What We Believe
CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH OF LARKSPUR, 2 BALTIMORE AVENUE LARKSPUR, CALIFORNIA 94939
Calvary Baptist Church has adopted the following Church Covenant, Constitution, and Articles of Faith on August 30th, 2015:
THE CHURCH COVENANT
Having been led by the Holy Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the public confession of our faith, having been immersed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We PURPOSE, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to: walk together in Christian love, strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort, promote its prosperity and spirituality, attend its services regularly, sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines, give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin, give faithfully of time and talent in its activities, contribute cheerfully and regularly, as God has prospered us, to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel throughout all nations.
We ALSO purpose to: maintain family and private devotions, train our children according to the Word of God, seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances, walk circumspectly in the world, be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our conduct, avoid all gossip, backbiting and unrighteous anger, abstain from all forms of activity which dishonor our Lord Jesus Christ, cause stumbling to a fellow believer, or hinder the winning of a soul to Christ, be zealous in our efforts to advance the cause of Christ our Savior, and give Him preeminence in all things.
We FURTHER purpose to: encourage one another in the blessed hope of our Lord’s return, watch over one another in brotherly love, remember each other in prayer, aid each other in sickness and distress, cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech, be slow to take offense but always ready for reconciliation and, mindful of the rules of our Savior, seek it without delay.
We MOREOVER purpose that when we remove from this place we will as soon as possible unite with some other church of like faith and order where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. In the event there is no such church, we shall seek, with the Lord’s help, to establish one.
ARTICLES OF FAITH
Section 1 – Doctrine of the Scriptures
We believe in the authority and sufficiency of the Holy Bible, consisting of the sixty six books of the Old and New Testaments, as originally written; that it was in every word and in every thought completely inspired and is the product of Spirit controlled men, and therefore is infallible and without error in all matters of which it speaks.
We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian unity and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions shall be tried (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:19–21).
Section 2 – Doctrine of God
We believe there is one, and only one, living and true God and infinite Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (Exodus 20:2–3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11; 1 John 5:7).
A. God the Father
We believe that God the Father is Father in His relationship within the Trinity and in His relationship with those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior; that He orders all things after the counsel of His own will and in so doing, concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer; that He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; and that He is the object of our worship and praise (Psalm 65:2, 139:1–24, 147:5; Matthew 5:45, 6:24–34; John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5).
B. God the Son
The Lord Jesus is coequal and coeternal with the Father; we believe that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary; that He is God manifest in the flesh, very God and very man, that He was sent by the Father for the purpose of being the perfect sinless sacrifice for the sins of mankind; that He died in our stead, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, gaining victory over death for us. We believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ and in His ascension into heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest, interceding for us. We believe that He is the object of our faith; that He is the only way to the Father; that He is imminently coming for the saints; that He will reign as King of kings on earth for one thousand years; and that He will judge evil works of darkness at the end of the Millennial reign (Isaiah 61:1–3; Matthew 28:6–7; Mark 16:6; Luke 1:26–38, 24:2–6,51; John 1:1–4, 3:13–17, 14:6, 20:27; Acts 1:9–11, 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, 55–57; Colossians 1:16–17; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11; Hebrews 2:17, 4:14–16, 5:9–10, 7:25, 8:6, 12:2; 1 John 2:1; Revelation 3:21, 20:4–6, 11–15).
C. God the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son, and of the same nature; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the Evil One until God’s purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment; that He bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the agent in the New Birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies, and helps the believer (John 14:16.17; Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 9:14; John 14:26; Luke 1:35; Genesis 1:1–3; John 16:8–11; Acts 5:30–32; John 3:5–6; Luke 24:49; Ephesians 1:13–14; Mark 1:8; John 1:33; Acts 11:16; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:16; 8:26–27).
Section 3 – Doctrine of Creation
A. the Biblical account of the creation of the physical universe, angels, and man,
B. that this creation took place over six, 24 hour days,
C. that this account is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical, account of the direct, immediate, creative acts of God without any evolutionary process,
that man was created by the direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life, and
that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the
entire human race (Genesis 1:2; Colossians 1:16–17; John 1:3).
