More than 2,000 years have passed since our Lord Jesus Christ instituted His church and sent her into the world with the gospel of the kingdom. There are scores more of religious institutions, churches, and beliefs than ever before. When our forefathers were confronted with evil and apostasy, they often published confessions of their faith to bolster the doctrines they held dear that were under attack at that particular time. Baptists have always stood for the fact that the Bible was their only all-sufficient rule of both faith and practice. No statement of faith, therefore, could possibly cover all things taught in the Holy Scriptures. Most assuredly, this confession does not cover all areas, but is published mainly to oppose errors in those areas addressed in this pamphlet.
We believe that men and churches may be ignorant or deceived about the true teachings of the Holy Scriptures. With that thought in mind, we are willing and eager to change our belief and practice if we see by the Holy Scriptures that what we believe and do is wrong.
Visitors who attend services at the Hidden Hills Sovereign Grace Baptist Church often have questions concerning our beliefs. Sometimes, folks call to inquire. This pamphlet is a statement addressing some of our beliefs and practices. Some of these may be quite different from other Baptists in Alaska, or in other places for that matter.
· We believe and preach the sovereignty of Almighty God.
This means that we believe God Almighty, the great creator of all things, to be absolutely sovereign over all things in the universe. He does all things after the counsel of His own will. In His sovereignty, whatever he does, he does righteously. It is his right to do what he pleases and when he does what he pleases, it is right. Our God is the designer, creator, sustainer, and mover of all things – human and otherwise.
· We believe and preach the sovereignty of Almighty God in salvation.
Like most Baptists, we proclaim the sovereignty of God in the salvation of man. The difference between us and most modern Baptists is that we believe God was sovereign in choosing (electing) some out of the many to salvation. We believe he predestinated those he elected to ultimately be made like his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. In other words, out of the masses of humanity fallen in Adam, God chose some, with no foreseen good in them, to be saved. We believe that God never intended to save everyone, but that His purpose was to save his elect. He has worked in the choosing of Israel, his nation, to bring the Savior into the world who would "save his people from their sins." Jesus Christ was born of the nation of Israel, of the lineage of David, to be a prince and savior of his people, his elect.
· We believe that God saves sinners.
We believe and teach that God chose some unto salvation, then provided the means whereby they might be saved, he did, and does, all the work in man's salvation. God sent His own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, to pay the penalty of sin for every one of His elect. We believe that Jesus Christ died for every elect person in the world and that his death in their stead saved them from their sins. He ordained that men should believe and have knowledge of salvation by the preaching of the gospel. We believe that when the gospel is preached, the Holy Spirit quickens sinners (makes them alive - in regeneration) thereby giving them a holy disposition toward God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Regeneration produces both faith and repentance in the sinner. In other words, the new birth (regeneration) is something God does, not something man does. Faith and repentance are the result of regeneration. This is an instant act wrought in the sinner by the Holy Ghost. Upon the sinner exercising repentance and faith toward God, he is converted.
· We believe that when the elect are saved, they are commanded to be baptized with Baptist baptism.
Baptist baptism is the only scriptural baptism. Protestant and Catholics alike have confessed this to be the case. Genuine Baptists were never part of the Roman Catholic system, nor are they Protestants. They are the descendants of the ancient Ana-Baptists. This name was given the Lord's churches from the first century on until the prefix "ana" was finally removed sometime during the protestant reformation. The term "Ana-Baptist" means "re-baptizer." This was a term of scorn placed on the Lord's Churches when they refused to take people into their number except the applicant be scripturally baptized. They insisted on this, even though the applicants may have had some form of a baptismal ritual before. The thing that has cost more Baptists their heads than any other is their demand for Scriptural baptism before membership into the church and before they may be partakers of the Lord’s Supper.
We also believe that many Baptists (in name) have departed from the faith once for all delivered to the saints. This is true especially in the areas of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The failure of these Baptist churches to baptize by church authority has rendered the baptism they perform questionable, if not entirely invalid. Each church must be the final arbiter in matters of Scriptural baptism according to the Holy Scriptures.
· We believe the church is the body of Christ.
