1. The Nature and Unity of the Godhead
There is one God, creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three Persons – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. These three are the same in substance, power and glory and unified in the Godhead, so that we worship one God.
Gen 1:26; Deut 6:4; Matt 3:16; Mt 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; 1 Cor 8:6; John 1:1,14; Isa 9:6; Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor 3:17; Heb 9:14; 1 Cor 2:11.
2. The Deity and Humanity of Christ
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who took on humanity to become the God-man at the original Christmas event. As the second Person of the Trinity, He was and continues to be eternally one with God the Father of whose Person and glory He is the unique and accurate expression. To become human, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary so that two entire and perfect natures – the divine and the human – were united in the one Person, Jesus of Nazareth.
(Isa 9:6; Jn 1:1-2, 14,18; John 14:9; Rom 9:5; Rom 8:3; Gal 4:4,5; Heb 1:3,8,10; 2:14-15; 4:15; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 John 1:1-3.)
3. The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, as the third Person of the Trinity, is eternally one with the Father and the Son. He is referred to in the Old Testament Scriptures as ‘the Spirit of God’ andmentioned at times emphasizing the close, personal care and power of God. In these Old Testament times, the Spirit is the communication from the Godhead, undifferentiated regarding the Persons of the Trinity, with His creation.
In the New Testament, He is called ‘the Holy Spirit‘. There are three greatsteps in the work of the Spirit in this age. His first great work was the incarnation of the Son achieved by the Holy Spirit overshadowing the womb of the Virgin Mary so that Jesus was physically born by the Spirit bringing the eternal Son into her womb.Thus in this unique way Jesus was ‘born of the Spirit’. The second great work of theSpirit in the New Testament age was the communication between the Father in Heaven and His only begotten Son on earth after our Lord was constituted as theChrist (the ‘anointed one’). At our Lord’s baptism in the River Jordan, Jesus wasbaptised by the Holy Spirit and anointed of the same Spirit from the Father forleadership as the Christ introducing the Kingdom of God on earth. (‘Messiah’ in Hebrew = ‘Christos’ in Greek: the idea of being anointed to be King). Our Lord didHis ministry as the Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit sent onto Him from the Father. That is, the Father in Heaven brought His Kingdom down to earth by anointing His chosen ruler Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ.
So the Holy Spirit acted firstly as the Spirit of the Father communicating theSon (the ‘Word’ or ‘outspeaking’ of the Father) to the womb of Mary in the incarnation and then secondly as the Spirit of the Father anointing Jesus as theMessiah. Christ’s ministry was thus the very work of the Father for these two reasons.
The third great work of the Spirit, as revealed by the New Testament, issomething that began with and after our Lord’s Passion and ascension to the Righthand of the Father and continues today. Jesus, the God-man, was made Lord of Lords in glory and was given by the Father the Holy Spirit to send. The Holy Spirit was sent on behalf of and from the Lord Jesus onto the waiting believers in a parallel way to how the Father had sent the Spirit onto Christ at His baptism in Jordan. The exalted Lord was now to be the One on whose behalf the Spirit would operate on earth. TheHoly Spirit’s role was to be ‘the Spirit of Christ’. Thus the Holy Spirit was sent by theFather and the Son from Heaven on the day of Pentecost to be the formal representative (Vicar) of Christ on earth and achieve in this age His Divine purpose in the world and through the Church. The ministry of the Spirit now is that of glorifying the Son and executing His Lordship on earth.
