Open Door Baptist Church
Table of Contents
Constitution and By-Laws
Article I – Name
Article II – Purpose
Article III – Character
Article IV – Membership
1. Profession of Faith
2. Transfer of Membership by Church Letter
D. Inactive Roll
1. Resident Members
2. Non-Resident Members
Article V – The Pastor
A. His Qualifications
B. His Call
C. His Tenure
D. Termination of Office
1. By Resignation
2. By Church Action
E. His Salary
F. His Duties
G. His Privileges
Article VI – The Deacons
A. Their Qualifications
B. Their Election
C. Their Duties
D. Their Meetings
E. Their Organization
1. The Chairman
2. The Church Clerk
3. The Trustees
Employment and Termination
Article VII – Auxiliary Organizations and Committee
A. Auxiliary Organizations
Article VIII – Meetings
A. Meetings for Worship
B. Meeting for Business
Article IX – Finances
Article X – Missions
Article XI – Affiliations
Article XII – Licensing and Ordination
Article XIII – Amendments
Article XIV – Statement of Faith
Article XV – Distribution of Assets
New Testament Distinctives of a Baptist Church
Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage as it Pertains to Deacons and Pastors
THE 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 in Christ, having been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, we do now in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, 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 study the Bible and walk together in Christian love.
To strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, unity, and love.
To sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines.
To give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin.
To contribute our time, talents, and resources 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 to all nations.
To maintain family and personal devotions, educate our children concerning the Lord and His Word, and seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances.
To walk circumspectly in the world and to be just in our dealings with all men, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our character.
To be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
To watch over one another in brotherly love, remember each other in prayer, and aid each other in sickness and distress.
To cultivate Christian compassion in feeling, Christian courtesy in speech, and Christian hospitality in actions; to be slow to take offense and always ready for reconciliation, and 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 of like faith and practice where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and principles of God's Word.
CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
Open Door Baptist Church
Kansas City, Kansas
As a body of baptized believers, we place our faith wholly in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. Having bound ourselves together in fellowship and believing it necessary to govern ourselves in an orderly and efficient manner, we do hereby adopt the provisions of these Church Covenant, Constitution and By-laws, Statement of Faith, and Baptist Distinctives contained in this booklet.
The name of this organization shall be Open Door Baptist Church.
The purpose of this organization shall be to bring glory to God through the advancement of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It shall seek to attain this end through:
A. The worship of God the Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through the written Word (Philippians 3:3 and John 4:23).
B. Preaching the Gospel and seeking to win the lost to Christ.
C. Consistent Christian living as expressed by the Word of God and our Church Covenant (Romans 10:13-15 and II Timothy 4:2).
D. Personal evangelism (II Corinthians 5:20)
E. Missionary endeavor (Acts 1:8).
F. Christian education, teaching, exhorting, and training as the Holy Spirit leads (Titus 2:1-15, Matthew 28:20 and Hebrews 10:25).
G. Administering the ordinances of Baptism and Communion (Matthew 28:19 and I Corinthians 11:2-34).
H. Rendering Christian Service (Galatians 6:1-10 and Romans 12:1-15).
This is an autonomous, sovereign Baptist church which is democratically governed by and with the consent of its members. The policy and practices of this church are patterned after the churches of the New Testament.
The membership of this church shall consist of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, who have been baptized by immersion after conversion and who agree with and promise to abide by the Constitution, Church Covenant, and Statement of Faith.
1. Profession of Faith
Each candidate for membership shall relate his Christian experience to the satisfaction of the Pastor, be baptized by immersion, and approved for membership by vote of the church (see Article VII.B.1). Each candidate must also attend the New Members Class, complete all required assignments, and agree to enter into covenant with the membership of Open Door Baptist Church as defined in the Church Covenant.
2. Transfer of Membership by Church Letter.
a. Letters of active membership from churches of like precious faith will be honored. candidates for membership by Letter must testify of baptism by immersion and attend the New Members Class, completing all requirements, and agree to enter into covenant with the membership of ODBC as denied in the Church Covenant,they may be approved for membership by vote of the church (see Article VII.B.1).
b. For departing members of ODBC, a letter of commendation shall be sent to any church for a member in good and regular standing at the church’s request.
c. For departing members of ODBC not in good and regular standing, a letter stating such status shall be given if authorized by a majority vote of the church. Contents of such letter shall be determined by the Pastor and Deacons.
