What We Believe

  Open Bible

Introduction

The following paragraphs simply summarize what we believe as a church family. We believe the Bible and teach it to be perfectly true. Every belief and teaching of the Salem Baptist Church flows from God’s Word. For a more detailed account and description of our doctrine, feel free to request a doctrinal statement.

Of the Bible

We believe the Holy Bible was written by men supernaturally inspired; that it has truth for its matter without any admixture of error; that it is and shall remain to the end of the age, the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man; and that it is the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.

We believe the Authorized (King James) Version Old and New Testaments are the Word of God kept intact for English-speaking peoples by way of God’s divine providence and work of preservation; and that the Authorized Version translators were not “inspired”, but were merely God’s instruments used to preserve His words for English-speaking peoples.

 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Revelation 22:18-19

Of the True God

We believe there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth, inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; and that in the unity of the Godhead there are three 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.

Exodus 20:2-3, Psalm 83:18, John 14:7-11, Revelation 1:8

Of the Holy Spirit 

We believe the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, equal with God the Father and God the Son, and of the same nature; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world, the Holy Spirit restrains the evil one until God’s purpose is fulfilled; that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, of judgment, and of righteousness; that He is the witness of and guide into all truth; that He shall not speak of nor exalt Himself, but will glorify the Son of God; that Holy Spirit is the agent in the New Birth; and that He seals, endues, comforts, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies, and helps the believer.

Psalm 139:7, Acts 1:8, Acts 5:30-32, 1 Corinthians 3:16

Of the Devil, or Satan

We believe Satan was once holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors, but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, he fell and drew after him a host of angels; that Satan is now the malignant prince of the power of the air, and the unholy god of this world; that he is mankind’s great tempter, the enemy of God and His Christ, the accuser of the saints, the author of all false religions, the chief power behind the present apostasy; and that he is the lord of the antichrist, and the author of all the powers of darkness – destined, however, to final defeat at the hands of God’s own Son, and to the judgment of an eternal justice in the Lake of Fire, a place prepared for him and his angels.

Gen 3:14-15, Isaiah 14:12-17, Matthew 4:1-11, Ephesians 2:2, Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10

Of Creation

We believe the Genesis account of creation; that the Genesis creation record is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; that man was created directly in God’s own image and after His own likeness; that by God’s own handiwork, in the space of six twenty-four hour days, were all things created that are in heaven and that are in the earth, visible and invisible; that creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; and that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God’s established law was that they should bring forth only after their kind.

Genesis 1:1-2:3, Gen 2:21-23, Job 38:4-11, Colossians 1:16-17

Of the Fall of Man 

We believe man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state; and that by the sin of one man all men are now sinners, not by constraint, but by choice, and therefore all are under just condemnation without defense or excuse.

Genesis 3:1-13, Romans 1:18-20, 28-32, Romans 3:10-19, 23, Ephesians 2:1-3

Of the Virgin Birth

We believe Jesus Christ, Who was preexistent in the Godhead from eternity-past, was made flesh when He was begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner: born of a virgin woman, Mary, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of a woman; and that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate, both the Son of God and God the Son.

Psalm 2:7, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:30-35, John 1:1-2, 14, 1 John 5:20

Of the Atonement of Sin

We believe the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, Who by appointment of the Father, freely took upon Himself the nature of man yet without sin, Who honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and Who by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for the sins of mankind, providing redemption through His blood; that without the shedding of blood is no remission of sin, therefore, the shed blood of Jesus Christ, that cleanseth man from all sin, was presented in heaven, was sprinkled on the true mercy seat, and was accepted by God the Father as the atonement for the sins of the whole world, only becoming efficacious through man’s individual repentance, confession, and faith; that Christ’s atonement consisted not in setting man an example by His death as a martyr, but was the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the Just dying for the unjust, Christ the Lord bearing the sins of man in His own body on the tree; and that after having given Himself for man, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour, and having, in turn, risen from the dead, Christ Jesus is now seated on the right hand of God, becoming in every way a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Saviour.

Isaiah 53:4-7, Titus 2:14, Hebrews 12:2, 1 Peter 1:18-19

Of the Resurrection

We believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead bodily the third day, according to the Scriptures; that the Lord’s resurrection was attested to by many infallible proofs; and that forty days thereafter, He physically ascended back to heaven assuming His place as man’s Advocate with the Father: the faithful High Priest Who ever liveth to make intercession for mankind.

John 20:1-20, 24-29, Acts 1:1-3, Hebrews 4:14, Revelation 1:18

Of Grace in the New Creation

We believe sinners must be born again in order to be saved; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that the new birth is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above man’s comprehension, and is not by culture, nor by character, nor by the will of man, but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure man’s voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that proper evidence of the new birth appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.

Jeremiah 17:7-8, Romans 8:11, 32, Colossians 3:1, 9-10, 1 John 3:8-10

Of Justification

We believe the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the gift of eternal life on principles of righteousness; and that justification and its benefits are bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which man has done, but rather, God’s righteousness is imputed to man solely through faith in the Redeemer’s vicarious shed blood.

Psalm 40:2, Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 3:24-28, Titus 3:5-7

Of Repentance and Faith

We believe repentance and faith are solemn obligations, and also inseparable graces, wrought in the soul of man by the quickening Holy Spirit of God; that being deeply convicted of his own guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, man must turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy, while at the same time heartily believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, openly confessing Him as the only true and all-sufficient Saviour.

