ARTICLE 1: NAME
The name of this organization and non-profit corporation shall be the TEMPLE BAPTIST CHURCH OF FIRCREST, WASHINGTON, USA
ARTICLE 2: PURPOSE
The purpose of this church shall be to glorify God by the preaching and teaching of His Word, the edification and fellowship of true believers, the administering of ordinances as prescribed in scripture, and the promotion of world-wide evangelism and missionary endeavor.
ARTICLE 3: ARTICLES OF FAITH
What we believe about the Bible
· God the Spirit worked through individual authors, using their own distinctive personalities, to produce the Bible. When we say that the Bible is inspired by God, we mean that every word of the Bible – all 66 books – is exactly what God intended to be written. As originally written, the Bible contained no errors, even when it touched on scientific or historical matters. The differences that exist between translations today do not affect any of the Bible’s teachings. God has supernaturally guided the transmission of the text of Scripture down through the centuries so that we can say with total confidence that we possess the written Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21)
· God is not giving us new Scriptures today. All we need to live our lives is contained in the books of the Old and New Testaments. (Revelation 22:18)
· The Bible will remain forever and will serve as the basis to judge those who have not lived in obedience to it. (John 5:45; 12:48)
· The Bible is the sole authority for what the church should do and for how we Christians should live our lives, raise our families, and conduct ourselves among non-Christians. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
What we believe about God
· God exists; he always has and always will. No other God exists but the God of the Bible. (Isaiah 44:6; 45:6, 7; 57:15)
· God is one spirit being, yet he exists in three distinct persons, each of them fully God: Father, Son, and Spirit. (John 4:24; John 1:1; Acts 5:3,4)
· God is working all things out for his own glory. This includes the good things that happen as well as the bad things. (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:3-14)
· God is controlling all things to his predetermined end. That he does this while holding human beings accountable for the decisions they make is a mystery beyond our ability to understand. (Daniel 4:34, 35; Acts 2:23)
· God is holy, completely without sin of any kind. He demands nothing less than perfection from his moral creatures. His righteous anger is justly poured out on all who do not conform to his commands. At the same time, God is full of compassion on sinful people and he abounds in love, grace and kindness upon those who do not deserve it. God is never capricious in what he does, never acts with partiality or prejudice towards people, but always acts according to what is true and right. (1 Peter 1:16; Romans 1:18-31; James 1:13, 14; 1 John 4:7, 8; Psalm 136; Romans 2:11; Revelation 15:3)
· God knows everything, including everything that will happen before it happens. He is all-powerful, and he is present everywhere at the same time in the fullness of his being. (Isaiah 44:7, 8; Genesis 17:1; Psalm 139:1-12)
What we believe about the Father
· When the Bible speaks about all things in heaven and earth glorifying God, it does so primarily in relation to God the Father. The Father's glory results from the working out of his predetermined plan for everything that happens. (Ephesians 1:3-14; Philippians 2:9-11)
· Because the Father loved sinners so much, he sent both his Son and the Spirit to save mankind. (John 3:16; 14:16, 17)
· When we speak of Christians being “God’s children,” this is no figure of speech. The life we live originates in God’s own life. Not only do we share his life, but we also enter into a relationship in which we experience his continual care for us. (John 1:12, 13; 3:3; Romans 8:14-17)
· The Father's care for us as his children includes his disciplining us. While this can be at times hard for us, we are thankful for it because it confirms that we really are his children. (Proverbs 3:11, 12; Hebrews 12:4-11)
What we believe about Jesus Christ
· The eternal Son of God voluntarily became a human being when he was conceived in the womb of his mother, Mary, a virgin. Since God was his father, he had no need of a human father. His miraculous birth was just the beginning of a life full of miracles that he performed. While he experienced the natural limitations of being human (needing to eat, to sleep, and having to learn things as a child, etc.), Jesus still possessed all the characteristics essential to being God. Jesus is fully God and he is fully man. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-25; John 20:30, 31; Philippians 2:5-7; Luke 2:52; John 1;1; Isaiah 9:6)
· The Lord Jesus lived a sinless life. Because he was God, it was impossible for him to sin. He lived sinlessly both as an example for others to follow, and also to be qualified to give his life in the place of sinful people. (Hebrews 4:14, 15; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:21-25)
· Jesus Christ died and was raised up from the grave by the miraculous power of God. (Matthew 28:6; Acts 2:24; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:20)
· Jesus ascended into heaven, where he is seated at the right hand of God, a place of divine right and authority. Our Savior is praying for all those who believe in him. He will come back to earth someday soon to establish an earthly kingdom. (Acts 1:6-11; 3:19-21; Hebrews 1:3, 13; 7:25)
What we believe about the Holy Spirit
· The Spirit is God. (Acts 5:1-5; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17)
· After Jesus went up into heaven, he sent the Spirit to play a major role in bringing the church into existence. The Spirit’s empowerment and guidance make it possible for the church to fulfill the Great Commission that Christ commanded us to carry out. (John 14:16; Acts 1:8; 4:31; Ephesians 5:18)
· The Spirit’s main purpose is to exalt and honor Jesus. One of the ways the Spirit accomplishes that purpose is to work in the lives of unsaved people to bring them to Christ as their Savior from sin and eternal judgment. (John 16:7-15)
· When the Spirit saves someone, that person receives a new, sinless nature. The Spirit himself in some mysterious way comes to live within each saved person. The Spirit’s presence in us now is God’s way of saying that our salvation is secure. (John 3:3; Titus 3:5; Romans 8:9-11; 2 Timothy 1:14; Ephesians 1:13, 14)
· The Spirit also gives each saved person a special ability for working in the church. The purpose of these spiritual gifts is to build up the body of Christ. (Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:11-16)
· Baptism in the Spirit is a one-time divine act that places the believer into the body of Christ. Every believer experiences this baptism of the Spirit when they are saved. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
· The Spirit helps each Christian to become more like the Lord Jesus and thus live in a way that is pleasing to God. As we live in obedience to God, the Spirit fills and empowers believers in Christ to live godly lives. (2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:16, 25; Ephesians 5:18)
What we believe about sinful people and their salvation
· Life on earth, including human beings, did not evolve. Adam and Eve were humanity’s first parents, created by God just as the Bible says they were. Their creation, along with everything else, happened recently, not millions or billions of years ago. (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11)
· People are born sinners, having received the sinful nature from their parents. Both sin and death were passed down from Adam and Eve, who were the first to sin. People do not die because they are human beings; they die because they are sinful human beings. When the bodies of Christians are raised from the dead, they will never die because they will no longer have their sinful natures. (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12-21; John 11:25, 26; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58)
· Because the entire human race has been corrupted by sin, every human being stands condemned by a holy God. Because of the awful nature of sin, unsaved people will spend forever in the conscious torment of hell (Hades). (Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-20, 23; Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:47-49; Luke 16:23)
· Because sinful people are helpless to save themselves, God took pity upon them, loved them, and sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to die in their place, be raised from the dead, and be exalted in heaven. This is the heart of the good news of the Gospel. (John 3:16-18; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; Romans 1:16, 17)
· People who live and die without ever hearing the good news of the Gospel will not be spared God’s wrath and the punishment of hell. There is only one way for anyone to be saved, by accepting the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:18-32; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5)
· As the Gospel is preached to sinners, God opens the hearts of the elect to hear and respond to the Gospel message. They respond freely and gladly, believing in Christ as their personal Savior from sin. (John 6:37, 39, 44, 65; Acts 13:48; Romans 9:11-24; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; Ephesians 1:4' 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Peter 1:1, 2)
· It is only by God’s grace that anyone is saved, because salvation cannot be earned. Sinful people are saved when they hear and believe the good news that Jesus died and was resurrected for them. When God saves a sinner, that person is declared to be righteous by God, all sins are forgiven, a new nature is given through the new birth and the Spirit takes up his residence within them. (Ephesians 2:8, 9; 1 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; Romans 3:21-25; 4:1-8; Ephesians 1:7; Acts 2:38; John 3:3-6; 1 Peter 1:23; Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19)
· While someone can say, “I am saved,” the only way for that person or anyone else to know for sure is from the many changes that take place after a person is saved. So while good works are not necessary for salvation, they are necessary as a proof of salvation. (Ephesians 2;8-10; James 2:14-26; Matthew 7:15-23)
· Before they are saved, it is natural for unsaved people to live for themselves, according to the thinking and values of the day. After they are saved, God becomes their first love, and it is natural for them to want to obey God. (John 14:15; Romans 6:1-23; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:17-24; 1 John 4:19)
· Once a person is saved, that person will always be saved. (John 10:27-10; Romans 8:31-38)
What we believe about Marriage, Gender and Sexuality
· God created human beings as male and female (Genesis 1:27). The complementary, relational nature of the human race as “male and female” reflects the created order given by God when He created human beings “in His image” (Genesis 1:26-27; 5:1, 3; 9:6,1; 1 Corinthians 11:7; James 3:9; cf. Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3;18; Colossians 3:10). It is with joy in our finitude that we are to receive the gift of being either male or female at birth, and any transgender behavior or action is a violation of God’s will for our lives.