The Holy Spirit also now works to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. The worst example of sin, which needs the Holy Spirit’s conviction to make clear, is to leave Christ out of your life. The Holy Spirit’s conviction ofrighteousness is about the righteousness of God which the gospel now offers as available from heaven only through belief in Christ. This gospel offer of righteousness from Christ is available because He has been resurrected and lifted in His ascension to the greatest place of acceptance and justification in Heaven. The Holy Spirit also now works to illumine the fact that all other contenders (the chief of which is Satan) for leadership over humanity and the world have been judged and dismissed by the great victory won by Christ at the cross of Calvary. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Church is how the Lord of Church in Heaven exercises His continuing work through His Church on earth. (Mt 1:18-20; 3:16; Mk 1:8; Lk 1:35; 4:1,14; Jn 1:1,33; Jn 15:26; Jn 16:7-25; Acts 1:5; 2:33; Rom 8:11)
4. The Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures
The Scriptures, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, are the infallible Word of God. Their verbal inspiration by the Holy Spirit has guaranteed their full inerrancy. That is, the Scriptures being God-breathed ensure the full truthfulness of the very language of the first writers and so the Scriptures are without error in their original documents. These Scriptures are the full and complete revelation of His will for the salvation of people and the final, divine authority on all matters that they affirm and not just on faith and doctrine. (Jn 17:17; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21)
5. The Sinfulness of Humankind
Humankind was made in the image of God and for fellowship with Him. Bytransgression of God’s command, humanity fell from fellowship with God and wascorrupted. The image was marred but not destroyed and all humanity is still in the image of God. We, the human race, are like a beautiful Cathedral set on a hill but we have been bombed and scarred by sin and no longer able to reflect the glory of God and fulfil the purpose for which we were created. As a consequence of the Fall,all humans are spiritually dead and under Satan’s dominion and control and subject to God’s wrath and condemnation. Therefore, apart from God’s grace, humankind ishelpless, hopeless and totally depraved in the sense that sin has affected every area of humanity. (Rom 3:23; Rom 5:12; Gal 3:22; Eph 2:8-9)
6. Christ’s Atonement for the Sin of Humanity
In order to redeem humankind from the guilt, penalty and power of sin, Jesus Christ took on humanity to become the God-man and died a sacrificial death as oursubstitute and representative. By His resurrection, God’s acceptance of His atoning death was demonstrated and Christ’s righteousness made available to us for ourjustification. This atonement is sufficient for the whole world but effective only in those who receive it. Sinners are justified and reconciled to God on the occasion of their repentance and faith, not through any personal merit of their own, but solely onthe basis of God’s gracious gift of righteousness in Jesus Christ received through faith. (Jn 1:11-12; Jn 3:16-18; 4:42; 11:51; Acts 13:38-39; Gal 4:4-5; 1 Tim 2:3-6; 4:9-11; 2 Pet 2:1; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:14-15)
7. The Work of the Holy Spirit in Salvation
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is necessary for the initial understanding of the gospel and being drawn to Christ as well as the ability to exercise a choice inaccepting God’s provision of salvation. No person comes to faith in Christ, and isthereby saved, on his/her own initiative and sponsorship alone. Rather it has been the sovereign grace of God that has awakened any person to search for God. The Holy Spirit convinces sinners of their sinfulness, leads them to personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and so brings them consequently to spiritual newbirth (regeneration) to become God’s children and to participate in fellowship inChrist. The Holy Spirit makes real the presence of Christ in believers, witnesses to their relationship with God, leads unto all truth, bestows gifts for effective service and produces graces for holy living and empowerment for evangelism. (Jn 3:3; 6:44; Acts 11:15-16; 1 Cor 12:13; 2 Cor 1:21-22; Gal 3:2, 1 Jn 3:24; 1 Jn 4:13)
Jn 3:3; 6:44; Acts 11:15-16; 1 Cor 12:13; 2 Cor 1:21-22; Gal 3:2, 1 Jn 3:24; 1 Jn 4:13
8. Christ’s Church
The ‘universal church’ is the body of people whom God has separated from theworld through faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. All regenerate (born again) persons are members of this universal church which takes local form wherever groups of believers unite for worship, fellowship and service in accordance with scriptural principles. SBC is such a local expression of the universal church. The universal church is not tied to any denomination or human organisation but SBC, as a local expression of the universal church, may choose to be in affiliation with other similar, Bible believing churches while this can be practically done without too much compromise. In this way while feasible, SBC chooses to stay in fellowship with the Queensland Baptist Union and balances the dangers of independency against the dangers of too close ties with and dependency on organisations or fellowships that are at distance from the truth of the Word of God.
9. The Old Testament Priesthood and the Divine Institution of the Christian Ministry
The Ministry of the priests of the Old Testament, along with that of the prophets and kings were Spirit-anointed roles in that period. All three roles in these OldTestament offices were preparatory for the coming Messiah. Christ’s work has takenover these three Old Testament Offices and so the New Testament Church needs nofurther ‘Ministry’ other than that of Christ. Jesus is the one true High Priest of Godand His heavenly ministry comes out in two ways in the church: (i) all New Testament believers express this Heavenly Ministry of Christ. This is called the‘Priesthood of all Believers’ and comes out as the ‘ministry’ (little ‘m’) of all the church members. Thus the members of the Church are its ‘ministers’. (ii) Christfrom Heaven has given to the church an outworking of His leadership Ministry in the charismatically based ‘offices of leadership’ as discussed in Ephesians 2:20 and4:11-12. This is ‘the Ministry’ (big ‘M’) of the Church which our BaptistDenomination has in the past ordained.