Psalm 51:1-4, Joel 2:12-13, Acts 17:29-30, Romans 10:9-11

Of the Eternal Security of the Saints

We believe all the Redeemed are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, and are, therefore, secure in Christ; and that eternal security is synonymous to eternal life, and is a work of God which insures that the gift of salvation, once received, cannot be lost by any true believer.

Psalm 31:23, Isaiah 46:4, John 10:27-29, Romans 8:15-16, 33-39

Of the Return of Christ and Related Events

We believe Jesus Christ will physically return to the earth in like manner as He was seen to go into heaven: bodily, personally and visibly; that His Second Coming will be preceded by a chronology of Last Days’ events – literal events, beginning with a pre-tribulational, pre-millennial calling out of all the redeemed: the Rapture; that the Rapture will terminate the dispensation of the New Testament Church, and will induce the time of Jacob’s Trouble: a seven-year Tribulation Period and reign of antichrist; that the Tribulation will culminate with Armageddon: the final terrible event in world history when the Lord Jesus, with heaven’s host, returns victoriously making the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; that upon the Second Coming of Christ, the Lord shall reign in righteousness on the earth for one thousand years, climaxing with the final condemnation of Satan and the last judgment of Revelation Chapter Twenty; and that, eternally thereafter, the Lord Jesus Christ shall reign for ever and ever.

Isaiah 11:4-10, Revelation 1:17, Revelation 16:16, Revelation 20:1-15, Revelation 22:20

Of the Righteous and the Wicked

We believe there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only such as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of God, are truly righteous in His esteem, and that all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in God’s sight wicked and under the curse; and that among men both in and after death there exists this great eternal distinction: the everlasting bliss of the saved, and the everlasting, conscious suffering of the lost.

Proverbs 10:6-7, 10, Malachi 4:1-2, Matthew 13:38, 47-48, 1 John 5:10-12, 18-19

Of Separation 

We believe one distinguishing mark of biblical Christianity is a separation from worldly conduct, interests, philosophies, and unions; that separation from the worldly unto the godly should be maintained in two primary realms: the personal and the ecclesiastical; that personal separation is the believer’s responsibility to live circumspectly, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; and that ecclesiastical separation is a vigilant adherence to holiness in all matters related to the church.

Ezra 10:11-12, Psalm 1:1, Titus 2:11-12, James 4:4, 8

Of the Church

We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-again persons. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control. We recognize water baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age.

We believe that a Baptist church is congregation of baptized believers associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel, said church being the citadel and propagator of the divine and eternal grace; that the church alone is authorized to administer and observe the ordinance of Christ; that all church members, ministries, and polities are to be subject to the Lordship of Christ, exercising the gifts, rights, disciplines, and privileges vested in them by His Word; and that church officers are pastors or elders, and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures.

We believe the true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission: first, to make individual disciples; second, to baptize believers and add them to the church; and third, to teach and instruct as Christ commanded. We do not believe in the reversal of this order.

We believe the church has the absolute right of self-government, free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; that the one and only superintendent of the church is Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit; that it is scriptural for churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the gospel; that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its cooperation with others; and that in all matters of membership, of policy, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the church is final.

Matthew 16:18-19, Matthew 18:15-18, Acts 2:41-42, 46-47, 1 Corinthians 3:9-11

Of Baptism and the Lord’s Table

We believe baptism is the immersion in water of a believer in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by and under the authority of a New Testament Baptist church, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem one’s faith in and identification with the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with its effects: death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that baptism is requisite to the place and privileges of a church membership and to the Lord’s Table in which, after solemn self-examination, and by the use of unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, the saved and baptized Christians then are to commemorate together the sacrificial love of Christ.

Luke 22:19-20, Acts 2:41-42, Acts 8:12, 36-39, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29

Of Missions

We believe Missions, the endeavor to reach all the world with the gospel, is a charge to, and the responsibility of the church; that the church is debtor to those who have never heard the gospel; that the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the gospel to be preached at home and abroad – to the uttermost part of the earth; and that the magnitude of the Great Commission constrains autonomous New Testament Baptist churches to cooperate together for the accomplishment of the task.

Isaiah 6:8, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Acts 1:8

Of the Grace of Giving

We believe God’s program for financing the execution of His Great Commission is the program by which every believer gives tithes and offerings to God in and through the New Testament storehouse: His Church; that the institution of tithing predate and is separate from the Law; and that cheerful, obedient, sacrificial giving presents for God opportunities to manifest His grace and His inexhaustible bounty of blessings.

Proverbs 11:25, Malachi 3:8-11, Acts 4:33-35, 37, 1 Timothy 6:17-18

Of Civil Government

We believe civil government is ordained of God for the interest and good order of society; that government’s purpose is to punish evildoers and to support and defend the righteous; that believers are commanded to conscientiously honor, obey, and pray for all that are in authority, that men may lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty; that civil government has no jurisdiction in respect to the free exercise of the church; and that civil disobedience is justified only in things opposed to Divine Law, which is supreme, and to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the kings of the earth.

Exodus 22:28, Proverbs 16:12-15, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-14, 17-18