Though the following Scriptural and Doctrinal beliefs are listed in detail, these do not exhaust the beliefs of the Birch Street Baptist Church as we believe that the Bible is the Final Authority of our faith and therefore are not limited to just the following statements.The following comprise the Scriptural beliefs and Doctrine of this church and its members.
I. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES - We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men supernaturally inspired; that it has truth without any admixture of error for it’s matter; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age, the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man; the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.
By "The Holy Bible" we mean that the collection of sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament, from Genesis to Revelation, which, as originally written does not only contain and convey the Word of God, but IS the very Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed, and therefore are the final authority for fait, practice, and life.
By “Inspiration” we mean that the books of the Bible were written by holy men of old, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally and verbally inspired and free from error, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be inspired.
We believe the Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the scriptures. The King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation used by the church.
(Psa. 19:7-11; 119:89, 105, 130, 160; Prov. 30:5-6; Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:31; 24:25-27, 44-45; John 5:39, 45-47; 12:48; 17:17; Acts 1:16; 28:25-27; Rom. 3:4; 15:4; Eph. 6:17; II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:19-21, 23; Rev. 22:18-19)
II. DISPENSATIONALISM - We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life, which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. Three of these dispensations — the law, the church, and the kingdom — are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture.
(Gen. 1:28; 1 Cor. 9:17; 2 Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10; 3:2-10; Col. 1:24-25, 27; Rev. 20:2-6)
III. THE GODHEAD - We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — each co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections.
(Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; John 14:10, 26)
IV. THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST - We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men.
(Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8)
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men.
(Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8)
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead.
(Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24-25; 1 Pet. 2:24; Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate.
(Acts 1:9-10; Heb. 9:24; 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2)
V. THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person; equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that He is the Supernatural Agent in the New Birth and regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ; and that He indwells, seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies, and helps believers unto the day of redemption.
(John 16:8-11; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13-14)
We believe that He is the Divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit.
(Eph. 1:17-18; 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27)
We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer. God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip believers in the assembly in order that they can do the work of the ministry.
(Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11, 28; Eph. 4:7-12)
We believe that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and the gift of healing, were temporary. Speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit and that ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God frequently chooses to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing. We believe that the baptism or filling of the Holy Ghost was for the believers to be endued with power to be witnesses. as given in Acts 1:8 and Luke 24:49.
(1 Cor. 1:22; 13:8; 14:21-22)
VI. THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN - We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s voluntary sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Man is totally depraved and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition or redeem his own soul.
(Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 1:18, 20, 28, 32; 3:22-23; 5:12; 6:23; Gal. 3:22; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19)
VII. SALVATION - We believe that salvation is the free gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. We believe that all sins, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, are forgivable and by voluntary rejection of the Gospel, involve man in an aggravated condemnation.
(John 1:12; 3:18, 36; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Matt. 12:31-32; 1 John 1:9)
VIII. 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 Christ Jesus; 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 divined nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, not by culture, not by character, nor by the will of man, but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Ghost in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; that it’s proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life.
(John 3:3; II Cor. 5:17; Luke 5:27; I John 5:1; John 3:6-7; Acts 2:41; II Pet. 1:4; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1; II Cor. 5:19; Col. 2:13; John 1:12-13; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9)
IX. THE ETERNAL SECURITY AND ASSURANCE OF BELIEVERS - We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever by the power of God through faith unto eternal salvation.
(John 6:37-40; 8:31-32; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1, 28, 35-39; 1 Cor. 1:4-8; Phil. 1:6; Col. 1:21-23; 1 Pet. 1:4-5; Jude 24)
We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh.
(Rom. 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15)
X. THE CHURCH - We believe that a Baptist church is a visible congregation of baptized believers, and not an invisible universal assembly of believers, and is associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the Gospel, said church being understood to be the citadel and propagator of the divine and eternal grace; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His Laws; exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word; that it’s officers of ordination are pastors or elders whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the scriptures. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home and men are to hold the leadership positions (pastors, council, and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. We believe the true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission: first, to make individual disciples; second, to build up the church; third, to teach and instruct as He has commanded. We do not believe in the reversal of this order, we hold that the local church has 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 true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel; that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of it’s 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; 6:5-6; 14:23; 15:22-23; 20:17-28; I Cor. 5:11-13; 6:1-3; 11:2; 12:4, 8-11; 16:1-2; II Cor. 8:23-24; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:11; 5:11-13, 23-24; Col. 1:18; I Tim. 3:1-13; I Pet. 5:1-4; Jude 3-4)
We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-again persons.
