EFFECTIVE MAY 6, 2018
ARTICLE I. NAME
The name of this church is FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH of NEW LEBANON.
ARTICLE II. AFFILIATION
This church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and yet is autonomous maintaining the right
to govern its own affairs, independent of denominational control.
ARTICLE III. MISSION STATEMENT
First Baptist Church of New Lebanon exists to glorify God by working together to make disciples who
change the world.
ARTICLE IV. STATEMENT OF FAITH
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.
Section 1 – 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.
Section 2 – 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.
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; Isaiah 53:1-12; 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.
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. 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.
Section 3 – 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 inherits 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.
Section 4 – 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 Savior.
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.
Section 5 – 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.
Section 6 – 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 (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), 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/elders 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.
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. 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.
Section 7 – 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.
Section 8 – 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.
Section 9 – 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.
Section 10 – 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.
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. 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.
Section 11 – 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.
Section 12 – 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.
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.
Section 13 – 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.
Section 14 – 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.
Section 15 – 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.
Section 16 – 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.
Section 17 – 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.
Section 18 – Gender and Sexuality
We believe God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between one man and one woman who are married to each other (1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4). We believe God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between one man and one woman. We believe any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matthew 15:18-20; 1 Corinthians 6:9 -10).
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of FBCnl as the local church, and to provide a biblical role model to FBCnl members and the community, it is imperative that all persons in leadership at FBCnl in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this statement on “gender and sexuality” (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:22).
We believe God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). We believe every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). We renounce any hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual and consider them not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of FBCnl.
Genesis 1:26-27; Matthew 5:16; 15:18-20; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31; Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:8-11, 18; 7:2-5; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Hebrews 13:4.
Section 19 – Marriage and Family
We believe marriage is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman before God, for the purpose of loving God, loving one another, and displaying the Christ-church union. We recognize and celebrate the distinct and complementary roles and responsibilities God has given to men and women in living out the marriage covenant.
God designed parents to be the lead worshipers and primary disciple-makers in the home. FBCnl desires to serve and partner with families as we seek to teach children to love God and others.
We also believe God has given some people the gift of singleness, not as a secondary status but as a worthy and holy calling free from some of the “worldly troubles” of marriage. We desire to see single individuals thrive in serving the Lord and the church.
In accordance with our beliefs about marriage and in line with the Scriptures, we generally counsel couples away from divorce and toward reconciliation and renewal, which is a reflection of the gospel itself. As a church body, we seek to provide all married couples with support and encouragement toward building strong and healthy marriages that are able to resist divorce and overcome relational conflict and sin.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-25; Exodus 12:26-27; 13:14; 20:1-21; Deuteronomy 4:1-10; 6:4-9; 31:9-13; 1 Corinthians 7:1-40; Ephesians 5:21-6:4; Colossians 3:18-23; 1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12; 2 Timothy 3:10-17; Titus 1:6; Hebrews 12:4-11; 13:4.
ARTICLE V. MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 – Qualifications
To qualify for membership, a person must be a believer in Jesus Christ, baptized by immersion as a believer, agree with and submit to the teaching of Scripture as stated in the Statement of Faith and willing to sign the Membership Covenant and fulfill its commitments. In addition, members shall have completed the requirements for membership as defined by the elders.
Section 2 – Admission
The elders shall be responsible for determining each person’s qualification for membership. The elders will recommend prospective members for admission to be accepted by majority vote of the active members at any regular or special Members’ Meeting, and at that point shall relinquish their membership in other churches.
Section 3 – Responsibilities
Membership within a local church carries both privileges and responsibilities. Members of the church are held accountable to the responsibilities of general Christian obligations comprehensively though not exhaustively outlined within the Membership Covenant. These responsibilities include praying for and pursuing both corporate health and individual holiness.
In accord with the duties enumerated in the Membership Covenant, each member shall be privileged and expected to participate in and contribute to the ministry and life of the church, consistent with God’s leading and with the gifts, time, material resources and financial resources each has received from God. Those who are members of this congregation shall be entitled to serve in all appropriate ministries of the church.
Under Christ, this congregation is governed by its members. Therefore, it is the privilege and responsibility of members to attend all Members’ Meetings and vote on the election of officers, on decisions regarding membership status, on the annual budget and other such matters that may be submitted for a vote.
