CONFESSION OF FAITH AND
PRINCIPLES OF THE
EVANGELICAL ASSOCIATION OF FRENCH-SPEAKING BAPTIST CHURCHES
1. CONCERNING THE TRUE GOD:
We worship one only God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, creator of all things, eternal, infinite, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly wise, holy, righteous and good, to whom are due, to the highest degree, obedience, trust, gratitude, love and praise.
2. CONCERNING THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
We believe that the canonical writings of the Old and the New Testaments are the Word of God and constitute the only and infallible rule of faith and Christian life and the only touchstone by which every doctrine, every tradition and every religious and ecclesiastical system as well as every method of Christian action are to be tested.
We believe that the Holy Scripture is a providential document and that the Holy Spirit presided in sovereign manner at its origin and at the formation of the biblical story. We believe that He has Himself assured therein the perfect teaching and the entire historic truth, despite the imperfection of the human instruments who, by His divine inspiration and under His control, have contributed toward communicating to us the divine oracles.
We believe that the Holy Scriptures reveal to us all that we must know in the spiritual realm. We believe that they need not be modified or completed by any other revelation in the course of the present dispensation.
3. CONCERNING MAN, THE FALL AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE FALL:
We believe that man, who is personally and directly responsible to God, is called to determine himself freely and definitely his eternal destiny down here on earth, by the spiritual position which he shall have taken during his earthly life and in the clearness of the lights that have been accessible to him. We believe that the fall of man has been provoked and that the rebellion of mankind is being maintained by the intervention of a fallen angel, called Satan, who, having become the adversary of the Eternal long before the creation of man, and having involved in his revolt angels whom he has made his instruments, is destined, to- gether with them, to torments without end through the assured triumph of the Son of God. We believe that our first parents were created innocent, but having wilfully disobeyed their creator, they lost their primitive estate and incurred the just judgment of God. All their descendants, enveloped in this judgment and inheriting their fallen nature, are inclined towards evil. We believe that all those who like them shall have consciously transgressed God's laws, are justly exposed to an eternal punishment.
4. CONCERNING JESUS CHRIST AND HIS WORK:
We believe that Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, the only mediator between God and men, is from all eternity the unique Son of God. We believe that Jesus, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, was just as truly man as he was truly God and after having been tempted in all things like we are, He remained perfectly holy. We believe that by voluntarily abasing Himself the Son of God manifested in the realm of truth the same perfection as in the realm of goodness and that He never erred, neither in His acts nor in His teachings. We believe that Jesus Christ of His own free will suffered and that He died on the Cross, suffering there in order to satisfy the divine justice, the penalty which is due to sinners, and presenting to the Father for all whom He has purchased by His blood the merits of His perfect life. We believe that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the grave and ascended in glory to heaven where He intercedes for His own. We also believe that He will return bodily to take His own with Him and in order to establish His glorious reign. We believe that He will be the judge of the quick and the dead.
5. CONCERNING THE SALVATION THROUGH JESUS CHRIST:
We believe that in order to be saved man must, under the action of the Holy Spirit, repent of his sins and claim for himself, through faith, the expiatory faith of Jesus Christ and of His infinite merits. The sinner, thus justified, regenerated and sanctified by grace, has eternal life which involves the entire redemption of spirit, soul, and body.
6. CONCERNING THE HOLY SPIRIT AND HIS WORK IN CHRISTIAN LIFE:
We believe that the Holy Spirit, a divine person, applies to the heart the truths of Holy Writ with which He cannot be in disagreement. He produces in those who are elected according to the purpose of God the Christian life in its principle and its effects. He enables them to make progress in it and to persevere until the end. We believe that the Holy Spirit is given to each child of God as the earnest and seal of his eternal heritage. He reveals and communicates the glorious riches of Christ. Every prayer and every work, in order to be truly Christian, must result from His action. He alone can assure to the believer the communion with his God and with his brethren.
7. CONCERNING BAPTISM:
We believe that immersion is for the regenerated man the divinely chosen symbol of the purification of his sins, of his burial and resurrection with Christ. We believe that, according to the order of Christ, the immersion of believers is perpetually obligatory and that, according to the apostolic practice, admission to the local church necessarily implies it.
