University Park Baptist Church
Doctrinal Statement of Faith & Practice
We believe that the Bible is inspired by God, without error, and is the supreme authority when it comes to salvation and every facet of life.
We believe His eternal power and divine nature can be clearly seen through general revelation, which refers to everything God has made in creation (Rom. 1:20; Ps. 19:1-6). God has also revealed Himself to mankind through human conscience, which provides an innate awareness of God’s righteousness (Rom. 2:14-16). Finally, God’s general revelation to mankind is sufficient to make everyone accountable for rejecting Him (Rom. 1:20).
We also believe God has revealed more about His nature, His character and His plan for salvation through special revelation, which is restricted to the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16). In the Bible, God has revealed Himself through direct speech (Ex. 3:3-5), dreams and visions (Gen. 41:25), angelic messengers (Dan. 9:20-27), prophecy (2 Peter 1:21), and through Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:2-3).
We believe that God inspired human authors through the Holy Spirit to write the Scriptures and proclaim His message. In doing so, God guided the personalities and the various writing styles of the Biblical authors through His Spirit, thus superintending the process and prompting them to write the very words of God (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). The extent of God’s inspiration in the Bible is both verbal and plenary, extending to all the words of Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Tim. 3:16). Consequently, the original manuscript is inspired and inerrant, wholly true in everything, and final authority for living.
We believe that God speaks inwardly to believers through the Bible. Consequently, men and women are illuminated by the Holy Spirit, who helps us to understand the significance of Scripture and what God wants for our lives (1Cor. 2: 12-13). It is important that all attempts to interpret scripture begin with prayer and study, while remaining faithful to the Author’s intent. Various factors which determine the Author’s intent include the immediate and larger context, grammatical considerations, and historical and cultural considerations (Neh. 8:8)
Canon of Scripture
We believe that God’s special revelation consists of the 66 books found in the Bible. These books include 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books. The Old Testament books are self-attesting (1 Kings 2:3), confirmed by Jesus Christ (Luke 16:16), and other New Testament authors (2 Peter 3:16, 2 Tim. 3:16). Likewise, the New Testament books are self-attesting (1 Peter 3:16), and attest to one another (1 Tim. 5:18). The New Testament books also have apostolic authority (Gal. 6:11), doctrinal acceptance, and have received universal acceptance by the church.
We believe that Scripture is God’s revelation to man, which means it is the final authority when it comes to human affairs. Consequently, the Bible must take precedence over human reason, personal experience, and human tradition. The Bible must be used for evaluating and restoring understanding the exclusive nature of salvation (John14:6).
Theology Proper (The Person and Nature of God)
We believe in one Triune God, who is Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of all things. He does everything according to His exclusive council for His glory.
The Nature of God
We believe there is only one God (Deut. 6:4; Is. 44:6) and that He eternally exists in three distinct Persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4-6). Furthermore, all three are co-equal in nature and attributes (Ps. 90:2; Heb. 9:14; John 8:11). The persons of the Godhead execute distinct yet harmonious functions based on God’s decree (1Pet. 1:2). We believe in God’s immanence, (Acts 17:27-28) meaning He is personal and close, yet at the same time He is transcendent because His thoughts and ways are absolutely above that of His creation (1 Kings 8:27; Is. 55:8-9). God is also a spiritual being (John 4:24) and the sustainer of life (Heb. 1:3).
The Attributes of God
We believe the attributes of God may be understood as incommunicable (those attributes distinct from man) and communicable (those traits in common with man). Among His incommunicable attributes are self-existence (Deut. 33:27; Ps. 90:2), infinite power (Is. 40:10), infinite presence (Ps. 139:7-10), infinite knowledge (Is. 40:28), perfection (Deut. 32:4), immutability (James 1:17; Heb. 7:21), and His providential nature (1 Pet. 1:20). Among His communicable attributes are love (1 John 4:8), holiness (1 Pet. 1:16), faithfulness (2 Tim. 2:13), truth (Titus 1:2), compassion (James 5:11), justice (Rom. 3:25), mercy (Eph. 2:4-5), and wisdom (Rom. 11:33-34).
The Works of God
We believe that God created the heavens and the earth and everything contained within them, including mankind and creation (Gen. 1-2; Rom. 1:20). It is important to note that the universe and the world were created by God’s spoken word, not by any pre-existing materials, elements, or matter (Heb. 11:3). This means that there is an eternal plan for the universe and that God has determined by His divine decree everything that will come to pass (Is. 14:26-27; Acts 2:23). God’s will is also determinative over all events and decisions of humanity whether good or evil, yet does not compromise man’s individual responsibility (Gen. 50:20). Finally, God is also responsible for orchestrating salvation, which is available to all, through the person of Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6; 1 Pet. 1:20).
Christology (Jesus Christ)
We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. Although we believe Jesus Christ is fully divine, we also believe that upon His incarnation that He was fully human. We believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah and the only Savior of the world.
The Nature of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, and that He is co-equal with God the Father (John 10:30). Jesus Christ is also fully human, a reality that occurred during the incarnation when he appeared in human form (John 1:14). Consequently Jesus Christ is unique in that He has two natures, He is fully divine and fully human (Phil. 2:6). This mystery is best explained by understanding that Jesus added humanity to His divine nature.
The Humanity of Christ
We believe Jesus Christ was fully human for several reasons. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin, Mary (Matt 1:20), He had a human body (John 1:14), and growing up He increased in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:40). Jesus also experienced human realities such as hunger (Matt 4:2), fatigue (John 4:6), and ultimately death (John 19:24). Furthermore, Jesus also demonstrates personhood through essentials like intellect (John 8:6-7), volition (John 4:34), and emotion (John 11:34; Mark 3:5).
The Deity of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is God for several reasons. First, He existed before His incarnation (John 8:58), He referred to heaven as “His Kingdom” and to the angels as “His angels” (Luke 12:8-9), and He claimed to be one with the Father (John 10:30). In the Bible, Jesus can be understood as God in numerous passages. For example, He is specifically called God (John 20:28; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8), He refers to himself as the great I AM (John 8:58), He regards Himself as the Son of God (John 10:33-36), and He is ultimately identified as the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13). Furthermore, Jesus also demonstrated His deity through the receiving of worship (John 9:38) and the forgiving of sins (Luke 5:20-24).
The Work of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ created the world and that He sustains it by the might of His power (John 1:2; Col. 1:16). Jesus Christ also lived a sinless life (2 Cor. 5:21) and perfectly completed His Father’s will (John 17:4), which included His death on the cross (Phil. 5:8), and His perfect sacrifice for sins (Col. 2:13), and His physical bodily resurrection (1Cor. 15:1-14). Furthermore, Jesus is currently interceding for His followers, (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25), and He will return again in the future to receive His followers (1 Thess. 4:13-18), establish His kingdom (Rev. 20:4-15), and ultimately judge all men (Rev. 20:11-12).
Pneumatology (Holy Spirit)
We believe the Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity and is co-equal with the Father and the Son. We believe the Holy Spirit dwells in believers and is the one that convicts the world of sin.
The Person of the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity and is co-equal with God the Father and Jesus the Son (Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4). Moreover, the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son (John 15:26), and He possesses the qualities of personhood such as intelligence (1 Cor. 2:10-11), emotion (Eph. 4:30), and volition (Acts. 16:6).
The Deity of the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is God, based on apostolic testimony (Acts 5:3-4) and direct association (Matt 28: 18-19; 1 Cor. 12:4-7). The Holy Spirit also possesses incommunicable attributes such as infinite knowledge (1 Cor. 2:11-12; John 14:26), infinite presence (Ps. 139:7-10), infinite power (Luke 1:35-37), and an eternal nature and presence (Heb. 9:14).
The Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the world (Gen. 1-2), the inspiration of Scripture (2 Pet. 1:21), the regeneration of men (John 3:5-6) and the indwelling and the sanctifying of believers (2 Thess. 2:13). The Holy Spirit was also active in the Old Covenant, which included the impartation of creative abilities for craftsmen (Ex. 31:1-4) and the prophesying of men (Numbers 24:2). However, although the Holy Spirit was active under the Old Covenant, His ministry upon men was temporary and best understood as individual empowerment (1 Sam. 10:6-7). The Holy Spirit was very active in the ministry of Jesus Christ. He was responsible for the conception of Jesus Christ in a virgin womb (Luke 1:35), identified Himself with Christ during His baptism (Matt. 3:16), anointed Christ for ministry (Luke 4:18), and ultimately raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Rom. 8:11). We believe the Holy Spirit was given to believers at Pentecost (Acts 2:4) and is exclusively responsible for convicting the world of unrighteousness (John 16:7-8). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit indwells all believers and is responsible for the regeneration of men and women (Titus 3:5; John3:3-6). The Holy Spirit baptizes the believer one time, permanently, into the body of Christ at salvation (John 14:16-17; 1 Cor. 12:12-14), which is a seal and a pledge that guarantees eternity in Heaven (Eph. 1:13-14). Moreover, the Holy Spirit exclusively sanctifies believers so they can be conformed to the likeness of the person of Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2), and gives each believer spiritual gifts for the edification and building of the church (1 Cor. 12:4-11; 1 Pet. 4:10). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit intercedes on the believer’s behalf (Rom. 8:26-27) and also provides illumination, thus helping believers understand the significance of Scripture and the things of God (1Cor. 2:12-14).
We believe God created men and women in His own image to have relationship with Him and ultimately to glorify Him.
Origin of Man
We believe that on the sixth day of creation, God distinctly created man (Gen. 1:26-27). Moreover, God personally formed man from the dust and then breathed His Spirit of life into him (Gen. 2:7; James 2:6). God also made the woman form the man’s rib on the sixth day of creation so that he could have mutual companionship and a wife to help him along in life (Gen. 2:20-25). Ultimately, men and women were made to have relationship with God and each other (Gen. 3:8) and were made to praise and glorify Him (Is. 43:7).
Constitution of Man
We believe that humanity is composed of both material and immaterial aspects. The material aspect is the physical body, while the immaterial aspect can be best understood as the spirit (John 13:21) and soul (Matt. 10:28; 1 Thess. 5:23). Ultimately, both men and women were made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Although this image is not specifically defined, God has allowed humanity to share communicable attributes with Him, including rationality (Gen. 3:6), dominion over creation (Gen. 2:19-20), and the ability to develop relationships (Gen. 2:23-24).
Men and Women
We believe that since men and women were made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), they are foundationally equal. Ultimately, this equality includes their nature, their personhood, their spiritual standing before God as believers (Gal. 3:27-28), and their spiritual gifts, which are given by the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 12:4-7). However, God has created distinctions between the roles and functions of men and women within the home and church (Eph. 5:22-23; 1 Tim, 2:1-14), but this does not undermine the equal qualities within the nature and personhood of men and women.
We believe that because of sin, men and women do not have the ability to please God, which results in death and separation from God.
The Nature of Sin
We believe sin is the failure of mankind to conform to God’s perfect standards of righteousness (James 4:17; 1 John 3:4). Consequently, sin must be understood as missing the mark or any lack of conformity, whether passive or active, to the moral law of God (Rom. 3:23).
The Origin of Sin
We believe Adam and Eve, the first humans, were created sinless, which means they never possessed a sin nature and at one time enjoyed perfect fellowship with God (Gen. 1:26-30). But they chose to sin and rebel against God when they listened to Satan (Gen. 3:3-5), the very creature from which sin originated (1 John 3:8; Ezek. 28:13-16).
