Articles Of Faith


This is what we at Bradfield and Rougham Baptist Church believe is taught by the Bible.

SUMMARY

The Bible

  • It’s true
  • It’s God breathed
  • It’s the judge of disputes
  • It’s to be interpreted with itself

Jesus Christ

  • Prophet, Priest and King
  • Head of the Church
  • Substitute for believers
  • Died, buried and risen
  • Saviour
  • Lord and God

One God

  • Three Persons in the Godhead
  • They are of one substance
  • They are of equal standing
  • The Father
  • The Son
  • The Holy Spirit

Salvation

  • Work of God
  • He chooses and makes alive
  • He calls and justifies
  • He sanctifies and glorifies

God as Creator

  • Made the universe
  • Made man in His image

Church

  • One, universal
  • Holy, apostolic
  • Local

The Fall

  • Man sinned
  • We all share fallen nature
  • Hence all have sinned
  • Sin is lawlessness

Sacraments

  • Christians should be baptised
  • Christians should take communion


A word about this statement of faith


This statement of faith has been drawn up with the help of various other statements/confessions of faith, which are of a biblical reformed persuasion. We also would like to state that one of the points of the reformation was, ‘Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda’ meaning ‘Church reformed always reforming’. This means that church is to be continually reforming.

These articles of faith are relevant to us at this time and although the fundamental doctrines will never change these articles may from time to time need to be updated and made applicable for the church. This we heartily welcome as it will be a sign of a healthy and reforming church.

Fundamentally however our unchanging confession of faith is;

We believe that the LORD is our Shepherd;
We shall not want.
He makes us lie down in green pastures.
He leads us beside still waters.
He restores our souls.
He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for You are with us; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort us.
You prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies;
You anoint our heads with oil; our cups overflow.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life, and we shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23


Scripture

We believe that the invisible attributes of God are clearly seen in creation, the things that have been made, so much so that it leaves man without excuse before God (Psalm 19: 1-3; Romans 1: 19-21: 2: 14-16). However this general revelation does not give man sufficient knowledge of God or His will that he might be saved. Therefore long ago, at many times and in many ways God was pleased to reveal Himself to His church (Hebrews 1:1). After this for the better spreading and preserving of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church these revelations were committed to writing. They guard the church against the flesh, the schemes of Satan and of the world (Luke 1: 4; Romans 15: 4; Matthew 4: 4, 7, 10; Isaiah 8: 19-20). These writings, 66 books, are what we refer to as the Bible.

We believe that the bible is infallible. By this we assert that the Bible is true i.e. devoid of and incapable of teaching falsehood or error of any kind in all that it intends to affirm. It is internally non-contradictory and doctrinally consistent. Its assertions correspond to what God himself knows to be the true and real nature of things (Psalm 19: 7-8; Psalm 119: 137; Romans 7: 12).

We believe the authority of the Bible does not depend upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God, the author. It is therefore to be received because it is the Word of God. It is inspired, God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1: 19-21).

We believe therefore that the supreme Judge by which all controversies of religion, decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men and private opinions are to be examined and in whose sentence we are to rest can be no other than the Bible (Matthew 22: 29-32; 4: 3-10; Psalm 119: 9, 24, 66, 128).

We believe that the infallible rule for the interpretation of Bible is the Bible itself. So when there is any question about the true meaning of a portion of Scripture it must be searched and known by other portions of Scripture that speak more clearly (2 Peter 1: 20; Acts 15: 15).

God

We believe there is only one living and true God (Deuteronomy. 6: 4; 1 Corinthians 8: 6). He is infinite and perfect (Job 11:7-9; Job 26; Matthew 5:48), a most pure spirit (John 4:24), invisible (1 Timothy 1:17), without body parts (Deuteronomy 4:15; Luke 24:39), eternal (Psalm 90:2), incomprehensible (Psalm 145:3), almighty (Gen 17:1), most wise (Romans 16:27), most holy (Isaiah 6:3), unchanging (Malachi 3:6), merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34: 6-7). He is Sovereign (1 Timothy 6:15) and the Creator of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).

We believe that God is perfectly sufficient in and of Himself, not standing in need of anything that He has created (Job 22: 2-3).

