Briar Street Baptist Church is a body of Christian believers of reformed heritage, theologically conservative, traditional in worship, placing a strong emphasis on the study of the Holy scriptures. We believe it is the commission of every true believer to share the gospel of Christ and make disciples.
Briar Street Baptist Church
We believe and teach that the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament together comprise the entire written Word of God, the supreme and sole authority of Christian faith and practice. The Scripture was given in the original manuscripts through the Holy Spirit by verbal (every word), plenary (complete) inspiration and thus is infallible, true and free of error or contradiction. No other writing, experiences, tongues, prophesies, visions, revelations or traditions of any kind are inspired in this sense. (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We believe in and teach that there is only one God, eternally existing in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having all of the same attributes and perfections. These attributes of God include, but are not limited to, holiness, sovereignty, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, and immutability. Each Person of the Godhead executes distinct but complementary offices in the great work of redemption. (Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 99:5; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19-20; Mark 12:29; John 1:1-8, 5:27, 6:27; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 8:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:1-3; James 2:19; Revelation 1:4-6).
(3) Jesus Christ
We believe and teach that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became fully man, without ceasing to be fully God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that he might reveal God and redeem sinful men. He lived a totally sinless and perfect life and thus became God’s perfect sacrifice for man’s sin. He was made to be sin and a curse for us. Jesus Christ thus accomplished our redemption through His substitutionary death on the cross; all who believe on Him are justified solely on the basis of His shed blood, and given assurance by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. Jesus Christ then ascended to heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our high priest, He fulfills the ministries of representative, intercessor, and advocate. (Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; Acts 1:9-10; Romans 3:24-25, 8:34; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:15, 2:5; Hebrews 2:9, 7:25, 9:24; 1 Peter 1:3-5, 2:24; 1 John 2:1-2).
(4) The Holy Spirit
We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, equal with the Father and Son and of the same nature. He was active in creation, and in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God’s purpose is fulfilled. Also, He convicts us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment and bears witness to God’s truth. In addition, He is the supernatural agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ. He indwells and seals us unto the day of redemption, as well as teaching, sanctifying, comforting and bestowing spiritual gift(s) upon each believer. Furthermore, it is God’s command that all Christians be filled with the Holy Spirit. (John 16:8-13; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14, 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).
We believe and teach the Genesis account of creation as being neither allegory nor myth, but the literal, historical account of the direct, immediate, acts of our sovereign creator. Further, we believe and teach the origin of creation and all physical aspects of creation were the works of the Godhead and refute such things as Pantheism (the belief that God is everything and that everything is God, thus confusing God with nature, matter with spirit, and the Creator with the things He has created,) Polytheism (the belief that there is more than one God,) and Theistic Evolution (the belief that attempts to reconcile creation with the theory of the evolutionary process.) (Genesis 1:1; Job 26:3; Psalm 102:25; Colossians 1:16).
We believe and teach that man was created in the image and likeness of God (sinless and innocent), but that by disobedience to his Creator in the Garden of Eden he incurred the penalty of both physical and spiritual death. In Adam’s sin the whole race fell, and thus totally lost all spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, alienated from God, and subject to the power of the devil. Because man is totally depraved he is utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. He is without excuse and under the just condemnation of a Holy God. (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7, 17; John 5:40, 6:53; Romans 1:18-32, 3:22-23, 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3, 12; 1 John 3:8).
We believe and teach that the salvation of sinners is the gift of God brought to man by His grace, and received by personal faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. A person must repent of his sin and by faith receive and trust the Person and provision of Jesus Christ alone in order to be saved. This is the instantaneous act of being born again by the Holy Spirit. Intellectual agreement to the facts of the gospel is alone insufficient. An understanding of the truth must be mixed with a volitional decision to fully and unconditionally trust Jesus for one’s salvation with the faith which God gives to the repentant sinner. Because of the depravity of man, salvation is wholly of God. (John 3:1-21)
We believe and teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).
We believe and teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith, and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).
We believe and teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part or to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).
We believe and teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign, but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with all of His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16). God’s sovereignty will always exalt His will in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
Upon man being regenerated by God, he possesses two natures – the new righteous nature of God and the old sinful nature of Adam. These two natures are in constant conflict within every believer. As the believer yields to the leading of the Holy Spirit, he is controlled by the new nature and grows in Christlikeness. (Scripture calls this sanctification.) However, as long as man lives, the old sin nature will always be present. (Isaiah 64:6; John 1:12, 3:5, 18; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-10; Philippians 3:4-9; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:18-19, 23).
We believe and teach that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ eternally; it is impossible for a truly born-again person to ever lose his salvation. It is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which however, clearly forbids the abuse of this truth as an occasion to live in sin. (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 8:1, 38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Peter 1:5).
