Our statement of faith is a mixture of a couple of well-known Baptist confessions, one being the New Hampshire Confession of Faith (1853), which is the most widely used Baptist confession amongst English speaking churches. The other is the Abstract of Principles, written by James P. Boyce, the founder of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, for professors to affirm upon teaching at the school.
This statement of faith is worded in such a way as to be inclusive of a broader range of interpretive issues concerning some more difficult doctrines, without sacrificing anyone’s conscience. This statement is a very good expression of the essential distinctive beliefs of Christianity in succinct form. There are other well-worded statements of faith that are acceptable for belief in the basics of biblical teaching and Christian truth.
Of historical significance to Baptists is the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, also known as the Philadelphia Baptist Confession of 1742. It is a thorough treatment of historic Baptist beliefs in the reformed theological tradition. These early Baptists were strong in their views of the Doctrines of Grace and the sovereign work of God in the salvation of his elect.
As of June 26, 2015, when the Supreme Court of the United States made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, we have amended our statement to include language that is specific and unambiguous where we stand on the issue of homosexuality, marriage, and gender identity issues. We have also adopted an article that affirms the sanctity of life.
The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe (see Article 1).
For purposes of South Strand Community Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our pastor is our final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
- Of The Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, the manifestation of his glory as its end through both his mercy in the salvation of sinners and his judgment of unbelievers. The Bible is truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried. The Bible is infallible, and is the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.
- 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 (or Yahweh), the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, trust, confidence, and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three distinct persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
- Of The Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. (Psalm 139).
- Of The Fall Of Man
We believe God originally created man in his own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, he voluntarily disobeyed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; by which all mankind inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and his law, are positively inclined to evil, are under just condemnation and eternal ruin, without excuse of defense, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.
- Of Divine Providence
We believe that from all eternity, God decrees or permits all things that come to pass and continually sustains, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.
- Of Jesus Christ as the Mediator
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed by the Father as mediator between God and man. Having freely taken upon himself our human nature, yet without sin; he perfectly fulfilled the Law through personal obedience, suffered and died upon the cross, making full satisfaction to the Father for our sins. He was buried and rose again the third day, and ascended to his Father, at whose hand he ever lives to make intercession for his people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe. The salvation of sinners is wholly of grace through him, for he is the only one qualified to be a suitable, compassionate, and an all sufficient Savior.
- Of Justification
We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to those who believe in Him is justification; which is God's gracious and full acquittal of sinners, the full pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life; that it is given, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but exclusively through faith in the Jesus’ death on the cross; by virtue of this faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; 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.
- Of The Freeness Of Salvation
We believe 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 sincere, repentant, and obedient faith; and that 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.
- Of Grace In Regeneration
We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration is a change of heart, produced by the Holy Spirit in giving a holy disposition to the mind to awaken us spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God; it is effected in a manner beyond our comprehension by his power, in relation with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel evidenced by the fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life; regeneration is renews our whole nature, so that we love and practice holiness. It is a work of God's free and special grace alone.
- Of Repentance
We believe that repentance is an evangelical duty and grace, by which we, being regenerated by the Holy Spirit, are made sensible of the intense evil of our sin, humble ourselves for it, and with godly sorrow, detest it with self-disgust, and turn from it with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please him in all things.
- Of Faith
We believe saving faith is the belief, on God's authority, of whatsoever is revealed in his Word concerning Jesus Christ; accepting and relying on him alone as the only and all sufficient Savior for justification and eternal life. Faith is created in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness.
- Of God's Purpose Of Grace in Election
We believe that Election is God's eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life, by which He graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners—not because of foreseen merit in them, but of his mere mercy in Christ—in consequence of his choice, they are called, justified and glorified. This being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be made certain by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
- Of Sanctification
We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means - especially, the word of God, prayer, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness and fellowship of believers.
- Of the Perseverance of the Saints
Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by his Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall, through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. This persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that God’s special Providence watches over their welfare.
- Of The Harmony Of The Law And The Gospel
We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government; that it is holy, just, and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin: to deliver them from this depravity, and to restore them through a Mediator to sincere 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.
- Of A Gospel Church
We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the 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; that its only biblical officers are elders or pastors, and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
* The membership of this church shall be composed of individuals who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and affirm the tenets of the Church Constitution, and who offer evidence, by their confession and their conduct, that they are living in accord with their affirmations and this Constitution and Bylaws, and are actively pursuing and continuing in a vital fellowship with the Lord, Jesus Christ. The elders of this Church shall have final authority in all matters of church governance, as set forth and described in the Bylaws.
- Of Baptism And The Lord's Supper
We believe that Christian Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, required of every believer, in which he is immersed in water into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit; to display in a solemn and beautiful symbol, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior Jesus Christ, as a sign of our fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, and of his giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life, signifying our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church membership.
The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, and to be observed by his churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate his death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with him, and of their church fellowship; it is preceded always by solemn self-examination.
- Of Civil Government and Liberty of Conscience
We believe that Civil Government is appointed by God, for the interests and good order of human society; and that government officials are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of the kings of the earth. God alone is Lord of the conscience; and he has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to his word, or not contained in it.
- Of The Righteous And The Wicked
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only those who through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His regard; while everyone who continues in unrepentance and unbelief are wicked in His sight, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.
- Of The Resurrection
We believe that the bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God -- the righteous to rest with him; the wicked to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.
- Of The Judgment and The World To Come
We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last appointed day Jesus Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be judged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.
- Of Marriage
Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, we will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, the pastor and staff of South Strand Community Church shall only participate in weddings and celebrate marriages between one man and one woman. Finally, the facilities and property of South Strand Community Church shall only host weddings between one man and one woman.
- Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female, without any errors or confusion, according to His will. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Genesis 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Genesis 2:18-25.) We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4.) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matthew 15:18-20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of South Strand Community Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to its members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by South Strand Community Church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality. (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:22.)
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.)
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of South Strand Community Church.