0.1 Since the time of the Apostles, Christians have laid out their beliefs in brief, definitive statements. We believe that it is necessary to set forth in succinct fashion the foundational truths of our church as guided by Scripture. Our Statement of Faith summarizes essential Christian beliefs and safeguards the church from error. Therefore, this document aims to preserve the unity of the church through a commitment to biblical truth.
0.2 We recognize that any doctrinal statement is a fallible human attempt to summarize and systematize God’s inexhaustible revelation. Furthermore, this statement of faith is not intended to supersede the Word of God; for it derives its validity and authority solely from its agreement with the Word of God. This statement does not create the truth but simply expresses it and sets forth those truths which Pillar Baptist Church believes.
1.1 We believe that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man and, thus, the 66 books of the Bible constitute the Word of God, inspired in all of its parts. (2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 30:5; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20; 21)
1.2 We believe that the Word of God is objective and verbally inspired in every word, absolutely inerrant and infallible, unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Holy Spirit, or the traditions of men (2 Samuel 22:30; Psalm 12:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16). We believe that the Word of God is objective and verbally inspired in every word, absolutely inerrant and infallible. (2 Samuel 22:30; Psalm 12:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16)
1.3 We believe that God spoke through His written word by a process of dual authorship: God the Holy Spirit working through the human authors, composed and recorded His Word to man, a process which has, in these last days, ceased (Hebrews 1:1). Thus, God used the human authors’ individual personalities, writing styles, and backgrounds to compose His Word. (1 Corinthians 2:7–14; 2 Peter 1:21)
1.4 We believe that God’s Word is absolutely authoritative. God’s Word stands in judgment over men; never do man stand in judgment over it. (Psalm 138:2; Hebrews 4:12, 13)
1.5 We believe that the Bible explicitly and clearly reveals the person and attributes of God, the way of salvation, and what God requires of man. Thus, it is the only infallible rule for faith and practice. (Psalm 19:7–11, 119:9, 11; Romans 10:17; 2 Peter 1:3)
1.6 We believe that there is one, true interpretation of any given passage of Scripture. Whereas there may be multiple applications of a passage, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of a passage is to be found as one diligently applies a straightforward, grammatical, and historical approach, as the Holy Spirit enlightens the interpreter. (Nehemiah 8:8; John 16:12, 13; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Peter 1:20, 21)
1.7 We believe that it is the responsibility of believers to ascertain and apply the intent and meaning of the Scripture. (Joshua 1:8; John 7:17; 16:12–17; 1 Corinthians 2:7–15; 1 John 2:20)
2.1 We believe in one, living, and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5–6; Joel 2:27; Matthew 16:16), eternally existing in three Persons (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14): God the Father, the fountain of all being (1 Corinthians 8:6), God the Son, without beginning (John 1:1, 14, 18; Colossians 1:15–16; Hebrews 1:5–6), being of one essence with the Father (John 10:30; Colossians 2:9); and God the Holy Spirit, proceeding in the full, divine essence as a Person, eternally from the Father and the Son (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13–14; Acts 5:3–4; 1 Corinthians 2:10–11; Ephesians 4:30). Each person in the Godhead is fully and completely God.
2.2 We believe that God possesses all life, goodness, and glory in and of Himself (Psalm 119:68; John 5:26; 17:26); and is alone all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He made, manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. To God is due from angels, men, and every other creature, the worship that He is pleased to require of them (Psalm 150:1–6; Philippians 2:9–11; Revelation 5:12–14).
3.1 We believe that, as the first person of the Trinity, God the Father ordains and accomplishes all things according to His will (Psalm 135:6; 1 Corinthians 8:6). His fatherhood involves His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind (2 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 4:6).
3.2 We believe that God the Father is the source of all of creation, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things (Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:16). He has most sovereign dominion over the creatures to do by them, for them, and upon them whatsoever He pleases (Psalm 115:3; Daniel 4:35; Revelation 4:11). In His sight all things are open and manifest; nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain (Psalm 147:5; Romans 11:33; Hebrews 4:13).
3.3 We believe that God the Father sent His only Son into the world to save those who would come to Him for life (John 3:16–18; Romans 8:32). All who come to the Son are those whom God the Father has graciously chosen from eternity past (John 6:65) to receive the free gift of salvation and become adopted sons of God (John 1:12–13; Romans 8:15; Gal 4:5; Hebrews 12:5–9).
(For a further discussion on election see section 9.1–3)
4.1 We believe that, as the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ is coequal, consubstantial (of the same essence), and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9). In Jesus Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead (Colossian 1:19; 2:9).
