FBC Wake Village Articles of Faith
Beginning in the summer of 2006 and through the early part of 2007, the leadership of First Baptist Church Wake Village carefully considered and presented the following articles concerning our faith to the church body with the recommendation that they be adopted.
The practice of a local congregation publishing its own confession is entirely consistent with our Southern Baptist tradition and heritage. In fact, the Preamble section of both the 1963 and 2000 Baptist Faith and Message states that “any group of Baptists, large or small, have the inherent right to draw up for themselves and publish to the world a confession of their faith whenever they may think it advisable to do so.”
The following statement of our faith is guided only by scripture and its purpose is to clearly set forth the basic and essential beliefs that we commonly hold and to guard our church members from teaching or being taught erroneous doctrine.
The Confession of Faith
of First Baptist Church Wake Village, Texas
We teach concerning:
I. The Scriptures:
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were written by men under divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. They are wholly inerrant and infallible in all of their teachings and are the only sufficient, certain, authoritative revelation and absolute mentor of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.
2nd Timothy 3:15-16, 2nd Peter 1:21, John 10:35b; 14:26; 17:17.
There is but one God, the first person of the Trinity. He is a personal being, of infinite knowledge, the Sovereign Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, Judge, and Ruler over all things. He is, in and of Himself, holy and cannot be tempted to do evil nor can He tempt others to do evil. He is perfect and infinite in all of His attributes. He is the source of all blessings; and to Him mankind owes the highest love, reverence, and obedience.
Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 45:5-6; 55:11, 1st Timothy 2:5, 1st Corinthians 8:6, 2nd Samuel 22:31, James 1:13; 1:17.
III. The Trinity:
God has revealed Himself to us in the persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Each of Whom has a distinct role. Each is without division of nature, essence, being, or purpose.
Matthew 28:19, John 10:30; 14:9, Matthew 3:16-17, Hebrews 1:3.
From eternity, God decrees or permits all things that come to pass and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events. Yet, God’s providence does not destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.
Ecclesiastes 3:11, Psalm 148:6, 1st Corinthians 2:7, Acts 17:26-28, Isaiah 46:9-10.
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.
Ephesians 1:4-6; 1:11, John 6:37, 6:44, 6:65; Matt 22:14, Romans 8:29-30; 9:11-12, 1st Thessalonians 1:4-5, Revelation 13:8, 1st Corinthians 2:14, Isaiah 46:9-10.
VI. The Fall of Man:
God originally created man in His own image free from sin, but through the temptation by Satan, man transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness. As a consequence, all of man’s (naturally born) posterity inherit a nature that is spiritually and morally corrupt, dead in trespasses and sins, and wholly opposed to God and His law. Fallen mankind is under God’s condemnation and wrath. As soon as each person is capable of moral action (decision), he becomes an actual transgressor.
Genesis 2:16-17; 3:4-6, Ephesians 2:1. Romans 3:10-12; 3:23, John 3:36, Romans 2:5; 6:23a.
VII. Christ, The Son of God and Mediator:
Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God and the second person of the Trinity. He is the sole divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, He took upon Himself the nature of a man; yet, He is without any mixture of sin. He perfectly fulfilled the Law, suffered, and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, was bodily resurrected on the third day, and ascended to His Father in Heaven in whose presence He ever lives to make intercession for His people. He alone is the sole and exclusive Redeemer and Mediator between God and man. He is the Prophet, Priest, King of the Church, and Sovereign of the universe.
John 3:16a, John 1:14, 1st Timothy 2:5, Acts 4:12, John 14:6, Matthew 5:17, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, 2nd Corinthians 5:21, 1st Peter 1:20, Philippians 2:6-8, Heb. 10:14. *1. (see notes on last page.)
VIII. The Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit of God is the third Person of the Trinity. He is eternal, is sent by the Father, is one in essence, nature, and purpose with the Father. He carries out the will of the Father. He regenerates (imparts new Spiritual life) to the spiritually dead, the unregenerate. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement. He empowers the believer and the Church in worship, evangelism, and service to God.
Matthew 28:19b, John 3:5-8; 16:8; 6:63; 15:26, Romans 8:11.
Regeneration (The New Birth) is a change of heart brought about by the Holy Spirit, who imparts new spiritual life to the dead in trespasses and sins. Regeneration enlightens the unbeliever’s mind spiritually to understand the Word of God and renews his or her whole nature; so that he or she expresses saving faith in Christ resulting in the practice of Godly love and holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone.
John 3:5-6, Titus 3:5, 2nd Corinthians 5:17, Ezekiel 36:26-27, 1st Corinthians 2:14, Ephesians 2:1.
