Constitution of the First Baptist Church of Griffin, Georgia
ARTICLE III – BELIEFS
SECTION A: Primary Article of Faith
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God , and are the only sufficient, certain, and authoritative standard by which all human conduct, beliefs, and religious opinions are to be tried. The criterion by which the Scriptures are to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.
SECTION B: Accepted Beliefs
The beliefs of this church are in general accord with beliefs characteristic among Baptist people. The statement of faith adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention on May 9, 1963, is an accepted illustration of these characteristic beliefs.
SECTION C: Statement of Baptist Ideals
(a) Christ as Lord. The ultimate source of authority is Jesus Christ the Lord, and every area of life is to be subject of His Lordship.
(b) The Scriptures. The Bible as the inspired revelation of God’s Will and way, made full and complete in the life and teachings of Christ, is the authoritative rule of faith and practice.
(c) The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God actively revealing Himself and His will to man. He therefore interprets and confirms the voice of divine authority.
2. The Individual:
(a) His Worth. Every individual is created in the image of God and therefore merits respect and consideration as a person of infinite dignity and worth.
(b) His Competence. Each person is competent under God to make his own moral and religious decisions and is responsible to God in all matters of moral and religious duty.
(c) His Freedom. Every person is free under God in all matters of conscience and has the right to embrace or reject religion and to witness to his religious beliefs, always with proper regard for the rights of other persons.
3. The Christian Life:
(a) Salvation by Grace. Salvation is the free gift of God through Jesus Christ, conditioned only upon trust in and commitment to Christ as Lord.
(b) The Demands of Discipleship. The demands of Christian discipleship, based on the recognition of the Lordship of Christ, relate to the whole of life and call for full obedience and complete devotion.
(c) The Priesthood of the Believer. Each Christian, having direct access to God through Christ, is his own priest and is also under obligation to become a witness for Christ in behalf of other persons.
(d) The Christian and His Home. The home is basic in God’s purpose for human well-being, and the development of Christian family life is a supreme concern of all believers in Christ.
(e) The Christian as a Citizen. The Christian is a citizen of two worlds – the kingdom of God and the State – and is responsible to obey the law of the land as well as to obey the higher law of God.
4. The Church:
(a) Its Nature. The church, in its inclusive sense, is the fellowship of persons redeemed by Christ and made one in the family of God. The church, in its local sense, is a fellowship of baptized believers, voluntarily banded together for worship, nurture and service.
(b) Its Membership. Membership in the church shall consist of regenerated persons who voluntarily accept baptism and commit themselves to faithful discipleship in the body of Christ.
(c) Its Ordinances. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the two ordinances of the church, are symbolic of redemption, but their observance involves spiritual realities in personal Christian experience.
(d) Its Government. The church is an autonomous body, subject only to Christ, its head. Its democratic government properly reflects the equality and responsibility of believers under the Lordship of Christ.
(e) Its Relation to the State. Church and state are both ordained of God and are answerable to Him. They should remain separate, but they are under the obligation of mutual recognition and reinforcement as each seeks to fulfill its divine function.
(f) Its Relation to the World. The church is to be responsible in the world; its mission is to the world; but its character and ministry are not of the world.
5. The Church’s Continuing Task:
(a) Centrality of the Individual. The individual and his worth, his needs and moral freedom and his potential for Christ have primary consideration in the life and work of the church.
(b) Worship. Worship – which involves an experience of communion with the living and holy God – calls for an emphasis on reverence and orderliness, on confession and humility and on an awareness of the holiness and majesty and grace and purpose of God.
(c) The Christian Ministry. Every Christian is under obligation to minister or to serve with complete self-giving, but God in His wisdom calls many persons in a unique way to dedicate their lives to a full-time church-related ministry.
(d) Evangelism. Evangelism, which is primary in the mission of the church and in the vocation of every Christian, is the proclamation of God’s judgment and grace in Jesus Christ and the call to accept and follow Him as Lord.
(e) Missions. Missions seek the extension of God’s redemptive purpose in all the world through evangelism, education, and Christian service and call for the utmost dedication on the part of Christians to this task.
(f) Stewardship. Christian stewardship conceives the whole of life as a sacred trust from God and requires the responsible use of life, time, talents and substance – personal and corporate – in the service of God.
(g) Teaching and Training. The nature of Christian faith and Christian experience and the nature and needs of persons make teaching and training imperative.
(h) Christian Education. Christian education grows out of the relation of faith and reason and calls for academic excellence and freedom that are both real and responsible.
(i) Self-Criticism. The church, if it is to remain healthy and fruitful, must accept the responsibility of constructive self-criticism.