"But if I tarry long, that thoumayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15)
When you come to church, one should expect, yea demand, that the truth be taught and preached. The church isthe pillar, the ground, the one foundation which holds up God's truth inthis world. It is the church that is to preserve, preach, portray, practice, and protect the truth in order that God's work will continue to prosperand be blessed mightily of the Lord.
The plain teaching of all Scriptureestablishes the fact that believers in the Lord are commanded of Christto accept all of His truth. We are not to add, dilute, edit, or change itin any way. The whole New Testament echoes the teaching of Christ that thereis one truth and God's people should be united in accepting it. But as anyhonest person will readily admit this is not the case. We are living ina day and age where there is much debate, confusion, disagreement, and controversyover the truth.
We have literally hundreds of churchesof different denominations, groups, and organizations all proclaiming tobelieve in different creeds and beliefs and emphasizing conflicting doctrineswhile at the same time declaring it doesn't make any difference what a personbelieves. Religion has made itself look ridiculous by making the preposterousclaim that all the hundreds of competing churches with their biased beliefs,contradicting claims, and diverse doctrines are really one religion. Manyargue that all religions and churches are equally good and that even thoughwe may be taking different roads, we are all bound for the same place. Butsimple logic should tell you that these churches holding to beliefs anddoctrines that contradict each other cannot all be true. Such differencesand diversity has caused much chaos and confusion concerning the truth ofthe Word of God. Therefore we are brought face to Ace with the question,which church is the one that is declaring the truth? Which church is right?Which are wrong? How can I know the true church?
The quickest way to receive an answerto these questions we must look to one place. Amidst all of the chaos andconfusion that exists among the hundreds of conflicting religions, thereexists only one source of information that is without error -- the inspiredWord of God. This is all we can turn to. Man can be wrong, even churchescan be wrong; only God's Word stands without error and this is where wemust look.
An Independent Baptist Church is theright church because of what she believes the Bible teaches on the followingfour truths:
Most churches used to say that the Biblewas their final authority for faith and practice but that's not so any more.As churches and as Christians, we have an absolute standard for our beliefs,our duties, and our whole conduct. It is the Bible.
The Bible is the written record of God'srevelation to man. It is not man's concept of God but rather a record whichGod Himself authored through inspiration. Therefore it is pure, perfect,inerrant, and infallible. It is a record which will stand for time and eternity.Our faith then is not built upon philosophy, fables, or the traditions ofmen. Our faith is built upon the rock of the true utterances of the livingGod. Two words need to be mentioned and defined when dealing with bibliology:inspiration and preservation.
Inspiration (11 Tim. 3:16) Paul used the word "inspiration"(God-breathed) in order to teach us that we can take the Bible to be theauthority for all we believe and do. Because the Bible is inspired of God,it is true from beginning to end. The Bible teaches verbal inspiration,meaning God inspired the words, not just the ideas or thoughts. Jesus said," Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24:35). The Holy Spirit of God so guided and controlledthe men whom He used to write the Scriptures that not only the ideas butthe very words that they wrote were given to us from God. God so directedthe choice of the words that they are His words and for that reason arepure and perfect. The Bible tells us, " For the prophecy came not inold time by the will of man. but holy men of God spake as they were movedby the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:21). Holy men of God wrote in obedienceto the divine command and were kept from all error. God accomplished themiracle of inspiration by providentially preparing the writers for theirwork and by so revealing His truth to them, He enabled, guided, superintendedthem in the recording of it as to give to us through them an exact and completeBible. II Tim. 3:16 teaches that the entire Bible is fully and equally inspiredof God; we have a complete revelation from God to man. No additional revelationsare necessary either in writings or visions. The Bible does not containthe Word of God, it is the Word of God. We must guard this precious doctrineof verbal inspiration for it is the very foundation of our doctrinal soundnessand of our spiritual power.
