B F & M – The Family

This will be the final article on the Articles of our Statement of Faith, called the “Baptist Faith and Message”.

This Article was added to the 1963 version of the BF&M in the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention.  It was a needed article.  It clarifies where we as Southern Baptists stand on family issues.  It does make clear that marriage is to be one man and one woman, thus ruling out homosexual or same sex marriage and/or conduct, and all sexual immorality.

The family is the foundational institution which God created from the beginning.  God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, and He created the woman from the rib of Adam, making her his wife, friend, confidant, and lover.  The family was instituted before the Church, it was instituted before human government; thus it is an integral part of humanity and godliness.

Here is our Statement of Faith on “The Family”:

“XVIII. The Family

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.”

This Article shows the order for the Biblical/Christian family.  If there is to be order in any business, church, government, or organization; there will of necessity be leaders who will be designated to make decisions based on recommendations from others.  The same is true in families.  God has ordained that the man be the “Head of the wife”, as Christ is the “Head of the Church” (Ephesians 5:22-23), and I like the way this is worded in the BF&M statement, “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.”; especially “…to the servant leadership of her husband…”.  Men this is not a matter of having your way.  It is a matter of love, and “Servant leadership”.

This Article also deals with the children, and their discipline.  One of my thoughts on the things we give our children is, and I have often told others; “The best thing we can give our kids, is to let them see Dad loving and cherishing their Mother”.  A marriage should never be divided by the children.  The marriage came first, in the Biblical situation, and you will be living with your spouse for the rest of  your life.  That should not be so of your children.  They are to go out from your home and make a life for themselves.

In the healthy, godly home there will be no abusive situation.

-T.A.

B F & M – Religious Liberty

The freedoms which the United States of America revere and cherish are due to the hearts and minds of godly forefathers who came to this land seeking freedom from government which had become unfriendly to religion.  The Constitution of the United States was written and signed by many men who believed in freedom of religion.  That is “Freedom of religion” not ‘freedom from religion’.

It is written, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.  The government of the USA is never to tell any church what they can do, and it is never to recognize any one denomination over another.  There is to be no State sanctioned religion.

This freedom which we have is endorsed and espoused by Baptists.  We love freedom.  Maybe because it comes from our Creator, and He is the One who gives the true freedom from sin, which is available through His Son Jesus Christ.

Our Statement of Faith on Religious Liberty:

“XVII. Religious Liberty

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.”

Baptist churches are dependent upon the Lord for our support.  We receive tithes and offerings from members of our congregation, and believe that is how the church and its ministries are to be funded.  We are not, nor will not be dependent upon the government for our support.

We believe each Christian is responsible to our government to pay taxes, for the support of law enforcement, and maintaining services available for the benefit of our Nations people.  We are to obey our government when the things required of us do not violate our conscience or God’s Word, which should coincide with one another.  One of our responsibilities as citizens of the United States of America is to go and vote at every opportunity.  In our vote we have a voice, and can change the course of a Nation which is drifting away from God.

We also believe that prayer is the greatest means of changing the way our government operates.  The change of heart in our leaders is the only thing that will turn our Nation back to God.

-T.A.

B F & M – Peace and War

Voicing our opinions and convictions are some things we Baptists are known for.  Every Christian has an opinion about anything, and sometimes everything.  There are some pretty heavy and hard debates over some things as well.  I believe that we can disagree without being disagreeable.  Or, you might even say, Without going to war over it.

As Christians we should never desire war.  Whether it is in a foreign land or within our own; war should be avoided when, and if it is possible to maintain freedom, and preserve life.

It is my opinion and I believe also one of Scripture that the passive approach to war is futile to our existence.  When we are faced with extinction by an invader in our homes it would be right to protect our family.  There are not too many USA citizens who would disagree.  The same is true when our Nation is attacked.  Rather than being defensive there must be an offensive attack.

