Section 1 - Doctrinal Statement
BIBLIOLOGY - Doctrine of the Scriptures
We believe that every word of the original autographs of the Scriptures was breathed out by God Himself (II Timothy 3:16-17); that by virtue of the superintendence and empowering of the Holy Spirit, the human writers of the Scriptures wrote not their private interpretations but the very words of God (II Peter 1:19-21), preserved from error of any kind on any subject whatsoever (John 10:35).
We believe that the Scriptures are, therefore, the unique, absolute, authoritative standard of faith and practice, to be studied, proclaimed, obeyed, and defended (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 19:7-11; John 17:17; Jude 3-4); that they are to be interpreted literally, historically, and grammatically (Matthew 12:39-41; II Peter 1:16); and that every portion is without exception profitable for doctrine and Christian growth (I Timothy 3:16).
We believe, therefore, that the denial of their inerrant authority contradicts the clear position of Christ and the apostles and thus undermines all facets of their doctrine as reliable for faith and practice; that the sixty-six books of the Bible constitute the complete and only authoritative revelation of God to man (Proverbs 30:5-6;I Corinthians 14:37; II Peter 3:15-16); and that anyone who adds to or takes away from this completed revelation is cursed of God (Revelation 22:18-19).
THEOLOGY - Doctrine of God
We believe in one unique and infinite God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6; 45:21-22; John 17:3), the Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth (Psalm 104; Proverbs 21:1; Daniel 4:25, 35; Matthew 6:26-30), whose existence, clearly evident from what He has created and innately recognized by the conscience of man (Romans 1:19-20), has always been and will always be. (Genesis 21:33; Deuteronomy 33:27; II Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:2, 4).
We believe that God is a Spirit (John 4:24), and as such is an immaterial (Luke 24:39), invisible (John 1:18; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:1; I Timothy 1:17; 6:16), living (Psalm 84:2; Matthew 16:16), and life-giving (Psalm 36:9; John 5:26) Person.
We believe that God comprises three distinct Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – coequal in every Divine perfection and fulfilling distinct yet harmonious functions within the Godhead (Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 4:4; John 15:26; John 16:13-14).
We believe in the infinite and unlimited transcendence of God: in perfection – holiness (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 99:9; Isaiah 6:3; I Peter 1:15-16) and immutability (Psalm 102:27; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17): in knowledge– omniscience (Proverbs 15:3; Isaiah 46:10; Hebrews 4:13): in power –omnipotence (Isaiah 40; Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:27; Ephesians 3:20; Job 42:2): and in presence – omnipresence (Psalm 139).
We believe in the immanence of God, as evidenced by His gracious love for and merciful interaction with the creation, notably with man (Psalm 103), demonstrating His trustworthiness (Psalm 100:5; John 17:3; I John 5:20; Romans 3:4); righteousness (II Chronicles 12:6; Ezra 9:15; II Timothy 4:8; Revelation 6:4) and goodness – love (I John 4:7-8), benevolence (Psalm 145:9; Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17), mercy (Ephesians 2:4; James 5:11; I Peter 1:3), and grace (Romans 5:21; II Corinthians 12:9; Titus 2:11).
We believe that God directly created out of nothing the universe and all that is in it, including mankind, as literally set down in Genesis 1-2 being completed by God in six days (24 hour periods); that all theories of evolution, secular or religious, not only defy observable natural law but also deny the veracity of the Scriptures and undermine the rightful authority of God over His own creation (Genesis 1:31; Isaiah 45:11-12, 18; John 1:3; Romans 5:12; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
We believe that God providentially oversees the affairs of the universe, both spiritual and physical, sustaining and guiding it according to His predetermined purpose (Nehemiah 9:6; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3); that on occasion He has used literal miracles to bring about His will (notably in the days of Moses, of Elijah and Elisha, and of Christ and His apostles); that even those things that are inherently bad and evil cannot ultimately thwart His will, but become tools in His hand to bring about the Divine consummation of history (Psalm 76:10; Acts 4:25-28).
PNEUMATOLOGY - Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God, coequal with the Father and the Son, as demonstrated by His attributes (I Corinthians 2:10; Psalm 139:7; Hebrews 9:14), works (Genesis 1:31; II Peter 1:21; Luke 1:35; John 16:8; John 3:5-6; Titus 3:5; Romans 8:26-27; II Thessalonians 2:13), and association within the Trinity (II Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:30; Matthew 28:19).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a distinct Person of the Godhead and as such possesses the attributes of personality (Acts 5:3, 9; 7:51; Matthew 12:31; I Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 4:30; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14).
