What We Believe

We Believe

The Gospel

The Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for men's sins, allowing us to have a relationship with God. Christ's death makes it possible to be made free from the bondage of sin, and to live in heaven with God for eternity. Faith in Christ is a requirement of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Articles of Faith

Download the Articles of Faith

This constitutes the Articles of Faith of Faith Church of Lafayette, Inc., and Members of Faith Church shall agree that they wholeheartedly believe the following:

I.  Of the Scriptures,

We believe that the Holy Bible as originally written was:

(a)  verbally inspired and the product of God through Spirit-controlled men.  (2 Timothy 3:16, 17;    2 Peter 1:19-21; Acts 1:16, 28:25)

(b)  and is Truth without admixture of error.  (Psalm 119:105, 130, 160; Luke 24:25-27, 44, 45; John 17:17)

(c)  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 authority by which all human conduct, creed and opinions should be tried.  And, that man in his relationship with God must move from truth to experience and not from experience to truth.  (2 Timothy 3:16, 17;   Matthew 7:21-23; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 30:5, 6; Romans 3:4; 1 Peter 1:23; Revelation 22:19; John 12:48; Isaiah 8:7-11; John 1:45-47; John 5:39)

   (Explanatory)

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 inspired and free from error, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be.

II.  Of the True God,

We believe:

(a)  that there is only one living and true God, infinite in every excellence, Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth, inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all worship, confidence and love.  (Exodus 15:11, 20:2, 3; Revelation 4:11)

(b)  that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every Divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices.  (Matthew 28:19; John 15:26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; Ephesians 2:18; 2 Corinthians 3:14)

   (c)  in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Concerning Him, we believe:

(1)  in His Absolute Deity, that He was Divine as no other man can be, being Very God of Very God, existing for all eternity and co-equal with the Father and the Spirit.  (John 1:1-3; Colossians 2:8-10; Hebrews 1:2, 3, 8; Micah 5:2)

(2)  that in His voluntary humiliation He did not lay aside His Deity.  (Matthew 1:21-22, 28:1; Mark 14:61, 62; John 10:30, 32, 33, 14:9, 20:28; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 1:15-17;   1 John 1:1, 2, 5:20) 

(3)  that at His incarnation He was miraculously begotten of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary as no other man was or can ever be born.  (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14;    Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:14)

(Our Lord Jesus Christ’s WORK in Atonement is seen in section VI.) 

(d)  Of the Holy Spirit,

                   We believe:

(1)  that He is a Divine Person, equal with God the Father and the Son, and of the same nature.  (John 14:16, 17, 26; Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 9:14)

                     (2)  that He was active in creation.  (Genesis 1:1-3)

(3)  that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God’s purpose is fulfilled.  (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

                     (4)  that He convicts of sin, of judgment and of righteousness.  (John 16:8-11)

(5)  that He bears witness to and empowers the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony.  (John 15:26, 27; Acts 5:30-32)

                     (6)  that His purpose in this age is to glorify the Son.

                     (7)  that He is the agent of the New Birth.  (John 3:5, 6)

(8)  that He indwells, seals, baptizes, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps believers until the day of redemption.  (Ephesians 1:13, 14, 4:30; John 14:26, 16:13; Acts 11:16; Romans 8:9, 14, 16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; Romans 8:26, 27)

(9)  that He never depreciates the completeness that is in Jesus Christ by exalting anyone or anything above or as an addition to Jesus Christ.  (2 Corinthians 12:3; Colossians 2:10)

(10)  that He gives to the believer at salvation, gifts of service according to His will (1 Corinthians 12:11) and to be used only for the edification of the body. (1 Corinthians 13:5b; Ephesians 4:16)

III.  Of the Devil, or Satan,

We believe that Satan is a distinct personality who:

(a)  was once holy and enjoyed heaven’s honors, but, through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell.  (Isaiah 14:12-13; Ezekiel 28:15-17)

              (b)  drew after him a host of angels.  (Revelation 12:9; Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:2; John 14:30)

              (c)  is now the malignant prince of the power of the air, and the unholy god of this world. (1 Thessalonians 3:5; Matthew 4:1-3)

              (d)  is man’s great tempter.  (1 Peter 5:8)

(e)  is the enemy of God and His Christ.  (Zechariah 1:3; 1 John 3:8; Matthew 13:25, 37-39; Luke 22:3, 4)

              (f)  is the accuser of the Saints.  (Revelation 12:10)

(g)  is the author of all false religions, the chief power promoting the present apostasy. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Mark 13:21, 22)

              (h)  is the lord of the Anti-Christ.  (1 John 4:3; 2 John 7; 1 John 2:22)

              (i)  is the author of all the powers of darkness.  (Revelation 13:13, 14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-11)

              (j)  although powerful and to be respected, is not omniscient, omnipotent, nor omnipresent and cannot overcome the believer who is submitting in obedience to Jesus Christ and His Word in Faith.  (James 4:7; 1 John 4:4)

              (k)  is destined to find defeat at the hands of God’s Son, through His death on the cross      (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 19:11, 16, 20: Revelation 12:7-9; 20:1-3), and is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.   (Revelation 20:10-15; Matthew 25:41)