1. Members may be dismissed at any regular service or business meeting by a vote of the church as governed by Article VII.
2. Deceased members shall be removed from the membership roll by the Church Clerk.
1. Dismissed members or members on the Inactive Roll may be rstored to membership upon recommendation of the Pastor and Deacons and a vote of the church.
2. Dismissed members shall be required to give evidence of honest repentance and to make confession of wrong doing before the church, where deemed necessary by the Pastor and Deacons.
D. Inactive Roll
1. Resident Members
a. When any resident member leaves the church evidencing an unrepentant spirit destructive to the unity and well-being of the church, and after a majority vote of the Deacons confirming this attitude, such a member shall be recommended to the church for placement on the Inactive Roll.
b. When any resident member becomes delinquent for more than six months in his duties to Christ and to this church, and efforts to get a response including a letter sent to him of possible church action, are unavailing, then upon the recommendation of the Deacons and the vote of the church, his name shall be placed on the Inactive Roll.
c. As a result of church discipline (Article IV.E.) a member may be placed on the inactive roll pending a demonstrated willingness to restore fellowship as defined in the Church Covenant.
d. Members listed on the Inactive Roll shall lose their privileges to vote, hold a leadership position, or participate in the business meeting of the church.
e. Reinstatement to good standing of any person whose name is on the Inactive Roll may be made after demonstrated willingness to restore fellowship as defined in the Church Covenant, by application to the Pastor and Deacons and a vote of the church.
f. Names on the Inactive Roll shall not be counted when tabulating membership for statistical reports.
g. Members placed on the Inactive Roll shall be notified of such action taken by the church.
2. Non-Resident Member
a. Any member of this church moving from Kansas City or vicinity who does not join some other church or who does not communicate with this church at least once every six months, his desire to remain a member shall, on the recommendation of the Deacons and a vote of the church, be dropped from the membership of this church.
b. Members shall be notified before and after of action taken by the church.
c. Non-resident college students and missionaries recognized by the church chartered by ODBC shall not be considered as non- resident members.
1. Any member who has been proven to have violated the Church Covenant, demonstrating conduct unbecoming a follower of Christ, shall be considered for disciplinary measures.
2. The Pastor and Deacons shall constitute the Discipline Committee of the church.
3. In case of personal differences between members of the church, the Deacons shall recommend that the parties endeavor to settle their differences in the manner laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:15-18.
4. Any discipline problem must be presented to the Discipline Committee in writing before bringing it to the church.
5. Where charges are made against a member in writing, the accused shall be notified personally of the nature of the charge and shall be summoned to appear before the Discipline Committee to make answer to the charge.
6. If the accused person fails to appear on the date agreed on by himself and the Discipline Committee, such failure to appear will be considered an admission of guilt and shall be dealt with accordingly.
7. If the accused appears before the Discipline Committee, there shall be a full and fair hearing of the case, and the Discipline Committee may be empowered to vote that the accused person is innocent of the charge. If, however, a majority of the Discipline Committee present votes that the accused is guilty of the charge proffered, they shall recommend to the church that the accused be dismissed from the membership of the church, or such other discipline as the case may warrant. The church may either approve the recommendation or hear the case itself, or take any other action. A member dismissed as a result of church discipline who does not seek restoration through repentance and demonstration of willingness to fellowship as defined in the Church Covenant may not lead or participate in church ministries.
8. All discipline enacted by the church must conform to the standards of God's Word as found in Matthew 18:15-18, II Thessalonians 3:6-15, and Galatians 6:1.
9. It is understood that this clause shall not be used as an excuse for unnecessary severeness in minor matters, but that the Discipline Committee shall always use kindness, consideration, and Christian love in determining the cases for discipline and the method of procedure in such cases. The church should always respect the decision and recommendation of the Discipline Committee and try to carry out such recommendation in the spirit of love for all concerned.
A member shall be considered in good standing when he shall regularly attend church services and communion, contribute time, talent, and financially to the church program in proportion to his ability and demonstrate, in his daily living, the Christian way of life.
A. His Qualifications
He should meet the qualifications according to I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. He is given of God to the church. "And he gave some...pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ." Ephesians 4:11,12.
B. His Call
1. The Deacons shall constitute the Pulpit Committee of this church.
2. A preliminary investigation shall begin as soon as possible after the resignation, removal, or death of the pastor.
3. A delegation selected from the Pulpit Committee may, unannounced, investigate a prospective pastor at his home church, and bring back a report to this church. Any prospective pastor not pastoring a church shall be investigated as to his background.
