believe in Jesus Christ, enabling them to exercise the gifts He sovereignly bestows for ministry and mission. The Holy Spirit desires to continually fill each believer with power to bear witness to the gospel and imparts His gifts for the edification of the body and the work of ministry in the world. The healthy exercising of diverse gifts within a unified body is essential to the mission of the Church in the world today.
God, by His Word and Spirit, creates the Church, calling sinful men out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ’s body. By the same Word and Spirit, He guides and preserves that newly redeemed humanity. The Church is not a religious institution or denomination. Rather, the Church is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve Him by faithfully doing His will on earth. This service involves a commitment to see the gospel
preached and churches planted in the entire world. The ultimate mission of the Church is to bring glory to God by making disciples. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women are added to a local church in which they devote themselves to teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper and prayer.
All members of the Church are to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context, they are called to live out the implications of the gospel as the people of God and demonstrate the reality of the kingdom of God. The ascended Christ has given gift ministries to the Church, including prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, for the equipping of Christ’s body so that it might mature and grow. In the context of the local church, God’s people receive pastoral care and oversight and the opportunity to steward their gifts for His glory and the good of the others.
Ordinances of the Church
Water baptism is only intended for the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work and become His disciple. In obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual and symbolic demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in
the likeness of His death and resurrection. It signifies that a former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts a person’s release from the mastery of sin.
As with water baptism, the Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body
and the shedding of His blood on our behalf and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s death. As we come to the table with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.
The consummation of all things includes the future, physical, visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the translation of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In the consummation, Satan, with his hosts and all those outside Christ, is finally separated from the
benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal punishment, but the righteous, in glorious bodies, will live and reign with Him forever, serving Him and giving Him unending praise and glory. Then the eager expectation of creation will be fulfilled, and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God, who makes all things new.
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith having been baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do now most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant one with another, as one body in Christ. To God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit we pledge our love, faith and obedience and covenant to live as Christians in our community and in our world, to be exemplary in our conduct, just in our dealings and faithful in our engagements; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.
We also covenant to live as Christians in our homes, to engage in personal and family devotions, to teach our children by instruction and example that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord; and to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances.
We further covenant to live with one another in Christ like love; to pray for one another; to help each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, gossip, and excessive anger; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation; to forgive one another as Christ, has forgiven us; and to minister to one another in compassion, sacrifice and concern as we share each other’s joys and sorrows.
We moreover covenant to love as disciples of Jesus Christ and to grow in His grace and knowledge, as we will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together; nor neglect to study the Holy Scriptures; nor fail to pray faithfully. We also covenant to contribute cheerfully and regularly with our time, tithes and
talents to support the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
We will, when we move from this place, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
Matters Pertaining to Biblical Ethics
Marriage & Sexuality
We believe, based on the teaching of the Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments, that marriage is an institution ordained by God from the foundation of the world, and intended as a lifelong union of one man and one woman. This idea is supported by the account of creation in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Genesis 1:26-28 provides that God created man in His own image, both male and female. The passage implies that a unity of one man and one woman is in some way necessary to fully represent the image of God in mankind.
Genesis chapter 2 provides a more detailed account in which God created the first man, Adam, and decided that it was not good for him to be alone. (Genesis 2:18). God indicated that He would make “a suitable helper for him.” God brought all of the animals to Adam, but none of them was a suitable helper for him, so God then created Eve, the first woman, from part of Adam himself. God did not create a second man to be Adam’s helpmate, or an assortment of multiple women, but rather one woman. Together they were man and wife and had “no shame” or sin in their union with each other. (Genesis 2:15-25).
Jesus Christ reaffirmed the teaching of the Old Testament when He said, as recorded in Matthew 19:4-6, “Haven’t you read, he replied, that at the beginning the creator made them male and female and said for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The Apostle Paul states in Ephesians 5:22-32 that marriage is not merely a human institution, but is a special divine metaphor that is supposed to illustrate the union of Christ and the church. For this reason also, only a union between a man and a woman can be a proper marriage because a union between two men, two women, or one man and multiple women or any collection of people could not properly illustrate the relationship between Christ and His church.