Within the Godhead
We believe that the Holy Spirit participated in the creation of the universe (Genesis 1:2); that He empowered the writers of Scripture to pen the very breathed-out words of God (II Peter 1:19-21); that He bears witness to the truth (John 16:13-15); that He testifies of Christ and brings honor to Him (John 15:26).
In Relation to Believers
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the agent of the new birth (John 3:5-7; Titus 3:5; II Corinthians 5:17); that He baptizes all true believers into the body of Christ (Mark 1:8; I Corinthians 12:13), indwelling (John 14:16-17; I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19), sanctifying them thereby sealing them unto the day of full redemption (Romans 8:16; II Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30); that He intercedes for (Romans 8:26) and gives gifts to each believer (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12:8-11; I Peter 4:10-11), empowering (Acts 4:31; Ephesians 5:18), guiding (Galatians 5:16, 25; Romans 8:14), and teaching them (I Corinthians 2:12-13); that the true test of His control is not how spiritually gifted a person is, nor what supernatural experience he or she enjoys, but that the person honors Christ as Lord, living in love toward the Church and in obedience to the Scriptures (I Corinthians 12:1-11; 14:16-17, 26; Galatians 5:22 – 6:1).
We believe that the sign gifts given by the Holy Spirit to believers in the early church have ceased as a normal occurrence (I Corinthians 13:8-10) while we do not limit the power of God in any of these as a special occurrence. (Hebrews 2:4)
We believe that the Holy Spirit, while active in directing the lives of believers, is not now giving new revelation as the Bible is complete.(Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19)
In Relation to the World
We believe that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (Genesis 6:3; John 16:7-11)
CHRISTOLOGY - Doctrine of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is the unique, eternal Son of God (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; Hebrews 11:17; I John 4:9), one Person consisting of two natures, thus He is 100% God and 100% man.
We believe that as God the Son, Jesus the Christ is completely God, Possessor of Divine attributes and Agent of Divine works, to be worshipped and honored as Jehovah God Himself (Genesis 3:15; Psalm 68:18, 102:25-27; Isaiah 6:1ff, 7:14, 9:6, 40:3, 42:5, 45:12, 21-23; Micah 5:2; Matthew 3:3; John 1:3,14, 18, 3:16-18, 12:41; Ephesians 4:7-8; Philippians 2:10-11; Hebrews 1:8-12; I John 5:20).
We believe that by virtue of His incarnation and virgin birth, Jesus Christ is completely man – yet without sin, able to function as both our mediating Advocate and sustaining Comforter (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:14; Romans 8:34; Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; I John 2:1).
We believe that according to the will of the Father, Jesus Christ took upon Himself human nature, laying aside the prerogatives of Deity(Philippians 2:8-11); that He lived His earthly life without sin or sins (II Corinthians 5:21), and voluntarily sacrificed Himself on the cross in bloody death once and for all on behalf of mankind (Luke 24, John 10:11, Romans 5:8, I John 2:2), bearing the sins of the entire race in His own body (Isaiah 53); that in so doing He paid sin’s penalty (Mark 10:45) and appeased the wrath of God (“Sufficient for all; efficient for some.”) (I Peter 3:18); that He rose again bodily from the grave to die no more (Mark 16:1-14) and is exalted to the right hand of God to reign forever; that only in Him (John 14:6, Acts 4:12), by virtue of His exalted Person (Matthew 28) and vicarious work (John 14:20), can man find salvation from sin and death (I Corinthians 15:3-8).
ANTHROPOLOGY - Doctrine of Man & HAMARTIOLOGY - Doctrine of Sin
We believe that man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 9:6; James 3:9) and is, therefore, unique among all God’s creation (Genesis 2:7); that in Adam man willfully sinned against God (Genesis 3:1-19), thus forfeiting his original innocence and alienating the entire race from God (Ecclesiastes 7:20) and eternal life; that every man from Adam’s fall onward is a sinner by birth (Psalm 51:5, Romans 5:12), nature (Psalm 58:3) and by choice, utterly incapable apart from God of escaping his sinful condition (Isaiah 64:6, I Corinthians 15:21-22) or its rightful eternal punishment (Romans 3:10-23, 5:17-19).