We believe that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power and eternity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (John 1:1: Matthew 3:16-17; Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). Each person is fully and equally God. Several peculiar relative properties and personal relations distinguish the Persons within the Godhead: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding, the Son is eternally begotten of the Father (John 1:14, 18) and the Spirit is eternally proceeding from the Father (John 15:26) and the Son (Galatians 4:6; John 16:7).

Man and his state

We believe that God created man (male and female) in His own image after His own likeness (Genesis 1: 26,27; 5: 1; 9: 6) and that they were left to the freedom of their own will (Genesis 3:6). However they wilfully chose to rebel against God (Genesis 3: 6) and man fell from his blameless and righteous state (Ecclesiastes 7: 29; Romans 3: 23) and communion was lost with God (Genesis 3: 8, 23). Man became dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1) and all the faculties and parts of soul and body were defiled (Titus 1: 15; Genesis 6: 5; Jeremiah 17: 9; Romans 3: 10-18).

We believe that since all men and women originate from these our first parents, so we share in their nature. Therefore all men are by nature sinful since the guilt of this sin is imputed/credited to our account (Romans 5: 12, 15-18; 1 Corinthians 15: 21, 22, 49). Man as a result has lost the power of freewill (Titus 1: 15; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 7: 18). He is totally corrupt and incapable of doing good (Genesis 6: 5; 8: 21; Romans 7: 18; 8: 7).

We believe that this corrupt nature remains in the Christian during this life (1 John 1: 8, 10; Romans 7: 14, 17, 18, 19; James 3: 2) and although it is pardoned and put to death through Christ, yet both itself and its actions are truly and properly sin (Romans 7: 23-25; Galatians 5: 17).

We believe that sin is lawlessness (1 John 3: 4).

God’s covenant

We believe that the distance between God and man is so great (Isaiah 40: 13-17; Job 9: 32-33) that although reasoning man owes obedience to Him as their Creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He has been pleased to express by way of covenant (1 Samuel 2: 25; Psalm 113: 4-9).

We believe that the first covenant that God made with man was a covenant of works. Adam being promised life both to himself and his descendents upon condition of perfect and personal obedience (Genesis 2: 17; Hosea 6: 7). Since man had, by his fall, made himself incapable of life by that covenant it pleased God to make a second covenant, commonly called the ‘Covenant of Grace’. In which He freely offers to sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved (Romans 8:3; Mark 16:15-16; John 3:16) and promising to give to all those that are chosen for this eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe (Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 6:44-45; Psalm 110:3).

We believe that this covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam and Eve, after the fall, in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman (Genesis 3: 15). Then by fuller steps until the full discovery was completed in the New Testament (Hebrews 1: 1), being founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect (2 Timothy 1: 9; Titus 1: 2). It is only by the grace of this covenant that all of the descendents of fallen Adam that were, are and will be saved obtain life and blessed immortality. (Hebrews 11: 6, 13; Romans 4: 1-2; Acts 4: 12; John 8: 56; Galatians 2: 16, 21; 3: 11).

Jesus Christ

We believe it pleased God to choose His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, according to the covenant made between them to be the mediator between God and Man (Isaiah 42:1; 1 Peter 1: 19-20).

We believe Jesus Christ is also the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18; Acts 3:20-23), Priest (Hebrews 5:5-6), King (Psalm 2:6; Luke 1:32-33), Head and Saviour of His church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 5:31), Judge of the world (Acts 17:31), the Heir of all things and the One through Whom all things were created and the One who upholds all things by the power of His word (Hebrews 1: 2-3).

We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. He is fully God (John 1:1), He is the brightness of the Fathers glory (Hebrews 1:3), and of one substance with the Father (Hebrews 1:3). We affirm what the Nicene Creed teaches about Him (the full text of the Nicene Creed can be found in the final section of this page).

We believe that when the fullness of time came He took upon Himself man’s nature (John 1: 14; Galatians 4: 4) in every respect yet without sin (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:14-17; Philippians 2: 6-7). He was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary (Isaiah 7: 14; Luke 1:34-35), so that in the one Person of Jesus Christ there are two distinct natures, one fully divine the other fully man. So Jesus Christ is fully God and yet fully man.

