Articles of Faith
What We Believe
Old Baptist Union Articles of Faith
WE BELIEVE with all our hearts in the only true and living God, the creator and sustainer of all things, visible and invisible; and that in the unity of this Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
(Matthew 28: 19; 2 Corinthians 13: 14)
WE BELIEVE in the full inspiration of the Bible, accepting it as the Word of God, and regarding its teaching as of supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
(2 Timothy 3: 16, 17; 2 Peter 1: 21)"…your word is truth." (John 17: 17)
WE BELIEVE in the Bible doctrine of the fall of man, and in his consequent need of redemption through the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and of regeneration through the Holy Spirit. We believe also that God does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3: 9), for which cause Christ commanded that the Gospel should be preached to all creation.
(Romans 5: 12; Romans 5: 8; John 3: 6, 7)
WE BELIEVE that by his grace, and through the merits of Jesus Christ, God has made full provision for the salvation of all men, but that only those who repent of their sins, and accept Christ, by faith, as their saviour, will be saved.
(John 3: 16; 1 John 2: 2; John 3: 18)
WE BELIEVE that those who truly repent and believe the Gospel should be baptised by immersion.
(Matthew 28: 19; Acts 2: 38; Romans 6: 4)
WE BELIEVE that those who are baptised should receive the “laying on of hands" from the elders, in accordance with New Testament teaching and practice.
(Acts 8: 17; Hebrews 6: 1, 2; 1 Tim 4: 14)
WE BELIEVE in the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ; and in his deity and absolute sinlessness.
(Luke 1: 35; Hebrews 1: 2 3; Hebrews 1: 8; 1 Peter 2: 22)
WE BELIEVE in Christ's death upon the cross as the atoning sacrifice for sin; we believe in his bodily resurrection; in his ascension into heaven, there to “appear for us in God's presence"; and in his personal coming again to receive his people to himself, and to establish his millennial kingdom.
(1 Peter 1: 18, 19; 1 Corinthians 15: 3 5; Hebrews 1: 3; Hebrews 9: 28; 1 Thessalonians 4: 16, 17; Revelation 20: 4)
WE BELIEVE in the infallibility of Christ as a teacher.
(Matthew 7: 29; John 12: 48; John 17: 14)
WE BELIEVE in the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit, and in his continued presence in the church; and that his gifts may still be claimed and exercised, subject to his will.
(John 15: 26; 2 Corinthians 13: 14; Acts 5: 3, 4; 1 Corinthians 12: 4; Romans 11: 29)
WE BELIEVE in the existence of a personal devil, the arch enemy of God and man, who “leads the whole world astray"; and that although his power is still great on the earth, he is a defeated foe, doomed to final destruction.
(Matthew 4: 1; 1 Peter 5: 8, 9; Revelation 20: 10)
WE BELIEVE that man is a being consisting of body, soul and spirit. We believe that the spirit can exist independently of the body and that it continues in a state of consciousness between death and the resurrection.
(1 Thessalonians 5: 23; Ecclesiastes 12: 7; Revelation 6: 9, 10; Acts 7: 59)
WE BELIEVE in the present day possibility and privilege of divine healing, and we recognise that God uses a rich variety of means to bring people to health.
(1 Corinthians 12: 9; James 5: 14, 15)
WE BELIEVE that we should observe the ordinance of the Lord's Supper in accordance with our Saviour's injunction.
(1 Corinthians 11: 23 26)
WE BELIEVE in the resurrection of the body, in the glorification of the redeemed and that the finally impenitent "will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord".
(John 5: 28, 29; 1 Corinthians 15: 49; Matthew 13: 41 43; Revelation 20: 15)
WE BELIEVE in the need of obedience to everything Christ has commanded; and that the way of obedience is the way of sanctification, power and blessing.
(Matthew 4: 4; 1 Thessalonians 4: 3; 1 Peter 1: 22; Romans 6: 16; John 14: 21)
Ebenezer Baptist Church was founded in November 1913. It is a member church of the Old Baptist Union, a small group of wholly evangelical churches, established in 1880, on the basis of the scriptural principles of the General Baptists.
It is the policy of the church to co-operate whenever possible with other Christians in advancing Christ's Kingdom.
Every church member should read carefully the Articles of Faith of the Old Baptist Union (above) upon which the constitution of the church is based.
The first and most important principle in our system of government is our recognition of the need of God's guidance. We believe that Jesus Christ, as the Head of the Church, should in all things have pre-eminance. Thus our choice of Pastor and Officers is made with earnest prayer for Divine guidance above every other consideration. Every member concerned in the decisions of church life should deligently seek to know the Lord's Will, and not to lean on his or her own understanding, or be led by the opinion of others.
Every person who has professed the Lord Jesus Christ, testified the same in baptism, given evidence of having received the Holy Spirit and is willing to accept the articles of faith and constitution, is elegible to be received into fellowship.
All applications for membership will be considered by the Pastor and ordained officers before recommending acceptance to the church meeting.
A member's name may be removed from the roll :-
a. If one has been found guilty of unrepentant sin (Hebrews 10:26-31; James 5:19,20.)
b. If one wishes to be removed.
c. If attendance at the church has been neglected over a period of one year.
Note: In the latter case the Pastor or Officers shall first write to the person concerned asking whether they wish to remain on the Church register. if the person has removed from the district, they should be recommended to some local church.
The Pastor of the church shall be appointed by a 90% majority of votes cast by church members, including postal votes, but only after satisfying the doctrinal standards of the Old Baptist Union and gaining whole-hearted approval of the ordained officers of the church.
The Pastor shall be eligible to serve on all church sub-committees and shall be signatory to all church bank accounts.
A moderator (a serving Pastor of the Old Baptist Union, who knows the church and has its confidence) will be invited to take the chair at all meetings relating to the appointment, including interviews.
During and interregnum, the duties of the Pastor shall be will be undertaken by the moderator.
Pastors appointed before 1st January 1981 have the privilege of retaining their pastorates for an indefinite period, unless they cease to uphold the articles of faith which is the basis of the constitution, in which case the Pastorate can be terminated at any time by the Executive Council of the Old Baptist Union. If the church desires the termination of a Pastorate for any other reason, a well founded application by a majority of members will be given due consideration by the Executive Council of the Old Baptist Union.
The duration of Pastoral appointments made after 1st January 1981 will be determined by such contractual agreements entered into by the Church and Pastor, unless the Pastor ceases to uphold the articles of faith, which is the basis of the constitution, in which case the pastorate can be terminated at anytime by the Executive Council of the Old Baptist Union.
1. Business meetings.
A meeting of the ordained officers of the church will be held bi-montly. Members desiring to include matters for the agenda should inform the the Pastor at least seven days prior to the meeting.
A Meeting of Church members will be held twice yearly. One of these meetings will be the Annual General Meeting when the Church accounts will be approved, reports on the work given and all appointments made. Members desiring to include matters on the agenda should inform the Pastor at least seven days prior to the meeting. A minimum of 51% of the membership shall be deemed to constitute a church meeting.
2. Appointment of Officers.
The new Testament system of Church Government included Pastors, Elders and Deacons. Elders and Deacons will be appointed only after giving evidence of God's calling to the office, according to the scriptural requirements (I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9), being in membership of the church for at least eighteen months and agreeing to uphold the articles of faith as the basis of this constitution.
Nominations for these officers should be submitted to the Pastor and ordained officers for approval and then placed before the General Meeting of the church. Of the votes cast 75% in favour shall ensure their election, after which the Pastor shall arrange for ordination.
The number of officers may vary according to need, but should not normally exceed 10% of the membership.
3. Church Committee
The church committee shall consist of Pastor and ordained officers and other members elected at the Annual General Meeting. It shall not exceed ten members in total plus a minutes secretary where appropriate. It shall co-opt such other members as and when necessary but such appointments should not exceed six months duration. Nominations for the church committee must only be submitted with the permission of the nominee and must be received by the Pastor fourteen days before the Annual General Meeting.
4. Other Offices.
All other offices shall be determined annually by the vote of the members. Nominations for any church office membership etc. must only be submitted with the permission of the nominee and must be received by the Pastor fourteen days before the Annual General Meeting.
5. Voting at Church Meetings
Only church members are eligible to vote at church meetings. A proxy vote may be accepted if any member is unable to attend a church meeting. Such a vote must be in writing and indicate clearly the way in which the member intends to vote. Any such votes will be cast by the Pastor at the church meeting, and should be presented to him in good time. Matters to be subject to a proxy vote shall be determined by the Pastor and ordained officers, who will give notice to the appropriate members.
It is our understanding of the Scriptures that while both parties are living marriage in intended to be a permanent relationship. Divorce for any reason is, therefore, a failure of the Divine ideal, and contrary to the absolute will of God for mankind.
Pastors are to give all couples seeking marriage in our churches full instruction in the Biblical teaching concerning marriage and its obligations, stressing that they should not enter marriage without proper forethought about the step they will be taking.
Because of the frailty of human nature, occasions may arise where Pastors are asked to officiate and bless marriages where one or both partners have been divorced. Pastors are allowed to undertake such a ceremony if, in their absolute discretion and understanding of the scriptures, they feel able to do so. If a Pastor is in doubt over an application for marriage from a divorced person, he should refer the matter to the Executive Committee either for guidance or decision. A Pastor on probation must seek such guidance from the Executive Committee as a matter of course.
7. The Constitution.
No alterations or amendments can be made to this constitution without the approval of 75% of the church members and the permission of the Old Baptist Union Executive Council.