FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF SOUTH WHIDBEY ISLAND
CONSTITUTION ARTICLES OF FAITH CHURCH COVENANT
"Holding forth the word of life." Philippians 2:16
Having been led, as we believe, by the spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour; and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; we do now in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into this covenant with one another, ~ one body in Christ. We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality, to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrine; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions, to religiously educate our children, to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances, to walk circumspectly in the world, to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting and anger; to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love, to remember each other in prayer, to aid each other in sickness and distress, to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful to the rules of our Saviour, to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that, when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant, and the principles of God's Word.
Bible-believing Baptist churches are and have been through history patterns of the apostolic churches.
Below is a summary of historic Baptist Distinctives:
B orn Again Membership in the Local Church made up only of regenerate, baptized (by immersion) believers.
A utonomy of the Local Church The local church is entirely independent of every other church or of any denominational hierarchy, being sovereign in all matters pertaining to its function as a church.
P riesthood of the Believer Every believer has direct approach to God, is free to interpret Scripture by Scripture, and has liberty of conscience before God.
T wo Ordinances Baptism and the Lord's Table are the two ordinances ordained by Christ, observed by the churches of Acts, and set forth as symbols of the death, burial and resurrection of the Saviour and of our" fellowship with him.
I nspiration of the Scriptures the Bible is God's Word and therefore, it is our only rule for faith and practice, being inerrant, infallible, and indisputable.
S eparation of Church and State The ideal relationship is a free and independent church within a free and independent state.
T otal dependence upon the Spirit (total depravity of man).
We depend upon the Holy Spirit to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment: to regenerate the lost, and to” indwell all believers thereby to teach guide and empower them.
THE MEANING OF MEMBERSHIP
in THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH of South Whidbey, Freeland, Washington
In this day of worldliness, indifference and apostasy, membership in this church becomes deeply significant. The Biblical commands to a redeemed body of believers are being laid aside underneath a variety of coverings with good sounding names and titles. Christ said, of those of His redeemed ones, "Ye are the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14), "Ye are the salt of the earth" (Matt. 5: 13), "Ye shall be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1 :8). The Word of God further tells us, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (I Peter 2."9). These holy designations were not merely for the disciples of old, but were intended for the Christians of this day also. It, therefore, becomes imperative that we view our individual Christian lives and our collective life as a local church from these high vantage points of responsibility before our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
FUNDAMENTALISM versus APOSTASY
The First Baptist Church of South Whidbey is most desirous of maintaining a ministry to this community that is loyal to the Bible, the Word of God. It shall ever be vigilant to keep out of its pulpit, officialdom, teaching staff and membership any person who questions, doubts, or casts dispersions upon any portion of the Bible.
This church is also vitally concerned with its external organization. Because of modernism, liberalism, apostasy and other departures from the Word by many groups, this church voted into fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist churches, an association of independent, fundamental Baptist churches founded in 1931. This church does not fellowship with, nor cooperate with, any church or group who are in harmony or cooperation with liberalism or modernism in any form.
SEPARATION versus WORLDLINESS
The First Baptist Church of South Whidbey believes that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the head of the church, deserves the very best from each of its members. This church, therefore, looks with disfavor upon all forms of worldliness. It holds that any practice, habit, association or affection which hinders spiritual growth, and an ever deepening knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, should be laid aside. The ministry of this church, in all of its preaching, and teaching, urges its members to "...Lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and... run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." (Heb. 12:1, 2).
This church believes that there is victory for each individual within its membership to live a life free from those things which would grieve the heart of our Saviour and thereby, to live by the help and enabling power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, lives pleasing unto Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.
This church may be known throughout the area as a church that is "different" from many churches in respect to this matter worldliness. But it sincerely believes these things to be the clear teaching of the Scripture for all professing Christians. While some of our members may seem to forget their high calling in Christ Jesus and engage in things unbecoming to Christians, nevertheless the great body of this church should ever be known throughout this community as one whose members seek to live separated lives into the glory of the Lord who bought us.
SERVICE versus INDIFFERENCE
The First Baptist Church of South Whidbey seeks to keep itself ever mindful of the Saviour's command to "Go into all the world and preach the gosp~1 to every creature" (Mark 16:15). This church believes that this command applies to our own country and to those abroad.
