What We Believe
We, the members of St Johns Park Baptist Church, do hereby organise ourselves willingly and seriously in accordance with our Constitution as our articles of governance, to be interpreted at all times to reflect the character of, and bring glory to, Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Holy Bible and articulated further in the standards set forth in the Articles of Faith and Church Covenant of this church.
Furthermore, we believe that the 1677/1689 “London Baptist Confession of Faith” to be, with the exception of the following statements, a faithful summary of Biblical doctrine and as a guide for the theological formulation of the church.
- Chapter 26, paragraph 4, “… neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”
While we do disagree with the Confession’s terminology of the Pope as being the significant antichrist described in Scripture and recognise the Confession’s historic lens by which it sees the Pope, we do hold the office of the Pope, as the so-called “vicar of Christ”, along with the principal teachings of Catholicism, to be completely contrary to Scripture. We would also believe, however, that the Pope of Rome is not the antichrist, yet he is certainly an antichrist.
- Chapter 22, paragraph 7, “…from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.“
- Chapter 22, paragraph 8, “The sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all day, from their own works, words and thoughts, about their worldly employment and recreations, but are also taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.”
Positively, however, we do ascribe to the Sabbath principle when it comes to our life and practice on Sunday. That is, the first day of the week is to be considered the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
A more concise summary of SJPBC’s beliefs being found in the church’s Articles of Faith below:
I. THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God. We also hold that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were written by holy men who were supernaturally inspired by the Holy Spirit, and are to be the supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and practice. As a result, we affirm that in every area of life, the whole counsel of God is to be preached and practised.
(Psalm 119:130; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:19-21; Gal 1:8-9)
II. OF GOD
We believe that there is but one living and true God. An infinite Spirit, who is the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things and who is infinite in power, wisdom, holiness, righteousness, goodness, and love. To Him, all creatures owe all possible honour, confidence, obedience, and love.
(1 Cor. 8:6; Deut. 6:4; John 4:24; Gen 1:1)
III. OF THE TRINITY
We believe that God is Triune in essential being, and revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Equal in every divine perfection yet distinct regarding personal attributes, there is no division in nature, essence, or being. All three work harmoniously together in the great work of redemption.
(1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; John 14:11; 1 Cor. 8:6; John 1:14,18; John 15:26; Gal. 4:6)
IV. OF CREATION
We believe that God, for the manifestation of his glory, created the world and all things therein, in the space of six days, and, after making all other creatures, created mankind fitted for the life in which they were created; that the account of creation and of our first parents, given in Genesis, is to be accepted literally and historically, not allegorically or figuratively; and that, made evident through God’s creation of mankind as male and female and His giving of the institution of marriage, that there is an inherent goodness in God’s design regarding gender and opposite-sex marriage, which is being encroached upon by the sinfulness of man.
(Col. 1:16; Gen. 1:27, 31; Gen 2:24-25; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Rom. 1:26-27)
V. OF PROVIDENCE
We believe that God from eternity past, decreed and permitted all things to come to pass, and that He perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events, doing so in a way that does not destroy the moral agency and responsibility of the creature.
(Isa. 46:10,11; Psa. 135:6; Matt. 10:29-31; Eph. 1:11; Acts 2:23; Gen. 50:20)
VI. OF ELECTION
We believe that God, before the creation of the world, made an eternal choice to save some persons unto everlasting life – not because of foreseen merit or choice by said persons, but due to His infinite wisdom and mercy in Christ – by which they are called, justified, and, eventually, glorified.
(Eph. 1:11; Eph. 2:1-6; Eze. 36:26; Rom. 8:30)
VII. OF THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that people were made in the image of God for fellowship with God. However, by transgression of God’s command, mankind fell from his sinless and righteous state; that, all mankind, by virtue of inheriting a corrupt nature that is utterly opposed to God, are now positively inclined to evil, and are therefore justly condemned without defence or excuse; and that unable to help themselves, and apart from God’s grace, mankind is both helpless and hopeless.
(Gen. 2:16, 17; Gen. 3:12,13; 2 Cor. 11:3; Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22; Rom 8:7; Col. 1:21; James 1:14, 15)
VIII. OF THE ATONEMENT
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; That, in order to redeem mankind from the curse and power of sin and death, the Son of God became man, lived in perfect obedience to the Father, and died as a full, sacrificial, atonement as our representative substitute; that being resurrected from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ is now enthroned in heaven, serving as a perfect, compassionate, and all-sufficient saviour.
(John 1:14; Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 10:5-10; 1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:5)
IX. OF JUSTIFICATION
We believe that the great blessing which Christ secured means that to believe in Him is to be justified in the eyes of God. That the sinner, far because of any personal merit or righteousness, is pardoned from his sins and is bestowed eternal life solely based on God’s gracious gift of salvation in Jesus Christ; His perfect righteousness freely imputed to us and received through repentance and faith.
(Rom. 3:24; Rom. 8:30; Rom. 4:5-8; Eph. 1:7; Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 5:17; John 10:28; Psa. 32:5)
X. OF REGENERATION
We believe that in order to be saved, Sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration means that one has received a new heart and mind, captivated to God; a process that is immediate. The being effected in a manner beyond our comprehension, not by culture, character, nor by the will of man, but only 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 fruits of repentance, faith, and newness of life.
