Doctrinal Statement: What We Teach

Preamble

The church, the pillar and ground of the truth, preserves and propagates the pure message of the gospel.1 Titus 2 commands pastors to “teach what accords with sound doctrine,” and to “hold firm to the trustworthy word so that [they] may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also be able to rebuke those who contradict it.”2

Anniston Bible Church stands upon the historic defense of the gospel by preserving in our doctrinal statement the fundamental articles of the faith affirmed by the true church in every age. We encourage every member to study our doctrinal statement and examine the historic confessions on which it rests, e.g. The Apostles’ Creed, The Nicene Creed, The Chalcedonian Creed, The Athanasian Creed, The Heidelberg Catechism, and The London Baptist Confession of 1689. We pray that this statement provides a standard of Christian doctrine for generations to come.

1 1 Timothy 3:16


2 Titus 1:1, 9

The Scriptures

God, by His grace and for His glory, made himself known through the gospel, which He first revealed in Eden,3 and later declared by the prophets, and pictured by the sacrifices and ceremonies of the law, and lastly, fulfilled by His only begotten Son.4 The apostles preached, explained, and recorded this faith, which the church received and preserved.

 

We believe the sixty-six books of the Bible to be the infallible,5 written revelation of God,6 verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit,7 inerrant8 in the original documents, the only and final authority, and fully sufficient, in all matters of faith and conduct.9, 10

3 Genesis 3:15

 

4 Luke 24:27

 

5 Isaiah 34:16; Luke 24:44-46; John 10:35; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16

 

6 Zechariah 7:12; Matthew 4:4,7,10; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21

 

7 2 Samuel 23:2; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:19-21

 

8 Matthew 5:17-18; Psalm 12:6; Psalm 19:9; Psalm 119;140; Prov. 30:5; John 10:35

 

9 Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalm 19:7-11; Job 23:12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17

 

10 We teach the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture which affirms, e.g., the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days; the historicity of the book of Jonah, etc.

The Godhead

We believe in one living and true God.11 He is an independent, incomprehensible self-sufficient, uncreated spirit.12 He is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. He is Creator13 and Sustainer14 of the universe, eternally existent15 in three persons16—Father,17 Son,18 and Holy Spirit.19, 20

11 Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6; 1 Cor. 8:4

 

12 Isaiah 46:9; John 4:24

 

13 Genesis 1:1; Heb. 11:3; Acts 4:24; Job 33:4

 

14 Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:17; 2 Peter 3:7; Job 37:6-12

 

15 Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; John 8:58; Revelation 1:8

 

16 Genesis 1:26; Psalm 110:1; Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Cor. 12:4-6

 

17 John 6:27; John 20:17; 1 Corinthians 8:6

 

18 Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1; John 5:18; John 20:28; Romans 9:5; Luke 2:11; Philippians 2:10; Isaiah 45:22-23

 

19 2 Samuel 23:2-3; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 3:17

 

20 We teach that the most important influence in the worship of any church is what it believes about God. Any error in a church’s practice or theology can ultimately be traced back to a flawed view of God. At the heart of any sin is idolatry.

The Person and Work of Jesus Christ

We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God,21 that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and became incarnate through the virgin birth,22 and that He unites forever in His Person perfect deity23 and true humanity.24 He lived a sinless life,25 was crucified26 as the substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world,27 he rose bodily from the dead,28 and ascended into heaven where He is now exalted at the right hand of the Father.29 He accomplishes his role of mediator by fulfilling the offices of prophet, priest, and king. As prophet, he is the full and perfect revelation of God;30 as priest, he offers up himself and forever intercedes for his people;31 as king, he possesses all authority and rules over all things for the good of his people.32

21 Matthew 3:17; 1 John 1:2; Matthew 16:16; Psalm 2:7; 1 John 2:22

 

22 Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:30-35; Galatians 4:4; John 1:14

 

23 Matthew 1:23; John 1:1; Phil. 2:6; Col. 2:9; 1 Cor. 2:8; Phil. 2:10-11 with Isaiah 45:23

 

24 John 1:14; Mark 6:3; Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:47; 1 Timothy 2:5

 

