Southern Baptists have prepared a statement of generally held convictions and beliefs called The Baptist Faith and Message. It serves as a guide in understanding what we believe the Bible teaches on a number of doctrines and issues. The topics here provide a brief and partial summary of what we believe.
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.
There is one and only one living and true God. The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
God’s Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end.
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel…and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. This church is an autonomous body. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Evangelism and Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations seeking constantly to win the lost to Christ.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.