Section 4 – Inactive Membership
If a member should choose to not participate in and contribute to the ministry and life in the church consistent with the Membership Covenant, the elders will be meet with the absent member to encourage their full participation in the gatherings and work of the church. If efforts to pursue an absent member prove to be ineffective, the member will be moved to the status of inactive member. Inactive members may not vote in Members' Meetings, nor hold any office in the church. The elders will determine when/if the responsibilities and privileges of full membership may be restored.
Exceptions will be made for previously communicated extended absences (i.e. long-term illness, military leave, etc.).
Section 5 – Church Discipline
Church discipline is a necessary mark of a healthy church and shall be applied in cases of sexual misconduct, gossip, divisiveness, dishonesty, and various other expressions of sin as stated in the Membership Covenant. In accordance with the biblical pattern generally outlined in Matthew 18:15-17, a person who evidences such sin will be confronted in an initial one-on-one meeting, followed by increasing engagement by ministerial and pastoral staff and elders.
Where the steps of discipline are exhausted in cases of unrepentant and/or habitual sin, the elders will consider removing a person from membership with the hope of eventual reconciliation and restoration. This removal may or may not include a prohibition to attend church services and events or serve in church ministries depending on the circumstances. In addition, it might include public disclosure of removal from membership and the circumstances leading to this decision to the corporate membership of the church. Those so disciplined may in turn be restored to fellowship upon recommendation of the elders and vote by the church, once the elders have determined that appropriate repentance has occurred.
Section 6 – Removal of Membership
Termination of membership shall be recognized by the church following the death or voluntary resignation of any church member, unless church discipline has been initiated. Membership may be terminated as an act of church discipline at the recommendation of the elders and with the vote of two-thirds of the members at any regular or special Members' Meeting. The request or recommendation to terminate membership must be presented to the church at a regular or special Members' Meeting, and then be voted on at the next regular or special Members' Meeting.
The church shall have authority to refuse a member’s voluntary resignation or transfer of membership to another church, either for the purpose of proceeding with a process of church discipline, or for any other biblical reason.
Section 7 – Non-members
Non-members and those pursuing membership may serve in certain roles of ministries alongside serving members with special permission from the elders. Volunteer areas reserved for membership include any teaching role such as small group leader for any age, teacher or any other spiritual leadership role.
Section 8 – Covenant Renewal
In order to effectively meet the needs of the members of the church, the elders may periodically call the members to renew their Membership Covenant.
ARTICLE VI. OFFICERS, STAFF AND ADMINISTRATION
Section 1 – Elders
The elders shall be comprised of not less than three men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder set forth in I Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9. No more than half of the men serving in active eldership may be on the regular payroll of the church, and no elder shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure.
The church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as elders. The church shall reaffirm this recognition triennially.
Subject to the will of the congregation, the elders shall oversee the ministry and resources of the church. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1–6 and I Peter 5:1–4, the elders shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock.
The elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, oversee the work of the deacons and appointed church agents and committees, conduct worship services, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, equip the membership for the work of the ministry, encourage sound doctrine and practice, admonish and correct error, oversee the process of church discipline, coordinate and promote the ministries of the church, and mobilize the church for world missions. Furthermore, the elders are to ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our fundamental convictions.
The elders may establish ministry positions or committees to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. The elders may also propose funding for new paid staff positions. The membership shall approve all candidates to fill the positions of lead pastor and associate pastor.
The elders shall have primary responsibility for the employment, supervision, and evaluation of staff members. This responsibility may, on a case-by-case basis, be delegated to another staff member or the Personnel Team.
The elders shall elect a chairman to preside over all elders’ meetings and shall also elect one of their number to serve as moderator of Members’ Meetings.
Each year the elders shall present to the church an annual, itemized budget at a special or regular Members’ Meeting. This budget shall be presented for discussion at that time and called up for a vote at the following Members’ Meeting. No money shall be solicited by or on behalf of the church or any of its ministries without the approval of the elders.
The elders will seek, at all times, to work together in unanimous agreement concerning the vision and work of the church. Issues will only be brought to the congregation for consideration when all elders are in agreement.
An elder's term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two members with reason to believe that an elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17 and I Timothy 5:17– 21. At the request of the elders, a written request will be presented at a Members’ Meeting and will be voted on in a subsequent Members’ Meeting. Dismissal of an elder requires a three-fourths vote of the members at a Members’ Meeting.
