What We Believe (Statement of Faith)
Basic Statement of Faith
- The Scriptures are true, authoritative, sufficient, and complete.
- There is only one true God, Creator of heaven and earth, who eternally exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- All humanity—Christ excluded—is sinful by both birth and action.
- The deserved penalty for sin is physical and spiritual death.
- Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, was born of a virgin and is both fully God and fully human.
- Jesus Christ died as the sacrificial substitute to pay the penalty for sin.
- Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and will one day physically return.
- There will be a future physical resurrection of the dead. Only those who turn from sin and to Jesus in faith and repentance will be raised to eternal reward. Those who do not turn from sin and to Jesus will be raised to eternal punishment.
- Only through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and repentance from sin can one be reconciled to God and experience true and eternal life and joy.
Full Doctrinal Statement and Distinctives
1.The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were written by holy men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and are God’s revealed Word to man. The Scriptures are sufficient, inerrant, infallible, and God‑breathed, and therefore are the final authority for faith and life. The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal historical‑grammatical meaning. (2 Timothy 3:16‑17; 2 Peter 1:20‑21).
Free Will Baptists believe in the plenary, verbal inspiration of the Bible. By “plenary” we mean “full and complete.” We hold that all parts of the Bible are inspired and that inspiration extends to all its subjects. By “verbal” we mean that inspiration extends to the very words of the Scriptures, not just to the thoughts and ideas expressed by human authors. We believe the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant. The Bible is without error and trustworthy in all its teachings, including cosmogony, geology, astronomy, anthropology, history, chronology, etc., as well as in matters of faith and practice. Being the very Word of God, it is God’s final revelation and our absolute authority. (2 Peter 1:21; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Samuel 23:2; Jeremiah 1:9; John 10:35; Matthew 5:17, 18; John 17:17; Psalm 119:151, 160)
2. The Trinity
We believe in one true and living Triune God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who is Spirit, self‑existent, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, independent, good, wise, holy, just, and merciful, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of the Universe; the Redeemer, Savior, Sanctifier, and Judge of men; and the only proper object of worship. The Triune God is co‑eternal in being, co‑identical in nature, co‑equal in power and glory, and have the same attributes and perfections. The mode of His existence, however, is a subject far above the understanding of man—finite beings cannot comprehend Him. There is nothing in the universe that can justly represent Him, for there is none like Him. He is the fountain of all perfection and happiness. He is glorified by the whole creation, and is worthy to be loved and served by all intelligence.
(Deuteronomy 6:4; John 4:24; Malachi 3:6; Revelation 19:6; Ephesians 2:4; 4:6; Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 47:4; Exodus 31:13; Hebrews 12:23; Psalm 119:68; Exodus 34:14; Romans 16:27; Leviticus 19:2; Deuteronomy 32:4; Matthew 28:19; Psalm 19:1‑2; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 14:10, 26; Revelation 4:11).
3. God the Father
We believe, as revealed in the Bible, in one God, our Father, eternal and infinite in His wisdom, love and power. He is the Creator of all things, in whom we live, move and have our being. We believe that God the Father is the First Person of the divine Trinity, who is absolute in His deity, possessing all the attributes of deity and equal with the Son and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:26‑30; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:22, 46:9; Jeremiah 10:10; 1 Corinthians 8:4; 1 John 5:20).
4. The Person and Work of Christ
a) We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, possesses all divine perfections. The Word, which in the beginning was with God and which was God, by whom all things were made, condescended to a state of humiliation in being united with human nature and becoming like us, pollution and sin excepted. Jesus became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1‑2; 14; 2 Corinthians 5:19‑21; Galatians 4:4‑5; Philippians 2:5‑8).
b) We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:14‑36; 1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3‑5).
c) We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9‑10; Hebrews 9:24; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1‑2).
d) His Titles. We believe Jesus Christ’s divinity is proved from His titles, His attributes and His works. The Bible ascribes to Christ the titles of Savior, Jehovah, Lord of Hosts, the first and the last, God, true God, God over all, mighty God, and the everlasting Father. (Isaiah 43:10‑11; 45:21; John 4:42; Psalm 83:18; Revelation 22:13; 1 Timothy 3:16).
e) His Attributes. He is eternal, unchangeable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, holy, and to be worshiped. (Colossians 1:17; Micah 5:2; Hebrews 1:8; 12; 13:8; John 3:13; Matthew 18:20; 28:20; Ephesians 1:15‑23; John 16:30; John 2:24‑25; 21:17; Revelation 2:23; Colossians 2:8‑10; Acts 3:14; 1 John 5:20; Hebrews 1:6)
f) His Works. By Jesus Christ the world was created. He preserves and governs it; He has provided redemption for all men and He will be their final Judge. (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:17; Isaiah 9:6; Ephesians 1:7; 2 Timothy 4:1; Matthew 25:31‑46; John 5:22)
5. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
a) The Scriptures ascribe to the Holy Spirit the acts and attributes of an intelligent being. He guides, knows, moves, gives information, commands, forbids, sends forth, reproves, and can be sinned against. (John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:11; Genesis 1:2; Acts 10:19; 13:2; John 16:8; Mark 3:29)
b) We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8‑11; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12‑14; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13‑14).
c) We believe that He is the Divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 1:17‑18; 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).
d) We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer. God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip believers in the assembly in order that they can do the work of the ministry (Romans 12:3‑8; 1 Corinthians 12:4‑11, 28; Ephesians 4:7‑12).
e) We believe that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and the gift of healing were temporary. We believe that speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit and that ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God frequently chooses to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing (1 Corinthians 12:28; 13:8; 14:21‑22).
f) Free Will Baptists understand the Bible teaches the following facts: On the Day of Pentecost believers spoke in distinct foreign languages which were readily understood by the nationalities present. Tongues were given as a special gift to the early church as only one sign which confirms the witness of the Gospel to unbelievers. While tongues were bestowed by the sovereign will of God on some believers, all did not speak with tongues. When this gift was abused, it became a source of disturbance in the congregational meetings. To eliminate confusion and correct the error, Paul set guidelines for the Christian church to follow. The gift of tongues was neither an evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, nor does it bring about sanctification. We believe that speaking in tongues as a visible sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an erroneous doctrine to be rejected. Any implication of a “second work of grace” has never been tolerated in our fellowship of churches, and will not be permitted. We teach and preach the fullness of the Holy Spirit and heed the scriptural admonition, “Be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 14:18, 19, 23, 33; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 5:18b‑20)
We believe in salvation by grace totally apart from any human merit. Salvation is bestowed by a gracious God upon unworthy man conditioned solely upon his faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on Calvary (Ephesians 2:8‑10; John 3:16).
a) God’s offer of salvation
We believe that the atonement of our Lord was unlimited, that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world and therefore offers salvation to the entire world (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). We believe that the atonement of Jesus was sufficient for all but efficient only for those who believe. We believe that the atonement is limited only by man’s unbelief and not by an arbitrary decision on God’s part to save some and to reprobate the rest of mankind to hell.
b) God’s choice of who will be saved
We believe in conditional election, that, according to 1 Peter 1:1‑2, God chose from the masses of mankind those who would be saved since His foreknowledge of their faith. We believe that God’s foreknowledge was based on His omniscience and that in His omniscience He knew who would believe and those He elected or chose to save. (We recognize that there are some who try to distort election based on a foreknowledge of faith into election by merit. If election of the condition of faith is election by merit, then salvation on the condition of faith is also salvation by merit or works.)
