What we Believe
The Word of God is the sole rule of faith and practice at Bethel Baptist Church. We offer these statements of faith not as a creed but as general and basic beliefs from God's Word.
1. CONCERNING THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that all scripture is given by inspiration of God and that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The scriptures consist of 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation, comprising the Old and New Testament. We believe that God has preserved His Word throughout history so that we, as English speaking people, have the Word of God without error in the Authorized King James Bible and is the only one we use in all of our ministries. The principle figure of the scriptures is Jesus Christ. The Bible is the divine truth, the center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried. The Bible is the only rule for faith and practice at Bethel Baptist Church. (II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:19-21; Psalm 12:6-7).
2. CONCERNING THE TRUE GOD
We believe that the Lord our God is one Lord. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the only one, living and true God. He is the Creator and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressible, glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, worship and love. We believe 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. God is personal, eternal, all powerful and everywhere present. (Psalm 14:1, I Cor. 8:6, Ex. 20:2.3; John 4:24).
3. CONCERNING JESUS CHRIST, HIS VIRGIN BIRTH, AND HIS DEITY
We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of a woman. He is both the Son of God and God the Son. He is God Himself, existing from all eternity, being God manifested in the flesh. Jesus is true God and true man. He lived a life of absolute sinlessness and in His death He made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins, dying as a voluntary substitute in the sinners' place. He arose from the dead on the third day and ascended bodily into heaven and presently intercedes to the Father as our Advocate and High Priest. He is coming again to this earth to establish His kingdom on the Throne of David. His coming will be personal and visible and is imminent and premillenial. (Isaiah 7:14; John 1:1-3,14; Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; Isaiah 43:11; I Peter 2:22; Rev. 19:11-16).
4. CONCERNING THE HOLY GHOST
We believe that the Holy Ghost is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature. He was active in the creation; that in his relation to the unbelieving world he restrains Satan until God's purpose is fulfilled. He convicts of sin, of judgement and righteousness; that he bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is agent in the new birth; that He seals, baptizes, indwells, fills and teaches the believer. (Zech. 4:6; Eph. 4:30; Gen. 1:1,2; Heb. 9:14; Psalm 139:7-10).
5. CONCERNING THE DEVIL
We believe that Satan is not merely an abstract power or influence, but a living, personal being. 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. We believe that he is now the malignant prince of the power of the air, and the unholy god of this world. He is man's great tempter, the arch enemy of God and His Christ, the accuser of the saints, the author of all false religion, the lord of the antichrist destined to final defeat at the hand of God's own Son, and to the judgement of an eternal justice in the lake of fire, a place prepared for the devil and his angels. (Eph. 2:2; Ex. 28:13,15: Isa. 14:13,14; Rev. 20:10).
6. CONCERNING THE CREATION
We believe in the Genesis account of creation and that it is to be accepted literally and not allegorically or figuratively. Man was created directly in God's own image and after his own likeness. Man's creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through long periods of time from lower to higher forms. All animal and vegetable life was made directly and God's established law was that they should bring forth only after their kind. (Gen. 1:1, Psa. 8:1-9, Gen. 1:26,27, Gen. 2:7).
7. CONCERNING THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in holiness under the law of his maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state. The consequence of which is that all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice. Being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, willfully inclined to evil, and therefore, under just condemnation to eternal ruin without defense or excuse. (Romans 5:12; Gen. 3; Romans 3:9-23).
8. CONCERNING THE BLOOD ATONEMENT
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial office of the Son of God, who, by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, fulfilled the divine law by His personal obedience, and through the shedding of His blood and His death made a complete and vicarious atonement for our sins. His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but as the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinners' place, the just dying for the unjust, Christ the Lord, bearing our sins in His own body on the cross. Having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in heaven uniting in His wonderful person the most tender sympathies with divine love and perfection. He is the only suitable, compassionate and all-sufficient Savior. (Heb. 9:22; I Pet. 1:18,19; Eph. 1:7).
9. CONCERNING GRACE IN REGENERATION
We believe that in order to be regenerated, sinners must be born again (saved). The new birth makes one a new creature in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God. The new birth 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 Spirit as He illuminates divine truth through the Word of God, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel. The proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith and newness of life. (John 3:1-7; I Peter 1:23; Eph. 2:8,9).
10. CONCERNING THE FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe in God's electing grace; 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 sincere, penitent and obedient faith, and nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation. (I Cor. 15:10; Rev. 22:17; Isa. 55:1; Luke 19:10).
11. CONCERNING JUSTIFICATION
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is justification. That justification included the complete pardon of sin and the gift of eternal life. This is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness that we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood; His righteousness is imputed unto us. (Romans 4:24,25; Romans 8:33).
