Statement of Faith
The following beliefs are based in the truths revealed in the Bible, the Word of God:
BIBLE: We believe the Bible to be the complete Word of God; that the sixty-six Books, as originally written, comprising the Old and New Testaments were verbally inspired by the Spirit of God and were entirely free from error; that the Bible is the supreme authority and guide for all doctrine and matters of faith and practice (1 Pet 1:23-25; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is the truth by which God brings people into a saving relationship with Himself and leads them to Christian maturity (John 20:31; 1 John 5:9-12; Matthew 4:4; 1 Peter 2:2).
GOD: We believe in one living and true God, Creator of all, holy, sovereign, eternal, existing in three coequal eternal Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The Father: He reigns with providential care over all life and history in the created universe. As the Father, He exists in a love relationship with the eternal Son (Matthew 3:17; John 17:24). The Father initiated salvation by sending His Son, and He is Father to those who by faith receive His Son as Lord and Savior (1 John 4:9-10; John 3:16; John 1:12; Acts 16:31). He hears and answers prayer (1 Chronicles 29:11-13; Matthew 7:11).
The Son: He became man, Jesus Christ, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary (John 1:14; Matthew 1:18). Being fully God and fully man, He revealed God through His sinless life, miracles and teaching (John 14:9; Hebrews 4:15; Matthew 4:23-24). He provided salvation through His atoning substitutionary death in our place and confirmed it by His bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; II Corinthians 5:21; Romans 4:23-25). He ascended into heaven where He rules over all creation (Philippians 2:5-11). He intercedes for all believers and dwells in them as their ever-present Lord (Romans 8:34; John 14:23; Heb. 1:2-3; Rev. 1:5
The Holy Spirit: He inspired men to write the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:21). Through this Word, He convicts individuals of their sinfulness and of the righteousness of Christ, draws them to the Savior, and brings about their new birth, in which they are adopted as God’s children (James 1:18; John 16:7-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6; John 3:5-8; Romans 8:16). At conversion, the believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Spirit indwells, seals and gives spiritual gifts to all believers for ministry in the church and society (Romans 8:9-11; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 12:5-8; I Peter 4:10). No one of His gifts is common to all, nor biblically designated as the sign of true spirituality. He empowers, guides, teaches, fills, sanctifies and produces the fruit of Christlikeness in all who believe in Him (Acts 4:31; Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; Ephesians 5:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Galatians 5:16; 22-23).
ANGELS: We believe God created an order of spiritual beings called angels to serve Him and do His will (Psalm 148:1-5; Colossians 1:16). The holy angels are obedient spirits ministering to the heirs of salvation and glorifying God (Hebrews 1:6-7; 13-14). Certain angels, called demons, Satan being their chief, through deliberate choice revolted and fell from their exalted position (Revelation 12:7-9). They now tempt individuals to rebel against God (I Timothy 4:1; I Peter 5:8). Satan and his demons destiny in the Lake of Fire has been sealed by Christ’s victory over sin and death (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 20:10).
MAN: We believe God created mankind in His own image to have fellowship with Himself and to be a steward over His creation (Genesis 1:26-28). As a result, each person is unique, possesses dignity and is worthy of respect (Psalm 139:13-17). God created humanity as male and female, and thus we support this God-ordained order (Genesis 1:27; Deuteronomy 22:5; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Through the temptation of Satan, Adam chose to disobey God; this brought sin and death, both physical and spiritual, to the human race and suffering to all creation (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12-21; 8-22; Ephesians 2:1-3). Therefore, everyone is born with a sinful nature, and needs to be reconciled to God. (Romans 3:9-18, 23; 2 Corinthians 5:17-18). Humanity is totally depraved, meaning that each person is without a desire to seek God and is spiritually blind and in bondage to sin (John 3:19-20, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Romans 6:16, Titus 3:3). Satan tempts people to rebel against God, even those who love Him (Ephesians 4:27; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Matthew 16:23). Nonetheless, everyone is personally responsible to God for thoughts, actions and beliefs and may approach Him directly through Jesus Christ, the only mediator (Romans 14:12; 1 Timothy 2:5).