4.2 We believe that God the Father sent His only Son (Galatians 4:4), Jesus the Messiah (John 3:16–17; Matthew 16:16), who was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:34–35), and born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18–23).
4.3 We believe that in the incarnation, the eternal Son of God took on a fully human nature, yet without sin (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14, 17; 4:15), so that two, whole, perfect and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one Person. Thus, the person, Jesus Christ, is truly God and truly man (Philippians 2:6–8). Not God and man but, rather, the God-man, representing humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (John 5:23; 14:9–10; Colossians 2:9).
4.4 We believe that by His perfect obedience (Romans 5:18–19) to God and by His suffering and death (Romans 3:24–25; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 1:18–19; 3:18) as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), Jesus Christ obtained forgiveness for sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14) and the gift of perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9) on our behalf. The redemptive work of Christ applies to all believers prior to the cross who, by faith alone, looked forward to God’s Messiah (Romans 4:3) to come. Likewise, His redemptive work applies to all believers post-cross who, by faith alone, look back to God’s Messiah who has come (Romans 3:26; Galatians 3:26).
4.5 We believe that Jesus Christ made atonement for our sins (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18–19), absorbed our punishment (Isaiah 53:5; Romans 8:1–3), appeased the wrath of God against us (Romans 5:9; Ephesians 2:3–6; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9), removed the condemnation of the law that was against us (Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:13–14), and has demonstrated the righteousness of God in our justification (Romans 3:25–26).
4.6 We believe that Jesus Christ was physically resurrected from the dead (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38; 1 Corinthians 15:3–4), ascended to the right hand of His Father (Mark 16:19; Acts 7:55–56; Hebrews 1:3), and intercedes for us as our Advocate and High-priest (Hebrews 2:17; 7:25; 1 John 2:1). By the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, God the Father gave proof that He had accepted the work of Christ on the cross (Romans 4:25; 6:5–10) and guarantees the future resurrection life of all believers (John 5:26–29; 14:19)
4.7 We believe that Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9–11; Revelation 20:1–6), and judge all who refused to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Psalm 2:12; Matthew 25:14–46; Acts 17:30–31; Revelation 20:11–15).
5.1 We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person. He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3–4; 28:25–26; 1 Corinthians 12:4–6; 2 Corinthians 13:14). As the third Person of the Godhead, He possesses all of the attributes of personality and deity (Psalm 139: 7–10; Isaiah 40:13–14; Romans 8:26–27; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10–13; 12:11; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 9:14).
5.2 We believe that apart from the work of the Spirit, none would come to faith. Since fallen man is by nature hostile to God, dead in trespasses and sins, and morally incapable of submitting to God (Ephesians 2:1-6), the Spirit triumphs over resistance (Romans 8:7–9), awakens dead souls, removes blindness (2 Corinthians 4:4–6), and magnifies the beauty of Christ so that Christ becomes irresistibly attractive to the regenerate heart.
5.3 We believe that the Holy Spirit does His saving work in conjunction with the Gospel of Jesus Christ because His aim is to glorify Christ (John 15:26; 16:14). Therefore, we believe that there is no salvation by any other means than by receiving the Gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:12; Romans 3:19–22; 1 Timothy 2:5).
5.4 We believe that the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and the Son (John 14:16–17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the Church (1 Corinthians 12:7–10; Hebrews 2:4). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; He magnifies Jesus Christ, indwells and transforms believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7–9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:22).
5.5 We believe that a Christian is filled with and sealed by the Holy Spirit at the moment of their salvation (John 14:23; Romans 8:9–11; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit bestows spiritual gifts to believers for the edification and building up of His Church. Tongues, prophecy, and the working of sign miracles during the foundation-laying process of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine Truth and were never intended to be characteristic in the life of the church (1Corinthians 12:4–11; 13:8–10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 2:20).
6.1 We believe that God created the universe (Genesis 1:1), and all that is within it (Psalm 24:1–2), out of nothing, by the Word of His power (John 1:1–3; Hebrews 1:2; 11:3).
6.2 We believe that God directly and immediately created man, male and female, which establishes biological sex and gender. Both male and female were created in God’s image and likeness, without sin (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9), and created to glorify God by enjoying fellowship with Him, trusting in His sufficient goodness, admiring His infinite beauty, and living in His will (1 John 1:3, 5–6; Revelation 7:9–10).
6.3 We believe that man was created with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, and a moral responsibility to God. As reasonable and immortal souls under the law of their maker, man voluntarily sinned against God and fell from their holy and happy state (Romans 1:18–32).
7.1 We believe that in Adam’s disobedience to the revealed Word of God, man lost his innocence; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject to and the object of God’s wrath, inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God (Genesis 2:16–17; 3:1–19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1–3; 1 John 1:8).