c) Man’s response to God’s gracious offer
We believe in resistible grace, that an individual can say no to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and be forever lost. We believe that when God extends a call to salvation it is a legitimate call both to the elect and to the non‑elect, and that the non‑elect refuses because of his own personal unbelief or rebellion and not because God refuses to enable him to believe because he was not one whom He chose to be saved. We believe that every individual who receives the call of the Gospel also receives a divine enablement to believe. The repentance which the Gospel requires includes a deep conviction, a penitential sorrow, an open confession, a decided hatred, and an entire forsaking of all sin. This repentance God has enjoined on all men; and without it in this life the sinner must perish eternally. (Luke 13:3; 24:47; Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9)
We believe that man is depraved, that he is born dead in trespasses and sin, and that apart from the divine enablement of the Holy Spirit, man, left to his own, will never and can never repent and believe. We believe that all men born since Adam are born with a natural inclination toward sin and not toward God and righteousness, that as Adam fled in the Garden from God, unregenerate man still flees a loving and pursuing God. We believe that although man is born dead in trespasses and sin and that the image of God in man is marred, he is still in the image of God mentally, volitionally, and emotionally. The image of God in man is marred but not destroyed. (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13; Romans 3:10)
Saving faith is an assent of the mind to the fundamental truths of revelation, an acceptance of the Gospel, through the influence of the Holy Spirit, and a firm confidence and trust in Christ. The fruit of faith is obedience to the Gospel. The power to believe is the gift of God, but believing is an act of the creature, which is required as a condition of pardon, and without which the sinner cannot obtain salvation. All men are required to believe in Christ, and those who yield obedience to this requirement become the children of God by faith. (Hebrews 11:1, 6; Romans 10:9‑10; Acts 16:31; James 2:17; John 1:7; 3:36)
7. Security of the Believer
We believe that the Word of God teaches the security of the believer, that God will keep securely in His hand (John 10:25‑30) those who are trusting in Jesus, but offers absolutely no hope for that person who is not trusting in Christ (1 Peter 1:5). The link that unites God and man is faith (John 3:16). The security of the believer is based upon continuous faith in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:21‑23; John 3:16; Hebrews 3:12‑13). We believe that the Scriptures present the possibility of apostasy, that is, an authentic believer ceasing to believe (1 John 2:24; Hebrews 3:12‑13). We believe that apostasy is committed by willful unbelief and is without remedy (Hebrews 6:1‑6; 2 Peter 2:20).
(The following statements regarding the security of the believer were adopted by the National Association of Free Will Baptists in July 1969)
We believe that salvation is a present possession by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and that a person’s eternal destiny depends on whether he has this possession. This we hold in distinction from those who teach that salvation depends on human works or merit.
We believe that a saved individual may, in freedom of will, cease to trust in Christ for salvation and once again be lost. This we hold in distinction from those who teach that a believer may not again be lost.
We believe that any individual living in the practice of sin (whether he be called “backslider” or “sinner”) must be judged by that evidence to be lost should he so die in his sins. This we hold in distinction from those who suggest that pernicious doctrine that a man may live in sin as he pleases and still claim Heaven as his eternal home.
We believe that any regenerate person who has sinned (again, whether he be called “backslider” or “sinner”) and in whose heart a desire arises to repent may do so and be restored to favor and fellowship with God. This we hold in distinction from those who teach that when a Christian sins he cannot repent and be restored to favor and fellowship with God. (2 Peter 1:4‑10)
8. The Church
We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is solely made up of born‑again persons. A Christian Church is an organized body of believers in Christ who assemble to worship God, and who practice the ordinances of the Gospel according to the Scriptures. Believers in Christ are admitted to this church on giving evidence of faith in Christ, obtaining consent of the body, being baptized, and receiving the right hand of fellowship. The Church of God, or members of the body of Christ, is the whole body of Christians throughout the whole world, and none but the regenerate are its members. (1 Corinthians 12:12‑14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22‑23; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 12:27‑28; 16:1‑2; Acts 2:41, 47; 20:7; Revelation 1:4; Ephesians 5:25‑27; Colossians 1:18, 24; 1 Peter 2:5; John 15:2, 6; Acts 8:12; Galatians 3:27)
We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28‑32; 1 Timothy 3:1‑13; Titus 1:5‑11). We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control (Acts 13:1‑4; 15:19‑31; 20:28; Romans 16:1, 4; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16; 5:4‑7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1‑4).
9. The Gospel Ordinances
a) Christian Baptism. This is the immersion of believers in water, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in which are represented the burial and resurrection of Christ, the death of Christians to the world, the washing of their souls from the pollution of sin, their rising to newness of life, their engagement to serve God, and their resurrection at the last day. (Matthew 28:19‑20; Colossians 2:12; 3:3; Acts 2:41‑42; 8:36‑39; Romans 6:4; Galatians 3:27; Titus 3:5).
b) The Lord’s Supper. This is a commemoration of the death of Christ for our sins in the use of bread which He made the emblem of His broken body, and the cup, the emblem of His shed blood, and by it the believer expresses his love for Christ, his faith and hope in Him, and pledges to Him perpetual fidelity. (1 Corinthians 10:16, 21; 11:23‑29; Matthew 26:26‑28).
c) Washing the Saints’ Feet. This is a sacred ordinance, which teaches humility and reminds the believer of the necessity of a daily cleansing from all sin. It was instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ, and called an “example” on the night of His betrayal, and in connection with the institution of the Lord’s Supper. It is the duty and happy prerogative of every believer to observe this sacred ordinance. (John 13:4‑8; 1 Timothy 5:1‑10).