4. A prospective pastor, after investigation, shall meet with the Pulpit Committee, then supply the pulpit of this church for a number of meetings specified by the Pulpit Committee.
5. A special business meeting shall be called by the Pulpit Committee to consider a call for the prospective pastor. A three-fourths (3/4) majority of the members present and voting by secret ballot is required to call a pastor.
6. To avoid confusion, only one prospective pastor shall be considered at a time.
7. The result of the special business meeting shall be made known to the pastor under consideration as soon as possible after such meetings. If the vote is favorable and if he accepts the call, he shall become pastor and a member of the church. Details of the call, such as his salary, housing, car allowance, vacation time, etc., shall be included in a written invitation.
C. His Tenure
He is called for an indeterminate period of time and shall continue as long as that relation is mutually agreeable to himself and this church.
D. Termination of Office
1. By Resignation: The pastor may resign at any time and his duties be terminated thirty days from the date of his resignation or at another time mutually agreeable to both the pastor and the church.
2. By Church Action: Any difficulty arising from unsatisfactory conduct, doctrine or service shall be investigated by the Deacons according to the usual procedures for possible discipline. If it is considered to be necessary by a majority of the Deacons, a special business meeting shall be called. The church shall consider their findings and decide regarding the dismissal of the pastor. A majority of the members present, voting by secret ballot is necessary to dismiss a pastor. In such case, his pastoral duties shall terminate immediately and his salary shall cease thirty days from the date of the dismissal.
E. His Salary
The pastor's salary and other pastoral staff salaries shall be reviewed annually by the Deacons and any recommendations brought before the church.
F. His Duties
1. The Pastor's duties shall be in fulfillment of I Peter 5:1-4.
a. Pastor (Feeder of the flock)- One who devotes himself to the welfare of the church and leads by example, serving in humility, not seeking self recongnition, but primarily concerned with protecting the flock of God.
b. Overseer (Bishop) – One who oversees all church activities, programs, and ministries. He is a good steward, patient, tactful, prudent, teachable, and not tempted by financial gain (I Timothy 3:2-3; Titus 1:7-8).
c. Elder- Mature spiritual leader whose family reflects a Christ-centered, peaceful life (Titus 1:5-6).
G. His Privileges
1. He may call for a meeting of the church or of any committee or board thereof at his discretion.
2. His annual vacation benefit shall be in accordance with the church policy manual which shall be approved by the deacon board. The pastor and his wife are entitled to attend an annual conference, expenses to be paid upon approval of the church.
A. Their Qualifications
The deacons shall meet the New Testament standards as given in I Timothy 3:8-13. They are chosen by the "whole multitude" (congregation), by the pastor (Acts 6:5) and appointed "over this business" (Acts 6:3), in order that the spiritual missions of the church "prayer" and the "ministry of the Word" (Acts 6:4), may be kept preeminent. They must be members in good standing of Open Door Baptist Church for at least three years.
B. Their Election
1. The Deacons shall consist of members of this church not less than twenty-one (21) years of age, preferably married men. The deacon board shall consist of twelve (12) and not less than ten (10) men.
2. The term of office shall be for three years and so arranged as to expire alternately. A deacon serving for three years shall be ineligible for election for at least one year.
3. The election procedure for deacons shall be as follows: At least two weeks prior to the October business meeting, the Pastor and/or Deacons shall send to the active membership a letter setting forth the scriptural qualifications for the Deacon's office and naming the retiring deacons and those whose terms continue, together with blank primary ballots. Nominations shall be made on these primary ballots and returned in a way designated by the Deacons. Nominees shall be carefully examined by the Pastor and Deacons to insure that qualifications are fully met. Then a final ballot will be prepared by a committee of tellers appointed within the deacons. This ballot will be presented at the November business meeting and voted upon by the church.
4. Any vacancy and/or vacancies occurring among the Deacons with an unexpired term of six months or more and resulting in less than ten (10) active Deacons shall be filled as follows: At least two weeks prior to the business meeting at which the election(s) would be made, the Pastor and/or Deacons shall send to the active membership a letter setting forth the scriptural qualifications for the Deacon's office, together with a blank primary ballot to be returned in a way designated by the Deacons. Of these nominations, a careful examination will be presented at the business meeting and voted upon. The Deacon(s) elected to this vacancy and/or vacancies shall hold office for the remaining period of the unexpired term(s).
