What We Believe

DOCTRINAL STATEMENT

Section 1:  The Holy Scriptures

     

      We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally and plenary inspired Word of God and inerrant in the original writings. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to man, and therefore, are the final authority for faith and life.  The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their grammatical, historical and dispensational meaning (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21).


       We also believe God inspired His words in the original writings in Hebrew and Aramaic for the Old Testament, and Koine (common) Greek in the New Testament.  Although we no longer have the original writings, there are many copies of ancient manuscripts.  In these bodies of manuscripts, we believe that God has preserved His words for all people (Psalm 12.6, 7).  We also believe that accurate translations from these preserved ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts can be made into the various languages of the world with such accuracy, that with complete confidence we can say that we have the word of God in our hands today in the English language. 

Section 2:  The Godhead

 

      We believe in the one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power, glory, and having the same attributes and perfections (Genesis 1:1; Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; John 10:30; Acts 5:3-4; II Cor. 13:14).

Section 3:  The Person and Work of Jesus Christ

 

      1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, having laid aside the independent use of His divine attributes to became man                   without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary in order that He might reveal God and redeem                sinful men (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8).

  1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and that our justification was made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7; I Pet. 1:3-5; 2:24).
  1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Rom. 8:34; I Cor.15:1-4, 20-25; Heb. 9:24; I John 2:1-2).
  1. We believe in the “blessed hope:” the personal, bodily, pretribulational, premillennial, and imminent return of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Matt. 24:44; John 14:1-3; I Thess. 4:14-18; Titus 2:11-13).

Section 4:  The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

 

  1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Divine person of the Godhead who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment; and that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8-11; Rom. 8:9; I Cor. 12:12-14; II Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13-14).
  1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled and controlled by the Spirit (I Cor. 2:9-16; Eph. 1:17-18; 5:18; I John 2:20, 27).
  1. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer.  God uniquely uses pastors and teachers to equip believers in the assembly in order that they can do the work of the ministry (Rom. 12:3-8; I Cor. 12:4-11, 28; Eph. 4:7-12). 
  1. We believe that the sign gifts and sign miracles of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and the gift of healing, were temporary and ended with the completion of the New Testament.  We believe the ending of the sign gifts further supports the sufficiency and authority of Scripture. We believe that speaking in tongues never has been a common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit. While ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, God may choose to miraculously answer the prayers of believers for physical healing (I Cor. 1:22; 13:8; 14:21-22; 2 Timothy 3.16-17; James 5.13-15).

Section 5:  Creation

 

      We believe that the triune God created the universe by His word out of nothing (i.e., ex nihilo).  Further that He created the universe and the earth in six, literal, 24 hour days without the process of evolution. (Genesis 1.1-17; Exodus 20.8-11; Nehemiah 9.6; Colossians 1.16-17; Hebrews 11.3).

Section 6:  Mankind

 

     A. We believe that man was created in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death which is separation from God, and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature and are now sinners by birth and by choice, naturally inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal punishment without defense or excuse (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:17;  Psalm 51.5; 58:3; Matthew 25.46; Rom. 1:20; 3:23; 5:12- 21; I Corinthians 2:14).

 

     B. We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female and that these two distinct, complementary genders               together reflect the image and nature of God. (Genesis 1.27; Mark 10.6)

Section 7:  Spirit Beings

 

      We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless spirit beings.  One of these, though created holy by God, sinned through pride,               thereby becoming Satan, the Devil, the enemy of his Creator, leading a host of angels in rebellion against God.  He became the prince of the                   power of the air and the ruler of all the powers of darkness and is destined to the judgment of an eternal punishment in the lake of fire (Ezek. 28:1-         19; Isa. 14:12-16; Matt. 25:41; II Cor. 4:3-4; Eph. 2:2; Col. 1:16; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 12:7-9; 20:10).

Section 8:  Salvation

  1. We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of sins for all those who would trust in the Christ’s finished work of the cross (John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; I Pet. 1:18-19). We believe that genuine faith will also include genuine repentance (Mark 1.15; Acts 20.21) and genuine fruit (Matt. 3.8; John 3.8; 2 Cor. 5.17).
  1. We believe that all the redeemed are kept by God’s power and are thus secure (eternally saved) in Christ forever (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1, 38-39; I Cor. 1:4-8).
  1. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Rom. 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
  1. We believe that with respect to salvation, God’s sovereignty and man’s free will coexist.  While these seem to be mutually exclusive, the scripture teaches both are true.  (Ephesians 1:3-12, I Peter 1:2)

Section 9:  Eschatology: Future Events and Final Destinies

     1.  We believe that the next event in prophetic calendar is the rapture or catching away of the church.  This is the event described in 1                                  Thessalonians 4:17 and 1 Corinthians 15:52 where Christ will return and the dead in Christ will be raised bodily and believers who are alive will              be caught up to meet Christ in the air.   Either coincident with the rapture or shortly thereafter the seven-year tribulation described in Daniel 9                 (known as the seventieth week of Daniel) will begin.  At the end of the tribulation, Christ will return physically to the earth with His saints to                       establish His kingdom on earth and reign on His throne for one thousand years (Rev 20).  At the end of the thousand years there will be the Great           White Throne Judgment where the unbelieving dead will be judged according to their works (Rev 20:13) and God will establish a new Heaven and           a new Earth (Rev 21:1)

  1. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29; 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 12-13).
  1. We believe in a literal Heaven.  We believe that the souls of believers in Christ do at death immediately pass into His presence, and there remain until the resurrection of the body at the rapture when soul and body reunited shall stand before Christ to be judged of their Christian works for the giving of rewards; and they shall then be associated with Him forever in glory (I Cor.3:11-15; II Cor. 5:10 (expand to 5.8-10); I Thess. 4:13-18).
  1. We believe in a literal Hell.  We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery until the final resurrection at the end of the millennium for judgment; the result of this judgment will be that all will be judged according to their works and be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting separation from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (Luke 16:19-26; II Thess. 1:6-9; Rev. 20:11-15).

 

Section 10:  The Local Church

 

  1. We believe that the local church is a company of believers in Jesus Christ; baptized by immersion on an acceptable confession of faith; associated for worship, edification, and service, fellowship, observance of the ordinances, and the spread of the Gospel to all the world; and having two offices; pastor and deacon, which positions are to be held by men only (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 2:41-42; 10:47-48; Phil. 1:1; I Tim. 2:12; 3:1-13; Heb. 10:25).
  1. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches are clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 20:17; Titus 1:5-11).
  1. We believe in the autonomy of the local church, free of any external authority or control (Acts 13:1-4; 14:23; 15:19-31; 20:28; I Cor. 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; I Pet. 5:1-4).

Section 11:  Ordinances

 

      We recognize Water Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, also called communion, as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age.

 

  1. Water Baptism - We believe that immersion is the only form of baptism revealed and commanded in the Scriptures, that it has no saving power, but is only for those who are already saved; and that the new birth, which comes through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Scriptural prerequisite to baptism; therefore, only those who are old enough to understand and believe for themselves should be baptized (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41; 10:47-48; Rom. 6:3-5).
  1. Lord’s Supper - We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of the death of Christ and that only those who have been saved through faith in His atoning blood and are walking in obedient fellowship with Him ought to partake of it (Acts 2:41-42; I Cor. 11:23-32).  We practice close communion.  We define close communion to mean that each time we serve the Lord’s Supper we invite any obedient believer (this includes both church members and visitors) in attendance to partake.  Close communion places the responsibility upon the individual to examine his life, confess any known sin, and then partake of the juice and bread in symbolic remembrance of our Lord’s shed blood and broken body.

