STATEMENT OF FAITH of the On The Way Reformed Baptist Fellowship
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES (THE BIBLE)
We believe the Holy Scriptures are the only written revelation of God (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19), and are the sole basis for all matters of faith and practice in His church (Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4). These Holy Scriptures are the actual words of God as spoken through men made holy by Him as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, without abrogation (excluding) or manipulation of their personalities; i.e., they were not pencils in the hands of God, but real men who wrote down his words as His Spirit moved them, yet without error. The Scriptures contain the exact authority of God in all matters pertaining to life and godliness of living for his people, and all things pertaining to living in this world of His creation. Being “God-Breathed,” they have the full authority of God in and of themselves, depending upon no church, denomination, councils, creeds or catechisms for such authority, but depend entirely on God; literally, the Scriptures, being the words of God, partake of His power and authority.
We believe God is uncreated, eternal, infinite, holy, self-sustaining, immutable, needing nothing outside Himself, the only One who is and defines what is truly Good, the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and Sovereign over all He created (Genesis 1; Exodus 3:14-18; Psalm 115:3, 135:6; Daniel 4:34-35; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; Revelation 1:8) God is One substance, or essence, in three co-equal Persons: The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20). This is not three Gods, but One God of One essence shared by these three divine Persons, each who subsists in the one essence of God, each unique in their offices and functions within the One God (John 14:14-17, 23). In Scripture, we are taught, by a diversity of texts and contexts referring to each divine Person, that God is unique – there is not, has not been, nor ever will be any like Him. The Father, Son and Spirit eternally have always existed in this relationship which we call the “Trinity;” that is, the Triune God of Scripture.
God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). The first man, Adam, was a part of the creation of the world which God called “very good,” (Genesis 1:31) as well as the representative and father of all humanity. Though being “very good,” Adam did have the faculty of choice, and as representative and father of the entire human race, did willingly choose to “be like God” in disobedience, by which disobedience His fellowship, that is, His ability to have union with God, was permanently broken (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-24). Thus, this spiritual nature of disobedience (called “dead” in Scripture – Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 2:13) is common to all who are born after Adam (Romans 5:15-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22), which nature remains under God’s wrath (John 3:36; Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:1-3). Man, in this state of spiritual death, hates God, will not and cannot be subject to God’s law because of that nature of wrath, cannot please God, come to God, understand spiritual things, and, short of God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ, will die in his sins, be judged, and spend eternity in hell, also called the Lake of Fire, for disobedience and revolt against his God (Romans 3:9-18; 8:7-8; Matthew 13:24-30; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 21:8).
We believe God, from before time and the world were created by Him, decreed within the council of His will, to save a people for Himself. The Father sent the Son; the Son was made flesh like ours, yet unlike ours, by the Holy Spirit creating that holy union of a perfect new human nature, with also the nature of God the Son, unmingled, completely and harmoniously co-existing, born of a virgin. He was born of the virgin, lived a perfect life free of sin in complete compliance to God’s Law, taught the ways of God perfectly, was persecuted, suffered, and was put to death as a sacrifice for the sins of His people. Thus, this Savior, alone, through His substitutionary death and resurrection, who is Lord of Lords, King of Kings, God the Son, the only way to the Father and the only way to be saved, saves all those who repent of their sins, and call on He who is the Lord of Glory.
We believe that one must be “born again,” or “born from above,” which is called regeneration, also, in the Scriptures, to even see or enter the kingdom of God, by the singular, unaided, work of the Holy Spirit, which new birth includes the gifts of repentance and faith, to call on the name of the Lord and be saved.
We are convinced from Scripture that, just as it was necessary for the King and High Priest of our calling to be born with a nature that was not after Adam’s, so it is with His subjects. This does not involve a matter of will on the part of man, as it is a raising of the dead in sins and trespasses soul to a newly created life in Christ Jesus, to the glory of God alone. Those the Holy Spirit regenerates are those who call on the name of the Lord to be saved, having such desire to do so as they did not have before being born again, and are those whom our Lord Jesus Christ particularly died for, to make for Himself a particular people, zealous for good works.
We believe that the church is comprised of all those God has willed to save throughout the history of the world, according to His divine decree, by the death and resurrection of His Son, who took their sins upon the cross, and whose righteousness is imputed to them in history (time, space, matter), according to God’s decree; these individuals include all who have ever been, are now, and will be saved, before our Lord Jesus Christ comes back to judge the world. This eternal fact is according to Scripture (2 Timothy 1:8-10; Titus 1:1-3).
We believe, according to the Scriptures, this catholic (universal) church includes all local churches that hold to the true teaching of the Scriptures by the power of God, and that, as we are called “members one of the other,” such membership is implied in the Scriptures for those so called and committed to our Lord Jesus Christ to the glory of our heavenly Father; therefore, such commitment to our Lord and God involves commitment to the local body of believers, in the ministry of prayer and the teaching of the Word of God, as well as the ministry to the needs of the saints.
We believe God gifts each individual member to perform their duties from a sincere heart of love and faith, each as He wills, to the building up of the body in love unto a mature man in their Head, Jesus Christ. This gifting reflects the function of our Triune God; as the Son submits, but is not less than, the Father, and the Holy Spirit is sent forth from the Father and the Son; in the same way, there are members who are responsible to pray and teach the Word of God in His authority, and members who serve in responsibility to the needs of the ministry to the body as a whole, whose gifts will include mercy, giving to the needs (that none lacks or has too much), whether by work or finances, in generosity and love, graciously, with zeal. Each member must be committed to the functioning of the local expression of the universal church of our Lord Jesus Christ as a matter of honoring the Son and the Father, as He has placed them in the body to do; to do otherwise is to dishonor the Son and the Father, and to grieve the Spirit of God, if such be truly His.
We believe that evangelism, as stated in Scripture, is the general responsibility of all members of the church, but that some individuals are especially gifted for such. Evangelism includes the preaching of the gospel, which includes speaking of repentance of sins and calling on the name of the Lord of Glory to be saved, as well as discipleship, which simply means teaching each whom God converts all those things that the Lord Jesus commissioned us, as His church, to teach, which includes, for those who become members of the church, the theology of our God in His doctrines; however, a simple preaching of the gospel to those who are not members of the church, and helping them to find a home church if they wish to attend elsewhere, is necessary to all whom the Lord our God appoints to be saved. Such simple preaching of the gospel is contained throughout the New Testament, always inclusive of admission of sins and repentance of the same, calling on the name of the Lord for His mercy in salvation, and what He requires of those who are His by the saving faith He gives (good works which flow from that saving faith, and include learning His doctrines).
ESCHATOLOGY (The Doctrine of Last Things)
We believe that Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead, and that judgment begins at the house of God. This promise is found throughout the inspired Scriptures. Until His return, believers are to live lives that bring glory to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church is to be busy doing the work of evangelism and discipleship, proclaiming the pure, uncompromised Gospel of Christ by teaching the Word of God.