What We Believe

What We Believe

Articles of Faith, Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Northport, AL

Updated October 2018

1. We believe the Bible is the eternal, inspired, inerrant Word of God; the complete revelation of God's will. No further revelation is needed, nor will it be given. The Bible is the means used by the Holy Spirit to mature believers and equip them for every good work. Knowing this, we are committed to the consistent, methodical exposition of God’s Word in our services. Any and all tradition that conflicts with, adds to unnecessarily or takes from the clear instruction of God’s Word is to be considered the doctrine of men. We use the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible in our services, though we do often refer to other good translations for clarity. (Proverbs 30:5) (2 Timothy 3:16-17) (2 Peter 1:20-21) (Ephesians 4:11-12)

2. We believe the apostolic gifts given to the early churches as seen in the New Testament (i.e., miraculous healing, prophecy, and the ability to speak unlearned languages [sometimes referred to as tongues] as displayed on the day of Pentecost) were given as confirmation by God of the Gospel and of His Word which He was inspiring men to write. This is seen as the pattern in Scripture and can be confirmed through only two other occasions historically. Those occasions are the giving of the Law (the ministry of Moses and those tied directly to him) and the time of the prophets (primarily Elijah and Elisha). Because we now have the completed Word of God, He is no longer working through these supernatural gifts. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) (Hebrews 1:1-2)

3. We believe that there is only one true and living God in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is no other. He is the Creator and is above and apart from His creation. (2 Corinthians 13:14) (Matthew 3:16-17) (Matthew 28:19)

4. We accept the complete Biblical account of creation without question and unreservedly. We believe God created all things in the universe out of nothing (ex nihilo). He did this in six literal 24-hours days. We reject any and all evolutionary teaching which in any sense conflicts with the clear teaching of the Bible. We reject the Gap Theory as it is an unnecessary and unbiblical attempt to accommodate evolutionary dating. (Genesis 1:1-2:25) (John. 1:3).

5. We believe that Satan is the unholy “god” of this present age and world-system; he is the leader of all of the powers of darkness and sin. (2 Corinthians 4:4) (1 Peter 5:8)

6. We believe that man was created in the image of God on the 6th day. God created both male and female. Man was created perfect and without blemish. As a voluntary action, mankind ate the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and, as a result, was no longer innocent or worthy to walk with God. All mankind fell into sin when Adam fell. As a result, each of us inherited Adam’s sin nature, which we receive at conception. (Genesis 3:1-7) (Romans 5:12)

7. We believe in the virgin birth as well as the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe He was fully God veiled in human flesh. At the same time, He was fully man. This is a mystery that a finite mind cannot fully comprehend. (Isaiah 7:14) (John. 10:30) (Luke. 1:31-35)

8. We believe the only payment for sins is through the vicarious suffering of Jesus Christ in the place of sinners on the cross at Calvary. We believe after being buried, He rose again on the 3rd day as proof that He conquered death, hell and the grave, as He foretold. He also conquered the devil and his demonic forces and well as claimed right to the redemption of the earth. Through His death, burial and resurrection, the King acquired His Kingdom. (Acts 4:12) (Hebrews 9:11-15) (1 Peter 1:19-20)

9. We believe natural men are totally unable and unwilling to come to Christ without the drawing power of the Father in Heaven. We do not believe God is keeping men from coming to Him in repentance, but that because of man’s depraved sin nature inherited through Adam, he loves darkness rather than light. Consequently, he willingly chooses his sin and will always choose his sin apart from the enlightening and drawing power of the Holy Spirit. (John 6:44) (1 Corinthians 2:14) (Romans 8:7-8)

10. We believe God, of His own sovereign purpose in grace, has chosen men (called, the elect) out of Adam’s posterity to be saved. (John 17:2) (Ephesians 1:4-5) (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

11. We believe the shed blood of Jesus Christ, which He shed to the point of death on the cross at Calvary, covers each and every person that will ever be effectively brought by the Holy Spirit to saving faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ. (John 17:2) (1 John 1:7) (1 John 4:10)

12. We believe in an effectual call that is issued by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel to every person whom God has sovereignly chosen. (Romans 8:28-30) (John 6:37) (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)

13. We believe that all who are truly born again are preserved by God the Father and, therefore, endure in faith, which is proven by good works, until death. We believe Jesus is both Lord and Savior to the believer simultaneously at the point of conversion and one cannot exist without the other. We believe that the outward and open dedication to any life of sin apart from a repentant heart reveals a false profession of faith and will result in the eternal judgment of and separation from Christ. This includes but is not limited to sexual immorality, drug addiction, drunkenness, covetousness, pride, homosexuality, etc. (Romans 8:35-39) (1 Peter 1:4-5) (John 10:27-29) (James 2:14-17) (1 Corinthians 6)

14. We believe regeneration and conversion occur instantaneously as a result of the Holy Spirit empowering the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 2:13-14) (Hebrews 4:2) (1 Corinthians 1:21)

15. We believe salvation is wholly brought about by the grace, or unmerited favor, of God. We believe salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone apart from works. (Jonah 2:9) (Ephesians 2:8-9) (2 Timothy 1:9)

16. We believe in separate judgments for the righteous and unrighteous. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) (2 Timothy 4:7-8) (Revelation 20:11-15) (2 Peter 3:7)

17. We believe that Jesus Christ formed his church during his personal ministry on earth and promised that she will exist until He returns. Since the days of Jesus’ ministry, there have always been faithful churches in existence, though oftentimes there may have been very few. Within the church, there should constantly be encouragement and edification among the membership. Discipleship is the primary focus of the commission and this is a life-long process of maturing in which church members, as a Christian community, constantly focus on helping one another be more like Jesus. (Matthew 16:18) (Mark 3:13-19)