Therefore, the door of invitation is always held wide open in all of its services for the unsaved to find pardon and peace through faith in the atoning substitutionary death of Christ. Moreover, this church has a consuming interest in carrying the gospel beyond the boundaries of this community to the ends of the earth. To this end this church encourages consistent interest in, prayer for, and giving to its missionary enterprises.
This church further reminds its members that the fields are ripe unto harvest and that there must come from our very midst those who will carry on the work of Christ in loving, sacrificial, full-time service in addition to those who would serve regularly, and faithfully in local churches.
The Bible tells us "Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price" (I Corin. 6: 19, 20) and further commands to "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1). There are those already from this church which have done and are doing such. This must continue on throughout the lifetime of this church. Our sincere prayer is that there will ever be found in this church that passion for the lost and that spirit of sacrificial service and giving which does and will burn out "indifferentism".
WHEN YOU BECOME A MEMBER OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF SOUTH WHIDBEY, YOU ENTER INTO THE
FELLOWSHIP OF A CHURCH WHICH ASKS EVERY ONE OF ITS MEMBERS TO DO THEIR BEST WITH GOD'S HELP TO MAINTAIN ITS PECULIAR AND SIGNIFICANT TESTIMONY AGAINST APOSTASY, WORLDLINESS, AND INDIFFERENCE, AND TO SEEK BY EVERY MEANS POSSIBLE SCRIPTURALLY, TO ASSIST IT IN ITS POSITIVE PREACHING OF THE WHOLE BIBLE AS THE WORD OF GOD, OF THE SEPARATION OF ITS MEMBERS FROM THE WORLD AND IN SEEKING TO WIN THE LOST FOR CHRIST AT HOME AND ABROAD, AS WE AWAIT "THE APPEARING OF OUR GREAT GOD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS Christ". It may be today.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF SOUTH WHIDBEY ISLAND
Reposing our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, believing in the teachings of the Bible and concurring with the practices of Bible believing Baptists and those great distinctive principles for which they stand, namely:
The Lordship of Jesus Christ
The Bible, the final authority of faith and practice
A regenerated church membership
Separation from liberalism and modernism
Believer's baptism by immersion
Congregational government Separation of church and state.
We therefore band ourselves together as a body of immersed believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and adopt, ordain, and establish for our government, and plan of worship and service the following declaration of faith, covenant, constitution and by-laws and we do hereby revoke all previous constitutions and bylaws and actions contrary to this constitution and by laws herein contained.
ARTICLE I NAME
The name of this organization shall be First Baptist Church of South Whidbey Island.
ARTICLE II PURPOSES
The purposes of this church shall be the salvation of souls and edification of Christians through the preaching and teaching of God's Word; the administration of the ordinance of the New Testament;
the world-wide proclamation of the gospel to every creature, the raising of a standard of Biblical separation from worldliness, modernism, and apostasy; and the maintenance of a testimony for fundamental Christianity.
CHURCH COVENANT AND ARTICLES OF FAITH
The official Covenant and the Articles of Faith of this church shall be as herein set forth and attached to this Constitution.
ARTICLE IV ASSOCIATIONS
This church shall be an independent Baptist Church, fellowshipping with whomsoever it desires, reserving the right to withdraw from such fellowship with, nor cooperate with any church or group of churches who are in harmony or cooperation with modernism or liberalism or Ecumenical Movement. This church shall at present encourage fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, the Northwest Regular Baptist Fellowship and the American Council of Christian Churches.
ARTICLE V MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Admission
Any born-again person who has been baptized by immersion after conversion, and who accepts the Covenant and Constitution of this church, may, after satisfactory examination by the Pastor and Deacons, and in agreement with our constitution, be recommended for acceptance into membership of the church: 1. by confession of faith and baptism, 2. by restoration, and 3. by letter of transfer from another Baptist church of like faith and practice.