7.2 We believe that, as the head of the human race, Adam’s fall became the fall of all his posterity. Thus, corruption, guilt, death, and condemnation belong properly to all men of every age (Romans 5:12–19; 6:16, 20).
7.3 We believe that man is positively inclined to evil and, therefore, under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse (Deuteronomy 29:4; Romans 3:19–20; 8:7–8). The salvation of sinners is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
7.4 We believe that mankind is sinful by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration, Jesus Christ being the only exception (Psalm 14:1–3; Ecclesiastes 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9–18, 23; 5:10–12).
8.1 We believe that salvation is wholly of God and not based on human merit or works (Jeremiah 31:31–34; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 3:21–24; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 1:4–7; 2:8–10; 1 Peter 1:18, 19). Sinful man is made right before a holy God by His sovereign grace alone (2 Timothy 1:9), on the basis of the Person and work Jesus Christ alone (Isaiah 53:1–12; John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
8.2 We believe that salvation involves the redemption of the whole man and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). In its broadest sense, salvation includes election, regeneration, justification, and sanctification (Romans 8:29–30).
8.3 We believe that the saved are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37–40; 10:27–30; Romans 5:9–10; 8:1, 31–39; 1 Corinthians 1:4–9; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:4–5; Jude 24). The redeemed can rejoice in the assurance of their salvation, however, this assurance is not a license to sin. The Word of God clearly forbids the use of Christian liberties as an excuse for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15–22; 13:13–14; Galatians 5:13, 16–17, 25–26; Titus 2:11–14)
9.1 We believe that God elects, in Christ, those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (John 15:16; Romans 8:28–30; Ephesians 1: 4–17; 2:8–10; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1–2).
9.2 We believe that God’s election is an unmerited, unconditional act of sovereign grace (John 6:37–39; 10:25–29; Romans 8:28–30; 9:11–18; 1 Corinthians 1:26–31; 2 Timothy 1:9). The salvation that is freely given to sinners is not related to any initiative of their own nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do, but is utterly of His sovereign grace (Deuteronomy 7:7; Romans 9:11–16; Ephesians 1:4–7; Titus 3:4–7; 1 Peter 1:2).
9.3 We believe that election does not contradict or nullify the responsibility of man to repent and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Isaiah 55:1–3; Ezekiel 18:23, 32, 33:11; John 3:18–19, 36; 5:40). God ordains both the means by which a sinner receives the gift of salvation and the salvation itself. Salvation is wholly of God, through and through (John 6:37–40, 44; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:6; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Philippians 2:13).
10.1 We believe that, in order to be saved, a sinner must be regenerated, or born again (Deuteronomy 30:6; John 3:3–8; Titus 3:5). Regeneration is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in which the sinner is given new life through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24). This new life consists of the creation of a holy disposition: being given a new heart, mind, and affections (Jeremiah 31:31–34; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
10.2 We believe that only after regeneration is a sinner enabled to respond in repentance and faith to the gospel (Psalm 19:7; Romans 8:6–11, 1 Corinthians 2:14–16).
11.1 We believe that God justifies sinners (Romans 5:10–11; 8:30, 33), unites them to Christ (Romans 8:1), and counts them as righteous and acceptable before Him by faith in Christ alone, apart from works (Genesis 15:6; Romans 3:23–24; 28; Galatians 2:16).
11.2 We believe that faith is the sole instrument by which sinners are united to Christ, whose perfect righteousness and sacrifice for sin is the only ground for forgiveness and acceptance with God (Romans 5:18–20; Philippians 3:8–9). This union to Christ and acceptance with God is complete and permanent (Romans 5:1, 9–11) when a sinner, through faith, repents of their sin (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 7:10) and confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9, 10; Philippians 2:11).
11.3 We believe that the righteousness which God requires and freely gives to sinners is the righteousness of Christ, imputed to sinners apart from works (Isaiah 53:1–12; Jeremiah 31:33–34; Romans 4:4–5; Philippians 3:8–9). This righteousness involves the placing of our sins on Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
11.4 We believe that sinners are justified by faith alone (Romans 8:29–30; Ephesians 2:8–10). Faith will produce, by the Holy Spirit, the fruit of love to God (Galatians 5:6; 1 John 3:14; 4:16) which leads to sanctification (John 14:15–21; Galatians 5:22–25). This relationship between justifying faith and sanctification expresses the critical truth that a faith that does not yield good works is dead and is thus not true faith (James 2:17–20, 26).