IV.  Of the Creation,

We believe in the Genesis account of creation, and:

(a)  that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively.  (Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:11; Acts 4:24; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 11:3; John 1:3; Revelation 10:6; Romans 1:20; Acts 17:23-26; Jeremiah 10:10)

(b)  that man was created directly by God and in God’s own image and after His own likeness.  (Genesis 1:27; 1 Corinthians 11:7)

(c)  that man’s creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through long periods of time from lower to higher forms.  (Genesis 2:7, 21-23; John 1:3)

(d)  that all animal and vegetable life was created directly and to reproduce “after its own kind.”  (Genesis 1:11, 24; Colossians 1:16, 17)

V.  Of Man and His Fall,

We believe:

(a)  that man was created in innocence.  (Genesis 1:27)

(b)  that by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state.  (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12, 19)

(c)  that consequently, all men are now sinners by inheritance from Adam and by individual choice and until regenerated are dead in sin.  (Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 3:10-13)

(d)  that all men are by nature utterly void of the righteousness required by the law of God, and definitely inclined to evil.  (Romans 3:11; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 2:1-3; Psalm 40:12)

(e)  that man is under just condemnation without defense or excuse.  (Romans 3:9-20, 23;   Romans 1:19, 20, 2:1, 12-15)

(f)  that man’s only hope of eternal life is through redemption in Jesus Christ.  (John 3:3, 5; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Galatians 3:26)

VI.  Of Christ’s Atonement For Sin,

We believe:

(a)  that the salvation of sinners is wholly of God’s grace; and (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24, 25) through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who by appointment of the Father, voluntarily took upon Him the form of a man, was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin in nature or deed, honored the Divine Law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins.  (John 3:16; Matthew 18:11; Philippians 2:7, 8; Hebrews 2:14, 4:15; Romans 3:25; 1 John 4:10; Isaiah 53:6; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21) 

(b)  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.  (John 10:18; Philippians 2:8; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:11; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:18)

(c)  that, having risen bodily from the dead, He is now enthroned in heaven and uniting in His Wonderful Person the tenderest sympathies with Divine Perfection, He is in every way the suitable, compassionate, all sufficient Savior and the mediator for His believer priests.  (Isaiah 53:12; Hebrews 7:25, 9:12-15, 10:10, 12, 14, 18; 1 John 2:2)

(d)  that the blessings of this atonement are given to all who believe from the heart and confess to God this Lord and Savior as his own Lord and Savior.  It is the immediate duty of man to obey the command to accept this offer of mercy.  (Acts 17:30; Romans 10:8, 9, 10)

VII.  Of Salvation By Grace,

We believe:

(a)  that in order to be saved, all men must be born again.  (John 3:3; Galatians 3:26)

(b)  that the new birth is a New Creation in Christ Jesus.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

(c)  that it is instantaneous, and not a lengthy process.  (John 3:5-7; Acts 16:30-33)

(d)  that in the new birth, the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made partaker of the Divine Nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God.  (2 Peter 1:4; Romans 6:23;     Ephesians 2:1, 4-9; Colossians 2:13; Titus 3:5)

(e)  that the new creation is brought about in a manner above 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 by faith in the Gospel.  (John 1:12, 13, 3:8)

(f)  that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith in the finished work and Person of Jesus Christ and newness of life.  (Romans 10:8-10; 1 John 5:1-5)

VIII.  Of Justification,

We believe that the great gospel blessing, which Christ secures to such as believe in Him, is justification, and:

(a)  that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the gift of eternal life on the basis of Christ’s righteousness and atonement.  (Acts 13:39; Isaiah 53:11; Romans 5:1, 9, 8:1)

(b)  that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness, which we have done or ever will do, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood is His righteousness imputed to us.  (Titus 3:5-7; Romans 4:24, 25, 5:1, 17; Galatians 3:11)

IX.  Of the Freeness of Salvation,

         We believe:

(a)  in God’s electing grace.  (1 Thessalonians 1:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 1:2)

(b)  that salvation is freely offered to all by the Gospel.  (Romans 10:9-13; Revelation 22:17)

(c)  that it is the immediate duty of all to accept this salvation by whole-hearted, penitent, and obedient faith.  (John 3:15-18; 1 Timothy 1:15; Acts 2:37-41; Romans 10:8, 9)

(d)  that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel—rejection that brings upon man the condemnation of God’s wrath.  (John 3:18, 36; Romans 1:18, 20, 2:1, 4, 5)

X.  Of Repentance and Faith,

          We believe that repentance and faith:

(a)  are inseparable graces.  (Mark 1:15)

(b)  are solemn obligations.  (Acts 20:21)

(c)  are wrought in our souls by the quickening Spirit of God who convicts the believer of guilt, danger, helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, so that the believer turns to God with unfeigned contrition, and confesses to God his wholehearted faith in the work and person of the Lord Jesus Christ as his all sufficient Savior.  (Acts 2:27, 28; Romans 10:9-13)

