GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH BYLAWS
NAME AND PURPOSE
This congregation of believers shall be known as Grace Baptist Church. It is incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the state of Colorado.
This congregation is organized as a church exclusively for charitable, religious, and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, for such purposes including, but not limited to, proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; establishing and maintaining religious worship; educating believers in a manner consistent with the requirements of Holy Scripture; and maintaining missionary activities in the United States and any foreign country.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
2.01—AUTHORITY OF STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the Statement of Faith accurately represents the teachings of the Bible and, therefore, is binding upon all members, staff and volunteers. All literature, whether print or electronic, used in the church shall be in complete agreement with the Statement of Faith. All activities permitted or performed in any facilities owned, rented or leased by this church, or engaged in by any member of the church staff (volunteer or paid), and all decisions of the administration of this church shall not conflict with the Statement of Faith. In all conflicts regarding interpretation of the Statement of Faith, the pastor and deacon(s), on behalf of the church, have the final authority.
2.02 – PREAMBLE OF THE STATEMENT OF FAITH
Our statement of faith is divided into two categories. The first paragraph of each doctrine refers to what “We affirm” as the general truths of God’s Word under which we unite as members of Grace Baptist Church.
The “We further affirm” sections are the specific truths of God’s Word that go beyond the initial statement, and reflects the whole counsel of God which is God’s will for all members to have as their faith and practice.
2.03—STATEMENT OF FAITH
A. Beliefs on Doctrine
1. THE DOCTRINE OF THE BIBLE
We affirm that the 66 books of the Bible are the complete inspired Word of God and are our only rule for faith and practice. Psalms 119:89; 2 Timothy 3:15-16
We further affirm that the 66 books of the Bible exclusively comprise the canon of Scripture; are the inspired Word of God (Psalm 119:89) and are our only rule for faith and practice (Deuteronomy 4:2; Galatians 1:6-10). We teach the inerrancy, infallibility, and plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15-16) and that they are God’s written, objective, propositional revelation to man (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Peter 3:15-16). We hold that the literal, grammatical-historical, exegetical interpretation of Scripture is the manner in which God’s Word is to be understood (John 10:35).
We affirm that the Scriptures were originally written without error in all matters addressed whether it be faith, science, history, etc., and that they contain everything necessary for us to be mature and ready Christians for the service and glory of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We affirm that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation, and we affirm that the Holy Spirit Himself illumines us to believe and receive that which the Scriptures say as they are preached, as we search them out, and as we seek to obey them (John 5:39; John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:9-12).
We affirm that it is imperative that we faithfully preach and teach the Word of God from the pulpit of this church knowing that one day we will give an account to God of our faithfulness and conformity to His Word (1 Peter 1:25; 2 Timothy 4:1-2). We believe God has preserved His Word throughout history (Matthew 24:35; 5:18) and that the original languages are to be translated and made available in every language so that all men might have the same comfort and hope from the Scriptures that we experience holding to a literal translation of scripture as the reliable revealed Word of God. (Romans 15:4).
2. THE DOCTRINE OF THE GODHEAD
We affirm in the knowable God the Father who is: perfect in holiness, completely loving, infinite in wisdom, measureless in power, and everywhere present. We rejoice that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men; that He hears and answers prayer; and that he saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ being sealed by the Spirit. Psalms 19:1-6; John 1:14; 3:16; 14:6-11; James 1:17
Further, we affirm that God has revealed Himself to us through General Revelation through Creation (Psalms 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-20) and Conscience (Romans 2:14-15), also through Specific Revelation which is revealed in His Person (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; John 1:14) and in His Word (Psalm 19:7-14; John 5:39; Luke 24:44-45).
This God has declared Himself to be one (Deuteronomy 6:4) who is spirit (John 4:24; Exodus 3:14) existing in 3 distinct persons, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit which we call the Trinity (Genesis 1:1-2, 26; 3:22; Isaiah 6:8; 48:16). This Godhead is co-equal, co-eternal, and co-substantial God (Isaiah 48:16-17; Matthew 29:19-20; John 1:1; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 5:7). He has shared knowledge of Himself with us through His proclaimed attributes being our Creator. He has attributes which are neither shared nor fully comprehended by His creation (Isaiah 40:28; 55:8-9; Psalms 145:3). We call these His Incommunicable Attributes, and they are: Eternality (Genesis 21:33; Psalms 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17); Self-existence (Ex. 3:14; Acts 17:24-25); Immutability (Psalms 102:25-27; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17); Infinite (Psalms 40:5; 147:5); Perfection (Psalms 18:30; Matthew 5:48); Omnipresence (Psalms 139:7-12; Jeremiah 23:24); Omniscience (Psalms 139:1-6; 1 John 3:20); Omnipotence (Genesis 17:1; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 19:26); and Unity (Ex. 20:3; Isaiah 46:9; 1 Timothy 2:5).
We affirm that He also shares attributes with His creation although to a limited degree for He alone is infinite and perfect, and we are broken and fallen. We call these His Communicable Attributes: Truth (Jeremiah 10:10; John 14:6; Rom. 3:4); Holy (Isaiah 6:1-5; 1 Peter 1:14-16); Love (1 John 4:7-8; John 3:16); Righteous (Psalms 58:11; Acts 17:31; Philippians 3:9); Faithful (Psalms 40:10; 2 Timothy 2:13); Merciful (Psalms 86:15; 116:5); Just (Psalms 37:28; 89:14; 1 John 1:9 ); Gracious (Psalms 86:15; Ephesians 2:7-8), and Unity (John 17:21-23; Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 4:3-4, 12-13).
We affirm that God is the Sovereign Ruler (1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 50) over of all of His creation which He created in 6 literal 24 hour days resting on the seventh day (Genesis 1-3; Exodus 20:10-11), sustaining it by the power of His Word (Psalms 3:5; Colossians 1:16-17), saving it from its sin (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:3-6), and directing it through His sovereign will to accomplish His purposed plan “to the praise of His Glory” for His pleasure (Psalms 135:6-7; Isaiah 46:9-11; Ephesians 1:6, 11-12; Revelations 4:11).
3. THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST
We affirm that Jesus Christ being very God was the only begotten, virgin born, conceived by the Holy Spirit, Son of God; who died, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures for the sins of all mankind providing salvation from sin and death. All who receive His free gift of Salvation are reconciled to the Father. Matthew 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:18
Further, we affirm that Jesus Christ, while being God very God, did something unthinkable and unimaginable. He humbled Himself to become fully man (Philippians 2:5-8). The Incarnation began with the Virgin Birth of Christ which was His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary, and Christ became fully God and fully man (Hypostatic Union)(Genesis 3:15 –seed of woman, Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25). Christ laid aside all outward manifestation of His deity and clothed Himself in flesh resulting in the God/Man, Christ Jesus (Isaiah 53; Philippians 2:5-8; John 1:14; Hebrews 10:1-10; Matthew 12:28; John 17:5), yet sinless not being born of the seed of man but of the woman (Genesis 3:15; Romans 5:12). The unique nature of Christ’s hypostatic nature allowed Him to experience all man does including temptation (Matthew 4:1-11 not the only temptation), yet completely without a hint of sin being very God could never allow that (Christ’s Impeccability Hebrews 4:15; 2 Corinthians 5:21; James 1:13; Titus 1:2). Our Holy God in His Love did this because it was the only way He could become the sufficient sacrifice: to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21; Hebrews 2:14-18; 2 Corinthians 5:21); fulfill O.T. prophesies (Matthew 1:22; Luke 24:25-27); save sinners (Luke 2:32-35; John 18:37); free us from the bondage of sin and make us His (Luke 2:38; Galatians 4:3-6); and rule as Lord (Luke 1:31-33; Philippians 2:5-10).
