The Statement of Faith of Lakeland Baptist Temple
Concerning the Scriptures: We believe that the Holy Bible was written inerrant in its original languages by men divinely inspired, and it is a perfect reassurance of heavenly instruction (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21); that it has God for its author, salvation for its end (II Timothy 3:15), and truth without any mixture of error for its matter (Psalm 12:6; Proverbs 30:5-6); that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us (Romans 2:12); and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age, the Supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, actions, and opinions should be tried (I John 4:1).
ē By the ďHoly BibleĒ we mean that collection of sixty-six books from Genesis to Revelation which does not only contain and convey the Word of God, but IS the very Word of God. We believe also that God has preserved His Word to the English-speaking people in the King James Version, first published in 1611. Because of that act of preservation, we possess in our language the inerrant, infallible Word of God. This 1611 King James Version shall be the only Bible that we as a church will use for all worship and teaching.
ē By ďinspirationĒ we mean that the books of the Bible were written by holy men of old, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:19-21) in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally and verbally inspired (God-breathed) and free from error, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be inspired.
ē Whereas there are a number of other versions of the Bible in circulation, all of which are not reliable due to the omission of words and their being translated from corrupt manuscripts, we consider it, therefore, a necessity and a privilege to use only the King James Version A.V. 1611 in our pulpits and classrooms. Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19.
Concerning the True God: We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent, perfect spirit and personal being; the Creator, Preserver, and Supreme Ruler of the Universe (John 4:24); inexpressibly glorious in holiness (Exodus 15:11) and all other perfections, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love (Mark 12:30); that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19); equal in every Divine perfection (John 10:30), and executing distinct, but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (Ephesians 2:18).
Concerning the Fall of Man: We believe that man was created by the special act of God, as recorded in Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:7. We believe that man was created in a state of holiness, under the law of his Maker, but through the temptation of Satan, he voluntarily transgressed and fell from this holy state (Genesis 3:6-24). In consequence of which all mankind are now sinners (Romans 5:19), not by constraint, but choice (Isaiah 53:6), being by nature utterly devoid of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil, and therefore, under just condemnation of eternal ruin (Ephesians 2:13) without defense or excuse (Ezekiel 18:19-20).
Concerning the Way of Salvation: We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace (Ephesians 2:8), through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God (John 3:16) Who pre-existed (John 8:58) and Who, by the appointment of the Father, and Who, by the Holy Spirit, was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, freely took upon Him manís nature, yet without sin (Philippians 2:6,7); honored the divine law by His perfect obedience (Hebrews 1:8), and after a miraculous ministry, by His death made a full atonement for our sins (Isaiah 53:4,5); that having risen from the dead bodily, He is now enthroned in Heaven (Hebrews 1:8), to reign in eternal sovereignty and uniting in His wonderful Person the tenderest sympathies with Divine perfections, He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, compassionate and all-sufficient Saviour and Lord (Hebrews 7:25).
Concerning Justification: We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ (John 1:16) secures to such as believe in Him is Justification (Acts 13:39); that justification includes the forgiveness of sin (Romans 5:9), and the promise of eternal life on the principles of righteousness (Romans 5:17); that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood (Romans 4:4,5); by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God (Romans 5:19); that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity (Romans 5:1-2).
Concerning the Freeness of Salvation: We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel (Isaiah 55:1); that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by their cordial, penitent, and obedient faith (Romans 16:25, 26); and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth (John 5:41) but his own inherent depravity and voluntary aggravated condemnation (John 3:19).
Concerning Grace in Regeneration: We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated or born again (John 3:3); that regeneration consists of giving a holy disposition to the soul (II Corinthians 5:17); that it is affected, in a manner above our comprehension, by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with Divine truth (John 3:8), so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel (I Peter 1:22-25); and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life (Ephesians 5:9).
Concerning Repentance and Faith: We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God (Mark 1:15); whereby, being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ (John 16:8), we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy (Luke 18:13); at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as the only and all-sufficient Saviour (Romans 10:9-11).
Concerning Godís Purpose of Grace: We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God according to which He graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners (II Timothy 1:8, 9); that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of men, it comprehends as well as embraces all the means in connection with the end (II Thessalonians 2:13, 14); that it is a most glorious display of Godís sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable (Exodus 33:18, 19); that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of His free mercy (I Corinthians 4:7); that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree (II Timothy 2:10); that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel (I Thessalonians 1:4-10); that it is the foundation of Christian assurance (Romans 8:28-31); and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence (II Peter 1:10, 11).
Concerning Sanctification: We believe that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of His holiness (I Thessalonians 4:3; that it is a progressive work (Proverbs 4:18); that it is begun in regeneration (I John 2:29); and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers throughout their earthly life, by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means, especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness and prayer (Philippians 2:12, 13).
Concerning the Perseverance of the Saints: We believe that all real believers endure unto the end (John 8:31); that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors (I John 2:19); that a special Providence watches over their welfare (Romans 8:28); and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation to the exclusion of their works (Philippians 1:6).