The church is a body of baptized believers who agree together to carry out the commands of Christ, the head of the church. The church is not invisible, nor is it universal. The church is a local, visible, assembly of baptized believers. Once they are agreed together as one of the Lord's churches, they remain a church whether or not they are assembled. This is the body of Christ. Paul said the Church of Corinth was the body of Christ (1Co. 12:27). God places members in the body as it pleases Him. God alone knows who would fit there and who has the gifts that are needed in each particular body. Every church with scriptural beginnings which continues to keep the ordinances correctly is the body of Christ.
· We believe pastors and deacons are the only church officers.
Pastor’s (bishops) and Deacon’s (servants) qualifications are given in 1 Timothy 3. We believe that each church chooses its own pastors and deacons based on the objective criteria in Scripture. We believe that churches ordain (appoint) their own officers and that bible schools and other para-church organizations have no authority to do so.
· We believe in congregational rule under the leadership of the Pastor.
We reject both the Episcopal and Presbyterian forms of church government. Episcopal government is rule by the preacher. Presbyterian government is rule by an oligarchy or board of elders. (We reject deacon boards, trustees, incorporation, ruling elders (other than pastors), and other innovations of men.) We believe the church rules itself under the leadership of its chosen pastor and its head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Each and every member of the church is equal and is a believer-priest. Each church of the Lord receives its members, chooses its officers, excludes and restores its members, and administers its affairs within the bounds of the Scriptures. The congregation acts as an executive by executing the commands of the Lord but does not make laws or new rules for the Lord's church. In Acts 1, the church chose an Apostle to replace Judas; in Acts 6, the church chose seven men to serve the church in waiting on tables - apparently deacons, for deacon means servant: In 1 Corinthians 5, the Corinthian Church was commanded to remove a fornicator: in 2 Corinthians 2, we are told he had been punished by the many and the church was told to receive him back. These are not preacher or board actions; they are congregational (or church) actions.
· We believe there are two pictorial ordinances which the church is commanded to observe.
These two ordinances are baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water at the hands of the New Testament Church through which he is ceremonially qualified to be a church member. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." -- Acts 2:41.
The Lord's Supper is a memorial ordinance in which we remember the Lord's sinless, broken body, and his blood which was shed for us through our partaking of unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine. We use grape juice as the fruit of the vine which fulfils the design and purpose of scripture. Since the Bible never uses the word "wine" in connection with the Lord's supper, we use the fruit of the vine. Through it, we remember him and look forward to his coming again for us. We believe the Lord's Supper is to be partaken of by faithful members of the church. We practice closed communion. The church observing the Lord's Supper is responsible to insure they do not eat with the ungodly. "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." — 1 Corinthians 5:11.
· We believe the church of Jesus Christ was given the Great Commission to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to observe all things which the Lord commanded.
The Lord Jesus Christ commanded his twelve apostles, the first officers of the church, to go into all the world 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 he has commanded. (Mat. 28:18-20). Teaching all nations means to make disciples. This gospel of the kingdom is to be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Mat. 24:14). The apostles are dead – but the church continues on. It is the duty of the church to preach and make disciples, baptize those disciples, then to teach them to observe all things which the Lord commanded. The teaching of the baptized disciples all which the Lord has commanded demands that they be in a church where that teaching can be accomplished. We believe in preaching to all nations and carrying out the fullness of the Great Commission – but we do not believe nor support mission boards and such like. The church is the institution ordained of God to carry the gospel into the world. Believing that, we actively support men who have been called of God and ordained by scriptural churches who have been led of the Lord into far places in the world.
· We Believe in the independence of the church from man-made organizations.
This means that the church should never become joined to an organization, whether it be convention, synod, fellowship, association, or other man-created entity. When a church joins such a man-made organization, it makes the church subservient to that organization in fact, or by insinuation.
· We reject Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, and Halloween as pagan traditions.
We believe Christmas is exactly what the name suggests - "Christ Mass." This gives us the clue of its origin. Anyone can look in the Encyclopedia Britannica and discover that Christmas is of Roman Catholic origin. Early Baptists and others refused to participate in Christmas in the early years of this nation, knowing it was a pagan holiday. Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with the Lord's birth. Easter is the same. Easter is a modern way of spelling "Astarte" or "Ishtar," the Babylonian goddess of fertility. You might want to look up the origin of Easter in the Encyclopedia. Halloween and Valentine's Day are both of pagan origin. While neither has found its way into the church as a Christian Holiday, many believers are caught up with these pagan observances. We do follow the tradition of the first settlers of the United States in observance of Thanksgiving where we pause to especially thank God for his bounty to us through the year.
