An important part of any church is its beliefs. As a multiethnic, multi congregational church, FMBC is accustomed to people coming to us with a variety of beliefs. So it is very important for us to know what we believe and how we put those beliefs into practice. At FMBC, the Bible is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice. Because of what the Bible teaches, we can say with confidence that:
in essential beliefs — we have unity
“There is one Body and one Spirit…there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all…”
in non-essential beliefs — we have liberty
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters… Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls… So then each of us will give an account of himself to God… So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”
in all our beliefs — we show charity
“…If I hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but also the very secrets of God, and if I have the faith that can move mountains — but have no love, I amount to nothing at all.”
1 Cor. 13:2 (Ph)
The Essentials We Believe
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.
Genesis 1:1,26,27, 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14
About Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, meaning He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. After three days, He arose from the dead to demonstrate His power over sin and death. Next, He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Matthew 1:22, 23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5; 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14,15; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 1:3,4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:14,15; Titus 2:13
About the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. Therefore, the Holy Spirit provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians, we seek to live under His control daily.
2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13, 14:16,17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18
About the Bible
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, it is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it communicates truth without any mixture of error.
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119:105,160, 12:6; Proverbs 30:5
About Human Beings
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin”. This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life.
Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1, 2
Salvation is God’s free gift to us but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.
Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1
About Eternal Security
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. If you have been genuinely saved, you cannot “lose” it. 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.
John 10:29; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25, 10:10,14; 1 Peter 1:3-5
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17-18; Revelation 20:15; 1 Cor. 2:7-9
About Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are known in the Baptist tradition as the two “ordinances” of the church. Both of these actions are deeply symbolic acts of worship that our Lord commands of all believers. They do not convey any salvific or sacramental benefit to worshipers. Rather, they are both acts of worship that symbolize profound spiritual truths.
Baptism is an act of worship for new believers. It symbolizes personal conversion: the death and burial of the unregenerate person, and the rebirth and raising to new life of the new believer. It also symbolizes personal identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism serves much the same purpose as a wedding ring, in that it is an outward symbol of an inner, spiritual transformation. Baptism does not save a person; rather, it proclaims to the world that Jesus Christ has saved you. Because the meaning of the word in the original language is “to immerse or dip in water,” FMBC baptizes new believers by immersion only. In obedience to Jesus’ command, we baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 3:13-17; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; Colossians 2:12.
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of worship whereby believers, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming. It is the Lord’s table, not the local church’s, which means that at FMBC, we invite all born again believers to partake of the Supper. Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29
About Confessions of Faith
The preceding list of “essential beliefs” is by no means a complete description of FMBC’s beliefs.
Let us be clear– we affirm that the Holy Bible is the perfect, preeminent, necessary, sufficient and final authority for our church’s beliefs and practices.
Affirmation of any confession of faith is another matter. While we affirm that our own Baptist Faith and Message (1925, 1963, 2000) is an accurate summary of many of the teachings that we as Baptists hold to be true, any confession of faith’s accuracy will always be judged in light of Forest Meadow Baptist Church’s understanding of the Scriptures themselves. God’s Word is perfect. Human reflection on it is not. We do not accept any confession of faith as a creed by which the Scriptures are to be interpreted.