C. Their Duties
The Deacons shall constitute the official board of the church. It shall be the duty of the Deacons to advise and aid the Pastor in all matters relating to the business and financial needs of the church and to distribute the elements of the Lord's Supper.
D. Their Meetings
1. There shall be a stated monthly meeting of the Deacons. The election of officers from the Deacons is to be held the first meeting of the new fiscal year. This meeting is to precede the January business meeting. The new Deacons elected at the November business meeting, shall be invited to attend the Deacon's meetings without voting privileges until they take office the beginning of the calendar year.
2. The retiring officers shall hold office until the new officers begin their terms at the first of the year.
3. A quorum for a meeting of the Deacons shall be a majority of the membership of the Deacons.
4. When any member of the Deacons fails to attend three (3) consecutive monthly meetings which his office requires him to attend, such office shall be considered vacant. This vacancy will be filled as provided for in Article V, The Deacons, B.4 2.
E. Their Organization
The Deacons shall select from among themselves annually the Chairman, the Church Clerk, and the Trustees. The Pastor and Deacons shall also appoint such temporary committees as they may deem necessary.
1. The Chairman
The Chairman of the Deacons shall, in the absences of the Pastor, serve as the moderator of business meetings, act as president of the corporation, and, in the absence of the Pastor or assistant Pastor, be responsible presiding over any regular services, introduce visiting speakers, and see that an orderly service is prepared for such speaker.
2. The Church Clerk
a. The Church Clerk shall attend all business meetings possible, act as secretary for the Deacons and Trustees, and keep an accurate record of the approved minutes of the church. All records of the church are to be considered the property of and belonging to the church.
b. The Church Clerk, in the interim when a pastor leaves and a new pastor takes over, will write the call to the pastor.
3. The Trustees
a. The Trustees shall be at least three in number. The Chairman of the Deacons is automatically a Trustee and,as acting president of the corporation, is Chairman of the Trustees, having the general oversight of their work. Two-thirds (2/3) of the full number of the Trustees shall constitute a quorum. The Trustees shall make a full report of their activities to the church if requested by the church.
b. It shall be the duty of the Trustees to care for the property of the church; to hold repair, invest and preserve the same; to superintend any improvements that are not entrusted to a special committee; and to perform such business concerns of the church as shall, from time to time, be assigned to them by the church. The Trustees are at all times servants of the church and subject to its corporate action.
c. The Trustees shall not have authority to sell, lease, give away or dispose of, in any manner, church property to exceed one thousand dollars ($1000.00) in value; not to mortgage or encumber the same with debt to exceed the above amount, only as the church shall order the same by a corporate act.
d. The signing of any official business papers, instrument, mortgage, etc., shall require the signatures of three Trustees who shall act on behalf of and in compliance with, the will of the church.
1. All pastoral staff members including full-time associate pastors, youth ministry, children ministry, music ministry, Christian school superintendent, Christian school principal, counseling staff and other pastoral staff shall be nominated by the senior pastor, interviewed and recommended by the deacon board for an offer of employment by church vote. All pastoral staff members will be directly responsible to the senior pastor.
2. At the time of resignation by a pastoral staff member, at least two (2) weeks, notice shall be given to the church.
The church may terminate a pastoral staff member by majority vote upon the recommendation of the senior pastor and the deacon board. The termination of the duties shall be effective immediately upon publication of the outcome of the vote. Compensation shall continue for thirty (30) days after written notice is given to the pastoral staff member at which time termination shall be complete. When deemed necessary by the senior pastor, pastoral staff may be placed on suspension with pay, not exceeding 30 days, pending a termination vote by the church.
A. Employment and Termination
The senior pastor shall have the authority to employ and terminate approved and budgeted non-pastoral staff members. Such employment and termination of services shall be with the recommendation of the deacon board.
Auxiliary Organizations and Committees
A. Auxiliary Organizations
1. There shall be such organizations as the most efficient prosecution of our purpose shall demand, but none shall be started without the consent of the Pastor and Deacons. These organizations shall be self-governing, but finally subject to the control of the church through its constitution and voted church policy.
2. All organizations considered a part of the church activities are required to confer with the Pastor from time to time regarding plans and activities, and all matters of importance that affect the church shall be submitted to him for approval.
