Historic Evangelical Christian Doctrine
We Believe Theology Matters
ADAPTED AND EDITED WRITINGS FROM HISTORIC CHRISTIAN CREEDS
Reformation Fellowship holds to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Below, however, is our simplified statement for your convenience.
eformation Fellowship’s statement of faith (The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith and the summarized form found on this page) is reaffirmed annually by the Board of Directors, theological advisors, faculty, and staff of Reformation Seminary. This statement provides a summary of biblical doctrine that is consistent with historic evangelical Christianity. Additionally, this statement reaffirms many of the doctrinal positions of the common orthodox Christian confessions and creeds and identifies our network not only with the Scriptures but also with the reformers and the evangelical church of our modern era.
Historical creeds and confessions affirmed by Reformation Fellowship include the following: The Apostles’ Creed, The Nicene Creed, The Chalcedonian Definition, and The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. However, while Reformation Fellowship is firmly and fundamentally of the Reformed Baptist conviction, the network does permit house churches of the Presbyterian conviction within our network if the elders of those churches affirm and hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith. These churches will be clearly identified as “Presbyterian” in their network listing.
We believe the Bible is the final standard of faith and practice for the believer in Jesus Christ and for His Church. While recognizing the historical, interpretive, and guiding value of creeds and confessions of faith made throughout the history of the Church, we affirm the Bible alone as the infallible and final authority in the life of a believer.
Below is an abridged version of the 1689 Confession for your reading convenience. You can read a complete version of this confession by visiting our website at ReformationFellowship.org/1689.
Statement of Faith
1. We believe in the one true and living God, in three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who is invisible, personal, omnipresent, eternal, dependent on none, unchanging, truthful, trustworthy, almighty, sovereign, omniscient, righteous, holy, good, loving, merciful, long-suffering and gracious.
1 Cor. 8:4,6; Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10; Isa. 48:12; Exod. 3:14; John 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17; Deut. 4:15–16; Mal. 3:6; 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23; Ps. 90:2; Gen. 17:1; Isa. 6:3; Ps. 115:3; Isa. 46:10; Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36; Exod. 34:6–7; Heb. 11:6; Neh. 9:32–33; Ps. 5:5–6; Exod. 34:7; Nahum 1:2–3; 1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Exod. 3:14; John 14:11; I Cor. 8:6; John 1:14,18; John 15:26; Gal. 4:6
2. We believe that Almighty God has revealed all that is necessary to life and salvation in the sixty six books of Holy Scripture which are the Word of God. All Scripture was given by inspiration of God, is infallible and inerrant, and is the final arbiter in all disputes. Its authority is derived from its Author and not from the opinions of men.
2 Tim. 3:15-17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; Rom 15:4; John 17:17; Matt. 4:4; Ps. 119:160; Isaiah 40:8; Matt. 24:35; Luke 24:44
3. We believe that God made our first father Adam perfect, holy and upright. He was appointed representative and head of the human race thereby exposing all his offspring to the effects of his obedience or disobedience to God’s commands.
Gen 1:31, 3:12,13; Rom. 5:12-21
4. We believe that Adam fell from his original righteousness into sin and brought upon himself and all his offspring physical and spiritual death, condemnation and sinnership.
Gen. 3:6, 17-19; Rom. 5:12, 19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22; James 1:15, Ps. 51:15; Isaiah 59:2; Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 7:9-11; Job 15:14; John 3:6
5. We believe it is utterly beyond the power of spiritually dead and fallen man to love God, to keep His laws, to effectually understand the Gospel, to genuinely repent of sin, or produce saving faith in Christ.
Eph. 2:1-3; 1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:7, Eph. 4:18; Rom. 3:10-18, 23
6. We believe that God, before the foundation of the world, for His own glory did elect an innumerable host of men and women to eternal life as an act of free and sovereign grace. This election was in no way dependent upon His foresight of human faith, decision, works or merit.
Eph. 1:4-5; 2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 8:28-30; Matt. 25:34; Rev. 13:8; John 15:16; Tit. 1:1-2; Rom. 9:23-24, 2 Thess. 2:13
7. We believe that God sent His Son into the world, conceived of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, unchangeably sinless, both God and man, born under the Law, to live a perfect life of righteousness, on behalf of all who will believe in His name.
Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Gal. 4:4; Luke 1:34-35; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10; Rom. 8:32; John 3:15; John 11:25-26; 1 John 3:5; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15
8. We believe that God’s Son died at Calvary to effect propitiation, reconciliation, redemption, and atonement for His chosen people. God bore testimony to His acceptance of His Son’s work by raising Him from the dead.
Rom. 5:8; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; Gal. 2:20; 1 Cor. 1:18-22; Col. 2:14; John 19:30; 1 John 2:2; Gal. 3:13; Mark 10:45; Rom. 10:9; 1 Pet. 1:3; 1 Thes. 4:14; 1 Cor. 15
9. We believe that God’s Son ascended to the right hand of His Father and is enthroned in glory, where He intercedes on behalf of His people and rules over all things for their sake.
Acts 2:33, 5:31; Mark 16:19; 1 Pet. 3:22; Eph. 1:20-23; Rom. 8:27, 34; Heb. 7:25; Col. 2:10; Phil. 2:9-11
10. We believe that God the Son has poured out the Holy Spirit to work alongside the preached Word. The Spirit of God regenerates the elect sinner and draws him irresistibly to faith in Christ the Savior.
John 14:26; 16, 15:26; 1 Cor. 2:10-13, 6:19; 1 Pet. 1:12; 1 Thes. 4:8; Rom. 10:17; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; James 1:18; John 3:8; 1:13; 3:5, 6:37; 1 Pet. 1:23; Eph. 2:8; Acts 16:14
11. We believe the elect, who are called by grace, are justified in the sight of God on account of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ which is received by faith alone.
2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 8:29-30, 4:5, 1:7, 3:21-22, 10:4; Phil. 3:9; 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Pet. 2:24
12. We believe that all who are regenerated, called, and justified shall persevere in holiness and never finally fall away.
Phil. 1:6; John 10:27-28; 1 Pet. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:12; Romans 11:29; Jude 1:24; Rom. 8:30
13. We believe that the moral law of God is summarized in the Ten Commandments and that all the Ten Commandments continue today to be the standard of righteousness which every child of God ought to love and obey.
Ex. 20:1-17; Romans 13:8–10; James 2:8, 10–12; James 2:10, 11; Matthew 5:17–19; Romans 3:31
14. We believe God has particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath to be kept holy unto Him, which from the beginning of the world to the Resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week which is called the Lord’s Day; and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath; the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.
Ex. 20:8; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10, Col. 2:16, Heb. 4:9-11
15. We believe that baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper are gospel ordinances belonging only to regenerated believers.
Romans 6:3–5; Col. 2:12; Galatians 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4, Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36, 37; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 18:8; Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38; Matthew 3:16; John 3:23; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17, 2; 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 11:26, 29; Matthew 7:6
16. We believe marriage is to only to be between one man and one woman and that marriage was ordained by God and, therefore, cannot be redefined by man.
Gen. 2:24; Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:5-6; Gen 2:18; 1 Cor. 7:2, 9; Eph. 5:22-33; Mark 10:6-9; Heb. 13:4
17. We believe that our corporate worship must be regulated by the Scriptures alone and that we are not free to impose extra-biblical elements into our worship before God.
John 4:21-24; Col. 2:23; 1 Cor. 14:26-40; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim 2:4; Eph. 5:19
18. We believe that the Scriptures teach that only men—biblically qualified men—are to hold the only two offices Christ has given to the Church, that being elder and deacon.
1 Tim. 3:1-13, 5:17; Acts 14:23, 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7; Phil. 1:1; 1 Pet. 5:1-2; Heb. 13:17
19. We believe that the local church is under the authority of Christ alone and not the civil government. Nevertheless, civil authorities are established by God and Christians should submit in the Lord to them to the extent that their submission does not cause them to disobey God.
Eph. 1:22, 5:23; Col. 1:18; Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:17; 1 Tim 2:1-2; Acts 5:29
20. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ shall come again to raise the dead, both righteous and unrighteous, and that the righteous shall enjoy everlasting life and the wicked endure everlasting punishment.