· Scripture grants two life-enhancing options for sexual behavior: monogamous marital relations between one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18, 21-24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:5-8; cf. Hebrews 13:4) or sexual celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:7; Matthew 19:12). Either is a gift from God, given as He wills for His glory and the good of those who receive and rejoice in His gift to them.
· In Scripture monogamous heterosexual marriage bears a significance which goes beyond the regulation of sexual behavior, the bearing and raising of children, the formation of families, and the recognition of certain economic and legal rights, all of which are important. Marriage between a woman and a man is emphatically declared in Scripture to create a “one flesh” union (Genesis 2:23-24; Matthew 19:5), which in turn signifies the mystery of the union between Christ and His body, the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). This means that the foundational understanding of marriage is as a covenant grounded in promises between a man and a woman which finds its divinely intended expression in the “one flesh” union of husband and wife, and between the “one flesh” union of husband and wife and God (cf. Proverbs 2:16-17; Malachi 2:14; Ephesians 5:31-32).
· All of human existence, including our sexuality, has been deeply damaged by the fall into sin (Genesis 3; Romans 3:23; 5:12). We all are sinners, broken in some measure by this fall. Though Christians are rescued, reconciled, renewed and in process of being transformed, this brokenness also affects us in that we groan, as the whole creation, eager to experience final redemption knowing at present we live in a not-yet-glorified state (Romans 8:22-23).
· Temptation, including sexual attractions, is not sin. Sin is yielding to temptation. Jesus himself was tempted, yet without sin (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15).
· All homosexual behavior is specifically condemned as sin in both the Old Testament and the New Testament (Genesis 19:4-11[cf. 2 Peter 2:6-7; Jude 7]; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Judges 19:22-25; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-11). This includes both male and female homosexual activity, both the more passive and more active roles in homosexual practice, and all varieties of homosexual acts.
· God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The indwelling Holy Spirit empowers believers in the struggle to resist sin, including the sin of homosexual practice (Romans 1:16; Ephesians 4:20-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Titus 2:11-13).