We believe that He was born under the law and that He perfectly fulfilled the law (Galatians 4:4; Matthew 5:17), and that according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God He was crucified and died (Acts 2:23). So He became a curse for us, redeeming us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13).

We believe that on the third day He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:4), showed Himself alive by appearing to men (1 Corinthians 15:5-6) and then ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51) where He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High (Hebrews 1:3). Where He ever lives to make intercession for the elect of God (Hebrews 7:25). He will return at the end of time to judge men and angels (Acts 1:11; 10:2; Romans 14:9-12; 2 Peter 2:4).

Salvation

We believe that salvation is a work of God (Exodus 15:2; Psalm 3:8; Psalm 27:1; Jonah 2:9). Indeed God chose those whom He would visit with salvation even before He created the world (Ephesians 1:4). This choice of God was not based on the will of man but rather according to His will and His grace (John 1:12-13). Therefore God’s decree of election is the beginning of the work of salvation.

We believe that at His appointed time He effectually calls His elect by His Spirit and Word from a state of death (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 8:30; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). Turning them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God (Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:17-18). Being made alive by the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-20; John 5:25) man is then able to respond to the call of God to receive the grace conveyed in it (1 Corinthians 2:14).

We believe that those whom He effectually calls He also justifies (Romans 8:30), meaning that He pardons their sin and accounts them as righteous (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 4:5-8). This is done not on account of works, so boasting is excluded, but by grace through faith and even that faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:28).

We believe that justification is only possible because Jesus Christ suffered and died, bearing the wrath of God and the curse of the law for us (Galatians 3:13). We believe that God made Him who knew no sin to be sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. He is therefore our substitute (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 10:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Isaiah 53:5-6). Jesus Christ, our substitute, has completely satisfied the judgement of God on our behalf so that in the justification of the sinner God can be both just and the justifier of those who put their faith in His Son’s completed work (Romans 3:26).

We believe that God forgives the sins of those He has justified (Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:7-9). Although a person can never fall from a state of justification (John 10:28; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:30) they can know, on account of their sins, the Father’s displeasure (Psalm 32:1-4; 89:31-33). Yet this is removed through humbling oneself, confessing their sins, seeking forgiveness and renewing faith and repentance (Psalm 32:5; 51).

We believe that throughout his life the Christian will necessarily experience progressive sanctification, this process being understood negatively and positively. Negatively in putting to death the works of the flesh (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5; Ephesians 5: 3, 5) and positively in terms of growth in grace (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 1:9; Philippians 3:13-14; Colossians 1:9-10; 2 Peter 3:18). This sanctification will never be complete in this life, since within the parts of our bodies there is still corruption (Romans 7:23). This causes a continual war, the flesh warring against the spirit (Galatians 5:17). The flesh may at times prevail but through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit grace does overcome and the Christian will grow in grace perfecting holiness in the fear of God (Romans 6:14; 15:16).

Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2). He is fully God (Acts 5:3-4, when Ananias ‘lied to the Holy Spirit’, he was ‘lying to God’.). He is eternal (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10) and sovereign (John 3:8).

We believe there is one baptism of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13) which happens at the moment of conversion so every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling within them (John 14:17; Acts 2:38; 10:44-45; Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Galatians 3:2, 14). Indeed the Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee in the believers’ heart of his/her inheritance until they acquire possession of it (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13). Yet although there is but one baptism of the Holy Spirit we are commanded to go on being filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18, cp. Acts 2:4, 4:8, 4:31). This is due to the fact that He can be grieved and quenched (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

We believe that the work of the Spirit is to bring conviction concerning sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11). He will guide us into all truth, declare things to come and glorify Jesus by taking what is His and declaring it to the church (John 16:13-15). His work is also to produce His fruit in the believer; the result of His un-grieved Presence will be fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). Although He is the gift of God, the promise of the Father, yet He gives gifts to the church for the common good (Acts 2:33, 38; 11: 17; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4, 7, 11).

We believe in the Holy Spirit! We believe that any work carried out without His anointing will fail, since the Lord of Hosts says, ‘Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit’. Zechariah 4:6.

