Statement of Faith
“…to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us…” — Luke 1:1.
- CONCERNING THE SCRIPTURES:
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men supernaturally inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God as its Author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principle by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man, the true center of all Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.
- By the “Holy Bible” we mean that collection of sixty six books from Genesis to The Revelation, divinely preserved in the English language and commonly known as the authorized, King James Version of 1611 A.D.
- By “inspiration” we mean that all books of the Bible were written down by holy men of God as they were supernaturally moved by the Holy Ghost, in a definite yet inexplicable way so as to record the very words and sense of God, though conveyed within their own literary styles; that such writings are free from all error and from all omission as no other writings have been or ever will be; that the Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but is the very Word of God.
II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:19-21; Acts 1:16; 3:21; II Samuel 23:2; Acts 28:25; Psalm 119:89,130,160; I Corinthians 2:12,13; Luke 24:25-27,44,45; Psalm 12:6.7; Isaiah 40:8; I Peter 1:23-25; John 10:35; Matthew 5:18; 24:35; Luke 16:17, 29-31; 21:33; John 17:17; Proverbs 30:5,6; Romans 3:4; 15:4, Revelation 22:18,19 John 12:48; Isaiah 8:20; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 19:7-11; John 5:39, 45-47; Romans 10:17.
- CONCERNING THE TRUE GOD:
We believe the Scriptures teach that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the Maker and supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
Of God the Father.
We believe the Scriptures teach that God the Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the events of human history according to the purposes of His grace; that He is unchangeable in holiness, love and truth; that He is Father in truth to those who are the children of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and fatherly in His attitude toward all men, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and receive His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Genesis 1:1; 17:1; Exodus 3:14; 15:11; 20:2,3; I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; John 4:24; Psalm 83:18; 90:2; 147:5; Jeremiah 10:10; Revelation 4:11; I Timothy 1:17; Romans 11:33; Mark 12:30; Matthew 28:19; I John 5:7; II Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 2:18; I John 1:5; 4:8; Hebrews 12:29; Deuteronomy 6:4,5; Isaiah 6:3; I Peter 1:15.
- Of God the Son.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, co-equal, co-essential, and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Holy Ghost, the second Person of the Trinity; that He was born into this world of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of a woman, and that He is both perfect God and perfect man; that He lived a sinless life, honoring the divine Law by His personal obedience, yet identifying Himself completely with mankind; that He died a substitutionary death on the cross securing redemption through His shed blood for sinners; that He supernaturally rose again the third day with a glorified body, was seen of many, and ascended into the heavens to be exalted and seated at the right hand of the Father where He is the Head over His churches, the Mediator and Advocate with God the Father for all believers; and that He is supernaturally coming again to this world to reign personally and visibly over the earth.
Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; Mark 1:1; John 1:1-3,14; Psalm 2:7; Hebrews 1:8; Galatians 4:4; I John 5:20; I Corinthians 15:47; Isaiah 9:6,7; John 8:58; 10:30; 17:5; Philippians 2:5-11; I Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26; Romans 9:5; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 13:8; II Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:24-28; Revelation 1:8; Hebrews 10:12; I John 2:1; Isaiah 53:6; I Peter 2:24; 3:18; I Corinthians 15:3,4; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; Colossians 1:18.
- Of God the Holy Spirit.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Holy Ghost is a divine Person, co-equal, co-essential, co-eternal, and co-active with God the Father and God the Son, the third Person of the Trinity; that He was active in the creation of the universe; that He moved holy men of God to write the Bible; that He is the present representative of the Godhead on this earth, and in His relationship to the unbelieving world restrains evil, convicting men of sin, of righteousness, and judgment; that He bears witness to the Truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony, and is the Agent of the new birth, regenerating those who by faith believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that He seals, fills, guides, teaches, sanctifies, and comforts all believers, cultivating in them Christian character and bestowing upon them spiritual gifts by which they serve God in the church, these gifts being entirely unlike those falsehoods perpetrated within the so-called “Charismatic Movement” of today.