As with the war in Iraq, we are supposed to be there in an offensive war, due to the attacks of September 11, 2001.  I realize many do not see it that way, and that is okay.  Saddam Hussein was a threat to the people of Iraq, the United States of America, and to the world.  He needed to be dealt with.  God does not frown on us defending our lives and our liberty; and/or the lives and liberty of others.

Here is our Statement of Faith on the subject of “Peace and War”:

“XVI. Peace and War

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.”

Some time ago I was listening to a News interview of a former Muslim terrorist.  He was asked, how terrorist are convinced to stop being terrorists?.  His answer was enlightening and encouraging.  He said, “Most cease being terrorists because of Christianity”.  He is actually saying that these former terrorist, including himself, stop being terrorists because they had trusted Jesus Christ as Savior.

If we desire peace rather than war with those who are terrorists; those who are threatening to destroy America; those who hate our freedom, our faith, our culture, and really our God; then, we must pray for God’s intervention in their hearts.  Only a changed heart for Christ Jesus will convince them to cease and desist from their terror on the world.

We must pray for peace.  We must pray for the Prince of Peace, who is our Lord and Savior, to come and give peace in the world.  He is the only true source of peace on earth.

Come quickly Lord Jesus.

-T.A.

B F & M – The Christian and the Social Order

For the most part down through the history of Baptists we have been economically poor people.  That is not to say that we have not had well to do people in our churches.  We have been a hard working, devoted class of people, who would give to anyone in need.

In some cases, and maybe in many ways we still are.  Our National and State Conventions offer aid to victims of storms accross our Nation.  When our Nation was attacked on September 11, 2001; and there was cleanup work to be done of nearby appartments we had cleanup crews cleaning, at no charge, to the residents of those appartments in order for them to return to a somewhat normal life.  We also had crews feeding people, at the same time.

I heard the other day that the Southern Baptist Convention had the third largest Crisis Team in the United States with the Red Cross being number one, Salvation Army second.  Why do it?  Because we are caring people who care for other people.  Most of all, because we love Jesus Christ and want others to know our Savior.

Baptists people are also people who see problems in the society we live in and are quick to point out the dangers we see.  Things involving immorality; such as all forms of sexual sins, and things which cause harm to our families.

Here is our Statement of Faith:

“XV. The Christian and the Social Order

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.”

As you can see by our Statement of Faith we are a people who cherish life.  We believe that life begins at conception.  I insert here that, if life is not sacred before the child is born, then, he/she will not be sacred after she/he is born.  God gives life and only He has the right to take life away, and sometimes that is done through human government, by way of capital punishment; for capital offenses.

In Micah 6:8 the God inspired prophet wrote, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of  you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”  That is the belief of faithful, committed Baptists.  That should be the attitude of all Christians.

-T.A.

B F & M – Cooperation

We as Baptists are many times a quarrelling people.  We have even been known to have fights over certain matters, and that is a truth we do not try to hide.  Is it right?  Sometimes, but most of the time we fight over trivial things.  Things that will not matter in eternity.

For the most part we as Baptists are also a forgiving people.  When we have our fights the heart of Christ in the truly regenerate will forgive the wrongs done to us, and/or to one another.  Most of all we believe in the forgivness of Christ.

The truth of Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection is what binds us together as Baptists, and what gives us the desire to cooperate with all Christians no matter what denomination they are of; as long as their actions and beliefs do not cause us to compromise our Bible doctrine, and beliefs in Christ.

Our Statement of Faith states:

“XIV. Cooperation

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.”

Though sometimes we have difficulty getting along with one another we also know the Biblical mandate to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We know the strength of being united with others who are strong in the Lord, and the support we can give and receive by being united in Christ.

There are times we may be slow at joining in with another group of Christians, but that is not without merit.  Those who are doctrinally sound will be diligent to discern the situation, to pray and seek God’s guidance.  We should not desire to end up with a similar situation as Joshua when he was deceived by the Gibeonites (Joshua 9).