Christ being our Creator (John 1:3) and Sustainer (Colossians 1:16-18) not only became man, but also became our Savior to do a gracious work for His lost and rejecting creation to redeem them (Romans 5:8, John 3:16, more in Soteriology). Christ alone accomplishes this work by grace (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:24) through His vicarious atoning (voluntary substitution) death on the cross (Isaiah 53:4; Romans 5:6-8;Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:3-7), was buried(Matthew 27:57-28:1; Luke 23:50-24:1), arose bodily (John 2:21; 1 Corinthians 15:20) from the dead demonstrating His victory over sin and death (Psalms 2:7; 16:8-11; Acts 13:32-34; Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8), providing the forgiveness of sin (Matthew 26:28; Romans 3:25; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21;Hebrews 9:22) to all who believe (John 1:12; 3:16; 1 John 3:23) which is why He came (Mark 10:45; John 3:17; 1 John 3:5, 8). Christ’s victory over sin is complete. He took the punishment (death Rm. 6:23; Galatians 3:12-13), paid the debt to free us from the bondage of sin (Mark 10:45; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19), is our propitiation (appeasing payment Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2), and died in our place (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
Being victorious He ascended to the Father (Acts 1:4-11), and is sitting at His right hand interceding and ministering on our behalf (John 14:2; 1 Timothy 2:15; Heb. 4:14-16; 7:24-27; 8:1; 9:11-14). One day Christ will return at any time (Imminent), in the air, to catch away His own (The Rapture), before the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 5:19), to rule and reign with His saints for a thousand years in the Millennial Kingdom, and we shall be with Him forever (Revelation 19:11-16; 20:4-6). Christ being victorious over sin and death delivers the Kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28)
4. THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We affirm that the Holy Spirit is God with the Father and the Son. He is a person. He was at the beginning of Creation (Genesis 1:2), and came to earth as the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to the Church. (Acts 1:8; John 14:16-17) Today, He convicts, regenerates, indwells, seals, infills, empowers, and guides the believer.
Further, we affirm that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is God making Him co-equal, co-existent, and co-substantial, being one with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16). The Holy Spirit’s deity is manifested by His possession of the Incommunicable attributes of: Omnipotence (Creation; Genesis 1:2), Omniscience (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), Omnipresence (Psalms 139:7), Truth (1 John 5:6), and Holiness (Luke 11:13).
The Holy Spirit is not merely a force or influence but a person as evidenced by His possession of intellect (Romans 8:26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10), emotion (Ephesians 4:30), and will (1 Corinthians 12:11). As God the Holy Spirit, He has been involved in work only associated with God: Creation (Genesis 1:1-3, 26; Job 33:4; Psalms 33:6), Giving of Life (2 Peter 1:20-21), Revelation and Inspiration of God’s Word (2 Peter 1:20-21, Matthew 22:43; Acts 1:16; 28:25), the Incarnation of Christ (Matthew 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35); and Christ’s Resurrection (Romans 8:11).
After Christ’s Ascension the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost fulfilling Christ’s promise to send another Comforter to the Church (John 14:16-17; 15:26; Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-18).
The Spirit now restrains and reproves the World of sin, righteousness, and judgement to come (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8; John 16:7-11) and leads the believer into God’s truth, knowledge of God’s future plan, and the glorification of Christ [He does not glorify Himself but the Son (John 16:12-15)]. The Spirit works for the believer in that He: regenerates (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5), baptizes (1 Corinthians 12:13), seals (Ephesians 1:13-14), indwells (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20), sanctifies (2 Thessalonians 2:13), gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-11), fills (Ephesians 5:18), comforts and teaches (John 14:26), guides (Romans 8:14), assures (Romans 8:16), intercedes (Romans 8:26), illuminates (1 Corinthians 2:6-16), and enables and empowers the believer to manifest the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Acts 1:8).
The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our eternal inheritance and He is not to be: lied to (Acts 5:3-4), resisted (Acts 7:51), grieved (Ephesians 4:30), or quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
5. THE DOCTRINE OF MAN
We affirm that God created man in His own image distinctly male and female (Genesis 1:26-27) in innocence (Genesis 1:31). As a free moral agent Adam chose to go his own way and sinned. This sin resulted in death for all mankind. Because Adam sinned, mankind is now born with a sinful nature, sinning willfully and incapable of living righteously. Man’s only hope of reconciliation to his creator is to turn in humble dependence believing in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ who shed His blood for rebellious man.
Romans 5:12; Hebrews 9:12
We further affirm that man was uniquely created on the sixth day of Creation: out of the dust of the ground, given the breath of life becoming a living soul (Genesis 2:7), in God’s own image, innocent, having a free will (Genesis 2:16-17), not alone (Genesis 2:20-25), for God’s good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Mankind was given an opportunity to reflect in a perfect way God and His: Creativity (Genesis 1)/Man – be fruitful and subdue (Genesis 1:28; Hebrews 2:6-8); Spirit (Genesis 1:2; John 4:24)/Man – living soul value(Genesis 2:7; Proverbs 20:27; James 2:26); Communication (Genesis 3:8; John 1:1- the Bible)/Man (Genesis 2:15-17, 23-24;3:1-6); Intellect (Genesis 1; John 1:1; whole of Scripture)/Man (Genesis 2:18-20); Morality (Genesis 2:16-17)/Man was given the freedom to choose obedience or his own way (Genesis 2:16-17;3:1-7); Relationships (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18)/ God gave Eve to Adam to complete, to compliment, and to be his helper/companion for life(Genesis 2:16-25). God joined one man and one woman together in marriage, establishing a monogamous pattern of spiritual, emotional, and physical union for all time.
We affirm that God’s plan for human sexuality is to be expressed only within the context of marriage, and that God created man and woman as unique biological persons made to complete each other. God’s institution of monogamous marriage between male and female is not only the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society, but pictures Christ’s union with His people through a male groom and a female bride. For this reason we affirm that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female. (More in 2.03, B.)
Man was given every opportunity to live in “The Garden of Eden” to fellowship with his Creator, depending and trusting in God. In this environment mankind was given a choice. In Genesis 2:16-17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Presented with the choice of obedience or not believing God’s word. Man chose sin: (Genesis 3:1-8) Eve was deceived (1 Timothy 2:14) and Adam disobeyed (Romans 5:12, 18-19). Man fell and Innocence was lost, resulting in Adam’s sin nature passing to all men (Genesis 3, Romans 5:12, 19). Man is sinful (Romans 3:12; 4:5; 5:8) by birth (Psalms 51:5) and by choice (Romans 1:18-23). By sin mankind came under God’s judgement separating mankind from his creator (Ephesians 2:1-2) by death, spiritually and physically (Genesis 2:17; Romans 2:1; Romans 6:23a). Man’s only hope of reconciliation to his creator is to humble himself turning from his sin and in faith, believe and trust in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ who shed His blood for rebellious man (Isaiah 53:5-6; Romans 5:8; John 3:15-21; Hebrews 9:12) providing the way for mankind to be restored to right fellowship with God, man’s Creator.
