ARTICLE 1: NAME
The name of this Church is WESTERN MEADOWS BAPTIST CHURCH.
The Church operates under the structure of a legal corporate entity incorporated under the laws of the State of Oklahoma and the United States of America. As such, the Church is a nonprofit corporation designated as a charitable and religious organization under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
ARTICLE 2: PURPOSE AND VALUES
This Church exists by the grace of God, for the glory of God, which shall be the ultimate purpose in all its activities. This Church glorifies God by loving Him and obeying His commands through:
Furthermore, we hold particularly to these values as revealed in Acts 2:42:
ARTICLE 3: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 – Qualifications
To qualify for membership in this Church, a person must be a believer in Jesus Christ who gives evidence of regeneration, who has been baptized by immersion, following his or her regeneration, and who wholeheartedly believes in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible. Each member must agree to submit to the teaching of scripture as expressed in the Statement of Faith [See Appendix B] and must promise to keep the commitments expressed in the Membership Covenant [See Appendix A]. The elders shall be responsible for determining each person’s qualification for membership. In making this determination, they may rely on a person’s profession of faith, or evidence of faith, as the elders deem appropriate.
Section 2 – Admission of Members
To be admitted into church membership, prospective members shall be recommended by the elders for admission (after completing the material, meetings, and/or classes required and provided by the elders) and accepted by vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the members, and shall at that point relinquish their membership in other churches.
Section 3 – Duties and Privileges of Membership
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, and material 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. It is our desire to encourage prospective members and those pursuing membership to serve as well. Non-members may not serve in corporate public gatherings, unless by explicit permission of elders.
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 to:
a)Accept members into the Church, give letters of transfer or recommendation to members, or terminate membership;
b)Elect officers of the Church;
c)Discipline members by dismissing them and discipline officers by removing them from office;
d)Approve annual budgets of the Church, authorize any expenditure of the funds of the Church when such expenditure is not covered by an approved budget and exceeds the amount established via policy for unplanned expenditures, and approve any transactions regarding real property;
e)Accept, reject, or otherwise dispose of any matter submitted to the membership of the Church by the elders, or raised by motion at a business meeting;
f)Adopt, amend, or repeal the Constitution or By-Laws of this Church;
Section 4 – Termination of Membership
Members may be removed from membership upon recommendation by the Elders and a majority vote of the members present at any members meeting. Members in good standing may request a letter of recommendation to present to a different church. Members who unite with another church will be removed from the membership roll.
Members who are found to be inactive in the worship, fellowship and ministry of the Church will be removed from the membership roll. It is the responsibility of the elders to remind members of their duties in this respect.
Section 5 – Church Discipline
Any member consistently neglectful of his or her duties or unrepentantly guilty of conduct by which the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be dishonored, and so opposing the welfare of the Church, shall be subject to the admonition of the elders and the discipline of the Church, according to the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17 and the example of Scripture. Church discipline, then, should ordinarily be contemplated after individual private admonition has failed.
Church discipline can include admonition by the elders or congregation, suspension from communion for a definite period, deposition from office, and excommunication (see Matthew 18:15–17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14–15; 1 Timothy 5:19– 20; 1 Corinthians 5:4–5).
The purpose of such discipline should be:
For the repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of the individual disciplined(see Proverbs 15:5; 29:15; I Corinthians 4:14; Ephesians 6:4; I Timothy 3:4–5; Hebrews 12:1–11; Psalm 119:115; 141:5; Proverbs 17:10; 25:12; 27:5; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Matthew 7:26–27; 18:15–17; Luke 17:3; Acts 2:40; I Corinthians 5:5; Galatians 6:1–5; II Thessalonians 3:6, 14–15; I Timothy 1:20; Titus 1:13– 14; James 1:22);
For the instruction in righteousness and good of other Christians, as an example to them(see Proverbs 13:20; Romans 15:14; I Corinthians 5:11; 15:33; Colossians 3:16;
I Thessalonians 5:14 [note this is written to the whole Church, not just to leaders];
I Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:11; Hebrews 10:24– 25);
For the purity of the Church as a whole(see I Corinthians 5:6–7; II Corinthians 13:10; Ephesians 5:27; II John 10; Jude 24; Revelation 21:2);
For the good of our corporate witness to non–Christians(see Proverbs 28:7; Matthew 5:13–16; John 13:35; Acts 5:1–14; Ephesians 5:11; I Timothy 3:7; II Peter 2:2; I John 3:10); and
Supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His holy character(see Deuteronomy 5:11; I Kings 11:2; II Chronicles 19:2; Ezra 6:21; Nehemiah 9:2; Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 36:20; Matthew 5:16; John 15:8; 18:17, 25; Romans 2:24; 15:5–6; II Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Ephesians 1:4; 5:27; I Peter 2:12).
ARTICLE 4: MEETINGS
Section 1 – Worship Meetings
Worship services shall be held each Lord’s Day (Sunday), and may be held throughout the week as the Church determines.
Section 2 – Members’ Meetings
In every meeting together, members shall act in that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There shall be a regular members’ meeting quarterly, at some time apart from a public worship service agreed upon by the membership.
An elder designated by the elders shall preside as moderator at all members’ meetings of the Church. 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 notification 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. If providentially hindered, members in good standing may vote in absentia for the election of officers, approval of property, and amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws.
A budget shall be approved by the membership at a members’ meeting no more than two months before and one month after the start of the calendar year.
At any regular or special members’ meeting, officers may be elected and positions filled as needed, so long as all relevant constitutional requirements have been met.
Special members’ meetings may be called as required by the elders. The date, time, and purpose of any special meeting shall be announced at all public services of the Church within two weeks preceding the meeting, when possible.
ARTICLE 5: OFFICERS
Section 1 – Summary
The Biblical offices in the Church are elders and deacons. In addition, our Church recognizes the administrative positions under this constitution of clerk, treasurer, and trustees. All officers must be members of this Church prior to assuming their responsibilities.
Section 2 – Elders
The elders shall be comprised of 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 in the regular pay of the Church, and no elder shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure.
The leadership of the Church shall be vested in the elders who are responsible for governing the Church, with each elder being equal in authority. 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 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. This recognition shall be reaffirmed by the Church triennially.
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 and, if need be, to the congregation. 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. Any of the elders may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the members at any members’ meeting of the Church.
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. The elders are further 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 teams 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 ministers. The scope and approval of job descriptions for any staff position shall reside in the hands of those with hiring authority for that position.
The elders shall have primary responsibility for the supervision and evaluation of staff members. This responsibility may, on a case-by-case basis, be delegated to another staff member.
The elders shall elect a chairman for 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 and deacons.
The elders will seek, at all times, to work together in unanimous agreement concerning the direction and work of the Church. Matters will only be brought to the congregation for consideration when all elders are in agreement.
Section 3 – The Lead Pastor
The lead pastor shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Section 2, above, and shall be recognized by the Church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.
His call shall not be subject to the triennial reaffirmation set out in Article 5, Section 2, for elders. His call shall be defined as per Article 6, Section 3.
He shall preach on the Lord’s Day, oversee the ordinances of baptism and communion, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to that office, or as set forth in the constitution.
In the absence or incapacity of the lead pastor the elders shall assume responsibility for his duties, any of which can be delegated.
Section 4 – Associate Ministers
The Church may call additional ministers whose relationship to the lead pastor is that of associate.
An associate minister may be an elder or deacon. If so, he shall perform the duties of an elder described in Section 2, above, or of a deacon described in Section 5 below, and shall be recognized by the Church as particularly gifted and called to vocational ministry.
His call shall not be subject to the triennial reaffirmation. His call shall be defined as per Article 6, Section 4.
He may assist the lead pastor in the performance of his regular duties and may perform any other duties as usually pertain to the office of pastor, or as set forth in the constitution, or which may be specifically assigned to him by the congregation.
In the absence or incapacity of the lead pastor for defined periods of time (such as sabbatical or illness), the associate minister(s) may assume the responsibility for his duties under the oversight of the elders.
Section 5 – Deacons
The office of deacon is described in I Timothy 3:8–13 and Acts 6:1–7. The Church shall recognize, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections, men 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.
The deacons shall advise and be ready to assist the elders in any service that shall support and promote the ministry of the Word, new and existing ministries of the Church, and the care for the members of the congregation.
Their responsibilities may include: administering a fund to assist the poor and needy and otherwise providing aid in times of crisis or distress; the greeting and welcoming ministries of the Church; assisting in administering the ordinances of the gospel; assisting at fellowship gatherings of the Church; caring for and maintaining the Church properties; administering the business affairs of the Church that pertain to its material assets.
The deacons shall direct the disbursement of funds for benevolence, with approval from the elders.
The deacons shall elect a chairman for all deacons’ meetings.
The deacons, with the agreement of the elders, may establish unpaid administrative positions or teams of members to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities in the Church.
Section 6 – 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 pastor, the elders, the deacons, the Church, or associated organizations.
The clerk, a member in good standing, 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.
For purposes of compliance with the nonprofit corporation laws of the State of Oklahoma, the clerk shall serve as the secretary of the corporation.
The church clerk shall ensure that dated copies of the most recent revision of this constitution shall be available for all church members.
Section 7 – Treasurer
The treasurer, who shall not be a paid church staff member, 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. The responsibility may be delegated with the approval of the elders. The treasurer shall also ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books, files, or in electronic format 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 nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation to serve a term of one year. The treasurer may be reaffirmed by the Church annually.
Section 8 – Trustees
A minimum of three trustees shall be elected by the Church as needed. The trustees shall hold in trust the Church property. They shall be responsible to act as agents of the Church for the execution of any instruments creating an obligation of the Church. They shall act only upon the authorization of the Church.
ARTICLE 6: ELECTIONS
Section 1 – Principles
The process for Church elections shall be interpreted and carried out to fulfill the following principles:
Section 2 – Selection of Officers
The election of officers shall be held at a members’ meeting of the Church. Names of nominees to serve as elders, deacons, clerk, treasurer, or trustees shall be presented by the elders at a previous members’ meeting and the election shall proceed as directed by the moderator.
The elders may seek recommendations and involvement from the general membership in the nomination process. Any member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is unqualified for an office should express such concern to the elders. Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate should express their objection to the elders in writing and as far in advance as possible before the relevant members’ meeting.
The moderator shall declare elected all men receiving a 75% majority of all votes cast for the office of elder. 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 3 – Calling of the Lead Pastor
In the calling of any man to this position, the same basic process of calling an elder must be followed. In addition, however, 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 that, having interviewed the man concerned, they are in no doubt as to his wholehearted assent to the Statement of Faith and Membership Covenant [see appendices]. 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 two Sunday morning services following the nomination, prior to the vote at a members’ meeting.
Section 4 – Calling of Associate Minister
The process of calling an associate minister shall be the same process as calling the Lead Pastor. See Article 6 Section 3.
ARTICLE 7: DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Believing that the Bible commands Christians to make every effort to live at peace and to resolve disputes with each other in private or within the Christian Church (see, e.g., Matthew 18:15–20, I Corinthians 6:1–8), the Church shall require its members to resolve conflict among themselves according to biblically based principles, without reliance on the secular courts. Consistent with its call to peacemaking, the Church shall encourage the use of biblically based principles and the avoidance of suits of law or equity to resolve disputes between itself and those outside the Church, whether Christian or pagan and whether individuals or corporate entities. The elders shall adopt policies and procedures to affect these requirements and aspirations.
