Back in 2003-4 time frame, I penned a statement of faith that was based upon the statement of faith of the first true New Testament church I was in. What I did was essentially corrected and amended their statement as there were (and to this day still are) typographical errors, citation errors, and statements which were either nonsense, or were arcane enough so the average person could not actually understand what was expressed. Primarily, I did this to more fully express what I believed, and to solidify in my own mind how best to do that. Nothing accomplishes those purposes quite like writing.
In 2009, Ebenezer Baptist mission undertook the task of writing its statement of faith, which resulted in some changes to my statement, as I am under the authority of the mission. Most of the changes were not significant or substantial, but clarifying of held doctrines. A couple of articles were split for clarification, and one new was added (Of Liberty of the Conscience). With those basic changes the statement of faith was pretty much complete.
However, that was four years ago, and much teaching has gone on since then. There is a far better understanding of certain doctrines, and for the first time, an valid, defined, testable understanding of iniquity, transgression and sin. There is also a far better understanding of how man is made in the image of God. These things and others warranted looking again at the statement of faith to see what needed to be changed and/or clarified. This time, there are significant changes.
Do these changes alter the doctrine? Actually, no, they do not. What they do is clarify the foundations of the belief and add significant information to the doctrine, which strengthens the doctrine. Additionally, gaps and ambiguities are removed so there is no misunderstanding as to what is believed. To illustrate what I mean, article six (VI) is set forth below. First is the statement from 2009, and below it is the newly agreed to statement.
VI. Of The Creation (5/31/09)
I believe in the Genesis account of creation, and that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; that man was created directly in God’s own image and after his own likeness. I hold that all of creation was not, and is not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God’s established law was and is, that they should bring forth only “after their kind.” Moreover, that the earth is approximately 6000 years old, and that the creation of the entire physical universe occurred in six, twenty-four hour days, and that on the seventh day the LORD rested.
Some things to note in the original statement from 2009 are a lack of specificity as to where everything came from, and whether the twin errors of the Gap theory and day/age theory are allowed. Moreover, only the minimum is mentioned about the creation of man. Since the majority of the rest of the statement of faith deals with man and the LORD’s provision of salvation in Christ, it is rather odd that so little is mentioned about man and how he was created, and why he is accountable.
You are free to judge, but I believe that is fixed with the following statement:
VI. Of The Creation (9/25/13)
I believe in the Genesis account of the creation of the physical universe; that it is to be accepted as factually and literally true: That all things which are, were created ex nihlo, or out of nothing, by the infinite knowledge and power of the LORD God. I reject any assertion that the account is allegorical or figurative as pertaining to the events of creation and their sequence. I reject as spurious both the “Gap” theory and “Day/Age” theory of the creation account. I hold that all of creation was not, and is not, a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms. I believe, as Scripture plainly expresses, that all animal and plant life was made directly, and God’s established law was, and is, that they should bring forth only “after their kind.” I believe that all of creation was formed fully functional, or “in-process,” as if it had always existed; that all life was created in a mature state. I hold, in accordance with the Biblical timeline, that the earth is approximately 6000 years old; that the creation of the entire physical universe occurred in six, twenty-four hour days, and that on the seventh day the LORD rested.
I hold as true, that man was created directly by the LORD God, and in the similitude of God. That this likeness is found in five distinct aspects: That man is a tri-unity of parts: soul, spirit, and body; That man has the innate ability to judge; That man has free-will within the parameters of his given existence; That man is creative, being able to bring forth out of that which exists; That man has the moral imperatives of mercy, compassion, forgiveness, grace, and love. Accordingly, man is the pinnacle of the LORD’s creation. I believe that the LORD God, having bestowed upon man such attributes, holds every individual accountable for the conduct of his existence.
It is my prayer that the updated articles in the statement of faith are a benefit and a blessing as they are intended to clarify and answer why certain things are as they are. Additionally, there are three (3) new articles which are identified as necessary:
Two have already been added, and the third will be shortly. These articles are necessary as these subjects are prone to error and very little is taught and/or understood about them.
May you be blessed,
Paul W. Davis