Section 12:  Male Church Leadership

 

       We believe that based upon Bible principles that the following offices in our church should be held by men only: Pastors, Deacons, Sunday School Superintendent and Moderator.  (Acts 15; 1 Tim. 2.12; 3.1)

Section 13:  Separation

 

      We believe that separation is a doctrine as well as a practice and that the separation principle runs through the entire Bible.  We believe that true spiritual fellowship is the result of common faith and practice in accordance with the Bible.  We believe there are several aspects of Biblical separation.

 

  1. Political separation – the separation of the church from the state (Luke 20:25).
  1. Personal separation – the separation of the believer from the world and sin in order to serve God.  We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord.  Therefore, personal separation involves a separation from acts of sin, the world system, heretics, and false teachers (Josh. 24:15; Rom. 12:1-2; 14; II Cor. 6:14-7:1; Eph. 5:15-18; Titus 3:10; I John 2:15-17; 4:1;             II John 10-11).
  1. Ecclesiastical separation – the separation of the church from apostasy.  We define apostasy as the falling away from the truth of the gospel.  While recognizing the unity of all true believers, it is also evident that unbelief and error in many organized fellowships has developed to the point where recognized apostasy exists.  We believe we are to reprove apostates rather than recognize them, to rebuke rather than to reason with them, to reject rather than to receive or unite with them.  We believe that loyalty to Christ also demands separation from those groups content to walk with or tolerate religious unbelief (II Cor. 6:14-18; Eph. 5:11-15; II Tim. 4:2-4; II John 10-11). 
  1. Separation as a result of church discipline - the separation of the believer from an erring member, when unrepentant doctrinal error or sin is evident in their life or ministry.  We believe that we must separate from those members who continue in disobedience to the Word of God.  We call this church discipline and the process is defined in Article V, Section 7 of this constitution. (Matt. 18:15-19; Rom. 16:17; I Cor. 5:11; II Thess. 3:6, 14-15).

Section 14:  Missions

 

      We believe that God has given the Great Commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available scripturally sound means to go to all people and not wait for them to come to us. We believe that we are called to share God’s love, by making disciples of Christ in all nations, beginning in Pottstown. (Matt. 28:19-20, Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; II Cor. 5:20).

Section 15:  Civil Government

 

      We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions:  1) the home; 2) the church; and 3) the state.  Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word.  God has given each institution specific biblical responsibilities. (Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; I Pet. 2:13-14).

Section 16:  Giving

 

      We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated by God to support his local church financially.  We believe that God provided the tithes and offerings patterns for proportionate giving.  Every Christian should give offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the local church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel (Gen. 14:20; Prov. 3:9, 10; Acts 4:34-37; I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28;   I Tim. 5:17-18; Hebrews 7:1-5; I John 3:17).

Section 17:  Moral Issues

 

     A. 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).Statement on Marriage, Gender and Sexuality -


     B. Statement on Marriage, Gender and Sexuality -

           

               1.     We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female.  These two distinct, complementary genders                              together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1.26,27.)  Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within                            that person.

               2.     We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man (who is male from birth, defined as a biological man)                           and one woman (who is female from birth, who is defined as a biological woman) in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture                           (Gen 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 Cor 6.18; 7.2-5; Heb 13.4).  We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage                           between a man and a woman.

               3.     Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, Calvary Baptist                         Church will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman.  Further, the pastors and staff of Calvary Baptist                         Church shall only participate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one biological man and one biological woman.  Finally, the                           facilities and property of Calvary Baptist Church shall only host weddings between one biological man and one biological woman.

               4.     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 (Matt 15.18-20; 1 Cor 6.9,10).

               5.     We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Calvary Baptist Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a                                biblical role model to our church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Calvary Baptist Church in any                        capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality (Matt 5.16; Phil 2.14-16;                          1 Thess 5.22).

                6.     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; Rom 10.9-10; 1 Cor 6.9-11)

                7.     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 Calvary Baptist Church.

 

       C. Divorce and remarriage – We believe that marriage is a divine institution and God intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies.  We                   believe divorce is a distortion of God’s intention for marriage.  Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions             of service in the local church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the office of pastor and deacon.                (Mal. 2:14-17; Mark 10:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; I Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6)