What Do We Believe?

Who is God?

Many people have differing ideas about the nature of God. Most of the ideas they have are the product of human intellect! When it comes to our Creator, it matters very little who we think God is. The Bible is the only trustworthy source for understanding Him. Scripture teaches that God created everything we can see -- and even everything we can’t see -- out of nothing. Although it might be difficult for the human mind to comprehend, the Bible teaches that God is one, yet has existed since the beginning of time as three distinct and equal persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (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)

 

What is the Bible?

The Holy Spirit inspired human authors to write the books of the Bible. Every word of scripture is chosen by God himself. The Bible is God’s love letter to all of humanity and is the final authority in every issue it communicates. It is complete truth, and we can trust it for all matters in this life and eternity. (Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalm 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36; 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

 

Who is Jesus?

Jesus Christ is God’s Son and an equal of the Father. He has existed from the beginning of time, yet lived on earth during the first century A.D. Throughout His earthly life, He was completely God and completely human at the same time. After living a perfect, sinless life, Jesus offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for every human being who has ever lived by dying on a Roman cross. After three days in the grave, He defeated sin and death by rising from the grave. He then ascended to Heaven and will return to earth one day to reign as King. (Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalm 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16

 

Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is a full and equal part of the Trinity. He works in the world to make all people understand their need for Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit lives inside every follower of Jesus from the moment they decide to follow Him. The Spirit is our power source for life, ministry and spiritual growth. To tap into that power, we must continually yield to the Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalm 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)

 

Who is Man?

Man is the pinnacle of God’s creation and the only being on the earth whom God made in His own spiritual image, with the moral ability to choose right from wrong. Every person, although endowed with the image of God, inherited a disobedient heart from Adam, the very first man. This attitude of disobedience (called sin in the Bible) – unless rectified through Christ – forever keeps man from forming a relationship with his Creator. This attitude also keeps us from being the kind of people God created us to be. (Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalm 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)

 

What is salvation?

Our disobedient nature has eternally separated us from our Creator. No matter how hard we try, we can never earn our way back into God’s presence. Our only hope is to trust Jesus as God’s provision for our disobedience. Whenever you make that decision, you step into the eternal and abundant life Jesus promises for all believers. (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)

 

If I accept Jesus, is my salvation forever?

Definitely! Your salvation is through the most trustworthy being in the universe – Jesus Christ! You didn’t do anything to earn your salvation, and you can’t do anything to lose it. Your salvation is maintained by God’s trustworthiness and love, not by what you do. (John 3:16; John 10:27-29; Rom. 8:35-39; John 6:37,39; Eph. 1:13-14; John 5:24)

 

How do we grow as believers?

God has set us apart (sanctified us) for the purpose of growing us to become more like His Son. Through our faith in the Bible and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, God changes our heart in order to change our character and actions. God’s promise is that when we reach heaven, He will complete the process of making every believer like Jesus. (Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalm 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)

 

Why is evil present in the world?

While God will one day do away with all evil, He currently allows evil in the world - which provides mankind a choice. Satan is the source of all evil and will suffer an eternity of separation from God for his choices. (Hell was originally prepared for the devil and his demons.) Evil is present in the world because of mankind’s choice in the Garden of Eden. Because of Jesus, we have the opportunity to choose the goodness of God’s grace over evil. While God could eliminate evil immediately, He endures the grief of waiting to do so in order to give more people the opportunity to come to faith in Him. God is able to cause all things, even the evil in this world, to work together for the good of those who love Him. (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:1-24; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12; Psalm 100:5; John 3:19; Psalm 81:12; Revelation 12:7-9; Revelation 20:10; 1 Corinthians 15:56; Colossians 2:15; 1 John 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 8:28-29)

 

How will I spend eternity?

God made you to exist forever. Heaven is a perfect place, and since none of us is perfect, we were all headed for an eternity of separation from God. That’s why God sent Jesus - to pay the price for our sins so that we can spend eternity with Him. What you decide about Jesus Christ in this life will determine where you will spend eternity. If you reject Him, you’ll spend it eternally separated from God in Hell. If you accept Him, you’ll spend it eternally connected with Him in Heaven. Hell is a place of separation, suffering and darkness. Heaven is a place of eternal joy in God’s presence. (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)

 

What is the church?

The Bible tells us that the church is the body of Christ in the world today. The New Testament tells us the church is a local body of baptized believers. The head of the church is Jesus Christ. The biblical purposes of the church are worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship and ministry to others. (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)

 

What is the second coming of Jesus?

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. (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)

On Immigration And The Gospel 

The Resolution below is from the Southern Baptist Convention Resolution on Immigration and The Gospel. See http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/1213

WHEREAS, The Kingdom of God is made up of persons from every tribe, tongue, nation, and language (Revelation 7:9); and

WHEREAS, Our ancestors in the faith were sojourners and aliens in the land of Egypt (Exodus 1:1-141 Chronicles 16:19Acts 7:6); and

WHEREAS, Our Lord Jesus Christ lived His childhood years as an immigrant and refugee (Matthew 2:13-23); and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures call us, in imitation of God Himself, to show compassion and justice for the sojourner and alien among us (Exodus 22:21Deuteronomy 10:18-19Psalm 94:6Jeremiah 7:6Ezekiel 22:29Zechariah 7:10); and

WHEREAS, The Great Commission compels us to take the gospel to the nations (Matthew 28:18-20), and the Great Commandment compels us to love our neighbor as self (Mark 12:30-31); and

WHEREAS, The gospel tells us that our response to the most vulnerable among us is a response to Jesus Himself (Matthew 25:40); and

WHEREAS, The Bible denounces the exploitation of workers and the mistreatment of the poor (Isaiah 3:15Amos 4:1James 5:4); and

WHEREAS, The United States of America is increasingly diverse in terms of ethnicity, language, and culture; and

WHEREAS, Approximately 12 to 15 million undocumented immigrants live and work within our borders; and

WHEREAS, The relative invisibility of the immigrant population can lead to detrimental consequences in terms of health, education, and well-being, especially of children; and

WHEREAS, Recognizing that Romans 13:1-7 teaches us that the rule of law is an indispensable part of civil society and that Christians are under biblical mandate to respect the divinely-ordained institution of government and its just laws, that government has a duty to fulfill its ordained mandate, and that Christians have a right to expect the government to fulfill its ordained mandate to enforce those laws; and

WHEREAS, The governing authorities of a nation have the right and responsibility to maintain borders to protect the security of their citizens; and

WHEREAS, Undocumented immigrants are in violation of the law of the land; and

WHEREAS, Many of these persons, desiring a better future for themselves and their families, are fleeing brutal economic and political situations; and

WHEREAS, The issue of immigration has prompted often-rancorous debate in the American public square; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 14-15, 2011, call on our churches to be the presence of Christ, in both proclamation and ministry, to all persons, regardless of country of origin or immigration status; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we declare that any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we deplore any bigotry or harassment against any persons, regardless of their country of origin or legal status; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we ask our governing authorities to prioritize efforts to secure the borders and to hold businesses accountable for hiring practices as they relate to immigration status; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we ask our governing authorities to implement, with the borders secured, a just and compassionate path to legal status, with appropriate restitutionary measures, for those undocumented immigrants already living in our country; and be it further

RESOLVED, That this resolution is not to be construed as support for amnesty for any undocumented immigrant; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we pray for our churches to demonstrate the reconciliation of the Kingdom both in the verbal witness of our gospel and in the visible makeup of our congregations; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we affirm that while Southern Baptists, like other Americans, might disagree on how to achieve just and humane public policy objectives related to immigration, we agree that, when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to His church, the message, in every language and to every person, is “Whosoever will may come.”