6. THE DOCTRINE OF ANGELS
We affirm all angels were created by God during the six literal days of creation [Job 38:4, 7; Genesis 1:1 Heaven(s); Colossians 1:16] as essentially spirit beings. Angels were created as God’s holy ministers to minister to and for Him. Lucifer was one of these angels who exalted himself to be equal with his creator falling from his intended purpose he became Satan. Satan convinced one-third of the angelic host to follow him becoming his demons. Having a sealed fate of eternal destruction, Satan and his host are the supreme enemy of God and all who would call upon Christ. Isaiah 14:12-21; Ezekiel 28:11-19
Further, we affirm that angels do not normally possess physical bodies (Hebrews 1:14; Luke 24:39), but at times appear in physical form (Psalms 104:4) as men (Genesis 19:1-5; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:40). Angels were created a little higher than man (Psalms 8:5), but lower than Christ (Hebrews 1:4) to be His holy (Mark 8:38) ministers who: are innumerable (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 5:11); have great wisdom (2 Samuel 14:20; Matthew 28:5); possess power (Psalms 103:20; Ephesians 1:21); do not reproduce (Matthew 22:30), or die (Luke 20:36); were created as moral beings lower than God (Revelation 22:8-9); with the ability to choose to sin (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6); are servants which minister (1 Kings 19:5; Psalms 104:4; Matthew 4;11) to God (Isaiah 6:3; Psalms 103:20; 148:1-2; Revelation 11:12); to Christ (Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43); to believers (Psalms 34:7; 91:11; Hebrews 1:14); to children (Matthew 18:10); and to deliver God’s messages (Daniel 8:16-17; Matthew 2:13; Mark 16:5; Acts 5:19-20).
There are several titles used in Scripture referring to angels: host, creatures, throne, dominions, principalities, powers, and the sons of God. One other phrase used is “the angel of the Lord” (Genesis 16:1-13; 18; 22:11-16; 31:11-13; Exodus 3:2-4; Judges 6:12-16). We believe this is a reference to a Theophany (more specifically a Christophany – an appearance of Christ in the O.T.) for He accepts worship, sacrifice, and speaks with the authority of God Himself (Exodus 3:2-15; Joshua 5:13-15; Judges 6:19-24; 36-40; 13:16-20; Hosea 12:3-6).
We affirm Satan as with all the angels was created holy and with the purpose of serving God as the archangel Lucifer. Lucifer was exalted by God to protect the very glory of God (Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:14-16). Lucifer saw his given beauty (Ezekiel 28:17) lifted himself in pride became Satan, and in defiance to his creator, exalted himself to be equal with God and in sin fell (Ezekiel 28:12-19; Isaiah 14:12-16). This made Satan the originator of sin (Genesis 3:1-6; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8) and the supreme enemy of God (1 Chronicles 21:1; Zachariah 3:1-2; Matthew 4:1-11), God’s angels (Jude 6; Revelation 12:7), Israel (Revelation 12:4, 12-17), the Church (Matthew 16:23), and believers (Ephesians 6:10-17; 2 Kings 6:17).
Satan led an open rebellion against God and persuaded one-third of the angelic host (becoming demons) to follow him in rebellion against God (Matthew 25:41; Luke 10:17-18; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 12:3-4), then came to earth and deceived Eve (Genesis 3:1-6). In the end he will convince the nations to join him in a final rebellion against God (Revelation 20:7-9). Meanwhile Satan actively pursued the destruction of Christ (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 12:3-6) and now Christians (1 Peter 5:8-9; John 8:4; 2 Corinthians 2:9-11; Ephesians 4:26-27; Revelation 12:10). Satan, the god of this Age, blinds the unbeliever from the Gospel for their destruction (2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:13-15). Satan and his host’s power is limited by God (Job 1:2; 2:6) and defeated through the finished blood work of Jesus Christ on the cross – the death, burial, and resurrection (Genesis 3:15; Colossians 2:14-15; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 20:2-3, 10). Christians who are properly equipped in the power of the Spirit may resist any attack of Satan (James 4:6; Ephesians 6:10-18).
7. THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION
We affirm that God provides the only way of salvation through Jesus Christ His Son who shed His blood on the cross; died, was buried, and rose again offering the free gift of forgiveness of sin and eternal life with the Father escaping eternal judgement in Hell to anyone who believes. (John 3:14-21; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 John 5:11-13; Revelation 20:11-15)
Further we affirm that mankind, having been given life and the opportunity to reflect his Creator’s image, rebelled (Genesis 3:1-8), sinned (Romans 5:12), died (Genesis 3:19), but God covered them with a blood sacrifice foreshadowing what was to come (Genesis 3:21) and were cast out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23). By sinning, mankind became an enemy of God and is alienated from God (Romans 3:23; 5:10; 8:7; Colossians 1:21). God’s holiness requires the penalty of death (Romans 6:23), but God in His sovereign wisdom and love (John 14:6) provided Salvation for all (John 3:15-17; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 2 Peter 3:9) through the death of His Lamb, Jesus Christ, before the foundation of the World (Genesis 3:15; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 13:8). Man must now believe in God’s provision of the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:14ff) who willingly laid down His life (John 10:17-18), shed His blood (Hebrews 9:22) becoming the propitiation that satisfied God’s righteous wrath (Romans 3:22-25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Hebrews 2:17). Man must personally appropriate this gracious, vicarious, free gift of Salvation in faith; humbly repenting of his sin in recognition of his complete depravity, that there is nothing in himself nor what he has done or could ever do to earn this free gift (Romans 1:16; 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
This is the only Gospel (Act 4:12; John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5) by which mankind can be born again (John 3:3, 5-6 Spiritual), and be reconciled to his Creator, no longer an enemy but at peace(Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 2:11-18; Colossians 1:20-21; Romans 11:15) going from death unto life (John 5:24), as a new man (2 Corinthians 5:17) enjoying a new nature (2 Peter 1:4).
Salvation is the beautiful, awesome, incomprehensible work of our great God (Isaiah 55:8-9). Salvation from mankind’s perspective is the genuine free gift of the Gospel provided for and offered to all (John 3:15-21; Romans 3:26b; 8:32; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 22:17) which mankind may freely accept or reject (Romans 10:9-10; John 3:18; 5:40-44; Hebrews 2:3). From God’s perspective of sovereign foreknowledge, He chose Israel, sent Christ, and chose we sinners for salvation before the foundation of the World (Romans 11:2; Acts 2:23; Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:2, 20; Ephesians 1:4).
Another aspect of God’s perspective is the election of those who would be saved (Ephesians 1:3-6; John 15:16, 19; Romans 9:11ff; 2 Timothy 2:10). This paradox is difficult for our finite mind, but we serve an infinite God who loves and cares for His creation (Ezekiel 18 esp.20-32; Jonah 4:11; Romans 5:8). We cannot judge who is elect or not (James 4:11-12), but we are to go (Matthew 28:18-20) and to compel all to come (Luke 14:23) leaving the rest in God’s capable compassionate heart (Ezekiel 18:23; Jonah 4:11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9).
Other truths of God’s Glorious Salvation of mankind include:
- Repentance – a change of one’s mind which affects their change of direction (2 Corinthians 7:9-11);
- Faith – the placing of trust in and the believing on (Hebrews 11:1), transferring dependence from self to Christ for Salvation (Acts 20:21);
- Justification – which is the work of the Father imputing our sin to Christ and His righteousness to us, crediting it to our account making us Just (as if we had never sinned) before the Father (Romans 3:23-26; 4:3, 11, 20-24; 2 Corinthians 5:19, 21; 1 Peter 2:24);
- Regeneration – to be born again – made new by the mercy and will of God (Titus 3:5; James 1:18) through the work of the Spirit (John 3:5) to those who believe (John 1:12);
- Redemption – to be purchased fully out of the slavery of sin giving freedom and forgiveness (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7; Matthew 20:28; Hebrew 9:12; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
- Adoption – the making of a believer the child of God receiving all of the benefits that entails (John 1:12; Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:5).
- Predestination – those who God elected He also predestinated to be conformed into the image of His Son through sanctification (Romans 8:29-30, 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 1:5, 11).
- Eternal Security – the confidence in God that you can never lose your Salvation (John 10:28-29) because it is rooted in the love of God (Romans 8:31-39), the power of God (1 Peter 1:3-5), and we are given eternal life (John 3:16; 5:24 Hebrews 9:12).
- Sanctification – the progressive act of God to set apart His children to live a holy life (Leviticus 11:45; 1 Peter 1:16) “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). It progresses from Positional sanctification, (the act of God) to declare us holy/righteous through the finished work of Christ on the cross (Hebrews 10:10, 14); Progressive sanctification, the believer’s daily walk of faith being transformed more and more into Christ’s image, being empowered by the Spirit to bear fruit in faith evidenced by good works (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:20; 5:22; Ephesians 2:10; 4:22-24; 5:18-21; Colossians 2:6-7; James 2:17-18); ending one day in Glorification to fully reflect the image of the Son without the baggage of sin (Romans 8:29-30; Philippians 1:6; 1 John 3:2) in a glorified body perfect, morally and spiritually (Philippians 3:20-21;Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 1:22; 1 John 3:3; Jude 24) forever with Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
8. THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH
We affirm that the Church is the living body of Christ made up of all Church–Age believers from Pentecost to the Rapture (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:12; Colossians 1:13; Acts 2:1-4; Revelation 3:10). The local Church is the visible Body of Christ made up of individual believers assembling together in a place. Jesus Christ being the head of the Church shed His blood for it. The Holy Spirit empowers the Church through the finished work of Christ to adore God the Father and admonish one another advancing the Great Commission of Christ from Montrose unto the uttermost parts of the Earth. (Ephesians 4:12-13)
Further we affirm that the Church, a mystery previously hidden in God, is distinct from Israel (Romans 11:7-11; 1 Corinthians 10:32; Ephesians 3:2-9). The Church was predicted and announced first by its one foundation and head Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:15-19; Ephesians 5:32; Colossians 1:18), and the Church was initiated and revealed at Pentecost through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5-8; 2:1-4; 11:15-16). The Church fulfills God’s purpose for it by: reflecting God’s glory (John 17:18-22; Ephesians 3:10), declaring the mystery of the Gospel to the World (Ephesians 3:1-11; Matthew 28:18-20), loving Him (Revelation 2-3), maintaining purity (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:27), the faithful proclamation of His Word (2 Timothy 4:1-2), and by doing good to all (Ephesians 2:10; Hebrews 10:22-24; 13:16).
The local church is the visible manifestation of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:12); and the Word of God’s emphasis is on gathering together of called out members assembling to worship the Lord, not on buildings or location (John 4:21-24; Acts 14:27; 20:8). Although the word “membership” is not found anywhere in our New Testament, the Bible clearly points to membership.
Local church membership is the only way scriptural discipleship and mandates can be fulfilled.
• Acts 2:41 & 47 “added to”
- Evidenced by direct Scriptural reference to local assemblies (Romans 16:1, 5; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 16:19; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2, 22; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1;
Philemon 2; Revelation 1:4, 11, 20; 2:1, 7, 8, 11, 12, 17, 18, 23, 29; 3:1, 6, 7, 13, 14, 22).
- Conduction of the Ordinances (1 Corinthians 11:2, 17-20; Acts 2:41-42).
- Gifts are given to the church for the mutual edification of the body with structure and in love (1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:7-16).
- Body life where: (1 Corinthians 12:12; Romans 12; Ephesians 4:16)
- One another Scriptures are followed (Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-4)
- Correction and care takes place (Romans 12; Ephesians 4; Hebrews 10:24-25)
- A place where leadership (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1:5-9) can be implemented (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2) and followed (Hebrews 13:7).
- A visible witness to the world. Identification with a body of believers magnifies the Gospel. (Matthew 5:13; John 13:34-35; Ephesians 3:10; 1 Peter 2:9-12).
- A place where godliness can be exemplified and passed on. (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 11:1; John 14:15; 1 John 2:19; 1 John 4:20-21).
- Church discipline is practiced (Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 5:4-13).
The purpose of the church is to be:
- Adoring God (Ephesians 3:21).
- Christ Glorifies the Father – John 17:1-5
- Christ is the Head of the Church – Colossians 1:18
- Christ is worthy of Worship – Philippians 2:9-11
- Admonishing One Another (Romans 15:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:12)
- Enabled by Christ – Ephesians 4:7-8
- Encouraging by Love for and Consideration of Believers – John 13:35; Colossians 2:6; Hebrews 10:24-25
- Exegetical preaching of God’s Word – 2 Timothy 4:2
- Equipping of Believers – Ephesians 4:11-14
- Education of Believers – Ephesians 4:12-13; Colossians 1:9-10
- Exhorting and Purifying of Believers – Ephesians 5:26-27; Romans 15:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 2 Thessalonains 3:15
- Advancing Jesus Christ – Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8
- Preaching the Good News – Luke 14:23; 1 Corinthians 9:22; 2 Corinthians 5:20
- Practicing the Good News – Matthew 5:13-16; John 17:21; 13:35;
- Adding to the Bride of Christ – Acts 2:47; Matthew 16:18; Revelation 5:9; 14:6
The Baptist Distinctive:
Bible is the only source for our faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Autonomy of the local church (Matthew 18:17; 1 Timothy 3:15; Acts 6:1-6). Each local church is autonomous and independent. It disciplines its own members (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:11-13), elects its own officers (Acts 6:1-6), and settles its own affairs (1 Corinthians 6:1-5).
Priesthood of the believer (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:5, 6).
- Baptism is by immersion (baptizo- to dip, dunk) after conversion (Acts 2:41) in identification with Christ picturing the death, burial, and resurrection (John 3:23; Romans 6:4), in obedience to Christ (Matthew 28:19), and is not Salvific (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
- The Lord’s Supper/Communion is to be done in remembrance and demonstration of the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf coming together with organization, care for others, sobriety, and personal reflective examination and confession with a warning of potential consequences of sickness and death when done carelessly. It is symbolic and not Salvific (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:17-31; Hebrews 9:12).
Individual Soul Liberty – Individually, mankind has the freedom to choose how they will interact with their Creator in spiritual matters (John 16:12-13; Romans 14:12; 1 John 2:27).
Saved Church Membership (Acts 2:47; Acts 8:36-38).
Two Church Offices (1 Timothy 3:1-7; 8-14; Titus 1:5-9; Philippians 1:1):
- The pastor/bishop/elder are synonymous terms in the Bible referring to the same office (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-4) Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd and head of the church for which He gave His life (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23-27; Colossians 1:18). The role of the pastor as the under-shepherd is to oversee the work of the ministry of the local church, feed and protect God’s flock, preach, teach (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 2 John 9-11; 1 Timothy 1:19-20) and not take advantage of it for gain; because he will give an account for his ministering (Ezekiel 34; Hebrews 13:17; James 3:1).
- Deacon: (Acts 6:1-8; 1 Timothy 3:8-13) The biblical description emphasizes spiritual character. The deacon is a servant of the Church to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the body of believers (Acts 6:1-6).
Separation of Church and State
We affirm that the Lord has called His under-shepherds to guard and protect His flock by maintaining purity of practice and by separation from any individual, group, organization, or government who would seek to subvert the Lord’s leadership in any way (2 Timothy 2:10-26, Titus 3:8-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 5:1-11; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; Matthew 18:15-17; Matthew 7:15; Acts 4:19; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 John 4:1-3; Romans 16:17-18; Galatians 1:8-10).
9. THE DOCTRINE OF LAST THINGS/END TIMES
We affirm that Jesus Christ is coming at any time to take all Church Age believers to be with Him before the Tribulation to be with Him forever. After the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will set up the Millennial Kingdom on earth. Followed by the Great White Throne Judgement where Jesus Christ will judge all unbelieving mankind of all time according to their works and cast into Hell forever apart from God. Those who have trusted in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven with their Savior and Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20:11-15)
We further affirm that from the teaching of Scripture the next biblical event to take place is the imminent (1 Thessalonians 1:10; Revelation 22:12, 20) return of Christ in the clouds to Rapture (catch away) His Church (Revelation 4:1). This will begin with the resurrection of the bodies of the dead, then the living will join them in the air to be with Christ forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
When God removes the Church, He will also remove the restraining power of The Holy Spirit, the anti-Christ will be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12), and the seven years of the Tribulation will begin with the signing of a covenant between the anti-Christ and Israel (Daniel 9:27). During the Tribulation on earth, the Church will be receiving rewards at the Judgement Seat of Christ (Bema Seat) where works, not sin, will be tried by fire and purified whether they were good or worthless (2 Corinthians 5:10). At “The Marriage Supper of the Lamb,” the Church will be enjoying true fellowship with Jesus Christ and all Saints (Matthew 25:1-10; Revelation 19:1-9). The Tribulation is the “70th” week prophesied by Daniel (Daniel 9) and it is God’s continued working with His people Israel. It will be a horrible outpouring of God’s wrath in judgement (Matthew 24:22) on unbelievers (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 6-16; 6:16-17; 14:19; 15:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:12), and in punishment of Israel to bring about restoration and fulfillment of promises to them (Leviticus 26:44-45; Amos 9:8-15; Acts 1:6; 3:19-26; Isaiah 10:20-21; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Zachariah 13:8-9). The Tribulation will end with the Second coming of Christ with His Bride (The Church) in the midst of the Battle of Armageddon to face the armies of the Beast which will turn on Him, and Jesus Christ will destroy them (Revelation 16:13-16, 19:11-21). Christ will then cast the Beast/Antichrist and False prophet into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20), and Satan will be chained in a bottomless pit for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). Christ will judge the nations (Daniel 7:13; Matthew 25:31-46), set up His Millennial Kingdom where He will rule and reign on David’s throne fulfilling Israel’s promise for 1,000 years with the Church (Revelation 20:1-6). At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released and lead a final rebellion against God deceiving the nations to battle God (Revelation 20:7-8). They will be defeated and Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire, judged forever (Revelation 20:9-10).
The Great White Throne Judgement will commence where all of unbelieving man of all time will stand in judgement before their Creator according to their works found in the books (Revelation 20:11-14), and whoever’s name is not found in “The Book of Life” will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever which is the second death, an eternal separation from God (Revelation 20:15). The degree of their individual punishment will be based upon the amount of revelation rejected and the amount of sin committed (Luke 12:47-48; Revelation 20:12-13; Matthew 11:20-24; Romans 2:5-6).
God then starts anew with a removal of the old heaven and old earth (2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 21:1); and a creation of a new one (Revelation 21:1-2, 9-27; 22:1-5). The redeemed of all ages will enjoy the full presence and grace of God ruling and reigning with Him for all eternity and there will be no more sorrow, pain, or death (Daniel 2:44; Revelation 21:3-4, 22-27). Revelation 22:18-21 “18. For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19. and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
B. Beliefs on Cultural Issues
- Marriage and Sexuality
- We believe that the term “marriage” has only one, legitimate meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God, which joins one man and one woman in a single, conventional union, as delineated by Scripture. Marriage ceremonies performed in any facility owned, leased or rented by this church will be only those ceremonies sanctioned by God, joining one man with one woman as their genders were determined at birth. Whenever there is a conflict between the church’s position and any new legal standard for marriage, the church’s statement of faith, doctrines and biblical positions will govern. (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:22-23; Mark 10:6-9; I Corinthians 7:1-9)
- We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage as defined in (a) above. We believe that any other type of sexual activity, identity or expression that lies outside of this definition of marriage, including those that are becoming more accepted in the culture and the courts, are contradictory to God’s natural design and purpose for sexual activity. (Genesis 2:24; Genesis 19:5; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1: 26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4;
- Family Relationships
- We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church. (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
- We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are a wonderful gift and heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate training and discipline. (Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalms 127:3-5; Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Peter 3:1-7)
- Divorce and Remarriage. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids divorce. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacons. (Malachi 2:14-17; Matthew 19:3-12; Mark 10:11-12; Romans 7:1-3; I Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6; I Corinthians 7:10-16);
- Abortion. We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion is murder and constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. (Job 3:16; Psalms 51:5; 139:13-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:36, 44);
- Euthanasia. We believe that an act or omission which, of it or by intention, facilitates premature death, is assuming a decision that is to be reserved for God. We do not believe that discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome is euthanasia. (Exodus 20:13; 23:7; Matthew 5:21; Acts 17:28);
- Love. We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such actions. (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Philippians 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; I Peter 3:8-9; 1 John 3:17-18)
- Lawsuits within the Church. We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits within the Church. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (1 Corinthians 6:1-8; Ephesians 4:31-32)
- Protection of Children. We believe that children are a heritage from the Lord and must be absolutely protected within the church from any form of abuse or molestation. The church has zero tolerance for any person, whether paid staff, volunteer, member, or visitor, who abuses or molests a child. (Psalms 127:3-5; Matthew 18:6; Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:14)
SECTION 3.01—QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP
Those seeking membership must, through their actions, words, lifestyle and affiliations, evidence a genuine experience of regeneration through faith in and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Candidates for membership will be required to attend a pre-membership class led by a member of the pastoral staff or appointee, in which they will review the Statement of Faith, the bylaws of this church, general church practices and policies, and expectations of members. By the conclusion of the class, candidates will have been interviewed by the pastor, pastoral staff and/or deacon prior to being recommended for membership, to ensure they fully subscribe to the Statement of Faith contained herein and agree to submit to the authority of the church and its leaders. After such recommendation, membership will be granted upon the recommendation of the pastor and a majority vote of the membership, and upon compliance with any one of the following conditions:
- By baptism at this local church following a profession of faith as a believer in Christ Jesus as personal Savior;
- By testimony of faith, having been baptized by immersion in another Bible-believing church of like faith and practice.
SECTION 3.02—PRIVILEGES OF MEMBERSHIP
A. Only members of at least eighteen years of age who are physically present at a duly-called meeting of the church shall be entitled to vote. There shall be no proxy or absentee voting. The eligible membership of the church may only exercise voting privileges in those areas that are defined and limited by these bylaws. Members may not vote to initiate any church action; rather the vote of a member is to confirm and ratify the direction of the church as determined by the pastor and the deacons.
B. This congregation functions not as a pure democracy, but as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the direction of the pastor as the under-shepherd with the counsel of the pastoral staff and/or deacons. Determinations of the internal affairs of this church are ecclesiastical matters and shall be determined exclusively by the church’s own rules and procedures. The pastor and/or pastoral staff shall oversee and/or conduct all aspects of this church. The deacons shall give counsel and assistance to the pastor as requested by him.
C. Membership in this church does not afford the members with any property, contractual, or civil rights based on principles of democratic government. Although the general public is invited to all of the church’s worship services, the church property remains private property. The pastor (or in his absence, an individual designated by the deacons) has the authority to suspend or revoke the right of any person, including a member, to enter or remain on church property. If after being notified of such a suspension or revocation, the person enters or remains on church property, the person may, in the discretion of the pastor, (or in his absence, an individual designated by the deacons), be treated as a trespasser.
D. A member may inspect or copy the prepared financial statements of the church and the minutes of the proceedings of church and committee meetings, provided he shall have made a written request upon the church and the church has received the written request at least five business days before the requested inspection date. Deacon meeting minutes and discipline committee meetings, as well as other information involving privacy interests, such as, but not limited to donor records, lists of names and addresses of church members, individual benevolence, individual salaries, health information, background checks, and social security numbers, are exempt from this provision and are not subject to inspection or copy without a court order. The church may impose a reasonable charge, covering the costs of labor and materials, for copies of any documents provided to the member before releasing the copies to the member.
SECTION 3.03—AUTOMATIC TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
A. The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member in question has not attended a regular worship service of the church in the preceding six months. This provision may be waived at the discretion of the pastor and the deacons upon the showing of good cause.
B. The membership of any individual shall automatically terminate without notice if the member adopts opinions—verbally, in print, or in any other manner or medium—that are in direct contravention to the church’s Statement of Faith. Since agreement with the church’s Statement of Faith is a requirement for membership in this church, the member’s non-conforming statements will be treated as the member’s resignation by the pastor and the deacons.
C. The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member unites in membership with another church.
D. The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if a member files a lawsuit in violation of Section 2.03(B) (7).
E. The membership of an individual will automatically terminate upon his or her death.
F. For any memberships terminated in accordance with the above provisions, with the exception of memberships terminated under (E) above, the church may send a letter informing the prior member of the termination, but this is not required.
SECTION 3.04—TRANSFER OR RESIGNATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Members not under the disciplinary process of Section 3.05 may request that letters of transfer be sent to another church. A member may resign at any time, but no letter of transfer or written statement of good standing will be issued upon such resignation, except at the discretion of the pastor.
SECTION 3.05—DISCIPLINE OF A MEMBER
A. When a member becomes aware of an offense of such magnitude that it hinders the spiritual growth and testimony of an individual in the local church or the body as a whole, he is to go alone to the offending party and seek to restore his brother. Before he goes, he should first examine himself. When he goes, he should go with a spirit of humility and have the goal of restoration.
B. If reconciliation is not reached, a second member is to accompany the one seeking to resolve the matter. This second step should also be preceded by self-examination and exercised in a spirit of humility with the goal of restoration.
C. If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (A) and (B) have been taken, the two members aware of the offense shall bring the issue before the pastor and the deacon(s), as representatives of the church body in keeping with Matthew 18.
D. The pastor and deacon(s) shall attempt to meet with the offending brother. If reconciliation is not reached, the pastor and deacon(s) shall after self-examination and in a spirit of meekness and humility with the goal of restoration present the offence to the church body, which shall, upon a majority vote at a called meeting of the church, terminate the individual’s membership without further notice to the individual(s). In consideration of the shepherding, safety, and/or security of the members of the church at large, the specifics of the matter shall not be addressed with the general church membership or in a public forum.
E. The pastor and deacon(s) shall be entitled to the same steps as other church members and be subject to the same discipline. If the pastor or a deacon member is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not be permitted to vote on his own membership termination.
F. For any memberships terminated in accordance with this provision, the pastor may cause a letter to be written informing the prior member of the termination, although he is not required to do so.
G. The procedures provided in this section are based on Matthew 18:15-20; Romans 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:1-11; Galatians 6:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 10-15; 1 Timothy 5:19-20; and Titus 3:10-11.
SECTION 3.06– AFFILIATED CO-LABORER
Those desiring fellowship, accountability and opportunities for service with this assembly on a temporary basis but who maintain membership in a like body of believers outside this locality, may be granted affiliated co-laborer status with this church. The affiliated co-laborer may be eligible to serve in certain capacities determined by the pastor and deacon(s) and may attend member fellowship events. This affiliation does not, however, grant membership or the rights of membership to the individual(s) so granted. Affiliated co-laborers shall not be entitled to hold any office, vote in or have any say in any church matter, and shall not be counted for quorum purposes. A person wishing to become an affiliated co-laborer with this assembly must make a request to the pastor, who will determine if affiliated co-laborer status should be granted to the individual. If the pastor so determines, the person(s) may be granted co-laborer status upon a majority vote of the deacon(s).
SECTION 4.01—DESIGNATION OF CORPORATE OFFICERS
As an accommodation to legal relationships outside the church, the pastor shall serve as president of the corporation; the chairman of the deacon(s) shall serve as vice president of the corporation; the church secretary shall serve as secretary of the corporation; and the church treasurer shall serve as treasurer of the corporation.
SECTION 4.02—CHURCH OFFICERS
The church officers are pastor(s), deacon(s), secretary, treasurer, and any other officers the church deems necessary.
SECTION 4.03—ELIGIBILITY FOR CHURCH OFFICERS
A. The church shall not install or retain an officer who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith set forth in Article 2. All church officers, upon request of the pastor, shall affirm in writing their agreement with the Statement of Faith.
B. All church officers must be approved initially and thereafter annually by the pastor in order for them to commence or continue in their offices.
C. Only church members are eligible for election or appointment to any church office or position. Affiliated co-laborers with this ministry are not eligible for such election or appointment.
SECTION 4.04—ELECTION OF CHURCH OFFICERS
The annual election of officers by the church membership shall occur during the month of November at the annual church business meeting. Officers of the church must be elected by a majority of the eligible membership present at a regular or special church business meeting. The pastor, from time to time as he deems appropriate, may appoint other church officers, subject to a confirmation vote by a majority of the eligible church membership, present and voting at any regular or special church business meeting. Members may submit nominations for corporation officers to the pastor and the deacon(s). The pastor and the deacon(s) shall then serve as the nominating committee for all general elections of officers.
SECTION 4.05—TERMS OF SERVICE FOR OFFICERS
A. The relationship between the pastor and the church shall be permanent unless dissolved at the option of either party by the giving of a month’s notice, or less by mutual consent. The severance of the relationship between the pastor and the church may be considered at any regular or special church business meeting by following the procedures outlined in Article 6, provided notice of the meeting shall have been given from the pulpit to the church two Sundays prior to the meeting. A 75% majority of the eligible members present and voting shall be required to remove the pastor from office. Disciplinary removal of the pastor from office automatically terminates his membership.
B. The term of service for all offices and positions in the church, except the pastor and other staff members, shall be one year, at the expiration of which the officers may be re-elected or re-appointed.
C. A vacancy occurring in any office or of the deacon(s), except in the case of the pastor may be filled at any regular church business meeting by a majority vote of eligible members present.
D. All elected and appointed officers shall serve in their respective offices until their successors are duly elected or appointed, unless removed for disciplinary reasons.
SECTION 4.06—CALLING A PASTOR
Upon the resignation, death or dismissal of the pastor, the church shall seek a candidate who subscribes to the Statement of Faith and bylaw provisions of the church, and whose life aligns with the qualifications of a pastor as described in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. The church shall abide by the following guidelines for calling a pastor:
A. The congregation shall select a pulpit committee. The committee shall consist of three to five members elected by a majority vote of the membership. The pulpit committee shall interview potential candidates and will only consider men who completely subscribe to the Statement of Faith and who have read these bylaws.
B. The interview process for selecting a pastoral candidate shall include, at a minimum, the following: a background check, a credit check, a reference check, and the filling out of a detailed application that explains the potential candidate’s philosophy of ministry as well as his positions on issues of doctrinal significance.
C. Prior to being announced to the congregation as a formal candidate, any man being considered as a pastoral candidate must preach at least one Sunday service. Thereafter, upon a unanimous vote of the pulpit committee, the pulpit committee will formally announce the candidate to the church, after which the candidate must preach at least two more regularly scheduled services and be available for a church-wide question/answer time prior to being voted upon by the church membership.
D. Notice from the pulpit must be given 2 consecutive Sundays prior to a formal candidate’s preaching services, and 2 consecutive Sundays prior to the church membership vote.
E. The candidate must be elected as pastor by a 75% majority vote of members present and qualified to vote. This vote shall be taken by written, secret ballot. The pulpit committee will only present for consideration to the membership one candidate at a time, and an up or down vote must be cast prior to consideration of other potential candidates.
DUTIES AND POWERS OF OFFICERS
SECTION 5.01—THE PASTOR
A. The pastor shall preach the Gospel regularly and shall be at liberty to preach the whole counsel of the Word of God. He shall administer the ordinances of the church, act as moderator, or shall appoint a moderator, at all church meetings for the transaction of church matters, supervise the teaching ministries of the church, and watch over the spiritual interests of the membership. In all conflicts regarding interpretation of Scripture, the pastor has the final authority.
B. The pastor and deacon(s), on behalf of the church, shall institute committees and appoint the members of the various committees at the annual church business meeting or, in the case of a vacancy or newly created committee, at any duly-called special meeting. He shall serve as the president of the corporation. He shall publicly inform all newly elected officers of the functions and responsibilities of their respective offices. He shall extend the right hand of fellowship to all new members on behalf of the church and shall perform such other duties as generally appertain to the position of pastor. The pastor shall be free to choose the means and methods by which he exercises the ministry God has given him.
C. All appointments for public worship and Bible study and the arrangements thereof, including time and place and the use of the property belonging to the church for any other purposes shall be under the control of the pastor, who, with the advice and counsel of the deacon(s), shall be able to determine the appropriateness of all property use, as well as persons permitted to use the church property.
D. The pastor shall be responsible to fill the pulpit for each regularly scheduled church service as well as any special services. In the event of his absence, he (or the chairman of the deacon(s) in the case of a vacancy in the office of pastor or where the pastor is temporarily unable to perform his duties) shall be responsible to invite speakers from within the membership or outside the church to preach in a manner consistent with the beliefs articulated in the Statement of Faith.
E. The pastor and the deacon(s) shall be responsible to establish mandatory safety and security procedures for all ministries and programs. There will be a zero-tolerance policy with regard to abuse of minors; and any reasonable suspicions of child abuse alleged to be perpetrated by staff, volunteers, members or non-members will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement or child abuse prevention authorities. The pastor or his designee will be responsible to provide yearly child abuse prevention training for all staff and volunteers.
SECTION 5.02—THE DEACON(S)
A. The deacon(s) shall assist the pastor in promoting the spiritual welfare of the church, in conducting the church services, and in performing all other work of the church. The deacon(s) is responsible for making preparations to observe church ordinances and shall consider applications for church membership and affiliated co-laborers. The deacon(s) shall disburse the benevolence fund in cooperation with the pastor, and shall assist him in all other evangelistic efforts of the church. The deacon(s) shall assist the pastor in caring for the administrative needs of the church’s various ministries. They shall provide the pulpit supply and choose a moderator for church meetings if the pastor is unavailable or the office of pastor is vacant. Upon the death, resignation, or dismissal of the pastor, the deacon(s) will recommend members to the congregation to fill the pulpit committee (see 4.06, A).
B. Following the annual church business meeting, the deacon(s) shall assemble and elect, from their own number, a chairman and a secretary for the deacon(s).
C. The pastor and the deacon(s) shall constitute the board of directors of the corporation. In addition to the various powers specifically granted the deacon(s) under these bylaws, the board has authority to exercise the following powers, upon authorization by a 2/3 majority vote of the eligible members at a duly-called business meeting of the congregation:
1. To purchase, lease, or otherwise acquire real and personal property on behalf of the church, and to take real and personal property by will, gift, or bequest on behalf of the church.
2. To sell, convey, alienate, transfer, lease, assign, exchange, or otherwise dispose of, and to mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the real and personal property of the church, to borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purpose and use of the church; to cause to be executed, issued, and delivered for the indebtedness, in the name of the church, promissory notes, bonds, debentures, or other evidence of indebtedness; and to secure repayment by deeds of trust, mortgages, or pledges.
3. To exercise all powers necessary for the dissolution of the church corporation.
D. All powers of the deacon(s), (whether deacons or other appointed group) shall be compatible with the laws of the state of Colorado.
E. The deacon(s) shall, in conjunction with the pastor, conduct an annual ministry liability and safety review of the following policies and/or topics:
- Child protection, including but not limited to worker screening procedures, child abuse reporting procedures, and worker training on child abuse prevention
- Building safety
- Security measures
- Financial accountability
- Sexual harassment
- Policies listed in IRS Form 990, including:Conflict of interest policy
- Whistleblower policy
- Document retention and destruction policy
- Church financial investment policy (if applicable)
F. Each deacon(s) member shall review the bylaws annually, and shall bring suggested changes to a meeting of the deacon(s) that has been designated for the purpose of reviewing the bylaws.
SECTION 5.03—CHURCH SECRETARY
The church secretary, along with any assistant or co-officer or church clerk, shall:
A. Certify and keep at the office of the church, the original bylaws or a copy, including all amendments or alterations to the bylaws, minutes of meetings, the membership roll, baptisms, and records of any special events which are of historical interest to the church; and shall deliver such documents to his or her successor upon leaving office.
B. Maintain and file minutes of all church business and deacon(s) meetings, including the time and place of holding, the notice given, the names of those present unless a church-wide meeting and an accurate record of all church business approved at each meeting. A copy of these minutes shall be kept as a permanent record of the church and shall be made available at all reasonable times to proper person on terms provided by law and pursuant to these bylaws.
C. Sign, certify, or attest documents as may be required by law; see that reports, statements, certificates, and all other documents and records required by law are properly kept and filed.
D. See that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws. In case of the absence or disability of the secretary, or his or her refusal or neglect to act, notice may be given and served by the pastor or by the chairman of the deacon(s).
E. Serve as the secretary of the corporation and be a member in good standing.
The church treasurer, along with any assistant or co-officer, shall:
A. Count, or cause to be counted, along with at least one other person(s) so appointed, and record in a permanent record all the monies received in offerings for the church. This shall be done following each service of the church when an offering is received.
B. Convey in a timely manner all funds received to the person designated by the deacon(s) for verification and deposit in the bank, including moneys received from outside sources.
C. Maintain a permanent weekly record of individual giving for all donations, offerings, contributions and gifts, and guard the confidentiality of these records. Issue an official receipt to each contributor at the end of the fiscal year.
D. Keep in the church office an accurate and permanent record of all financial transactions of church funds. Make reports of itemized disbursements and the financial condition of the church as requested by pastor and the deacon(s), and for annual, quarterly or otherwise special or regular business meetings; and deliver such records to his or her successor upon leaving office.
E. Serve as treasurer of the corporation and be a member in good standing.
SECTION 5.05—DUTIES OF ALL OFFICERS
A. All officers shall prepare a written report of their work for the annual church business meeting and shall surrender all records in their possession to the church secretary at the close of their term of office to be filed as a permanent record of the work of the church. All records are the property of the church and must be kept in the church office.
B. Any officer who neglects his duties as outlined in the bylaws for a period of three months may be removed from his office, at the discretion of the pastor a temporary may be appointed to serve until another can be elected to fill the un-expired term.
SECTION 5.06—PARTICIPATION IN MEETINGS
Any one or more officers may participate in a meeting of the deacon(s) by means of a conference telephone, web-based conference, or similar communications equipment or device, by means of which all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other at the same time. Participating by such means shall constitute presence in person at a meeting for purposes of determining if a quorum is present.
CHURCH BUSINESS MEETINGS
SECTION 6.01—ANNUAL CHURCH BUSINESS MEETING
A. The annual church business meeting, for the election of officers and the transaction of other business, shall be held on a Sunday in November. A quorum shall consist of the eligible members present. Public notice of the meeting shall be given from the pulpit for two successive Sundays immediately preceding the meeting.
B. The pastor or his designee shall serve as moderator of church business meetings. In the temporary absence of the pastor, or if the office of pastor is vacant, the deacon chairman or his designee shall serve as moderator. In the event of a conflict of interest, the deacon may substitute a moderator.
C. The moderator shall determine the rules of procedure according to his sense of fairness and common sense, giving all members a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a matter. The moderator is the final authority on questions of procedure, and his decision is final and controlling.
D. For any meeting under this article, the moderator, in his sole discretion, shall have full and unilateral authority to require nonmembers (or children, if circumstances so warrant) to leave the meeting room and to order the immediate removal of any member or other person present who is deemed by the moderator to be disruptive to the proceedings by act or presence. If the moderator determines that compliance with his order of removal is unsatisfactory, he may, in his sole discretion, revoke the disruptive person’s right to remain on the premises and treat the person as a trespasser.
SECTION 6.02—SPECIAL MEETINGS
A. In the event of an unforeseen need upon the recommendation of the pastor and (or) deacon(s) an emergency meeting may be called at the next gathering of the congregation.
B. The pastor [or the deacon(s) if the office of pastor is vacant or if the pastor is the subject of possible disciplinary action] may call a special church business meeting by giving notice of such a meeting and the purpose for which it is called to the church from the pulpit at least one Sunday and not less than one week prior to said meeting or as deemed necessary by the church officers. A meeting for the calling of a pastor or for the discipline or removal of the pastor shall be called in accordance with the provision of Sections 4.05 and 4.06.
SECTION 6.03—VOTING AT MEETINGS
Voting at any church business meeting is limited to eligible members in good standing with the church who are physically present at the meeting. Absentee voting is not permitted, and any member who is undergoing church discipline at the time of a vote is not permitted to vote. A simple majority vote, or as specified will constitute the requisite number of votes for passage of amendments and motions in a church business meeting.
Members who desire that a certain motion be made or subject matter be discussed during an annual, regular, or special business meeting must file a written recommendation with the pastor and deacon(s) two weeks prior to the set meeting, who will then consider the proposal and proceed according to their conscience and what they understand to be in the best interests of the church. All other motions will be presented by the pastor and/or chairman of the deacon(s) (or other moderator if the office of pastor is vacant) unless the pastor and/or the deacon(s) has delegated authority to another member and/or officer to raise certain motions. No motions will be made from the floor.
SECTION 6.05—FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year of the church shall begin January 1st and end December 31st.
The church believes that the home and church are responsible before God for providing a Christian education. To help fulfill this responsibility of imparting biblical truth and furthering the Great Commission, this church shall establish and maintain an educational program (either a Sunday School and/or a weekday educational program) for the purposes of winning souls to Christ and teaching Bible doctrine, Godly worship, and biblical Christian living. To this end, the church shall engage in educational ministries.
SECTION 7.02—CHURCH PARTICIPATION
All educational programs or courses of instruction formulated and offered by the church shall be primarily for the benefit of the members of the church; however, the pastor and deacon(s), on behalf of the church, may permit non-church members to participate in church educational programs or courses of instruction if they deem it in the best interest of the church.
SECTION 7.03—AGREEMENT WITH STATEMENT OF FAITH
All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be conducted as an integral and inseparable ministry of the church and shall be taught and presented in full agreement with the Statement of Faith of the church and the inerrant Word of God. The church shall not knowingly hire, appoint, or retain any employee or volunteer for its educational programs who fails to adhere to or who expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith or who adopts or lives a lifestyle inconsistent with the beliefs and practices of the Statement of the Faith or this church, whether in or out of the classroom.
The pastor and deacon(s), on behalf of the church, may designate or form any committees and may appoint members and/or chairpersons of said committees as considered by the pastor and deacon(s) to be in the best interests of the church. These committees may be standing or temporary (special) committees.
SECTION 8.02—ACTIONS OF COMMITTEES
Committees, whether standing or special, have no authority to act on behalf of the congregation. Their primary function is to research and recommend. Committees shall make available upon request all records and materials to the pastor and deacon(s), who shall have the right to overrule any plans or decisions made by the committee. Each committee shall have a secretary that keeps minutes of each meeting and shall timely submit the minutes to the pastor and church secretary to be filed with church records. If deemed appropriate by the pastor and deacon(s), the committee secretary, in conjunction with the chairman, shall submit an annual report to the church of the decisions and plans of the committee.
From time to time the church, in the exercise of its religious, educational, and charitable purposes, may establish various funds to accomplish specific goals. If the church receives a designated contribution for these funds or for any other designated purpose, the church will attempt to honor the designation; however, all designated contributions shall be deemed advisory rather than legally mandatory in nature and shall remain subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the congregation. No fiduciary obligation shall be created by any designated contribution made to the church other than to use the contribution for the general furtherance of any of the purposes stated in Section 1.02.
SECTION 10.01—SUBMISSION TO ARBITRATION
Members of this church agree to submit to binding arbitration any legal matters within the church, which cannot otherwise be resolved, and expressly waive any and all rights in law and equity to bring any civil disagreement before a court of law, except that judgement upon the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.
SECTION 10.02—ARBITRATION PROCEDURES
The procedures for arbitration shall be as adopted by the pastor and deacon(s). If they have not adopted procedures, the church will use arbitration procedures provided by the National Center for Life and Liberty. This arbitration provision is ecclesiastical and faith-based in nature, and is intended to operate under the rules and guidelines of this local church. It is not intended to operate under any state or federal guidelines for arbitration.
SECTION 11.01—PRIVATE INUREMENT
No part of the net earnings of the church shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the church shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for the services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Section 1.02 hereof.
SECTION 11.02—POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT
No substantial part of the activities of the church shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation. The church shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
Upon the dissolution of the church with a three-quarters majority vote of the congregation, the pastor and (or) deacon(s) shall, after paying or making provision for payment of all the liabilities of the church, dispose of all assets of the church to such organization or organizations formed and operated exclusively for religious purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as the pastor and (or) deacon(s) shall determine. Assets may be distributed only to tax-exempt organizations that agree with the church’s Statement of Faith.
SECTION 11.04—NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY
The church shall not discriminate against members, applicants, students, and others on the basis of race, color, or national and ethnic origin. While Grace Baptist Church does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, national and ethnic origin in its membership or employment policies, as a religious institution it reserves the right to deny membership or employment or to terminate the membership or employment of persons whose lifestyle, words, actions or otherwise do not align with the church’s statement of faith, standard of conduct or other policies of this organization.
SECTION 11.05—LIMITATION OF ACTIVITIES
Notwithstanding any other provision of these bylaws, the church shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the purposes stated in Section 1.02.
These bylaws may be revised or amended by a three-quarters majority vote of the eligible members present and voting at any regular church business meeting, provided that said revision or amendment has been announced from the pulpit for at least two consecutive Sundays, and at least fourteen (14) days before the vote is taken. Proposed amendments or changes must be made available to voting members for review at least one week prior to the meeting at which the vote to amend the bylaws will be taken. Amendments become effective immediately upon adoption.
These bylaws were adopted by a majority vote of the members present and voting at a duly called meeting of the church in which a quorum was present.
These bylaws supersede any other bylaws of Grace Baptist Church.
Date Church Secretary