This statement of faith is based on the Abstract of Principles – a founding document for the SBTS. Some language has been clarified for modern readers, though I have attempted to stay true to the original document.
Additionally, some information has been changed or added. The section on the Trinity has been expanded to include information on each person of the Triune Godhead. The section on the Lord’s day has been changed to include language and concepts from the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Last, a section on “The Family” was added, which also came from the BFM2000. The wording of these items, as well as the Scriptural references for each primary topic, are based upon or adopted from the statement of faith from The Master’s Community Church.
Grace Fellowship Statement of Faith
I. The Scriptures
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were written by men who were inspired by God. They serve as God’s way of revealing Himself to us. The Scriptures are perfect and are the absolute authority for humanity’s understanding of faith, obedience, and saving knowledge. In their original form, they are perfect and without error.
Psalm 19:7-10; Isaiah 40:6-8; Matthew 5:17-20; Romans 15:1-6; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:6-13; 2 Peter 1:19-21
II. The Trinity
God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each of these persons of the Trinity has distinct personal attributes. However, they exist as one God without division of nature, essence or being.
Genesis 1:2, 26; 3:22; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 110 and Matthew 22:41-46; Matthew 3:13- 17; Romans 8:12-17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 1:3-14; Colossians 1:15-20
III. God the Father
There is one God: the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all. To Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. As Creator He is Father to all men, but He is spiritual Father only to believers.
Genesis 1:1-2; Exodus 3:12-15; Deuteronomy 6:4; Jeremiah 10:1-16; Matthew 6:5-15; Romans 8:12-14; Ephesians 4:1-6; James 1:13-18; Revelation 4
IV. God the Son
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the Law. He suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried and rose again on the third day. He ascended to His Father, and He lives forever at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe.
Genesis 3:15; Psalm 110:1-4; Isaiah 53; John 4:24, 5:19-30, 14:6-13; Colossians 1:15-19; Hebrews 1:1-4; 7:11-28; 1 Timothy 2:5-6, 3:16; Revelation 5
V. God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures.Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration, He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Genesis 1:2; Psalm 51:11; 139:7ff.; Joel 2:28-32; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; John 14:16-17, 26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4, 38; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 12:3-13; Galatians 5.16-23; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 4:13
From eternity, God decrees or permits all things that come to pass. He continuously and forever upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet He does so in such a way that does not destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.
Genesis 50:20; Psalm 103, 104; Proverbs 16:9; Isaiah 40:7-26; 45:5-7; 46:3-13; Matthew 6:26-33; 11:25-30; Acts 2:22-24; 17:24-31; Romans 11:33-36; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; Hebrews 1:1-4; Revelation 20
Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life — not because of foreseen merit in them, but because of his mere mercy in Christ. As a result of God’s choice, these people are called, justified, and glorified.
Genesis 25:19- 26; John 6:37-40; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-38; 9-11; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Ephesians 1:3-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 2:1-10
VIII. The Fall of Man
God originally created man in His own image, and free from sin. But, through the temptation of Satan, man violated the command of God. As a result, man fell from his original holiness and righteousness. Because of this fall, all of his descendants inherit a corrupt nature and are wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and — as soon as they are capable of moral action — become actual transgressors against God themselves.
Genesis 3; 6:5-8; Psalm 51; John 3:19-21; 8:30-47; Romans 3:9-20; 5:12-19; Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 3:3-7
Regeneration is a change of heart, worked by the Holy Spirit, who awakens those people who are spiritually dead in their sins and trespasses by enlightening their minds spiritually and giving them a saving understanding of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit renews their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone.
Deuteronomy 30:1-6; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 11:17-21; 36:25-29; John 3:3-7, 5:24; Acts 2:38-39; Romans 8:1-2; Titus 3:4-7; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3, 22-25
Repentance is a gift of God’s grace. In repentance, a person, by the Holy Spirit, comes to understand the evil of his sin. Upon this understanding, he humbles himself because of this sin with godly sorrow, hatred of it, and self-abhorrence. He then lives life intending to please God in all things.
