Article 1: We believe in the one true and living God, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.
As we begin our study of what we believe there can only be one starting point. The beliefs of our church should work like Scripture. What I mean by that is that Scripture builds itself line by line and precept upon precept. (See Isaiah 28:10-13) Every word, and teachings, in Scripture builds to a full Revolation of God and His teachings. Our Articles of Faith are to hold the pattern of precept upon precept, line upon line. When considering that example and mold there can be no better place to start than with God himself. Scripture itself starts with "In the beginning God". It has been said that if you have issue with that you will have issue with everything else found in that book. That is absolutely true. God is the beginning, the fullness, and the end of our beliefs at Salem.
We believe in the One True and Living God. This point should be without contreversy, but sadly in this world there is nothing without contreversy. Let's start with the first point of this Article. We believe in the "ONE" God. In a world that tries to sell coexistance and acceptance of all things, you will find that God is not that way. Because God is not that way we can not be either. We do not believe that God, Allah, Budda, and all the other sundry named gods are the same God with differently understood names. Jesus, as He taught, in His ministry stated the Lord is "one" Lord. (See Mark 12:29) In our opening proof text, God declares there is no other God beside Him. We, in this world, make a god of many things. We see people doing this with jobs, money, popularity, self identity, and the list can go on and on. We have also over the ages made religion based off these other named gods; Such as Allah, Budda, Zues, and the such like. These little "g" gods are not God, and are not the God that we strive to worship at Salem. We believe in the One God the Father and none else. The God we believe in is the God of the bible. He is an omnipresent God. He is an omnipitant God. He is a creator God, not just an orchistrating God ruling over evolution. We believe in the God that created everything that is in existence. He is the God that is soveriegn and does what He wills. (See Isaiah 43:13) We believe in the God that has a nature that we can count on. His nature is an unchanging nature. (See Malachai 3:6) The second part of this statement speaks to His nature. We believe in the "Living" God. Unlike Egypt in Scripture, and all the other false gods of the world, He is not an imaginary friend we talk to. In Psalm 115, the writer makes a plain arguement comparing our God to the idol gods of the world. We believe in a God that has a mouth and has and does speak to us through His word. We believe in a God that has eyes and sees the lives of His people. We believe in a God that has ears and hears our prayers. We believe in a God that has a nose and smells the sweet savor of our worship and the stinch of our failures when they come. We believe in a God that has hands. His hands work and never tire or get tied. We believe in the living God of the Bible. He is alive and well today. Many question this because we try to make Him like us. We make statements like "If God is so good why doesn't he do A,B,C?". In misunderstanding these things we assume this means that God isn't there or doesn't care. We believe in a God Who's ways are so much higher than our own. (See Isaiah 55:8-9) We belittle God when we do these things. The reality is if we can fully understand God then He is not God.
We believe in the Triune God of the Bible. We believe in the biblical teaching of the Trinity. Genesis 1:26 is probably the first and clear teaching of a plurality in the Godhead. It says in the beginning God said "Let US make man in OUR image". This is a conversation being had prior to man's existence. It is being had in what we call the Godhead. This term is used to describe the unity found in the three in one God. The Godhead consists of God the Father, God the Son (The Word, or Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost). We beleive these three are equal in mind, power, nature, calling, and stature. John chapter one tells us in the beginning was the Word. This Word here is speaking of the second in the Godhead Jesus. It tells us Jesus was with God and Jesus is God. When it comes to the three in one God I am thankful that my full understanding is not required for my full belief. While we do not fully understand how this beautiful concept is true, we believe it to be so and defend that truth. Through-out Scriptue you will find this truth spoken of. One of our opening texts tells us that there are 3 in heaven bearing record and these three are one. They completely and whole heartedly agree one with another. As we continue our study we will see how this truth affects our beliefs in so many other things.
This is far from an exhaustive definition and explanation of the God that we believe in. However, I hope it explains who we believe the God that will never leave or forsake us is. I do hope this has been a blessing and possibly caused you to think a little. I look forward to sharing the remainder of our beliefs as we continue in this study. Please be in prayer and be sure to subscribe to our blog to get the most current updates. God bless you all is my prayer.
From the beginning of the New Testament church there have been efforts to set in order the things we believe. Here in our opening text we see that the Apostle, Luke, was inspired of God to do that very thing. He desired to not only tell us what the church believed, but also rank them as the most important things believed. He also wanted to set them in an understandable, easy to follow format. We can follow Luke as he begins with Jesus's lineage, His birth, His youth, His ministry, His miracles, His death, and His resurection and ascension into heaven. Since this time men have worked to continue this effort. The biggest differnce between the Apostle Luke's effort and the rest is simple. Luke was inspired of God, and is therefore flawless and is part of Scripture itself. The rest are works of men. Most all of these are very good and do a good job, but are not Scripture. We will discuss this point in more detail in coming posts.
These efforts of men have taken many differnt forms. They have been done by many different denominations, and many different styles. Among the Baptist, we have many to look to. One format has been in confessions of faith. These are very detailed expressions of the points most surely believed. Some of the most well known are the: 1644 First London Baptist Confession - revised in 1646, 1689 Second London Baptist Confession - originally written in 1677, and the 1900 Fulton Confession of Faith. These works were used to explain in great detail the things the historical Baptist have held to be true in Scripture. The other main format has been Articles of Faith. The Articles of Faith are a simplified summary of these same truths. Every church historically has had articles they were founded on as believing. They have been used as a way to quickly answer the question, "What do you believe?" They have been used also to defend against false teachings that have, from the first century, tried to come into the church. They have also been used as a litmus test for men who feel the call to preach. While they were not ever intended to take the place of Scripture, and never should be, they did make the job of sharing our faith easier.
The reality is that God, thru His infinite goodness and wisdom, has given us the perfect laying out of those things we believe. It is called the Holy Bible. Every word of it is pefect and breathed by the mouth of God. However, it would seem vague and be overwhelming to answer the big question, "What do you believe?", with just handing them a bible. It would be true, but every church could answer the same way and never really answer the question. This was the purpose that was on the mind, and in the heart of the church, in taking the time to write these confessions and articles. These works have stood the test of time and we still hold them in high regard today.
I would like to over the next few weeks begin going thru our Articles of Faith here on our website. I do this in hopes that it gives you the tools to quickly share those things we believe. I also do so in hopes to answer the question some have of: Who are the Primitive Baptist and what do they believe? Please be in prayer for this effort and share these efforts with those that need answers.
God bless you all is my prayer.
Elder John Staten, Pastor