XI.  Of Sanctification,

We believe that Biblical Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, the believer is set apart from sin, unto Christ, and has three aspects:

(a)  the believer has been set apart positionally before God the moment he believes. (1 Corinthians 1:30, 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 10:10, 14)

(b)  the believer is being set apart progressively in his walk day by day as he grows in grace toward the likeness of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in the continual use of the appointed means, especially the Word of God, self-examination, watchfulness, prayer and yielding to the Spirit through Biblical change.  (John 17:17; Romans 8:13; 2 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:28, 29a; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Timothy 4:7b; Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 John 3:3; Romans 12:1, 2; Ephesians 4:22, 24)

(c)  the believer is to be set apart prospectively from the very presence of sin when his sanctification is completed at the coming of Christ for the church.  (1 John 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 5:23)

XII.  Of the Security of the Believer or Perseverance of the Saints,

We believe this is the design of God’s Divine Plan:

(a)  that every person, immediately upon acceptance of Christ as personal Savior and Lord, receives eternal life and is made at once a Son of God, and (1 John 5:11-13; John 1:12)

(b)  that believers are kept by the power of God through faith, are kept in a state of grace, and are eternally secure apart from any human works.

(c)  that such only are believers who endure to the end.  (Philippians 1:6; John 8:31;Revelation 21:7, 8; Ephesians 2:10)

(d)  that the believers’ persevering attachment to Christ and His own and their growth in the likeness of Christ are God’s marks that distinguish them from superficial professors.  (Romans 8:28, 29a; John 14:21-23; John 10:27-29; 1 John 2:19; 5:1-3; John 13:34, 35; Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:11-13; James 2:14-20)

XIII.  Of the Church,

We believe:

(a)  that the church universal is a New Testament institution, established by Jesus Christ, who is its sole Head; revealed through the apostles; empowered and perpetuated by the Holy Spirit; His “body” for service and His “bride” for glory.  The church universal began with the New Testament Saints at Pentecost and will be consummated at the coming of Christ in the Rapture.  (Matthew 16:18; Acts 1:8, 2:1-13, 41-47, 15:14; Ephesians 1:22, 23, 3:21, 5:23-32; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

(b)  that the church universal is manifested through the local church, which is:

(1)  a congregation of baptized believers, associated together by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the Gospel.  (Acts 2:41, 42)

(2)  observing the ordinances of Christ.  (1 Corinthians 11:2)

(3)  governed by His laws.  (Ephesians 1:22, 23)

(4)  exercising the gifts, responsibilities and privileges invested in them by His work.  (Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12:4, 8:11)

(c)  that its scriptural offices are those of pastors, elders or bishops, and deacons whose qualification, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures.  (Acts 14:23, 6:5, 6, 15:23, 20:17-28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 8-13)

(d)  the true mission of the church is expressed in the New Testament and abbreviated in Matthew 28:19, 20 and Ephesians 4:11-16.

..To make individual disciples.

..To baptize them into a properly organized and functioning local church.

..To teach them to obey His Word as He has commanded.  This includes assisting parents in teaching truth.

(e)  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’s direction by the Word.  (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23, 24; 1 Peter 5:1-4)

(f)  that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel and that each local church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation.  (Acts 15:22; Jude 2, 3; 2 Corinthians 8:23, 24; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3)

(g)that on all matters of membership, of policy, of government, of discipline, and of benevolence, the will of the local church following the Word of God is final.  (Malachi 3:10; Leviticus 27:32; 1 Corinthians 5:11-13) 

XIV.  Of the Ordinances,

(a)  We believe that Christian baptism is:

(1)  the immersion in water of a believer.  (Acts 8:36-39; Matthew 3:6; John 3:23;    Romans 6:4, 5; Matthew 3:16)

(2)  in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  (Matthew 28:19)

(3)  to show forth in a solemn testimony and picture of our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life.    (Romans 6:3, 5; Colossians 2:12)

(b)  We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of our Lord’s death until He comes, by the sacred use of broken bread and the freshly pressed juice of the vine as symbols of the price He paid for us.  This commemoration should be preceded always by solemn self-examination.  (1 Corinthians 11:23-28)

XV.  Of the Righteous and the Wicked,

We believe that:

(a)  there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked.      (Galatians 3:22, 26; Genesis 18:23; Romans 6:17, 18; 1 Peter 4:18; Proverbs 11:31)

(b)  only those who through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified or set apart by the Spirit of our God are truly righteous in their standing before God. (Romans 1:17; 1 Corinthians 15:22; John 5:24; Romans 3:22-24, 4:22-24; Ephesians 1:6, 7)

(c)  all who continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and are under the curse.  (1 John 5:19; Galatians 3:10; Romans 6:23, 7:5)

(d)  this distinction holds among men both before and after death, in the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost.  (Matthew 25:34, 41, 46; Luke 9:26, 16:25, 26; John 8:21;          Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:10-15)

XVI.  Of Civil Government,

We believe:

(a)  that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society.  (Romans 13:1-7; 2 Samuel 23:3; Exodus 18:21, 22)

