Statement of Faith
1.SCRIPTURES -- We believe that the Holy Bible is the Word of God and, as originally written, was verbally inspired and the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore has truth without admixture of error for its matter. We believe that it is the true center of Christian union and the only infallible rule for all human conduct, creeds and opinions (II Tim.3:16-17; II Pet.1:19-21; Psa.68:11).
2.GOD -- We believe that there is only one living and true God, infinite in every excellence; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three personal distinctions -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit -- one in substance and equal in every divine perfection (Exo.20:2-3; Isa.45:22; I Cor.8:6; I John 5:7).
3.JESUS CHRIST -- The Lord Jesus Christ is both true God and perfect man, a unique, supernatural manifestation of God in the flesh (II Cor.5:19; I Tim.3:16); born of the virgin Mary, after having been miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35; Matt.1:18-20); the only Savior of mankind (Acts 4:10-12), and the proper object of our worship.
4.HOLY SPIRIT -- We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Divine person, equal with the Father and Son and of the same substance and nature; that He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgement, bears witness to the truth, is the agent of the new birth, and that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses to, sanctifies, and helps the believer, indwelling every true child of God (John 14:16-17; John 16:12-15; Rom.8:14-27; II Cor.13:14). We believe that the sign gifts of the Spirit were for the Apostolic Age (Eph.2:20; Heb.2:3-4; I Cor.13:9-10) and are not to be sought after in our age.
5.THE DEVIL OR SATAN -- We believe in the distinct personality of Satan, that he is the god of this age, author and prince of all powers of darkness and sin, and is destined to the judgement of an eternal justice in the lake of fire (Matt.4:1-3; Matt.25:41; II Cor.4:4; Rev.20:10).
6.CREATION -- We believe that God created the heavens and the earth, including all life, "each after its own kind", by direct act and not by the process of evolution (Gen. 1 and 2; Psa.33:6-9; John 1:3; Col.1:16-17).
7.THE FALL OF MAN -- We believe that man, in the person of the first Adam, was created in innocence but by voluntary transgression fell into sin, thus plunging the whole race into condemnation and death, so that now all mankind is born in sin and shaped in iniquity and become practical sinners with the first expression of personal choice, not only by constraint but by choice, and so are without excuse before God (Gen.3; Gen.5:1-4; Rom.5:10-19; Eph.2:1-3).
8.THE ATONEMENT -- We believe that the only escape from the condemnation of sin is through the atonement wrought by Jesus Christ, when He voluntarily took upon Him a human body, being made in the likeness of men (Rom.8:3; Phil.2:7), yet without sin, and by His suffering, death, and resurrection made full satisfaction to the justice of God for the sin of man; that the blessings of this salvation are given on the grounds of grace to all who believe and confess; and that it is the immediate duty of all to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (John 3:1-19; Acts 4:12; Acts 16:30-33; Rom.10:9-13; II Cor.5:17).
9.SALVATION -- We believe that salvation is by faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father are the only premises for salvation (Eph.1:7; Rev.1:5); That this faith is begotten through hearing the Word of God (Rom.10:17; I Pet.1:18-25); that it is the free gift of God, wholly set apart from human works (Eph.2:8-9); that by the new birth one dead in trespasses and sins is quickened into eternal life, made righteous, justified, and is made partaker of the Divine nature (II Pet.1:4), eternally secured unto the praise of His glory.
A.The Church Universal -- We believe every born again believer is by the mystical act of God accorded a place in the Body of Christ and that this body is Biblically identified as "the Church" (Eph.3:3-7; Col.1:24; I Cor.12:12-13).
B.The Church Local -- We believe that a local church is a congregation of immersed believers, associated by covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in it by His Word; that its officers are pastors -- also called bishops or elders (Eph.4:10-11; Acts 20:26-32; I Tim. 3:1-7; I Pet.5:1-5; Phil.1:1) and deacons (Phil.1:1; I Tim.3:8-13); that it has the absolute right of self-government in matters not covered by the New Testament; that it is directed by the Holy Spirit and is answerable only to Christ (Acts 2:41-42; I Cor.11:2; Eph.1:22-23; Eph.4:11; Eph.5:23-24; I Tim.3:17; Col.1:18; Acts 20:17-28).