We pray for our brethren of other churches.  We will join with them when we see the need, and it does not compromise our faith.  We know that our Lord has other flocks, than Baptists alone.  We just happen to believe that Baptists are closer to Biblical doctrine than the others.  That is partly why we are Baptists.

-T.A.

B F & M – Stewardship

Many people, and even some Baptists flinch at the word “Stewardship”.  A pastor stands behind the pulpit, and proclaims his subject as “Stewardship”, and the first thing that goes through many minds is, “Here comes a sermon on giving our money”.

Stewardship involves much more than money.  It entails the care of what has been given us for use.  I have lived in a rented house.  I am a steward of this house.  We now live in a house of our own [and the mortgage companies], along with a few acres of land.  It is the place God has provided my wife and I to live.  We have a 2000 and 2001 model Mercury Grand Marquis automobiles.  They too, were given us by God, to care for and maintain, and to keep in as good of care as we possibly can.  We are stewards of these things.

We are also all stewards of this planet called earth which we live on.  We are to give of our tithes and offerings.  Our Statement of Faith does not mention “Titheing” per se, but rather, “…binding stewardship in their possessions”.  We should count titheing as a privilege.  One hundred percent of our income is God’s, and all we are asked to return to acknowledge God’s ownership is 10% of it.  Gifts and offerings come above this.

Here is our Statement of Faith on the matter of Stewardship:

“XIII. Stewardship

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.”

The tithe shows our recognition of God’s ownership.  There are many who want to tell us that the tithe is an Old Testament principle.  Jesus has taught it in the New.  Jesus tells us:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”  Matthew 23:23 (KJV).

If you noticed He commends the tithe, but is condemning them for not practicing other matters of the law.  If Christians, and Baptists in particular would tithe to their local congregation, there is no church in the USA which would be hurting financially with the wise use of their resources, and missions and evangelism would be supported more effectively as well.

Be careful to take good care of the resources God has blessed you with.  Practice judgment, mercy, and faith, and take care of what God has blessed you with materially; and recognize God’s ownership of your income.

-T.A.

B F & M – Education

In Baptist life education is important.  The education of our children concerning the Bible, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is a part of Christian growth.  The Bible is very clear concerning education.  God is for education and not ignorance concerning Himself.

Hear the words of the prophet Hosea:

Hear the word of the LORD you children of Israel, for the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: ‘There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.”  Hosea 4:1 (NKJV).

And he continues in the sixth verse:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.  Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of God, I also will forget your children.”  Hosea 4:6 (NKJV).

The idea of ignorance in a Baptist family, church, or institution of learning should be anathema.  Further Paul wrote to Timothy,

“Study, to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15.

Any Christian man or woman should give themselves to the education of God’s Word.  That begins first of all by one’s own personal commitment to Jesus Christ, then a commitment to the daily feeding of God’s Word in private and personal devotions.  If the Christian man or woman is following God’s call for ministry then, that should include the study of God’s word from those who have been trained to teach it.  If that is in a Bible School, Seminary, or elsewhere, then that individual should be sure that the education they receive will be sound in the truth of God’s Word.

The Christian man and woman should be the intelligent ones in any conversation.  I am not saying “Know it all”.  Just to be wise and sensible; espcially in the things of God.

Here is our Statement of Faith on Education:

“XII. Education

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.”

Fathers and mothers be sure to teach your children the way of the Lord. The Bible should not be a strange book in your house.  It should be opened, read from, taught, and practiced.  It is the life of the child of God, that will lead your children to follow your God.

-T.A.

B F & M – Evangelism and Missions

The greatest joy of my life was meeting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It was due to a faithful father and mother who loved me, took me to a church where I heard of Jesus, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and had faithful pastors who proclaimed it in a Baptist Church.