We believe and teach that a saved person is to live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. This includes personal holy living where we walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, thus bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Victory in walking in a Christ-honoring way comes as we submit ourselves to the work and power of the Holy Spirit. Submission results in obedience which in turn results in fruitfulness in the Christian life. In addition, separation from all sinful pleasures, practices, and secret associations is commanded by God. Further we believe in and teach separation from ecumenical efforts and other movements which are contrary to the doctrinal conviction of Briar Street Baptist Church. (Romans 6:1-2, 12:1-2, 13:13-14, 14:13, 16:17; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 5:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 2:11-15; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 1:9-11).
We believe and teach that prayer is one of the most important disciplines of the Christian life. One of the first requests made by Jesus’ disciples was to teach them how to pray. Christ’s own prayer life is our first example of the importance of prayer in our lives as believers. The need for and the power of prayer is proven in both the Old and New Testaments. It is made evident throughout the Bible that God both requires and answers the prayer of His people. (I Kings 18:17-30; Matthew 6:5-15; John 17:1-26; James 5:15-18.
(11) The Church
We believe and teach that the Church, as an organism, a living body and the espoused bride of Christ, consisting of all born-again persons. The Church was formed on the day of Pentecost and is distinct from the nation of Israel. In addition to the Church universal (also called the body of Christ,) Jesus ordained the local church as a New Testament institution unknown to the Old Testament prophets. Every Christian should be an active member of a local Bible-centered church, which is a congregation of baptized believers who together observe the ordinances of Christ, exercise their spiritual gift(s), grow in the Word, worship God, have fellowship with other believers, and help promote evangelism throughout the world. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:25-27).
(12) Church Ordinances
We believe and teach that there are only two ordinances and that they are symbolical, not sacramental. Christians are commanded to observe: water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Christian baptism is by immersion, which we practice. It is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a born-again believer showing his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It symbolically pictures the essential facts in redemption – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe and teach that it gives public testimony to what has taken place in the heart of the believer – death to sin and resurrection to walk in newness of life. Although baptism has no saving merit, we believe and teach that it is an act of obedience following salvation and a prerequisite for local church membership. We believe and teach that the Lord’s Supper is also a symbolical ordinance which pictures Christ’s perfect and sinless body and His shed blood for our redemption. It is thus a commemoration of the Lord’s death to be observed until He comes for His Church. The Lord’s Supper is to be taken only by believers, and should be received only after careful self-examination. (Matthew 3:16, 28:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 8:16, 19:5; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34).
(13) Spiritual Gifts
We believe and teach that for the purpose of winning the lost and strengthening believers, the Holy Spirit bestows upon believers spiritual gifts, according to His own choosing. Initially, some of these gifts (such as speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and other miraculous gifts) were given as signs for confirmation of the spoken word of the disciples and apostles. With the completion of the New Testament Canon of Scripture these sign gifts were no longer necessary and thus ceased to exist. However, other gifts continue in the Church today and are to be exercised by the believer in his service for God. Further, we believe and teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today but that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted. (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15; 1 Peter 4:10).
(14) Satan and Demons
We believe in and teach the personality of Satan, the fallen Lucifer, the Devil; the god of this age. Satan is the author of all powers of darkness and sin, and the cause of man’s temptation and ultimate fall. He is the open and declared enemy of God and man, whose final doom will be eternal punishment in the lake of fire. We believe and teach that Christ defeated Satan on the cross and that the Christian has authority and power over Satan now, through the Lord Jesus Christ. We further believe and teach that demons are Satan’s helpers and can possess or control the lives of unbelievers and that they attack and influence believers today. (Genesis 3:14-15; Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:2-11, 25:41; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 20:10).
(15) Last Things
We believe in and teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life in heaven, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. We believe and teach that heaven is a place of eternal beauty and perfection where all the redeemed will forever worship the Lord Jesus Christ in His presence. Also, we believe and teach that the lake of fire is a literal place where all those who reject Jesus Christ will spend a conscious existence in physical, mental, spiritual, and eternal suffering and separation from God. (Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:43- 48; Luke 16:19-26, 23:43; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15).
We believe and teach that it is the responsibility and privilege of every believer individually and collectively through the local church, to endeavor to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples of all nations. This is a task that begins in our local communities and extends to distant foreign lands. We believe and teach that this must be a priority of the local church in obedience and fulfillment of the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20).
We believe and teach that the doctrine of systematic, proportional giving is a principle taught throughout the Bible. It is God’s appointed method to finance the operation of the local church and its outreach ministries. We teach that the regular attendees and members of this church should give regularly to its causes as the Lord enables. We believe and teach that support of the local church should be the first priority in one’s giving. (Deuteronomy 16:17; Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:8, 10; Matthew 6:1, 19-20; Luke 6:38; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
(18) Human Sexuality
We believe and teach that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex (Gen. 2:24, 19:5, 13, 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom 1:26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1, 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4). We believe and teach that the only legitimate marriage is the joining together of one man and one woman, and that it should be so, until death along causes them to part. (Gen. 2:24; Rom 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23).