Job 42:1-6; Psalm 51; Luke 3:3-14; 19:1-10; Acts 2:22-38; 2 Corinthians 7:8-13; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 2 Timothy 2:25; Titus 2:11-14
Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of everything that is revealed in His Word concerning Christ. Such a faith leads to acceptance of, and rest upon, Christ alone for justification and eternal life. This work is done in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces. This leads to the pursuit of a life of holiness.
Genesis 15:1-6; Matthew 11:22-30; John 3:16-18; 6:35-36; Romans 1:16-17; 3:21-26; 4:1ff; 6:1-10; 10:8-10; Galatians 2:15-21; Ephesians 2:1-10; Hebrews 3:12-19; Hebrews 11; Revelation 13:10; 14:12
Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of sinners who believe in Christ. They are acquitted of all sin through the work of Christ. This justification is not the result of anything worked in them or done by them. Instead, it is on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, which they have received and rested on Him and His righteousness by faith.
Psalm 32:1- 2; Isaiah 53:4-6; Micah 7:18-20; Romans 3:21-26; 4:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 2:15-21; Titus 3:3-7
Those who have been regenerated (made new) are also sanctified (made Holy) by God’s word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is a continuous work and progresses through the life of the believer through the help of Divine strength. All believers seek to obtain this holiness, pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all of Christ’s commands.
Matthew 28:18-20; John 17:14-19; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:7-11; 2 Corinthians 3:7-18; 6:14-7:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15; Hebrews 2:11; 10:10, 14; 12:14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2
XIV. Perseverance of the Saints
Those whom God has accepted through Christ and sanctified by His Spirit will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but will certainly persevere to the end. However, they might fall into sin through neglect and temptation. Such sin grieves the Spirit, impairs their graces and comforts, brings reproach on the Church, and brings temporal judgments on themselves. However, they shall be brought back to repentance and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-11; 8:1, 28-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Hebrews 7:23-25, 10:19-31; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 John 2:19, 28-3:3
XV. The Church
The Lord Jesus is the Head of the Church, which is composed of all His true disciples. Christ has supreme power for its government. According to His commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into particular assemblies or churches. To each of these churches, He has given the appropriate authority for administering order, discipline and worship which He has appointed. The regular officers of a Church are Elders/Bishops, Deacons, and Deaconesses.
Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-47; Ephesians 2:11-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 1:1- 2; Colossians 1:15-18; 2:4-7; 1 Timothy 3; 5:3-18; 6:14-16
Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus which every believer ought to participate in. In Baptism, the believer is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This is a public profession of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself up to God to live and walk in newness of life. It is a prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord’s Supper.
Matthew 3:13-17; 28:18-20; Acts 2:38-42; 8:35-40; Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 2:11-15
XVII. The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ. It is to be administered with the elements of bread and the cup (wine or juice), and is to be observed by His churches until the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate and proclaim His death, to confirm the faith of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him, and of their church fellowship.
Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-23; Acts 2:46-47; 1 Corinthians 10:14-22; 11:28-32; Hebrews 9:11-28
XVIII. The Lord’s Day
The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should correspond with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:1ff; Mark 16:1-9; Luke 24:1-12; John 4:21-24; 20:1-9; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16-23; 3:16-17; Revelation 1:10
XIX. Liberty of Conscience
God alone is Lord of the conscience. He has left it free from earthly doctrines and commandments which are contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Because civil leadership is ordained of God, we ought to submit to the lawful commands of that leadership in the Lord – not only because of wrath, but also for the sake of good conscience.
Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 12:18-13:7; 14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 6:1-7; 8:4-13; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; 1 Peter 2:11-25
XX. The Resurrection
After men die, their bodies will return to dust. However, their spirits return immediately to God. The righteous will immediately go to be with Him, but the wicked to be kept under darkness until the judgment. On the last day, the bodies of all the dead – both the just and unjust – will be raised.
Matthew 16:24-28; Luke 16:19-31; John 11:17-27; 14:1-6; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, 35-58; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Peter 3:8-13
XXI. The Judgment
God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when everyone shall receive judgement according to his deeds. The wicked will go into everlasting punishment. The righteous will go into everlasting life.
Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:24-30; Acts 17:30-34; Romans 1:18-2:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 10:26-31; Revelation 20:1-22:13
XXII. The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1- 20; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 23:13-14; 31:10-31; Matthew 5:31-32; Mark 10:1-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7