Repentance is a grace of God in which believers, by the work of the Holy Spirit, are given both immediate and progressive knowledge and understanding of the guilt of their sins against a Holy God. Truly regenerate (born again) believers will respond by prayerfully humbling themselves before God, confessing their sins, and with Godly sorrow seek to turn from them. As the Holy Spirit progressively conforms believers into the image of Christ (sanctification), He enlightens their hearts and renews their minds to perceive the evilness, corruption, and magnitude of their sins, empowering believers to respond by detesting their remaining sins and purposing in their hearts to strive to walk before God, so as to please Him in all things.
2nd Corinthians 7:9-10, Matthew 3:8a, 1st. John 3:3, Luke 13:3, 5, 1st Timothy 1:15, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24, Isaiah 1:16, Psalm 38:18; 51:3, 119:11.
Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of all that is revealed in His Word concerning Christ and is accepting, trusting, and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is brought about in the heart by the Holy Spirit and is accompanied by all other saving graces and the fruit of the Spirit. Furthermore, saving faith leads to the pursuit of holiness and a life of holiness.
John 3:36a; 6:40, Romans 10:17, 1st John 2:23; 5:13, 1st Peter 1:14-16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Hebrews 11:1, 1st John 3:3, Galatians 5:22.
Justification is a legal declaration by God, in which He imputes the righteousness of Christ’s perfect obedience to the account of the believing sinner and imputes the sins of the sinner to the account of Christ. God graciously grants full acquittal and pardon of sinners who put their trust in Christ through the satisfaction [atonement] that Christ has made on their behalf. Justification is accomplished solely by the obedience and satisfaction of Christ and the sinner’s trust in Him and does not come about because of any effort in the sinner or work done by the sinner.
2nd Corinthians 5:21, 1st Peter 2:24.
Those who have been regenerated (born again) are also sanctified (set apart to a sacred purpose) by God’s Word and indwelling of the Spirit. This sanctification is both instant (at conversion) and progressive (throughout life) as the believer, in cooperation with the power of the Holy Spirit, faithfully continues the pursuit of being conformed to the image of Christ which is completed at glorification. All true believers seek sanctification and strive after a holy life in willing obedience to all of Christ’s commands.
Romans 8:29; 12:2, John 17:17, Acts 20:32, 1st Corinthians 6:11, 1st Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 10:14; 13:12, Galatians 1:15-16, 1st Peter 1:14.
XIV. Perseverance of the Saints:
Those whom God has accepted in Christ and sanctified by His Spirit can never totally or finally fall away from the state of grace, but they will certainly persevere in their faith until the end. Believers may, through neglect and temptation, fall into sin, grieve the Spirit, and impair their graces and fellowship with God. They may, therefore, bring reproach on the Church and temporal judgments on themselves. Yet, they shall be renewed again to repentance and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Philippians 1:6, John 10:28-30, Acts 14:22, Colossians 1:21-23.
XV. The Church:
The Church is the Bride of Christ. The local congregation is an autonomous* body under the Lordship of Christ and is composed of true baptized believers in Christ. In Christ is vested absolute power with regard to the Church’s establishment and administration. According to His commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into churches. To the Church Christ has given authority for administering to that body worship and discipline which He has appointed. The regular officers of a Church are: Pastors (Elders) and Deacons. The office of Pastor (Elder) is scripturally reserved for men.
Revelation 19:7-8, Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 5:23b; 5:24a, Hebrews 10:24-25, 1st Timothy 3:12; 2:12, Titus 1:5-6. *2.
Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus obligatory upon every able-bodied believer by which that believer is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. It is not required for salvation, but is a sign of the believer’s willing identification with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself up to God to live and walk in newness of life. Baptism is prerequisite to church membership.
Matthew 28:19, Romans 6:4, Mark 1:10a. *3.
XVII. The Lord’s Supper:
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ to be administered with the elements of bread and the fruit of the vine and is to be observed by His Church until the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to picture and commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge, and renewal of their communion with Him and of their Church fellowship.
Luke 22:17-20, Mark 14:22-24.
XVIII. The Lord’s Day:
In keeping with the tradition of the Apostles and with the early New Testament church, local churches are to gather on the first day of the week, every week, in order to celebrate Christ’s resurrection through corporate worship, fellowship, and proclamation of the Word. The Lord’s Day should be given special status as a day set aside and dedicated to both private and public worship of God.
Mark 16:9, John 20:19, Acts 20:7. *4.
XIX. Church and State:
God alone is Lord of the conscience. Lawful civil governments are ordained of God to preserve and sustain an orderly society. The believer is obligated to obey all lawful things commanded by the government as long as the laws do not violate a clear commandment of scripture. Christians should be committed to the separation of church and state as institutions, but this is not to say that the state should never weigh the moral teachings of the Church when making rulings or laws.
