There is one living and true God, the creator of the universe (Exod.
15:11; Isa. 45:11; Jer. 27:5). He is revealed in the unity of the
Godhead as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who are
equal in every divine perfection (Exod. 15:11; Matt. 28:19; II Cor.
God the Father is the supreme ruler of the universe. He
providentially directs the affairs of history according to the purposes
of His grace (Gen. 1; Ps. 19:1; Ps. 104; Heb. 1:1-3).
- God the Son is the Savior of the world. Born of the virgin Mary
(Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:26-35), He declared His deity among men (John 1:14,
18; Matt. 9:6), died on the cross as the only sacrifice for sin (Phil
2:6-11), arose bodily from the grave (Luke 24:6, 7, 24-26; I Cor.
15:3-6), and ascended back to the Father (Acts 1:9-11; Mark 16:19). He
is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for believers (Rom.
8:34; Heb. 7:25) until He returns to rapture them from the world (Acts
1:11; I Thess. 4:16-18).
- God the Holy Spirit is the manifest presence of deity. He convicts
of sin (John 16:8-11), teaches spiritual truths according to the written
Word (John 16:12-15), permanently indwells believers (Acts 5:32; John
14:16, 17, 20, 23), and confers on every believer at conversion the
ability to render effective spiritual service (I Peter 4:10, 11).
II. THE SCRIPTURES
- The Scriptures are God’s inerrant revelation, complete in the Old
and New Testaments, written by divinely inspired men as they were moved
by the Holy Spirit (II Tim. 3:16; II Peter 1:21). Those men wrote not in
words of human wisdom but in words taught by the Holy Spirit (I Cor.
- The Scriptures provide the standard for the believer’s faith and
practice (II Tim. 3:16, 17), reveal the principles by which God will
judge all (Heb. 4:12; John 12:48), and express the true basis of
Christian fellowship (Gal. 1:8, 9; II John 9-11).
- The World — God created all things for His own pleasure and glory,
as revealed in the biblical account of creation (Gen. 1; Rev. 4:11; John
1:2, 3; Col. 1:16).
- The Angels — God created an innumerable host of spirit beings called
angels. Holy angels worship God and execute His will; while fallen
angels serve Satan, seeking to hinder God’s purposes (Col. 1:16; Luke
20:35, 36; Matt. 22:29, 30; Ps. 103:20; Jude 6).
- Man — God created man in His own image. As the crowning work of
creation, every person is of dignity and worth and merits the respect of
all other persons (Ps. 8; Gen. 1:27; 2:7; Matt. 10:28-31).
Satan is a person rather than a personification of evil (John 8:44), and
he with his demons opposes all that is true and godly by blinding the
world to the gospel (II Cor. 4:3, 4), tempting saints to do evil (Eph.
6:11; I Peter 5:8), and warring against the Son of God (Gen. 3:15; Rev.
Although man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26; 2:17), he fell
through sin and that image was marred (Rom. 5:12; James 3:9). In his
unregenerate state, he is void of spiritual life, is under the influence
of the devil, and lacks any power to save himself (Eph. 2:1-3; John
1:13). The sin nature has been transmitted to every member of the human
race, the man Jesus Christ alone being excepted (Rom. 3:23; I Peter
2:22). Because of the sin nature, man possesses no divine life and is
essentially and unchangeably depraved apart from divine grace (Rom.
3:10-19; Jer. 17:9).
- The Meaning of Salvation — Salvation is the gracious work of God
whereby He delivers undeserving sinners from sin and its results (Matt.
1:21; Eph. 2:8, 9). In justification He declares righteous all who put
faith in Christ as Savior (Rom. 3:20-22), giving them freedom from
condemnation, peace with God, and full assurance of future glorification
- The Way of Salvation — Salvation is based wholly on the grace of God
apart from works (Titus 3:5; Eph. 2:9). Anyone who will exercise
repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved
(Acts 16:30-32; Luke 24:47; Rom. 10:17).