John 14:16,17,26; 15:26,27; 16:8-11,13; Acts 5:3,4,30-32; 11:16; I Corinthians 2:10,11; 12:4-6; Hebrews 9:14; Luke 1:35; 3:16; 24:49; Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; John 1:33, 3:5,6; Ephesians 1:13,14; II Thessalonians 2:7,13; Romans 8:14,16,26,27; I Peter 1:2.
III. CONCERNING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE, WEDDING CEREMONY, CLOSED MARRIAGE, AND STATE MARRIAGE LICENSES AND MANKIND:
THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE: We believe the Scriptures teach that God created man in His own image and after His own likeness; that man is notably distinct from all other forms of life, being tripartite in nature and having an everlasting soul; 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 of life; that the entire Genesis account of creation is to be accepted literally and not allegorically or figuratively; that all animal and vegetable life was made directly and specially, and God’s established law is that they should bring forth only “after their kind.” We believe that, in regard to the procreation process of mankind, that the mystery of the church was hid in and revealed by marriage between one man and one woman that enter into the covenant of marriage that would be recognized by the scriptures. The mystery of the church is exemplified by the husband and wife relationship, illustrating that Christ is the groom and the church is the bride (Eph 5:30-33). Therefore, marriage is to be between one man and one woman and is to exemplify Christ and His church. It is for this reason that any other view or practice of marriage, other than as between one man and one woman, is incompatible with the scriptures and therefore incompatible with the requirements in regard to the membership of this (Jones Prairie Baptist Church) church body. If marriage is not between a man and a woman, we believe it is not recognized as marriage at all and is to be considered in violation of human nature, Laws of God, and the scriptures, and is to be considered sinful, vile and without natural affection.
WEDDING CEREMONY: We believe that the ceremony of a wedding that joins one man to one woman is an allegory of the marriage of Christ to his bride which is the local, visible and scriptural church (church as described in this statement of faith) of Jesus Christ. The groom represents Jesus Christ and the bride represents the visible church which is the bride of Christ. This ceremony in relation to this church body, property and policies is to represent and be in line with this doctrine “in holiness, purity and practice” that is, to be between one man and one woman that are members of Jones Prairie Baptist Church and are in good standing who share, believe and practice this visible truth.
CLOSED MARRIAGE: We believe that these doctrines and practices are and were given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. In regard to marriage and preserving the institution and doctrine of marriage, we believe that the ceremony of the solemnization of marriage belongs to this church body and its ordained ministers. We believe that this doctrinal practice is to be between members of this church body who believe that the bride is the local visible church body and the groom is Christ. We believe that this practice is our responsibility to preserve and protect. As communion is known as the Lord’s table, which is between Christ and His bride, the local visible church, is closed to the public and only open to its members, likewise, we believe the practice, ceremony and solemnization of marriage is closed to all but its membership as well. This practice shall be considered, known and called “Closed Marriage”.
STATE MARRIAGE LICENSES: We believe that marriage was the first institution that was given by God our creator to the first man and woman. Marriage is a gift from God and is considered a great mystery concerning Christ and his church. Marriage was in existence before any city, state, nation or government. Therefore we do not believe that it is necessary to secure a marriage license from the state or any other political entity or power in order for a man and woman to live together in the holy bonds of matrimony. We believe it would be a violation of the principle of separation of church and state for the government to impose its will upon us as a church body in regard to the solemnization or authority of a marriage that is practiced within the confines’ of our faith and practice. For marriage is from God, it is holy, it is honorable and God joins it together. Therefore, we believe and conclude that the appointment of authority comes from Christ and was given to his churches. Whatsoever is bound on earth by the church(es) is also recognized bound in heaven by God.
Ecclesiastes 7:29; Romans 1:18-32; Ephesians 5:30-33. John 3:27-30; Revelation 21:9; 2 Corinthians 11:12; Hebrews 13:4; Matthew 16:19,18:18, 25:1-13
- Of the Fall of Man.