SALVATION: We believe salvation is by the sovereign, electing grace of God through redemption in Christ of the whole person from sin and death (Ephesians 2:8-10, 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). Christ voluntarily suffered and gave His life in place of man (as the vicarious sacrifice) and that, through His death, He bore the wrath of God against sin (as the propitiation), thereby paying the penalty for sin (Romans 3:21-26, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10). An individual is united to Christ by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27). It is offered as a free gift by God to all and must be received personally through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2:4; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 20:21). As a child of God, the believer is acquitted of all guilt and brought into a new relationship of peace (Romans 5:1). Christians grow as the Holy Spirit enables them to understand and obey the Word of God (2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:12). We believe that justification (being declared right) before God is by faith alone in the all-sufficient and effective sacrifice and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and that those whom God has effectually called shall be divinely preserved and finally perfected in the image of the Lord. (Jude 1:24, Romans 8:28-30)
THE LOCAL CHURCH: We believe the Church is the body of which Christ is the head and all who believe in Him are members (Ephesians 1:22-23; Romans 12:4-5). Christians are commanded to be baptized upon profession of faith and to unite with a local church for mutual encouragement and growth in discipleship through worship, nurture, service and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world (Acts 2:41-42, 47; Luke 24:45-48). This church is a self-governing body under the lordship of Christ.
The ordinances of the church are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20). It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s identification with the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3-5). The Lord’s Supper is the partaking of the bread and of the cup by believers together as a continuing memorial of the broken body and shed blood of Christ. It is an act of thankful dedication to Him and serves to unite His people until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Two biblically designated offices are prescribed in the Bible, that of Elders and Deacons. Elders (pastors/overseer) are to direct the spiritual affairs of the church as under shepherds of Christ. The Elders are to oversee all affairs of the church. Deacons are directed to care for the physical aspects of the church and are under the authority of the Elders. Both Elders and Deacons must meet biblical qualifications. The congregation is called to submit to their leadership (Colossians 1:18, Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Peter 5:1-5, 1 Timothy 5:17-22, Hebrews 13:7, 17). We believe that God has enabled all believers with gifts for the equipping and edification of the church body, but men are to bear responsibility to guide the church as Pastors and Elders under the headship of Christ and to provide teaching. As such we believe that the roles of Pastor and Elder are constrained to men only. As well, when in mixed company, women are not encouraged to teach men (1 Timothy 2:11-15). We believe that both men and women are encouraged to serve as Deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-11).
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: We believe religious liberty, rooted in Scripture, is the right of all individuals to freedom of conscience with ultimate accountability to God (Genesis 1:27; John 8:32; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Romans 8:21; Acts 5:29). Church and state exist by the will of God. Each has distinctive concerns and responsibilities, free from control by the other (Matthew 22:21). Christians should pray for civil leaders, and obey and support government in matters not contrary to Scripture (1 Timothy 2:1-4; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-16).
ROLE IN SOCIETY: We believe Christians, individually and collectively, are salt and light in society (Matthew 5:13-16). In a Christ like spirit, we oppose greed, selfishness and wickedness; we promote truth, justice and peace; we aid the needy and preserve the dignity of people of all races and conditions (Hebrews 13:5; Luke 9:23; Titus 2:12; Philippians 4:8-9; 1 John 2:15, 3:16-17; James 2:1-4).