- The Provision of Salvation — Christ died for the sins of the whole
world (John 1:29; 3:16; I John 2:1, 2). Through His blood, atonement is
made without respect of persons (I Tim. 2:4-6). All sinners can be saved
by this gracious provision (Heb. 2:9; John 3:18).
- The Purpose of Salvation — Election is the sovereign act of God by
which He bestows His mercy of salvation upon all whom He has chosen in
Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world, according to His
foreknowledge (Eph. 1:3-5; I Pet. 1:1-2). It is consistent with God’s
sovereignty and man’s free agency (Eph. 1:11-14). Election necessitates
the preaching of the gospel to every creature, the convicting of sinners
by the Holy Spirit, and the belief of the truth by each repenting
sinner (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15). Within our finite limits of
understanding, sinners are free to accept or reject God’s offered mercy
(John 1:11, 12).
All believers are set apart unto God (Heb. 10:12-14) at the time of
their regeneration (I Cor. 6:11). They should grow in grace (II Peter
1:5-8) by allowing the Holy Spirit to apply God’s Word to their lives (I
Peter 2:2), conforming them to the principles of divine righteousness
(Rom. 12:1, 2; I Thess. 4:3-7) and making them partakers of the holiness
of God (II Cor. 7:1; I Peter 1:15, 16).
All believers are eternally secure in Jesus Christ (John 10:24-30; Rom.
8:35-39). They are born again (John 3:3-5; I John 5:1; I Peter 1:23),
made new creatures in Christ (II Cor. 5;17; II Peter 1:4), and indwelt
by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9; I John 4:4), assuring their perseverance
in good works (Eph. 2:10). A special providence watches over them (Rom.
8:28; I Cor. 10:13), and they are kept by the power of God (Phil. 1:6;
2:12, 13; I Peter 1:3-5; Heb. 13:5).
- The Nature of the Church — A New Testament church is a local
congregation (Acts. 16:5; I Cor. 4:17) of baptized believers in Jesus
Christ (Acts 2:41) who are united by covenant in belief of what God has
revealed and in obedience to what He has commanded (Acts 2:41, 42).
- The Autonomy of the Church — She acknowledges Jesus as her only Head
(Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18) and the Holy Bible as her only rule of faith and
practice (Isa. 8:20; II Tim. 3:16, 17), governing herself by democratic
principles (Acts 6:1-6; I Cor. 5:1-5) under the oversight of her
pastors (Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:7, 17, 24).
- The Perpetuity of the Church — Instituted by Jesus during His
personal ministry on earth (Matt. 16:18; Mark 3:13-19; John 1:35-51),
true churches have continued to the present and will continue until
Jesus returns (Matt. 16:18; 28:20).
- The Ordinances of the Church — Her two ordinances are baptism and
the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer as a
confession of his faith in Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:4) and is
prerequisite to church membership and participation in the Lord’s Supper
(Acts 2:41, 42). The Lord’s Supper is the sacred sharing of the bread
of communion and the cup of blessing by the assembled church (Acts 20:7)
as a memorial to the crucified body and shed blood of Jesus Christ
(Luke 22:19, 20; I Cor. 11:23-26). Both ordinances must be administered
by the authority of a New Testament church (Matt. 28:18-20; I Cor.
- The Officers of the Church — Pastors and deacons are the permanent
officers divinely ordained in a New Testament church (Phil. 1:1). Each
church may select men of her choice to fill those offices under the
leading of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:1-6; 20:17, 18) according to the
divinely given qualifications (I Tim. 3:1-13).
- Pastors (elders, bishops) are authorized to oversee and teach the
churches under the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Act. 20:28; Heb. 13:7, 17,
24; I Peter 5:1-4). Each church is responsible to follow them as they
follow Christ (I Cor. 11:1; I Thess. 1:6; Heb. 13:17) and to provide a
livelihood for them that they might fulfill their ministries (I Tim.
5:17, 18; Phil. 4:15-18). Pastors are equal in the service of God (Matt.
- Deacons (ministers, servants) are servants of the churches and
assistants to the pastors, particularly in benevolent ministries. Each
church may select her own deacons according to her needs, and no church
is bound by the act of another church in that selection (Acts 6:1-6).
- The Ministry of the Church — Her mission is evangelizing sinners by
preaching the gospel (Matt. 28:19; Luke 24:45-47), baptizing those who
believe (Act. 2:41; 8:12; 35-38), and maturing them by instruction
(Matt. 28:20; Acts 2:42) and discipline (Matt. 18:17, 18; I Cor.
- The Fellowship of the Church — She is free to associate with true
churches in furthering the faith (II Cor. 11:8; Phil. 4:10, 15, 16) but
is responsible to keep herself from those who hold doctrines or
practices contrary to Holy Scripture (Gal. 1:8, 9; I John 2:19). In
association with other churches, each church is equal and is the sole
judge of the measure and method of her cooperation (Matt. 20:25-28). In
all matters of polity and practice, the will of each church is final
X. CIVIL AUTHORITY
Human government was instituted by God to protect the innocent and
punish the guilty. It is separate from the church, though both church
and state exercise complementary ministries for the benefit of society
Christians should submit to the authority of the
government under which they live, obeying all laws which do not
contradict the laws of God, respecting officers of government, paying
taxes, rendering military service, and praying for the welfare of the
nation and its leaders (Rom. 13:1-7; I Peter 2:13, 17; I Tim. 2:1, 2).
They should vote, hold office, and exercise influence to direct the
nation after the principles of Holy Scripture.
is not to interfere in matters of conscience or disturb the institutions
of religion (Acts 4:18-20), but it should preserve for every citizen
the free exercise of his religious convictions.
receive no subsidy from the government, but they should be exempt from
taxation on property and money used for the common good through worship,
education, or benevolence.
XI. LAST THINGS
- Return — Our risen Lord will return personally in bodily form to
receive His redeemed unto Himself. His return is imminent (I Thess.
4:13-17; Rev. 22:20).
- Resurrections — After Jesus returns, all of the dead will be raised
bodily, each in his own order: the righteous dead in “the resurrection
of life” and the wicked dead in “the resurrection of damnation” (John
5:24-29; I Cor. 15:20-28).
- Judgments — Prior to the eternal state, God will judge everyone to
confer rewards or to consign to punishment (Matt. 25:31-46; II Cor.
5:10; Rev. 20:11-15).
- Eternal States — Heaven is the eternal home of the redeemed (John
14:1-3) who, in their glorified bodies (I Cor. 15:51-58), will live in
the presence of God forever (I Thess. 4:17) in ultimate blessing (Rev.
21, 22). Hell is the place of eternal punishment and suffering (Luke
16:19-31) for the devil, his angels (Matt. 25:41), and the unredeemed
Note: The following statements are not to be binding upon the churches
already affiliated with this association, or to require adoption by
churches petitioning this body for privilege of cooperation, or to be a
test of fellowship between brethren or churches. However, they do
express the preponderance of opinion among the churches of the Baptist
Missionary Association of America.
We endorse the New Hampshire Confession of Faith as a
representative compendium of what Baptists have historically believed
through the centuries. This confession was consulted and provided a
pattern and guide for the formulation of these doctrinal statements. As
there are several versions and editions, we refer particularly to the
edition in J.E. Cobb’s Church Manual, third edition, published by the
Baptist Publications Committee of Little Rock, Ark.
- We believe in the pre-millennial return of Christ to earth, after
which He shall reign in peace upon the earth for a thousand years (Rev.
- We believe the Scriptures to teach two resurrections: the first of
the righteous at Christ’s coming; the second of the wicked at the close
of the thousand-year reign (I Thess. 4:13-17; Rev. 20:6; 12-15).