ARTICLE 8: MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY RESOLUTION
It is the biblical position that marriage involves the union of one man and one woman in permanent sacred fidelity. Though various cultures and customs have evolving definitions of marriage, it is God alone who has ultimate authority to prescribe and describe the marital relationship (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19: 1-9, Mark 10: 1-12).
Furthermore, sexual intimacy is only properly exercised and pursued within the confines of this marital relationship. Sexual immorality, defined as any sexual activity outside of the boundaries of the sacred marital relationship between one man and one woman, is clearly and expressly prohibited by the Lord (Matthew 15: 19,, I Corinthians 6: 9-11, I Thessalonians 4: 3, Hebrews 13: 4).
As a consequence, the Church regards any and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or even lustful intent toward such, as sinful and ultimately unsatisfying. Moreover, the Church also regards as sinful the intent or desire to surgically alter one’s biological sex to a different sex. Since the body is a creation of God, the Church holds sexual identity to be biologically determined, and associated gender norms are to be observed as appropriate to biblical standards. Disagreement with one’s biological sex only leads to spiritual confusion and emotional chaos (Genesis 1: 27, Romans 1: 26-32, I Corinthians 6: 9-11).
In order to preserve the function and integrity of the Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical example to the Church Members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the Church in any capacity or united to the Church in membership should abide by and agree to this “Statement on Marriage and Sexuality” and conduct themselves accordingly.
Though sinful sexual expression is egregious (as is all sin), the gospel provides redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 6: 9-11, Ephesians 2: 1-10, Titus 3: 3-7).
Furthermore, there is a difference between temptation and unrepentant sin. Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, yet He never sinned. Members, employees, volunteers and attendees of the Church wrestling with all manner of sexual temptation will find a Church ready to point them to Jesus and join with them to fight for their obedience to Christ. Jesus called the weary and heavy laden to Himself. As a Church desiring to follow Christ fully, the Church will be a safe place for men and women fighting sexual temptation of all kinds. For those fighting temptation and repenting of sin, the Church will provide love, care and direction (Matthew 11: 2-30, I Corinthians 10: 13, Hebrews 2: 17-18, Hebrews 4: 14-16).
The Church’s Statement on Marriage and Sexuality does not provide grounds for bigotry, bullying or have, as we fully believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect and dignity, regardless of his or her lifestyle. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated as sinful and are not in accordance with the Scriptures nor the doctrines of the Church.
The Church, therefore, maintains the right and authority to prohibit acts or omissions, including but not limited to (a) permitting any Church asset or property, whether real property, personal property, intangible property, or any property or asset of any kind that is subject to the direction or control of the Church, to be used in any manner that would be –or, in the sole determination of the pastor and/or deacons, could be perceived by any person to be – inconsistent with this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality; and (b) permitting any Church facilities to be used by any person, organization, corporation, or group that would or might use such facilities to convey, intentionally or by implication, what might be perceived as a favorable impression about any definition of marriage other than that contained in this section.
The Church’s Statement on Marriage and Sexuality is based upon God’s will for human life as conveyed to us through the Scriptures, upon which this Church has been founded and anchored and shall not be subject to change through popular vote, referendum, prevailing opinion of Members or the general public, influence of or interpretation by any government authority, agency, or official action; or legal developments on the local, state, or federal level.
ARTICLE 9: INDEMNIFICATION OF LEADERS
Section 1 – Intent to Protect Employees and Volunteers
The Western Meadows Baptist Church of Durant, OK, Inc. operates its ministerial functions through its staff, officers, trustees, deacons, committees and members. It is the intent and desire of this Church that no such leader or member shall ever be subjected to a lawsuit or claim of potential liability against them because of their service to the Church. As a General statement, and not creating a legally enforceable obligation to do so, the Church intends to indemnify and hold all such leaders and members harmless from any potential liability arising out of their service towards the goals and purposes of the Church for actions or inaction that were consistent with the values of the Church. Reasonable expenses in litigation costs in protecting such leaders may be paid by the Church and/or its insurance company.