ANGELOLOGY - Doctrine of Angels
We believe that angels are spirit beings, created by God to serve as His ministers (Job 38:4; 7; Hebrews 1:14; Psalm 104:4); that although some rebelled against God and thus are forever wicked and doomed, they all were created sinless and pure (Jude 6; Genesis 1:31); that their ministries and ranks differ, but they are not to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10); that their strength, appearance, and travel are beyond human capabilities (II Peter 2:11; II Thessalonians 1:7); that they are immortal and do not marry (Luke 20:36; Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25); and that their proper abode is in heaven (Jude 6).
We believe that the good angels (those that kept their first estate) are the spirit ministers of God: as such they proclaimed the birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:26-33; 2:13) and His resurrection (Matthew 28:2, 6), as well as protected and strengthened Him (Matthew 2:13; 4:11; 26:53; Luke 22:43); they take interest in Christians’ prayer and witnessing and give aid in danger and death (Hebrews 1:14; I Corinthians 4:9; I Timothy 5:21; Luke 15:10; Acts 12:7; Luke 16:22); and they also execute God’s providence toward and judgment on the nations (Genesis 19:13; Daniel 10:21; Matthew 13:39; Acts 12:23; Revelation 8; 9; 16; 14:6-7).
We believe in one literal, personal Devil, once a holy angel with God (Isaiah 14:12-14, II Corinthians 11:14-15) , who led the angelic rebellion against God (Ezekiel 28:12-19, Luke 10:18) and, hence against His creation (I John 3:8); that the Devil is the accuser of the brethren (Job 1 - 2), the destroyer of men’s souls (I Peter 5:8), the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4), whose network of demons (fallen angels) carry out his battle against God (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13) and man (John 8:44, I Thessalonians 2:18); that just as he cannot exceed the prescribed limits of God on his activity, so he also will not ultimately succeed (Revelation 12:9-10), but will be rendered inactive for the thousand years of the millennium (Revelation 20:1-10) and then, subsequent to one final rebellion against Christ, be cast into the lake of fire to burn forever in utter torment (Matthew 25:41).
We believe that when Satan rebelled against God, a great number of angels followed in his sin; that they are confirmed in unrighteousness, some chained in darkness awaiting their final judgment and others free to aid Satan in his efforts to thwart the purposes of God (Daniel 10:10-14), inflicting disease and pain (II Corinthians 12:7), possessing humans (Matthew 9:33, 12:22; Acts 8:7) and animals (Mark 5:8-14), opposing God’s children (Ephesians 6:11-12), promoting immorality, and spreading false doctrine (I Timothy 4:1-3, Revelation 16:13-16); that they are nonetheless under the sovereign control of God (I Samuel 16:14, Matthew 8:29), and that their doom in the lake of fire is sure (Matthew 25:41).
SOTERIOLOGY - Doctrine of Salvation
We believe that the salvation of sinners is a gift only by the grace of God; that a person must hear the gospel and be convicted of their sin by the Holy Spirit; (Romans 10:14; John 16:8) that they are then able to receive Christ as their Savior by turning from sin unto God through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work (John 1:12; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 9:24-25; 10:19; 12:24; I Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 1:5).
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again by the Spirit of God; that the new birth makes one that is dead in trespasses and sins a partaker of the divine nature and of eternal life, the gift of God; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and newness of life (John 3:1-8, 33; Romans 6:23; II Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 2:1-9; Colossians 2:13; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; I Peter 1:3).
We believe that justification is the judicial act of God whereby He declares one to be righteous, thereby pardoning his sin and imputing to his account Christ’s righteousness (Acts 13:3, 9; II Corinthians 5:18-25; Romans 5:1, 8-11; Ephesians 1:7).
We believe that sanctification is an act and a process by which God sets apart all believers from sin and the world unto Himself, thus conforming them to the image of Jesus Christ, which transformation will be made complete at the return of Christ for His saints (Romans 8:29; I Corinthians 1:2; Hebrews 10:14; Ephesians 1:3-4; 4:11-13; I Thessalonians 5:23-24; Philippians 1:6; 3:21; I John 3:2; Jude 24).