(b)  that government officials are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed: (Matthew 22:21; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13, 14, 17: Daniel 1:8-15) except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Acts 4:19, 20, 5:29; Daniel 3:17, 18, 6:10, 11) who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the Kings of the earth.  In this connection we stand firmly for the separation of the church and state.  (Matthew 10:28, 22:21, 23:10; Revelation 11:16; Philippians 2:10, 11; Psalm 72:11)

XVII.  Of the Family,

We believe:

(a)  that marriage was created by God and is a holy and divinely established covenant between one (genetically male) man and one (genetically female) woman to be a representation of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His church.  Marriage is the bond that joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.  We believe that God created sexual intimacy to be enjoyed exclusively between one man and one woman who are married to one another.  Sexual intimacy outside the marriage relationship is sinful and offensive to God and any form of sexual immorality, including but not limited to adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, prostitution, pedophilia, premarital sexual intimacy, cross dressing, sexting or any attempt to change one’s gender, or disagree with one’s biological gender, is sinful and offensive to God.  We also believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 15:19, 19:4; Mark 10:7; Rom. 1:21-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-20; Eph. 5:31; Heb. 13:4; 1 John 1:9)

(b)  that the roles of husband, wife, parent, and child are clearly defined in Scripture.  (Ephesians 5:21-32; Colossians 3:16-21; 1 Peter 3:1-7)

(c)  that sexual relationships are sacred and fulfilling only within the bonds of marriage, and are condemned outside the marriage relationship.  (1 Corinthians 7:3, 4; Hebrews 13:4)

(d)  that children are a blessing of God and the responsibility for them rests solely upon the parent and they are to be brought up in loving, structured control and conscientious instruction in the truths of God and His principles of life.  (Psalm 127:3; Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:6, 7; Psalm 78:4-7; Proverbs 22:6; Proverbs 17:6)

(e)  while we would not minimize the struggles that some experience with gender identity, that God created humanity with specific gender identity and that he continues this process through biological reproduction; that genotypic gender, and not feelings, determines gender identity; and that God makes no mistakes. (Numbers 23:19; Psalms 145:17; Isaiah 46:9-10) 

(f)  that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, and proper respect and dignity. Hateful and harassing speech, behavior or attitudes contrary to Scripture directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with the doctrines or practices of Faith Church. (Romans 12:9-21; Ephesians 4:29-5:2)

(g)  that in order to preserve the function, integrity and purity of Faith Church as a local body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to Faith Church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Faith Church and/or any of its ministries in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, must agree with and abide by this Statement on Marriage & Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly. 

(h)  that, as a policy, Faith Church pastors shall only officiate in ceremonies that are consistent with this statement.

XVIII.  Of the Sanctity of Life,

We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. This affirmation does not suggest that we oppose capital punishment or just war. (Psalm 139; Genesis 9:5-6; Matthew 26:52; Romans 13:1-4)

XIX.  Of the Resurrection, Return of Christ, and Related Events,

We believe in and accept the sacred Scriptures upon these subjects at their full and face value. 

These beliefs include:

(a)  Christ’s bodily resurrection from the tomb.  (Matthew 28:6, 7; Luke 24:39; John 20:27;     1 Corinthians 15:4-8; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:2-6; Acts 2:24, 32, 3:15, 4:2; Romans 4:25)

(b)  His ascension to the Father’s right hand.  (Acts 1:9, 11; Luke 24:51; Mark 16:19;  Hebrews 10:12)

(c)  His present high Priesthood.  (Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 7:24, 25, 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5;     1 John 2:1)

(d)  His future appearing in the air to receive His saints.  (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Acts 1:11; Hebrews 9:28)

(e)  the resurrection of the righteous dead.  (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 15:52)

(f)  the physical change of the living in Christ.  (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Philippians 3:20, 21)

(g)  the believer’s response to God’s Word will be evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ for reward or loss.  (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Romans 14:10; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 22:2)

(h)  Christ’s bodily return to the earth to reign from the throne of David.  (Pre-Millennial) (Matthew 24:29-32; Luke 1:32; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Acts 2:29, 30; 1 Corinthians 15:25;        Isaiah 32:1, 11:4, 5; Psalm 72:8; Revelation 20:1-4, 6)

(i)  the White Throne Judgment of the unsaved, and the new heaven and the new earth.  (Revelation 20:11-15, 21:1, 2)

 

These articles of faith do not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe.

Baptist Distinctives

Biblical Authority

Definition The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, Baptists accept as true. No human opinion or decree of any church group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scriptures do not carry Scripture's inherent authority.

Scriptures 2 Timothy 3:15-1 1 Thessalonians 2:13 2 Peter 1:20, 21

Autonomy of the Local Church

Definition The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church's beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and in an associational tie, but a Baptist church cannot be a "member" of any other body.

Scriptures Colossians 1:18 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23

Priesthood of the Believer

Definition Priest is defined as one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God. Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and people. As priests, we can study God's Word, pray for others and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God whether we are a preacher or not.

Scriptures 1 Peter 2:5, 9 Revelation 5:9, 10

Two Ordinances

Definition

The local church should practice two ordinances (1) baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, and (2) the Lord's Supper; or communion, commemorating His death for our sins.

Scriptures

Matthew 28:19, 20

1 Corinthians 11:23-32

Individual Soul Liberty

Definition Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm. No one should be forced to assent to any belief against his will. Baptists have always opposed religious persecution. However; this liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself.

Scriptures Romans 14:5,12 2 Corinthians 4:2 Titus 1:9

Saved, Baptized Church Membership

Definition Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer's baptism. When the members of a local church are believers, a oneness in Christ exists, and the members can endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Scriptures Acts 2:41-47 1 Corinthians 12:12 2 Corinthians 6:14 Ephesians 4:3

Two Offices

Definition The Bible mandates only two offices in the church--pastor and deacon. The three terms --"pastor","elder" and "bishop," or "overseer" --all refer to the same office. The two offices of pastor and deacon exist within the local church, not as a hierarchy outside or over the local church.

Scriptures

1 Timothy 3:1-13 Acts 20:17-38 Philippians 1:1

Separation of Church and State

Definition God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government's purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1-7 and the church's purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government.

Scriptures

Matthew 22:15-22 Acts 15:17-29

Member Covenant

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Having accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, publicly confessed my faith, and having been baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with the believers of Faith Church, as one body in Christ.

I purpose, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together with the other believers of Faith Church in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of the church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to attend its services regularly; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; to give faithfully of time and talent in service; and to contribute regularly, as God has prospered me, to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the help of those in need, and the spread of the gospel.

I also purpose to maintain family and private devotions; to train my children according to the Word of God; to seek the salvation of my relatives, friends, neighbors and acquaintances; to walk carefully and cautiously in the world; to be just in my dealings, faithful in my engagements, and exemplary in my conduct; to avoid all gossip, backbiting, and unrighteous anger; to abstain from all forms of activity that dishonor our Lord Jesus Christ, cause stumbling to a fellow believer, or hinder the winning of a soul to Christ; to be zealous in my efforts to advance the cause of Christ, and to give Him preeminence in all things.

I further purpose to encourage the other believers of Faith Church in the blessed hope of our Lord’s return; to watch over them in brotherly love; to remember them in prayer; to aid them in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; and to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and to seek it without delay.

If I leave Faith Church, I, will, as soon as possible, unite with a church of like faith and order where I can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.  If I cannot find such a church, I will seek, with the Lord’s help, to establish one.

I believe that the Bible commands all believers to make every effort to live at peace and to resolve disputes with each other in private or within the Christian community, in keeping with 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, Matthew 5:23-34, and Matthew 18:15-20.  Therefore, I agree that if I have any controversy, claim or dispute with Faith Ministries or members of Faith Church, I will seek to settle it biblically and as specified in the Faith Church Constitution (Article V, Section C, No.3.) 

I have received, read, and understand the Faith Church Constitution, the Articles of Faith, and this Covenant.  With God’s help, I agree to abide by the standards and requirements of these documents. I understand that rejection or violation of provisions could subject me to church discipline as specified in Scripture and as provided in the Faith Church Constitution (Article V., Section E.), and I will submit myself to that process.  

I give my consent for the pastors and deacons of Faith Church to communicate with me and my family and others who know me, or may have useful knowledge in order to encourage, edify, and exhort me and to follow up with my progress in maintaining these covenants. 

Church Constitution

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ARTICLE I.  Name

The name of this church shall be Faith Church of Lafayette, Inc. (“Faith Church”), an independent Baptist church located in Tippecanoe County, Indiana.

ARTICLE II.  Purpose

The purpose of this non-profit organization is the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, the administration of the ordinances of the New Testament, the spiritual improvement of its members in accordance with the Scriptures, and the spread of the message of Christ to its community and in all the earth, trusting that as the result, sinners shall be saved and believers shall be edified.  All ministries of this church including preaching and teaching orally, by literature, tape, other media, family seminars and conferences, education, counseling and pastoral training, youth, and recreation, support of missionaries and training institutions are a part of, under the jurisdiction of, and must fulfill the purpose of this church.

ARTICLE III.  Doctrine

The doctrine of the church shall be that expressed in the Articles of Faith.

ARTICLE IV.  Association or Affiliation

Though Faith Church is an independent Baptist Church, we recognize the blessings and privileges of fellowship with other local bodies of believers of like faith and practice. This church declares itself to be in fellowship with The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (G.A.R.B.C.) and The Crossroads Fellowship.  If at any time the church shall deem it advisable to withdraw from either group, it may be accomplished by a two-thirds majority vote of all members present and voting providing the intention of such vote is announced at two consecutive Sunday morning services prior to the vote. 

ARTICLE V.  Membership

A.  Admission of Members

Any person who professes faith in Christ as Savior and Lord, gives evidence of a change of heart and of having adopted the views of faith and practice held by this church, may, upon recommendation of the deacons, be baptized by immersion and received by a majority vote of the church into the membership.  Persons who have been already immersed as a testimony of their faith in Christ's redeeming work and who adopt the views of faith and practice of this church, may, upon recommendation of the deacons, be received upon majority vote of the church.

