Confessions in the Baptist tradition declare the church’s faith with conviction, joy and freedom. Baptists historically emphasize the right of individuals to interpret the Scripture as led by the Holy Spirit, the priesthood of the believer, and freedom of religion. However, these do not mean there is an absence of doctrines that we cherish and believe. It is incumbent on believers to clarify the non-negotiables of our faith. The following affirmations by Transformation Ministries are an attempt to articulate such essentials in the midst of a pluralistic religious landscape.
We wish to clarify that salvation is God’s free gift of grace and is received through simple faith in Jesus Christ and repentance of sin. Salvation is not the result of cognitive assent to doctrinal statements.
Confessions do not replace or supplement the Bible and its authority. Nor are they a substitute for the living, dynamic relationship which we have in Jesus Christ. This confession attempts only to confirm some of what is central to the faith, and by intent, it is silent on less weighty matters. It is our conviction that what is written here represents a consensus of doctrine, which will aid in guarding the deposit of truth, which we believe is revealed in Scripture.
1. That the Bible, composed of the Old and New Testaments, is the divinely inspired Word of God, the final and trustworthy authority for faith and practice. It is to be interpreted responsibly under the guidance of the Holy Spirit within the community of faith. The Bible clearly reveals the essentials necessary for salvation and the basics of how to conduct our lives. It is the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.
(Deuteronomy 4:1-2; II Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21)
2. That there is only one true and eternal God consisting of three co-equal persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; John 4:24; John 14:6-13; Galatians 4:6; 2 Peter 1:17; Psalm 2:7ff; Isaiah 7:14; John 1:1-18; Hebrews 1:8; Psalm 51:11; 1 John 4:13; Acts 5:3,4)
3. That God created humankind in the divine image. Through Adam’s fall all became sinful, lost and condemned. Each human being by deliberate choice participates in sin and is in need of redemption through Christ.
(Genesis 1:26-30; Ephesians 2:1-22; Romans 1:19-32, 5:12-21)
4. That Jesus Christ is God’s Son, fully divine and fully human, the eternal and pre-existent Word. By His death Christ made full atonement for our sins, and by his resurrection showed Himself to be the Lord and giver of life to all who believe.
(Hebrews 1:1-3, 4:1415; John 1:1-3,14)
5. That God offers forgiveness of sin and justification through faith in Christ Jesus apart from works. Such redemption is received by human individuals as God’s gift upon repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ. Through Christ the believer becomes a new creation, whose mind and will are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit from loving sin, to loving the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind, and loving all people as we love ourselves.
(Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 2:8-22; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Matthew 22:37-38)
6. That the Church is a community of faith consisting of regenerated believers with Christ as Lord. Such believers claim a personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ, are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, follow the Lord in believer’s baptism, share in the Lord’s Supper, gather regularly for worship, and covenant for mutual edification and care-giving.
(Matthew 16:15-19; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 16:30-33; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Ephesians 1:22-23; Hebrews 10:23-25; I Corinthians 6:19)
7. That the Church is called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and God’s reconciling grace in the power of the Holy Spirit, inviting persons to receive salvation and follow Christ as His disciples. As disciples, we seek justice for all persons and the reform of society.
(Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Galatians 3:26-28; James 1:27, 2:8)
8. That Jesus Christ will return visibly, at which time He will raise the dead and judge all people. Believers will enjoy eternal fellowship with God as they participate in the fullness of His eternal reign, while unbelievers will suffer eternal separation from God.
(Matthew 24:29-31, 25:31-46; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; Revelations 20:4-6, 11-15)
Source: Transfromation Ministries