At First Baptist we would identify ourselves with the beliefs of the evangelical Christian community in general and Southern Baptists in particular. We would be considered theologically conservative; though to say that may communicate to some things that describe neither our positions nor our dispositons. It is our aspiration to be gracious, defined by what we are for, not what we are against. But there are some things for which we clearly and unapologetically stand.
The rule of thumb used by God's church through the ages, says it for us:
In essentials, unity
In non-essentials, liberty
In all things, charity (love)
God is triune: meaning one God expressing Himself in three persons... Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is God - and the Holy Spirit is God - just as is the Father. And it means that there is one God, not three. We can affirm this, but we can't compare it to anything on earth we already have experience with. God is beyond the scope of our understanding.
We know about God because He has revealed Himself through the Bible. The Bible is accurate in all that it affirms, providing a reliable guide for what we should believe and how we should live.
God is good and loving and holy. He loves what's right and hates what's wrong. Sin makes Him very angry, but not with an out-of-control kind of anger we have observed in some human relationships.
People are created in the image of God, having a capacity for self-awareness and creativity and worship and making moral choices. We are able to know and to commune with God. People are of great value to the Lord.
All people, though of great worth, are fallen; that is, we are born with a nature that is prone to self-will and selfishness. We sin because we are sinners. God holds us responsible for our actions because we are capable of making responsible choices.
Humankind has demonstrated a total inability to fix the human condition. Thus, the bitter fruits of crime and war and damaged relationships are unchanged by advances in technology. The worst part of sin is that it creates a barrier between us and God.
The Bible teaches that God seeks a personal relationship with us that is real and meaningful.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus is both God and man; the son of Mary without a human father. He came to earth from Heaven to restore peoples' relationship with God. After His death and resurrection He returned to Heaven.
To established a relationship with us, God rescued us from sin through Jesus Christ. His death was for our sins and, in His sufferings and blood, the full load of our guilt was dumped on Him. He took our punishment. The cross is about God removing the barrier between us and Himself.
A relationship with God is available, but not automatic. It is a free gift, but it must be accepted. One receives this gift in repentance and faith. Repentance is an attitude adjustment when we turn to God and from our selfishness and sin. Faith is trusting Jesus to do for us things we cannot do for ourselves- get our sins forgiven, make ourselves right with God, become the persons we ought to be.
The point when one receives the gift is called by several names in the Bible including "conversion" and being "born again." It is a life-changing experience. Even for those who grew up in church and are knowledgeable about the teachings of the Bible - or those who have not lived a "wild" lifestyle - the Christian life has a definite beginning.
The Holy Spirit awakens our minds to our need of Jesus. He enables us to live for the Lord, giving us new desires and the power. We can stick with it in the Christian life because He lives inside those who receive the gift. He gives us abilities with which to serve the Lord.
The church is the grouping together of people who have received the gift. They each have a relationship with the Lord. They join together to encourage each other in the Christian life and to carry out the Lord's work on earth.
One day - and no one knows when - Jesus will come back. He will take all who have received the gift to heaven to be with Him. He will recreate our humanity to a higher condition, free from the last drop of temptation and falleness. He will judge the world and establish true justice forever. He will right the wrongs and heal our hurts. Only then will our deepest hopes and longings be fulfilled.
To read about our beliefs in more detail, see the Baptist Faith and Message, adopted as the doctrinal confession of our church.
Here's an overview of our beliefs:
God is a personal being, not an impersonal force like in Star Wars