In any case, it shall be required of those seeking membership that they shall meet with the deacons to relate their personal testimony before recommendation for membership. 

B.  Associate Membership

Recognizing that some persons may for a time desire to fellowship with the church and to serve in various capacities while maintaining membership in another church, applications can be made for associate privileges and responsibilities.  Applicants must meet the same requirements and follow the same procedures as would an applicant for regular membership.  They will not be eligible to be elected to an office nor have voting privilege.  When associate members move from the area, they are automatically removed from our membership.

C.  Duties of Members

  • The duties of members are set forth in general terms in the church Articles of Faith.
  • Membership in a local church as expressed in the New Testament is deeply significant.  Our Lord Jesus Christ deserves the very best use of the gifts He has entrusted to us.  All happenings of life work for the express purpose of making us more like Christ in our daily lives as we already are on the account books of heaven.  Members, therefore, are expected to be growing in the likeness of the character qualities of Christ in thought, attitude, speech, and action, and abstaining from all appearance of evil in word and deed.  Members shall be expected to lovingly respect and cooperate with the elected leaders of the church for the advancement of the work and to faithfully attend the services of the church.  Likewise, they are expected to agree with and abide by the Articles of Faith, Constitution and by-laws of the church.
  • Members of the church agree to submit any legal dispute, between members or with the church, for mediation before a mutually agreed-upon mediator from the Pastoral Staff or Deacons, or if none can be agreed upon, one selected by Peacemaker Ministries. Lawsuits between believers, or threats of lawsuits between believers, are a matter of grave concern for the church, are contrary to biblical and church teaching, and mediation is an effort to resolve dispute in a biblical fashion. (1 Cor 6: 1-7.) The confidentiality of the mediation process will be protected and these matters will not be discussed with people who do not have a necessary interest in them. Neither the opinion, nor any communications exchanged in the mediation process, will be admissible for any purpose in any subsequent legal proceeding.

D. Dismissal of Members

  • Membership transfers may be granted to any member in good and regular standing.  Such transfers must be made to churches of like faith.
  • Special exceptions are sometimes granted on a case-by-case basis. This may include senior citizens who have moved to another area and are no longer able to attend, military personnel who are unable to settle in one location, children whose parents no longer attend our services, or individuals who faithfully attend another church of like faith that does not maintain a formal membership. Other special exceptions may be considered.
  • Members waive the right to disassociate from Faith Church except by the dismissal procedures listed in no. 1-2 above.

E.  Discipline and Suspension of Members

The threefold purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6), to edify believers by deterring sin and promoting purity (1 Timothy 5:20), and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1).

The Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted the local church with the authority and responsibility to discipline members for flagrant sin or serious doctrinal error, with the goal of the restoration of the offender.  The discipline process follows the biblical pattern as set forth in Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:7-8; Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10-11; and 2 John 7-11. The church uses a discipline committee following this process and brings discipline recommendations to the congregation in cases of flagrant, unrepentant sin. Any member of this church who continues in practices or affirmations of a doctrine or conduct that, in the judgment of the pastoral staff and deacons, is opposed to the teaching of the Word of God, or is threatening to the testimony of this church, or is divisive to the body, shall be subject to church discipline.

Discipline will follow the biblical pattern, and is an effort to bring the individual to repentance and protect the church from unrepentant sin. Discipline may involve exclusion from participation in ministry and communion, as well as dismissal from the fellowship of this church. An individual may be disciplined short of dismissal from the fellowship, as is deemed appropriate for the specific circumstance (for example, an individual may remain in certain circumstances a member of this church but be denied the privilege of serving in a particular ministry). The discipline committee, as is required by Scripture, may report to the congregation the names of those who are being recommended for discipline and the reason for that discipline, as described in Matthew 18:15-20.

A member cannot transfer membership to another church in the midst of a discipline process.

  • Discipline Committee The deacons and the pastors shall constitute the discipline committee of the church and have sole charge in determining covenant violations and discipline.
  • Restoration or Discipline of Members
    • Members are expected to demonstrate special loyalty and concern for one another (1 John 3:16; John 13:34, 35).  When a member learns of an offense of the magnitude to hinder spiritual growth and testimony, he is to go alone to the offending party only after self-examination and rectification (Matthew 7:3) always in a spirit of humility and with a goal of restoration (Matthew 18:15-18; Galatians 6:1).  As specified in our covenant, each member is to endeavor to make reconciliation quickly (Matthew 5:23-25a; Ephesians 4:29-32).
    • If reconciliation is not reached, a second member, usually a deacon or pastor, is to accompany after following the same procedure of self-examination and in a spirit of humility and restoration. 
    • If still unresolved, the pastors and deacons, serving as the church’s elected representatives who are biblically responsible to put down murmuring, must hear the matter.  If the matter remains unresolved, then at a scheduled church meeting, they must recommend to the church the prayerful examination of our own lives, then prayerful effort to restore the offending member after hearing the matter, and if still unresolved, the exclusion of such members who refuse to be restored. No matter or offense may be heard unless previous biblical steps have been followed, except in the case of a public offense, such as Galatians 2:11-15. No information concerning parties not under discussion may be heard. No member may be excluded where there is genuine fruit of repentance evidenced. When the unrepentant offending party is excluded from the membership and the Lord's table, all relationship with him from that point is only for the purpose of restoration (except for family members) (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians. 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:15).  The entire church body should recognize a responsibility to “say the same thing” in loving effort to restore the offending one and to maintain the church's testimony and harmony. The pastor and deacons are directed to move promptly in the safeguard of the purity and peace of the church when anyone is obstructing the work in any way.