Section 2. Dismission
A member in good standing in this church may be dismissed to the fellowship of another Baptist Church of like faith and order by a letter of recommendation, upon the action of this church. A member in good standing in this church, desiring to unite with a church of another denomination may, upon application and vote of the. church, receive from this church a certificate of Christian character. Members desiring letters for any purpose other than those mentioned shall present their request to the church for consideration and action. No "open" letters shall be granted.
Section 3. Maintenance of membership.
1. Any member who has been absent from all church services for six months shall be transferred to the inactive roll, by action of the church, unless he can provide justifiable reason for the extended absence. Persons being transferred to the inactive roll shall be notified, if whereabouts is known, and may appeal the action. Those placed on the inactive roll shall not be permitted to vote on church matters until reinstated to the active roll by vote of the church.
2. Any member absent from all church services for one year, without justifiable reason, shall be dropped from all church rolls, by action of the church, after having been notified, if whereabouts is known, and given opportunity to appeal.
1. The Pastor and Deacons shall constitute the Disciplinary Committee of the church.
2. A member is under discipline from the time he is requested to meet with the Disciplinary Committee until the matter is resolved.
3. A member under discipline is prohibited from all rights of membership. If found guilty of the charges made, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all members present and voting, be excluded from membership. It shall be the duty of the Pastor and Deacons to endeavor to remove the offense, and if such efforts fail, shall "tell it unto the church" for such action as they decide, provided, however, that due notice of the meeting shall have been given to the church in advance, and the accused member shall have the opportunity to appear in his own behalf, and provided, also, that the steps pointed out by the Lord in the 18th chapter of Matthew shall always be strictly followed -- to secure reconciliation and forgiveness, if possible, before the church takes action.
4. Those in question of possible disciplinary action who refuse to meet with the Disciplinary Committee, shall, after two weeks from the time of notice to meet with the Committee, be recommended for dismissal from church membership.
ARTICLE VII ORGANIZATION
Section 1. Principles of Organization,
1. This Church Is congregational in its form of government, that is, the will of the membership is the final authority in all matters affecting its own organization.
2. This final authority of the membership is eJ1Pressed in properly called business meetings of the membership, either regular or special.
3. All officers, or other parts of the church organization, are ultimately responsible to the membership.
4. While thus functioning externally as a democracy, it is expected that the church shall function as a Theocracy, the will of the Lord being made known by the Holy Spirit through a regenerate membership.
5. Committees shall be established as needed by the approval of the Deacons.
Section 2. Officers.
1. Qualifications of Officers.
A. All officers of the church must be members in good and regular standing.
B. The lives of Pastor and Deacons must be in the conformity with God's standards of life as revealed in I Timothy 3: 1-13.
C. The lives of all officers shall be in conformity with the general rules of Christian conduct and character as revealed in the Scriptures.
D. Specifically, it shall be expected of all officers that they be exemplary as members of the church in observance of their Covenant obligations and duties as outlined in this Constitution.
2. A. The clerk, treasurer and Bible School superintendent shall each be elected for one year and shall be eligible for re-election.
B. Deacons shall be elected so as to stagger their terms of office up to three years.
3. Resignation of Officers Resignations of officers shall be made in writing to the church, and may be acted upon at any business meeting of the church. The church shall have power, for good and sufficient cause, to remove any officer or committee member.
4. Bible School and Other Auxiliary Organizations.
A. The Bible School and any other auxiliary organization of the Church, whether of men, women, or young people, shall be recognized ~ a part of the local church.
B. A Bible School cabinet shall consist of the Pastor, the General superintendent, and the departmental superintendents. The Bible School Cabinet shall recommend to the Deacons for appointment all needed personnel of the Bible School. No person may be approved as a regular superintendent or teacher who is not a member of the Church in good standing. All regularly issued literature of the Bible School must be approved by the Deacons.
C. The officers of all auxiliary organizations must be members of the Church in good standing, and any literature regularly used by an organization shall be subject to the approval by the Deacons. Meetings of auxiliary organizations may be held~ at such times as will not conflict with normal meetings of the church.