HOLY LIVING: We believe that every true and faithful believer in Jesus Christ is called to pursue holy living. Christians do not gain acceptability by sanctified living but demonstrate that regeneration has truly taken place by their heart-felt desire to live in obedience to Christ. Scripture provides no room for habitual sinful practice but calls every believer to put off sinful practice of all kinds and to live holy lives as He is holy. Perfection is impossible in this life, but all believers are to pursue purity in order that they might live up to the calling for which they were called. The possibility of pleasing God in this manner is only through the working of the Holy Spirit, not through anything that a person can produce on his or her own. Every believer is called to repentance, faith and obedience (Colossians 3:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 1 Peter 1:15, Ephesians 4:1, 1 John 2: 1-6; 3:4-10, Philippians 2:12-13, 1 John 1:9, Galatians 5:5, 1 Peter 1:22). The believer is to strive for holy living as an expression of love for God and in anticipation of their future reward that lies ahead with Christ (2 John 6, Deuteronomy 26:18-19, 1 Thessalonians 3:13).
MARRIAGE & FAMILY: We believe the Bible teaches that marriage refers to the covenant relationship exclusively between one man and one woman, as instituted by God in the beginning (Genesis 2:20b-24; 1 Corinthians 7:2; Hebrews 13:4). We affirm the family as the basic unit of society and seek to preserve its integrity and stability (Genesis 2:21-25; Ephesians 6:1-4). We believe that within a marriage, men and women are commissioned to different roles while maintaining equality before God. As such, men are to be the spiritual leaders of their homes, loving their wives sacrificially, and wives are to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Corinthians 11:3) See Appendix A.
THE LORD’S DAY: We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day and that, in a special sense, it is the biblically preferred day for worship and spiritual exercise. (1 Corinthians 16:2, Acts 20:7, Revelation 1:10) We also believe Christians are free to gather to fellowship on any day of the week. (Acts 2:46-47, Hebrews 10:24-25
FUTURE THINGS: We believe God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring all things to their appropriate end and establish the new heaven and the new earth (Ephesians 1:9-10, Revelation 21:1). The certain hope of the Christian is that Jesus Christ will return to the earth suddenly, personally and visibly in glory according to His promise (Titus 2:13; Revelation 1:7; 3:11; John 14:1-3). The dead will be raised, and Christ will judge mankind in righteousness (John 5:28-29). The unrighteous will be consigned to the everlasting punishment prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25-41, 46; Revelation 20:10). The righteous, in their resurrected and glorified bodies, will receive their reward and dwell forever with the Lord (1 Peter 5:4, 2 Timothy 4:8, Colossians 3:23-24).
A Christian Affirmation of Marriage by North American Baptists including Waverley Church
The ministers of our North American Baptist Conference welcome the privilege that our respective civil governments give to solemnize marriages as part of their Christian ministry. However, the same Biblical authority that informs all our teaching and ministry governs our convictions about the nature of marriage. Therefore, our ministers will in good conscience only perform weddings consistent with the view of marriage expressed in the following “Christian Affirmation of Marriage:”
From the Bible we believe . . .
That God’s intention for marriage is established throughout the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments
This is expressed in creation and the creation story (Genesis 1-2), the Law of Moses (Exodus 20:14, 17; Leviticus 18; Deuteronomy 5:18, 21), the wisdom literature (Proverbs 5; Proverbs 12:4; Proverbs 13:22; Proverbs 14:1; Proverbs 17:6; Proverbs 19:13-14; Proverbs 31:10-31; Song of Solomon), and in the prophetic tradition (Malachi 2:14-15). The Divine establishment of marriage is confirmed by the words of Jesus (Matthew 19:1-9; Mark 10:6-9) and the New Testament authors (Ephesians 5:22-33; Hebrews 13: 4; 1 Peter 3:1-7). They provide guidance for perfecting marriage, and affirm its spiritual significance. Chaste singleness and marriage are both honored as faithful and holy lifestyles ordained by God (Matthew 19:10-13; 1 Corinthians 7).
That God ordained marriage as a voluntary union for life of one man and one woman
Our creation as man and woman, who are complementary to one another (Genesis 2:7, 18-23), has significance in revealing aspects of the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and His relationship to humanity (1 Corinthians 11:11-12). The permanence of the marital bond (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10: 7-9) mirrors God’s faithfulness, just as its monogamy reflects God’s singular devotion to His people (Ephesians 5:25) and His people’s singular devotion to Him (Deuteronomy 6:13; Joshua 24:24; Matthew 4:10).