What we believe about living holy lives in this world
· Because salvation is demonstrated by a changed life, Christians will live a life that will stand in sharp contrast to the way that unsaved people live their lives. We will, as a general characteristic of our lives, not live in immorality or act in ways contrary to the commands of the Bible. (Romans 6:1-23; 1 John)
· Becoming more like Jesus Christ is our goal, but it is a process that will continue to the day we die. We will never be without sin this side of heaven. We grow as Christians by reading the Bible, by praying, by persevering through difficult experiences and by contributing to the lives of other Christians in meaningful ways. (Philippians 3:10-14; 2 Peter 3:18; James 1:2-4; Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 2:6; Titus 2:12, 13)
· Christians live in the world but will not be like the world. We will not compromise our beliefs or our values while fulfilling our duties to our employers or to those in government who rule over us. Loyalty to God comes before loyalty to anyone else. (John 17:14-16; Acts 4;17-20; 5:27-29; Romans 13:1-7)
· In matters that are not specifically spelled out in the Bible, Christians are to follow their conscience. When consciences differ among believers, we are to permit each other the freedom to do what we feel God would have us do. (Romans 14:1-15:7)
What we believe about the church
· Since the church is intimately connected with the Father, Son and Spirit, everything that believers do as a church must be done with the purpose of exalting and praising God. (Acts 2:43-47; Ephesians 1:18-23; Colossians 3:17)
· The church, which is called Christ’s body, began after Jesus ascended into heaven. From there he fulfilled Old Testament prophecy by sending the Spirit to take up permanent residence in the hearts of Christians. (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 2:19-22; Acts 1:8; 2:14-36)
· In a sense the church is one, made up of all believers in Christ. In another sense, the church is a local gathering of people who profess to believe in Christ, and who gather together to do what Christ has commanded them to do. This includes evangelizing the lost, immersing them in water as a statement of our faith in Christ, observing the Lord’s Supper, worshiping their Lord, instructing each other in the truths of the bible, building relationships with one another, and serving one another with the abilities that the Spirit has given to us. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:43-47; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-13; Ephesians 4:11-16
· The Spirit has given the members of a congregation abilities that make it possible for them to build up one another in their Christian lives. Miraculous abilities mentioned in the New Testament were temporarily given for the purpose of putting God’s stamp of approval on the radical new message preached by the apostles concerning Christ. These included the ability to raise the dead, cure any illness, speak in, and interpret foreign languages that the speaker does not know, etc. Permanent abilities given to the church are teaching, helping, leading, comforting, etc. (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:1-16; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Timothy 4:20)
· Jesus commanded the church to observe two specific ordinances, both of which are meant to illustrate the Christian’s identity with Jesus: the Lord’s Supper and baptism. The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Jesus’ suffering and death for us. Baptism, which is by immersion, aptly pictures a believer’s union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. Baptism is not for infants, nor does it have any virtue to save. Rather, it is a public confession of a person who has believed in Christ as Savior. Baptism is a prerequisite for church membership. (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 11:23-24; Acts 2:46)
· Two offices, pastor and deacon, have been given to the church for its oversight. These officers seek to lead the congregation in doing all that Christ has commanded the church to do. Pastors provide spiritual leadership while deacons follow their lead, both working together to build up the church. At the same time that the congregation follows the pastoral leadership, it has the final say on many things that affect the church as a whole (see constitution of Temple Baptist Church). (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 1:1-5)
· It is good for churches that think alike to work together in order to encourage one another and to evangelize unsaved people. Since the church governs itself, each church is free to decide if, and to what extent, it will cooperate with other churches in joint efforts. (2 Corinthians 8:1-12; 9:1-5; 2:5-7)
· The church is not the state and the state is not the church. God has created and authorized human government for the purpose of enforcing laws and administering justice. Because Christians are citizens of the state, they are to be in submission to its laws, respectful of those in authority and engaged in regular prayer for them. The Christian’s loyalty, however, is ultimately to God, not the state. Therefore, Christians must obey God rather than the state if at any time the laws of the state should violate the laws of God. (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2; Acts 4:17-20; 5:27-20)
· Following the pattern set by the church from its inception, we set aside Sunday for corporate worship. While the church may gather together any day of the week, Sunday is special in that it commemorates the day when Jesus rose from the grave. (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2)
What we believe about future prophetic events
· When Christians die they enter into heaven to be with Jesus. Our bodies will be raised when Jesus Christ comes back from heaven to the earth to gather up all Christians. When unsaved people die they enter into hell (Hades), a place of conscious, everlasting punishment. Their bodies will also be raised at a later time when they will stand before God in the final Day of Judgment. (Philippians 1:21-23; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Luke 16:19-30; John 5:28, 29; Revelation 20:11-15)
· The Lord Jesus will gather to himself all believers that make up the church. This is called the rapture of the church. Following the church’s rapture, a seven-year period of great tribulation will fall upon the earth. During this time the prophesied Antichrist will deceive people and persecute the saved. Following the great tribulation, Jesus will descend from heaven to the earth to destroy the Antichrist, rescue the saved and bring in an earthly kingdom. This kingdom will fulfill the Old Testament prophecies that Israel as a nation will be saved and the Messiah (Jesus Christ) will rule from Jerusalem over the entire world. This kingdom will last 1,000 years. (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:3-44; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 4:1-20:6)
· Following the 1,000-year kingdom on earth there will be a final judgment for the unsaved. Their bodies will be raised from the graves; they will come out of hell (hades) and will stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment./ they will be condemned for their sins and will be cast into the Lake of Fire, which is also and eternal place of punishment. (Revelation 20:7-15)
· After the final judgment of unsaved people, God will create a new heaven and a new earth. It will be impossible for sin to ruin this new creation. The saved will enjoy the presence of God and bask in his glory forevermore. (Revelation 21:1-22:5)
Article 4: CHURCH COVENANT
We the congregation of Temple Baptist Church in Fircrest, Washington, are committed to the essential calling and tasks of a local church as set forth in God’s Word. Our commitment is firm and sure, unchanged by the passing of time, and not swayed by the tide of human opinion.