3. All major officers of auxiliary organizations and all regular teachers must be members of the church in good and regular standing.
1. Any committee shall be of a temporary nature and shall be recommended by the Pastor or Deacons. All committees must terminate at the end of each fiscal year, but may be reinstated by recommendation of the deacon board and approval of the church. These committees shall each include at least one Deacon. Any such committee shall dissolve upon completion of its purpose or if dissolving is recommended by the Pastor or Deacons. Each committee shall present reports to the board of deacons in a form, substance, and frequency dictated by the board. Final committee reports shall summarize activities and results of the committee.
2. All committees shall be self-governing but finally subject to the control of the church through its constitution and voted church policy.
3. When any member of a committee fails to attend three (3) consecutive meetings which his office or position requires him to attend, such office or position shall be considered vacant.
A. Meetings for Worship
1. The church shall meet each Sunday for public service, and on other days. Occasional changes may be made at the discretion of the Pastor and/or Deacons.
2. The midweek service of Bible study and prayer shall be held on an evening as indicated by the Pastor.
3. The ordinance of the Lord's Supper shall be observed on the first Sunday morning of each month or occasionally at another time as prescribed by the Pastor or Deacons.
B. Meetings for Business
In the conduct of business, rules contained in Robert's Rules of Order shall govern all cases to which they apply. In exceptions, a majority vote shall establish the rule. Christian courtesy shall be shown in all deliberation and discussions. Necessary business may be conducted at any regular meeting of the church.
1. Quarterly Business Meeting - The quarterly business meetings shall be conducted at such time as is convenient and effective for the deacons and the church. The Business meeting should begin with prayer.
2. Special Business Meetings - Special business meetings may be called by the Pastor or a majority of Deacons. The purpose of the meeting shall be announced from the pulpit and/or published in the church bulletin and posted on the bulletin board at least one week prior to such meeting.
3. A business meeting to amend the Articles - of Incorporation or change the name of the Corporation must be announced and published in a newspaper having general circulation three (3) successive weeks and meet any other legal requirements of the laws of the State of Kansas.
In the business meetings, the members present, eighteen years of age or over, shall constitute a quorum.
All matters shall be settled by a majority vote of active members eighteen (18) years old and older present or by absentee ballot (for those who would be out of town at the time of the vote). The absentee vote would be delivered to the church office personally and after verification of their active membership, the member's ballot will be placed in a secured receptacle to be counted at the time of the regular vote.
A. The fiscal year shall begin on January one (1) and end on the following December thirty-one (31).
B. All monies shall be raised by the church or any auxiliary organization by freewill giving, unless otherwise directed by a vote of the church.
C. No financial obligation shall be placed upon the church, either as a mortgage, note,or outstanding bill, or in any other form, unless money is in hand to meet the same, except as stated in Article V, The Deacons, E, 3, b,c d..
D. An auditing committee shall be selected annually by the Deacons at least three (3) months prior to the January meeting. This committee shall consist of two (2) members and a third person, member or non-members, having a knowledge of accounting methods. They shall audit the books of the church prior to the January business meeting of the church and make available a report of its findings at that meeting.
E. The Bookkeeper shall receive and be responsible that all money belonging to the church is counted before any of it leaves the church, and shall deposit the same in the local bank in the name of the church, and as approved by the church or trustees, shall make all disbursements paid by check.
F. The Bookkeeper shall make a full report available to the church at each business meeting or when otherwise directed by the church.
It shall be the policy of this church to support only mission boards, Christian schools and colleges, and individuals who are in hearty agreement with our Articles of Faith, both in doctrine and practice.
Since a New Testament church cannot "join" anything outside of itself, but only affiliate therewith for fellowship, this church declares itself to be sovereign and independent and owes allegiance to no ecclesiastical power or hierarchy. As a sovereign Baptist Church, we reserve the right to fellowship with whomever we please for reasons sufficient unto the church itself.
Licensing and Ordination
1. When a man in this membership is called to the Christian ministry and desires to be licensed, he shall make his desire known to the Pastor and Deacons. If the Pastor and Deacons are satisfied concerning his salvation, call to the ministry and to consistent Christian living, it shall be recommended to the church that a license be granted. The church may act upon this recommendation at any meeting of the church.
2. The duration of this license shall be for one (1) year from the date of issue but may be renewed annually after a review by the Pastor and Deacons. A license can be annulled or withdrawn at any time should the church, in its judgment, have sufficient reason for such action.