C. We believe in the absolute separation of church and state (Matt.22:21). We believe in the separated life as the will of God for the believer (Rom.12:1-2) and in the ecclesiastical separation of the local church from churches and organizations that are a part of the present-day apostasy.
11.CHURCH ORDINANCES -- We believe that there are two church ordinances:
Baptism and The Lord's Supper
A.Mode of Baptism -- The pastor and deacons shall oversee the ordinance of baptism by a single immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It sets forth in a beautiful and solemn way our faith in a crucified, buried and risen Savior, and our death to sin and resurrection to a new life. Baptism is a prerequisite to the privileges of church relation.
B.The Lord's Supper -- The Lord's Supper (Communion) shall be served to the congregation by the pastor, or some person designated by the church, and the deacons on the first Sunday of each month, or at the discretion of the deacons. Since it is the Lord's Table, none who are His shall be barred, but the pastor shall frequently state the scriptural order, which places baptism as a prerequisite to communion, and shall explain the meaning of the ordinance.
Believers who, through no fault of their own, are unable to participate in the public observance of the Lord's Supper may request private administration of the ordinance at a time and place of mutual convenience.
12.THE LORD'S RETURN -- We believe in the bodily, personal, imminent, and premillennial return of Jesus Christ; that He will come before the seven year tribulation period to catch away His church (coming only in the air), and that He will come with His church at the close of the tribulation to judge the living nations and set up His kingdom (I Thess.4:13-17; Matt.25:31-46; Rev.19:11-21).
13.RESURRECTION -- We believe in the resurrection of the bodies of the dead; that believers who sleep in Jesus will be raised at the coming of Christ for His Church and caught up with transformed living saints to meet the Lord in the air; and that the wicked dead will be raised at the close of the Millennial Kingdom and shall stand in their bodies at the Great White Throne of Judgement to receive their final doom (John 5:21-30; I Thess.4:16; Rev.7:9-17; 20:11-15).
14.THE FAMILY -- We believe that marriage was planned by God to consist of one man and one woman, and that any other arrangement is un-biblical (Gen. 1:27; 2:18-25; Eph. 5:22-31; Matt. 19:4-6, I Cor. 11:3; and Col. 3:18,19). We believe that scripture teaches that homosexuality is always unacceptable, and therefore, a homosexual relationship cannot constitute the basis for a biblical marriage or family (Rom. 1:24-28 and Lev. 18:22 and 20:13). We believe that God’s design is for a married couple never to be separated by divorce. We believe that men and women are of equal value and standing in God’s sight, but that by God’s design, the husband is to be the head of the home. We believe that it is the responsibility primarily of the parents to raise their children in the counsel of the Word of God, using discipline when necessary (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:20, 21; Prov. 13:24; 22:15; 23:13,14; 29:15; and Deut. 6:6,7). We believe that single believers are to marry only in the Lord (I Cor. 7:39; II Cor. 6:14-17; Ezra 9:11,12; Neh. 13:23-30; and Joshua 23:11-13).
OUR VISION OF GOD'S CALL
We believe God calls Bethlehem Baptist to be a church in greater Cleveland which teaches the absolute authority of Scripture, salvation by faith alone, the historic Christian doctrines, and Godly living.
In faith, love, and obedience to God, we seek to...
- Share hope, love, guidance, forgiveness and comfort for the hurting, the burdened, the confused, and the seeker.
- Reach our world for Christ, including sending our own people for training and ministry.
- Evangelize the people of every class, race, and culture in our community with the gospel of Christ.
- Help families maintain healthy relationships and train their children in the ways of God.
- Expend ourselves, our time, and our finances for Christ.
- Recognize our accountability to God and to one another through person to person encouragement and admonishment.
- Equip every member for significant ministry by helping them discover and utilize their God given gifts.
- Engage in weekly worship, Bible study, prayer, fellowship, outreach, and ministry to be like Christ.
- Exalt the living God as He builds His church until the return of Christ, which may be today.
As we carry out this vision together, we will sense a great unity in this body of believers, fulfilling our role in Christ's prayer in John 17
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and personal devotion; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our conduct; to avoid all gossip, backbiting, and unrighteous anger; to abstain from all forms of activity which dishonor our Lord Jesus Christ, bring harm to the body which is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, cause stumbling to a fellow believer, or hinder the winning of a soul to Christ; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in Christian love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that, when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.