8. CONCERNING THE LORD?S SUPPER:
We believe that the Supper, instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the commemoration and proclamation of His atoning death on the Cross ought to be observed in and under the control of local churches until He comes again. We believe that bread and wine are symbols of the body and the blood given and shed by our Saviour and by participating in them Christians testify that they are one body with Jesus Christ. We believe that by this participation they likewise proclaim their firm assurance of His return in glory of their divine Saviour and Master.
9. CONCERNING THE RESURRECTION AND THE FINAL JUDGMENT:
We believe that all the dead shall be resurrected, both the just and the unjust. We believe in the final judgment. We believe that the rebellious fill consciously suffer the eternal punishment that they shall have merited, and, by virtue of the grace which they shall have accepted by faith, the redeemed shall enjoy eternal glory.
1. CONCERNING THE LOCAL CHURCH:
We believe that the local church constituted, according to the Word of God, is an assembly of believers, managing its own affairs, and separated from the state, receiving no subsidy from the latter, and, being conipletely independent in religious matters from any and every authority save that of Jesus Christ, the only Head of the universal Church which is His body.
We believe that, conforming to the practice of the apostles, it is indispensable that all those who compose a local church have accepted the evangelical message, that they have manifested their regeneration by a Christian walk of life, and that they have testified to their faith by being baptized.
Attachment to the local church creates among the newly baptized and its members a union of mutual obligations. By proclaiming through baptism his faith in the evangelical truths, the candidate takes upon himself the obligation to practice these truths in full harmony with the church.
The members of the local church ought, in the common interest, to exercise the gifts which they have received from God.
The admission of new members is declared by the local assembly itself. In the case of candidates coming from other groups of regularly baptized believers the presentation of a letter of recommendation from such a group is sufficient for admission.
We believe tlat the local church, a pillar and buttress of the truth within the environment wherein its vocation is being realized, has as its mission to accomplish by its witness, through teaching and by the service it shares, all the tasks which the Lord has justify in the charge of Christian local fellowships. It is incumbent upon such a local congregation, in responsible manner, to declare the Gospel, maintain sound doctrine, to control the celebration of Christian ordinances, to establish and realize its program of action, to acknowledge the ministries and to exercise discipline.
2. CONCERNING MINISTRIES:
We believe that all those who officially fulfill a ministry within the local church ought to have been called by the latter, after it has been established that they possess the qualifications required by the Word of God for their charge, which they must discharge in a spirit of wisdom and love.
The Scriptures establish no distinction in rank or authority between bishops (overseers), as pastors and elders. The pastors or elders are particularly charged to watch over the teaching and the spiritual health of the local church.
In a general sense, it is their mission to preside over its religious meetings, its public functions and deliberations, whose execution it is incumbent on them to assure. They ought never to dominate over the church of God, but they ought to make themselves examples of the flock by watching over the souls of men as having to give an account of them before God. In addition to pastors or elders, the local church may have other responsible servants, for example deacons and deaconesses whose role it is to assist the pastors or elders in their ministry, by assum- ing especial responsibility for everything that relates to the material interests of the congregation.
With relation to their attributes and their individual conduct, the members entrusted with a ministry are, just like the other members, subject to the control and the discipline of the local church which sovereignly determines the particular charge of each member.
3. CONCERNING DISCIPLINE:
We believe that the local church possesses, conforming to the evangelical teaching, the power to exdude from its bosom, after having solemnly warned them, all those of its members whose profession is belied by their conduct, or who without reasonable cause abandon the holy assemblies, and who persistently show that they have no interest in the different needs of the church or who reject the brotherly exhortations which are addressed to them. The member who has been thus excluded and deprived of all his rights in the church may however continue to benefit of the good will and the spiritual solicitude of those who have had the pain of separating themselves from him. He may, moreover, at his own request, be readmitted to the local church, if his testimony and his conduct demonstrate that he has again become pious and faithful.
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