10. The Lord’s Day
Since Sunday is the first day of the week and the day our Lord resurrected from the grave (Mark 16:9), we should celebrate the risen Savior on this day as did the disciples in Acts 20:7. We believe this day should be set apart and observed as the “Christian’s” day for rest and worship and should be kept Holy (Genesis 2:2; Exodus 34:21; 1 Corinthians 6:12).
We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. This pursuit should influence the believer’s life in areas of religious associations, amusements and entertainment, and all of life’s practices and associations. (Romans 12:1‑2; 14:13; 2 Corinthians 6:14‑7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1‑5; 1 John 2:15‑17; 2 John 9‑11).
12. The Second Coming of Christ
The Lord Jesus, who ascended on high and sits at the right hand of God, will come again to close the Gospel dispensation, glorify His saints, and judge the world. (Acts 1:11; Matthew 25:31; 1 Corinthians 15:24‑28; 1 Thessalonians 4:15‑17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7‑10; 2 Peter 3:3‑13; Matthew 24:42‑44).
13. The Resurrection
The Scriptures teach the resurrection of the bodies of all men, each in its own order; they that have done good will come forth to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:22‑23; 2 Timothy 2:18; Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35‑44; Daniel 12:2)
14. The Judgment and Retribution
The Judgment. There will be a judgment, when time and man’s probation will close forever. Then all men will be judged according to their works. Retribution. Immediately after the judgment, the righteous will enter into eternal life, and the wicked will go into a state of endless punishment. (Acts 17:31; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Revelation 10:6; 22:11‑12; 2 Peter 3:11, 12; Ecclesiastes 9:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Revelation 20:12; Romans 2:16; Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7‑10; Romans 6:23; 2 Peter 1:10‑11; Mark 3:29; 9:43‑44; Jude 7; Revelation 14:11; 21:7, 8, 27; Matthew 13:41‑43; Romans 2:6‑10).
Biblical and Cultural Issues
Marriage and Sexuality
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one, legitimate meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God, which joins one man and one woman in a single, covenantal union, as delineated by Scripture. Marriage ceremonies performed in any facility owned, leased or rented by this church will be only those ceremonies sanctioned by God, joining one man with one woman as their genders were determined at birth. Whenever there is a conflict between the church’s position and any new legal standard for marriage, the church’s statement of faith, doctrines and biblical positions will govern. (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:22-23; Mark 10:6-9; I Cor. 7:1-9)
We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage as defined in (a) above. We believe that any other type of sexual activity, identity or expression that lies outside of this definition of marriage, including those that are becoming more accepted in the culture and the courts, are contradictory to God’s natural design and purpose for sexual activity. (Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1: 26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9-10; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4)
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two-distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God and the rejection of one’s biological gender is a rejection of the image of God within that person. (Genesis 1:26-27)
We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors and elders) of the church. (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are a wonderful gift and heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate training and discipline. (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mk. 10:6-12; 1 Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Col. 3:18-21; 1 Pet. 3:1-7)
Divorce and Remarriage
We believe that God disapproves of and forbids divorce except on the grounds of adultery and an unequal yoke. (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Mark 10:11-12; Rom. 7:1-3; I Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6; I Cor. 7:10-16)
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion is murder and constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. (Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5; 139:13-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:36, 44)
We believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, facilitates premature death, is assuming a decision that is to be reserved for God. We do not believe that discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome is euthanasia. (Ex. 20:13; 23:7; Matt. 5:21; Acts 17:28)
We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such actions. (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Phil. 2:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; I Peter 3:8-9; 1 John 3:17-18)
Lawsuits within the Church
We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits within the Church. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company if the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32) Clearview Church holds a retainer with a Christian Law Association and Attorneys to receive legal counsel in church related matters.
Protection of Children
We believe that children are a heritage from the Lord and must be absolutely protected within the church from any form of abuse or molestation. The church has zero tolerance for any person, whether paid staff, volunteer, member, or visitor, who abuses or molests a child. (Ps. 127:3-5; Matt. 18:6; Matt. 19:14; Mark 10:14)