Statement of Faith
What We Believe
Lakeshore Baptist Church
Baptists, since their beginnings, repeatedly have composed confessions which expressed the doctrinal consensus among related churches. In principle, however, Baptists always have insisted that no statement of faith can be considered creedally binding even upon concurring congregations. The purpose of their doctrinal summaries was to explain to other Christians and to the larger society what Baptists believed and practiced. Within and among Baptist churches, statements of faith also provided a standard for instruction, counsel and fellowship. We, as the North American Baptist Conference, presently feel the need to state more fully our Baptist understanding of the Christian faith. The purpose that guided us in writing and the use that we intend for this declaration are
1. To further the sense of identity and the spirit of unity within our North American Baptist Conference by declaring our common doctrinal understanding;
2. To provide a basis for doctrinal instruction within our Conference;
3. To provide a basis for doctrinal discussions in the hiring of Conference personnel;
4. To serve as a reference point when opinions differ;
5. To provide a basis for doctrinal discussion in admitting new churches and new pastors into our various associations;
6. To provide a doctrinal guide for new churches; and
7. To give a doctrinal witness beyond our Conference.
In continuity with our immediate forefathers and the larger fellowship of Baptists throughout history, we seek to practice and propagate by God’s grace the following convictions:
It is trustworthy, sufficient, without error; the supreme authority and guide for all doctrine and conduct I Peter 1:23-25; John 17:17; II Timothy 3:16-17. It is the truth by which God brings people into a saving relationship with Himself and leads them to Christian maturity John 20:31, I John 5:9-12; Matthew 4:4; I Peter 2:2.
He exists eternally in three coequal persons who act together in creation, providence and redemption Genesis 1:26; I Peter 1:2; Hebrews 1:1-3.
a. The Father reigns with providential care over all life and history in the created universe. He hears and answers prayer I Chronicles 29:11-13; Matthew 7:11. He initiated salvation by sending His Son, and He is Father to those who by faith accept His Son as Lord and Savior I John 4:9-10; John 3:16; John 1:12; Acts 16:31.
b. The Son became man, Jesus Christ, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary John 1:14; Matthew 1:18. Being fully God and fully man, He revealed God through His sinless life, miracles and teaching John 14:9; Hebrews 4:15; Matthew 4:23-24. He provided salvation through His atoning death in our place and by His bodily resurrection I Corinthians 15:3-4; II Corinthians 5:21; Romans 4:23-25. He ascended into heaven where He rules over all creation Philippians 2:5-11. He intercedes for all believers and dwells in them as their ever-present Lord Romans 8:34; John 14:23.
c. The Holy Spirit inspired men to write the Scriptures II Peter 1:21. Through this Word, He convicts individuals of their sinfulness and of the righteousness of Christ, draws them to the Savior, and bears witness to their new birth James 1:18; John 16:7-11; I Thessalonians 1:5-6; Romans 8:16. At regeneration and conversion, the believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit I Corinthians 12:13. The Spirit indwells, seals and gives spiritual gifts to all believers for ministry in the church and society Romans 8:9-11; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 12:5-8; I Peter 4:10. He empowers, guides, teaches, fills, sanctifies and produces the fruit of Christlikeness in all who yield to Him Acts 4:31; Romans 8:14; I Corinthians 2:10-13; Ephesians 5:18; II Thessalonians 2:13; Galatians 5:16; 22-23.
The holy angels are obedient spirits ministering to the heirs of salvation and glorifying God Hebrews 1:6-7; 13-14. Certain angels, called demons, Satan being their chief, through deliberate choice revolted and fell from their exalted position Revelation 12:7-9. They now tempt individuals to rebel against God I Timothy 4:1; I Peter 5:8. Their destiny in hell has been sealed by Christ’s victory over sin and death Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 20:10.
As a result, each person is unique, possesses dignity and is worthy of respect Psalm 139:13-17. Through the temptation of Satan, Adam chose to disobey God; this brought sin and death to the human race and suffering to all creation Genesis 3; Romans 5:12-21; 8-22. Therefore, everyone is born with a sinful nature and needs to be reconciled to God Romans 3:9-18, 23. Satan tempts people to rebel against God, even those who love Him Ephesians 4:27; II Corinthians 2:11; Matthew 16:23. Nonetheless, everyone is personally responsible to God for thoughts, actions and beliefs and has the right to approach Him directly through Jesus Christ, the only mediator Romans 14:12; I Timothy 2:5.
It is offered as a free gift by God to all and must be received personally through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ I Timothy 2:4;Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 20:21. An individual is united to Christ by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27. As a child of God, the believer is acquitted of all guilt and brought into a new relationship of peace Romans 5:1. Christians grow as the Holy Spirit enables them to understand and obey the Word of God II Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:15; I Thessalonians 3:12.
Christians are commanded to be baptized upon profession of faith and to unite with a local church for mutual encouragement and growth in discipleship through worship, nurture, service and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world Acts 2:41-42, 47; Luke 24:45-48. Each church is a self-governing body under the lordship of Christ with all members sharing responsibilityActs 13:1-3; 14:26-28. The form of government is understood to be congregational Matthew 18:17; Acts 6:3-6; 15:22-23.
The ordinances of the church are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit Matthew 28:18-20. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s identification with the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ Romans 6:3-5. The Lord’s Supper is the partaking of the bread and of the cup by believers together as a continuing memorial of the broken body and shed blood of Christ. It is an act of thankful dedication to Him and serves to unite His people until He returns I Corinthians 11:23-26.
To express unity in Christ, local churches form associations and a conference for mutual counsel, fellowship and a more effective fulfillment of Christ’s commission Acts 15; I Corinthians 6:1-3.
Church and state exist by the will of God. Each has distinctive concerns and responsibilities, free from control by the otherMatthew 22:21. Christians should pray for civil leaders, and obey and support government in matters not contrary to Scripture I Timothy 2:1-4; Romans 13:1-7; I Peter 2:13-16. The state should guarantee religious liberty to all persons and groups regardless of their religious preferences, consistent with the common good.
In a Christlike spirit, they oppose greed, selfishness and vice; they promote truth, justice and peace; they aid the needy and preserve the dignity of people of all races and conditions Hebrews 13:5; Luke 9:23; Titus 2:12; Philippians 4:8-9; I John 3:16-17; James 2:1-4. We affirm the family as the basic unit of society and seek to preserve its integrity and stability Genesis 2:21-25; Ephesians 6:1-4.
The certain hope of the Christian is that Jesus Christ will return to the earth suddenly, personally and visibly in glory according to His promise Titus 2:13; Revelation 1:7; 3:11; John 14:1-3. The dead will be raised, and Christ will judge mankind in righteousness John 5:28-29. The unrighteous will be consigned to the everlasting punishment prepared for the devil and his angels Matthew 25:41, 46;Revelation 20:10. The righteous, in their resurrected and glorified bodies, will receive their reward and dwell forever with the LordPhilippians 3:20-21; II Corinthians 5:10; I Thessalonians 4:13-18.