What we Believe

the baptist faith and message (2000)

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.
Exodus  24:4;  Deuteronomy  4:1–2;  17:19;  Joshua  8:34;  Psalms  19:7–10;  119:11,89,105,140;  Isaiah  34:16;  40:8;  Jeremiah  15:16;  36:1–32;  Matthew  5:17–18;  22:29;  Luke  21:33;  24:44–46;  John  5:39;  16:13–15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25–26; 2 Timothy 3:15– 17; Hebrews 1:1–2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19–21.

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal  Being,  the  Creator,  Redeemer,  Preserver,  and  Ruler  of  the  universe.  God  is  infinite  in  holiness  and  all  other  perfections.  God  is  all  powerful  and  all  knowing;  and  His  perfect  knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.  
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. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2–3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles  29:10;  Psalm  19:1–3;  Isaiah  43:3,15;  64:8;  Jeremiah  10:10;  17:13;  Matthew  6:9ff.;  7:11;  23:9;  28:19;  Mark  1:9–11;  John  4:24;  5:26;  14:6–13;  17:1–8;  Acts  1:7;  Romans  8:14–15;  1  Corinthians  8:6;  Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.
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.  Jesus  perfectly  revealed  and  did  the  will  of  God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared  to  His  disciples  as  the  person  who  was  with  them  before  His  crucifixion.  He  ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 53:1–12; Matthew 1:18–23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1–6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1–18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25–27; 12:44–50; 14:7–11; 16:15–16,28; 17:1–5, 21–22; 20:1–20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22–24; 7:55–56; 9:4–5,20; Romans 1:3–4; 3:23–26; 5:6–21; 8:1– 3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1–8,24–28; 2 Corinthians 5:19–21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4–5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7–10; Philippians 2:5–11; Colossians 1:13–22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14–18; 1 Timothy 2:5–6; 3:16; Titus 2:13–14; Hebrews 1:1–3; 4:14–15; 7:14–28;  9:12–15,24–28;  12:2;  13:8;  1  Peter  2:21–25;  3:22;  1  John  1:7–9;  3:2;  4:14–15;  5:9;  2  John  7–9;  Revelation 1:13–16; 5:9–14; 12:10–11; 13:8; 19:16.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures.  Through  illumination  He  enables  men  to  understand  truth.  He  exalts  Christ.  He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1–3; Joel 2:28–32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28–32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18–19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16–17,26; 15:26; 16:7–14; Acts 1:8; 2:1–4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1–6; Romans 8:9–11,14–16,26–27; 1 Corinthians 2:10–14; 3:16; 12:3–11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13–14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6–7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. 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 full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Genesis 1:26–30; 2:5,7,18–22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3–6; 32:1–5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Mat-thew 16:26; Acts 17:26–31; Romans 1:19–32; 3:10–18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14–25; 8:14–18,29;
1 Corinthians 1:21–31; 15:19,21–22; Ephesians 2:1–22; Colossians 1:21–22; 3:9– 11.

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
A.  Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers be-come new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance to-ward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.
B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteous-ness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
C.  Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
D.  Glorification  is  the  culmination  of  salvation  and  is  the  final  blessed  and  abiding  state of the redeemed.
Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14–17; 6:2–8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21–26; 27:22–28:6; Luke 1:68–69; 2:28–32; John 1:11–14,29; 3:3–21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28–29; 15:1–16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30–31; 17:30–31; 20:32; Romans 1:16–18; 2:4; 3:23–25; 4:3ff.; 5:8–10; 6:1–23; 8:1–18,29–39; 10:9–10,13; 13:11–14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30;  6:19–20;  15:10;  2  Corinthians  5:17–20;  Galatians  2:20;  3:13;  5:22–25;  6:15;  Ephesians  1:7;  2:8–22; 4:11–16; Philippians 2:12–13; Colossians 1:9–22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11–14; Hebrews 2:1–3; 5:8–9; 9:24–28; 11:1–12:8,14; James 2:14–26; 1 Peter 1:2–23; 1 John 1:6– 2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1–22:5.

Election  is  the  gracious  purpose  of  God,  according  to  which  He  regenerates,  justifies,  sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends  all  the  means  in  connection  with  the  end.  It  is  the  glorious  display  of  God’s  sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility. All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanc-tified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Genesis 12:1–3; Exodus 19:5–8; 1 Samuel 8:4–7,19–22; Isaiah 5:1–7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18–19; 21:28–45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68–79; 2:29–32; 19:41–44; 24:44– 48; John 1:12–14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44–45,65; 10:27–29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17–18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9–10; 8:28–39; 10:12–15; 11:5–7,26–36; 1 Corinthians 1:1–2; 15:24–28; Ephesians 1:4–23; 2:1–10; 3:1–11; Colossians 1:12–14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13–14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2–5,13; 2:4–10; 1 John 1:7–9; 2:19; 3:2.

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, 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 through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Matthew  16:15–19;  18:15–20;  Acts  2:41–42,47;  5:11–14;  6:3–6;  13:1–3;  14:23,27;  15:1–30;  16:5;  20:28;  Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4–5; 7:17; 9:13–14; 12; Ephesians 1:22–23; 2:19–22; 3:8–11,21; 5:22–32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9–14; 3:1–15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39–40; 1 Peter 5:1–4; Revelation 2–3; 21:2–3.

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
Matthew 3:13–17; 26:26–30; 28:19–20; Mark 1:9–11; 14:22–26; Luke 3:21–22; 22:19–20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41–42; 8:35–39; 16:30–33; 20:7; Romans 6:3–5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23–29; Colossians 2:12.

