OUR CONFESSION OF COMMON FAITH
This confession of faith reflects the consensus of the faculty and administration of Wayland Baptist Theological Seminary; it is not a creed or instrument of doctrinal conformity but an expression of general doctrinal agreement.
We confess that God is an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. God is the creator of all things viable and invisible. God has been revealed to us as YHWH (Yahweh).
We confess that Jesus is the Christ, the begotten Son of the living God. Jesus alone is Lord of all creation; he is the full revelation of God and the only mediator between God and humanity; and the baptizer with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the great head of the church and has been given authority by God over all things.
The Holy Spirit
We confess that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in and that the Spirit is an abiding helper, and guide. The Holy Spirit empowers the church for diverse ministries and the mission of spreading the gospel. We confess that the Holy Spirit indiscriminately bestows gifts upon persons for the Spirit alone is the infallible interpreter of the Scriptures.
We confess that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: revealed as God the Father, the Word or the Son, and Holy Spirit; creator and sustainer, the One whose Kingdom has no end.
The Virgin Mary
We confess that Mary is the Virgin mother of our Lord Jesus the Christ, conceived by the Holy Spirit, God from God. That Mary is highly favored and served God and humanity through her willingness to submit to the unreasonable will of God. Mary was the wife of Joseph and birthed other children naturally through her union with Joseph the guardian of our Lord Jesus the Christ.
We confess that the Scriptures are the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written by men and women of old under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
We confess that Jesus came to save all people from senselessness and sin; those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
We confess the universal church is a living spiritual body of which Christ is the exalted head and all regenerated persons are members. The primary purpose of local church membership is to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We confess that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local church: baptism and the Lord's Supper. Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water into the name of the triune God. Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ for the commemoration of His death. These two ordinances should be observed and administered until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Universal Priesthood
We confess the universal priesthood of every believer and the priesthood of all believers; and that all the baptized hold the priesthood; and are called by God to minister the good news of all that God has done through Jesus Christ. This priesthood is bestowed upon every believer by the Holy Spirit and it is irrevocable.
We confess that soul competency which Baptists emphasize is not a mere human characteristic, but a gift from God. In creation, God gave to persons the freedom to make choices. We confess that we are responsible for our choices. God sets forth the consequences of good and bad decisions.
We confess that every human being has direct relations with God, and is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith; valuing freedom for religion, from religion, and of religion, to the end of preserving the separation of Church and State.
We confess that the local church is an autonomous fellowship of baptized believers gathered to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ and that by cooperating with churches of like faith; the witness of the gospel can reach and impact for the reign of God’s realm on earth. Local churches voluntarily affiliate with national bodies, regional, state, and district organizations. Such an organizations exist and function by the will of the local autonomous churches.
We confess that salvation is not only a gift from God but is sustained by God as well. Salvation is wholly of the Lord, apart from the works of humans. The Holy Spirit permanently indwells the believer and seals them in salvation for all eternity. Therefore, the believer shall be kept by the power of God through faith.
The Last Things
We confess that the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth, the dead will be raised imperishable, incorruptible and immortal to everlasting life. Christ will judge all people and nations, consign Satan and his followers to eternal separation from God for all eternity; and those who believe in him by faith from every reach of his realm together in one place to greet him and reign with him forever.
ARTICLES OF FAITH
THE 18 ARTICLES OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE CONFESSION OF FAITH 1833, ADAPTED
I. The Scriptures.
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by persons divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.
II. The True God.
We believe the Scriptures teach that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is YHWH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
III. The Fall of Humanity.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Humankind was created in holiness, under the law of their Maker; but by voluntary transgressions fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all humankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
IV. The Way of Salvation.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God; who by the appointment of God, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins; that having risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in him is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood; by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
VI. The Freeness of Salvation.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but their own determined depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel; which rejection involves them in an aggravated condemnation.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith, and newness of life.
VIII. Repentance and Faith.
We believe the Scriptures teach that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our prophet, priest and king, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
IX. God's Purpose of Grace.
We believe the Scriptures teach that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means especially the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.
XI. Perseverance of the Saints.
We believe the Scriptures teach that such only are real believers as endure to the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
XII. The Law and Gospel.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of God’s moral government; that it is holy, just and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen humanity to fulfill its precepts, arise entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the Means of Grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.
XIII. A Gospel Church.
We believe the Scriptures teach that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by his laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by God’s Word; that its only scriptural officers are Bishops or Pastors, and Deacons whose Qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
XIV. Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect, in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord's Supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination.
XV. The Christian Sabbath.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath, and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations, by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public, and by preparation for that rest that remains for the people of God.
XVI. Civil Government.
We believe the Scriptures teach that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interest and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the Kings of the earth.
XVII. Righteous and Wicked.
We believe the Scriptures teach that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in their esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among humanity both in and after death.
XVIII. The World to Come.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the renewal the world is approaching; that at the last day, Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave for final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of humankind, on principles of righteousness.