25 Matthew 3:17; John 8:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 John 3:5; 1 Pet 2:22; Heb. 4:15; Heb. 7:26

 

26 Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:33; John 19:17-18

 

27 Isaiah 53:12; John 1:29; 1 Tim. 4:10; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2; 2 Peter 2:1

 

28 Matthew 28:6-7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6; Luke 24:34; Luke 24:39; 1 Cor. 15:4-7

 

29 Acts 2:33; Acts 5:31; Phil. 2:9; Psalm 110:1; Heb. 1:3; Heb. 8:1; 1 Pet. 3:22

 

30 Heb. 1:1-2; Col. 1:15-19

 

31 Isaiah 53:12; Romans 8:34; Heb. 7:25; Heb. 4:14-16

 

32 Revelation 17:14

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is Himself God;33 that He glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ;34 that He was sent to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment;35 that He regenerates36 and indwells the believer;37 that He fills the believer;38 that He sanctifies and seals the believer unto the day of redemption;39 that He intercedes for the believer;40 and that He imparts gifts to each believer as He wills for the edification of the Church.41 As part of our spiritual worship, believers are to walk in the Spirit,42 bear the fruit of the Spirit,43 submit to the Spirit,44 pray in the Spirit,45 keep in step together with the Spirit,46 and be filled with the Spirit.47, 48

33 Genesis 1:2; 2 Sam 23:2-3; Acts 5:1-5; 2 Cor. 3:17-18


34 John 16:13-14


35 Genesis 6:3; John 16:8; Acts 7:51; 2 Thess. 2:7


36 Ezekiel 36:25-27; John 3:6; John 7:38-39; Titus 3:5


37 Ezekiel 36:27; John 14:17; Romans 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:19; James 4:5


38 Acts 2:4; Ephesians 5:18


39 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; Eph. 4:30


40 Romans 8:26-27


41 Eph. 4:11-16; Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 12:1-11; Eph. 4:8-12; 1 Peter 4:10


42 Gal. 5:16


43 Gal. 5:22-23


44 Ephesians 4:30; Isaiah 63: ten; acts 7:51; 1 Thessalonians 5:19


45 Eph. 6:18; Jude 20


46 Gal. 5:25


47 Eph. 5:18


48 We teach that some gifts of the Spirit, such as tongues and certain other sign gifts, evidently were limited to the early church and appear to have expired with the conclusion of the canon and the end of the apostolic era. The sufficiency of Scripture makes new revelation unnecessary.

Man and Sin

We believe that God created man49 upright and holy in his own image and likeness,50 but that yielding to Satan’s solicitation, Adam sinned and all humanity fell,51 becoming alienated from God so that all humans are conceived and born in sin,52 inheriting a sinful nature,53 hostile to God, and utterly self-centered. Sin so spoiled and polluted our original righteousness that every element of human nature is inherently corrupted.54 Man is now under the misery of the curse,55 being in bondage to pain, sorrow, and spiritual and physical death. He is justly under the wrath of God, and of himself, unwilling and unable to remedy his lost condition,56 and desperately in need of God’s redemptive grace.57

49 Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. We teach that God created man, male and female. We affirm that God designed sexual identity as part of His good creation. He graciously and wisely gave marriage as a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman, ordained by the Creator and Savior of the world. We further affirm that God’s design for sexual pleasure and union is confined to the marriage covenant. See Appendix A for complete statement on marriage and sexuality.


50 Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 8:5; Gen. 9:6


51 1 Cor. 15:49; Romans 5:12; Romans 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:22


52 Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12; Psalm 51:5; Eccl. 9:3


53 Eph. 4:18; Eph. 2:12;


54 Rom. 3:10; Psalm 53:3; Gen. 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9


55 Rom. 8:22-23


56 Colossians 1:21; Romans 3:12; John 14:6; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5


57 Eph. 2:1-5

Salvation

“Salvation is of the Lord!”58 We believe that salvation is by grace alone. Grace is the goodness of God confronting human demerit and misery.59 Because of man’s total inability,60 he is utterly dependent on the kindness of God to accomplish his salvation.61 Justification62 means the legal declaration of God by which he forgives sin and counts the sinner to be righteous, solely for the sake of Christ.63 Human merit and good works have no place in securing our acceptance with God.64 This distinguishes Christianity from all religions that make salvation dependent on works-righteousness.