Section 4 – Doctrine of Man
We believe that man was created by God in innocence and in the image and likeness of God under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression, Adam fell from his sinless and happy state, and all men sinned in him. In consequence of this, all men are: totally depraved, partakers of Adam’s fallen nature, sinners by nature and by conduct not only from constraint but by choice and therefore, are under just condemnation without defense or excuse (Genesis 3:1–6; Romans 3:10–19, 5:12, 19, 1:18, 32).
Section 5 – Doctrine of Satan
We believe in the reality and personality of Satan, the Devil; that he was created by God as an angel but through pride and rebellion became the enemy of his Creator; that he became the unholy god of this age and the ruler of all the power of the darkness and is destined to the judgment of and eternal justice in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 4:1–11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:10).
Section 6 – Doctrine of Salvation
We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatorial offices of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who, by the appointment of the Father, voluntarily took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, and honored the divine law by His personal obedience, thus qualifying Himself to be our Savior; that by the shedding of His blood in His death He fully satisfied the just demands of a holy and righteous God regarding sin; that His sacrifice consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was a voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the Just dying for the unjust, Christ the Lord bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that having risen from the dead He is now enthroned in Heaven. He is in every way the only suitable, compassionate, and all sufficient Savior.
We believe that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only condition of salvation; that repentance is a change of mind and purpose toward God, prompted by the Holy Spirit, and is an integral part of saving faith (Jonah 2:9; Hebrews 2:14–17: Isaiah 53:4–7; 1 John 4:10; 1 Corinthians 15:3 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).
A. Of Grace and the New Birth
We believe that in order to be saved sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the Divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about by our sovereign God in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith and newness of life (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 5:1; Acts 16:20–33; 2 Peter 1:4; Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:13; John 3:8).
B. Of Justification
We believe that justification is that judicial act of God whereby: He pardons the believing sinner, gives eternal life on the principles of righteousness, and declares the believer righteous upon the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s shed blood (Romans 2:24; 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9).
C. Of Sanctification
We believe that sanctification is the divine setting apart of the believer unto God accomplished in a threefold manner:
an eternal act of God based upon redemption in Christ,establishing the believer in a position of holiness at the moment he or she trusts the Savior (Hebrews 10:10–14; 3:1; Ephesians 5:25–27; 1 Corinthians 1:30),
a continuing process in the saint as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the life (John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–4), and
3. the final accomplishment of this process at the Lord’s return (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24; 1 John 3:2; Jude 24–25; Revelation 22:11).
D. Of the Security of Believers
We believe that all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ forever (Philippians 1:6; John 10:28–29; Romans 8:35–39: Jude 1).
Section 7 – Of the New Testament Church
We believe the local New Testament Church consists of two or more baptized believers being united by and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, acknowledging the Headship of Christ, and carrying out the teaching of the scripture for the glory of the Lord. Each local New Testament Church is independent of all other organizations. Its members shall solely be the judge of the measure and method of its cooperation with outside organizations and standards of membership. Unity of believers by the Holy Spirit should be taught and practiced in the local New Testament Church (Matthew 18:20; 1 Corinthians 12:12–13; Matthew 28:18–20; Ephesians 4:3).
We believe that an organized New Testament Church: includes the offices of Pastor and Deacons, has the responsibility to remember the Lord’s death until He comes, and has the privilege of baptizing believers by immersion. We also acknowledge that the local New Testament Church believers are a part of the Body of Christ, making up the only true church (Ephesians 5:23–32; 2:19–22).
A. Of Baptism
We believe that Christian baptism is the single immersion of a believer in water to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our identification with the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, through Whom we died to sin and rose to a new life; and that it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership (Acts 8:36–39; John 3:23; Romans 6:3–5; Matthew 3:16; Colossians 2:12; Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 2:41).
B. Of the Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of His Death until He come, and should be preceded by solemn self–examination (1 Corinthians 11:17– 34; Acts 2:42).
Scripturally, the local church cannot decide who will or will not partake of the Lord’s Supper. However, words of caution should be given by him who officiates, similar to the following:
The Lord’s Supper is for the saved only.
Self–examination is to be made to determine if one is walking in a right relationship with their Lord Jesus Christ.
Participants should be convinced that their conscience is clear toward God and man before partaking.
C. Of Separation
We believe in obedience to the Biblical commands to separate ourselves unto God from worldliness and ecclesiastical apostasy (2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:9–10; 1 Timothy 6:3–5; Romans 16:17; 2 John 9–11).