Concerning the Resurrection: We believe that Jesus Christ was crucified and died upon the cross according to the Scriptures (I Corinthians 15:1-4); that He was buried in a tomb not far from the place of crucifixion; that He arose physically and bodily from the grave on the third day, which was Sunday or the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1-8); that He appeared physically to His disciples and to as many as 500 brethren at one time, showing Himself alive by many infallible proofs (I Corinthians 15:5, 6; Acts 1:3), that He forever lives in His glorified body and is seated at the right hand of God the Father to make intercession for the saints (I Peter 3:22; Hebrews 7:25); that because He lives we, too, shall live eternally with Him (John 14:1-3, 19); that if we, as saints, die prior to the rapture, He will raise us up and upon our resurrection He will transform our bodies into a new and glorified body (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:44-51); that there will be a resurrection for the unjust and all men shall stand before this Christ in judgment for their sin (Revelation 20:14, 15).
Concerning the Return of Christ: We believe that Jesus Christ shall rapture the church according to the plan of God and it shall not endure the tribulation; that it is imminent, the next event on Godís prophetic calendar (I Thessalonians 4:16-18); that upon the catching away of the church, which is the bride of Christ, the earth shall endure seven years of tribulation judgment while the saved shall rejoice in heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb; that at the end of the tribulation period, all souls in heaven shall return bodily and physically with the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall establish His world-wide reign for one thousand years, and we shall rule and reign with Him; that when those thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed from his prison and a solemn separation shall take place; that in one last battle Satan, evil, and his forces shall be eternally vanquished and the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment and the righteous to endless joy; that this judgment shall fix forever the final state of men in heaven and hell, on principles of righteousness (Revelation 4:1-20:15).
Concerning the Harmony of the Law and the Gospel: We believe that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government (Romans 3:31); that it is holy, just, and good (Romans 7:12); and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin (Romans 8:8); to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church (Romans 8:2-4).
Concerning a Local Church: We believe that the visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers (I Corinthians 1:1-13), associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel (Acts 2:41, 42); that it is the only commissioned authority to observe the ordinances of Christ (I Corinthians 11:2); governed by His laws (Matthew 28:20); and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word (Ephesians 4:7); seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:20); that its only Scriptural officers are Bishops or Pastors, and deacons (Philippians 1:1), whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the epistles to Timothy and Titus; that Jesus Christ, after his baptism by John the Baptist, founded and established the church and it is the only organization which has been promised Divine perpetuity (Matthew 16:16-18) and thus, we identify ourselves as Baptists, that subjecting itself to the authority of the Holy Scriptures and the authority of Jesus Christ its Chief Shepherd, and then the authority of the Pastor, or Bishop as its Undershepherd it is autonomous, independent, and democratic in its government (Matthew 18:15-18; I Timothy 3:15).
Concerning Baptism and the Lordís Supper: We believe that both Christian baptism and the Lordís Supper are each a memorial, a symbol, and a command to observe (Romans 6:3) only to the authority of a gospel church. We believe that Christian baptism is immersion in water of a believer only (Acts 8:36-39) in the authority and name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19), to show forth , in a solemn and beautiful picture, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour and with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:4); that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation. We believe that the sacred use of unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine is the partaking of the Lordís Supper and is to commemorate together the dying life of Christ (I Corinthians 11:26), that it should always be preceded by prayer and solemn self-examination (I Corinthians 11:28); that it is specifically instituted to each local body and that each member within that particular body should individually decide whether he is deemed worthy to partake.
Concerning the Lordís Day: We believe that the first day of the week is the Lordís Day, for it commemorates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead (Acts 20:7); that it is the focal point of all our public and private worship; that in so doing we are adhering to both the example and the instruction of the New Testament church, thus making it a Christian institution.
Concerning Christian Education: We believe that Christianity is true enlightenment and the beginning of wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7); that in Jesus Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Matthew 28:20, Colossians 2:3); and that all sound learning is therefore a part of Christian heritage (Deuteronomy 4:1, 5, 9, 13, 14); that the new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for truth and knowledge; that instruction and training are inherent qualities of the furtherance of the gospel and the church should establish appropriate programs to accomplish the same (II Timothy 2:2).
Concerning Government and Social Service: We believe that every Christian is under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ dominant in his own life and society (Luke 10:25-27); that social government is ordained of God (Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1); that Christians should subject themselves to this minister as long as it does not conflict with the authority of our Sovereign God and His Word; that the Christian should do all he can to promote justice and righteousness in our society and government so all may be benefited to live spiritually and righteously before God. Knowing this, we are obligated to speak out against the horrific social sins of our day denounced in Scripture whether by command or precept including, but not limited to, homosexuality, abortion, drunkenness, immorality, etcetera.
Concerning Ecclesiastical Separation: We believe that throughout history there are many who claim salvation, yet denounce its scriptural tenets either in teaching or application; that the Holy Scriptures admonish both the believer and the church to practice separation. Therefore, we will not participate in any ecumenical program which promotes or allows diverse faiths to come together for the purpose of worship or evangelism. We believe in total, biblical separation from unbelievers and all forms of heresy and apostasy. We are to: try them (I John 4:1), mark them (Romans 16:17), rebuke them (Titus 1:13), have no fellowship with them (Ephesians 5:11), withdraw from them (II Thessalonians 3:14), receive them not (II John 10, 11), have no company with them (II Thessalonians 3:14), reject them (Titus 3:10), and separate from them (II Corinthians 6:17).