Preservation (Ps. 12:6-7) Do we have the Bible today? The original manuscriptshave long been lost, so does this mean we no longer have the sure Word ofGod? Does the Word of God exist today? Yes! How do I know? The Bible tellsme so! The Bible tells me that God has promised me that He will preserveHis Word. If we deny the Bible's promises concerning its own preservation,then we deny the validity of every other promise it contains. If God hasfailed in His promise to preserve His Word, then we have no guarantee thatHe will perform or keep any other promise. The Bible rests itself on thesure foundation of inspiration and preservation. One without the other isuseless, like two wings on a bird. There was no need for God to inspirethe Bible unless it was to be preserved and there was no need to preserveit unless it was inspired. If God, who cannot lie, has preserved His Word,then we need to know where that Word is, we need to diligently study andknow just what that Word says and teaches. We believe the King James Bibleis the very inspired, preserved Word of God. If we believe God is eitherunable or unwilling to keep His promise to preserve His Word, then we mustconclude that we don't have His Word today. On the other hand, if we approachthis issue by faith, i.e. believing God, then our conclusion will be thatwe do have His Word today. The question is, do you believe God? If you do,then you will believe His promise to preserve His Word. The Bible is foreversettled in heaven and Satan with all his cohorts cannot destroy it. I believethe God who wrote the Bible has kept it, and will preserve it until itsministry is finished here on earth. An Independent Baptist Church is theright church because of what she believes the Bible teaches on:
Just as there are a multiplicity ofchurches and religions in the world today, so is there manifold teachingson the subject of salvation. But the Bible is plain and clear that thereis only one way of salvation, one way to heaven: " Jesus saith untohim, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me." (John 14:6). Christ Himself is the actual means for bringingmen to God as He spans the distance between God and the sinner. There isno other way: " There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, butthe end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12). Jesus didnot simply teach the way or point out the way; He is the way. ~ For thereis one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;~ (1 Timothy 2:5). This wipes away any other proposed way to heaven whetherit be good works, religious ceremonies, clean living, etc. There is onlyone way and that way is Jesus Christ. " Neither is there salvationin any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men,whereby we must be saved. " (Acts 4:12).
The greatest, most important words aboutGod's salvation are to be found in eight words in Eph. 2:8, "For bygrace are ye saved through faith... " This is the sinner's only hope.God's grace is His favor and kindness bestowed upon the guilty and unworthy,those who do not deserve it and cannot earn it. Grace came by Jesus Christwhen He fully made known God's gracious salvation when He shed His bloodon Calvary's cross for our sins and opened the fountain of mercy and pardonto every believing sinner. "In whom we have redemption through hisblood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"(Ephesians 1:7). Grace is a provision for sinners who are so fallen andcorrupt that they cannot change their own natures, so opposed to God thatthey cannot turn to Him, so blind that they cannot see Him, so deaf thatthey cannot hear Him, and so dead that Jesus Christ Himself must open heirgraves and lift them into resurrection and life. Since sinners cannot savethemselves, it was God's grace that brought salvation to lost mankind. Thissalvation was not invented or discovered by sinners but it was made manifestthroughout the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is onlyby the sovereign grace of God that we have salvation. Grace excludes allworks and boasting; it stands in direct opposition to works and worthiness.God's work of salvation for us and in us is by grace, i.e. it began in grace,continued by grace, and completed through grace. Because God is gracious,sinners are forgiven, converted, and saved. It is not because of anythingin them or that can ever be in them, that they are saved. But it is becauseof the boundless love, goodness, compassion, mercy, and grace of God. Graceis the first and last moving cause of salvation. It is because His mercyendureth forever that men are not destroyed; it is because His compassionfail not that sinners are brought to Christ and forgiven. Herein lies thefountain head, the divine source of our salvation and all blessings -- thegrace of God. "The way to heaven does not lie over a toll-bridge butover a free bridge, the unmerited free grace of God in Christ Jesus."
