Calvary Baptist Church

An Independent Baptist Church in Mount Maunganui, Tauranga

What we believe

Overview

We believe that a group of believers needs to have a solid understanding, not of what they think the Word of GOD says, but of what GOD actually says in Scripture. And further to that to continue to search Scripture so that we can gain a true understanding of what GOD means by what He said. To achieve that we need to firstly agree on the basic principles of our faith found in the Bible and to adhere to them. The best place to start with this is with a solid Christ centered, Bible based statement of faith. As followers of Christ we recognize that there are other views and various doctrines but for us, the fundamental foundational life changing principles of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone is paramount and not negotiable. 

The Scriptures

We believe that the canonical Scriptures comprising the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of GOD, fully inspired, and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who guided the human authors even in the employment of the words they used, maintaining their individual personalities, while preserving them from all error and all omission. We believe that the Bible is the supreme and infallible authority for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Matthew 5:18). 

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The True God

We believe there is one living and true GOD (Deuteronomy 6:4), eternally existing in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:1-2), equal in every divine attribute (John 10:30; Matthew 28:19), and exercising distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence, and redemption (Acts 5:30-32; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:2).

We believe in GOD the Father, an infinite, person spirit (John 4:24), who is omnipresent (Jeremiah 23:23-24), omniscient (Hebrews 4:13), omnipotent (Matthew 19:26), immutable (Malachi 3:6), perfect in holiness (Isaiah 6:3), righteousness (Psalm 145:17), love (1 John 4:8), goodness, mercy and truth (Psalm 100:5). He concerns himself in the affairs of men (Romans 8:28-30), hears and answers prayers (John 15:7), and saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

We believe in GOD the Son, eternally existing with the Father (John 1:1-2), and in His incarnation as the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14), conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:20-23), true GOD (John 8:58; Matthew 16:16), and true man (Philippians 2:8; Romans 8:3). We believe in His sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; 9:14), His substitutionary atoning death (1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:21), His bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20; Romans 1:4), and His ascension into Heaven (Hebrews 1:3; Acts 1:9). We believe in His personal, visible return to earth (John 14:3; Acts 1:11) to establish His earthly millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:4; Luke 1:32-33).

We believe in GOD the Holy Spirit, who came to earth from the Father and the Son, to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). We believe that He regenerates (Titus 3:5), seals (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30), indwells (1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:9) and sanctifies (1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Peter 1:2), every Christian, and is their teacher (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:13) and guide (John 16:13; Romans 8:14).

Creation

We believe in the scriptural account of creation as found in Genesis, and that the universe and man were created in six days (Exodus 20:11) by a direct creative act of GOD, apart from any process of evolution (Genesis 1:2; Colossians 1:16-17).

Man

We believe that man was created in a state of perfect innocence in the image and likeness of GOD (Genesis 1:26-27; James 3:9), and that left to the freedom of His own will, man fell from the state wherein he was created (Genesis 3:6-8), the result being physical and spiritual death, which is eternal separation from GOD (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21-23), and that this fallen nature and its consequence are transmitted to the entire race by natural regeneration (Job 14:4; Psalm 51:5; 1 Corinthians 15:22). Man is a tripartite being consisting of body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12).

Sin

We believe that sin is any transgression against the law of GOD (1 John 3:4; 5:17), that it entered the race in the disobedience of Adam and passed upon all men (Romans 5:19) so that all men, by their fall, lost communion with GOD (Genesis 3:8, 24), are under His wrath and curse (Ephesians 2:3), and are destined to reap the just wages of their sin (Romans 6:23).

Judgment

We believe in the resurrection of the wicked dead at the end of the Millennium, that they will be judged at the Great White Throne, according to their works (John 5:29; Revelation 20:11), their rejection of GOD’s revelation being the most serious offence (John 3:18-19; Romans 1:20, 24), and that they will therefore be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15). There will be no hope for any who present their own righteousness (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10).

We believe that the unreached will be judged on the same basis as the unbeliever, the law of GOD having been written on their hearts (Romans 2:15) and the true nature of GOD having been revealed through His creation, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Salvation only comes through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12), therefore all men must hear and believe the gospel to be saved (Romans10:13-15).

We believe in the resurrection of believers who have died, and the translation of living Saints at the Rapture of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), that they will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) according to their works, and those whose works do not endure will suffer loss of reward (1 Corinthians 3:15). The issue is not salvation, for Christ paid the penalty for the believers’ sins at the cross (1 Peter 2:24; John 3:36).

The Hereafter

We believe that the term Heaven refers to a literal and distinct place and not a condition or state; that it is the abode of GOD (Isaiah 66:1) and of good Angels (Matthew 24:36), and that in the eternal state it will be the home of all the redeemed (Matthew 5:12; 6:20; Revelation 22:5).

We believe that the term hell refers to a literal place, and that it is the Lake of Fire, which will be the eternal abode of all the unsaved dead (Revelation 20:15; 21:8).

Salvation

We believe that salvation is a free gift of GOD, wholly apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-9), offered on the sole basis of faith in the finished work of Christ (Acts 16:31), and includes deliverance from the guilt of and penalty of sin (Romans 5:9), and future deliverance from the results of the fall (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).

God’s Grace and Election

We believe in the grace of GOD, which is His unmerited favour towards fallen man whereby, for the sake of Christ (John 1:14, 17), He has provided for mans redemption. GOD has, from all eternity, determined to extend favour towards all who exercise faith in Christ as Lord and Savior (Romans 10:13; Ephesians 1:4-5).

Election and the sovereignty of GOD are clearly taught through the Bible. Specifically GOD says “He hath chosen us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Distinctly, GOD declares “He hath chosen us”, not that man chose GOD. Jesus even more emphatically states, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16). On the other hand, the invitation of the Bible irrevocably states, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Also it states “Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Over and over, the call is to “whosoever”, without strings attached.

Both of these truths are essential. To try to magnify election out of proportion can lead to fatalism. To over-stress human responsibility can lead to salvation by works.  This is like all other truth in the Bible. No doctrine contradicts or nullifies any other.

Substitutionary Atonement

We believe that the atonement, which is the substitutionary death of Christ in the sinner’s place (Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24), is the sole basis for all of GOD’s redemptive dealing with mankind (1 Timothy 2:6; 1 John 2:2); yet provision for personal salvation is appropriated only by those who exercise personal faith in Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 4:10; John 3:16). The atonement is therefore unlimited in its potential, but limited in its application by man’s belief (John 10:15, 26).

We believe that through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, Holy GOD is propitiated as the demands of His righteous law are met (Romans 3:25), and man is reconciled to GOD (Colossians 1:20-21), as that which has caused his enmity towards GOD is removed.

Regeneration

We believe that regeneration is the spiritual change wrought in the heart of man, by an act of GOD; in which man’s inherently sinful nature is changed, and by which he is enabled to respond to GOD in faith (Romans 11:29; Ephesians 2:8-9). Regeneration is the imparting of the divine nature to man by the operation of the Holy Spirit through the Word of GOD (Titus 3:5). It is described in the scripture as the New Birth (1 Peter 1:23), a spiritual quickening (Colossians 2:13), and the giving of a new nature (2 Peter 1:4) and a spiritual translation (Colossians 1:13). In regeneration the believing sinner receives a new life and a new nature.

Repentance and Faith

We believe that repentance is that voluntary change in the intellect (Psalm 51:3), emotion (2 Corinthians 7:10), and will (Jeremiah 25:5) of the sinner, in which he turns from sin. Repentance is a gift from GOD (Romans 2:4).

We believe that faith is the voluntary working together of the intellect (Romans 10:17), emotion (Romans 10:9-10), and will (John 1:12) of a sinner, in which he turns to Christ. Repentance and faith are different aspects of the same turning, and wherever there is true faith, there is true repentance (Acts 20:21). This faith is a gift from GOD (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 6:65), and is the meditate cause of justification, the grace of GOD being the direct cause (Romans 4:5)

Justification

We believe that the justification is the judicial act of GOD, whereby, on account of Christ, He declares the believing sinner righteous (Romans 4:5): and includes the remission of the penalty for sin (Romans 8:1), restoration of divine favour (Romans 5:9), and the sinner’s receiving a new standing before GOD.

Redemption

We believe that Christ has paid the full penalty for the believer’s sin (John 19:30), removed him forever from the bondage of sin and the law (Galatians 3:13), and effected a full release from the power of sin (Romans 6:6). Redemption is solely through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

Sanctification

We believe that sanctification is the divine setting apart of the believer unto GOD, to belong wholly to Him, and to be used for His glory (Psalm 4:3). Positional sanctification takes place at the time of salvation, making the believer a saint in his standing before GOD (Hebrews 10:10); progressive sanctification is a process which takes place during the believer’s life (2 Peter 3:18). And ultimate sanctification takes place at the coming of the Lord (1 John 3:2), giving the believer a glorified body (Philippians 3:21) and the full sharing in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Eternal Security

We believe in the eternal security of the saints, which is the assurance of eternal and permanent salvation (1 John 5:12-13); that those who are truly born again by the Spirit of GOD will not fall away from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35), and that of all who truly believe, none will ever be lost (John 6:39-40; 10:28).

Spirit Baptism

We believe that Spirit baptism is the divine operation whereby Christ baptizes believers with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5) into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), which is His church. The baptism with the Spirit at Pentecost marks the beginning of the church age (Acts 2:4; 11:15) and is the universal experience of all believers at the time of salvation (1 Corinthians 12:15; Ephesians 4:5). It is not a sign of spirituality, culminating in the “second blessing”, and is to be distinguished from the filling of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), which believers are enjoined to seek. Water baptism is the beautiful emblem of this spiritual reality (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12).

Angels, Satan and Demons

We believe in the personal existence of angels, that they are ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:14), created by GOD (Nehemiah 9:6), made a little higher than man (Psalm 8:5), and that they are a company and not a race (Luke 20:34-36).

We believe in the personal existence of Satan as the tempter (Matthew 4:3), the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). He was perfectly created by GOD as the highest of the angels (Ezekiel 28:13-15), he fell from heaven as a result of his desire to be equal with GOD (Isaiah 14:12-14), and that his ultimate doom is to be cast into the Lake of Fire (Isaiah 14:15; Revelation 20:10).

We believe in the personal existence of demons, as fallen angels and the hosts of Satan (Matthew 12:24; Ephesians 6:12), that they can inflict disease (Matthew 9:33), control man (Matthew 4:24) and disseminate false doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1). And that their end is also in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41).

The Church which is His Body

We believe that the Church, which is His body, is the entire company of saints from Pentecost to the Rapture, who are united together with Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13; Acts 1:5; 2:4; 11:15).

We believe that the Kingdom of GOD is the sphere or realm in which GOD is acknowledged and obeyed as sovereign. It includes both all the unfallen created beings, and all those members of the human race who have shared or will share in the redemption which is in Jesus Christ (Luke 13:28; Hebrews 12:22-23), and includes but is distinct from the Church.

We believe that the Kingdom of Heaven, a phrase appearing only in Matthew’s gospel, is used in three senses as referring to;

  1. The earthly millennial Kingdom of Christ (Matthew 25:1);
  2. The sphere of professing Christendom (Matthew 13);
  3. Synonymous with the Kingdom of GOD (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:14-15).

The Local Church

We believe that the local New Testament church is the visible manifestation of the Body of Christ in a specific place, organized into an assembly of immersed believers. They are associated by a covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel, to observe the ordinances, study the Word, fulfill the Great Commission, participate in the ministry of prayer, and share in the blessings of Christian fellowship (Acts 2:41-42).

We believe that the Great Commission was given to the local church (Matthew 28:19-20), that fulfillment of the Great Commission includes making disciples, Scripturally baptizing them, and then teaching them to observe the whole counsel of GOD (Acts 20:27). That Scriptural missions result in the establishing of local New Testament churches (Acts 14:23), and that the local New Testament church is the only GOD ordained instrument for world evangelism (Matthew 16:18; 1 Timothy 3:15).

We believe that the only form of Church government taught in the Scriptures is an autonomous local Church (1 Timothy 3:15), which decides the issues based on congregational decisions (Acts 14:23; 15:22), Always in subservience to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the body (Colossians 1:18). The final authority of the Church in all matters of faith and practice are the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We believe that it is Scriptural for churches of like faith and practice to fellowship together (Galatians 1:2), but that these fellowships have no ecclesiastical authority over the local church nor in any way infringe upon its independence or sovereignty.

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

We believe that the ordinances of the local New Testament church are baptism (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41) and the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). The only Scriptural mode of baptism is that of immersion (Acts 8:39; Romans 6:4). Baptism is administered only to believers who are in fellowship with the Lord, and who are in obedience to His commandments (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). It is also to the local New Testament church only that the ordinances have been given (1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Timothy 3:15).

Church Officers

We believe that the Scriptural officers for the local New Testament church are Pastors and Deacons (Acts20:28; 1 Timothy 3; Philippians 1:1), and that the New Testament concept of the Deacons is that of service (Acts 6:1-6).

Spiritual Gifts

We believe that with the completion of the New Testament and its almost universal acceptance by the early church, the need for authenticating signs was supplanted by authenticating Scripture (1 Corinthians 13:8-10), hence the spiritual gifts given for authenticating the ministry of the early church ceased: the most notable and controversial among these being the gift of healing (1 Corinthians 12:9) and of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10). Except for three instances in the book of Acts (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6), when the Gospel was being advanced to a distinct group of people, and the experience of the Corinthian Church, there are no instances in the New Testament of the continued use of the gift of tongues.

We believe that with the completion of the Scriptures, GOD ruled out the possibility of any additional revelation (Revelation 22:18-19); therefore, the revelatory spiritual gifts of apostleship (Ephesians 4:11) and prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:10) have also ceased.

We believe that while the authenticating sign gift of healing is no longer bestowed by GOD upon individuals to administer, GOD can sovereignly heal in answer to prayer and faith.

Church and State

We believe that the New Testament teaches an absolute separation of church and state (Matthew 22:21). In civil matters, the church is to be in subjection to the governmental authorities, for these are ordained by GOD (Romans 13:1). However, should the government require that which is in direct conflict to the teachings of the Word of GOD, the Christian has no choice but to obey GOD (Acts 5:29).

Separation

We believe that the Spiritual unity of all who have been born again by the Spirit of GOD and have been baptized into the Body of Christ is a blessed and wonderful teaching of Scripture. However, the time has come when many, in what were sound fellowships, will not endure sound doctrine and have become apostate (2 Timothy 4:3-4). In such instances, the plain injunctions of the Word of GOD command the believer to separate from any such apostasy (2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:14). The Word of GOD not only commands separation from apostates, but not to invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement to them (2 John 9-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6).

We believe that the believer has been commanded to do everything to the glory of GOD (1 Corinthians 10:31). He must consciously do nothing to cause his brother in Christ to stumble or to be offended (Romans 14:21). Personal separation is not separation from various practices, but separation unto GOD, which will result in separation from the world (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15).

Last Things

We believe in the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10; Titus 2:13). This will include the resurrection of dead church saints (1 Corinthians 5:22-23), transformation of living saints (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) and their translation to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18); followed by their appearance before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10).

We believe that the Tribulation, which follows the Rapture of the Church, is the seventieth week of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:21-28), and will include; national restoration of Israel in unbelief (Ezekiel 36:25), the rebuilding of the temple and the abomination of the desolation (Daniel 9:27), Antichrist’s revelation as the man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2:4), the Trumpet judgments (Revelation 8,9), the Seven Bowl judgments (Revelations 15,16), and the destruction of Babylon (Revelation 17,18).

We believe that immediately after the Tribulation, the Lord Jesus Christ will visibly return to earth in glory (Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 19:11-16) to defeat the army of antichrist (Revelation 19:17-21), judge the Gentiles (Matthew 25:32) and Israel (Ezekiel 20:37), and to establish a literal, earthly, Davidic millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:4; 1 Corinthians 15:24; 25; 2 Samuel 7:16; Luke 1:32-33), during which Satan is bound for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3).

We believe that at the conclusion of the Millennium, Satan will be loosed and shall lead a rebellion, only to be crushed and cast into the lake of Fire (Revelation 20:7-10). The wicked dead shall be raised and judged in unbelief (Revelation 20:11-15), and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire. There they shall remain in conscious torment forever (Mark 9:48), and the righteous shall enter the eternal state (Revelation 21), where they shall enjoy eternal fellowship with GOD (revelation 21:1-5).                             

The Purpose for Calvary Baptist Church

To guide each individual to put his faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for Salvation. To love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30; Romans 10:9-10);

To build the character of Christ into Individuals, Marriages and Families so that they will live above reproach and be an effective advertisement for the Christian faith (Colossians 1:28-29; 2:8-10);

To help each believer to find his or her spiritual gift and to assist them in exercising this gift in the local church so that GOD might receive the glory (1 Corinthians 12, Romans12, Ephesians 4);

To accurately teach what GOD means by what He said in the Bible so that each believer can live a successful Christian life (Romans 12:1-2, 2 Timothy 2:2);

To serve as a church home for those of like faith in this general area;

To conduct services of the church for the worship of GOD, for the edification of its members and for the administration of its ordinances;

To accept and implement the Great Commission as expressed in Matthew 28:19-20;

To earnestly contend for the Faith which was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3-4);

Through discipleship to share with one another the Biblical truths and principles of Scripture (Matthew 28:19-20). 

Church Covenant

Having been lead, as we believe, by the Spirit of GOD, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Ghost, we do now in the presence of GOD, angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.

We engage therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love, to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness and comfort, to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrine; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor and the spread of the gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and secret devotion; to teach Christ to our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all action which would cause damage to our personal testimony as well as the testimony of our local church; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the cause of our Savior and willing to grow in grace under the teachings of the Word.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure it without delay.

We moreover engage that, when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with another church of like faith where we can carry out the spirit of this Covenant and the principles of GOD’s Word.