We believe the Scriptures teach that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression through an act of deliberate disobedience, fell from that sinless and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but of choice, being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the Law of God, positively inclined to evil; that upon reaching a capability of moral action, becomes a transgressor and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin without defense or excuse.
Genesis 1:1,11,25-27,31; 2:21-23; Exodus 20:11; Acts 4:24; Colossians 1:16,17; Hebrews 11:3; John 1:3; Revelation 10:6; Romans 1:20; Acts 17:23-26; Jeremiah 10:12; Nehemiah 9:6; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Genesis 3:1-6,24; Romans 1:18,20,28,32; 3:10-19; 5:12,19; Ezekiel 18:19,20; Galatians 3:10,22; Psalm 51:6; Isaiah 53:6; Ephesians 2:3; Matthew 20:15.
- Of Civil Government.
We believe the Scriptures teach that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interest and good of human society; that all those in authority are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed, except only in things opposed to the revealed will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the rulers of the earth; that civil rulers have no rights to have control over, or interference with, religious matters; that churches and religious organizations should receive no help from the State, except protection and full freedom in the pursuit of spiritual ends; and that the requiring of an implicit faith and absolute blind obedience destroys liberty of conscience and reason.
Romans 13:1-7; I Peter 2:13,14,17; Matthew 22:21; Titus 3:1; I Timothy 2:1-8; Acts 5:29; Matthew 10:28; Daniel 3:15-18; 6:7,10; Acts 4:18-20; Matthew 23:10; Romans 14:4; Revelation 19:14; Psalm 72:11; II Samuel 23:3; Exodus 18:21,22; Acts 23:5; Philippians 2:10,11.
- CONCERNING THE WAY OF SALVATION AND THE BEGINNING OF THE GOSPEL:
We believe the Scriptures teach that the salvation of sinners is wholly of the grace of God, through the merits of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe that John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus Christ and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ began with the ministry and preaching of John the Baptist.
Mark 1:1-4 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
- Of the Law and the Gospel.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government; that it is holy, just, and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their sinful nature; to deliver them from which, and that to restore them through a Mediator of unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is the one great end of the Gospel; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
Romans 3:20,31; Matthew 5:17; Luke 16:17; Romans 4:15; 7:7,12,14,22; Galatians 3:21; Romans 8:2,4,7,8; 10:4; I Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 8:10.
- Of God’s Purpose of Grace.
We believe the Scriptures teach that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which He graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves those sinners who, by faith, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of God’s free mercy to others; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; and that it is the foundation of Christian assurance.
II Timothy 1:8,9; II Thessalonians 2:13,14; II Timothy 2:10; I Corinthians 9:22; Romans 8:28-30; John 6:37-40; II Peter 1:10; I Thessalonians 4:10; Isaiah 42:16; Romans 11:29.
- Of the Freeness of Salvation.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth except his own inherent depravity and voluntary refusal to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, which refusal will subject him to an aggravated condemnation.
I Thessalonians 1:4; Colossians 3:12; I Peter 1:2; Titus 1:1; Matthew 11:28; Isaiah 55:1,6,7; Revelation 22:17; Romans 10:13; John 6:37; Acts 2:38; John 3:15,16; I Timothy 1:15; I Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 2:4,5; John 15:40; John 3:18,36.
- Of the Atonement for Sin.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Son of God, by appointment with the Father, freely took upon Him our nature, yet without sin; that by His death on the cross, made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins; that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by his death as a martyr, but was the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinners’ place, the Just dying for the unjust; that having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in Heaven and, uniting in His wonderful Person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Saviour.
Ephesians 2:8; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24,25; John 3:16; Matthew 18:11; Philippians 2:7,8; Hebrews 2:14; Isaiah 53:4-7; I John 4;10; I Corinthians 15:3,20; II Corinthians 5:21; John 10:18; Galatians 1:4; I Peter 2:24; 3:18; Isaiah 53:11,12; Hebrews 7:25; 9:12-15; 12:2; I John 2:2.
- Of Regeneration.