1. When, in the judgment of the Pastor and Deacons, a man in this membership is called to the Christian ministry, it shall be within the power of the Pastor and Deacons to recommend to the church that a council, composed of a pastor and two Deacons, other ordained church members, or pastors from churches of like faith and practice, be called for the purpose of examining the candidate. This examining council shall be called by church action.
2. The examining council shall thoroughly examine all applicants for ordination as to their call to the Christian ministry, education, Christian experience, reputation, character, doctrinal belief, and demonstrated efficiency in Christian service. After hearing the recommendation, the church may proceed with the ordination at a future date as agreed upon by both the church and the candidate.
3. The following shall not be ordained to the ministry by this church:
a. One who has not served six (6) months as pastor, assistant pastor, or in definite Christian work in such manner as to convey reasonable evidence of God's call to the ministry.
b. One who cannot conform to the qualifications of a pastor as set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.
4. It shall be within the power of the Pastor and Deacons to investigate and recommend necessary action, even to revoking the ordination credentials, of any minister ordained by this church after an impartial trial conducted in the spirit of I Corinthians 13.
This constitution may be amended by three-fourth (3/4) vote of members present at any January business meeting provided that notice of such proposed amendments has been clearly stated and submitted in writing to the church no later than the previous October business meeting. The statements of faith contained in Article XIV shall be irrevocable.
Statement of Faith
Statement 1 - Of the Scripture
We believe that the Holy Bible, as originally written, was verbally inspired and the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore is truth without admixture of error for its matter. We believe that it is the true center of Christian union and the only infallible rule for all human conduct, creed, and opinions ( II Timothy 3:16,17 and II Peter 1:19-21).
Statement 2 - Of the True God
We believe the one true and living God is one in essence, possessing three eternal, personal distinctions which are revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, yet executing distinct but harmonious offices ( Exodus 20:2,3;
I Corinthians 8:6 and I Peter 1:2). We believe that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary; that He is one person possessing two natures and thus is true God and true man; that He lived a sinless life and gave Himself as a perfect substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all men; that He arose in the very body, though glorified, in which He was crucified; that He ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of God interceding for His people, and will return to the earth in keeping with His promises (Matthew 1:20; John 1:1;2; John 14:1-3; II Corinthians 5:21 and Ephesians 1:20).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Triune Godhead; that He has been and will continue to be active throughout eternity; that, in gracious dealing with mankind, He has inspired the writing of the Scriptures; that He is in the world today convincing men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that He is calling out a people for God from among Jews and Gentiles; that He regenerates those who believe, places them into the Body of Christ, indwells them, and produces in them the fruit of the Spirit; and that He calls individuals to Christian service and empowers and directs them in that service (John 16:8-11 & 13; Romans 8:11-14 & 16; I Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:30).
Statement 3 - Of the Creation
We accept the Genesis account as being an historical record of creation and believe that the universe with all that is in it was created by God, not produced by some process of evolution (Genesis 1 & 2; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16).
Statement 4 - Of the Spirit Realm
We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless spirit beings known as angels; that many of these continued in their holy state and are the ministers of God; that Lucifer (now known as Satan or the Devil) and many others, rebelled against God; that these fallen angels (except those who have been chained in Tartarus) though defeated in the cross of Christ, still continue to oppose God and His work; that they will ultimately be judged by God and cast into the Lake of Fire to suffer everlasting punishment, which is their righteous due (Isaiah 14:12-15; Matthew 18:10; Hebrews 1:14; Hebrews 12:22; II Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 20:10).
Statement 5 - Of Man
We believe that man was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God; that through uncoerced disobedience Adam fell from his original state, became depraved in nature, was separated from God, and came under condemnation and the sentence of death; that, because of the unity of the human race and the natural headship of Adam, all men (Jesus Christ only excepted) are born with sin natures and have come under the same consequences of sin (Genesis 1-3; Romans 1:18; Romans 5:10-21; Romans 6:23; I Corinthians 15:45-50).
Statement 6 - Of Salvation
We believe that salvation is all of grace through the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ who paid the full redemptive price, fully satisfied God's righteous demands by suffering the death penalty for man's guilt, and imputed to man His perfect righteousness, reconciling him to God; that salvation is made effective to man only upon his exercise of personal faith in the crucified and risen Christ, which faith is not a meritorious work, but possible only by the grace of God.
