FFBC Statement of Faith
The Church’s objectives – as a group of people transformed by the Good News of Jesus Christ – are to impact communities with the transforming power of that Good News and to make a positive difference in the lives of people and communities, to the glory of God. These objectives, as stated more fully in the Members’ Manual, therefore involve:
- Connecting people to Jesus Christ;
- Connecting people to authentic Christian community; and
- Connecting people to their calling.
Whilst it is recognised that the Scriptures are the only sufficient rule of faith and practice, the Church accepts the following statement of faith as a summary of Biblical beliefs for the guidance of its Members.
There is one true living God, who is Spirit, light and love: The Creator and Ruler of the universe, including everyone and everything in it, who is absolutely holy, infinitely good and great, all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing and personal. He has eternally existed in three persons, the Holy Trinity i.e. the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These are co-equal and are one God. (Genesis 1:1, 26, 27; Deuteronomy 6 :4; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 1:5; 4:8, 16).
ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ is God, the Son, the second person in the Trinity. He came to earth and took on humanity still fully God and now forever also fully human. This incarnation was achieved through a miraculous conception and virgin birth. Jesus lived a sinless human life in perfect obedience to the Father and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin and a substitution in our place at His death on the cross. By the Holy Spirit’s power, God the Father raised Him bodily from the dead, conquering Satan, sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory where He intercedes on our behalf. He will return to Earth bodily to claim His own and visibly reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:22, 23; John 1:1 – 5, 14:10-30; Acts 1:9 – 11; Romans 1:3 – 4; 1 Corinthians 15:3 – 4; 1 Timothy 6:14 – 15; Titus 2:13, 3:4 – 7; Hebrews 4:14 – 15).
ABOUT THE BIBLE
The Bible is God’s self-communication in written form to us. It is an historical book written by human authors, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is the revelation of the objective Word of God regardless of our subjective response to it. It is the supreme source of truth and the final authority for Christian belief and living. It is not an end in itself but the means by which we come to a knowledge of Christ. Because God inspired it, it is the truth without error. (Psalm 12:6; 119:105, 160; Proverbs 30:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-13; 1 Timothy 2:4; 4:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2:25; 3:7, 16; Hebrews 10:26; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
People are the supreme object of God’s creation. They are made in His image to be His representatives and like Him in character. Although all human beings still display evidence of their divine creation, they are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God, called sin. Sin is the irrational assertion of independence from the Creator, tainting the good in people and in their thoughts, words and deeds. From the moment the human race rebelled (fell), this attitude of independence from God has caused alienation from self, neighbour and the environment. This alienation or death means that every individual is hopelessly lost and destined for an eternity in hell, the second death. (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3 – 6; Isaiah 53:6a; 59:1, 2; Romans 3:23, 5:12; 8:19 – 22; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Revelation 20:14 – 15).
Satan, the god of this age, author and prince of all powers of darkness and sin, has distinct personality and is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice in the lake of fire. (Matthew 4:1 – 11; Matthew 25:41; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Revelation 20:10).
All people are created as eternal beings. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. After death, there will be a resurrection of the body and a final judgment of all people by the Lord Jesus Christ. There will then be the creation of new heavens and earth where sin will no longer exist. All will either exist eternally in Hell, alienated and separated from God because of personal sin (eternal loneliness and death); or eternally in fellowship with God through salvation from sin (eternal union or life). (Matthew 18:8; 25:41, 46; John 3:16; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:42 – 48; Hebrews 9:27; 1 John 2:25; 5:11 – 13; Revelation 20:15).
Salvation begins for the individual when that person receives the free gift of eternal life. Eternal life is the very life of Jesus Christ Himself resident in the individual through the person of the Holy Spirit. This occurs upon repentance of our sin towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. This gift of God’s grace and mercy is what Jesus Christ has made possible by His perfect life, His atoning death, His powerful resurrection, His glorious ascension, His ongoing priesthood and His certain return. Salvation is assured by the grace, commitment and power of God. The Holy Spirit provides power over sin as a person lives in dependence upon and in obedience to Him. (John 10:29; 14:6; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25; 10:10, 14; 1 Peter 1:3 – 5)
ABOUT BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only two ordinances, which were given by Jesus Christ, as recorded in Scripture, to be observed by the Church till His return. Baptism is in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This Church teaches and practices baptism of believers by full immersion in water upon profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a declaration of union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection and an initiation into the Body of Christ. In instances of advanced disability or illness the practice of baptism by full immersion may be varied.
The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of and thanksgiving for the sacrifice of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to be regularly practiced until He comes. It relates to forgiveness of sin, present sanctification and future glorification in Jesus Christ and is a sign of the believer’s continuing fellowship in the body of Christ, the Church. (Matthew 26:26 – 30; 28:19 – 20; Mark 14:13 – 26; Luke 22:14 – 20; Acts 2:41; 8:12; 18:8; Romans 6:4; 1 Corinthians 11:17 – 34; Colossians 2:12).
ABOUT THE CHURCH
Christ alone is the Head of the Church. No other person, group, or religious organisation can profess to be the Head of the Church. The Church is the instrument which displays the redemptive activity of God, and which is called to partner with God in His redemptive mission in the world. Each local Church is a full manifestation of the Church. Wherever the Church operates it is the one universal church and is competent to function. It is composed of believers, that is, all persons who have been born again by the Spirit of God. The authority of Christ is in the Church, not in an individual, and is ministered through the Holy Spirit. (Acts 9:31; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 1:22 – 23; 4:1 – 16; 5:25 – 27; Colossians 1:18 – 24).
ABOUT FAITH AND PRACTICE
The Bible (Scripture) is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. Where the Scripture is silent, each believer must exercise liberty of conscience in line with the principles of God’s Word and in the light of the One to whom all are ultimately accountable. (Matthew 4: 4; 1 Corinthians 8; 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17; Hebrews 5:13 – 14).
ABOUT CONGREGATIONAL LIFE
The will of Christ for each church is to be found as the Holy Spirit brings direction and conviction to that congregation gathered to seek his will in the light of the Scriptures. On this basis the Church Meeting is the final authority under Christ for the conduct and governance of this congregation. Finding Christ’s will through the Church Meeting involves mutual counsel through the exercise of the members’ gifts and learning from the experience of other congregations.
Christ gives leaders to his Church. It is the duty of the local church through the Church Meeting to recognise and affirm Christ’s call to such leaders and to set them aside to serve, thereby charging them with the responsibility to lead and delegating prescribed authority to lead. Mutual accountability is to operate between leaders and church.
While not in any way diminishing the autonomy of the local church, it is appropriate for Baptist churches to cooperate in a Union of Churches in which it is essential for all member churches to practise mutual care, support, and accountability.