Section 1. Pastor
The Pastor shall perform all Scriptural duties of his office, and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, shall have freedom of the pulpit. It is specifically expected of him that he shall faithfully preach the gospel, administer the ordinances, exercise general oversight of the local church in all of its work, and tenderly watch over the membership and spiritual interests of the church. He shall be an ex-officio member of all boards and committees. It shall be deemed advisable and beneficial to himself and to the church for the Pastor to attend and participate in a reasonable number of fellowship and associational meetings and activities with other pastors and churches within our fellowship. When possible, the church shall pay or assist in paying the regular expenses involved in attending these meetings. The pastor and his wife shall be a member of the local church.
Section 2. Clerk
The clerk shall keep a correct record of the proceedings of the church at all meetings, keep a complete registry of membership, issue letters of dismission and certificates of Christian character as directed by the church, conduct all its official correspondence, and preserve all documents, papers and letters coming into his hands during his term of office, delivering the same and all records kept by him to his successor.
Section 3. Treasurer
The treasurer shall be custodian of all fuf1ds of the Church. All monies must be deposited to the church accounts in the bank, and all disbursements must be made by bank check, except those coming from the petty cash fund, which is specially covered in Church Policies. He shall disburse the same as directed by the church. He shall keep accurate records of the church's financial condition. He shall present the financi~1 records for the auditing at least once a year, and oftener upon request of the church or Deacons, and shall deliver without delay to his successor all books and records pertaining to his office. Two or more members of the church shall count the offering received at each church service.
Section 4. Bible School Superintendent.
The superintendent of the Bible School shall have general administration of the Bible School. He shall assist the Pastor in seeking to promote the growth and spiritual effectiveness of the Bible school, as outlined in the church Policies in the Bible school
Section 5. Deacons.
1. In their scriptural function as Deacons, it shall be their duty to cooperate with the Pastor and to assist him in the overseeing and administration of the local church responsibilities.
2. The primary concern of the Deacons shall be to uphold the doctrinal and spiritual standards of the Church and its membership, and to promote efficiency in its operation.
3. They shall endeavor to protect the Pastor from undo demands upon his time by administrative details. (See Acts 6: 1-7) 4. The Deacons shall generally be responsible to the church to recommend policies, fix responsibilities, and coordinate the various phases of church activities.
5. After the annual church election, the incoming Deacons shall, at a meeting called by the Pastor, organize themselves, electing a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, and a secretary. The deacons shall then be responsible for setting up such standing or temporary committees as the church policies may require or as the church may direct. These committees shall be presented to the church for approval.
6. The Deacons shall comprise the pulpit committee of the church and shall reserve the right to appoint other male members of the church to this committee as they deem necessary.
7. The deacons shall comprise the Missionary Committee of the church~, and shall recommend and promote the Missionary Policy of the Church.
8. In its scriptural function, the deacons shall meet regularly at least once a month.
9. The deacons, as trustees, shall hold in trust all property belonging to the church and control the same according to the desires of the church and to fulfill all requirements of CMI law respecting trustees of a cooperation.
a. It shall be expressly understood that they shall not sell, mortgage, or otherwise encumber the real estate or other property of the church without two-thirds consent of the active, resident members eligible to vote at a special called meeting for that purpose or a regular meeting with at least two weeks public notice given previously.
b. No bills for supplies, improvements, or repairs in excess of one hundred dollars shall be contracted without a vote of the church.
1 O. The deacons shall act as an examining board for all candidates for baptism and/or membership.
11. No meeting of the Deacons shall be convened without the foreknowledge of the Pastor, unless the pastor is incapacitated.
12. The deacons shall comprise the trustees.
Section 1. Establishment of Relationship
1. When the pastoral office shall become vacant, the pulpit committee shall contact possible candidates for the office. As far as is practical, only one candidate shall be considered at a time, and in no case shall the names of more than on candidate be submitted for a vote of the church.
2. No candidate for the pastoral office shall be presented for a vote of the church until he has been thoroughly investigated and examined as to his doctrinal beliefs, personal character, and ministerial record, and his fitness for the posterity on these grounds has been determined by the Deacons.
3. In no case shall a candidate be considered who does not subscribe, both in letter and in spirit, to the Constitution, Articles of Faith, and Covenant of this church. Nor shall a candidate be considered who cannot promote the missionary program and associational fellowship of this church.
4. The calling of a Pastor shall be by secret ballot at a special or regular business meeting of the church, notice of which shall be given from the pulpit on two successive Sunday's next preceding, and the object of which shall have been stated in such notice. Three-fourths (3/4) of the ballots cast shall be required for his call. The result of the balloting shall be made known to the pastor under consideration as soon as possible, giving the vote on the first ballot as well as the final. outcome, if more than one vote is taken.
Section 2. Tenure.
1. The pastor shall be called for an indefinite period of time and shall continue as long as mutually agreeable to both parties of the contract.
2. Termination of Office.
a. By resignation.
The pastor may resign at any time and his duties terminated not less than 30 days nor more than 60 days from the date of resignation or his duties may terminate at any time mutually agreeable to both himself and the church.
The pastor must submit his resignation in writing and turn it over to the church clerk to be kept with the church records. the pastor shall inform the deacons of his intentions prior to submitting the resignation to the congregation.
b. By Church Action.
Any difficulty arising from unsatisfactory service, conduct unbecoming to a spiritual leader or a departure from the fundamentals of the faith as contained in this constitution, shall be investigated by the Board of Deacons. If the charges warrant such action, the deacons shall call a special business meeting and the church shall consider the findings of the deacons, and decide the dismissal of the Pastor. The pastor shall have the opportunity to represent himself at such meeting. A three-fourths (3/4) majority of the active members present and voting is necessary to dismiss a Pastor. In case of dismissal, his pastoral duties shall terminate immediately and his salary shall cease 30 days from the date of dismissal.
Section 3. Salary, Allowances, and Vacations.
The church financial policy shall set forth clearly and definitely in writing the financial agreement between the church and the Pastor, including the matters of salary, allowances, vacations, etc.
The Deacons and treasurer, in consultation with the Pastor, shall recommend at the annual or monthly business meeting any changes deemed desirable. They shall review the Pastor's salary and emoluments annually.
Section 1. Organization of committees
All committees shall meet as soon as possible after their election and choose from themselves a chairman and a secretary.
Section 2. Music Committee
The music committee shall consist of the regular Sunday School and church pianists, the organist, Music director, song leader and ONE member elected annually at the business meeting.
This committee shall arrange for special music for the regular and special meetings of the church. They shall secure and be the custodial of music, choir robes and other such properties as may be used for the purpose of music. They shall be constantly on the alert for new talent which may be used. They shall cooperate fully with the Pastor and music director.
Section 3. Social Committee
This committee shall consist of at least three members elected at the annual business meeting.
This committee shall seek to provide social fellowship for the congregation at regular intervals. They shall arrange for accommodations for guest speakers, groups, and other
such things that fall into similar categories.
Section 4. Flower Committee
The church shall elect a Flower Committee chairman at the annual business meeting, who shall appoint assistants as needed.
This committee shall be in charge of arranging for flowers for the church services and provide flowers, cards or other remembrances in case of accident, illness or death among the church family.
ELECTIONS AND VOTING
Section 1. Time of Election.
The annual election of church officers shall be held at the annual business meeting and officers shall officially take office the following Lord's Day. They shall remain in office until their successors are elected or they are removed by the Church.
Section 2. Nominating and Election Procedure.
The voting members, by the Sunday following the November business meeting, shall present to the Deacons their nomination for the offices of the church. The Deacons then shall approve such on the basis of their qualifications, and present a slate of candidates for the annual election. No nominations from floor shall be made at the time of election. All elections shall be by secret ballot. A majority of the ballots cast shall be necessary for the election of any officer, unless otherwise provided in this constitution. No voting by proxy shall be allowed.
Section 3. Vacancies.
When, at any time during the year, a church office shall become vacant, the Deacons shall be asked to present to the church a nomination' or nominations for the vacancy to be filled. Vacancies occurring during the year may be filled for the unexpired term at any business meeting.
Section 4. Qualifications of Voters.
The right to vote is given to all members who have reached their 16th birthday. However, adult members only - 19 years of age and older - and whose names appear on the active list are eligible to vote in: the call or dismissal of a pastor;
in the purchase or sale of real property; in all cases of discipline; in all cases involving the expenditure of large sums of money and in amending of this constitution.