In the event that FBCnl has less than the minimum three elders required by the Constitution (Article VI, Section 1), the standing elder(s) may choose interim elders, made up of deacons and/or qualified men of the membership, to assist in elder functions until additional elders are appointed. During the provisional period, the team may be majority staff. These potential interim elders will be presented to the church for a three-fourths majority vote of active members.
The interim elders will function as elders including voting and decision-making rights. No actions will be taken without unanimous agreement.
These men will not assume the role of a permanent elder unless recommended by the standing elder(s), having met the criteria laid out in Article VI, Section 1 and elected by the active members (Article VII).
Interim elders will be reaffirmed every six months, as necessary, by a three-fourths majority vote of the active members.
The interim elders’ role and responsibilities will cease once a minimum of three elders is appointed.
Section 2 – Lead Pastor
The lead pastor shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder as described above (Article VI, Section 1) and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.
His call shall be defined as per Article VI, Section 1 and shall not be subject to the triennial reaffirmation for elders set out in Article VI, Section 1. He shall be the primary preacher on the Lord's Day and oversee the ordinances of baptism and communion.
In the event that the lead pastor is absent or the church is in search of a new lead pastor, the elders shall assume the responsibility for his duties, any of which can be delegated.
Section 3 – Associate Pastors
The church may call additional pastors whose relationship to the lead pastor is that of an associate.
An associate pastor must meet the qualifications of an elder and be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to vocational ministry. However, though he may be eligible to be an elder, the associate pastor does not necessarily assume the office of an elder.
The associate pastor’s duties shall be specified by the elders.
In the event that the church is without a lead pastor, no associate pastor shall assume the position of lead pastor.
Section 4 – Ministry Staff
The elders may hire additional staff to oversee specific ministries of the church. Duties shall be specified by the elders.
Section 5 – Support Staff
The elders may hire support staff to assist with ministries and/or additional needs of the church. Duties shall be specified by the elders.
Section 6 – Deacons
The office and qualifications of deacons are described in I Timothy 3:8–13 and Acts 6:1-7. The church shall recognize, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections, members who are giving of themselves in service to the church, and who possess particular gifts of service. These members shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as deacons. This recognition shall be reaffirmed by the church triennially.
Deacons shall care for the temporal needs of members, attend to the accommodations for public worship, and encourage and support those able to help others and those with gifts of administration. The deacons shall receive, hold, and disburse a fund for benevolence, with approval from the elders. Only total receipts and disbursements will be reported to the church.
The deacons, with the agreement of the elders, may establish unpaid administrative positions or committees of members to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities in the church.
A deacon’s term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two members with reason to believe that a deacon should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 and I Timothy 5:17-21. At the request of the elders, a written request will be presented at a Members’ Meeting and will be voted on in a subsequent Members’ Meeting. Dismissal of a deacon requires a three-fourth vote of the members at the Members’ Meeting.
Section 7 – Clerk
It shall be the duty of the clerk to record the minutes of all regular and special Members’ Meetings of the church, to preserve an accurate roll of the membership, and to render reports as requested by the lead pastor, the elders, the deacons, or the church.
The clerk shall issue letters of dismissal which have been voted on by the church.
The church clerk shall ensure that dated copies of the most recent revision of this Constitution shall be available for all church members. The clerk, a member in good standing in accordance with the Membership Covenant, shall be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation to serve a term of one year. The clerk may be reaffirmed by the church annually.
In the absence or incapacity of the clerk, the elders shall appoint a member to perform the duties of the church clerk.
Section 8 – Treasurer
The treasurer, who shall not be an active elder, shall ensure that all funds and securities of the church are properly secured in such banks, financial institutions, or depositories as appropriate.
The treasurer shall also be responsible for presenting regular reports of the account balances, revenues and expenses of the church at each Members’ Meeting. This responsibility may be delegated with the approval of the elders.
The treasurer shall assist the Finance Team or any other elder appointed committees in dealing with finances. The treasurer shall also ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the church, and that adequate controls are implemented to guarantee that all funds belonging to the church are appropriately handled by any officer, employee, or agent of the church.
The treasurer shall render to the elders annually, or whenever they may require it, an account of all transactions as treasurer and of the financial condition of the church.
The treasurer shall be bonded, with the church paying the required fee. All other persons who are authorized to sign checks and count receipts shall do so with another church member present.
The treasurer, a member in good standing in accordance with the Membership Covenant, shall be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation.
Section 9 – Personnel Team
The Personnel Team may be called upon to assist the elders in recruiting, interviewing and recommending candidates for support staff. The Personnel Team shall also serve to review and recommend changes to the Employee Handbook. Any recommendations shall be given to the elders for approval.
Members of the Personnel Team shall be members in good standing in accordance with the Membership Covenant and appointed by the elders. This recognition shall be reaffirmed by the church annually.
Section 10 – Finance Team
The Finance Team shall work under the direction of the elders to devise the means of keeping the church financially sound.
The following purchases must be submitted to the Finance Team for approval:
All non-routine purchases exceeding $100 not provided for in a particular’s ministry’s budget
All trustees recommendations exceeding $500 not provide for in the budget
- Any large purchases provided for in the budget, but in excess of 20% of purchaser’s budget
The Finance Team shall review purchase requests and make their recommendations to the elders.
The Finance Team shall seek annual budget requests from all ministry and support staff. The Finance Team shall then prepare and recommend an annual budget to the elders, to be approved by majority vote in the December Members’ Meeting.
Members of the Finance Team shall be members in good standing in accordance with the Membership Covenant, nominated by the elders and approved by a majority vote of the congregation at a Members’ Meeting. This recognition shall be reaffirmed by the church annually.
Section 11 – Trustees
The trustees shall serve in the care of all church property and buildings; study and recommend the use of space and furnishings as it relates to the ministries of FBCnl; study the need and recommend creating space and acquiring property and vehicles; and to administer work assigned to it. The trustees shall represent the church in official and legal matters, and shall sign all legal papers when necessary.
The trustees shall elect a chairman to serve as the statutory agent for the church.
The number of trustees shall be determined by the needs of the church but shall not be less than five.
Trustees shall be members in good standing in accordance with the Membership Covenant, appointed by the elders and approved by a majority vote of the congregation. This recognition shall be affirmed by the church annually.
All personnel employed by the church shall act in accordance with the current elder- approved Employee Handbook, as it may be revised or amended from time to time. The church will reserve employment for men and women who believe and confess essential biblical convictions and act in accordance with such. Additionally, the church reserves the right to terminate the employment of any existing employee who fails to meet this general standard of faith and practice.
ARTICLE VII. ELECTIONS
The election of officers shall be held at a Members’ Meeting of the church. Names of nominees to serve as elders, deacons, trustees, clerk and/or treasurer shall have been presented by the elders at a previous Members’ Meeting and the election shall proceed as directed by the moderator.
The elders should seek recommendations and involvement from the deacons and/or general membership in the nomination process. Any member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is not qualified for an office should express such concern to the elders. Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate must express their objection to the elders as far in advance as possible before the relevant church Members’ Meeting.
A person may be considered a candidate for the office of deacon or elder after being a member for one year.
The moderator shall declare elected all candidates receiving a three-fourths majority of all votes cast for the office of elder or deacon. For all other offices, the moderator shall declare elected all persons receiving a simple majority of all votes cast; abstentions will not be considered as votes cast.
The persons elected shall assume their respective offices upon election, unless another date has been specifically designated.
Section 1 – Lead Pastor
In the calling of any man to the position of Lead Pastor, the same basic process of calling an elder must be followed. In addition, however, the church must approve a Pastor Search Team composed of five men and/or women to assist the elders in the search for a Lead Pastor. The members of the Pastor Search Team will be nominated by the elders and approved by the congregation by a majority vote.
The church must be given adequate opportunity to assess the preaching gifts of any potential Lead Pastor and, before being asked to express its judgment, must receive assurance from the elders and Pastor Search Team that, having interviewed the man concerned, they are in no doubt as to his wholehearted assent to the Statement of Faith and Membership Covenant. Notice of the nomination of a man to be elected to membership and called as Lead Pastor (which shall include, if necessary, election to membership of his wife, if he is married) must be given at a minimum of two Sunday morning services following the nomination, prior to the vote at a Members’ Meeting. Candidates for Lead Pastor shall be brought to the church one man at a time.
