To set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us .... that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed, we send forth the commonly believed confession of faith held among us, as follows:
I. OF THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Holy Bible was (a) verbally and plenarily inspired of God; (b) that it has truth without any admixture of error for its matter, that consequently it is infallible and inerrant in all matters of which it speaks; and (c) therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age, the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man, the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions should be tried.
1. By "THE HOLY BIBLE" we mean that collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, which, as originally written, does not only contain and convey the Word of God, but IS the very Word of God.
2. By "INSPIRATION" we mean that the books of the Bible were written by holy men of old, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally and verbally inspired and free from error, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be inspired.
3. We believe that the Texts which are the closest to the original autographs of the Bible are the Masoretic Hebrew Text for the Old Testament, and the Textus Receptus Greek Text for the New Testament, and that the King James Version of the English Bible is a true and faithful translation of these two providentially preserved Texts.
We believe that there is (a) one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the maker and supreme ruler of heaven and earth; (b) inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; (c) 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.
III. OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
That the Holy Spirit is a divine person; (a) equal with God the Father and (b) God the Son and (c) of the same nature, (d) that He was active in the creation; (e) that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the Evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled; (f) that He convicts of sin, of judgment and of righteousness; (g) that He bears witness to the Truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony, (h) that He is the agent in the New Birth; (i) that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer.
We believe that Satan was once (a) holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors; but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell and (b) drew after him a host of angels; that he is now (c) the malignant prince of the power of the air, and the unholy god of this world. (d) We hold him to be man's great tempter, (e) the enemy of God and His Christ, (f) the accuser of the saints, (g) the author of all false religions, the chief power back of the present apostasy; (h) the lord of the antichrist, and (i) the author of all the powers of darkness destined however (j) to final defeat at the hands of God's Son, and (k) to the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.
We believe in the Genesis account of creation, and (a) that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; (b) that man was created directly in God's own image and after His own likeness; (c) that man's creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; (d) that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God's established law was they should bring forth only "after their kind."
We believe (a) that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but (b) by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state, (c) in consequence of which, all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but of choice; and (d) therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse.
We believe (a) that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner; (b) born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and (c) that He is both the Son of God, and God, the Son.
We believe (a) that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; (b) 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 and vicarious atonement for our sins; (c) that His atonement consisted not in setting us 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 our sins in His own body on the tree; (d) that, having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in heaven, and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection, He is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and an all-sufficient Saviour.
We believe (a) that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; (b) that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; (c) that it is instantaneous and not a process; (d) 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; (e) that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension not by culture, not 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 our voluntary obedience to the gospel; (f) that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life.
We believe (a) in God's electing grace; (b) that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; (c) that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and (d) that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; (e) which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is Justification; (a) that Justification includes the pardon of sin, and the gift of eternal life on principles of righteousness; (b) that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done; but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood, His righteousness is imputed unto us.
We believe that Repentance and Faith are (a) solemn obligations, and (b) also inseparable graces, (c) wrought in our souls by the quickening Spirit of God; (d) thereby, being deeply convicted 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; (e) at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confessing Him as our only and all-sufficient Saviour.
We believe that a church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers (a) associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel; (b) observing the ordinances of Christ; (c) governed by His laws; and (d) exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His word; (e) that its officers of ordination are pastors or elders, whose qualifications, claims and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures; (f) we believe the true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission: First, to make individual disciples; Second, to build up the church; Third, to teach and instruct, as He has commanded. We do not believe in the reversal of this order, (g) we hold that the local church has the absolute right of self government, free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that the one and only superintendent is Christ, through the Holy Spirit; (h) that it is scriptural for true 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; (i) on all matters of membership, of polity, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final.
We believe that Christian baptism is (a) the immersion in water of a believer; (b) in the name of the Father the Son, and the Holy Ghost, with the authority of the local church; (c) to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; (d) that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation and to the Lord's supper; (e) in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and the fruit of the vine are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; (f) preceded always by solemn self-examination.
We believe (a) that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; (b) that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; (c) that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and (d) that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto eternal salvation.
We believe that (a) there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked, (b) that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; (c) while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; (d) and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost.
We believe that civil government is (a) of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; (b) that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed; (c) except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ; (d) who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the kings of the earth.
We believe in and accept the sacred Scriptures these upon subjects at their face and full value. Of the Resurrection, (a) we believe that Christ rose bodily "the third day according to the Scriptures;" (b) that He ascended "to the right hand of the throne of God;" (c) that He alone is our "merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God;" (d) "that this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” bodily, personally and visibly; (e) that the "dead in Christ shall rise first;" (f) that the living saints "shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump;" (g) "that the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David;" (h) and that "Christ shall reign a thousand years in righteousness until He bath put all enemies under His feet."
The command to give the gospel to the world is clear and unmistakable and this Commission was given to the churches.
Matt. 28:18-20. "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world Amen."
Mark 16:15. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
John 20:21. "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."
Acts 1:8. "But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Acts 13:1-4. "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers....As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed...."
Rom. 10:13-15. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher, And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring god tidings of good things."
Scriptural giving is one of the fundamentals of the Faith.
II Cor. 8:7. "Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also."
We are commanded to bring our gifts into the storehouse (common treasury of the church) upon the first day of the week.
I Cor. 16:2. "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
Under grace we give, and do not pay, the tithe--"Abraham GAVE a tenth part of all"--"Abraham GAVE the tenth of the spoils"--Heb. 7:2,4--and this was four hundred years before the law, and is confirmed in the New Testament; Jesus said concerning the tithe, "These ye ought to have done" Matt. 23:23.
We are commanded to bring the tithe into the common treasury of the church.
Lev. 27:30. "The tithe is the Lord 's."
Mal. 3:10. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
In the New Testament it was the common treasury of the church.
Acts 4:34,35,37. "And brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles' feet . . Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet."