What We Believe

Understanding God and His plan for mankind is very important. We believe God has provided a way for us to know about Him and that plan through the Bible. Since the earliest times of the church, man’s understanding of that plan and how we interact with it has been recorded in a number of ways as a means of expressing what we believe about Him, His Word, His Son and other aspects of our relationship with Him.

The Pathway Church believes the Baptist Faith and Message of 2000 accurately and succinctly captures the elements of that relationship. You can read the statement on the SBC website here.

 

 

The Baptist Faith & Message 2000

I. The Scriptures

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. Therefore,
all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles
by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the
end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme
standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions
should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is
Himself the focus of divine revelation.

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10;
119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32;
Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15;
17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17;
Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

II. God

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent,
spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver,
and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other
perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect
knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including
the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest
love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself
to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes,
but without division of nature, essence, or being.

A. 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. He is fatherly in
His attitude toward all men.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus
22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah
43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9;
28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7;
Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6;
Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17;
1 John 5:7.

B. 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.
Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself
human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself
completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law
by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the
cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was
raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples
as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended
into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He
is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected
the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power
and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission.
He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 53:1-12; Matthew
1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19;
Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38;
11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28;
Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21;
8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians
5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians
2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy
2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28;
12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9;
2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

C. God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired
holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He
enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men
of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour,
and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes
every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian
character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by
which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto
the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the
guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of
the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and
the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.;
Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32;
28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49;
John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31;
5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans
8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians
4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy
3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1
John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

III. Man

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. The gift
of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. In the
beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator
with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God
and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan
man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original
innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment
inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral
action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only
the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable
man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. 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.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5;
51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans
1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians
1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.

IV. Salvation

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered
freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, 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.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby
believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of
heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which
the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of
grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the
acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality
to Him as Lord and Saviour.

B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles
of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ.
Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and
favor with God.

C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration,
by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled
to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence
and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should
continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.

D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final
blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26;
27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24;
10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31;
20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39;
10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians
5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22;
4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians
5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28;
11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation
3:20; 21:1-22:5.

V. 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.
It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. 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. Believers may
fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve
the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach
on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet
they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah
5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31;
25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14;
3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32;
Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2;
15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14;
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2;
James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.

VI. The Church

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; observing the two ordinances
of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and
privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the
gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under
the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation
each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its
scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and
women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor
is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

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.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6;
13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians
1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22;
3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy
2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation
2-3; 21:2-3.

VII. Baptism and the Lord’s
Supper

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the
name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of
obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried,
and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the
old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ
Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection
of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the
privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members
of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the
vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second
coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26;
Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33;
20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians
2:12.

VIII. The Lord’s Day

The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian
institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection
of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship
and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the
Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience
under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7;
Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10;
I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.

IX. The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the
universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge
Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation
into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus
Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may
come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the
Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23;
12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43;
8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7;
17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians
1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation
1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.

X. Last Things

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to
its appropriate end. According to His promise, 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 in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive
their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44;
25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37;
21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians
4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians
1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.;
2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28;
James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation
1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.

XI. 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. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit
means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part
of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life,
and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel
to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly
to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian
lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38;
10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke
10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts
1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11;
1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1
Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.

XII. Education

Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In
Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All
sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage.
The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for
knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ
is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence,
and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches.
An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete
spiritual program for Christ’s people.

In Christian education there should be a proper balance between
academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly
relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute.
The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary
is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative
nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which
the school exists.

Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job
28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11;
15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40;
1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians
2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3;
James 1:5; 3:17.

XIII. Stewardship

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; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them
to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to
the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully,
regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the
advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi
3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42;
16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2;
1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15;
Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

XIV. Cooperation

Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations
and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects
of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over
one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory
bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our
people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches
should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary,
educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s
Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual
harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups
of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various
Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified,
and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or
compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the
New Testament.

Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15;
Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20;
Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35;
1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians
1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.

XV. The Christian and the Social
Order

All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of
Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and
methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment
of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful
only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual
by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ,
Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness,
and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery,
homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the
orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the
sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the
sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every
Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society
as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth,
and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should
be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always
being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising
their loyalty to Christ and His truth.

Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm
101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40;
25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25;
John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7;
7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians
3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.

XVI. Peace and War

It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles
of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of
Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.

The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The
supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in
all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application
of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should
pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans
12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.

XVII. Religious Liberty

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from
the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His
Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate.
The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the
pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no
ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state
more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is
the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all
things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should
not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of
Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its
ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions
of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support
of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian
ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access
to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate
opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil
power.

Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36;
Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians
3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.

XVIII. The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of
human society. It is composed of persons related to one another
by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment
for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between
Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in
marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of
sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means
for procreation of the human race.

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. A husband is to love his wife as
Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to
provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit
herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even
as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She,
being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him,
has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve
as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage
from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s
pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual
and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle
example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical
truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy
6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127;
128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1;
17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes
4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark
10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33;
6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus
2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.