(1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-27)
We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures.
(Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)
We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control.
(Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Rom. 16:1, 4; 1 Cor. 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; 1 Pet. 5:1-4)
We believe Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with authority of the local church, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem of our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with it’s effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is pre-requisite to the privileges of a church relation and to the Lord’s supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and the fruit of the vine are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination. We believe the Lord’s Supper and baptism as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age.
(Matt. 3:6,16; 28:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:36-39; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 11:23-28; Col. 2:12)
XI. SEPARATION - We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations, and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances, piercings, and bodily markings.
(Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11; Lev. 19:28; 1 Cor. 6:19-20)
XII. THE SECOND ADVENT OF CHRIST - We believe in that “blessed hope,” the personal, imminent return of Christ Who will rapture His church prior to the seven-year tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will personally and visibly return with His saints, to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom which was promised to the nation of Israel.
(Ps. 89:3-4; Dan. 2:31-45; Zech. 14:4-11; I Thess. 1:10; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Rev. 3:10; 19:11-16; 20:1-6)
XIII. THE ETERNAL STATE - We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment.
(Matt. 25:46; John 5:28, 29; 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 12-13)
We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where they consciously await their bodily resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord.
(Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 3:21; I Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-6)
We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment.
(Matt. 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; II Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15)
XIV. THE PERSONALITY OF SATAN - We believe that Satan was once holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors; but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty; fell and drew after him a host of angels; that he is now the malignant prince of the power of the air, and the unholy god of this world. We hold him to be man’s great tempter, the enemy of God and His Christ, the accuser of the saints, the author of all false religions, the chief power back of the present apostasy; the lord of the antichrist, the author of sin, the author of all the powers of darkness, and the cause of the Fall of Man; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; destined however to final defeat at the hands of God’s own Son, and to the judgment of an eternal justice, and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire, a place prepared for him and his angels.
(Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:14-17; Matt. 4:1-11; 13:39; 25:41; Mark 13:21-22; Luke 22:3-4; John 14:30; II Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 2:2; I Thess. 3:5; II Thess. 2:8-11; I Pet. 5:8; II Pet. 2:4; I John 2:22; 3:8; 4:3; II John 7; Jude 6; Rev. 12:7-10; 13:13-14; 19:11, 16, 20; 20:1-3, 10)
XV. CREATION - We believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24-hour periods. We believe in the Genesis account of creation and that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; that man was created directly in God’s own image and after His own likeness; that man’s creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; that all animal and vegetable life was made directly and God’s established law was that they should bring forth only “after their kind.” We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin.
(Gen. 1-2; Ex. 20:11)
XVI. CIVIL GOVERNMENT - We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home, 2) the church, and 3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God.
(Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13-14)
XVII. HUMAN SEXUALITY - We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance.
(Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5, 13; Gen. 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1: 26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4)
We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman.
(Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23)
XVIII. FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS - We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home and men are to hold the leadership positions (pastors, council, and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church.
(Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are an heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them, through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction.
(Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mk. 10:6-12; I Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4, Col. 3:18-21; Heb. 13:4; I Pet. 3:1-7)
XIX. DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE - We believe that God disapproves of and forbids divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on the grounds of fornication. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon.
(Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6)
XX. ABORTION - We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental well being of the mother are acceptable.
(Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5; 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
XXI. LOVE - We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward both those who are not believers and those who oppose us. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or the use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions.
(Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Phil. 2:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; 1 John 3:17-18)
XXII. LAWSUITS BETWEEN BELIEVERS - We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander.
(1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32)
XXIII. MISSIONS - We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to go to the foreign nations and not wait for them to come to us.
(Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20)
XXIV. GIVING - We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially. We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving, but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made.
(Gen. 14:20; Prov. 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 John 3:17)