The Bible declares and teaches theremust be a work of repentance and faith in the sinner's heart before onecan be saved. Repentance and faith are inseparable; cannot have one withoutthe other. Acts 20:21 says there must be repentance toward God and faithtoward Christ. Jesus Himself preached in Mark 1:15 one must repent and believethe gospel. There must be a turning away from, the confession of, the forsakingof sin and a turning unto God. And it is not mere faith that saves, butfaith in Christ and His shed blood for your sins. In repentance one seeshimself as a lost sinner before God; in faith one sees Christ as Saviourfrom his sin. In repentance the sinner is helpless; in faith Christ is mightyto save. An Independent Baptist Church is the right church because of whatshe believes the Bible teaches on:
Because of the many human institutionswhich claim the name of churches. it is difficult for many people to recognizefalse churches for what they are. There are so many false churches todaythat people assume that every professing Christian organization is trulya church and that there are really no false churches but just a few churchesthat have differences of opinion on some things. But the Bible declaresand warns us of false churches with their false prophets preaching a falsegospel. Not only are we responsible to believe and to proclaim the doctrinesof the Word of God but we also are responsible to discern between the trueand the false and to reject and repudiate the false.
Satan has blinded the eyes of men tothe truth and Importance of the doctrine of the church. There seems to behopeless contusion and disagreement not only among professing Christiansbut even among so-called Baptists as to the origin of the church and otherrelated truths in connection with it. Because of the neglect of church truthloose thinking and erroneous views have developed as to what constitutesa New Testament church.
The Bible teaches that the church wasfounded, built by Christ. As He said in Mt. 16:18, "...upon this rockI will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail againstit." The word "church" in Christ's day had only one meaning:a company of people called out for a specific purpose. The Scriptures abundantlydeclare the New Testament church to be a local, visible assembly, a localinstitution. The terms used to describe the churches in the New Testament(such as: body-I Cor. 12; bride-II Cor. 11, Eph. 5, Rev. 19; building-Eph.2) show that the universal, invisible church theory to be unscriptural andunfounded. A New Testament church is a local, visible, independent organizedassembly of baptized believers united together in their faith to carry outthe Great Commission.
Jesus said He would build His church.If His words mean anything at all, they must mean that the institution whichHe built, started, was one separate and distinct from any institution thathad previously existed or existed at that time. The Lord Jesus Christ didnot delegate His power or authority to any man to be the one responsiblefor building His church; only Jesus Himself had the right, power, authority,ability, wisdom to build His church then, and He still does today! Any churchthat has a man for its builder is a false church. The church was not foundedby any man for there is but one Founder and Builder of the church and thatis Jesus Christ. The very fact that some churches can trace their originto a man should be enough to make them realize that they cannot rightlybe the Lord's church. The church began in Palestine during the earthly ministryof Jesus Christ with the calling and ordaining of the 12 apostles (Mk. 3;Lk. 6; I Cor. 12:28). When these saved, baptized apostles, who were thematerial prepared by John the Baptist, were called, chosen, ordained, andsent by Christ, they became a distinct entity, called out body of believerswith Christ as their shepherd, pastor. This all took place long before theday of Pentecost in Acts 2. To say the church was established then makesthe Holy Spirit the founder, not Christ. Jesus built the church and theHoly Spirit filled it, empowered it to carry out the Great Commission. Nowhereis there any mention that the disciples were to be formed into a churchby the filling of the Holy Spirit.