The second greatest joy of my life is having been used by the Lord to see others trust Him as their personal Lord and Savior.  It is a joy to be a pastor and watch those who have been saved grow and mature more into the image of Jesus our Savior.  One thing every Christian must understand is that we are all missionaries.  It is just that some of us have not been called to go overseas, but we have been called to go next door to our neighbor, our families, and our work associates.

Here is our Statement of Faith on Evangelism and Missions:

“XI. Evangelism and Missions

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.”

The one Scripture which is foremost for the calling for going and being missionaries and evangelist for Jesus Christ and the Gospel is Matthew 28:18-20.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”  (NKJV).

We count it a privilege, an honor, and it is the Great Commission of our Lord as well.  A commandment to go and make disciples for Jesus.  We are not called to use force, or threat, but the love of Jesus for mankind as He took our place on the cross.  We are not called save;  for we cannot; we are called to proclaim, and leave the saving to our Lord.

-T.A.

B F & M – Last Things (Eschatology)

The study of “Last things” is one of my own favorite lines for ruminating Scriptures.  There are a vast aray of differences of the understanding of “Last thing”, that the BF&M of 2000, covers most of what we as Baptists believe concerning the return of Jesus Christ.

Studying the Revelation, the Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament, and their prophecies concerning the first coming of Jesus, and also concerning the second coming of Jesus is a fascinating endeavor.

There is blessing and reward for those who love the appearing of the Lord: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” 2 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV).  This is clearly concerning the appearing of Christ when He comes in all His glory, and becomes King of Jerusalem, and the world.

Our Statement of Faith:

“X. 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 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.”

There are many things which happen before the appearing of Jesus in His glory.  There are several views concerning these events, and some views which do not believe in some of the events that I do.

Some believe in the “Rapture of the Church” which there are probably three views concerning this as to the timing of the rapture.  There is the “pre-tribulation rapture” view; then, the “mid-tribulation rapture” view, and some who believe in a “post-tribulation” view.  There are some who do not believe in a rapture.

There are some of us who believe in a millennial [one thousand year] reign of Christ on earth when He comes in His glory.  There are some who believe that all prophecy has been fulfilled.  I will not get into that study here.  The study of “Last things” is called – “Eschatology”

For my beliefs on these “Last things” you can go to Fire and Hammer, or click Revelation or Thessalonians in the sidebar called Gleanings (categories).

-T.A.

B F & M – The Kingdom

There is a kingdom coming on earth which is unlike any kingdom to ever exist.  It seems that the “Crusades” which were foolish “Christian” attempts to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth has brought legend and myth to the idea of a heavenly kingdom.

When Jesus was with us on earth, He said to His disciples as He sent them to preach, “…As you go, preach saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.  That meaning, of course, that it was very near.  The Gospel of Matthew uses the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven”.  “Kingdom of God” is used mostly by the other Gospel writers.  There are some who believe that means it is speaking of two realms of divine reign; and most believe one encompassing the other.

Here is our Statement of Faith concerning the Kingdom:

“IX. The Kingdom

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.”

There is one thing we can know for sure and that is that Jesus Christ is the King of the kingdom of heaven, and His kingdom which will come on the earth.

In His kingdom on earth, there will be no more wars, but peace will abound.  There will be no more sickness, health will abound.  There will be only beauty, joy, and love.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom.

Those who refuse Jesus as their King will be cast alive into everlasting fire.  The blessed kingdom reign of Jesus is coming when Jesus comes again.

-T.A.

B F & M – The Lord’s Day

In the Old Testament the people of Israel were to worship God, and rest on the seventh day of the week.  It is called the sabbath day.  It was on the seventh day that God ceased in His work of creating.

As Baptists we do not see the First day of the week as the sabbath, but as the day of remembering the resurrection of our Lord.  It is the beginning of a new week.  It represents a New Life, and particularly New Life in Jesus Christ.  We are living resurrected lives, no longer condemned under the law lives.

The following is our Statement of Faith:

“VIII. The Lord’s Day

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.”