Section 2 – Limitations on Intent to Protect
This article does not create an obligation requiring the Church to pay damages or costs that the leader or member cannot actually pay due to his/her personal financial situation, or cannot legally be forced to pay because of immunity statutes. If the Church is not independently liable, the Church will only consider indemnifying an individual for actual losses paid. If the worker is effectively judgment proof and cannot be forced to pay anything, it is unlikely the Church should choose to pay any damages. Any decision to pay damages to an alleged injured person or to make such expenditures for indemnification purposes must properly involve an actual benefit to the individual indemnified and the Church’s spiritual and moral responsibility to pay the claimant.
Section 3 – Conduct Excluded From Protection
Under no event shall the Church indemnify any leader from personal liability or related expenses resulting from:
Section 4 – Initial Consideration and Advances
If upon reasonable inquiry the Church believes that allegations of misconduct that would prohibit indemnification might not be true, it may, after considering the availability of insurance coverage for the same, provide some amount of financial support towards expenses incurred by the accused leader in proper reasonable efforts to prove the leader’s innocence. If the Church becomes convinced of the leader’s innocence, it may provide expense funds as it deems necessary or appropriate to help prove the innocence of the accused leader.
Section 5 – Early Intervention and Settlement
As wise stewards, the Church in consultation with the leader the claim is brought against, and with the input of the Church’s insurance company, should consider the possibility of paying funds toward a negotiated settlement instead of paying toward litigation expenses and possibly having to contribute toward a judgment granted against any leader.
Section 6 – Material Considerations
The termination of any proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or on a plea of no contest or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the leader should not be indemnified. The leader may still have acted in good faith a manner which he reasonably believed to be in the best interest of the Church. The Church can still find that the worker had reasonable cause to believe that his conduct was lawful. In the case of a criminal proceeding, the person must have had no reasonable cause to believe that his conduct was unlawful.
ARTICLE 10: CHURCH MINISTRIES & ORGANIZATIONS
All ministries, programs, teams, committees, and/or organizations of the Church shall operate under the oversight of the elders and report regularly to the congregation.
ARTICLE 11: ADOPTION OF CONSTITUTION & BYLAWS
This Constitution and Bylaws supersedes any or all other Constitution and Bylaws previously adopted by the Church.
ARTICLE 12: AMENDMENTS
The Statement of Faith and Membership Covenant may be amended by a three-quarters vote of the 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 two successive Sundays prior to such vote.
This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the 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 two successive Sundays prior to such vote.
APPENDIX A: MEMBERSHIP COVENANT
Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized by emersion in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as 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 doctrines; 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 to all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and private 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 excessive anger; to shun the very appearance of evil; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to the slow to take offence, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with another evangelical, Bible believingbody where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and principles of God’s Word.
APPENDIX B: STATEMENT OF FAITH
As a Southern Baptist church, we affirm the Baptist Faith and Message as it outlines the broad convictions of the church. Below is the brief summary.
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.
There is one and only one living and true God. …The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
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. …God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
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 virginMary. …He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross, He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. …He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. …He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man was created by the special act of God, in His own image, and is the crowning work of His creation. …By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. … 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 man possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
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, sanctification, and glorification.
God's Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. …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.
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel…and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. …This church is an autonomous body. …The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages.
Baptism & the Lord's Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. …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 life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members … memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
The Lord's Day
The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. …It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion.
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. …Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly…the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell. …The righteous… will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Evangelism & Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations … to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by personal effort.
The cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence … there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. …The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.
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.
Christ's people should … 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. …Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations.
The Christian & the Social Order
Every Christian is under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in his own life and in human society. ... The Christian should oppose in the spirit of Christ every form of greed, selfishness, and vice.
Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. …A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. …Marriage is the unity of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. …The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. …Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.