Section 8 – Of Personal Holiness
We believe in the priesthood of all believers, that Christ is our Great High Priest and through Him every born–again person has direct access into God’s presence without the need of a human priest, and that the believer has the right and responsibility to personally study and interpret the Scriptures guided by the Holy Spirit.
Whereas, regeneration is a one–time event in the life of the believer, sanctification is a continuing process by which God progressively transforms him into the image of Christ. This process will be completed when believers join Christ in heaven, perfected in holiness (John 17:17; Acts 20:32; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 5:26; 1 John 3:2). In demonstration of progressing in sanctification, we believe that the saved should live in such a manner that they do not bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord, and that God has commanded the saved to separate from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations. Believers are thus to flee sinful desires, avoid every kind of evil, and refrain from questionable practices which would harm one’s testimony, cause another believer to stumble and otherwise fail to glorify God (1 Corinthians 6:19–20; 2 Timothy 3:1–5; 1 John 2:15–17; 2 John 8–11).
We believe Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes since it is better to suffer wrong than to harm the name of Christ. Disputes and disagreements should be submitted to the spiritual leaders of the church for resolution in accordance with the principles outlined in Matthew 18:15– 17 and any applicable policies of this church (1 Corinthians 6:1–8; Ephesians 4:31–32).
Section 9 – Marriage and Human Sexuality
We believe God has designed the marriage relationship to portray the profound mystery of Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:31–32) to: produce godly offspring (Genesis 1:28), provide helpful companionship (Genesis 2:18), and promote sexual purity and fulfillment (1 Corinthians 7:2–5). We believe that marriage is designed by God to join one man and one woman in a lifetime covenant of love (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:3–9; 1 Corinthians 7:10– 11).
We believe that God created humanity, male and female, to bear His image in the earth (Genesis 1:26). We believe that men and women are created as spiritual equals, yet designed in complimentary order to assume God–given roles in a home, the church, and society. The husband is to be the servant leader in the home and is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ (Genesis 1:26–27; 2:18–25; Matthew 19:4– 6; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:22–25).
We believe God forbids intimate sexual activity outside of the marriage of a man and a woman. We believe any form of child molestation, fornication, adultery, polygamy, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, bisexuality, trans-sexuality, incest, pedophilia, or pornography is a sinful perversion of God’s gift of sex. We believe that any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance reflects a heart that does not submit to God’s good and sovereign right to determine our sex and thus is disapproved of and forbidden by God (Genesis 1:27; 2:22–24; 19:5,13; Leviticus 18:1–30; Matthew 19:4–6; Romans 1:26–29; 7:2; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:9; Galatians 5:19–21; Ephesians 5:22–23; 1 Thessalonians 4:1– 8; Hebrews 13:4).
Section 10 – Of Civil Government
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment and for the interests and good order of human society. Leaders are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures (Romans 13:1–7; 2 Samuel 23:3; Exodus 18:21–22; Acts 23:5; Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:20; 4:19–20; Daniel 3:17–18).
Section 11 – Of Israel
We believe in the sovereign selection of Israel as God’s eternal covenant people; that she is now dispersed because of her disobedience and rejection of Christ, and that she will be regathered in the advent of Christ (Genesis 13:14–17; Romans 11:1–32; Ezekiel 37).
Section 12 – Doctrine of Things to Come
We believe in the pre–tribulation return of Christ. It is an event which can occur at any moment when at that moment the dead in Christ shall be raised in glorified bodies, the living in Christ shall be given glorified bodies without tasting death, and all shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the seven years of the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 1 Corinthians 15:42–44; 51–54; Philippians 3:20–21; Revelation 3:10).
We believe that the Tribulation, which follows the rapture of the church, will be culminated by the revelation of Christ in power and great glory to sit upon the throne of David and to establish the millennial kingdom (Daniel 9:25–27; Matthew 24:29–31; Luke 1:30–33; Isaiah 9:6–7; 11:1–9; Acts 2:29–30; Revelation 20:1–6).
Section 13 – Of The Righteous And The Wicked
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28–29, 11:25–26; Revelation 20:5, 6, 12, 13).
We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord (Luke 23:43; Revelation 20:4–6; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23, 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain after death, in conscious misery until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited they shall appear at the Great White Throne of Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment (Luke 16:19–26; Matthew 25:41–46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9; Jude 6, 7; Mark 9:43–48; Revelation 20:11–15).