12. CONCERNING REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe that repentance and faith are solemn obligations and inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the quickening spirit of God. Thereby being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with sincere contrition, confession and supplication for mercy, at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confessing Him as our only Lord all-sufficient Savior. (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21; Luke 13:3; II Peter 3:9).
13. CONCERNING THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
We believe when a sinner, convicted by the Holy Spirit, repents of sin and believes in Jesus Christ for salvation, he is permanently regenerated by the Spirit of God, and is thereafter, kept by the power of God through the faith of Christ unto eternal salvation so that he can neither totally nor finally fall away and be lost. (I John 5:13; Romans 8:38,39; John 10:27,28).
14. CONCERNING SANCTIFICATION AND SEPARATION OF THE BELIEVER
We believe that a person, once he has truly accepted Christ as Savior, is a new creature in Christ and that he should live a holy, consecrated, separated life. We believe that at salvation the person is sanctified positionally in Christ and that his whole life should be one of progressive sanctification as he is conformed to the image of Christ. He should separate himself from the world, and walk in the Spirit, and thereby produce the fruit of the Spirit. (Col. 2:6; I Peter 2:9; II Cor. 5:17; I John 2:15; Romans 8:29; Gal. 5:22-25).
15. CONCERNING THE CHURCH AND ITS MISSION
We believe that a church is a congregation of baptized believers associated by a covenant of 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. The officers are the pastor and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures. We believe that the true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission: first, to make individual disciples; second, to edify the saints, third, to teach and instruct as He commanded. We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self government, free from interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; that the one and only head is Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is scriptural for true churches to co-operate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel; every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its co-operation; and that on all matters of membership, policy, government, discipline, or benevolence, the will of the local church is final. (Mt. 16:18; Eph. 2:20,21; Mt. 28:18-20; I Tim 3:15; II Cor. 1:1).
16. CONCERNING BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a born again believer, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with authority of the local church. This shows forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem of our faith in the crucified, buried and risen again Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to new life. Baptism is our pre-requisite to the privileges of a church relation and the Lord's Supper; in which the members of the church by the sacred use of bread and fruit of the vine are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ and His soon return, preceded always by solemn self examination, which helps to keep the church body pure. (Matt. 28:18-20; I Cor. 11:1,2; Matt. 3:15; I Peter 3:21; Gal. 3:26; I Cor. 11:23-24). (Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the only two church ordinances commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ).
17. CONCERNING THE GRACE OF GIVING
We believe that God's method of financing His earthly work of spreading the Gospel to all nations, the care of the churches, and the support of the ministry, is by the tithes and offerings of His people. Offerings are to be given to the Lord through His local church or storehouse and distributed by the leading of the Spirit as the need arises. The time to give is the first day of the week and everyone is accountable to the Lord for one-tenth of their income. Tithing was instituted long before the law was ever given and was practiced by the early church. (Gen. 14:19,20; Num. 18:21; Deut. 14:22,25; Malachi 3:10-12; Matt. 23:23; I Cor. 9:14; I Cor. 16:2).
18. CONCERNING THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED AND THE ETERNAL STATE
We believe that those who are saved through Jesus Christ are declared righteous and upon death go immediately to be with Christ in Heaven. This is a place of endless joy in the presence of Jesus; a place of beauty and bliss, wherein dwelleth righteousness, and where God will dwell with His people forever. We believe that those who have refused the salvation offered by Christ, will upon their death be cast into hell, a place of ceaseless torment, characterized by darkness, fire and brimstone to await the Great White Throne Judgement, whereupon they will be judged for their works and rejection of Jesus Christ and cast forever into the permanent place of torment - the lake of fire, from which there is no escape. (Rev. 20,21; II Cor. 5:1-10; Mark 9:42-48; Heb. 9:27; Luke 16:1-31).
19. CONCERNING CIVIL GOVERNMENT
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society. The magistrates are to be prayed for and conscientiously honored and obeyed. Exceptions are only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience and the coming Prince of the kings of the earth. (Romans 13:1-7; I Peter 2:13,14; I Tim. 2:1-4).
20. CONCERNING THE RESURRECTION AND RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe in and accept the sacred scriptures upon these subjects at their face and full value. Of the resurrection, we believe that Christ arose bodily, "the third day according to the scriptures", that He ascended "to the right hand of the throne of God"; that, "this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (bodily, personally, and visibly); that the "dead in Christ shall rise first"; that the living saints "shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump", that the Lord "shall give unto Him the throne of His father David"; and that "Christ shall reign a thousand years in righteousness until he hath put all things under His feet". (I Cor. 15; Acts 2:24; Acts 1:1-11; I Thess. 4:13