Though this day is not the sabbath day of the Old Testament, nor one of the other sabbath days the Israelites were required to honor, we must still respect a day of rest.

The Lord’s Day has always been a day of rest in my family.  We have attended worship services on Sunday morning and evening.  It is a wonderful day for remembering the wonder of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is surely a sign of our departure from the Lord, that everything in the business world is doing business on this day.  One day there will be the Day of the Lord where there will be judgment and that day will not be pleasant.

-T.A.

B F & M – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

As Baptists we do not consider Baptism or the Lord’s Supper as sacraments – or as being necessary for one’s salvation – that would be an addition to grace.  Baptism is a command of Scripture, but if it is not obeyed from a heart of love for Christ, then it would be without meaning and purpose.  The following is the Statement of Faith concerning these ordinances:

“VII. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

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.”

Baptism is also the confession of our faith in Christ, His death, burial and resurrection.  It is symbolized by the putting under the water – the death and burial, and the resurrection by coming up from the water.  The celebration of Baptism should be just that a Celebration of one’s faith in Christ.  When you are baptised invite your saved and lost friends to declare unto them your faith in Jesus Christ, and proclaim it by the baptism into Christ Jesus and the local church.

The Lord’s Supper can only legitimately be received by those who have followed the Lord faithfully into the baptismal waters.  Jesus Himself, commanded us to partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him until He comes again.  Every time we take the bread which reminds us of his body, bruised from the beatings, broken, and bleeding we are to do it with the expectation of His soon return.  We take the cup of the ‘fruit of the vine’, we are reminded of that precious blood that was shed for our salvation.  “The life of the flesh is in the blood”, and “it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul” (Leviticul 17:11).

The blood of Jesus Christ sufficient to save the whole world, but only efficient enough to save those who will believe.

-T.A.

B F & M – The Church

I heard of a man who walked into the pastor’s office and began telling the pastor that he was a missionary for the “Invisible church”.  He was asking for support in his “Mission work”, to which the pastor of the local church responded, by giving him an invisible check.

Most Baptist believe in the authority of the local church.  The local church is visible congregation.  It has a visible congregation, with officers pastors and deacons, and members who serve the other duties of that congregation.

When you look at the epistles [letters] which Paul the apostle wrote, they were written to local churches.  The letters of Jesus Christ in the Revelation chapters two and three, is addressed to local congregations.  There is much more emphasis put on the local church than on the idea of an “Universal or invisible church”.  The Body of Christ functions in local churches.

The following is our Statement of Faith concerning the church:

“VI. The Church

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.”

As Baptists we do believe that the office of pastor is reserved for men.  There is plenty of Scriptural evidence for this belief.  In First Timothy 3:1-7 the qualifications of the elder/bishop/pastor is related directly to the male gender.  For instance; “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…”.  I have a friend who pointed out, “When a woman can be the husband of one wife, then I can accept her as a pastor”.   I believe he would have meant as long as she met the other qualifications.

The local church was established by the Lord Jesus.  Each local church is made up of born again, baptized believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Every member is regenerated by the Spirit of God, reborn in Christ Jesus, and baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and into the local church.

This will be addressed later: Baptism is by immersion, ie., putting under the water.

-T.A.

B F & M – God’s Purpose of Grace

Here is our SBC Statement of Faith on “God’s purpose of Grace”:

“V. God’s Purpose of Grace

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.”

There are some who want to tell us that people who were saved in the Old Testament were saved by their works.  That is not so.  They were all saved by faith looking forward to the cross of Jesus Christ.  People today are saved looking back to the cross of Jesus.

It is said of Noah, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6:8 (KJV).  The word ‘Grace’ is found more often in the book of Genesis than in all four New Testament Gospels combined (12 times in Genesis; 4 times in Luke and John with 3 of those in John).  Now, would someone tell me that the Old Testament people were saved by their works.  Go figure.