· We reject the current belief of Dominion Theology among many professing Christians.
We believe that it is not the function of the church of Jesus Christ to take over the government of the land. We believe that Christians are commanded to be good citizens, to pray for those in authority, and to be obedient to those in authority whether those in authority are good or evil men. We reject the teaching that the church has a mandate to take over the government by force. We reject the teaching that the church has replaced Israel and that the commands to Israel in the Old Testament were given to the church. We believe that evil men shall wax worse and worse, and that only the second coming of Jesus Christ will put down the evil and degradation of our age. We believe that his appearing is the only hope we have of change in the social order of the world.
· We believe in the doctrine of the trinity of God.
We believe that God is one Lord and that He is in three persons. We believe that God is the Father; that God is the Son; and that God is the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. We reject the teaching that Jesus only is God and that the Father and Holy Ghost are only manifestations of Jesus.
· We believe that the miraculous gift of tongues in the Bible was the ability to speak languages which people could hear and understand.
We reject the modern tongues movement as unscriptural. We believe that sign gifts – the extraordinary gifts - ended with the apostolic age when the Scripture was finished. The gifts to speak in unknown languages, to interpret unknown languages, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cast out unclean spirits, and other such signs ended with the Apostles. There are no apostles today in the sense of apostles in the New Testament. None of these things existed in church history since the first century until the present time.
· We reject the belief that individuals are baptized with the Holy Ghost.
We believe the baptism of the Holy Ghost occurred on the assembled church on the day of Pentecost fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection in fulfillment of the promise of Jesus Christ. "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." --Luke 24:45-49. The promise of the Father was the Holy Ghost himself. The assembled church, which Jesus had instituted during his personal ministry on earth, was baptized once-for-all with the Holy Ghost. This was a sovereign act. The Holy Ghost was given to the waiting church on the fiftieth day after the Lord's resurrection empowering them to do the work Christ had commanded them to do. They did not pray for the baptism, nor is there any record of individuals doing so. We do read where people were filled with the Holy Spirit. This is not a "baptism of the Holy Ghost," but a filling.
· We believe that women should not speak when the whole church is gathered together.
We believe the scriptures to teach that women have a supporting role in the ministry of the Lord's church and should seek to do their work under the leadership of their fathers or husbands. Women should pray, but not lead in public prayer. Women should expound scripture, but not teach over men. The New Testament shows clearly that all women were active in a supporting role and did not exert themselves into the public area as speakers. None were chosen as Apostles. The qualifications of scripture for pastors and deacons clearly exclude women. "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." — 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.
· We believe it is the responsibilities of fathers to train their children.
This being the case, we believe the government schools are not sufficient to train our children in the nurture and admonition of the LORD, for they are incapable of it. Because this responsibility has been left to fathers, we once operated a day school as part of the day-by-day activities of the church. This existed to aid our fathers in teaching and training their children. We endorse and encourage home school or the church day school as the best of all ways to train children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." - Ephesians 6:4.
· We believe and use the King James Version of the Bible.
We believe God inspired Holy Men and moved them to write the Scriptures in the original languages. We believe God has preserved His Holy Word for the English speaking people of the world in the King James Bible. We believe the Bible is constituted of the sixty-six books.
The Old Testament contains thirty-nine books, to wit: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
The New Testament contains twenty-seven books which are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John, Jude, and Revelation. The apocryphal books are not part of the Scriptures.
We believe and use the King James Version of 1611 with the revisions of that version which both updated spelling and corrected printing errors. We do not use the New King James Version. We use the King James Bible exclusively. Whatever people believe about this issue, they must admit that other versions of the Bible are different, that they cast serious doubt on the Word of God. That should be enough to cast them aside for the King James Bible or its equivalent based on the received or traditional texts.
· We believe in a literal six-day creation.
When the Bible says "And the evening and the morning were the first day," that is precisely what it means. It was the first 24-hour period of time. Each of the succeeding days were real, evening and morning, 24-hour days. If one believes the literal account of creation in Genesis, he cannot believe the theory of evolution. "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me." John 5:46. The Genesis account of creation and man's theory of evolution are mutually exclusive. If you believe one, you cannot believe the other. It is impossible. That includes theistic evolution. Theistic evolution is a theory that some professing Christians say they believe which accommodates science (falsely, so called) and the Bible. In their view, God used the means of time and survival of the fittest to bring us to man. With this belief came the Genesis 1:1 gap theory. We reject this theory. No professing Christian that we are aware of believed the gap theory until Darwin published his "Origin of Species." After its publication, we find that theologians began to try to make the Bible and Darwin agree. Theistic evolution and the gap theory are the result. We reject both as the evolutionary theory and the Genesis gap theory as unscriptural. "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, <it was> very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (2:1) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. (2) And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."
· We believe the Biblical account of the world-wide flood.
The flood in the days of Noah was a world-wide flood that covered every mountain and hill on the earth. Every creature that lived on dry land and had the breath of life died in that flood except for the eight people and the creatures in the ark. The skepticism and denial of the world-wide flood by unbelievers simply show their unbelief in the inspired word of God. In our view, those who reject this doctrine mark themselves as the children of perdition. Their unbelief is an evident token of their perdition (utter destruction). Some of us have sat in college classrooms and listened to those holding to the wisdom of this world utter their slanders against God and his word in this matter. "And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that <were> under the whole heaven, were covered. (20) Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. (21) And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: (22) All in whose nostrils <was> the breath of life, of all that <was> in the dry <land>, died. (23) And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained <alive>, and they that <were> with him in the ark" -Genesis 7:19-23.
· We believe God instituted human government for order and protection.
Both order and protection are duties of human government. This includes the slaying of those who have shed the blood of others. Capital punishment is the modern term for killing those who have murdered others. We believe it and support it. We urge our leaders who are in places of power to learn to fear God who commanded them to do it. It is an awesome responsibility to be in a place of power in human society and refuse to carry out this mandate of Almighty God. None of us would want to be a politician with power to make such a decision and then refuse to make it. In our local newspapers of late, many have spent untold dollars to oppose capital punishment. Our land is polluted with the innocent blood of the victims of homicide and abortion. The only way the innocent blood can be removed from the land is to take the life of the person who shed the victim's blood. Jail terms do not remove it. When an individual is judged to be guilty of murder, he should die. Those who speak of forgiveness do not (or will not) understand that God’s forgiveness of sins and consequences for one’s sins are not the same thing. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." — Genesis 9:6.
· We believe the Bible is the basic book of human history.
There is a lot of vain talk about missing links in the line of human beings. Most of the "educated" human family spend fruitless hours searching for the answers to their past. The answers are already here. Let's take an example. Why is it that the explorers found people in faraway places, on isolated islands and continents when they sailed in their boats? Did these "aboriginals" all slither up on those land masses from the sea and continue evolving until they sprouted eyes, arms, and legs? No! They were isolated there within a few generations after the world-wide flood. A close look at the book of Genesis strongly suggests this to be the case.
We notice right in the beginning of creation that God made a firmament to separate the waters below from the waters above. He called that firmament (or expanse) heaven. This is the first heaven where the birds fly. There is the heaven where the sun, moon, and stars are. There is the third heaven where God is. When this firmament was in place, the earth was like a huge terrarium enclosed in a vapor barrier or a huge bag of water above. Notice: "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day." -Genesis 1:6-8. You say, "That isn't the way things are now!" You are right! The waters above stayed there until Noah's flood.
Do we have a "thus saith the Lord?" We do. "And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan." -- Genesis 10:25. After the Lord confounded the language of the earth's peoples at Babel (Genesis 11), he scattered them over the earth (the one continent). During the days of Peleg, the earth (and as a consequence, the people) was divided.
The act of God in opening the "windows of heaven" poured those waters on the earth. The term "windows of heaven" denotes a sluice box. It is like a water spout. That caused great gouges in the earth such as the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The fountains of the deep were broken up. When the flood began, water was pouring like a water spout, it was raining, and it was gushing up from underground springs. The waters above were poured on the earth. If there are indeed plates under the crust of the earth as the scientists claim, these plates were probably broken by the surge of water coming up. We believe the earth was one mass of land when the flood occurred and that it was broken apart into fragments as we see it today. The people, being scattered, after the confounding of their languages were isolated by the breaking apart of the land mass into what we call continents and islands.