 

By Christ’s righteous life and substitutionary death he accomplished propitiation for us. He satisfied God’s wrath against our sin, gaining God’s favor for the believer, and providing complete atonement for the guilt of man through his sacrifice.65 The Bible summarizes this whole work of God’s gracious provision in Christ as redemption —the purchase of man from the slavery of sin for God’s glory.66

 

Following Christ would be impossible apart from regeneration. Because of spiritual death and darkness, we are incapable of seeking, knowing, or pleasing God. But in regeneration the Holy Spirit creates spiritual life and light in our hearts.67


Regeneration produces conversion—a decisive turn from sin, self, and Satan unto God through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.68 The Spirit of God enables us to believe and confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ.69 He convicts, calls, and persuades the sinner through the Word of the gospel to trust in Christ alone for salvation.70 This saving faith is always accompanied by repentance, meaning that the Spirit grants the sinner a heartfelt sorrow for violating God’s holiness, producing a radical turn from sin to God and a sincere longing to follow Christ.71

 

Through the mediation of Christ we are reconciled to God. God overcomes our alienation by removing the enmity of sin and restoring fellowship through His Son.72 Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit,73 the believing sinner is immediately united with Christ in his death and resurrection,74 imparting to him all the benefits of salvation, securing him as God’s child now and forever.75

 

God’s Spirit progressively works to sanctify and restore the image of God in the believer while the Christian works out his own salvation,76 striving for holiness in every area of life until he is glorified with Christ at death or at Christ’s return.77


Glorification is the perfection of sanctification; God transforms the believer completely into the likeness of Christ in body and soul.78

 

We teach that salvation, from eternity past to eternity future, is all of grace. In election, God graciously chose us in Christ and predestined all Christians to salvation by his eternal and sovereign choice of them to be his adopted children, apart from any foreseen merit or obedience on their part.79 In justification and in sanctification, God is the initiator, and God’s glory is the end.80

58 Jonah 2:9

 

59 Rom. 3:24, 5:15

 

60 Ezek. 36:26; 2 Cor. 4:4-6

 

61 Titus 3:4-5

 

62 The protestant reformers declared that this gracious salvation was by faith alone, emphasizing the doctrine of justification. Martin Luther referred to this doctrine as the chief article of the church, by which it will stand or fall.


63 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:20-30; Rom. 5:1; Gal. 2:16


64 Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5


65 1 John 2:1-2, 4:10


66 Eph. 1:7; Gal. 4:5; Titus 2:14


67 Titus 3:5


68 Acts 26:18


69 Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25


70 Mark 1:15


71 Matt. 3:8-10; 2 Cor. 7:10;


72 Romans 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18


73 1 Cor. 12:13


74 Romans 6:5


75 1 John 3:1


76 Eph. 4:24; Phil. 2:12-13


77 Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; 2 Pet. 1:5


78 Rom. 8:30; 1 John 3:2


79 Eph. 1:3-14


80 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 13:21

Angels

We believe that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped.81 Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him,82 and to minister to the heirs of salvation.83 We believe that Satan is an angelic personality84 who fell85 and became the archenemy of God and man;86 that Jesus Christ in His death defeated Satan;87 that he finally will be cast into the lake of fire.88 When Satan fell, a portion of the angels likewise rebelled against God and in their defeat became the demonic host.

 

We teach that Satan is the god of this age, the prince of this world, and the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience.89 The apostle John affirms that this world system lies under the control of the evil one.90 Consequently, the church constantly wages war against these spiritual hosts.91 The weapons of our warfare are prayer, preaching the gospel, spiritual vigilance, and the whole armor of God.92

81 Rev. 22:8-9; Angel is a general term meaning “messenger”; ARCHANGELS were angels of high rank, also see references to CHERUBIM and SERAPHIM and the LIVING CREATURES—1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 9; Dan. 8:17-26; Ex. 25:20; Is. 6:2, 6; Ezek. 1:6; Rev. 4:8.