The one New Testament Scripture that stands out as a favorite for all Christians is Ephesians 2:8-10.  That is right I include verse ten.  It is one we too often leave out.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Trust the God of grace.

-T.A.

B F & M – Salvation

Living in this world we  often hear people ask the question, “What do we need salvation from?”  As mentioned in the previous post concerning our Statement of Faith on “Man” we do believe that man is a fallen being; meaning that we have fallen out of fellowship with our Creator, and therefore, we are a condemned race.  We need the salvation which only our Creator can provide us.

Here is our Statement of Faith concerning Salvation:

“IV. Salvation

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.

A. 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.

B. 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.

C. 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.

D. 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.”

Let me try and clarify the meaning of “Justification”.  It is the act of God declaring righteousness on the believer.  It is the same as God’s declaring us as “Saints”.  It is certainly undeserved on our part.  It is God’s declaration and the placing of the righteousness of Jesus Christ on us.  Jesus Himself taking our unrighteousness while on the cross and putting it to death at His death.

It is truly a marvelous salvation.

-T.A.

B F & M – Man

The estate of man is often questioned and discussed.  When it comes to knowing the truth of the matter concerning humankind, there is only one reliable source of information and that is God’s Word – the Bible.  Below you will see the Baptist Faith and Message statement concerning Man:

“III. Man

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.”

Originally, man was created in the state of innocence, with no sin.  God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and made him a living soul.

In our Statement of Faith (BF& M) we say, “endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice”.  Adam, the first man, used that freedom, sinned against God, thus condemning the whole human race – his children, grandchildren; all who would come from his seed.

Man is a totally depraved race.  Without God’s grace we are a condemned race.

-T.A.

B F & M – God – The Holy Spirit

There seems to be many professing Christians who are not seeing the Trinity of God in Scriptures.  The teaching is clearly revealed throughout the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit is the one that many want to leave out of the picture.  They only see Him as a power, an influence, but not a person of the Godhead, or the final person of the Trinity.

We Baptists believe in the Trinity, because it is a doctrine of Scripture.  Many will say, “That word ‘trinity’ is nowhere used and the Bible”, and they would be correct, yet the idea is clearly presented as I declared in an earlier post.  The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all at work “In the beginning” (Genesis 1:1-3); the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are again clearly seen at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3).

The following is from our Statement of Faith concerning the Holy Spirit:

“C. 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.”

It was by the Spirit of God, also known as the Holy Spirit, that we have Holy Scripture and by these we can know God, His Son Jesus, and the power of the Spirit.  It is because of the Spirit that we are “Sealed until the day of redemption”,

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV).

Without the Holy Spirit of God moving there is no one who would ever be saved and delivered from sin and its temptations.  Jesus was dependent upon the Holy Spirit.  It was the Spirit who led Him into the wilderness and strengthened Him for those 40 days and nights.  It is by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we know we are the children of God.

“Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”  Romans 8:9b (NKJV).

The Spirit of Christ is, of course, the Holy Spirit.  It is also the Holy Spirit who equips Christians to serve the Lord Jesus.  He points all to Christ, glorifying Him and Him alone.  He does not call attention to Himself, but to Christ.  We can know that anytime anyone is magnifying the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their lives they are completely out of line with Scripture, and out of fellowship with God.

We as Baptists have often been accused of neglecting the work of the Holy Spirit, but that is not really the case.  We see Him as being quietly, peaceably, behind the scenes glorifying our Savior, giving us power to live for the honor and glory of Jesus, and calling no attention to ourselves, but Jesus alone.

-T.A.

B F & M – God: The Son

One of the very basic doctrines of Baptists is the belief and Biblical teaching of the deity of Jesus Christ.  The Bible is quite clear on this teaching, and it is clear from much of Jesus’s own words.

Here is our Statement of Faith concerning Jesus Christ:

“B. 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.”