A quorum shall consist of thirty percent (30%) of the active, resident membership eligible to vote for all business meetings, except for the calling or dismissal of a Pastor, in which case a quorum of forty percent (40%) shall be required.
Section 1. Devotional meetings.
1 . The church shall meet regularly each Lord's Day morning and evening for worship and the preaching of the gospel.
2. The church shall meet for the observance of the Lord's Supper upon the first Lord's Day of each month, or at such other times as the church may decide. .
3. The church shall meet each Lord's Day for Christian instruction (the study and teaching of the Bible), and at such other times as the church may decide.
4. The church shall come together for at least one mid-week prayer and Bible study service each week.
Section 2. Rules of Procedure.
Robert's Rules of Order, latest revised edition, shall govern parliamentary procedures in all business meetings of the membership unless otherwise specified in this constitution.
Section 3. The Fiscal Year.
The fiscal year of this church shall start on January 1 of each year. The annual meeting shall be held in January or such time that is acceptable to the church membership.
Section 4. Monthly business meetings.
Monthly business meetings of the membership of the church shall normally be held on the second prayer meeting night of each month. The time of the meeting may be changed by vote of the people at any meeting at least two (2) weeks prior to the regularly scheduled business meeting. Monthly business meetings shall be held.
Section 5. Special Business Meetings.
Special business meetings of the membership may be called by the Pastor or by ten percent (10%) of the adult membership of the church~ or by the deacons. The time and purpose of such meeting shall be announced from the pulpit at both services on the Sunday before the meeting is to be held. No other business may be transacted at a specially called meeting, except as stated in the call for the meeting.
Section 6. Reports.
It shall be the duty of all committees, officers, boards, and heads of the different organizations of the church to give a full report of all their transactions of the year, and have monthly reports at each meeting.
CHURCH'S PLAN OF FINANCING
Believing that the Lord Jesus can accept only such gifts as those coming from a generous heart and a free will, therefore-1. We, the members of the First Baptist Church of South Whidbey Island, shall adopt no other plan of financing the Lord's work than the free-will offering plan. This will not preclude the procurement of loans to be financed by the above mention~ method.
2. We, the members of the First Baptist Church of South Whidbey Island, seek the New Testament's plan of giving, and urge all members to give to the church as prescribed in the Scriptures.
ARTICLE XV ORDINATION
It shall be within the power of the church to license and to ordain into the Gospel Ministry those men whom God has called and equipped. It shall have the authority by vote of the membership to call ordination councils and to issue proper credentials.
ARTICLE XVI AMENDMENTS
This constitution may be amended at any regular business meeting of the church by a two-thirds (213) vote of the members present and voting, provided two weeks notice of the proposed amendment has been given. However, the Articles of faith shell not be amended.
ARTICLES OF FAITH
I. Of the Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Bible as originally written was verbally inspired and the product of Spirit controlled men, and therefore, has truth without any admixture of error for its matter. We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions, shall be tried. II Timothy 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:19-21.
II. Of the True God
We believe there is only one living and true God, an infinite Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persol1$; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct, but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. Exodus 20:2, 3; I Corinthians 8."6; Revelation 4: 11.
III. Of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and if the same nature; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world, He restrains the evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness and judgment; that He bears witness to the Truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that he is the agent in the New Birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer. John 14:16, 17; Matt.28:19; Heb.9:14; John 14:26; Luke 1:35;
Gen 1:1-3; John 16:8-11; Acts 5:30-32; John 3:5, 6; Eph. 1:13, 14; Mark 1:8; John 1:33; Acts 11:16;
Luke 24:49; Rom. 8:26, 27.
IV. Of the Devil, or Satan
We believe in the personality of Satan, that he is the unholy god of this age, and the author of all the powers of darkness, and is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice in the lake of fire.
Matt.4:1-3; II Cor. 4:4; Rev. 20:10. .
V. Of Creation
We accept the Genesis account of creation and believe that man came by direct creation of God and not by evolution. Genesis Chapts. 1 and 2; Col. 1:16, 17; John I.