12.1 We believe that justification and sanctification are both the work God (Psalm 51:2–7; Jeremiah 33:8; Romans 8:29–30). Justification is the act of God, in which the sinner is declared righteous, by faith alone. Sanctification is the act of God, in which the sinner is progressively conformed into the image of His Son, by faith alone (Romans 8:29; 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:3). Though distinct, justification and sanctification are inseparable (Romans 8:29–30; Galatians 1:4; Titus 2:14).
12.2 We believe that those who are truly justified are being sanctified (John 14:15; James 2:17–20, 26). The faith that justifies is also the faith that sanctifies. Sanctification is a process that is initiated at conversion and effective throughout a Christian’s life (Philippians 1:6) as the sanctified are continually conformed to the will of God (Romans 6:1–21; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
12.3 We believe that progressive sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:13) who enables believers to understand and obey the Word of God (Psalm 19:7–13; 119:9–11; John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:10–16) as they exercise faith in Christ. Christians will be sanctified as they continue to grow in the knowledge of God’s will through the Word, prayer, meditation, and the accountability of believers (Romans 12:1–21; Ephesians 6:10–18).
12.4 We believe that sanctification is imperfect and incomplete in this life. Though slavery to sin is broken and sinful desires are progressively weakened by the superior power of a growing love for God, there remains a remnant of corruption in believers that gives rise to a life-long fight with sin (Romans 6:1–23; 8:1–17). Thus, every Christian is involved in a daily conflict with sin but, by the power of the Holy Spirit, provision is made for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16–25; Ephesians 4:22–24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9–10; 1 Peter 1:14–16; 1 John 3:5–9).
13.1 We believe in the one universal Church, composed of all those who are chosen in Christ and united to Him through faith by the Spirit in one Body, with Christ Himself as the all-supreme and authoritative Head (Ephesians 1:22; 3:6; 4:15–16; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). The Church has been and will continue to be the pillar and guardian of God’s truth in a truth-denying world (1 Timothy 3:15).
13.2 We believe that the ultimate purpose of the Church is to glorify God.
13.3 We believe that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1) and that believers are to gather together in local congregations (1 Corinthians 1:10–17; Hebrews 10:25), in which members should find a suitable ministry for their gifts (1 Corinthians 12:13–18). Thus, a New Testament church is a local body of believers who are united by faith and fellowship in the Gospel, observe the ordinances of Christ, are committed to His teachings, governed by His laws, and seek to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
13.4 We believe that the purity of the Church is dependent upon discipleship (Matthew 28:19–20; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability (Matthew 18:15–20), and the disciplining of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matthew 18:15–22; Acts 5:1–11; 1 Corinthians 5:1–13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6–15; 1 Timothy 1:19–20; Titus 1:10–16).
13.5 We believe that baptism is an ordinance of the Lord by which those who have repented and come to faith (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:26–27; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21) express their union with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:3–4), by being immersed in water (Matthew 28:19; John 3:23; Acts 8:36–39; Romans 6:4). Baptism is a sign of belonging to the Church of Christ, symbolic of burial, cleansing, and signifies death to the old life of unbelief and purification from the pollution of sin.
13.6 We believe that the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the Lord in which gathered believers eat bread, signifying Christ’s body given for His people, and drink the cup of the Lord, signifying the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. We do this in remembrance of the Lord, and thus proclaim His death until He comes (Matthew 26:26–30; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26). Participation in the Lord’s Supper should always be preceded by solemn self-examination for it is an actual communion with the risen Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16).
13.7 We believe in the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Acts 15:19–31).
14.1 We believe that God instituted marriage to depict Christ’s love for His church and is defined solely by Scripture (Ephesians 5:31-32; Revelation 19:7; Genesis 2:18-22; Matthew 19:6).
14.2 We believe that marriage is the union between one man and one woman in covenant commitment for life (Genesis 2:24; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 19:4-6; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:10, 3; Mark 10:5-9).
14.3 We believe husband and wife are of equal worth before God. They are created in God’s image with distinct and complementary roles (Ephesians 5:22-30; Genesis 1:27-8; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1-7; 1 Corinthians 11:3).
15.1 We believe in the personal, visible, and imminent return of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:9-11; Mark 14:61-62; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3) to gather his elect and receive the church (Matthew 24:31), raise the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17), judge the nations (Revelation 20:7-9), and establish his millennial kingdom on earth (Revelation 20:4; 2 Timothy 4:1).
15.2 We believe that the believer will eternally abide before the presence of God in Heaven and that the unbeliever will be consigned to everlasting punishment in Hell (Matthew 25:46; Daniel 12:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).
15.3 We believe God’s promise to Israel will be fulfilled in the future restoration of its people (Romans 11:1-26; Isaiah 65:17-25; Jeremiah 31:31-34).