We believe that salvation includes justification, regeneration, adoption into the family of God, sanctification (positional, progressive, and final), and glorification; that one who is truly born again will, by the grace of God, persevere and be kept saved, forever (Romans 8:35-39, 10:9-13; I Corinthians 15:3-4; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; I Peter 1:5; Jude 24, 25).
Statement 7 - Of Sanctification
We believe that every saved person is positionally, in Christ, completely set apart for God; that in experience the saved person retains his sin nature, which is not eradicated in this life, and thus his present state is no more perfect than his daily experience; that there is a progressive sanctification wherein the saved person is to grow in grace and into Christ likeness by the unhindered power of the Holy Spirit; that when Christ appears, the saved person will be fully sanctified so that his state will conform to his standing.
We believe that progressive sanctification involves separation not only from ungodly living but also from ungodly teaching; that, though we love all men and seek their salvation, there are areas of ecclesiastical fellowship in which it may be necessary to separate even from our brethren in Christ, if they, in turn, maintain fellowship with unbelievers (Romans 8:26; II Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; Jude 1; II Thessalonians 3:6; Hebrews 10:10; I John 4:1).
Statement 8 - Of Dispensations
We believe that the dispensations are not ways of salvation (this has always been "by grace through faith") but that they are stewardships by which God administers His purpose on earth through man under varying responsibilities; that changes in dispensational dealings depend
upon changed situations in which man is found in relation to God due to man's failures and God's judgments; that though several dispensations cover the entire history of mankind, only three of these are the subject of extended revelation in the Scripture; that these three, Mosaic Law, Grace, and Millennial Kingdom, are distinct and are not to be intermingled or confused
(Genesis 2:7-25; Genesis 3:23; Genesis 8:20; Genesis 12:1; Exodus 10:8-20; John 1:17; Ephesians 1:10).
Statement 9 – Marriage
We believe that marriage is a holy institution, created by God, designed and intended to be the convenantal union between one man and one woman only (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7; I Corinthians 7:2; Ephesians 5:31; Genesis 2:24-25; Genesis 4:1; Deuteronomy 24:5; Numbers 30:16).
Statement 10 - Of the Church
The Church which is His Body, made possible by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is that chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy nation, peculiar people of this age of Grace who have been born of the Spirit into the family of God (John 3:1-7;
I Peter 1:22-25), baptized by the Spirit into this one Body (Galatians 3:26,27;
I Corinthians 12:13), and thus are in vital union with Jesus Christ as members one of one another and of Him (Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 4:25 and Ephesians 5:30).
It was this Church which was prophetically announced by Christ (Matthew 16:18), decreed eternally in the mind and purpose of God (Ephesians 1:3-14; Ephesians 3:1-12), and historically manifested during this Age of Grace. This Church is pictured in the scripture as: the building of God (Ephesians 2:19-22; I Peter 2:1-8), the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22,23; Ephesians 3:1-12; Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 12:16; I Corinthians 12:12-27), and the espoused Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7,8: Ephesians 5:29-32). This Church, not to be confused with or identified with the local church, is in existence during this Age of Grace and will be finally consummated at the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:51-58). It is sometimes referred to as the Universal or Invisible Church. The Church which is His Body is a blessed fact emphasizing the unity of God's people in this age. It includes all the redeemed, whether Jews or Gentiles, from Pentecost to the Rapture, whether in Heaven or on earth.
We believe that local churches are gatherings of professing believers in given communities, organized for the purpose of united worship, fellowship, administration of
the ordinances (baptism and the Lord's Supper), edification, discipline, and effective promotion of the work of Christ throughout the world; that such local churches should be limited in membership to those who are born again, desire to follow Christ in obedience and have been immersed; that Christ is the supreme head and every member has direct access to Him and is responsible to seek His will; that the only offices recognized in such New Testament churches are those of pastor (bishop, over-seer, elder) and deacon; that government is democratic with every member responsible to vote in keeping with his understanding of the will of Christ; that there is value in fellowship and cooperation with other local churches of like convictions (Matthew 18:15-17; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:42; Acts 8:38; I Corinthians 1:2; I Corinthians 11:26-28; I Timothy 3:1-15).