VI. Of the Fall of Man
We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from sinless and happy state in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not only by constraint, but of choice; and therefore under just condemnation without defense of excuse. Gen. 3:1-6, 24; Rom.5:19; Rom.5:12; Rom.5:10-19; Rom.1:18, Rom.1:32
VII. Of the Atonement
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature, yet without sin, honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins; that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was a voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the just dying for the unjust; Christ, the Lord bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in Heaven, and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection, He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and an all-sufficient Savior. Eph. 2:8; Acts 15:11; Rom. 3:25; John 3:16; Matt. 18:11; Phil. 2:7; Heb.
2:14; Isa.53:4-7; Rom. 3:25; I John 4:10; I Cor. 15:3; II Cor. 5:21.
VIII. Of the Virgin Birth
We believe that Jesus was the begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and that He is both the Son of God and God, the Son. Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:4.
IX. Of Grace in The New Creation
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Jesus Christ; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth so as to secure our voluntary obedience to :the gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life. John 3:31; II Cor.5:17; II Cor.5:19; Col. 2:13; John 3:8.
X. Of Justification
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is justification:
a. that justification includes the pardon Of sins and the gift of eternal life, on principles of righteousness;
b. that is bestowed~ not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done; but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood, His righteousness is imputed to us. Acts 13:39; Isa., 53:11; Zech. 13:1; Rom.5:9; Rom. 5:1.
XI. Of Faith and Salvation
We believe that the faith in the lord Jesus Christ is the only condition of Salvation. acts. 16:31
XII. Of the Local Church
We believe that a local church is a congregation of immersed believers, associated by covenant of faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its officers are pastors, deacons whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures. We believe the true mission of the church is faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have the opportunity. We hold that the local church "'as the absolute right of self government free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations, and that the one and only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit, that it is scriptural for the true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the gospel. We hold that each local church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation; on all matters of membership, of policy, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final. Acts 2:41, 42; I Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22, 23; Eph. 4:11; Acts 20:17; I TIm. 3:1-7; Col.
1:18; Eph.5:23; Acts 15:13-18.
XIII. Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life, that it is prerequisite to the privileges Of a church relation. We believe that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration of His death until he comes, and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. Acts 8:26-39; John 3:23; Rom. 6:351 Matt. 3:16; Col. 2:12; I Cor. 11:23-28.
XIV. Of the Righteous and the Wicked
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God; are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost. Mal.3:19; Gen. 18"23; Rom. 6:17, 18; I John 5:19; Rom.7:6; Rom.
6:23; Provo 14:32; Luke 6:25; Matt. 25:34-41; John 8:21.
XV. Of the Security of the Saints
We believe that all who are truly born again are kept of God the Father for Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6; John 10:28, 29; Rom. 8:35-39; Jude 1.
XVI. Of Civil Government
We Believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed;
except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the Kings of the earth. Rom. 13:1-7; II Sam. 23:3; Ex.
18:21, 22; Acts 23:5; Matt. 22:21; Acts 5:20; Acts 4: 19; Dan. 3: 17, 18.
XVII. Of the Resurrection, Personal, Visible, Premillennial Return of Christ, and Related Events
a. We believe in the bodily resurrection. Matt. 28:6, 7; Luke 24:39; John 20:27; I Cor. 15:4;
Mark 16:6; Luke 24:2-6.
b. The ascension. Acts 1:9-11; Luke 24:39; Mark 16:19; Rev. 3:21; Heb. 12:2.
c. The high priesthood. Heb.8:6; lTim.2:6; I John 2:1; Heb.2:17; Heb. 2:9, 10.
d. The second coming. John 14:3; Acts 1:11; I Thess. 4: 16; James 5:8; Heb. 9:28.
e. The resurrection of the righteous dead. I Thess. 4: 13-18; I Cor. 15:42-44.
f. The change of the living in Christ. 'Cor. 15:51-53; IThess.4:13-18; Phil. 3:20.
g. The throne of David. Luke 1:32; Isa. 9:6, 7; Acts. 2:29, 30.
h. The Millennial Reign. I Cor. 15:25; Isa. 32:1; Isa 11:4, 5; PS. 72:8; Rev. 20:6.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF SOUTH WHIDBEY ISLAND