Southern Baptists have prepared a statement of generally held convictions called The Baptist Faith and Message, adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention on June 14, 2000. It serves as a guide to understanding who we are as a Southern Baptist Church. Copies are available at http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/.
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
There is one and only one living and true God. The eternal God reveals Himself to us in the three persons of the Trinity as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each person of the Trinity has distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross, He has redeemed those who trust in Him for salvation from sin.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man is the special creation of God, in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore every person of every race possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes justification, sanctification, and glorification. By God’s grace and through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross we are saved and born again into a new life of walking in faith and in obedience to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Who Can Be Saved
Anyone who trusts in Jesus for salvation will be saved. Jesus’ death on the cross pays in full the price of redemption for anyone who puts their faith in Him for salvation. Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved!
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two ordinances of Christ (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord.
Baptism & the Lord’s Supper
Believers’ baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in Jesus as the crucified, buried, and risen Savior. It symbolizes the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members memorialize the death of the Jesus and anticipate His second coming.
Evangelism & Missions
It is the calling of every follower of Christ and every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations by working together to win the lost to Christ through our christian witness.
The Lord’s Day
The first day of the week (Sunday), is the Lord’s Day. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion.
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, the dead will be raised and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous (those having rejected Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior) will be consigned to Hell. The righteous (those having trusted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior), will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. We are therefore under obligation to serve Him with our time, talents, and material possessions.
The Christian & the Social Order
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our lives and in human society. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for and preserve the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.
Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in a covenant commitment before God for a lifetime. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage.