Beechland Baptist Church
BEECHLAND BAPTIST CHURCH CONSTITUTION
This church shall be called the Beechland Baptist Church, of thee Louisville Regional Baptist Association.
II. ARTICLES OF FAITH
1. 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, salvation for its end, and 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 shall be tried.
2. 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; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary; that he died for our sins and was raised for our justification; that he is true God and true man, and is the only and sufficient mediator between God and man, through whom every soul may have direct access to God.
We believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit and that his ministry is to reveal Christ to men in the regeneration and sanctification of their souls, and in the understanding and application of Christian truth.
3. Of the Fall of Man
We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgression fell from the holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; 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, without defense or excuse.
4. Of the Way of Salvation
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly by grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God; who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins, that having risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven; 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 Savior.
5. Of Justification
We believe that the great gospel blessings which Christ secures to such as believe in him is justification, that justification included the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; by virtue of which 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.
6. 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 a cordial, penitent 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.
7. Of Grace in Regeneration
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.
8. Of Repentance and Faith
We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our soul by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of Salvation by Christ we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King, and relying upon him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
9. Of God’s Purpose of Grace
We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that 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 ascertained by its effect in all who truly believe the gospel; that it is the foundation of the Christian assurance; and to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
10. Of Sanctification
We believe that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made 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 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, prayer, and unselfish service and giving.
We believe that God, the creator and owner of all things and persons, has entrusted to the Christian his life, time, talents, influence, money goods, and all things whatsoever he possesses; that as steward of these possessions he is to administer them under the will of God for the purposes of Jesus Christ; that in definite expression of this stewardship he is to contribute systematically and proportionately of his means to the support of his church and of the missionary and benevolent enterprises of Christ’s Kingdom.
11. Of the Perseverance of Saints
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that special providence watches over their welfare, and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
12. Of the Harmony of the Law and the Gospel
We believe that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of moral government; that it is holy, just and good; and the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin 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.
13. Of a Gospel Church
We believe that a 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 Scriptural officers are pastors (sometimes called bishops and elders), and deacons, whose qualifications are defined in the Epistles of Timothy and Titus, together with such other leaders, teachers and workers as the church may select and as are needful in carrying out the true functions of a godly church.
We believe that every church is independent and self-governing, but that it is under moral obligation to associate itself with other churches of like faith and order in approved common enterprises that seek the promotion of Christ’s kingdom, particularly such as missions, Christian education, benevolences.
14. Of Baptism and Lord’s Supper
We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect, in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord’s Supper, in which the members of the church by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ, preceded always by solemn self-examination. (We will accept Christian baptism by other faiths as valid, and we will not insist that individuals who have received Christian baptism be rebaptized in order to join our church fellowship. By Christian baptism, we mean baptism of a believer by immersion in obedience to the Lord’s command, as a symbolic ordinance, but not an act of redeeming grace.)
15. Of the Christian Sabbath
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath; and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes from all secular labor and sinful recreation, by the devout observance of all the means of grace both private and public; and by preparation for that rest that remains for the people of God.
16. Of Civil Government
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
17. Of the Righteous and the Wicked
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as continue in the impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men, both in and after death.
18. Of the World to Come
We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that in the last day 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 adjudged to endless punishment, and righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.
III. CHURCH COVENANT
Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, 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 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 devotion; to educate our children religiously; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to strive 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 and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage; and 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 each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and 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.
Its Government is vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among other Baptist churches.
It receives the Scriptures as its authority in matters of faith and practice. Its understanding of Christian truth as contained therein is in essential accord with the belief of the Baptist churches as indicated in the Articles of Faith herewith.