Statement 11 - Of Civil Government
We believe civil government was instituted of God and is still His means of maintaining peace and order among men; that believers here on earth are responsible in the area of civil government and should participate in it to promote and preserve good order in human society; that civil government , and the church must be organizationally separate from each other, and neither must seek to control the other (Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 13:1-7; Acts 4:19,20; Acts 5:29; Colossians 3:22-24; I Timothy 2:1-3; I Peter 2:13,14).
Statement 12 - Of Things to Come
We believe that the scriptures do foretell certain future events among which are the following:
Rapture of the Church. We believe that Jesus Christ will return to the atmosphere of this earth; that the dead in Christ will rise first, then believers who are still living will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air and to be with the Lord forever; that the Rapture is the next event on the revealed calendar and that no prophecy needs to be fulfilled before it occurs (I Corinthians 15:51-54; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13).
Tribulation. We believe that the Rapture of the Church will be followed on earth by Israel's seventieth week; that though there will be salvation, this will be a time of great judgments, the latter part being known as the Great Tribulation (Daniel 9:26,27; Revelation 7:4,9,14; Revelation 13:6-17).
Second Coming. We believe that following the Tribulation, Christ will return to the earth with His glorified saints to establish the Millennial Kingdom; and Christ will reign with a rod of iron; that at the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released for a short time, deceive many and lead them in final rebellion, but will be destroyed with his armies (Psalm 2; Isaiah 26:20; Daniel 9:24; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 20:1-10).
Eternal State. We believe that the unsaved men of all ages will be resurrected and together with the evil angels, will be finally judged and condemned to everlasting, conscious punishment in hell; that all the saved of all ages in glorifed bodies will enjoy everlasting blessings in the presence of God (I Corinthians 3:13-15; II Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:6,7,15,21,22).
Distribution of Assets
Should this corporation become legally dissolved, all its remaining assets shall be given to any other not-for-profit corporation which subscribes to the same purpose and beliefs as is contained in this constitution.
New Testament Distinctives of a Baptist Church
1. The authority of the Scripture for faith and practice.
We are to organize and operate our churches according to the Word of God and not by traditions or man-made creeds (II Timothy 3:16,17).
2. The soul liberty of the believer.
Each believer is directly accountable to God and is subject to the Word of God. No man can force his beliefs on another person or church without being contrary to God's Word (Acts 5:29; Romans 14:5).
3. The priesthood of the believer.
Each believer as a priest can draw near to God in full assurance of faith in our tasks for God, in prayer, in worship and in confession of sins (I Peter 2:5).
4. A regenerate, baptized membership.
The Word of God clearly indicates that only regenerate, immersed believers should be received into the local church (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:36-38).
5. The sovereignty of the local church.
Each local church is independent and governed by the people (Acts 2:42).
6. The separation of the church and the state.
God's word gives no indication of one having authority over the other, but each one's duties or authority is given separately (Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 13:1).
Policies Concerning Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage as it
Pertains to Deacons and Pastors
1. Concerning I Timothy 3:2 "the husband of one wife" we make the following observation: Paul uses the expression "mias gunaikos" (Greek) meaning "a one woman's husband" instead of the word "gameo" (Greek) which means "married only once". His choice of "mias gunaikos" over the word "gameo" refers to polygamy and not divorce. "Paul's concern was not how many times a man had been married but rather how many wives he had," (Jay Adams). Therefore, this passage does not forbid those who have been divorced from serving as pastors or deacons.
2. We also believe that I Corinthians 6:9-11 makes it clear that if a candidate’s divorce was before salvation the blood of Jesus Christ has fully cleansed him of even sinful divorce. God has forgiven and forgotten his sinful divorce, then why shouldn't we?
3. We furthermore believe that if a candidate's divorce was obtained on biblical grounds as taught by our Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul (Matthew 19:9 and I Corinthians 7:15) that whether the divorce was obtained before or even after Salvation, the candidate is still qualified to serve as pastor or deacon for he has not violated scripture or God's standard.
4. We do believe however, that if a candidate has obtained a divorce sinfully (for any reason other than adultery) that he must prove to the congregation of which he is presently a member that he is now blameless in every way and a faithful husband as well as a good parent. We would therefore require a period of one year for this time of proving (one year from the time he became a member of the church).
5. We also believe that I Timothy 3:2-5 does not prohibit single men from serving as pastors or deacons. If this were true the very one who gave the instructions to Timothy (the Apostle Paul) could not have been either a pastor or deacon, for Paul was not married. The passage simply teaches us that if a candidate is married, his family should meet these qualifications.