We believe that God ordained before the foundation of the world those that will be saved and that His election cannot be ultimately thwarted; that this election in no way negates the responsibility of sinners to repent from sin and to turn to God nor that of saints to proclaim the gospel of Christ to every person (John 6:37, 44, 65; Acts 13:48; Romans 9:11, 15-16; 10:8-17; Ephesians 1:4, 11; Revelation 22:17).
We believe that all true believers will never totally or finally fall from grace; that their perseverance is in itself evidence of the reality of their profession; that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto eternal and complete salvation (John 10:27-28; Romans 8:28-39; Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 1:6; II Timothy 1:12).
We believe that when Christ comes for His church, all believers will be transformed in a moment into His likeness, their bodies made immortal and incorruptible (Romans 8:30; I Corinthians 15:51-54; I John 3:2).
ECCLESIOLOGY - Doctrine of the Church
The Universal Church
We believe that the true Church, founded by the risen Christ at Pentecost, consists of all who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior; that the true universal Church will never die out, although local assemblies may; that it constitutes the body of Christ; that the Church is in this dispensation the vehicle of the kingdom of God, as was theocracy of Israel in Old Testament times; that just as national Israel was a mixed multitude, so the professing Church includes hypocrites alongside of the true born-again believers; that those who apostatize-although they may have enjoyed spiritual benefits-reveal that they were not truly regenerate (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; I Corinthians 10:1-12; Ephesians 1:20-23; 3:3-11,21; 5:23-32; Colossians 1:18, 24; Hebrews 6:4-8; I John 2:19; Revelation 2:14-16, 20, 24).
The Local Church
We believe that the local church is a local representative body of the Church universal; that it is a body of believers that meet together to worship God, to receive instruction, to observe the Christian ordinances, and to render whatever service the gospel requires; and that the local church is autonomous, directly responsible to Christ the Church's head (Acts 2:38, 41-47; I Corinthians 11:17-34; Ephesians 1:1-2; 4:11-16).
We believe that local churches, while maintaining their autonomy, should fellowship and work together with true churches obedient to the Scriptures as needs and opportunities arise (Acts 11:22; II Corinthians 8 and 9; III John 10; I Corinthians 12; I Corinthians 1:10-13).
We believe that the Scriptures demand of the Church, corporately and individually, separation from this world's unrighteous system, repudiation of those that teach false doctrine and that spread discord among the brethren, and corrective disassociation from professing brethren that are flagrantly disobedient; that the carrying out of these Scriptural directives is fundamental to the spiritual integrity and survival of the church and of the individual believer; and that those professing Christian groups or individuals that refuse to obey these commands are erring brethren and should be treated as such. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Matthew 7:15-20; Acts 20:28-30; Romans 16:17; I Corinthians 5;II Corinthians 6:14-18, 11:13-15; Galatians 1:8-9; Ephesians 5:11; I Timothy 1:3-7,1:20, 6:3-5; II Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15; II Peter 2:1-3; I John 2:15-17; II John 9-11;).
We believe that the New Testament enjoins two ordinances and only two: baptism and the Lord's Supper.
We believe that water baptism by immersion constitutes the public declaration of one's spiritual initiation into the body of Christ; that it symbolizes the believer's cleansing from sin through identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, which identification is accomplished by the spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit, who incorporates the believer into the true spiritual Church; and that its spiritual meaning requires prior regeneration and conversion of the one being baptized (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:38, 41; Romans 6:3; I Corinthians 1:13,15).
We believe that the Lord's Supper, consisting of unleavened bread and drink from the fruit of the vine, symbolizes Christ's broken body and shed blood sacrificed on our behalf to deliver us from sin and death; that it looks forward to the day when we will sup with Christ in His kingdom; and that it is open to all true believers in right standing with God (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:17-20; I Corinthians 11:23-32).
We believe that since the end of the apostolic age, the human officers of the Church function at a local level only, consisting of the pastor as overseer and teacher (with assistant pastors/ elders/ overseers as needed), tending to the spiritual needs of the local body and deacons as ministers to the needs of the church that do not require the direct involvement of the pastor(s) and that would distract the pastor(s) from primary pastoral duties (Acts 6, 20:17ff; Romans 12:8;Philippians 1:1; I Timothy 3; 4:14; 5:17; Titus 1; James 5:14-16; I Peter 5:3).
We believe that the Scriptures clearly demand high spiritual standards of the church officers and that each may exercise gifts associated with the other, within the framework of proper authority (Acts 6, 8; I Timothy 3; Titus 1;).