Jesus was with the Father in the creation of all that is.  It is even said of Jesus, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” John 1:3 (KJV).  Then, again in Colossians the apostle Paul wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.”  Colossians 1:16-17 (KJV).

When you follow the ministry of Jesus through the Gospels you see much more than a man.  You see God who became flesh; “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (NKJV).  We see Him changing water to wine (John 2); we find Him walking on the water (John 6:15-21);  we see Him feeding five thousand people with only “five barley loaves  and two small fish” (John 6:1-14);  we also, see Him stilling a storm on the sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-27).  That is only a small number of the mighty things which Jesus did as the Son of God, God become flesh as He walked among men.  Only God can do these mighty things.

Jesus, also claimed deity for Himself. “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.  Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbat, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.”  John 5:17-18 (NKJV).  There are many who will admit that Jesus is the Son of God, but will not confess that He is indeed God incarnate.  If indeed He is the Son of God, that in itself declares He is God.

It is in Jesus Christ alone by which we are saved.

-T.A.

B F & M – GOD

There are many beliefs about “God”, and some could and would say, ‘gods’, but there is only one God.  The one God is the LORD.  He is the Creator of all that exists.  There is nothing that exists which He did not create.  He created all things, even that which He made in His own image, and after His likeness; for His own glory.

The Baptist Faith & Message statement:

“II. God

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.

A. 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.”

This statement of faith is just that, and it gives we Baptists a means of cooperating together.  Most Christians can agree with the statement given above, no matter what their denomination is.

In Genesis 1:1 we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (NKJV).  The name “God” given here is in Hebrew ‘Elohim’ a plural name for our Creator, and tells us that He is One yet has a plural personality.  Most Christians believe that is made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  That is where we stand as Baptists.  He is God.  We can actually see the Persons at work in the creation.  “God said”, that is His Word going forth to create, ie., the Living Word; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1.  Then, we see the Spirit, “Hovering over the face of the waters” Genesis 1:2.

In the New Testament there are at least two instances we see the trinity manifested, one of which is at the baptism of Jesus.

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  Matthew 3:16-17 (NKJV).

This clearly shows the presence of the Father, the One who spoke from heaven; we see the Spirit who descended in the form of the dove; and the Son is the One who was just baptized.  This is not only a Baptist teaching, but clearly a Biblical teaching.  We are a Biblical people.  Let’s continue to stand on the Biblical principles and teachings.

-T.A.

Originally posted at All Things Baptist (June ’07)

Baptist Faith and Message – Scriptures

In this article I will write about the Scriptures, or otherwise know as the Bible, the Holy Bible.  The first statement made in this article is the first statement of Southern Baptist Statement of Faith called the “Baptist Faith and Message”.  It has Scripture references with it.

“I. The Scriptures

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.”

One of the references given is from 2 Timothy 3:15-17, and is probably the most known among Southern Baptists and probably all Baptists.

“… That from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV).

As Baptists we believe that the Scriptures are the Word of God.  If anyone only believes that the Bible only “contains the Word of God”, then they are not truly Baptists.

By the Word of God we can know God, His heart, His passion, and we can know that He loves the human race.  We also can know that Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, ie., teaching; for reproof, ie., the exposing of error and heresy; for correction – that is setting forth of discipline in the church; and for instruction in righteousness – showing the people the things which will be pleasing to God and will glorify Him.

A second portion of Scripture I want us to look at is 2 Peter 1:19-21:

“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for the prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”  2 Peter 1:10-21 (NKJV)

When we study the Word of God we can rest assured that there will be no portion of it to contradict, lead us astray, or bring shame to our lives, or rob the glory that belongs only to God.  Not one verse can stand on its own, nor can one man’s interpretation of any one verse stand alone.  The verses of Scripture  must be understood in the light of the whole.

When you trust God and His Word, you have nothing to fear.  If we fear God we need fear nothing else.

-T.A.

Originally posted at All Things Baptist (June ’07)