In the church, God also calls the Church to lift individual Christians to other leadership roles that are not charismatically defined but based in character and godly aspiration. This is detailed in 1 Timothy 3. The intersection of the charismatically-gifted ministry leadership offices of Ephesians 2 and 4 and the leadership offices of church folk as a part of their ‘ministry’, (as illustrated in 1Timothy 3), is seen in the Bible when the apostles sat with the group of elders in the first church and the evangelists/pastor-teachers sit with the elders in the continuing church. The church recognises such by ordaining Pastor-teachers, commissioning missionaries, appointing elders and other leaders, and receiving and sending
itinerant ministries following New Testament practice. (Mt 16:18; Jn 15:1-8; Acts 6:1-6; Acts 13:1-3; Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Gal 6:2; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:21-25; Col 1:18; 1 Thes 5:11; 1 Thes 5:14; 2 Tim 5:22)
10. The Baptism of Believers by Immersion
Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a public declaration of aperson’s faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In accordance with NewTestament Scripture, it should be administered to believers only and then by total immersion which symbolises the believer’s identification with Christ in death, burialand resurrection; the remission of sins; and the believer’s dedication of him/herselfto God to live and walk in newness of life. (Mt 28:19; Mk 16:16; Acts 8:36-38; Acts 10:46-48; Acts 18:8; Rom 6:3-4; 1 Cor 12:12-13; 1 Pet 3:21)
11. The Communion
‘The Lord’s Supper’ or ‘Communion’ is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christinstituted by Him to be celebrated by believers with the elements of bread and wine until the end of the age. It commemorates and declares and gives thanks for theLord’s substitutionary death. The celebration of the ordinance expresses our communion with God and the saints of all ages and our special fellowship in the Body of Christ of which Christ is Head. (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 10:16; 1 Cor 11:23-30;)
12. The Return of the Lord Jesus Christ
At the end of this age, according to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally, physically and visibly in His glory to the earth. This blessed hope purifies and enlivens true Christian faith. The full consummation of the Kingdom of God awaits His return. (Mt 24:42-44; 28:1-20; Mk 13:26-36; Lk 12:37-40; 1 Cor 1:7-8; 1 Cor 11:26; 1 Thes 2:19; 1 Thes 3:13; 1 Thes 4:13-18; 1 Thes 5:1-11; Tit 2:13; 1 Pet 1:13; 2 Pet 3:11-12; 1 Jn 2:28; Rev 3:11; Rev 20:4-6)
13. The Resurrection of the Dead
There is to be a bodily resurrection from the dead for all people. Jesus was resurrected bodily from the grave. The believer will be resurrected to everlasting blessedness and joy in the presence of the Lord; the unbeliever to everlasting and conscious punishment. The timings of these resurrections is that Jesus was the ‘first fruits’ at the original Easter Sunday morning; the believers at the aspect of theSecond Coming relevant to them; and lastly the lost just before the final judgement at the great white throne of the Book of Revelation.(Dan 12:2; Mt 22:29-32; Lk 24:39; Jn 5:21-29; Jn 6:39-40; Rom 3:4; 1 Cor 15:35-38; Rev 20:4-6; 11-15).
14. Rewards and Punishments in a Future State
God has appointed a final judgement for the world. After that time, Jesus Christ will have judged every person and each will have received reward or punishment according to their deeds. Salvation is, notwithstanding this judgement of our works, by faith. At the judgement our works shall declare the presence or absence of such saving faith. Every human life, without exception other than Christ Himself, has already been concluded as sinful and so hopelessly lost, and so all, unless there is an intervening provision of the righteousness of Christ graciously imputed, are lost and headed for eternal damnation. Those judged saved by Christ, now in their resurrected and glorified bodies, will receive their rewards and dwell forever with the Lord. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. (Dan 12:2; Mt 13:39-43; Jn 3:18-20; Jn 3:36; 1 Cor 3:10-15; Phil 3:20- 21; Rev 14:9-13; 20:11-15)