We believe the Scriptures teach that regeneration, or the “new birth”, is that change wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, by which a new nature and a spiritual life, not before possessed, are imparted, and the person becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus; that a holy disposition is given to the mind, the will subdued, the dominion of sin broken, and the affections changed from a love of sin and self, to a love of holiness and God; that the change is instantaneous and not a process, effected not by culture or character, nor by the will of man, but solely through the power of God through the Word of God, in a manner incomprehensible to reason.
John 3:3,6; I Peter 1:23; James 1:18; II Corinthians 5:17; I John 2:29; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 1:13; 2:13; Romans 6:13; John 1:12,13; I Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-7.
- Of Repentance.
We believe the Scriptures teach that repentance is a personal act, prompted by the Spirit of God; and consists of a godly sorrow over sin as offensive to God and ruinous to the soul; that it is accompanied with great humiliation in view of one’s sin and guilt, together with prayer for pardon; also by sincere hatred of sin, and a persistent turning away from, and abandonment of, all that is evil and unholy. We further believe that repentance is a gift from God that will allow the repentant persons to acknowledge truth, that they may be able to recover themselves out of the snare of the devil.
Matthew 3:1,2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19; 5:31; 17:30; 20:21; Luke 18:13; 24:47; II Corinthians 7:2; Romans 2:5; Isaiah 55:7; Psalm 51:1-4,7; 2 Timothy 2:25-26.
- Of Faith.
We believe the Scriptures teach that faith, inseparably united with repentance, is a solemn obligation and a grace wrought in our soul by the quickening Spirit of God; that it is an assent of the mind and a consent of the heart, consisting mainly of belief and trust, wherein the testimony of God is accepted and believed as true, while Christ is unreservedly received for salvation; that through it, the believer is brought into vital relations with God, as seeing Him Who is invisible, and is freely justified; that it reveals Christ to the soul as a willing and sufficient Savior, and commits the heart and life to Him.
Acts 16:31; Romans 1:17; 3:22; 5:1; 10:3,9-13; Hebrews 11:1,6; James 2:23; Jeremiah 17:7; Psalm 34:22; 125:1; II Corinthians 5:7.
- Of Justification.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe on Him is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the gift of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needed for time and eternity.
John 1:16; Ephesians 3:8; Acts 13:39; Isaiah 3:11,12; Romans 5:1-3,9,11; 8:1; Zechariah 13:1; Matthew 9:6; Acts 10:43; Matthew 6:33; I Corinthians 1:30,31; I Timothy 4:8; Isaiah 53:11.
- Of Adoption.
We believe the Scriptures teach that adoption is a gracious act by which the Father, for the sake of Christ, accepts believers to the estate and condition of children, by a new and spiritual birth; sending the Spirit of Adoption into their hearts, whereby they become members of the family of God, entitled to all rights, privileges, and promises of children; and if children, then heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to the heritage of all saints on earth, and an inheritance reserved in Heaven for them.
Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 3:26; 4:5-7; Ephesians 1:5; I John 3:1; Hebrews12:7; I Peter 2:9.
- Of Sanctification.
We believe the Scriptures teach that sanctification is that work by which, according to the will of God, we are set apart unto God and made partakers of His holiness; that it is both a declared fact and a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried out in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, through the continual use of the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, prayer, and in the practice of all godly exercises and duties.
II Thessalonians 4:3; 5:23; II Corinthians 7:1; 13:9; Ephesians 1:4; 4:11,12; Proverbs 4:18; II Corinthians 3:18; Hebrews 6:1; II Peter 1:5-8; Philemon 12-16; Philippians 2:12,13; I Peter 2:2; II Peter 3:18; II Corinthians 13:5; I Timothy 4:7.
- Of the Preservation of the Saints.
We believe the Scriptures teach that such as are truly regenerate, being born of the Spirit of God, cannot utterly fall away and finally perish, but will endure to the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from those who have professed their faith superficially; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
John 6:39,66-69; 8:31,32; 13:8; I John 2:19,27,28; 3:9; 5:18; Matthew 13:19-21; Romans 8:28,35-39; Matthew 6:20,30-33; John 4:4; Philippians 1:6; 2:12,13; Jude 24,25; Hebrews 1:14; 13:5; John 10:28,29; 16:8; Colossians 1:21-23; I Peter 1:5.
- Of the Righteous and the Wicked.
We believe the Scriptures teach that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only such as through faith are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of God, are truly righteous in God’s esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are, in His sight, wicked and under the curse; and that this distinction holds among men in this life and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved, and the everlasting conscious suffering in the lake of fire of the lost.
Malachi 3:18; Proverbs 12:26; Isaiah 5:20; Genesis 18:23; Jeremiah 15:19; Acts 10:34,35; Romans 1:17; 6:16,18,22,23; 7:6; I John 2:7,29; 3:7; 5:19; I Corinthians 11:32; 15:22; Galatians 3:10; John 3:36; Isaiah 55:6,7; 57:21; Psalm 10:4; Proverbs 14:32; Luke 16:25; John 8:21-24; 12:25,26; Luke 9:26; 12:4,5; 11:23-26; Matthew 7:13,14; 25:34; Proverbs 11:31; I Peter 1:18.
- CONCERNING THE UNSEEN WORLD:
- Of Angels.
We believe the Scriptures teach that there is a vast celestial kingdom of spirit beings called Angels, in ages past created holy, glorious, and higher than man; a vast company of various ranks worshiping God, ministering to His glorious Person and to His children.
Psalm 148:2,5; Colossians 1:16; Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:14; Psalm 103;20; 104:4; Daniel 9:21,22; Luke 9:26; Mark 8:38; Daniel 10:13; 12:1; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7; Psalm 80:1; 99;1,11; Revelation 4:6-8; Ezekiel 1:4-28; Isaiah 6:1-3; II Thessalonians 1:7,8; Psalm 34:7; Acts 12:7-11; II Kings 6:17.
- Of the Devil, or Satan.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Satan, as the mighty Cherub (angel) Lucifer, was once holy, enjoying heavenly honors; but that, 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”, the unholy god of this world; that he is man’s great tempter, the enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ, the accuser of the saints, the author of all false religions, the chief power that backs the present apostasy; the lord of the Antichrist, and the author of all the powers of darkness; destined, however, to final defeat at the hands of God’s own son, and the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.
Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:14-17; Revelation 12:9; Jude 6; Ephesians 2:2; II Peter 2:4; John 14:30; I Thessalonians 3:5; Matthew 4:1-3; I Peter 5:8; I John 3:8; Matthew 13:25,37,39; Luke 22:3,4; Revelation 12;10; II Corinthians 11:13-15; Mark 13:21,22; I John 4:3; II John 7; I John 2:22; Revelation 13:13,14; 12:7-9; 19:11,16,20; 20:1-3,10; II Thessalonians 2:8-11; Matthew 25:41.
- CONCERNING SIN:
We believe the Scriptures teach that sin is any transgression of, or in want of conformity to, the revealed will of God; that it has permeated the entire universe, including every realm and affecting every race and species amongst creation; that every man is born with a sin nature, an inherent inclination toward evil which results in acts of wrongdoing; that the wages of sin is death, being separation from God in this life and throughout eternity.
I John 3:4; Numbers 32:23; Isaiah 53:13; Matthew 7:23; 23:28; Romans 6:19; Judges 20:16; Romans 3:23; I Samuel 15:23; Jeremiah 2:25; Luke 19:14; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Genesis 3:14,18; Romans 8:22; 1:18-32; Psalm 51:5; 58:3; John 3:19; James 4:17; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27; Romans 5:12,14; Ephesians 2:1; 4:8; Matthew 10:23; Revelation 20:15.