The Results of Sin
We believe man’s perfect relationship with God changed because of sin, resulting in physical death, while hindering his relationship with Him (Gen. 3:23-24). Consequently, mankind continues to experience God’s wrath (Gen. 3:8-10; Rom. 1:18-20), physical death (Rom. 6:23), and even spiritual death (1 Cor. 15:21-22), which makes it impossible to choose and adhere to God’s standard outside His divine grace (John 15:5; Rom. 3:10-12). Moreover, sin not only affects our relationship with God, but its effects are experienced in our strained relationship with each other (Gen. 3:16; Eph. 2:12-16), and within the whole created order (Rom. 8:21-22). We believe Adam was God’s representative for the entire human race, which meant his sin was the legal basis for condemning all of humanity thereafter. Consequently all mankind now has a sin nature that makes all men depraved in God’s eyes (Ps. 51:5) and unable to live forever, outside the grace of Christ (Rom. 5:12-21). We believe sin is best understood in three categories; imputed sin, inherent sin, and personal sin. Imputed sin speaks of our legal standing with Adam, meaning all men and women share in the penalty for Adam’s sin, death and separation from God (Rom. 5:12). Inherent sin refers to the sinful nature that has been passed on from Adam to all mankind. This sin nature enslaves the unbeliever (Titus 3:3) and wages spiritual war with the believer (Rom. 7:23; Gal 5:17). Lastly, personal sins are conscious personal acts of sin such as the defilement of the body (1 Cor. 6:15), decision not to love (1 John 3:15), rejection of authority (Rom. 13:1), and many more.
We believe salvation is exclusively God’s work, which is the result of His grace freely bestowed on men and women. Salvation is received through personal faith in the work of Christ alone, ultimately guaranteeing eternal life with God.
We believe that God grants salvation to men and women on the basis of substitutionary atonement, which was achieved through Christ’s death on the cross for all of humanity (1 John 2:2; 2 Cor. 5:20-21). Men and women receive this salvation exclusively through faith (John 3:16, 36). However, this faith should produce good works (Eph. 2:10). Believers in Christ have been blessed with every spiritual blessing which includes blamelessness, forgiveness of sins, redemption, adoption, and being sealed for eternity by God’s Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:3-14).
We believe that the process of regeneration is of God by which He transforms men and women through His Spirit so that they can seek and respond to Him (Titus 3:5). Furthermore, when God regenerates a man, it is not based on the merit or anticipated response of an individual, but rather on the sovereign and gracious will of God (Eph. 2:4-9; 1 Tim. 1:16). Ultimately, because men and women are unable to respond to God on their own initiative, we believe that God regenerates those who will be saved. In the end, those who are not regenerated will experience the penalty of spiritual death, which is permanent separation from God (2 Thess. 1:8-9).
We believe conversion is God’s divine work of salvation (John 1:12-13). The two primary aspects of conversion involve faith and repentance. Saving faith involves recognizing that one is completely saved exclusively through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Eph. 2:8-9). Throughout life, believers must learn to deepen their faith as they continue to live a life for Christ (2 Cor. 5:7; Luke 17:5). In contrast, repentance involves the believer turning away from past sin (Acts 2:38) and living a life where they refuse to go back to old sinful habits, but choose instead to live their lives by God’s divine standards (Gal. 5:24-25).
We believe once God gives a person the ability to place their faith in Christ, he or she is on the basis of Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross (John 1:29; Rom. 3:22-26). At this time the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the individual (Rom. 5:18-19), which results in God declaring the sinner righteous (Rom. 4:1-5). At this point He or she no longer will experience condemnation from God, nor will they ever be separated from God (Rom. 8:1-3; Rom. 8:37-39). We believe those who are saved are being progressively sanctified by the working of the Holy Spirit, meaning they are becoming more like Christ in their lives (1 Pet. 1:2). Because salvation is God’s work, it is permanent and secure (John 6:37; Eph. 1:13-14), and will remain until glorification occurs. At this time, Christ will appear and we will experience His glory in Heaven forever (Heb. 9:27-29).
Ecclesiology (The Church)
We believe in the universal and local church (of which Jesus Christ is the head) which meets to worship, edify, teach, and to make disciples for Jesus Christ.
The Origin of the Church
We believe the church was foretold by Jesus Christ, and that it will exist into eternity (1 Thess. 4:13-18), despite human and satanic opposition (Matt. 16:18-19). The Christian church began at Pentecost (Acts 2) and consists of those who have been saved by faith throughout the church age (Rom. 11:23-27).
The Universal Church
We believe the universal church consists of all people that have placed their faith in Christ, (Rom 4:23024) and have been baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:4-5). Moreover, Jesus Christ is the head of the Church (Eph. 1:22) and He rules over it with supreme authority (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18), ultimately causing it to grow (Acts 2:47).
The Local Church
We believe the local church is the visible representation of the universal church. It is best understood as a group of believers, but may also include some unbelievers within the local context (1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:10). Scripture also teaches the unity of the church, which is an appeal for all believers to be of one accord and of one mind (Phil. 2:2; John 17:20-23). Moreover, it is important that all believers are joined to a local body for mutual teaching, worship, encouragement, edification, and accountability (Heb. 10:24-25). Ultimately, the main purpose of the church is to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-19), which is accomplished through instruction from the Scriptures (Eph. 4:11; Col. 1:28-29) corporate worship (John 4:23-24; Rom. 15:5-6), through mutual encouragement, (Col. 3:16-17), and by training believers for the purpose of sharing their faith (Acts 1:8).
We believe that God has ordained two offices for the church; elders and deacons. Moreover, elders are synonymous with overseers and bishops (Acts 20:17; 28; Titus 1:5-9) and must be selected according to biblical qualifications (1 Tim. 3:8-13). These men are to shepherd the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2), exercise oversight (1 Pet. 5:2), teach and correct (Titus 1:9), pray for the sick (James 5:14), and equip believers for ministry (Eph. 4:11-13). On the other hand, deacons function as servants of the body, whose tasks involve tending to the physical needs among believers (Acts 6:1-6). Like the elders, the deacons must be chosen according to Biblical qualifications (1 Tim. 3:8-16).
We believe two ordinances are to be administered in the church; baptism (Matt. 28:19) and the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-25). Baptism is by immersion and functions as a confession of faith for a new believer (Acts 2:37-41, 8:35-38) and is a public identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:5). Baptism is an outward sign of a inward spiritual chance, symbolic of someone who has died to his or her former sinful ways and has been raised to a new way of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:3-6). The Lord’s Supper is the second ordinance and was implemented by Jesus, which functions as a symbolic reminder of the redemptive work of Christ (1 Cor. 11:24-25). It is observed in remembrance of His death, and in anticipation of His coming back for his Church (1 Cor. 11:26).
Eschatology (Last Things)
We believe that men and women consist both of physical and spiritual elements. Consequently, physical death is separation of the physical and spiritual (James 2:26; Matt. 10:28). Moreover, upon physical death, the righteous soul enters immediately into the presence of the Lord (Luke 23:41-42; Phil. 1:23-24), while the unrighteous soul enters Hades, a place of torment (Luke 16:19-31; 2 Pet. 2:9). Furthermore, this intermediate state is a conscious existence for all those who will die, while they away their bodily resurrection (Luke 16:19-31). In the end, the righteous will have imperishable glorified bodies (Rom. 8:10-11; 1 Cor. 15:42-44), while the unrighteous will suffer eternal corruption and torment (Dan. 12:2; Rev. 20:15). We also believe the righteous will also be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where they will receive the rewards according to their works done while on earth (1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-10), while the resurrected unrighteous will be judged at the Great White Throne and then be cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment and separation from God (1 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:11-15). We further believe that Jesus Christ will return and rapture His saints to Himself in the air (John 14:3; 2 Thess. 2:1). Moreover, all believers who have died prior to the rapture will be resurrected, and those believers who presently alive, will be caught up together with Christ instantly with transformed and glorious new bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-53; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). Ultimately, no one knows the hour or day of Christ’s return (Matt. 24:32; 1 Thess. 5:1-6). After these events, God will replace the old created order with a new one, (2 Peter 3:10) and establish a new Heaven and a new earth, and the righteous will live in the glorious presence of God forever (2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1-22:5).