The Church

We believe there is one (John 10:16; Galatians 3:28; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13) universal (Matthew 28:19; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11; Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 7:9) holy (John 17:15-19; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 4:24; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:9) apostolic (Matthew 10:40; Luke 10:16; John 13:20; 17:20; Acts 2:42; Ephesians 2:20; Hebrews 2:3; Revelation 21:14) church. (By Apostolic we mean that the church is to be faithfully adhering to the doctrines of the apostles as given by God.)

We believe the church consists of the whole number of the elect who have been, are, and will be gathered into one under Christ the head of the church, and it is the bride, the body and the fullness of Him that fills all in all (Hebrews 12:23; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:10, 22-23; 5:23, 27, 32).

We believe that believers are rightly called saints (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:1: Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2) and the local gathering together of the saints is also rightly called church (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2). So the church is both universal and yet local.

We believe that each local church when gathered and organised according to the Scriptures will consist of saints, deacons and elders (Philippians 1:1). It can therefore be self-governing (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:4-5, 13; 2 Corinthians 2:5-8). These deacons and elders are those who have been set apart by the church for this work (Acts 6:5; Titus 1:5). Elders will give themselves to the spiritual development of the church by devoting themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). Deacons will give themselves to serve the physical needs of the church (Acts 6:1-3). The qualifications for both deacons and elders being found in no other place than in the Scriptures (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9).

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

We believe that there are only two sacraments ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ in the gospel. These are baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25). Sacraments are signs and seals of the covenant of grace (Romans 4:11; Genesis 17:7, 10; Colossians 2:11-12).

We believe that Baptism is therefore a sign and a seal to the one being baptised of the covenant of grace (Romans 4:11 together with Colossians 2:11-12), of fellowship with Christ in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4), of ingrafting into Christ (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:5), of regeneration (Titus 3:5), of remission of sins (Acts 22:16) and of giving up into God through Jesus Christ to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4-5).

We believe that the only proper candidates for Baptism are those who profess repentance towards God, faith in and obedience to Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38-41; 8:36, 37, 38; Acts 18:18). Baptism is a command not an option (Acts 10:48; 2:38; 22:16).

We believe that the outward element to be used in baptism is water, in which the candidate is to be baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11; 28:19-20; John 1:33; Acts 8:38). Baptism is to be administered once (Ephesians 4:5).

We believe that ideally the candidate is to be fully immersed in water (Matthew 3:16; John 3:23). Yet we recognise that this may not always be possible and in such cases sprinkling with water will be used.

We believe that the Lord instituted, on the night in which He was betrayed, the Lord’s Supper which is to be observed continually until the end of the world as a remembrance of His sacrifice and proclamation of His death until he comes again (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). It is also for the confirmation of the faith of the believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in Him and it is a bond and a pledge of their communion with Him and each other (1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 21).

We believe that those who rightly take the outward visible elements do inwardly by faith spiritually receive and feed upon Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 10:16), the body and blood of Christ being spiritually present to the faith of the believers as the elements themselves are to their outward senses. There is no change in the elements.

We believe that only believers are to be allowed to dine at the Lord’s table (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). We believe that those who partake ought to be walking in active obedience to their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).

The state of man after death and the resurrection of the dead

We believe that at the point of death the spirit and body separate, the body returns to the dust but the spirit returns to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7). The spirits of the righteous are there made perfect in holiness where they behold the face of God waiting for the resurrection of their bodies (Hebrews 12:23; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6, 8; Philippians 1:23; Acts 3:21; Ephesians 4:10). The spirits of the wicked are cast into hell where they remain in torments and darkness reserved to the judgement of the great day (Luke 16:23-24; Acts 1:25; Jude 6, 7; 1 Peter 3:19).

We believe that at the last day any who are still alive will not die but will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52: 1 Thessalonians 4:17), and the dead shall rise with the self-same bodies although with different qualities and it will then be reunited with the soul forever (1 Corinthians 15:42-44; Job 19:26-27).

We believe that the bodies of unbelievers will, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour whilst the bodies of believers will be raised to honour, being made conformable to His own glorious body (Acts 24:15; John 5:28-29; Philippians 3:21).

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all the ages, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not created, of the same essence as the Father, through Whom all things were created; Who for us humans beings and our salvation came down from the heavens and was made flesh from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended into the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father, and comes again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the life-giver, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is worshipped together and glorified together, Who spoke through the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic(universal) and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come.