That sexual intimacy is legitimate only within the bounds of marriage
The commands of God are clear (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7-8). Sexual activity profoundly affects people emotionally and spiritually (Proverbs 6:32; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; Ephesians 4:19-24). Sexual intercourse outside of marriage, promiscuity, common law relationships, adultery, homosexual acts, exploitation, incest and sexual perversion contradict God’s purpose for human sexuality (Leviticus 18:6-18; Matthew 5:27-32; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 7:1-2, 9; Colossians 3:5; 1 Timothy 1:8-11).
That marriage is more than a contract between two persons: It is a covenant before God
God is committed to every marriage between a man and a woman (Malachi 2: 14-15). In the covenant of marriage, God joins a man and a woman together “in one flesh,” and forbids anyone to break it (Matthew 19: 4-6; Mark 10: 6-9). This covenant is unique among human relationships (1 Corinthians 11:12). God intends the married couple to recognize and celebrate His call to an irrevocable commitment to love, to cherish and remain faithful which transcends the quid pro quo of contracts (1 Corinthians 7: 10-11; Ephesians 5: 21-33).
That in Christian marriage, the Church acts as an agent of God’s blessing, as a primary witness and as a supportive community
The church declares the blessing of God but does not create that benefit (Ephesians 1: 22-23). Therefore the church cannot confer the spiritual blessing of marriage on other relationships (1 Corinthians 5: 9-13; 1 Timothy 1: 6-11).
That a healthy marriage is the best foundation for families and the raising of children
The practical benefits of marriage are inherent to its form. A healthy marriage is a unique source of benefits for children including the stability of the family and the access of children to a mother and a father (Proverbs 6: 20-23; Colossians 3: 18-21). God intended that children should receive nurture from male and female parents, and in turn learn to honor both (Deuteronomy 5: 16; Ephesians 6: 1-3). Neither the church nor anyone else can confer the innate benefits of marriage on other forms of relationships or unions (Matthew 19: 4-6; Mark 10: 6-9).
Therefore we conclude . . .
That the Bible teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman only, and to recognize other unions as legitimate marriages would be contrary to our understanding of scripture within the North American Baptist Conference.
We affirm, in accordance to the North American Baptist Conference Statement of Faith, that each person is unique, possesses dignity, and is worthy of respect. We also affirm that we are called to introduce each person to the loving, reconciling ministry of Jesus Christ and the life changing transformation described in scripture. As Christians we seek to demonstrate God’s love to all people, but we will not compromise our convictions on marriage as defined by scripture.
Therefore, be it resolved that:
- As a matter of belief, doctrine and religious practice, the North American Baptist Conference along with Waverley Church reserves the term “marriage” for the covenant relationship between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
- And that the North American Baptist Conference and Waverley Church establishes the standard that all individuals, who are licensed to perform marriages, will not officiate, co-officiate or participate as a pastor at any marriage outside of the previously stated definition of marriage.
- And that in the event that an individual licensed to perform marriages, officiates, co-officiates or participates as a pastor at a marriage that is outside of the previously stated definition of marriage, will be subject to disciplinary review and loss of license.
- And we recommend that all North American Baptist Conference churches adopt the above as a policy of their individual, local church, and review their “church use policies” to reflect the resolution as stated.
- And that the facilities of North American Baptist Conference churches including Waverley Church will not be used for weddings or receptions where the marriage union is contrary to the provisions of this resolution.
Adopted by the North American Baptists delegates, July 5-9, 2006, Estes Park, CO. Revision approved by the General Council, May 14, 2011, Orlando, FL. Adopted with Scripture References by the North American Baptists delegates, July 5, 2012, Orlando, FL.