Statement of Faith
Below is a very basic Statement of Faith that guides this blog. I wrote it myself. Its foundational documents are Louisville Baptist Deaf Church’s brief What We Believe statement, the Baptist Faith and Message, 2000, and the Abstract of Principles of my alma mater, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
I am in the process of adding Scripture sections to each article. Once it is complete, I will also make it available for download as a Word document.
This Statement of Faith was written with Deaf churches in mind. It can be used as a foundational document for any Deaf church. Any church desiring to use this statement as a Statement of Faith has my permission to do so.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
I. THE BIBLE
The Bible is God’s Word. It was written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is God’s revealing of Himself to humanity. It is perfect. It is correct. It does not lie. It is true and can be trusted. It tells us what our relationship with God is like. It is the top authority for our behavior, opinions, and religion. The whole Bible testifies about Jesus.
God is the one and only true god. He is everywhere. He is all-powerful. He knows everything. He knows everything that happened in the past, everything that is happening right now, and everything that will happen in the future. He created the universe and everything in it. He controls everything that happens through His wise plan. We owe Him our love, obedience, and respect. He has always existed in three equal and special persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. There is no separation or division of these persons. They are not three Gods, but one God.
A. GOD THE FATHER. God the Father takes care of the universe and everything in it. He takes care of every person and every plant and animal in nature. He controls everything that happens in history. History follows God’s plan. He knows everything, has all power, has all love, and has all wisdom. He is the true Father of all who become children of God by believing in Jesus Christ.
B. GOD THE SON. Jesus is the eternal Son of God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born through the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed God’s will. Jesus perfectly obeyed God. He never sinned. Jesus died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. He was raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven. He is now sitting at God the Father’s right side, which is a place of honor. One day Jesus will return in power and glory to judge the world. Jesus lives in all who believe in Him and is their Lord and Savior.
C. GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He inspired the writers of the Bible. He makes the truth clear to people. He exalts Jesus. He convicts people of their sin and about righteousness and judgment. He calls people to Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives people the ability to believe in Jesus and makes them new people when they believe. He guides and gives power to believers. He holds us safe forever, so that no one who believes can ever lose their salvation.
Humans are the greatest part of God’s creation. They are made in God’s image. Humans were made male and female. The first man and woman were innocent and perfect. Because of their free choice they sinned against God and brought sin and death into the world. This doomed humanity to eternal death. All humans have sinned. No man or woman follows God. All humans are lost. Unless our sins are forgiven, we will be punished forever in Hell. Only God’s grace can change humanity’s fate.
Salvation is how our sins are forgiven. God forgives us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins. His blood has power to take all our sin and guilt. The only way lost people can be forgiven is through faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing else works. Anyone who trusts in Jesus as Savior is “born-again” into God’s family forever.
A. HOW WE ARE SAVED. To be saved, we must repent of our sins. To repent means to admit to God that our behavior and thoughts are wrong. Then we must believe that Jesus died for our sins that we are repenting. We must believe that Jesus rose from the dead to give new life to all who believe in Him. Then we must trust in Jesus to forgive our sins and give us new life. The Holy Spirit helps us do these things and makes us new people the moment we do them.
Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Immersion means to cover completely. When a believer is baptized, he or she must let their body go completely under water and then back out of the water. Baptism is an act of obedience that shows a person belongs to Jesus and has faith in Him. It is required before a person can become a church member.
VI. CHRISTIAN LIVING
Christians are people who have been saved and baptized. All Christians are required by God to live holy lives. To live a holy life means to obey God in all things. We obey God by following the Bible. The Holy Spirit helps us to live a holy life. We become mature people by living a holy life. We never stop maturing until we die.
VII. EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS
Evangelism and missions are how lost people learn about Jesus. There is no difference between evangelism and missions. They are the same thing. Evangelism and missions involves sharing the Gospel with people who are not saved. We must tell people about Jesus in a way that is related to their culture. But we cannot change the Bible to do that. God saves lost people through evangelism and missions. Every Christian is required by God to do evangelism and missions.
A. EVANGELISM. Jesus has commanded every Christian to tell lost people everywhere about Him. We evangelize by living a holy life, developing relationships with people who are not saved, and telling them about Jesus. We must do all three of these things. Evangelism is what we do in missions.
B. MISSIONS. Jesus has commanded every Christian to do evangelism in the whole world. Missions means going into every culture, developing relationships with lost people in the culture, living a holy life in the culture, and telling lost people in the culture about Jesus. Missions must be done first in our own culture. Next missions are done in other cultures in our own country. Last missions are done in cultures outside of our country in different parts of the world.
VIII. THE CHURCH
The Church is the Body of Christ. It is made up of all who believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Lost people cannot be part of the Church. The Church is commanded by God to pray and worship Him. The Church is commanded by God to share the Gospel with every culture. The Church is commanded to make disciples of everyone. The Church exists in two forms: the Universal Church and the Local Church.
A. THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH. The Universal Church is made up of every Christian in every culture in every part of the world. The only way to join the Universal Church is to be saved. Everyone who has been saved by Jesus belongs to the Universal Church.