This building has been erected to the Glory of God. Everything that occurs within these walls is to be done for His greater glory.
We declare this to be our essential goal as an assembly of Christians.
The proclamation of our message will continue to rest on the infallible Bible. We openly declare our complete trust in its truths, our confidence in its commands, and our hope in its promises. Without reservation we embrace the Scriptures as our inerrant guide in faith and practice.
We commit ourselves to the inspired Word of God.
Since our inception, the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ has been preeminent. We shall continue to acknowledge Him as the Lord of the Church, deserving of our unreserved devotion, obedience, and praise, recognizing that our redemption is through His shed blood.
We commit ourselves to the exaltation of the Person of Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church.
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall meet regularly in these facilities for worship, instruction, fellowship, and edification. Our desire is to maintain these objectives as priorities so that through our various activities believers will be equipped to live authentic, pure lives, both within and outside these walls, and unbelievers will be made aware of our Christian witness and of the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are desirous of doing all we can to personally evangelize the lost in our families, neighborhoods, and country and of reaching the whole world through the missions program of our church.
We commit ourselves to the equipping of the saved and the evangelizing of the lost, both here and around the world.
This place will continue to be dedicated to helping the hurting; encouraging the discouraged; assisting the anguished; and ministering to the sick, the aged, the dying, the forgotten, the abused, and the grieving. We shall neither lose our compassion nor conduct ourselves in pride as we unselfishly open our doors to those who turn to us for strength and counsel. We shall guard ourselves against complacency. We understand that we are to be more willing to give than to receive, to accept rather than to reject, to love and nurture the needy rather than to judge them and show preferential treatment to others.
We commit ourselves to an unselfish, compassionate ministry, realizing that we, too, need others to assist us when we hurt.
Because we are serving Christ in a day of eroding values, we publicly declare our commitment to this nation we love; to the sanctity of human life; to the support of marriage and marital fidelity; to the home and family unit; and to the distinct biblical roles of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and children. With equal vigor we commit ourselves to ministering to adults of all ages, to single persons, to single parents, to collegians, to the youth and to the children. It is our strong conviction that this local body be a place that holds high the dignity of each individual as we hold forth the unchanging principles of scriptural truths.
We commit ourselves to these essential ministries in an eroding society.
In order to counteract the prevailing moral decline of society, we have determined to live according to the high standards of purity demanded of us in God’s Word. We acknowledge that our bodies belong to God; therefore, we will abstain from those things that harm them [such as tobacco] or those things that are addictive [such as alcohol] and will maintain high moral standards to keep ourselves pure in the sight of God. We recognize the primary importance of the family; so we purpose to maintain family and private devotions, to train our children according to God’s Word, and to seek the salvation of family members. We commit ourselves to avoiding gossip, backbiting, and unrighteous anger. We purpose to not participate in secret societies, unjust business dealing, unlawful activity of any kind, and any other activity that would harm the cause of Christ.
We commit ourselves to the high and holy standards of personal living as given in the Word of God.
As we carry out these commitments, we confess our own humanity. Being imperfect creatures with depraved natures, we realize that our dependence on our God must be total, not partial. We, therefore, commit ourselves to keeping the unity in this congregation, to the discipline of prevailing prayer, and to the filling of the Holy Spirit. We are committed to the financial support of this ministry and to a spirit of humility, transparency, and grace as our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated during His earthly life.
We commit ourselves to a life of dependence on God as we carry out His will in and through us.
These commitments we make for the glory and praise of our God, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
ARTICLE 5: CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Acts 2:46-47 (NKJV)
I. What can I expect from my church?
A. Doctrinal preaching and teaching based on the Bible. II Tim.3:16, 17.
B. Fellow believers who will love, encourage and reprove me as part of the body of Christ. Hebrews 10:24, 25.
C. Concerned, spiritual leadership who will set an example of Christ-like living. Philippians 3:17.
D. Training for effective ministry in family, community and church.
II Timothy 2:2, 15.
E. A Christ-honoring facility in which to worship God.
II. What can my church expect from me?
A. A Christ-like example in the community as a representative of Temple Baptist Church and the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:14‑16.
B. Cooperation with other believers and the total church program, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit. Ephesians 4:l‑3.
C. Active service within the church as an important part of the body of Christ. I Corinthians 12:14‑20.
D. Faithful financial support according to the Spirit's leading.
II Corinthians 9:7.
E. Prayer support for each part of the church ministry and its workers. I Timothy 2:1‑3.
Article 6: Baptist distinctives
These truths are held by Baptists and set them off from other churches. Many other groups hold to some or all of the same beliefs.
We believe the Bible is the only and the sufficient authority for what to believe and what to practice. II Timothy 3:16,17
Autonomy of Local Church
We believe that each local church is sovereign in itself and cannot be controlled by any board, hierarchal system, or another church.
I Timothy 3
Priesthood of Believers
We believe that every "born-again" believer may pray without a human intercessor directly to God through Jesus Christ the High Priest. Revelation 1:5,6
We believe the two ordinances for the local church are Believer's Baptism and the Lord's Table. Acts 2:41,42
Individual Soul Liberty
We believe every believer has the right to interpret the Scriptures, to hold and to profess and to worship as they believe the Bible teaches. However, it is also recognized that all must give account to Jesus Christ who is Lord of the conscience and Sovereign of the soul. I John 2:27
Saved Church Membership
We believe that the membership of a New Testament local church consists of only those who have openly confessed Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Acts 2:41,47
We believe the two Biblical offices are Pastor and Deacon. These two offices are the only Bible recognized ones in the local church. Both are chosen by the congregation. Philippians 1:1
Separation of Church and State
We believe this means that every Believer should respect, sustain, and obey civil authority so long as it does not cause violation to conscience or Scriptural convictions. There should be no organic union of church and state; but the state should protect, not dominate nor interfere with the affairs of the church. Matthew 22:21
ARTICLE 7: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: ADMISSION OF MEMBERS
The membership of the church shall consist of born-again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as described in the Articles of Faith. Any person, giving evidence of true salvation, and subscribing to the covenant, Articles of Faith, and this constitution may become a member of this church by:
A. BAPTISM BY IMMERSION
B. LETTER OF TRANSFER. By letter from another church of like faith and practice.
C. STATEMENT OF FAITH. Anyone who gives satisfactory evidence to the Deacons of faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior and of immersion, according to New Testament teaching.
Candidates for admission to the church by baptism, letter of transfer, or statement of faith shall relate their Christian experience to the Deacons. Having satisfied themselves that the candidates are eligible for membership, the Deacons shall recommend them to the membership at any scheduled or specially called business meeting of the Church. The candidates shall then be received into membership upon favorable majority action of the Church and given the right hand of fellowship.
Section 2: CLASSIFICATION
A. ACTIVE MEMBERS. Members are expected first of all to be faithful in all the duties essential to the Christian life; also to attend faithfully the services of this Church, give regularly for its support and its causes, and to share in itsorganized work.
B. ASSOCIATE MEMBERS. Students or military personnel who are temporarily resident in this area and who desire active relationship with this church under its watch-care while retaining membership in the church of their permanent residence. These members must meet all of the qualifications for membership in this church but they have no vote in business meetings.