18. We believe the vast majority of occurrences of the English word “church” (Greek – ekklesia) in the New Testament speak of a local, visible church. It is God’s plan in this age for His children to actively seek to serve God through the local, visible assembly of saints. The New Testament does occasionally employ the word in a generic or corporate sense of assemblies, while some uses do not refer to Christ’s church at all, but to assemblies of other kinds. (Acts 14:23; 19:39) (1 Corinthians 14:33) (1 Thessalonians 1:1) (Matthew 16:18) (Hebrews 12:23)

19. We believe there are two formal established officers for churches—elders (or overseers, pastors or bishops) and deacons. Elders lead the church in spiritual matters through Biblical preaching. The New Testament pattern is for churches to have a plurality of elders who lead the church. Church elders are set in place by God to equip God’s people through the Scripture to do ministerial work. Deacons serve the church and assist the eldership in non-spiritual matters such as finance, the keeping of the church building, or helping those in need, etc. By God’s design, those members in positions of church leadership are to be male. This is due to headship, and not something in women that make them intellectually or spiritually inferior to their male counterparts. (1 Timothy 3) (Titus 1) (1 Corinthians 14)

20. We believe every church member should treat church membership as an office in the church in which there are duties that each member is both gifted for and responsible to use. Membership in a church is not a casual connection with a voluntary society like a country club, where a person comes for the benefits so long as the dues are not too high. It is a citizenship, and citizenship is an office of governance. Once a church has affirmed an individual as a representative of Jesus and, thus, a church member, that member becomes responsible for both personal discipleship and the discipleship of others. Such discipleship ministry should regularly occur both among church members and outside the assembly as the Gospel is shared with every creature. (1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:11-13, Titus 2:1-10)

21. We believe Jesus Christ gave two ordinances to the church: baptism and the Lord's Supper, or communion. (Matthew 26:26-29) (Acts 2:41) (1 Corinthians 11:17-34) (Acts 20:7-11)

22. We believe that baptism is a complete immersion in water. (Mark 1:10) (Acts 8:38)

23. We believe in a believers baptism; we believe one is baptized because he is saved and not in order to be saved. Since baptism is a representation of the Gospel, the authorizing church and the one being baptized must have a proper view of the Gospel for baptism to be properly administered. (Acts 2:41) (Acts 8:12) (Acts 10:44-48) (Acts 19:4-5)

24. We believe the Lord’s Supper is given to churches to be a regular reminder of the suffering and death of Jesus in our place and is to be observed until He returns again. The wine is symbolic of His shed blood and the bread is symbolic of His body, which was given in death. We believe the Lord's Supper is limited to properly baptized believers that were baptized in response to the true Gospel message. We believe it is impossible to have “communion” with those who differ greatly on the work of Jesus on the cross (i.e. the Gospel). (Galatians 1:8-9) (Acts 2:42)

25. We believe in the value and necessity of singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs both in corporate and personal worship. The value of these songs is not determined by the date when they were written or the amount of years they have been sung in a church, but that the words are both Scriptural and glorify God. God has historically employed a variety of instruments to be used in public worship. There is no prohibition for musical instruments in worship today. Though, instruments should always be played as an accompaniment to singing and should never become the main attraction in the singing service. We have chosen to have a blended musical service in which we sing old hymns, contemporary hymns and Psalms that are accompanied by a variety of musical instruments. (Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:18-19, Psalms 150)

26. We believe a believer’s attire should be one of modesty both inside and outside of corporate worship. We believe modesty includes attire that draws a distinct line between male and female. That is, men should not dress in a way that is meant to deceive society into believing he is a female while women should not dress in such a way that is meant to deceive society into believing she is a male. There is some leeway (though never beyond modesty) for personal conviction and Christian liberty in making decisions about dress. The church has no Biblical mandate to enforce artificial guidelines of dress for membership based on tradition, rather than the Bible. Most of the members of our church have chosen to dress in a “business casual” manner when attending service, though this is not a requirement. Churches should show no preferential treatment to people based on how they are dressed. (James 2:1-13, 1 Timothy 2:9)

27. We believe in the actual and literal bodily return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We believe this coming is imminent—that is, threatening to occur at any moment. He will return to call His saints out prior to the coming Tribulation period. During that time, God will both try the world system and reestablish the nation of Israel, thus fulfilling His promises to the patriarchs. Following this 7-year period, Jesus will return with His saints to set up His Millennial kingdom. (Revelation 19-20)

28. We believe that wealth, money, healing or any other material earthly blessing is just that, a blessing. They are not guarantees as a matter of faith or by any amount of faith. On the contrary, we are guaranteed difficult lives as followers of Christ. That has been the pattern seen in both Scripture (including in the life of our Savior and His apostles) and history with very few exceptions. Further, we are consistently warned about the danger of the love of money and material things in Scripture. The lack of these does not in any form or fashion indicate a lack of faith. Conversely, the existence of these does not indicate the existence of great faith. We adamantly oppose what is often referred to as the “prosperity gospel”. (1 Timothy 6:1-10)

29. We do not believe in high-pressure methods of begging people to donate money or persuading people to join our church. We simply believe in preaching the Gospel and leaving the results to the Lord. (Acts 2:47) (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) (1 Corinthians 16:2) (Isaiah 55:11).

30. Finally, we believe in the absolute and eternal sovereignty of God; we believe, presently and in the hereafter, all things will glorify God; everything from his saints, who will be with him, to those who will spend eternity in the lake of fire, glory be to God. (Daniel 4:35) (Psalms 76:10) (Isaiah 42:8) (Jude 25) (Revelation 4:11)

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