VII. CONCERNING THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD:
We believe the institution of the church of Christ is a scriptural Baptist (not as a name, but as a doctrine) church that was started and established personally by the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry (Matt 16:18), and not at Pentecost. The church that Christ formed was both local and visible. (Matt 18:17). We reject the concept of a universal, invisible church, as it weakens the authority of the local churches and is unscriptural. We believe the scripture uses the word “church” in reference to local assemblies (1 Cor 1:2) and in an institutional ( Gal 1:13) or generic sense, (like we or us Heb 10:25). The local Baptist church is to be made up of born again, scripturally baptized believers (Act 2:41) by being a proper candidate (A person who is capable of and having believing faith and is saved), by proper mode (Deep water for total body immersion), and by a properly-authorized and ordained Baptist administrator, who is organized and authorized to carry out the works of the gospel ministry. The church is the house of God and is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). We believe that the succession, perpetuity and continuity of the scriptural Baptist church can be traced back to Christ and His apostles (Eph 3:20-21). The mystery of the church is exemplified by the husband and wife relationship, illustrating that Christ is the groom and the church is the bride (Eph 5:30-33). Therefore, marriage is to be between one man and one woman and is to exemplify Christ and His church. It is for this reason that any other view of marriage, other than between one man and one woman, is incompatible with the scriptures and therefore incompatible with the requirements in regard to the membership of this church body.
We believe the Scriptures teach that a Baptist church is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws, and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its only Scriptural offices of the church today are pastors (elders, bishops, evangelist as church planting pastors), and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the New Testament. We also believe that pastors and bishops are called of God and appointed by the Holy Ghost over the flock of which God has made them overseer. We furthermore believe that deacons are not called of God, but rather are chosen of the people and appointed by the pastor for menial tasks, i.e. the needs of widows, orphans and the poor; The true mission of each church is found in the Great Commission; first, to make individual disciples; second, to build up the church by baptizing those believers (repentance before faith and faith before the water); and third, to teach and instruct as He has commanded; that his order cannot be reversed; that each church has the absolute right of self government, free from any interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; that the one and only Head of each church is Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is Scriptural for churches of like faith and order to co-operate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel, but that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its co-operation; that in all matters of membership, policy, government, discipline, and benevolence, the will of each church is final.
We believe that the very night that the Lord was betrayed He established the Lord’s Supper. We also believe that on this very night that the Kingdom which God Had appointed to Christ was, in turn, appointed by Christ to the church. For this reason, the church is the executor of the Kingdom of God and of the Last Will and Testament (New Testament) of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.
The individuals of a scriptural church body are enabled by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and, as a body, are enabled individuals. The church was made the executor of the Kingdom when Christ appointed it to the church. For this reason the church is authorized with all power of heaven. With this in mind, the local visible church is the instrument by which the enabled membership, with all power, is to go into the entire world and preach the gospel of the kingdom, baptize and observe all things the Lord commanded.
Acts 2:41,42,47; 5:11; 8:1; 11:31; I Corinthians 4:17; 5:5,11,18; 11:2,23; II Corinthians 8:5,23,24; I Timothy 3:5,15; II Thessalonians 3:7; Romans16:17-20; Matthew 18:15-20; 28:19,20; John 14:15; 15:10; I John 4:21; I Thessalonians 4:2; II John 6; Philippians 1:1; Acts 6:1-6 14:23; 15:22,23; 20:17-28; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Ephesians 1:22,23; 3:20-21; 4:11;5:30-33 I Corinthians 12:4,8-11; Acts 6:5,6; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23,24; I Peter 5:1-4; Jude 3,4; I Corinthians 5:11-13; 6:1-3; Luke 22:2930; Hebrews 6:4-5.
VIII. CONCERNING THE ORDINANCES:
- Of Scriptural Baptism.