C. INACTIVE MEMBERS. All members who do not manifest interest in the Church by attendance or correspondence for six months or more, may be placed on the Inactive Membership Roll by recommendation to, and action of, the Deacons. (This does not include our missionaries, shut-ins, college students, etc.) For this determination, a review of the “active” membership rolls will be made midway between and at annual church business meeting dates. Names for consideration of this status shall be provided to the Deacons by the Church Clerk. Prior to formal action, the Deacons shall attempt to contact the individual in person, and contact by letter shall also be made notifying the individual of the potential action. Those individuals on the Inactive Membership Roll shall not be counted as active members and shall not assume any leadership function in the church.
Section 3: DISMISSAL
Active membership in this church may cease in any of four ways:
A. BY DEATH.
B. BY LETTER OR TRANSFER OF MEMBERSHIP.
A letter of transfer shall be granted by a majority vote of the Church at any scheduled or specially called business meeting for any member who desires to unite with another Baptist Church of like faith and practice. A letter of Christian character may be granted on behalf of any member desiring to unite with another evangelical church. Letters of transfer or of Christian character shall only be granted and sent when requested by the church which is accepting the transferee into its membership. No open letters will be granted.
C. BY INACTIVITY. Any member on the Inactive Membership Roll for a period of six months or more, continuing without manifesting interest in the church by attendance or communication may be considered for formal dismissal upon recommendation by the Deacons and subsequent vote of the membership at any scheduled or specially called business meeting. Every effort shall be made to restore those to “active” status prior to taking this action, including personal encouragement and contact by letter.
D. BY DISCIPLINARY ACTION. (See Section 4 as follows)
Section 4: RESTORATION/DISCIPLINE
A. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who [are] spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another=s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” Gal 6:1-5 (NKJV)
B. The church’s mandate as outlined in scripture is restoration of the fallen or weak member. In the event that restoration is not possible, the following statements apply. Having so determined, the Deacons shall make recommendations to the church for proper action at a scheduled or specially called business meeting.
C. The New Testament recognizes two (2) principals (but not limited to) causes for discipline:
1. Sins that are hindering the ministry and fellowship of the Church (Matthew 18:15-17; I Corinthians 5 & 6; II Thessalonians 3:6; Romans 1:18-32).
2. Heresy in doctrine (Titus 3:10; II Timothy 2:14-18; II John 1-11).
D. The Pastor and Deacons shall constitute the Discipline Committee of the Church. Assuming the principles of Matthew 18 have been complied with, charges made to the Committee against a member shall be in writing. The member so charged shall be notified by letter (a copy being retained by the Committee) and shall be requested to appear before it (with at least two-thirds of them being present) to answer the charges. At least two weeks notice shall be given to the person involved. If the member so charged does not appear in response to such written request or notice, then the Committee shall investigate the validity of the charges. Having so determined, the Committee shall make recommendations to the Church for proper action, which may involve removal from membership, at a regular or called business meeting.
E. A former member, whose name has been removed from the membership rolls for disciplinary reasons, may be restored to membership after such a one has given to the Deacons satisfactory explanation or acceptable evidence of honest repentance and has made full confession of wrong doing (with two-thirds of the Deacons being present). The Deacons shall then make appropriate recommendation to the membership at a regular or called business meeting.
Section 5: REINSTATEMENT
A. Any person who has been excluded from membership may, on recommendation of the Deacons, be restored by favorable vote of the membership.
B. Persons on the Inactive Membership Roll may be restored to active membership by a favorable vote of the Deacons.
ARTICLE 8: OFFICERS AND OTHER ELECTED POSITIONS
Section 1: OVERVIEW
A. All officers and those elected to other positions of this church shall be willing to abide by the Constitution(which includes the Articles of Faith, Church Covenant and Bylaws). Failure to do so shall constitute dismissal from office. The unfilled terms of offices shall be filled in accordance with section 2, subsection H.
B. The officers of the Church and corporation shall be: Pastor, together with any Associates/Assistants which the church may call; Deacons,Trustees, Church Treasurer and Church Clerk.
C. Other elected positions shall be Missionary Committee Chairman and Director of Education.
D. For the purpose of fulfilling state requirements for the operation of non-profit corporations, the Chairman of the Deacons shall function as President, the Chairman of the Trustees shall function as Vice-president, the Church Treasurer as Treasurer and Church Clerk as Secretary.