I Corinthians 6:9-11 condemns a variety of lifestyles including those associated with adultery, prostitution, and homosexuality. The Bible condemns all forms of sexual immorality and encourages Christians to flee from it because of its destructive effects, and because the body of the Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 3:16 & 6:12-20).
Romans 1:18-32 makes it clear that it is not only sinful to engage in homosexual unions, but also to approve of such sins in others or encourage their practice. As a result, in order to maintain our consistent Christian witness, we cannot sanction, approve, or promote in any way adultery, fornication(a sexual relationship between an unmarried man and woman; i.e. “living together”), pornography, pedophilia, polygamy, bestiality, or homosexual unions. This is made clear also by countless other verses throughout the Old Testament as well as by these and other passages in the New Testament.
Our church follows what the Bible reveals as the "sure foundation" of the teachings of Jesus Christ and his apostles (Matthew 7:24-29 and I Corinthians 14:37). The church is called to teach and practice these teachings and is not at liberty to depart from them for a different authority if it is to authentically bear the name "Christian." Though we strive to live peaceably with all people and to obey legitimate government authority, in instances involving matters as foundational as marriage we must ultimately obey God rather than man if the two come into conflict (Acts 4:18-22).
Sexual activities outside of marriage, including but not limited to fornication, adultery, incest, homosexuality, pedophilia, polygamy and bestiality are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and the church. Lewd conduct, transgender behavior, and the creation or distribution or the viewing of pornography are incompatible with God’s intention.
Church Practices Derived from This Policy
As a result of these above described religious beliefs and our belief in the need for a practice of fidelity to these beliefs, it is our policy that the facilities of this church may not be used for any ceremony that in any way approves of, solemnizes, supports or allows a same-sex union or a polygamist or any union which, in the judgment of the church, is inconsistent with our beliefs. It is also the policy of the church that no pastor or member of the church staff shall officiate at any ceremony designed to solemnize, promote, create, or approve of such a union. Nor may any member of the church enter into such a union without being subject to church discipline.
A civil government’s sanction of a union will be recognized as a legitimate marriage by the church only to the extent that it is consistent with the definition of marriage found in this Policy Statement.
Recognizing that sexual sin is a common struggle, the First Baptist Church of Paden City will love all people in Jesus’ name, pointing them towards Christ’s power to forgive and heal. We will seek God to discern ways that we can directly and indirectly minister and share God’s love with those who struggle with this particular sin.
-Ordained clergy or licensed ministers employed by the church shall affirm the statement of faith on marriage and human sexuality adopted by this church.
-Only ordained or duly licensed clergy approved by this church shall officiate at marriage ceremonies conducted on church property.
-Clergy employed by the church shall be subject to dismissal for violating this statement of faith on marriage and human sexuality or by officiating at a marriage ceremony that violates the letter or the spirit of this policy.
Applicants for weddings performed by church staff:
-Applicants wishing to have a ceremony performed by a member of the clergy employed or clergy or judiciary approved by the church or to use the church facilities for their wedding shall affirm the statement of faith regarding marriage and human sexuality and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith.
-Applicants shall participate in premarital counseling by clergy or counselors employed by this church or other persons who, in the sole opinion of the pastoral staff of the church have the appropriate training, experience, and spiritual understanding to provide such counseling. All pastoral staff, counselors or other persons providing premarital counseling shall affirm the statement of faith of this church on marriage and human sexuality.
Use of Facilities:
-Any marriage performed on church premises shall be officiated by an ordained or duly licensed member of the clergy. Any officiant not employed by the First Baptist Church of Paden City shall serve at the discretion of the pastor or Deacons.
-Clergy officiating marriage ceremonies on church premises, whether or not employed by the church, shall affirm their agreement with the statement of faith on marriage and human sexuality adopted by this church and conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith.
