Bible doctrine taught at Colonial Baptist Church in Norwich, CT concerning...
SECTION VII. CONCERNING SALVATION.
A. We believe that man is separated from God because of his sin.
1. Man is a sinner by nature and a sinner by choice.
2. Man is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins.
3. Man abides in a state of perpetual enmity with God until his condition is remedied.
4. Man is unable in his own power to do anything to change or improve his condition.
B. We believe that God designed a plan for man’s salvation before the worlds were framed.
1. Jesus, the Son of God, would become incarnate, God in the flesh.
2. He would satisfy the righteous demands of the Law with His sinless life.
3. He would satisfy the just penalty of sin with his death, burial, and resurrection.
C. We believe that salvation is primarily the work of God.
1. God convicts man of his sin and convinces him of his need of the Savior.
2. God enables man to repent of his sin and believe upon Jesus as the Savior.
3. God regenerates the repentant, believing sinner, making him a new creature.
4. God reconciles the believer unto Himself, making him at peace with God.
5. God redeems the believer from sin unto Himself, making him God’s possession.
6. God justifies the believer, declaring him judicially righteous in the sight of God.
7. God imputes the righteousness of Christ to the believer and imputes his sin to Christ.
8. God adopts the believer into His family, giving him all the rights and privileges of sonship.
9. God sanctifies the believer, progressively perfecting in him the image of Christ.
10. God secures the believer unto Himself for eternity.
D. We believe that salvation is secondarily the responsibility of man.
1. In response to divine conviction, man must repent (change his mind) of his sin.
a. He must change his mind about the person and works of Jesus Christ.
b. He must change his mind about his own works of righteousness.
c. He must change his mind about his own works of religion.
d. He must change his mind about his own works of the flesh.
e. Genuine repentance will be demonstrated by spiritual growth into the likeness of Christ and evidenced by at least some gracious, good works.
2. In response to divine influence, man must believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior.
a. He must believe that He is the virgin born Son of God.
b. He must believe that He lived a sinless life under the stress of temptation.
c. He must believe that He shed His blood as atonement for sin.
d. He must believe that He finished the work of redemption upon the cross.
e. He must believe that He rose bodily from the dead on the third day.
3. Though man is responsible to receive salvation, he can in no way save himself.
a. He cannot impress God with works of righteousness.
b. He cannot impress God with works of religion.
c. He cannot appease God with works of penance.
E. We believe that salvation must be seen in its entirety.
1. In the past, we were saved from the penalty of sin. This is justification.
Justification is an immediate act whereby the believer is judicially declared by God the Father to be righteous through the merits of Christ Jesus.
2. In the present, we are being saved from the power of sin. This is sanctification.
Sanctification is a progressive process whereby the believer is practically changed into the image and likeness of Christ by the power of the Spirit.
3. In the future, we shall be saved from the presence of sin. This is glorification.
Glorification is an immediate act some day in the future whereby the believer is instantaneously conformed into the image and likeness of Christ forever.
SECTION VIII. CONCERNING THE CHURCH.
A. We believe the New Testament Church is a distinct entity from the Nation of Israel.
B. We believe the Church was instituted during a transitional period that began with Christ’s baptism and that ended with the Day of Pentecost.
C. We believe the Church is presented in Scripture in two forms.
1. The Church is the body of Christ. It is an organism (universal and invisible).
(Online edition note: The universal aspect of the Church is positional in nature, not practical, meaning this is not a one-world denomination idea and does not dissolve or negate the independent, local aspect of the church in any way, nor it's doctrine of separation from unbiblical brethren.
In the same way a saved person can positionally be called "saint" when practically they are not; the way in which the saved are said to be positionally "buried with Christ" (Romans 6:4), when practically we were not, is the same way that all truly saved people are presently, positionally assembled together with Christ (Ephesians 2:6) when practically we are not. “Together” means together! You might even say, “assembled”. In God’s view, we’re together. Practically though, not so much.
The universal, invisible concept is called by many, the "family of God" (biblically, “household of faith” in Galatians 6:10), simply acknowledging a spiritual kinship between all true brethren. It is demonstrable from Scripture that the terms "Household of faith", being "in Christ", and even on some specific instances the term "the Body of Christ" have all been used to refer to the same thing- the universal, invisible aspect of the Church presently, positionally assembled together with Christ. We’re just all not practically/physically assembled.
Though the word “Church” in the New Testament literally means an “assembly” and in most cases it is used of a local assembly, it was in some cases used in a broader sense than local (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23-32). To read a local-only meaning into those references would create too many inconsistencies to be makes sense. Local-only adherents might call these verses an “institutional use”of the word “Church”, but that is actually just an admission of a broader-than-local sense just without using the word “Universal”. So, we must see both a local and broader-than-local use of the word as complementary rather than contradictory.
This acknowledging of a universal aspect of the Church is not the same thing as being a universal denominationalist, which is an unbiblical concept. Local assemblies should be autonomous. We also do not believe in the "mystical body" idea often used by some as a “straw man” to demonize the balanced approach such as what we are presenting here. Rather, we believe that honest Biblical interpretation demonstrates that the "family of God", “Household of faith”, being “in Christ”, and "the Church" are terms that can be used interchangeably and without conflict based on the balance and interplay of the "Position verses practice" principle often seen in Scriptural terms like the aforementioned example using the word “saint”. This is in no way in conflict with the emphasis on the local assembly seen in scripture or with any doctrine of separation.
Consistency and intellectual honesty dictate that if one is willing to acknowledge positional "sainthood" and positional "in Christ" status of believers, that one must also acknowledge the positional "together" with Christ in heavenly places of Ephesians 2:6 despite not having all the saved practically assembled at present. We realize that a few go to great lengths of verbal and grammatical gymnastics in attempt to reason away what we have presented here, and often because passions are high on this issue, but scriptural consistency and good sense must be upheld. We anticipate the future day when all the saved of this age will truly and practically be assembled together with Christ in the air and when separation from doctrinally errant brethren will no longer be needed.
2. The Church is the local assembly. It is an organization (local and visible).
D. We believe the Church is the Body, Building, and Bride of Christ.
1. All believers from the days of Christ until the rapture, regardless of race, religion, social status, or gender, are part of this body.
2. The Holy Spirit baptizes believers into this Body at the moment of salvation.
E. We believe the local church is ordained by God.
1. The local church consists of baptized believers who have associated themselves together by covenant of faith and in the fellowship of the Scriptures. (See G.1. Baptism.)
2. The local church observes two ordinances, Baptism and Lord’s Supper.
3. The local church governs itself by Scripture, particularly the New Testament teachings of Christ and His Apostles.
4. The local church provides opportunities wherein individual members may exercise their spiritual gifts to minister to each other and to evangelize the lost.
5. The local church administers the tithes and offerings of God’s people.
6. The local church disciplines its members according to the Scripture and its covenant.
7. The local church selects divinely called men to serve in two different offices.
a. The Pastor functions to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
1) He feeds the flock (teaching and preaching).
2) He oversees the work (administration and leadership).
3) He sets the example (godly life of pastor and family).
b. The Deacon functions to assist the Pastor and to serve the church.
1) He assists in business that may edify the saints.
2) He assists in business that may evangelize the lost.
c. The qualifications for both are given in Scripture.
8. The local church functions to teach doctrine, to provide fellowship, to worship the Lord,
to minister to each other’s needs, and to evangelize the lost.
F. We believe the local church is governed by God.
1. The local church is an autonomous body under the Headship of Christ.
2. The local church determines the will of God by the prayerful agreement of
a. Pastoral leadership.
b. Deacon recommendation.
c. Congregational approval.
3. The local church is free to associate with other local churches of like faith if it is useful to the advancement of the cause of Christ.
4. The local church is responsible to cooperate with other divinely ordained institutions.
a. The local church is to promote and protect the nuclear (traditional) family.
b. The local church is to support and respect civil government.
1) By praying for its leaders.
2) By communicating with its leaders.
3) By obeying laws under God, so far as they agree with Scripture.
4) By seeking the appointment of godly leaders.
G. We believe the local church is identified by its ordinances.
a. Candidates for baptism must be confessing, obedient believers capable of full understanding, having gladly received His Word by their own choice.
b. Immersion in water is the only Biblical mode.
c. Candidates must be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
d. Baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
e. Baptism symbolizes the crucifixion of the “old man” and the regeneration of the “new man” in Christ.
f. Baptism imparts no saving grace of any kind.
g. Baptism is prerequisite for membership in the local church and for partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
2. Lord’s Supper.
a. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial feast that commemorates His physical death (broken body) and atonement (shed blood) until He comes.
b. Elements of the Lord’s Supper are unfermented juice and unleavened bread.
c. Participation must be preceded by:
2) Baptism by immersion.
3) Membership in the local church or one of like faith.
4) Solemn self-examination concerning obedience to Christ.
d. Participation in the Lord’s Supper imparts no saving grace of any kind.
e. Participation in the Lord’s Supper symbolizes the communion that exists between Christ and an obedient believer because he has “partaken” of Christ.
SECTION IX. CONCERNING SEPARATION.
A. We believe that as the Bride of Christ, the Church is His purchased possession.
1. It should be separated unto Him for His own eternal purpose and pleasure.
2. It should be separated from the ecumenical movement and its apostate components.
a. Ecclesiastical separation extends to doctrine, practice, and fellowship.
b. Ecclesiastical separation includes persons, organizations, and institutions.
c. Ecclesiastical separation includes apostates and disobedient brethren.
3. It should be separated from the world and its ungodly system.
B. We believe that as members of the Body of Christ, each believer is His purchased possession.
1. Believers should be separated unto Him in their worship, walk, and work.
2. Believers should be separated from the world and its ungodly system.
a. Believers should not be conformed to the world in appearance or activity.
b. Believers should be Christlike in conversation, dress, amusements, personal habits, business habits, and professional habits.
c. Believers should abstain from appearances of evil and questionable associations that:
1) Damage their testimony to others. 3) Confuse their doctrinal position.
2) Reduce their effectiveness for Christ