B. THE LOCAL CHURCH. The Local Church is made up of Christians who live in a specific place in a specific culture. Those Christians come together for prayer and to worship God. Then those Christians go out of their church to share the Gospel with their local culture. A Local Church makes disciples of saved people in their culture. To join a Local Church, you must be saved by Jesus. You must be baptized by immersion. No one who has not been saved and baptized can join a Local Church. The Bible recognizes two offices in the Local Church: Pastors and Deacons.
1. PASTORS. The Bible shows us that the office of Pastor is limited to men only. A Pastor’s duty is to lead the Local Church. A Pastor leads a Local Church through prayer, preaching, and discipleship. A Pastor is like a shepherd. A shepherd leads the sheep in the right direction. A Pastor leads the church in the right direction. 1 Timothy 3 tells us who is qualified to be a Pastor. A Pastor must be married to only one woman. A Pastor must have a good reputation. A Pastor must have self-control. A Pastor must be wise. A Pastor must behave respectfully. A Pastor must be friendly to strange people. A Pastor must be able to teach. A Pastor must not be a heavy drinker. A Pastor must not be a troublemaker. A Pastor must be kind. A Pastor must be gentle. A Pastor must not love money. A Pastor must be in control of his family and household. A Pastor cannot be a new believer. A Pastor must have a good reputation with people outside of the church. The Bible says that a Pastor is worthy of a good salary that will allow him to lead the Local Church with no financial distractions. A good salary will not force a Pastor to take other jobs to make ends meet. A Pastor may choose to work outside of the church as needed or as led by God for the good of the Pastor and the Local Church.
2. DEACONS. Deacons are the servants of the Local Church. The Bible shows that both men and women can be Deacons. Their duty is to pray and serve the needs of the Local Church. Deacons do not run the business of a Local Church. 1 Timothy 3 also tells us who is qualified to be a Deacon.
a. Male Deacons must be serious and dignified. They must be married to only one woman. They must be in control of their families and household. They cannot be liars, heavy drinkers, or greedy for money. They must have a clear conscience. They must trust firmly what God has shown us about our faith in the Bible. They must prove themselves first before they can serve as Deacons. If no one has anything against them, then they can serve as Deacons. Male Deacons serve the entire Local Church in general, but specifically serve the men of the Local Church.
b. Female Deacons must be similar to Male Deacons. They must be serious and dignified. They must not be gossips. They must not be heavy drinkers. They must be faithful in all things. Female Deacons serve the entire Local Church in general, but serve the women of the Local Church specifically. Female Deacons have no authority over the men of the Local Church.
The Culture is the environment in which Christians live. Christians do not belong to the culture. The Bible says Christians are visitors in the culture. The only culture Christians belong to is the one in Heaven. Christians are to live in the culture and develop relationships with lost people and saved people in that culture. God’s will as it is seen in the Bible is to be the top authority for Christians in a culture. Christians are to use the Bible to help a culture improve and become holy. The goal of Christians is to see lost people in a culture believe in Jesus. To honor God, Christians must be against all kinds of discrimination, all kinds of greed, and all kinds of sexual sin (including pornography, adultery, sex before marriage, and homosexuality). To honor God, Christians must work to take care of children, old people, sick people, poor people, people who have been hurt, and people who cannot take care of themselves. Christians must be ready to work with anyone, even lost people, for these reasons. But Christians must be careful that they do not compromise the truth about the Bible and Jesus when they work with lost people.
X. THE FAMILY
The Family is the foundation of culture. Where there are no families, a culture will become evil and die. A family is made up of people related to each other by marriage, blood, or adoption. God has declared the family to be the foundation of culture.
A. MARRIAGE. Marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a covenant commitment. That commitment lasts their entire lives. It does not end until one of them dies. Marriage is a picture of the relationship every Christian has with Jesus. Marriage is a picture of the relationship the Church has with Jesus. Sex is only permitted between a husband and his wife. Because sex is only permitted in marriage, children are the natural result of marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman only. A man and a man cannot be married. A woman and a woman cannot be married.
B. HUSBAND AND WIFE. A husband and his wife are equal before God. This is because both are created in the image of God. Both have specific roles in a marriage. A husband is required to love his wife in the same way Jesus loved the Church. He is to serve her, sacrifice himself for her, and help her to live a holy life. A husband is responsible to provide for, protect, and lead his family. A wife is required to graciously submit to her husband in the same way Christians submit to Jesus. Submission means to put Jesus first before anything else. This means a wife is to put her husband first before all other people. A wife is responsible to respect her husband. A wife is responsible to help her husband provide for, protect, and lead the family.
C. CHILDREN. Children are God’s blessing on the family. They are alive from the moment they are conceived in the mother’s womb. Children are required to honor and obey their parents. Parents are the model of marriage for their children. Parents are required to live holy lives to show their children how they are to live. Parents are required to teach their children how to live a holy life and make wise choices through the Bible. Parents are required to love and discipline their children just as God loves and disciplines us.