We believe that there are two ordinances committed to the church:
We believe that there is one Lord, one faith and one baptism for Jew and Gentile alike. We believe that the ordinance of water baptism came from God and was given to John the Baptist. We believe that the water (Christian) baptism practiced today is the same baptism that came from John. We reject that the ordinance of Christian baptism began at Pentecost. We also believe that any saved person that does not receive this water baptism that came from God and was given to John and then to the Apostles and the church, rejects the counsel of God (Luke 7:30). Baptism is for born again believers only and consists of full immersion in water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matt 28:19). We also believe that water baptism is to be performed by the hands of an authorized, ordained minister of a scriptural Baptist church. It is not a sacrament of salvation, but is a public profession of our faith and a covenant with that particular church body to henceforth cast off the works of darkness, as we are baptized into that local body. Water baptism also symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Water baptism also symbolizes that we have died with Him and are raised to walk in the newness of life, in the casting away of the filth of the flesh, which is metaphorically the circumcision of the heart. (Deut 10:16 Rom 2:29, 6:4, 1 Pet 3:21, Col 2:11). It is through water baptism that one enters into the fellowship and membership of the Jones Prairie Baptist Church (Romans 6:1-5; 1 Cor 12:12-13). Scriptural Baptism from other scriptural Baptist churches is recognized as such, and a prospective church member is therefore accepted by transfer of letter for transfer of church membership (Acts 18:24-28), based upon the following conditions: That this church body must be familiar with the church and the administrator of said baptism, the familiarity consisting of the assurance that both church and administrator have true scriptural authority; that the administrator has had a proper and a biblically-authorized ordination, in order to execute the ordinance of baptism; that the church has a foundation that would be considered true, proper and scriptural. If facts that support such authority for said baptism is in question, it is to be rejected, and the candidate for church membership is to present themselves for scriptural baptism under the authority of a scriptural Baptist Church, i.e. Jones Prairie Baptist Church.
We believe the Scriptures teach that baptism is the immersion in water of the believer in Christ, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, performed with the church’s authority; to show forth in solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership; that infants are God’s little ones, whether children of Christian or non-Christian parents, and are safe in Christ until an age of moral accountability is reached, thus making any thoughts of “infant baptism” unnecessary.
Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 2:41; 8:12,13,26-39; 9:17,18; 10:25,26,44-48; 16:14,15,25-37; 18:7-11; Matthew 3:1-16; 21:24,25; John 3:22,23; 4:1,2; Galatians 3:27,28; Ephesians 4:5 1; Corinthians 12:12-13; Romans2:9, 6:4; Colossians 2:11-12; I Peter 3:15,20,21; II Samuel 23:22,23; Proverbs 20:11; Deut 10:16.Romans 6:1-5; Acts 18:24-28.
- Of the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is a scriptural local church ordinance that must be administered by a scriptural ordained Baptist minister and approached by saved, baptized members of that local church who are in good standing. Christ gave this ordinance to his Church the night that He was betrayed (Luke 22:28-30, 1 Cor 11:23), and by this appointment, the church received this ordinance. The same night, the church also received the appointment of Christ’s Kingdom, meaning that the church is the executor. As executors of this appointed Kingdom, the church has the responsibility to perpetually keep all the ordinances and His laws until Jesus Christ himself returns and partakes with us in His (Christ’s) Kingdom. The Lord’s Supper consists of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine (non-alcoholic grape juice) (Matt 26:26-28). These elements, which we use, are symbolic only, of Christ’s body and blood which were broken and shed on the cross for us. They serve as a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice for us (1 Cor 11:24), and a declaration of faith in His promised return (1 Cor 11:26). We further believe that as the ordinance of baptism is required for membership, likewise, the Lord commanded that participation in the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper also be required of each church member.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Lord’s Supper is a provision of unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, as symbols of Christ’s body and shed blood; partaken of by the members of a scriptural church, in commemoration of the suffering and death of their Lord, and in hopeful anticipation of His return.
Matthew 26:27-30; 28:20; Mark 14:20-26; Luke 22:19,20; I Corinthians 10:16; 11:2,17-34.
- CONCERNING HERESY AND APOSTASY:
We believe the Scriptures teach that it is necessary to maintain a total and complete separation from all forms of heresy and ecclesiastical apostasy. We believe the Scripture admonishes us to try them, mark them, rebuke them, have no fellowship with them, withdraw ourselves, receive them not, have no company with them, reject them, and separate ourselves from them.
