STATEMENT OF FAITH
The following comprise the Scriptural beliefs of this church and its members.
(A) The Holy Scriptures
The Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and thus the 66 books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God. The Word of God is verbally inspired in every word, absolutely inerrant, infallible, and God-breathed. The literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture. The Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice. The meaning of Scripture can be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The King James Version is the official translation of the Bible used by the First Baptist Church of Long Beach.
(1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 7:17; John 10:35; 16:12-15; 17:17;1 Corinthians 2:7-15; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 John 2:20)
There is but one living and true God, an infinite, all-knowing Spirit, Creator of the universe, perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each equally deserving worship and obedience.
God the Father. God the Father is the first Person of the Trinity. He is the Creator of all things, and as the only absolute and omnipotent Ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption. His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men, but He is spiritual Father only to believers. He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass. He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events. In His sovereignty He is neither the author nor approver of sin, nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures. He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own.
God the Son. Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, is coequal and coeternal with the Father. God the Father created all things according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by Whom all things continue in existence and in operation.
In the incarnation, the eternal Son, without altering His divine nature or surrendering any of the divine attributes, made Himself of no reputation by taking on a full-human nature, yet without sin.
Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary and thus born of a woman, so that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the divine and the human, were joined together in one person, without confusion, change, division, or separation. He is therefore fully God and fully man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.
In His incarnation, Christ fully possessed His divine nature, attributes, and prerogatives. However, in the state of His humiliation, He did not always fully express the glories of His majesty, concealing them behind the veil of His genuine humanity. According to His human nature, He acts in submission to the Father by the power of Holy Spirit, while, according to His divine nature, He acts by His authority and power as the eternal Son.
Our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive.
On the basis of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God.
Our justification is made sure by Christ’s literal, physical resurrection from the dead, and He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers.
Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His Body, unto Himself at the rapture, and returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth.
God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect, emotions, will, eternality, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, and truth. In all the divine attributes, He is coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine will with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in creation, the incarnation, the written revelation, and the work of salvation.
The work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost, when He came from the Father as promised by Christ to initiate and complete the building of the Body of Christ, which is His church. The broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ, and baptizing believers into the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption.
The Holy Spirit indwells believers from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. He bestows all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today, and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of authenticating the apostles as messengers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers.
(Genesis 1:1-31; Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 139:7-10; Isaiah 40:13-14; 42:1; Isaiah 45:5-7; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 1:18; 17:2; 28:6,19; Mark 13:32; Luke 1:35; 5:18-26; 24:38-39; John 1:3; 1:12-14; 2:11; 4:24,34; 5:19,26-29; 6:38; 10:37–38; John 14:10-19; 15:26; 16:7-13,30; 20:28; Acts 1:5-11; 2:4; 5:3-4; 28:25-26; Romans 1:4; 3:25; Romans 4:25; 5:8-9; 8:9,29,34; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 8:4; 12:4-13; 15:20,23; 2 Corinthians 3:6,18; 5:14-15; 6:18; 13:14; Galatians 4:4-6; Ephesians 1:11-13; 2:22; 4:30; 5:18; Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:15-17; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Hebrews 1:2; 2:1-4; 4:15; Hebrews 7:25-26; 9:14,24; 10:15-17; Hebrews 12:5-9; 1 Peter 1:17; 2:20-24; 3:18; 1 John 2:1; 1 John 2:20,27; Revelation 20)
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female on the sixth day as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan, man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence; whereby, the human race inherited a sin nature, incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death, became subject to the wrath of God, and became alienated from God, totally depraved. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
(Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5-7, 18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalm 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5, Jeremiah 1:19-32; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18, 23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; Romans 7:14-25; 8:14-18, 29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19, 21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11)
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer.
In its broadest sense, salvation includes justification, regeneration, sanctification, glorification, and eternal security. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
Justification. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ, by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sin. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
Regeneration. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace; whereby, believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
Sanctification. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin. All the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord.
Glorification. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
Eternal Security. All the redeemed are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which; however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh.
(Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 55:6-7; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14; John 3:3-21, 36; 5:24; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21,38; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; Romans 1:16-18; Romans 2:4; 3:23-25; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; Romans 8:1-18; 29-39; 10:9-10; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; Hebrews 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20 Revelation 21:1-22:5)
(E) The Church
A New Testament church is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; seeking to glorify God by observing the two ordinances of Christ, being governed by His Word, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ, the direction of the pastor, and counsel of the deacons through democratic processes. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are the pastor and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the offices of the pastor and deacon are limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
Two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Baptism. Christian baptism by immersion is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life . It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ.
The Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and that the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ.
(Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; Ephesians 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3)
(F) Last Things
Death. Physical death involves a separation of body and soul. The soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ and eternal life where in consciousness they await the first resurrection, when soul and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord.
The souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment.
(Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 23:43; John 5:28, 29; 11:25-26; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; 3:21; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Revelation 20:4-6; 11-15)
The Second Coming of Christ. Christ will return imminently, personally, and bodily to rapture His church prior to the seven-year tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will personally and visibly return with His saints, to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom, which was promised to the nation of Israel. This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world.
The kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel to restore them to the land that they forfeited through their disobedience. The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside, but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing.
(Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Psalm 89:3-4; Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 2:31-45; Zechariah 8:1-17; 14:4-11; Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1-26; I Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10; 19:11-16; 20:1-6)
Holy Angels. Angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him.
(Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14; 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:9)
Fallen Angels. Satan is a created angel, the author of sin, and was instrumental in the Fall of Man. He is the open and declared enemy of God and man, and shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. The Scriptures declare him to be the god of this world, blinding the minds of them, which believe not, and the author of all the power of darkness. He was once holy and enjoyed heavenly honors; but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell, taking numerous angels with him. Satan is the father of lies, and author of all false religions, apostasy, and powers of darkness.
(Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:2-11; 25:41; Rev. 20:10)
(H) The Christian and Social Order
Biblical Institutions. God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: the home, the church, and the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. Church and state should be separate. It is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God.
(Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-24; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13-14)
Human Sexuality. Any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, pedophilia, pornography, crossdressing, and any attempt to change one’s sex or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is a sinful perversion of God’s gift of sex and offensive to Him. Biological sex and gender are one and the same: male and female.
(Leviticus 18:1–30; Matthew 5:28; Romans 1:26–29; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1–8)
Abortion. Human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of an unborn human life. We speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception regardless of family status, birth defects, or gender selection.
(Job 3:16; Psalm 51:5; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
(I) The Family
Family Relationships. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband, and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
(Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12, I Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4, Colossians 3:18-21; Hebrews 13:4; I Peter 3:1-7)
Marriage. We believe God made man and women, male and female, to leave their mother and father and join together, one man and one woman in covenant commitment, becoming one flesh before God for a lifetime, which is the only legitimate type of marriage. Marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
(Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23)
Divorce and remarriage. We believe what God has joined together should not be put asunder (separate, divide, divorce). Divorce only occurs because of man’s sin and hardness of heart. We believe that remarriage is permitted after the death of a spouse or when the divorce was on biblical grounds. Divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church as be used of God in Christian service, but may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon.
(Malachi 2:14-17; Matthew 19:3-12; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:2,12; Titus 1:6)
(J) Evangelism and Missions
Evangelism. It is the duty of every child of God to constantly seek to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
(Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30)
Missions. It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations, tribes, ethnic group, and language group.
(Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:20)
Every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially. God has established the tithe as a basis for giving, but every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to support the church, to provide for the orphaned, needy, and helpless, and to spread the Gospel.
(Genesis 14:20; Proverbs 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; Galatians 6:6; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 1 John 3:17)