We believe that the Scripture leaves some room for differences of polity among local churches according to the specific needs of the individual assembly in a given time and place (Acts 15; I Corinthians 7:17; 16:1, 4; Titus 1:5).
We believe the mission of the Church is to evangelize the world, from local neighborhoods to the farthest reaches of the earth, and to make Christian disciples of those that believe, baptizing them in Christ's name and providing them the thorough and demonstrative teaching of the Word of God (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8).
ESCHATOLOGY - Doctrine of Last Things
We believe in the imminent bodily resurrection of deceased believers immediately followed by the catching away of living believers to meet the Lord Jesus in the air (I Corinthians 15:51-54; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; II Thessalonians 2:1).
Judgment Seat of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ will judge His people to reward them for their earthly works as to their sincere worth in furthering His kingdom; that He will not judge them for their sins, due to their having been judged in His own body on the cross, but that He will judge them for rewards or the loss of them (Romans 14:10; II Corinthians 5:10).
We believe in a literal seven-year tribulation, during which God will pour out judgment on the earth. We believe that the man of sin will reign over most of the civilized world, aided by the false prophet; that he will persecute Israel and those that have accepted Christ during this period, especially during the last three and a half years; and that both he and the false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire after their unsuccessful battle of Armageddon against the Lamb of God, returning from heaven with His holy ones to set up His millennial kingdom (Revelation 6-19).
We believe in a literal thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ upon this earth, during which Satan will be bound and believers will serve as administrators of Christ's kingdom.
We believe that Satan will be loosed to mount a final unsuccessful rebellion against Christ and His people and will be cast into the lake of fire, where the man of sin and the false prophet are, to burn forever (Revelation 20:1-10).
Great White Throne Judgment
We believe the unbelievers of all ages whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life will be sentenced by Christ to burn in torment forever in the lake of fire (Revelation 14:9-11, 20:11-15).
We believe that the redeemed of the ages, in glorified bodies, will dwell with the triune God forever, to serve and to enjoy Him in perfect peace and happiness (Revelation 21-22).
Section 2 - Beliefs on Cultural Issues
Litchfield Baptist Church is committed to addressing changing cultural questions:
Marriage and Sexuality:
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one, legitimate meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God, which joins one biological man and one biological woman, as that gender was determined at birth, in a single, covenantal union, as delineated by Scripture.
Marriage ceremonies performed in the facilities owned, leased, rented, or borrowed by Litchfield Baptist Church will only be those ceremonies sanctioned by God, joining one biological man and one biological woman as that gender was 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; Romans 7:2; I Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23)
Any person licensed by the State of Ohio in connection with Litchfield Baptist Church shall only perform, solemnize, or officiate wedding ceremonies that are in complete accordance with this Constitution be it held in our facilities or elsewhere.
Litchfield Baptist Church reserves the right to refuse to perform or have performed marriages in our buildings or on our properties for any reason not in complete accordance with this Constitution.
We believe human sexuality to be a God given and God defined gift. (Genesis 2:24; 19:5,13; 26:8-9; Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; 6:9-11; I Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4)
We believe that sexual activity is reserved for the covenant of marriage ordained by God between one male and one female.
We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage between a biologically born man and a biologically born woman. We believe that the practice of any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sexual perversions of God’s gift of sex.
We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance.
The Sanctity of Human Life:
We believe that all forms of abortion, euthanasia, or enslavement of human beings are violations of Scripture. Each life is given by God and should be cherished in the highest possible manner. (Psalm 139:13-16; Exodus 20:13; Matthew 22:36-40)
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; II Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; I Peter 3:8-9; I John 3:17-18)
Litchfield Baptist Church believes that the measure of the value of a translation is its faithful adherence to and clear communication of the words of the original text. As the original autographs are not available this is difficult to determine. We also hold that the exaltation of one translation to the disallowance of others for reasons besides these is misled, divisive, and heretical. While some may prefer one translation more than another it is not a sin to use the other as often times the comparison of several good translations helps to bring better understanding of text at hand. Yet, also understanding that there is use of various translations within the original autographs themselves gives light that no one translation can be the final authority over all.
Litchfield Baptist Church further reserves the right to continue to address pressing issues in our culture and address them as we deem necessary in the future.