What We Believe
Memorial Baptist Church is in complete agreement with the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) of 2000. You can find the complete BF&M here. The following list highlights some of the specific areas of faith we believe are important.
God has spoken to and made Himself known to His people through various ways throughout history. However, in order for what God has said and done in Israel and in Christ to be made available to all people in all ages and places, God’s Word must be written down. At MBC, we believe that the Bible is God’s written Word and is the primary means by which God speaks to His people today. We are convinced that the basis for our beliefs must come from the Bible. It is the way in which God has revealed (and continues to reveal) Himself to mankind. The Bible was written by human authors under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Because it is inspired by God, the Bible is completely true and trustworthy without any mixture of error, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The Bible is authoritative in that every word bears God’s own authority. The Bible is infallible in that it will always accomplish God’s purposes. The Bible is inerrant in that the message is completely true and contains no errors. The Bible is sufficient in that it provides us with everything we need to enter into a relationship with God. Finally, the Bible is eternal in that it will endure forever.
There is only one living and true God and He is worthy of our worship and obedience. He is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. Because He is an infinite being, it is impossible for our finite minds to fully comprehend Him. In His grace, however, He has revealed Himself to us. God is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and omnipresent (present everywhere). God has eternally existed in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have distinct personal attributes, but they are without division in nature, essence, and being.
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. He became human through His incarnation and was born of the Virgin Mary. While on earth, Jesus was completely human and completely God at the same time. He was in every way tempted as we are, but was without sin. Christ became the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people through His substitutionary death on the cross. He is the means by which our sins are forgiven and the only way in which one is reconciled to God. Christ was raised from the dead by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit demonstrating His power over sin and death. Christ appeared to His disciples and many other witnesses after His resurrection. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of the Father where He remains our Mediator. He will return again to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He is present in the world to make us aware of our need for Jesus Christ. He also lives inside every Christian from the moment of salvation, baptizing them into the Body of Christ, and sealing them until the day of redemption. The Holy Spirit provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which we serve God through His church. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service, and we seek to live under His control daily.
Human beings are the special creation of God. Every human is made in the image of God and therefore worthy of dignity, respect, and Christian love. Humans were originally created innocent of sin as well as given the ability to make right and wrong choices. By their free choice the first humans sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Mankind fell from their original innocence and now every human being inherits a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. In their sinful state, humans remain in a rebellious separation from God. It is only by God’s grace that humans can be reconciled to the Father through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Salvation is God’s free gift offered to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. We can never obtain salvation through self-improvement or by our own good works. It is only by trusting in Jesus Christ that one can be saved from sin’s penalty. In the most basic terms, “being saved” involves confessing one’s sins to God, believing that Jesus is the Son of God and everything the Bible says about Him is true, and confessing publicly that Jesus is Lord. As soon as a person is saved he or she is made a new creature in Christ and inherits eternal life. After salvation, the Christian commits to follow Jesus, enabled by the Holy Spirit to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
Because salvation comes from God through the blood of Jesus Christ, true believers are secure in that salvation forever. If a person has been genuinely saved, then that person can never “lose” his or her salvation. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security. This doesn’t mean that believers are perfect, nor is this a “license to sin.” Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation. When we do, we grieve the Holy Spirit and impair our ability to be effective for the cause of Christ. A true Christian, however, desires to be obedient to God, will be convicted by the Holy Spirit when he or she sins, and will seek forgiveness.
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. Heaven and Hell are literal places of eternal existence. Hell is a place of everlasting punishment where the unrighteous will remain eternally separated from God. Heaven is the New Jerusalem where believers will receive glorified bodies and live forever with the Lord.