Articles of Faith
That the Association be formed of Baptist Churches in the Counties of Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, maintaining in their entirety the following important doctrines and practices:
There is one God, who exists eternally as three distinct but co-equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence is undivided. God is unchangeable in His holiness, justice, wisdom and love. He is the almighty Creator, Saviour and Judge who sustains and governs all things according to His sovereign will for His own glory.
Gen 1:1; Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10; Mal. 3:6; Mt. 3:16-17; Mt. 28:19; Acts 17:24; 1 Cor. 8:4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Titus. 3:4-5; Rev. 4:11; Rev. 15.4.
2 The Bible
God in His great goodness has revealed all that is necessary to life and salvation in the Bible, which consists of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments alone. Every word was inspired by God through human authors, so that the Bible as originally given is, in its entirety, the Word of God, without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. The Bible alone speaks with final authority and is always sufficient for all matters of belief and practice. The infallible rule of interpretation of the Bible is the Bible itself.
Rom. 15:4; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
3 Original Sin
God made our first father Adam perfect, holy and upright. Adam sinned and as the representative and head of the human race brought upon himself and all his offspring death, condemnation and a sinful nature. As a result it is utterly beyond the power of fallen mankind to have a saving knowledge of God, to love God, to keep His laws, to believe the Gospel, to report of sin or trust in Christ.
Gen. 1:27; Gen. 2:15-17; Gen. 3:6; Ps. 51:5; Jn. 8:34-35; Rom. 3:10-20; 1 Cor. 15-22.
God, before the foundation of the world, and for His own glory elected to eternal life a number of persons which no one can count, as an act of free and sovereign grace. This election was in no way dependent upon His foresight of human faith, decision, works or merit.
Jn. 17:1-3; Rom. 9:11-16; Eph. 1:4-5; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:9-10.
5 Jesus Christ
God sent forth His Son, who is God from all eternity, who became man, Jesus Christ our Lord, fully God and fully man, having two natures, but one person. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, yet without sin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all His words are true. On the cross He died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, and redeeming them by his blood. He rose from the dead and in His resurrection body ascended into heaven where He is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for His people in the presence of the Father.
Mt. 7:28-29; Lk. 1:35; Jn. 1:1-4 & 14; Acts 1:9-11; Rom. 9:5; 1 Cor. 15:3-8; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 7:25-26; 1 Pet. 1:18-19.
6 Particular redemption
The Lord Jesus Christ died at Calvary to effect atonement, propitiation, reconciliation and redemption for His elect people.
Jn. 10:11; Acts 20:28; Rom. 3:24-26; Eph. 1:3-7; Eph. 5:25; 2 Tim. 1:9.
God bore testimony to His acceptance of His Son’s work by raising Him from the dead. Therefore all who are called by grace are justified in the sight of God on account of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is received by faith alone.
Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 3:24; Rom. 4:24-25; Rom. 5:17-18.
8 The Holy Spirit and regeneration
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and is sent forth into the world to glorify Christ and to apply His work of salvation. Through His all-powerful work those dead in sin are brought into spiritual life. They hear the call of God through His Word and are given the desire and ability to report of sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. The Holy Spirit indwells all believers, brings assurance of salvation and produces increasing likeness to Christ. He builds up the church and empowers its members for worship, service, and mission.
Jn. 14:26; Jn. 15:26; Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:13-14; Jam. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23.
9 Holy living
In obedience to God’s Word and will, and out of live for our Lord Jesus Christ, a Christian is called to live a holy life. It is only such a holy life that gives evidence of true faith and regeneration.
Jn. 14:15; Rom. 6:22; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:7; Heb 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:15-16.
10 The local Church
The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the local church and has appointed pastors/teachers/elders whose calling is recognised by the Church membership. The task of those so appointed is to lead, oversee, teach, encourage and equip His people that they in love and unity might serve Him. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the Word of God.
Acts 2:24; Acts 13:1-4; Eph. 1:22-23; Eph. 4:11-12; 2 Thess. 3:6; 1 Tim. 5:17; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 13:7 & 17; Rev. 2:3.
11 Baptism and the Lord’s supper
Baptism and the Lord’s supper are ordinances given by the Lord Jesus Christ as visible signs of the Gospel and of union with Christ and His Church. In baptism (i.e. immersion) the believer declares their repentance and faith, and this is necessary in order to enter membership of the local church and partake of the Lord’s supper, which is administered under the discipline of that local church.
Mt. 3:16; Mt. 28:19-20; Jn. 3:22-23; Acts 2:38 & 41-42; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:18; 1 Cor. 11:23-26.
The responsibility and privilege of the local church is to be obedient to Christ’s commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all mankind, to make disciples, baptising and teaching them.
Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15; Acts 1:8; Acts 13:1-4; Rom. 1:14-16; 1 Thess. 1:8; 1 Thess 2:4.
13 Final perseverance
Those who are regenerated, called and justified shall, by the grace and power of God, persevere in holiness and enter into the joys of heaven.
Rom. 8:28-30 & 38-39; Phil. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; Jude 24.
14 Second coming
The Lord Jesus Christ will return personally, bodily and visibly as He promised.
Mt. 24:30; Jn. 13:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 1:7.
15 Final judgement
When the Lord Jesus Christ returns in glory he will raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will be sent to eternal punishment and the righteous will be welcomed into a life of eternal joy in fellowship with God. God will make all things new and will be glorified forever.
Mt. 25:31-32 & 46; Acts 17:31; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 2 Thess 1:6-10; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 14:11.