In order to obtain true salvation there first must be a sense of trouble, conviction, and condemnation set up by God in the heart of the unsaved person. They must pray and seek God and repent of their sins until they know for themselves that God has forgiven and saved them. Man does not convict them and man cannot tell them when God forgives and saves them. God is all powerful and can save the soul of one seeking Him any place, any time when God's conditions are met. However, we give opportunity for those desiring to seek and find God to come to the front for prayer. The pew sitting in the front facing the congregation is referred to as the "mourner's bench".
The unsaved person does not obtain salvation simply by "accepting", "believing", "making a decision for Christ", or "being baptized" as many teach today.
It is true that a person must "accept" and "believe" that Christ is who the Bible teaches He is. One must also believe that he is the rewarder of those that diligently seek him. This is a historical belief and is definitely required by one seeking God. When one is saved, he/she receives a new, regenerated soul as stated by Jesus in John chapter 3 and must be under those terms stated to Nicodemus by Jesus Christ, (born again). It is true that a person must "decide" to seek Christ; he/she must be determined to seek until he/she finds Him.
We do not believe in using "Repeat after me" prayers nor in reading scripture passages to them to convince them they have prayed, trusted, or believed. We condemn the practice known as "The Roman Road" and all other "easy believism" practices. These practices substitute a historical belief for a belief from the heart.
We do pray with the person seeking God and we do believe in encouraging them according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
When God saves the individual, the individual knows, without anyone telling them - including the preacher, loved ones, or any friend.
Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God. to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God. and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in 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 through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to 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, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian 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 will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.
Articles of Faith
I. OF THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction;1 that it has God for its author, salvation for its end,2 and truth without any mixture of error for its matter;3 that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us;4 and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union,5 and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.6
2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Sam. 23:2; Acts 1:16; 3:21; John 10:35; Luke 16:29-31; Psa. 119:11; Rom. 3:1-2
2 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; Acts 11:14; Rom. 1:16; Mark 16:16; John 5:38-39.
Prov. 30:5-6; John 17:17; Rev. 22:18-19; Rom. 3:4 .
Rom. 2:12; John 12:47-48; 1 Cor. 4:3-4; Luke 10:10-16; 12:47-48 .
1 John 4:1; Isa. 8:20; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Cor. 8:5; Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:6; Jude 3:5; Eph. 6:17; Psa. 119:59-60; Phil. 1:9-11 .
II. OF THE TRUE GOD
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth;7 inexpressibly glorious in holiness,8 and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love;9 that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;10 equal in every divine perfection,11 and executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.12
We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker;13 but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state;14 in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners,15 not by constraint, but choice;16 being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin,17 without defense or excuse.18
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace,19 through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God;20 who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin;21 honored the divine law by his personal obedience,22 and by his death made a full atonement for our sins;23 that having risen from the death, he is now enthroned in heaven;24 and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all- sufficient Saviour.25
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ26 secures to such as believe in him is Justification;27 that Justification includes the pardon of sin,28 and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness;29 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;30 by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God;31 that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.32
John 1:16; Eph. 3:8
Acts 13:39; Isa. 3:11-12; Rom. 8:1
Rom. 5:9; Zech. 13:1; Matt. 9:6; Acts 10:43
Rom. 5:17; Titus 3:5-6; 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 John 2:25; Rom. 5:21
Rom. 4:4-5; 5:21; 6:28; Phil. 3:7-9
Rom. 5:19; 3:24-26; 4:23-25; 1 John 2:12
VI. OF THE FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel;33 that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith;34 and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel;35 which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.36
Isa. 55:1; Rev. 22:17; Luke 14:17
Rom. 16:26; Mark 1:15; Rom. 1:15-17
John 5:40; Matt. 23:37; Rom. 9:32; Prov. 1:24; Acts 13:46
John 3:19; Matt. 11:20; Luke 19:27; 2 Thess. 1:8
VII. OF GRACE IN REGENERATION
We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again;37 that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind;38 that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth,39 so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel;40 and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.41
We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God;42 whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ,43 we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy;44 at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Saviour.45
Mark 1:15; Acts 11:18; Eph. 2:8; 1 John 5:1
John 16:8; Acts 2:37-38; 16:30-31
Luke 18:13; 15:18-21; James 4:7-10; 2 Cor. 7:11; Rom.10:12-13; Psa. 51
We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners;46 that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end;47 that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable;48 that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy;49 that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree;50 that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel;51 that it is the foundation of Christian assurance;52 and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.53
2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-14; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; Rom. 11:5-6; John 15:15; 1 John 4:19; Hos. 12:9
We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness;54 that it is a progressive work;55 that it is begun in regeneration;56 and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means-especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.57
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end;58 that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors;59 that a special Providence watches over their welfare;60 and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.61
John 8:31; 1 John 2:27-28; 3:9; 5:18
1 John 2:19; John 13:18; Matt. 13:20-21; John 6:66-69; Job 17:9
We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government;62 that it is holy, just, and good;63 and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin;64 to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible Church.65
Rom. 3:31; Matt. 5:17; Luke 16:17; Rom. 3:20; 4:15
Rom. 7:12, 7, 14, 22; Gal. 3:21; Psa. 119
Rom. 8:7-8; Josh. 24:19; Jer. 13:23; John 6:44; 5:44
We believe that a visible Church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers,66 associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel;67 observing the ordinances of Christ;68 governed by his laws,69 and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his Word;70 that its only scriptural officers are Bishops, or Pastors, and Deacons,71 whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
Matt. 28:20; John 14:15; 15:12; 1 John 4:21; John 14:21; 1 Thess. 4.2; 2 John 6; Gal. 6:2; all the Epistles
Eph. 4:7; 1 Cor. 14:12; Phil. 1:27; 1 Cor. 12:14
Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23; 15:22; 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1
XIV. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer,72 into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost;73 to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life;74 that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a Church relation; and to the Lord's Supper,75 in which the members of the Church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ;76 preceded always by solemn self-examination.77
Acts 8:36-39; Matt. 3:5-6; John 3:22-23; 4:1-2; Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:12; 16:32-34; 18:8
Matt. 28:19; Acts 10:47-48; Gal. 3:27-28
Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:20-21; Acts 22:16
Acts 2:41-42; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts and Epistles
1 Cor. 11:26; Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20
1 Cor. 11:28; 5:1, 8; 10:3-32; 11:17-32; John 6:26-71
XV. OF THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath;78 and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes,79 by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations;80 by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private81 and public;82 and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God.83
Acts 20:7; Gen. 2:3; Col. 2:16-17; Mark 2:27; John 20:19; 1 Cor. 16:1- 2
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society;84 and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed;85 except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ86 who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.87
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked;88 that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem;89 while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse;90 and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.91
Mal. 3:18; Prov. 12:26; Isa. 5:20; Gen. 18:23; Jer. 15:19;Acts 10:34- 35; Rom. 6:16
1 John 5:19; Gal. 3:10; John 3:36; Isa. 57:21; Psa. 10:4; Isa 55:6-7
Prov. 14:32; Luke 16:25; John 8:21-24; Prov. 10:24; Luke 12:4-5; 9:23- 26; John 12:25-26; Eccl. 3:17; Matt. 7:13-14
XVIII. OF THE WORLD TO COME
We believe that the end of the world is approaching;92 that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven,93 and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution;94 that a solemn separation will then take place;95 that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy;96 and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.97