(Rom. 10:14, 17; 1 Pet. 1:2; Tit. 3:4-7; 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 2:5; John 5:25)
XI. OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred obligations, and also inseparable graces, being worked in our souls by the regenerating work of the Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger, and utter helplessness, as well as the only way of salvation through Christ, we turn to God with contrite hearts, receiving and relying on the Lord Jesus Christ as our only and all sufficient Saviour.
(Tit. 3:3-5; Acts 20:21; Acts 11:18; Ezek. 36:31; 1 Tim. 1:15)
XII. OF SANCTIFICATION
We believe that Sanctification is the process in that, in accordance to the will of God, we are made partakers of holiness and conformity to Christ; that this is a progressive work, whereby started at regeneration, it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, using God’s appointed means – such as the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.
(Acts 20:23; 1 Thess. 5:21-23; Gal. 5:24; Col. 1:11; 2 Cor. 7:1; 2 Pet. 1:3-9; 1 Pet. 2:11; 2 Cor. 3:18)
XIII. OF THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
We believe that only real believers endure to the end, and that their preserving attachment to Christ rests completely on the keeping power of God; that the salvation we have in Christ is a completed work which God has performed for those who are saved and are kept through faith unto salvation.
(John 10:28, 29; Phil. 1:6; 1 John 2:19; Jer. 32:40)
XIV. OF LAW AND GOSPEL
We believe that the Law of God, that which is also known as moral, is the eternal and unchangeable rule for mankind and is holy, just and good; that the relationship between man and law differs if one is a believer or not, whereby rather than being a condemnation of man’s sin and a ministry of death, it reveals for the believer, the will of God and their duty, however not as one under bondage, but as undertaken by love, as recipients of salvation unable to perfectly uphold the law for righteousness; and that this is in no way contrary to the grace of the gospel but is in complete harmony to it.
(Rom. 2:14-15; Rom. 13:8-10; Rom. 8:1; Rom. 6:12-14; Matt. 5:17-19; Rom. 3:31; Rom. 7:7; Matt. 22:36-40; Matt. 28:20; John 14:15)
XV. OF THE CHURCH
We believe that the visible church is a local community, or congregation, of baptised believers, separated from the world by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and covenanted together in faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word; that the offices of ordination are elders (Pastors, Bishops) and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the New Testament; that all regenerate persons are, however, members of the universal church, which local churches physically and visibly manifest; we believe the true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission; First, to make individual disciples; Second, to build up the church; Third, to teach and instruct as He has commanded. We do not believe in the reversal of this order; we hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government, free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that the one and only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the gospel; that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its co-operation; on all matters of membership, of administration, or government, or discipline, or benevolence.
(Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 2:42; 1 Pet. 4:10; Phil. 1:1; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 15:2; Acts 15:22-23)
XVI. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the total immersion in water of a believer in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, with the authority of the local church, in order to bear testament to the spiritual activity of God in the believers’ life and in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ’s command; that baptism reflects the beautiful picture of the gospel, with its effects, in our death to sin and resurrection to newness of life; that it provides a physical representation of a believer’s belonging to the church, and that, as such, it is a prerequisite to receiving its privileges. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is instituted by Christ so as to commemorate together His death and resurrection through the sacred use of bread and the fruit of the vine; preceded always by solemn self-examination.
(Matt. 28-19-20; Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Acts 2:42; Rom. 6:3-5)
XVII. OF THE LORD’S DAY
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day; that it is to be a day set apart for God in the purposeful and devout worship of Him through all the means of grace that have been granted for the people of God to do so.
(John 20:1-2; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Rev. 1:10)
XVIII. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honoured 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 coming Prince of the kings of the earth.
(Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17; Tit. 3:1; Jer. 27:6-11; Acts 5:29)
XIX. OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only those who are, through faith, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse, and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting peace of the saved and the everlasting, conscious, suffering of the lost.
(2 Cor 5:1; Jude 7; Matt 13:42; Matt. 25:46; 2 Thess. 1:9)
XX. OF THE RETURN OF THE LORD
We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven personally and visibly, and resurrect the dead from the grave to 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 men in heaven or hell, each upon principles of righteousness.
(2 Cor 5:10; Matt. 7:21-23; Matt 25:31-46; Mal. 4:1-3)
XXI. OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
We believe that while there is Christian liberty as to how one understands the Kingdom of God to look, that certain positions go beyond and interpret Scripture in a way that can be understood as being unhelpful; that, therefore, allowing a degree of freedom within our church, we believe that God has a singular people comprised of all elect, both in the Old and New Testaments, which are saved by virtue of the New Covenant and the mediation of Christ; those in the Old being saved through faith in the promise which was to come, and those in the New through faith in the promise received, which is Christ; and that the church is not specifically called to change, bring dominion to, or redeem this world, but is called, instead, to faithfully proclaim the gospel, teaching the whole counsel of God, through which hearts will be divinely changed, individuals saved, and the elect built up into maturity and Christlikeness, prior to the last day.
(Gal. 3:9; John 8:56; Luke 24:44; Heb. 11; Rom. 11:11-24; Matt. 28:18-20)