The official statement of faith for SGBC is the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 with modifications. The Cambridge Declaration and the Danvers Statement also reflect our understanding of the Bible and how it applies to our culture. Since the London Confession contains 70 pages, the following is a condensed summary of our beliefs.
The Bible – The Bible is God’s Word. Scripture is inspired by God (God breathed) not only in its general sense, but in every word. The Bible is God’s written revelation of Himself and His will to mankind. It is the highest authority in the church and the final judge of all church teaching. Every individual has the privilege and duty to study the Bible to know God and His will.
God – There is only one God. God is personal, eternal, holy, just, sovereign, and loving. God knows all things, is everywhere present, and is the source of all life. God is spirit and exists independently of the material universe. There are three coequal, co-eternal yet distinct persons in the Godhead; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Material Universe – The material universe (all things, all life, mankind) was created by God in six literal days. The chief purpose of the universe is to bring glory to God. God rules over the entire created universe including mankind and He causes all things to work according to His will.
Man – Man, male and female, was created in the image of God. Thus man is distinct from all other living creatures. Man’s being consists of body and spirit. As originally created by God man was holy and upright and had dominion over all the creatures. Man is under God’s authority and is accountable to God for his actions, thoughts, and motives.
Sin – Man (Adam and Eve) fell from his originally created state of uprightness by willfully disobeying God. All disobedience of God is sin. Man’s original sin and his continuance in sin brings death upon every member of the human race. God holds man accountable to pay the debt of his sins. Man’s nature is corrupt so that he naturally desires to do what is contrary to God’s will. He is completely incapable of delivering himself, in whole or in part, from either his guilt or his corrupt nature. In this state man is under God’s wrath and curse and is liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.
Jesus Christ the Savior – Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, equal with God. As the Son of God He came into the world and took upon himself the nature of man yet without sin. The purpose of His coming was to save men from their sin by living in their place, taking their sin upon Himself, dying on the cross under the punishment of God in their place, rising from the dead and presently living as their High Priest and Leader who will bring them to glory. The death of Jesus Christ upon the cross is the only means whereby men’s sins can be forgiven and their guilt removed. Jesus Christ, the God-man, is presently Lord of the universe, sits at the right hand of God and will one day judge the living and the dead.
Salvation from Sin – God the Father, knowing that all men if left to themselves would reject Him, determined in eternity past to save a people for Himself. The Father gave His Son Jesus Christ to die for the sins of His people; that is, to die under His wrath in their place. The Holy Spirit is sent by both the Father and the Son to convict men of their sin, to recreate their hearts (new birth), and to direct and enable them to believe (trust) in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. This salvation is freely offered as a gift to all men. Men must cease endeavoring to earn salvation by good works, religious ceremonies, refraining from certain sins, etc. Instead they must repent and turn to God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. They must depend solely upon Jesus Christ to save them as an infant depends solely on its mother for life. Since this salvation is not based upon anything in man, no one is too wicked to be saved and no one is too good to not need to be saved.
The Christian Life – The Christian’s life is lived by faith in Jesus Christ with the goal of pleasing and honoring God. Believers manifest that they are disciples of Christ by word and deed. They are used by God to lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ. Christians possess the glorious hope of one day living eternally in the presence of God; their life on earth is seen to be temporal. The Christian life is a life of continually striving against sin and by God’s grace being progressively made into the image of Jesus Christ. Self sacrificing love to God and others, humility, the ability to forgive others as Christ has forgiven them, and joy are among the chief traits of true Christians. Although not the basis of one’s salvation, good works are an inseparable result of genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
Man’s Eternal Future – The Lord Jesus Christ will one day visibly return and all men will be resurrected and will face God’s judgement. The present heavens and earth will be destroyed and a new heaven and earth created. Those who have been saved by the grace of God will live eternally in His presence, serving Him, worshiping Him, and enjoying Him. In this state of glory all aspects of sin will be absent. Those who have not been saved will be eternally punished under God’s wrath for their sins.
Appraisal of the Society in which We Live
With the widespread acceptance of evolution and secular humanism our society has become extremely man-centered. Man is endeavoring through these false philosophies to exalt himself above the authority of God. Practices such as abortion are the logical results of man’s perverted opinion of himself and his rebellion against God’s authority. When men persist in exalting themselves before God, God’s judgments upon the proud are inevitable. Our society’s great need is to be humbled in the presence of the sovereignty, holiness and grace of God. Men must learn that because of their own sin they are failures in the truest sense until God in His mercy saves them. There exists a pervasive undercurrent of despair and fear in our society which results from trusting in man rather than in God. Man himself (his sinful character) is the problem, not the solution.
Appraisal of the State of Christianity in Our Society
Unfortunately, the Christian church in the U.S.A. has been significantly influenced by the self-centeredness of our society so that the gospel is often offered as one more means of self-fulfillment. Churches are frequently overly occupied with man; man’s needs, feelings, purposes, etc. Due to the humanistic view that man is morally neutral our churches have diluted the Bible’s teaching on sin in an attempt to avoid offending man. Having a superficial understanding of sin leads to a superficial understanding of the death of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit, which in turn leads to a superficial experience of the love of God. Our great need is to have our attention redirected to God. We need to become God-knowing, God-fearing, God-worshiping, God-serving, and God-loving.
It is the goal of Sovereign Grace Bible Church that God be exalted and men humbled and brought to a deep appreciation of God’s grace and love in Jesus Christ. We desire to promote a true understanding of the Bible in order to lead individuals to a right relationship with God. As a church we desire to promote Christian growth, fellowship and good works. Humankind’s greatest joy and happiness comes when we are thoroughly oriented in accordance with the apostle Paul’s great statement, “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36).
Regarding Our Beliefs
We at Sovereign Grace Bible Church declare that our final source of faith and practice is the inerrant and infallible Word of God, as found in the sixty-six books of the Bible. We also accept the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 as an accurate and reliable (though not inspired) expression of what the Scriptures teach and the faith we confess. We also concur with the doctrinal teachings expressed in other reformed confessions such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Second Helvetic Confession, Canons of Dort, etc. Moreover, we believe the doctrinal truths recovered in the sixteenth century Reformation which are summarized by the well-known Solas, see the Cambridge Declaration.