Romans 16:17; II Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 5:11; II Thessalonians 3:6,14; Titus 1:13; 3:10; I John 4:1; II John 10,11.
- CONCERNING THE GRACE OF GIVING:
We believe the Scriptures teach that giving is one of the fundamentals of the faith; that God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; that tithing is a Bible principle, and that the storehouse for the tithe in this present age is the common treasury of the church; that we are under obligation to serve God with our time, talents, and material possessions, and are commanded to cheerfully, regularly, and liberally bring our tithes and offerings into the storehouse upon the first day of the week. We further believe that the tithe is a demonstration of our faith and witness that Jesus Christ our High Priest lives today and is at the right hand of the Father. (Heb 7:8)
Psalm 24:1; Haggai 2:8; Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 8:18; Genesis 14:18-20; 28:20-22; Leviticus 27:30; Malachi 3:8-10; Matthew 23:23; I Corinthians 9:13,14; 16:1,2; Hebrews 7:2,4; Acts 4:35,37; Proverbs 3:9; II Corinthians 8:3,12; 9:7,8; Luke 6:38; Hebrews 7:8.
- CONCERNING THE RESURRECTION AND LAST THINGS:
We believe the Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ rose literally and bodily from the dead on the third day; that having ascended into glory, He alone is our merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God; that this same Jesus shall return to earth bodily, personally, and visibly; first, to raise the righteous dead and catch up all living believers in the twinkling of an eye, then, to return with the saints to set up His glorious kingdom of a millennium of peace and righteousness, having executed judgment upon an unbelieving world; that, at the final day of judgment, all Christ-rejecting sinners will be raised, judged, and cast into the lake of fire for everlasting damnation, and that the saved will live with Him for eternity according to the sure promises of God.
Matthew 28:6,7; Luke 24:2,4-6,19,51; John 20:27; I Corinthians 15:4; Mark 16:6,19; Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 3:21; Hebrews 8:1,6; 12:2; I Timothy 2:5; I John 2:1; Hebrews 2:17; 5:9,10; John 14:3; I Thessalonians 4:16,17; Matthew 24:27,35,42; Hebrews 9:28; I Corinthians 15:25,42-44,51-53; Philippians 4:20,21; Luke 1:32; Isaiah 11:4,5; Psalm 72:8; Revelation 20:1-4,6,15; 21:7,8,24-27; 22:11; I Peter 4:7; I Corinthians 7:29-31; Hebrews 1:10-12; Revelation 1:7; I John 2:17; Acts 24:15; Luke 14:14; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28,29; 6:40; 11:25,26; II Timothy 1:10; Acts 10:42; Matthew 13:37-43,49; 25:35-41; II Peter 2:9,11,12; Revelation 20:20.
XII. CONCERNING ORDINATION:
We believe that in order for the perpetuity, succession, and continuity of the Baptist church that Jesus established and started during His earthly ministry, He established the ordination of His ministers. We believe that only men are called of God to the office of the Pastor (bishop, evangelist), and that they must fulfill the biblical qualifications found in the scriptures. We believe that pastors must be scripturally ordained to be able to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that ordination and its process belongs to the local church. We believe that ordination is the conveying of authority of the local church into a qualified man, via the laying on of hands of other scripturally-ordained Baptist ministers. Ordination authorizes a minister to baptize converts, establish churches and administer the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, and is to set things in order, that the great commission can be fulfilled. Without proper ordination, the conveying of church authority is null and void.
Mark 3:14; John 15:16; Titus 1:5; I Tim 4:14; I Tim 5:22; II Tim 1:6.
HAVING BEEN LEAD, 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 in the name of our Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body of 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 throughout all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children and 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, and backbiting, and excessive anger, to abstain from the sales and use of illegal and/or recreational drugs, intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Gospel of our Lord ad Saviour Jesus Christ.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, 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 shall, as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of the covenant and the principles of God’s Word.