82 Psalm 103:20; Heb. 1:6


83 Heb. 1:14


84 Ezekiel 28:12-19; Isaiah 14:12-17; Job 1:6


85 Ezekiel 28:16; Isaiah 14:15; 1 Tim. 3:6; Rev. 12:4


86 Eph. 6:11; Matt. 13:39; 1 Peter 5:8; Rev. 2:10; 1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 13:7


87 Col. 2:15; Matthew 10:1; John 12:31; 1 John 3:8


88 Rev. 20:10; Matt. 25:41


89 Eph. 2:2


90 1 John 5:19


91 Eph. 6:12


92 2 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:11-13

The Church

Christ promised to build his church.93 He Himself is the foundation,94 so that even the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.95 We believe that the church was formed at Pentecost by the coming of the Holy Spirit,96 to create out of believing Jews and Gentiles the spiritual body of Christ,97 of which he is the Head.98 Practically, the church gathers99 in local congregations of regenerated100 and baptized101 believers united in their confession of the faith of the apostles.102 In these gatherings, the church worships Christ through preaching,103 reading Scripture,104 celebrating communion,105 baptizing new believers,106 exercising church discipline,107 praying,108 singing,109 giving,110 and edifying fellowship.111 The church then disperses as witnesses of the gospel of Christ to the world in word and deed.112

 

We teach that the purity of gospel doctrine is preserved and propagated by the church as the pillar and ground of the truth.113 Under the headship of Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, qualified pastors and elders114 lead the church by teaching and administrating faithfully the Word of God.115 They are assisted in the practical care of the church by qualified servants known as deacons.116

93 Matthew 16:18


94 1 Cor. 3:11


95 Matthew 16:18


96 Acts 2:1-47


97 Eph. 2:11-22, 1 Cor. 12:13


98 Col. 1:18


99 Heb. 10:24-25


100 Eph. 2:5

 

101 Acts 2:41, 8:12, 8:36


102 1 Cor. 15:3-8, Jude 3, 2 Tim. 3:14


103 2 Tim. 4:2


104 1 Tim. 4:13


105 Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:17-34


106 Matt. 28:19


107 Matt. 18:15-18


108 Eph. 6:18; 1 Tim. 2:8


109 Col. 3:16


110 2 Cor. 9:1-15


111 Hebrews 10:19-25


112 Mark 16:15; 1 John 3:16-18


113 Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Thess. 3:14-15; 2 John 9-11


114 1 Tim. 3:1-7


115 Acts 6:4; Acts 20:28


116 1 Tim. 3:8-13

The End Times

Jesus Christ will physically and imminently return to earth,117 gathering all believers,118 judging all evil,119 and establishing his eternal kingdom,120 ushering in a new heavens and a new earth.121 After death, all persons will be resurrected physically122 and exist eternally.123 The wicked will be cast into the lake of fire,124 the place of everlasting punishment.125 The righteous will dwell forever with the Lord.126

117 Phil. 3:20; Mt. 24:30-31, 42-44


118 1 Thess. 4:14-18


119 Rom. 2:5; Rev. 21:8; 22:12


120 Rev. 21


121 2 Pet. 3:13


122 Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29


123 Mt. 25:40-46


124 Rev. 20:15


125 Rev. 19:3; 20:10


126 2 Pet. 3:11-13; Rev. 21:3-4; Psa. 16:11; 27:4

Marriage and Sexuality

We teach that marriage is a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman, ordained by the Creator and Savior of the world. We affirm that this definition is from God. Jesus sustained the pattern of marriage given by our Creator in His defense of marriage in Matthew 19:4-6.127

 

We deny that any institution—government, church, or individual—can legitimately redefine marriage.128 We further deny that marriage is a mere social construct devised by human wisdom; it is rather a universal institution given to humanity by God.129

 

We affirm that God designed sexual identity, male and female, as part of His good creation. We further affirm that God’s design for sexual pleasure and union is confined to the marriage covenant.130

 