ARTICLE VI.  Business

A.  Fiscal Year

The fiscal year of this church shall be from July 1 through June 30.

B.  Reporting

Reports about the finances of the church will be made available to the congregation upon request. 

C.  Church Business

  • With the exception of those items mentioned in Article IV, Article V Section A, Article XII, Article XIII, and Article XIV, church business shall be conducted by the duly elected pastor(s) and deacons of the church.
  • Business meetings may be called at the discretion of the deacons and/or pastor.  Such meetings shall have previous announcement the Sunday before the date of the meeting.

D. Moderator

The pastor shall serve as moderator except when he shall deem advisable to appoint one or when the church is without a senior pastor, the deacons shall elect a moderator.

E.  Participation

Only members may participate in any business meeting.

F.  Parliamentary Procedure

Roberts Rules of Order shall govern all cases to which they apply.  In exceptions, a majority may establish a rule.

G. Councils

Councils may be formed from churches of like faith and order, at request from this church, only for the duration of the particular meeting, and only in an advisory capacity, since the local church is autonomous.

ARTICLE VII.  Nomination and Election of Deacons

  • Elections Election of officers shall happen annually.  Those individuals receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected to serve as officers.  New officers shall assume office on December 31.  A membership voting roster will be maintained.
  • Ballots

Elections shall be by ballot and decided by a majority except where otherwise specified.

C.  Elected Officers Shall Be Deacons

D. Nominating Committee

The congregation shall serve as the nominating committee.

E.  Nominations

Prior to the election, the active membership of the church shall receive a list of its members, age twenty-one and older, who have been members one year (former missionaries of Faith Church or former deacons of Faith Church moving to Lafayette, joining and recommended by the pastor and deacons, may be eligible to be recommended by the membership for deacon without waiting one year.)  From this, every member in good standing, eighteen years old or older may nominate individuals for each office.  These names must be submitted to the church office within a timeframe specified by those conducting the election.

F.  Slate

Up to two persons per office receiving the highest number of nominations, who agree to serve, subscribe to the Articles of Faith and Covenant and who are faithful to the ministry of the local church, shall then form the slate for election.  The church charges the pastor and deacons to remove any nominee from the list if they deem it necessary to the welfare of the Lord's work and in accordance with scriptural principles.

G. Vacancies

To fill a vacancy occurring during a term of office, the individual receiving the highest number of votes in the previous election that was not elected shall fill the unexpired term of the vacant office.

ARTICLE VIII.  Officers

A.  Pastor

  • The pastor shall be elected at a special or regular meeting of the church.  Public notice of such action shall have been given from the pulpit two Sundays immediately preceding the date of the meeting, and 75% of the ballots cast shall be necessary for his election.  Only one candidate for pastor may be considered at a time.
  • The pastor shall continue in office until he resigns, or until his resignation is requested at a special meeting called for that purpose in the following manner:  the question of severing the pastoral relation may be considered at any regular or special business meeting by the presentation to the deacons of a written request for such action, signed by not less than 20% of the heads of homes in good standing, providing public notice of such meeting for such action shall have been given on two successive Sundays before such meeting, and a simple majority of the ballots cast shall decide the question.  If the pastoral relationship is severed, four weeks severance shall be given and the deacons shall decide who shall fill the pulpit during those four weeks.
  • In absence of the pastor, the deacons shall serve as a pulpit committee, and shall elect a moderator for the church.
  • The pastor shall take oversight willingly, and shall by example, teaching, and organization seek to equip the saints for work of ministry as prescribed in Ephesians 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 3:15, 4:5; and Matthew 28:18-20.  He shall be a member of all boards and committees.  By his choice, he may not be in attendance.

B.  Church Staff

  • When the services of paid personnel other than the pastor are needed, the pastor and his designees are authorized to hire individuals to provide such services. The salaries for new positions shall be authorized by the pastors and deacons. All staff members shall be directly responsible to the pastor or to the authority designated by the pastor and shall be terminated by the pastor.
  • Pastoral Staff Members
    • When the services of an additional pastoral staff member are needed, the pastor shall recommend to the deacons the person to be employed in the position created.  Upon the recommendation of the deacons, the staff member may be called at a special or regular meeting of the church.  Public notice and purpose of such meeting shall have been given (one) previous Sunday and 662/3% of the ballots cast are necessary for a call.  Only one candidate may be considered at a time.
    • All staff members are directly responsible to the pastor, or to the deacons when there is no pastor, in the performance of their duties.  Loyalty to the church and its leadership is expected.  Each staff member shall understand that continuance of his ministry is subject to either the pastor or the deacons.
  • Dismissal of Staff Members It is understood that dismissal of a staff member is not subject to church action or review.
  • Due to changing circumstances, it may be necessary to vary the number and titles of personnel employed in the church staff.

