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Basic Beliefs

GOD:There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the Universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1Peter 1:2)

JESUS CHRIST: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus entered the human race through a virgin birth. He was both fully God and fully man. He lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He rose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:22-23; John 1:1-5; 14:10-13; Acts 1:9-11; 1Corinthians 15:3-4; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 4:14-15)

THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as God. He is present in the world to make us aware of our need for Jesus Christ. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He also lives within every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance for doing what is right. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts, all of which are operable today, by which they serve God through His church. The Christian seeks to live under His control daily. (John 14:16-17; 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; 1Corinthians 2:12; 3:16; 12:13; 2Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 1:13; 5:18)

SALVATION: Salvation is a gift from God to each one of us. 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 one be saved from sin’s penalty. When we trust in Jesus Christ we are not only forgiven but we are made righteous on the basis of faith in Christ. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into their life by faith. God, Himself, by His grace and power maintains a person’s salvation for eternity. (John 1:12; Romans 5:1; 6:23; 2Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:8-9; Titus 3:5)

ETERNAL LIFE: We were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or in union 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; Romans 6:23; 1John 2:25; 5:11-13)

HUMANITY: Human beings are made in the image of God, to be like Him in character. We are the supreme objects of God’s creation. Although we have tremendous potential for good, we are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin.” Sin incurs physical, spiritual, and eternal death, which is separation from God. As a consequence, all human beings are born with a sinful nature and are sinners by choice and therefore under condemnation. Every person is marred by sin and all are separated from God and without hope apart from salvation in Jesus Christ. (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; 59:1-2; Romans 3:23)

We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. (Psalm 139.)

We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Genesis 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.

THE BIBLE: The Bible is God’s Word to all people. It was written by men under the supernatural inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, there are no mistakes. It is completely trustworthy. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. (Psalm 19:7-10; 119:105; 119:160; Proverbs 30:5-6; 2Timothy 1:13; 3:16-17; 2Peter 1:19-21)

THE CHURCH: A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local body of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, 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. Its Scriptural officers are Elders and Deacons. While both men (adult genetic males) and women (adult genetic females) are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. Pastors/Elders are appointed to be servant leaders, devoted to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, to the body of believers committed to their care. Deacons are appointed to serve the physical needs of the body. (Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42, 47; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11, 21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22; 1 Timothy 3:1-15; 4:14; 5:17; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 1:5-9; James 5:13-16; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3)

DISCIPLE MAKING AND 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. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit results in love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods, such as financial support of missions, in harmony with the gospel of Christ. (Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 24:14; 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; Romans 10:13-18; 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8; 2 Timothy 4:5;)

THE FAMILY: God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. Marriage is the uniting of one man (adult genetic male) and one woman (adult genetic female) in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It 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 for sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race. 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; 2:18-25; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 78:1-8; 127; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 6:20-22; 13:24; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

Marriage and Human Sexuality

Marriage is an institution ordained by God from the foundation of the world, and is intended as a lifelong, monogamous union of one man (adult genetic male) and one woman (adult genetic female). God created the man first, and then stated that it was not good for him to be alone. So God created woman and brought her to the man. Together they were man and wife. Thus God instituted marriage. God did not create another man to be married to the man, or another woman to be married to the woman. God did not institute marriage between a man and multiple women or a woman and multiple men. In the New Testament both Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul reaffirmed this Old Testament teaching. Paul elaborated the idea that the marriage of a man and a woman represents the image of God in mankind by comparing the union of Christ and the Church to marriage.

Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 2:15-25, Matthew 19:4-6, Ephesians 5:22-32

Lifestyles that include expressions of human sexuality outside of a biblical marriage are condemned by God. These include the practice of adultery, homosexuality, fornication, pedophilia, incest, polyamory, polygamy, bestiality, and the use of pornography. Further, God says that approving of such lifestyles is sin, even if one is not personally participating in them.

Leviticus 20:10-21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:18-32

GOD'S PURPOSE OF GRACE: Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility. All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the cause of Christ, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. (Exodus 19:5-8; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Matthew 21:28-45; 24:22, 31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45, 10:27-29; 15:16; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7. 26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10, 19; Hebrews 11:39 - 12:2; 1 Peter 1:2-5, 13; 2:4-10; 1 John 2:19; 3:2 )

STEWARDSHIP: God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to Jesus Christ. They are, therefore, under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and they should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the cause of Jesus Christ. Christians need to be part of God’s work on earth in every possible way. (Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4, 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21; 16:1- 13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19)

SIN AND REPENTANCE: We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.)

We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of South Side Baptist Church.

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