The origin of the New Testament churchis to be found in Palestine; the time of it was in the days of the Lord'searthly ministry; and the founder of the church was the Lord Jesus Christ.People need to realize that a church which isn't patterned after the NewTestament church isn't the Lord's church but is nothing more than a merehuman invention no matter what it may seem in the sight of man. A true churchwill possess those characteristics that will identify it with the New Testamentmodel, the church that Jesus built. I submit to you that an IndependentBaptist Church possesses those characteristics, that it has the same
message, same mission, and the same methods of the churches described inthe New Testament. An Independent Baptist Church believes that the onlyorganization given in the New Testament is the local church. They believethat God has given the church as the means of accomplishing His purposein this age. An Independent Baptist Church does not affiliate or identifyitself with any organized convention, association, or fellowship. An IndependentBaptist Church sends forth its missionaries by the authority of the churchand not through an unscriptural mission board. These missionaries are supporteddirectly by the churches. An Independent Baptist Church cooperates withother independent Baptist churches in missions on a voluntary basis, withoutany unscriptural organization binding the churches together. An IndependentBaptist Church has to rely on God and give Him all the glory. An IndependentBaptist Church will love the church that Jesus loved and will not have thislove and loyalty switched to some man-made organization. An IndependentBaptist Church denounces sin and apostasy wherever it is found; its voicewill not be silenced by loyalty to some outside organization. An IndependentBaptist Church is not dictated to nor influenced by any head or headquartersexcept the Lord Jesus Christ. Every Bible-believing Baptist ought to joinan Independent Baptist Church. When a sincere believer opens his Bible andstudies it, he can only come to the conclusion that an Independent BaptistChurch is the only true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. An IndependentBaptist Church is the right church because of what she believes the Bibleteaches on:
True Baptists have always been a Biblepeople. True Baptists believe the Bible to be the Word of God and they refuseadditions to it by the interpreters and subtractions from it by the unbelievers.They believe the Bible should be interpreted literally unless the languageor the context indicates otherwise. Baptist teachings are based upon theplain statements of the Scriptures and do not depend for support upon thespiritualization of the Scriptures which corrupts the meaning of the Scriptures.True Baptists insist that the Bible is the only authority and make everyeffort to interpret it correctly and apply it properly.
In the area of eschatology, the secondcoming of Christ, there is a variety of differing opinions on this subjecttoday but true Baptists have always believed in the pre-tribulational, premillennialcoming of Jesus Christ as it is taught in the Bible.
The second coming of Christ is two-fold,consists of two phases: 1) Rapture 2) Return.
In the Rapture Jesus comes in the air (I Thess. 4) for His people (In. 14)as a Bridegroom (Mt. 25).
In the Return Jesus comes to the earth (Zech. 14; Mt. 25) with His people(Zech. 14; Jude 14; Rev. 19) as a Judge and King (Rev. 19).
There will be a seven-year tribulationperiod, as described in Rev. 6-18, between the Rapture of the saints andChrist's millennial reign with His saints. That for which the believer awaitsis the personal, literal, bodily return of Jesus Christ. This is our hope:"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the greatGod and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" (Titus 2:13).
There is only one order of future eventsand therefore only one system of prophecy is correct. We believe that thepre-tribulational, premillennial view and interpretation of eschatologyto be the correct and biblical viewpoint. We may not have every answer toevery question nor understand and know everything what lies in the futurebut I believe God does not want us to be ignorant about prophecy, end-timeevents or any other part of His Word. Just as we would expect the Holy Spiritto teach us about various doctrines in the Word, we should expect no lesswhen we come to the area of eschatology.
In the midst of a world where thingsare not getting better and better but worse and worse, we as independentBaptists do not need to have a pessimistic outlook on life in general becausewe know assuredly from the Scriptures that Christ is coming again!
We believe an Independent Baptist Churchis the right church because of what she believes the Bible teaches on: bibliology,soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology. Or to put it another way: theBook, Blood, Bride, and the Blessed Hope!
If you are a member of an independentBaptist church, then you ought to support it by your presence, prayers,and pocketbook. We should love the church as Jesus Christ did -- He gaveHimself for it.
If you are not a member of an independentBaptist church, the Bible teaches it is God's will for every born againbeliever to be a member of a sound, Bible-believing, New Testament independentBaptist church. It is through the church that you can live for and servethe Lord Jesus Christ for His honor and glory. "Unto him be glory inthe church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.N(Ephesians 3:21)