C.  Deacons

  • The church may elect up to twelve deacons for the first four hundred or fewer members and two deacons per one hundred thereafter.  Their terms of office shall be arranged so that one third shall expire each year.
  • All deacons are trustees of the corporation.
  • Deacons shall,
    • carefully and prayerfully seek to practice the principles taught in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6.
    • cooperate with and assist the pastor and his staff in the performance of the ministry.
    • elect from their number a chairman and secretary.  The pastor may serve as moderator of the deacons as he desires.
    • serve on committees as appointed by the pastor and approved by the pastors and deacons.
    • prepare and assist in the administration of the ordinances.
    • consider recommendation from the finance committee and recommendations to the church in the form of an annual election ballot.
    • consider nominees from the church for election and present recommendations to the church in the form of an annual election ballot.
    • serve as a pulpit committee and fulfill pastoral duties in absence of a pastor.
    • receive and disburse benevolence funds, primarily for members and occasionally for those outside the church.
    • assist the pastor in receiving, restoring, dismissing, and caring for members.
  • A deacon shall continue to be loyal to his Lord, his church, his pastor, the church constitution, the Articles of Faith, and his office.  Should he be negligent in any of these or at the request of the congregation or vote of the deacons, he shall vacate his office as deacon.

D. Other Offices (and their basic job descriptions)

  • Clerk The clerk shall be elected annually by the pastors and deacons and shall keep an accurate record of all church proceedings, sign letters and communications done by the authority of the church. The clerk shall also oversee records for the membership showing the last known address, date, and manner of admission or removal. In addition, the clerk shall take minutes for congregational meetings including congregational votes and shall make such records available to the pastor and deacons.
  • Treasurer A treasurer shall be chosen annually by the pastors and deacons from recommendations of the finance committee.  He shall:
    • ensure that a current report is made available at regular meetings of the pastors and deacons for the clerk’s records.
    • serve on the finance committee.

ARTICLE IX.  Finances

A.  Finance Committee

The pastor, church treasurer, and finance committee shall correlate estimates of expenditures from the various ministries of the church and shall present a proposed budget to the deacons and pastors for approval. The committee shall also approve those who shall receive, count, and deposit funds. In addition, the committee also shall ensure the keeping of financial records and the paying of orders and bills approved by the budget, special church action, or special action of the deacons.

B.  Financing

All contributions shall be free-will offerings.  Envelopes shall be furnished so that a record can be kept and a statement issued for income tax purposes.  The church strongly teaches biblical principles of finance for personal life, church business, and church giving.  We believe that the principle of tithing set forth in Mal. 3:10 and proportionate giving in I Cor. 16:2 encourages tithing as the beginning place of giving and a reminder that all belongs to our Lord.

ARTICLE X.  Regulations

A.  Church Agencies

All organizations and agencies of this church are considered to be responsible to and under the general direction of the church.  No organization shall engage in any practice or policy contrary to the position and purpose of this church as stated in the Articles of Faith and Constitution.

B.  Eligibility of Leaders

All officers of organizations shall be approved by the pastors and deacons.

C.  Absentee Voting

Absentee ballots may be requested by members for any vote requiring advance membership notification.  These ballots must be returned to the church office or to those conducting the election prior to the vote.  A record shall be kept of those members receiving and returning absentee ballots.

ARTICLE XI.  Recommendations

Any recommendation or suggestion considered of special interest to the church shall first be brought to the pastors and deacons for consideration before being presented to the membership.  This shall not prevent presentation to the membership should the action of the pastors and deacons be unfavorable, nor shall this prevent the pastor from making recommendations directly to the church.

ARTICLE XII.  Buying, Selling, Mortgaging

The officers of this church shall not buy, sell or mortgage property without authorization by a vote at a meeting which has been previously advertised for that purpose in a Sunday service.

ARTICLE XIII.  Dissolution of Corporation

In the event a decision is made to dissolve this corporation known as Faith Church of Lafayette, Inc., provision shall be made by 2/3 vote of the church, previous to dissolution of the corporation, to assign all properties to one or more evangelical non-profit organizations, such as churches, missions, schools or associations.  None of the assets shall be given to any individual. 

ARTICLE XIV.  Amendments

This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting providing that notice of the constitutional change shall have been given from the pulpit for two Sundays prior to the vote and the amendment shall have been presented to the church after having been presented to the pastors and deacons for consideration.

ARTICLE XV.  Cancellation

This constitution as revised and adopted this 19th day of October, 1977 shall supersede and cancel all other constitutions and amendments thereto and shall be effective November 1, 1977 and was amended, 19th day of October, 1977 January 16, 1980, October 23, 1985, October 12, 1986, January 22, 1992, and January 14, 1998, October 18, 2000, October 10, 2001, July 17, 2002, July 16, 2003, October 19, 2005, April 22, 2007, April 5, 2009, August 7, 2011, October 18, 2015, November 11, 2018.