Introduction to Our Faith
The most important question you can ask a church as you consider committing yourself to its ministry and membership is: “What do you believe?” We live in a time of great confusion about the things of God and about His Church; so we need to be clear about what we believe the Bible teaches. Therefore, we are a confessional church. That means that we have a written Confession of Faith that clearly states what we believe the Scriptures teach. We fully subscribe to the historic London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. The 1689 Confession has played a key role in the formation of Baptist churches and associations throughout history. The Baptists in America around Philadelphia adopted the confession, calling it the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. This also became the cornerstone of many Baptist groups elsewhere in America. We do not hold our Confession as equal to or above Scriptures, but as an accurate expression of the system of doctrine taught in Scriptures. As such, it is a great help in our faith, both as assistance in controversy and as an instrument of edification and instruction. A few of the doctrines, or teachings, of our Confession are listed below:
- We believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, the only absolute truth. The Bible is the only authoritative rule of faith, worship, and Christian obedience. (1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21).
- We believe that God is one God in three persons -God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, all fully God, equal in power and glory. (Mat. 28:18-20; 1 Cor. 8:6; Gal. 4:6; 1 John 5:7).
- We believe that all men are sinners both by their nature and by their acts, deserving God’s wrath and condemnation. All men are wholly unable to save themselves by good works and are unable to change themselves without God’s work. (Jer. 13:23; 17:9-10; Rom. 3:10-19, 23; 1 Cor. 2:14).
- We believe that God saves men from beginning to end by His Sovereign Grace, none deserving His mercy more than any other. Even faith and repentance are gifts that God must bring through His Spirit in regeneration before we can confess our sins and believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. (John 1:12-13; Rom. 9:14-23; Eph. 2:1-10).
- We believe that Jesus Christ died to save His people from their sins and He will not lose any of those for whom He has shed His blood. (Isa. 53:4-12; Mat. 1:21; John 10:11-15).
- We believe that God has chosen, before the foundation of the world, a people for Himself, not because of any good which He foresaw in them, but of His own free grace and love. (Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:4-14; 2 Thess. 2:13).
- We believe that God elects and saves men from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. We are commanded to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and invite all to come to Him for salvation, trusting that God will accomplish His own will. His Word will not return to Him void. (Isa. 55:11; 2 Cor. 2:12-17; Rev. 5:9-10).
- We believe that God calls each one He saves, sending His Spirit in regeneration to draw them unto Himself and give them the gifts of faith and repentance. (Jer. 31:3; John 6:44; 2 Cor. 4:6; 2 Thess. 2:14).
- We believe that God will preserve to the end all whom He has elected, called and saved. Also, all whom God preserves will persevere in Christ to the end, bearing the fruits of repentance and faith with a godly life. (John 6:37-40; 10:27-29; Rom. 8:28-30; 1 Pet. 1:5).
- We believe man’s chief purpose is to glorify God and enjoy a relationship with Him forever. We see worshipping God and the pursuit of holiness as priorities in fulfilling this purpose. (Jer. 9:24; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; 10:31; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:13-21).
The 1689 Confession is obviously over 300 years old. Just because something is old does not make it right. But it should give us pause before we throw it away. God has not changed; human nature has not changed; the Bible has not changed; God’s sentence of eternal condemnation upon unrepentant sinners has not changed; the Gospel has not changed; God’s appointed means of saving sinners by the preaching of the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit has not changed; God’s appointed means of growing Christians in grace through the preaching of the Word, prayer, fellowship, the reading of the Word, and the sacraments have not changed. Thus Christians today stand on the shoulders of previous generations of believers who have studied, prayed over, meditated upon, and defended the Word of God. We want to “hold fast to this faith once and for all delivered to the saints”. To deny what God has taught the church for almost 2,000 years would be a denial of our Savior’s promise, “I will be with you even to the end of the age”. We neglect what God has taught His Church in the past only at the peril of our present enjoyment of God and our future standing before Him on Judgment Day.
We believe that the greatest joy in all of life is to know God through Jesus Christ and we count it our highest privilege to live for His glory. We are not a great people; we are simply sinners saved by grace. We have, by God’s grace, seen the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and we are an eternally happy and blessed people for that!
We are grateful to the Elders of Heritage Baptist Church, Mansfield, Texas, and the Elders of Heritage Church, Fayetteville, Georgia, for their permission to use material they have developed for their own church websites.