Heb. 9:28; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 2 Peter 3:10; Acts 17:31; John 5:22, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:3; Jude 6; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:10, 12; Matthew 25:32–46
Statement on Scripture
We believe that God has revealed Himself and His truth by both general and special revelation. General revelation displays His existence, power, providence, moral standard, patience, goodness, and glory; special revelation manifests His triune nature and His plan of redemption through Messiah for humanity. This special revelation has been given in two ways, preeminently in the incarnate Word of God—Jesus Christ, and in the inscripturated Word of God—the Bible. We affirm that the sixty-six books of the Bible are the written Word of God given by the Holy Spirit and are the complete and final canonical revelation of God for all time. (Rom. 1:18-2:4; 2:14-16; Ps. 19; Acts 14:15-17; 17:22-31; John 1:1- 18; 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 1:1-2; 4:12)
We believe these books were written by a process of dual authorship in which the Holy Spirit so moved the human authors that, through their individual personalities and styles, they composed and recorded God’s Word which is inerrant. These books, constituting the written Word of God, convey objective truth and are the believer’s only infallible rule of faith and practice. (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-20; John 10:35; 17:17; 1 Cor. 2:10-13)
We Believe that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
Statement on the Church
We believe the Church is the elect people of God, existing from the beginning of the world and completed at the return of Christ who is its head. The mission of the Church is to glorify God by worshiping corporately, building itself up as a loving, faithful community by instruction of the Word, observing baptism and communion, embracing the doctrinal mandates of the apostles, communicating the Gospel and making disciples of all peoples. (Matt. 16:18; 28:16-20; Acts 1:4, 5; 11:15; 2:46, 47; 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 12:4-21; Eph. 1:22, 23; 2:19-22; 3:4-6; 5:25-27; Col. 1:18; Rev. 5:9)
We believe Christians should gather together in local assemblies. They are priests before God and to one another, responsible to serve God and minister to each other. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and leading the assembly are elders and deacons. Although church and state are distinct institutions, believers are to submit to the government within the limits of God’s Word. (Matt. 18:15-18; 22:15-22; 28:19; Acts 2:41, 42; 6:1-6; 1 Cor. 14:40; Eph. 4:11, 12; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-9; Heb. 10:25; 1 Pet. 2:5-10, 13-17; 5:1-5)
Statement on Baptism and Communion
We believe that baptism is an ordinance of the Lord by which those who have repented and come to faith express their union with Christ in His death and resurrection, by being immersed in water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is a sign of belonging to the people of God, and an emblem of burial and cleansing, signifying death to the old life of unbelief, and purification from the pollution of sin. (Matt. 28:16-20; Acts 2:41; 10:47-48; Rom. 6:1-6)
* While Reformation Fellowship is firmly and fundamentally of the Reformed Baptist conviction, the network does permit house churches of the Presbyterian conviction and, thereby the paedobaptist position, within our network if the elders of those churches affirm and hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith. These churches will be clearly identified as “Presbyterian” in their network listing.
Statement on Salvation
We believe that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).
We believe that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Tit. 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24) when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works are the proper evidence and fruit of regeneration (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Eph. 2:10), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his or her life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21; Phil. 2:12b; Col. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:4-10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).
We believe 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 (Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4-11; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:1-2). We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezek. 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Rom. 9:22-23; 2 Thess. 2:10-12; Rev. 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 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 (Eph. 1:4-7; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 Pet. 1:2).
We believe 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 His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Rom. 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 11:25-28; 2 Tim. 1:9).
We believe that justification before God is an act of God (Rom. 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; Isa. 55:6-7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 12:3; 2 Cor. 4:5; Phil. 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Rom. 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Col. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21). By this means God is enabled to “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).
We believe that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Cor. 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Pet. 1:2).
We believe that there is also, by the work of the Holy Spirit, a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Rom. 6:1-22; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Thess. 4:3-4; 5:23).
In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh—but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 4:22-24; Phil. 3:12; Col. 3:9-10; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Cor. 1:4-8; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 7:25; 13:5; 1 Pet. 1:5; Jude 24).
We believe that 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 use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Rom. 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13, 25-26; Tit. 2:11-14).
We believe that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5).
We believe that, out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us, and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also believe that separation from all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Rom. 12:1-2, 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11).
We believe that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 1:11-12; Heb. 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10).1
1 This Precise Statement on Salvation was originally produced by the elders at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA under John MacArthur. It has been adapted and reproduced here by Reformation Fellowship.
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