Romans 13:1-6, Mark 12:17, Acts 5:29.
XX. The Resurrection of Men:
The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God — the righteous go to rest with Him; the wicked are reserved under darkness until the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.
Genesis 3:19, Ecclesiastes 3:20; 12:5, 2nd Corinthians 4:14; 5:8, Romans 8:30, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Acts 24:15, Philippians 2:9-11.
XXI. The Judgment:
God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall receive according to his deeds. The wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life.
Acts 17:30-31, Matthew 25:41; 45-46, John 12:48, Revelation 14:7; 20:12-13; 21:8, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
Christ has commanded to the church: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Furthermore, believers are exhorted by the Apostle Peter: “In your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always be prepared to give a reason to anyone who asks you, for the hope that is in you, but do this with gentleness and respect.” It is commanded by Christ to all believers, individually, to equip themselves for their part in the great task of making disciples of all nations. Every believer is to be competent to articulate the message of God’s judgment upon lost sinners and redemption in Christ for the repentant.
Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8, 1st Peter 3:15.
The covenant of marriage is instituted by God in the Old Testament, and affirmed by Christ in the New Testament. Biblical marriage is solely, restrictively, and exclusively, between one man and one woman. It is God’s plan for a marriage to last until the death of either party. Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are, we owe to Him. Christians owe a spiritual debt to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are, therefore, under obligation to serve God with their time, talents, and material possessions. Christians 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 from their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.
Hebrews 7, 2nd Corinthians 9:6-7.
*1. Article VII. The two words only begotten [Son] in John 3:16 KJV are sometimes quoted in an attempt to “prove” that Jesus could not be eternal God because there was a point in time when He was begotten -came into existence. However, the two words only begotten are translated from the compound Greek word: monogenes (mono’ghen ace). This word has nothing to do with birth or coming into existence, but means: “Unique, One of a kind, One of a class.” Most modern translations render monogenes as: Only or One and only.
*2. Article XV. Autonomous: Not under the rule or authority of any single human supreme leader, such as a Pope (Catholic) or an Arch-Bishop (Episcopalian).
*3. Article XVI. In Mark 1:10 (also Acts 8:39), the Greek for “came up”…out of the water, is anabaino, and means “to ascend or to rise up.” It is also the same word Jesus used of His ascension from (down on) Earth, (up) into Heaven (John 20:17). Furthermore, one Greek word used for baptism (baptizo) means “to dip,” and was used to describe the process of dying cloth. Baptists believe the Biblical model of baptism is by immersion.
*4. Article XVIII. The early Christians distinguished themselves from the Jews by meeting for worship on “The Lord’s Day,” which was Sunday, the day of His resurrection, the first day of the week.
Letter from the Chairman of the Committee responsible for drafting the Confession of Faith:
After looking over many historical Baptist “Statements/Confessions of Faith,” It seemed good to settle on the Abstract Of Principles as the basis for the confession of First Baptist Church Wake Village. Quotes from The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 have also been used. The [original] Abstract Of Principles has twenty articles (to which four have been added – The Holy Spirit, Evangelism, Marriage, and Stewardship). The “Abstracts” were drawn from the confession of faith of the very first Baptist Association established in the South (in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1751). The Charleston Confession was a duplicate of the Second London Confession (also known as the London Baptist Confession of 1689). The Abstracts were drawn up by Basil Manly Jr. in 1858 as the Founding Charter of the first Southern Baptist Seminary (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky). The heritage of this confession of faith is important as it gives us continuity with our historical Southern Baptist roots.
The London Baptist Confession of 1689 is excellent but has 32 articles, some of which deal with issues that are not of as much concern in Southern Baptist churches today. The original Abstract of Principles has a degree of “King James English,” and uses some antiquated terms — which have been updated; also added are some sentences and a few notes for further clarification and explanation on some of the articles.
Our Pastor, Brother Scott Neathery, and the deacon body of 2006 and early 2007, met monthly for several months to study and discuss each of these articles. Subsequently, Brother Scott preached through each of the articles on successive Wednesday evenings after which our church voted unanimously to adopt them in the November 14, 2007, business meeting. Dr. Tom Nettles, professor of Theology and Baptist History at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written: “The more points of agreement in a church’s statement of faith, the greater their unity.” All would agree with this statement, but it is also possible for a confession to become “voluminous” to the point that it gets confusing and even restrictive. Our goal was to concisely cover all important doctrines while not watering down any meaning of scripture. Some articles have asterisks (*) that appear at the end. These point to notes of additional information and clarification of particular words or phrases.
Chairman of the Drafting Committee and Vice-Chairman of Deacons