The first day of the week is 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.
Exodus  20:8–11;  Matthew  12:1–12;  28:1ff.;  Mark  2:27–28;  16:1–7;  Luke  24:1–3,33–36;  John  4:21–24;  20:1,19–28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5–10; I Corinthians 16:1–2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.
Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6–7; Jeremiah 23:5–6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8–10,23; 12:25–28; 13:1–52; 25:31–46; 26:29;  Mark  1:14–15;  9:1;  Luke  4:43;  8:1;  9:2;  12:31–32;  17:20–21;  23:42;  John  3:3;  18:36;  Acts  1:6–7;  17:22–31;  Romans  5:17;  8:19;  1  Corinthians  15:24–28;  Colossians  1:13;  Hebrews  11:10,16;  12:28;  1  Peter 2:4–10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21–22.

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. Ac-cording to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected  and  glorified  bodies  will  receive  their  reward  and  will  dwell  forever  in  Heaven  with the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8–9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31–46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43–48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19–26; 17:22–37; 21:27–28; John 14:1–3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24–28,35–58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20– 21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14–18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27–28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1–22:13.

It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus  upon  a  spiritual  necessity  of  the  regenerate  life,  and  is  expressly  and  repeatedly  commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preach-ing of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
Genesis  12:1–3;  Exodus  19:5–6;  Isaiah  6:1–8;  Matthew  9:37–38;  10:5–15;  13:18–30,  37–43;  16:19;  22:9–10;  24:14;  28:18–20;  Luke  10:1–18;  24:46–53;  John  14:11–12;  15:7–8,16;  17:15;  20:21;  Acts  1:8;  2;  8:26–40; 10:42–48; 13:2–3; Romans 10:13–15; Ephesians 3:1–11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1–3; 11:39–12:2; 1 Peter 2:4–10; Revelation 22:17.

Christianity  is  the  faith  of  enlightenment  and  intelligence.  In  Jesus  Christ  abide  all  the  treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Chris-tian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co– ordinate with the causes of  missions  and  general  benevolence,  and  should  receive  along  with  these  the  liberal  support  of  the  churches.  An  adequate  system  of  Christian  education  is  necessary  to  a  complete spiritual program for Christ’s people. In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the preeminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.
Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1–10; 31:12–13; Nehemiah 8:1–8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs  3:13ff.;  4:1–10;  8:1–7,11;  15:14;  Ecclesiastes  7:19;  Matthew  5:2;  7:24ff.;  28:19–20;  Luke  2:40;  1  Corinthians 1:18–31; Ephesians 4:11–16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8–9; 1 Timothy 1:3–7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14–17; Hebrews 5:12–6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.

God  is  the  source  of  all  blessings,  temporal  and  spiritual;  all  that  we  have  and  are  we  owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should rec-ognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.
Genesis  14:20;  Leviticus  27:30–32;  Deuteronomy  8:18;  Malachi  3:8–12;  Matthew  6:1–  4,19–21;  19:21; 23:23; 25:14–29; Luke 12:16–21,42; 16:1–13; Acts 2:44–47; 5:1–11; 17:24–25; 20:35; Romans 6:6–22; 12:1–2; 1 Corinthians 4:1–2; 6:19–20; 12; 16:1–4; 2 Corinthians 8– 9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10–19; 1 Peter 1:18–19.

Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such orga-nizations  have  no  authority  over  one  another  or  over  the  churches.  They  are  voluntary  and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spir-itual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.
Exodus  17:12;  18:17ff.;  Judges  7:21;  Ezra  1:3–4;  2:68–69;  5:14–15;  Nehemiah  4;  8:1–5;  Matthew  10:5–15; 20:1–16; 22:1–10; 28:19–20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13–14; 2:1ff.; 4:31–37; 13:2–3; 15:1–35; 1 Corinthians 1:10–17; 3:5–15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8–9; Galatians 1:6–10; Ephesians 4:1–16; Philippians 1:15–18.

All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. 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 the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.
Exodus 20:3–17; Leviticus 6:2–5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16;  Matthew  5:13–16,43–48;  22:36–40;  25:35;  Mark  1:29–34;  2:3ff.;  10:21;  Luke  4:18–21;  10:27–37;  20:25;  John  15:12;  17:15;  Romans  12–14;  1Corinthians  5:9–10;  6:1–7;  7:20–24;  10:23–11:1;  Galatians  3:26–28; Ephesians 6:5–9; Colossians 3:12–17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.

It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war. The  true  remedy  for  the  war  spirit  is  the  gospel  of  our  Lord.  The  supreme  need  of  the  world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah  2:4;  Matthew  5:9,38–48;  6:33;  26:52;  Luke  22:36,38;  Romans  12:18–19;  13:1–7;  14:19;  He-brews 12:14; James 4:1–2.

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments  of  men  which  are  contrary  to  His  Word  or  not  contained  in  it.  Church  and  state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6–7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19–20; Romans 6:1–2; 13:1–7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1–2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12–17; 3:11–17; 4:12–19.

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is com-posed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.The  husband  and  wife  are  of  equal  worth  before  God,  since  both  are  created  in  God’s  image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. 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 house-hold and nurturing the next generation.Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Par-ents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle ex-ample and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Genesis  1:26–28;  2:15–25;  3:1–20;  Exodus  20:12;  Deuteronomy  6:4–9;  Joshua  24:15;  1  Samuel  1:26–28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1–8; 127; 128; 139:13–16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15–20; 6:20– 22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13–14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10–31; Ecclesiastes 4:9–12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14–16; Matthew 5:31–32;  18:2–5;  19:3–9;  Mark  10:6–12;  Romans  1:18–32;  1  Corinthians  7:1–16;  Ephesians  5:21–33;  6:1–4; Colossians 3:18–21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3–5; Titus 2:3–5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1–7.