-Clergy and staff assigned by the church to implement the procedures contained in this Marriage Policy may, in his or her discretion, decline to provide church facilities for, and/or decline to officiate at a ceremony when in his or her judgment, there are significant concerns that one or both of the applicants may not be qualified to enter into the sacred bond of marriage for theological, doctrinal, moral or legal reasons.
Membership, Leadership and Staff:
-Every minister and employee, hired by the church shall affirm their agreement with this statement on marriage and human sexuality and conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith.
-Church officers will be asked to affirm their agreement with this policy on marriage and human sexuality and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith.
-Church leaders, teachers and members are expected to teach and live in a manner that is consistent with this policy.
We believe that God hates divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. We urge those who are struggling in their marriages to seek counsel from God’s Word and mature believers with fervent prayer that God might bring about reconciliation and renewed commitment to their marriage vows. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:3–9; Matthew 5:32; 1 Corinthians 7:10–13,15,39; Luke 16:18, Mark 10:11-12)
We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society and that a marriage which reflects biblical priorities and principles is the foundation of a healthy family. Children are a gift from God, and are both a blessing and a reward to their parents who are called to train them daily and diligently in God’s truth. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them to God through a consistent lifestyle example, appropriate teaching, and discipline. (Deuteronomy 6:7–9; Psalm 127:3–5; Ephesians 5:22–33; 6:1–4)
We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God and both are made in God’s image. God has given each sex distinct and separate spiritual roles in the home and the church. The husband is to love and serve his wife as Christ loves the church, to recognize that she is his essential helper and companion, and to live with her in a nurturing and understanding way. The wife is to submit to the headship of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ, to be her husband’s loving friend, and to respect him as a matter of spiritual service. A husband’s responsibility includes giving priority to spiritually leading his family and providing for his family’s material needs. A wife’s responsibility includes giving priority to home management and the nurture of her children. (Genesis 1:27; 2:15, 18; 3:19; 5:2; Proverbs 31:10–31; Ephesians 5:22-33; Titus 2:3–5; 1 Peter 3:1–7)
We also honor those who remain single and are committed to a life of chastity and single-minded devotion to Christ. The Apostle Paul, who himself was single, taught that such a lifestyle was not only good but has the advantage of enabling the believer to serve the Lord without distraction. (1 Corinthians 7:8, 32–34)
Abortion and Euthanasia
We believe that human life is a sacred gift from God and must be respected from the moment of conception (fertilization) until natural death. We believe that the intentional, willful termination of a pregnancy (“abortion”) at any time after conception constitutes the taking of unborn human life. Accordingly, abortions, including for reasons of birth defects, gender selection, birth control, population control, or even in the tragic instances of rape or incest, and acts of encouraging, facilitating, or paying for abortions, are inconsistent with Scripture and the glory of God. (Psalm 139:13–16)
We oppose active intervention with the intent to produce death (“euthanasia”), whether for the relief of suffering, economic considerations, or convenience of the person, family, or society. We do not oppose the withdrawal or failure to institute artificial means of life support in patients who are clearly and irreversibly deteriorating, in whom death appears imminent beyond reasonable hope of recovery.
Love and Unity
We believe that we should demonstrate biblical love for all people, especially fellow believers, but also toward unbelievers who may oppose us, and toward those who engage in sinful actions. We must interact with all people graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in them.
Lawsuits Among Believers
We believe that civil lawsuits among believers violate the teaching of Scripture and are a discredit to the name of Christ. Specifically, three reasons are given for this prohibition: our witness to the world is jeopardized; such lawsuits reflect the secular values of greed and an unwillingness to suffer wrong; and such lawsuits demean the leadership of a church, since the appointed church leaders should be capable of resolving such disputes (1 Corinthians 6:1–8). When such disputes arise they should be brought to the attention of the church leadership for guidance, instruction, and if necessary, mediation or arbitration.