We deny the moral lawfulness of any sexual perversion. This specifically includes adultery, fornication, rape, pedophilia, incest, bisexuality, homosexuality, transgenderism, polygamy, bestiality, pornography, lust, voyeurism, sado-masochism, and any other perversion of God’s design.131

 

The Role of Government in Marriage

 

We affirm that God instituted human government as His servant in the world to promote good and restrain evil:

 

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.”132

 

We deny that human government is autonomous in its authority or has the right to institute laws which are contrary to God’s revealed will.133

 

We affirm that followers of Jesus Christ must submit to governing authorities as to the Lord.134

 

We deny that followers of Jesus Christ must obey any ordinances or laws which contradict the commands of Scripture.135

 

We affirm that human governments should administer the institution of marriage as given by God for the sake of the common good. We further affirm that human governments should protect and promote the biblical institution of marriage.136

 

We deny that any civil union that deviates from the God-given model of marriage is a valid marriage.137

 

The Gospel and Marriage

 

“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”138

 

We affirm that marriage is sacred because it pictures the relationship between Christ and His church through the distinct roles and life-long covenant between a man and his wife.139

 

We deny that the picture of the relationship between Christ and His church can be fulfilled through any other civil union that is contrary to the God-given model of one man and one woman.140

 

We affirm that without the power of the Gospel and the presence of the Holy Spirit, mankind is inclined to pervert God’s design for marriage. All are by our fallen nature filled with unholy sexual desires.141

 

We deny that any sexual perversion disqualifies a person from the grace of God which He extends to those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ.142 We further deny that malicious reactions toward those involved in sexual sin can be consistent

with the loving example and saving gospel of Jesus Christ, the Friend of sinners.143 True Christians, understanding their own sinful and perverse nature, reject self-righteous attitudes and lovingly seek to help others to receive the forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ.

 

Conclusion: God “has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”144 By the gracious provision of His infallible Word, we can know what kind of unions delight and displease the heart of God. The lifelong covenant relationship between one man and one woman delights Him. Any deviation from that marital pattern displeases Him. The responsibility of human government, then, is to promote and uphold God’s pattern for marriage and reject any other marital pattern conceived by the wisdom of this world. The responsibility of Christians in the area of marriage is at least three-fold: 1) Promote and pursue God’s pattern of marriage, 2) Submit to human government to the degree that it upholds God’s standard for marriage, and 3) Help the non-Christian world see God’s design for marriage as a glorious picture of the union between Jesus Christ and His church. May God grant grace and strength to every Christian in the fulfillment of these responsibilities. Amen.

 

Weddings at Anniston Bible Church

 

Weddings will only be facilitated for church members and their families, in keeping with the principles of this statement on marriage and sexuality. Anniston Bible Church requires six sessions of premarital counseling by an elder.

127 Cf. Genesis 2:21-25


128 Prov. 17:15; Lev. 18:4-5; Isaiah 5:20


129 Ephesians 5:31-32


130 Gen. 1:27; Gen. 2:24; 1 Cor. 7:1-5


131 Leviticus 18; Rom. 1:18-32; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Cor. 5; 1 Thess. 4:1-8


132 1 Pet. 2:13-1


133 Romans 13:1-4


134 Luke 20:20-26; Romans 13:1-7


135 Acts 4:19-20; 5:27-29


136 Proverbs 14:34; Romans 13:3-4


137 Matthew 14:3-4


138 Ephesians 5:31-32


139 Eph. 5:22-23


140 Romans 1:18-32


141 Romans 1:16-17; Gen. 6:5; Psalm 51:5


142 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 2:1-3


143 Matthew 11:19


144 2 Peter 1:3

Doctrinal Responsibility of the Elders of Anniston Bible Church

It shall be the responsibility of the elders to oversee the teaching ministry and doctrinal influences within the fellowship of believers in both formal and informal settings. They will insure the consistent and continual teaching of these articles of faith and defend the flock from false teachers and divisive persons who contradict this statement of faith (Article IV). They are also responsible to insure no one teaches anything contrary to this doctrine in the pulpit, in any Bible class, or ministry of ABC.