Section 2 – Associate Pastor
The process of calling an associate pastor shall be the same process as calling the Lead Pastor.
ARTICLE VIII. MEETINGS
Section 1 – Worship Meetings
Worship services shall be held each Lord's Day (Sunday), and may also be held throughout the week as the church determines.
Section 2 – Members’ Meetings
There shall be a regular Members’ Meeting no less than once a quarter.
An elder designated by the elders shall preside as moderator at all Members’ Meetings. The elders shall see that the stated meetings of the church are regularly held and that required reports are submitted to the church by the responsible members.
Provided all constitutional provisions for notifications have been met, a quorum shall be understood to be met by those members present, and as determined by the elders. All votes shall be tallied based on the number of votes cast.
At any regular or special Members’ Meeting, the church may consider matters concerning membership, election of officers and filling of positions needed, provide all relevant constitutional requirements have been met.
Special Members’ Meetings may be called as required by the elders. The date, time and purpose of such meeting shall be announced at public services of the church within two weeks prior to the meeting.
In every meeting together, members shall act in a spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration, which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
ARTICLE IX. AMENDMENTS
The Statement of Faith and Membership Covenant may be amended by a three-fourths vote of the active members present at a Members’ Meeting, provided the amendment shall have been offered in writing at the previous Members’ Meeting, and shall have been announced from the pulpit at church services two successive Sundays prior to such vote.
This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the active members present and voting at a Members’ Meeting, provided the amendment shall have been offered in writing at the previous Members’ Meeting, and shall have been announced from the pulpit at church services at the two Sundays prior to such vote.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH of NEW LEBANON
The church is the vehicle by which God is accomplishing His purposes in the world. The church exists to display the glory of God because all things exist for His glory. Followers of Jesus have been invited graciously into God’s redemptive purposes for the world through the church. In light of this reality, the opportunity to join a local church is much more than a commitment to consistent attendance or active involvement in community. It is also a sacred call to be involved in the redemptive work of our sovereign God as those belonging to the household of God. Therefore, we will covenant together to fulfill these purposes and hold one another accountable to this high calling.
1. First Baptist Church Members Covenant Obligations
We deeply believe that church membership should be meaningful. Therefore, we believe it is important to covenant together as a church family. As members of First Baptist Church of New Lebanon, we affirm this covenant with one another, by God’s grace, for our growth, and ultimately for the glory of God:
a. Baptized Regenerate Community that Makes Disciples
Having been brought by divine grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 6:44; Acts 3:19,
16:31, 17:30, 20:21; Rom. 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-10;) and to surrender our lives to Him (Lk. 14:25-33), and having been
baptized by immersion as born again Christians (Jn. 3:3; Acts 8:38, Acts 10:44-48) in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:1-4), we covenant with one another as one body in
Christ to glorify God (Isa. 43:7; 1 Cor. 10:31) by making disciples of Jesus among all nations (Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Tim. 2:2; Ps. 67:1-2; Rev. 7:9-10).
b. Worship Together Regularly around the Scriptures and the Lord’s Supper
Together, we will draw near to God in worship (Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:22). We will delight in the glory of God (Ps. 16:11, 37:4, 63:1-11), depend on the presence of God (Matt. 28:20; Jn. 15:5, 16:7; 1 Pet. 4:11), and grow in the knowledge of God (Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:9-12; 2 Pet. 3:17-18) by submitting to the Word of God in all matters of life, as the all-sufficient authority in our lives and in His Church (Ps. 19:7-11, 119:105-112; 2 Tim. 3:14-4-5). Together, we will hold fast to the hope we profess (Heb. 10:23). We will participate regularly in the Lord’s Supper(Lk. 22:7-23; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:23-32) as we reverently and joyfully remember the past work of Christ’s atoning sacrifice (2 Cor. 5:21), celebrate the present help of Christ as our mediator who ever lives to intercede for us at the Father’s right hand (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 4:14-16, 7:25, 9:24; 1 Tim. 2:5), and anticipate the future return of Christ as the King of Kings (Titus 2:13; Rev. 19:16).
c. Disciple and Care for One Another in Large and Small Groups
Having been reconciled to one another by the Gospel, we are committed to living out the Gospel and its implications for everyday life (1 Pet. 3:15, Gal. 2:14). Together, we will spur one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). We will meet with one another consistently in small groups and actively participate in worship gatherings of this local church, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). We will also pray for one another regularly (Ephesians 6:18-20) and serve one another selflessly (Romans 12:9-13).
d. Submit to the Leadership of the Church
We will cooperate with, submit to and prayerfully support the leadership of the elders who have been entrusted by God to serve and care for this body by teaching the Word of Christ to us and modeling the character of Christ before us (Heb. 13:7, 17; Ac. 6:1-7; 20:28-31; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:17-20; 1 Pet. 5:1-4).
e. Good Stewards
We covenant that we will give cheerfully, regularly, and generously to the support of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel both in our community and through all nations (Rom. 12:1–8; 2 Cor. 8–9; 12:7–31; 1 Peter 4:10–11). We affirm that we will give our spiritual gifts, time, resources, and money in a sacrificial manner consistent with the Gospel and for its progress.
f. Display God’s Glory through Unity and Discipline
Unity – Together, we will seek to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). We affirm that we are God’s church and not our own, therefore our preferences, needs, and desires are secondary to the mission and vision of the church. Part of maintaining unity and peace means we will adhere to and will not be divisive over FBCnl’s Statement of Faith.
Restorative Discipline – We will humbly and gently confront one another and receive correction from one another in accordance with a New Testament understanding of church discipline and restoration (Mt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; Gal. 6:1). We will submit to and prayerfully support the leadership of our elders as they seek to oversee discipline among the members of the church.
g. Christian Growth
We will maintain a close relationship with the Lord Jesus through regular Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, and practice of spiritual disciplines. Our relationship will be evident through our participation in weekly worship gatherings, communion, service, and a life that glorifies Jesus (Ps. 105:1–2; Ps. 119:97; Acts 2:42–47; Heb. 10:23–25; 2 Peter 1:3). We will walk in holiness as an act of worship to Jesus Christ, who has saved us from our sin that we could live a new life (2 Cor. 5:17); we will practice complete chastity unless married and, if married, complete fidelity within heterosexual and monogamous marriage. Complete chastity and fidelity means, among other things, that regardless of marital status, we will pursue purity and abstain from sexually immoral practices such as adultery, premarital sex and pornography (Romans 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, 10:8; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4). We will refrain from illegal drug use, drunkenness, and other sinful behavior as the Bible dictates (1 Cor. 8:7; Gal. 5:19–21). Should we sin in such a manner, we agree to confess our sins to Christian brothers or sisters and seek help to put our sin to death(Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5; 1 John 1:6–10).
h. Gospel-Centered Families
We will strive to build gospel-centered homes. Husbands will seek to lead their wives and children sacrificially as Christ leads the church, meaning husbands are ready to lay down their lives for their families (Eph. 5). Wives will seek to submit to their husbands, as the church does to Christ. As parents, we will raise the children under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of our family and friends.
2. First Baptist Church Elders Obligations to the Church
As overseers of a local church, elders are men entrusted with protecting, leading, equipping and caring for the corporate church body and her individual members. The following is an overview of the requirements for elders as defined within the Scriptures.
The Elders Covenant...
To, along with the aid of members, nominate elders and deacons according to the qualifications assigned to them in Scripture (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-4).
To prayerfully seek God’s will for our church community and steward her resources to the best of their ability based on their study of the Scriptures and following the Spirit (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-4).
To oversee the growth of members as disciples of Jesus Christ and give an account for their growth in grace, truth, and love (Matt. 28:16-20; Eph. 4:15-16; Jam. 5:14; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-4).
To provide teaching and counsel from the whole Scripture (Acts 20:27-28; 1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Tim. 4:1-5; Titus 2:1).
To equip the members of the church for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Tim. 2:2).
To be on guard against false teachers and teachings (Matt. 7:15; Jn. 10:12-13; Acts 20:28-31; 1 Tim. 1:3-7; 1 Jn. 4:1).
To lovingly oversee the exercise of discipline, when necessary, for the glory of God, the good of the one disciplined and the health of the church as a whole (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5; Gal. 6:1; Jam. 5:19-20).
To set an example and join members in fulfilling the obligations of church membership stated in the church covenant (Acts 20:28; Phil. 3:17; 1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7-8; 1 Pet. 5:3).
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.