E. Except the Pastor, no one but a member of this church in good and regular standing, for not less than one year, who is in harmony with the spirit and program of the Church, and whose life is consistent with the ideals and doctrines of the Church having accepted without reservation the doctrinal statements embodied in the Articles of Faith of this church, shall be eligible to hold any office whatsoever in this body.
F. Specific Qualifications as specified by the Word of God:
1. The Pastor and any Associates/Assistants shall meet the qualifications as set forth in I Timothy 3 and be in agreement with the Articles of Faith of the Church.
2. The Deacons shall meet the qualifications as set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13 and be in agreement with the Articles of Faith of the Church. In the event that there are not enough men available who meet the qualifications, the office will be left vacant, rather than elect an unqualified person.
3. Trustees will be consecrated Christian men in good standing with the church, living surrendered, exemplary, prayerful lives, which includes being in complete agreement with the position and policies of the church. Those nominated for the office of Trustee must have the gifts and abilities necessary for the performance of their duties. In the event that there are not enough men available who meet the qualifications, the office will be left vacant, rather than elect an unqualified person.
Section 2: ELECTION OF OFFICERS
A. All the officers of this corporation and congregation (except the pastor) shall be elected to serve in their specific capacities.
B. The annual election of Deacons and Trustees, shall be held on or before the second Sunday evening of July each year. They shall take office immediately following their election.
1. Their names shall be placed on the ballot according to the guidelines set forth in Article 9, Section 1 and as follows.
2. The church shall have a suggested ratio of 1 Deacon to every 30 people and the Trustees a suggested ratio of not less than five Trustees or more than ten.
3. The term of office for both the Deacons and Trustees will be three (3) years, after which they are eligible for re-nomination for that office according to the guidelines set forth in Article 9, Section 1.
4. The election of Deacons and Trustees shall be by ballot. The ballot presented to the congregation by the nominating committee shall contain the same number of names as the number of vacant positions.
5. No Deacon or Trustee shall be considered as having been elected to office who does not receive a minimum of three‑fourths (3/4) of the votes cast in their favor.
C. The annual election of one year terms for the position of Church Treasurer, Church Clerk, Missionary Committee Chairman and Director of Education shall be done as follows:
1. Prior to the annual meeting the Deacons and Trustees shall nominate the Church Treasurer, Church Clerk, Missionary Committee Chairman and Director of Education.
2. These individuals shall be contacted to determine their willingness to serve and their ability to fulfill their responsibilities.
3. The Church Treasurer, Church Clerk, Missionary Committee Chairman and Director of Education shall be voted upon by the congregation at the annual meeting. They shall not be considered as having been elected to their office unless they receive a minimum of three‑fourths (3/4) of the votes cast in their favor.
D. CALL OF PASTOR. The call of the Pastor shall take place at a meeting which has been regularly announced for that purpose on the two (2) preceding Sundays. The vote shall be taken by ballot with three‑fourths (3/4) of the votes cast in favor required for the call.
E. CALL OF ASSOCIATE OR ASSISTANT PASTORS. The calling of Associates/Assistants will be the responsibility of the Pastor, subject to recommendation by the Deacons and then voted on by the Church for final approval.
F. RESIGNATION OF PASTOR. If at any time it should become desirable for the relationship between the Pastor and the Church to be severed, either party must give official notice in writing of such desire. If the desire comes on the part of the church, a two‑thirds (2/3) majority of those voting will be the determining factor, with the relationship severed at the end of three months. By mutual consent, the relationship may be terminated sooner.
G. RESIGNATION OR DISMISSAL OF ASSOCIATE OR ASSISTANT PASTORS. If at any time it should become desirable for the relationship between an Associate or Assistant Pastor and the Church to be severed, either party must give official notice in writing of such desire. If the desire comes on the part of the Pastor and Deacons, they must give the Church an explanation shortly after the decision has been made. The relationship shall be severed at the end of three months or by mutual consent, the relationship may be terminated sooner.
H. FILLING VACANCIES. Vacancies which occur in any of the offices of the Corporation and congregation (exceptpastor or assistants/associates) shall be filled for the unexpired term by election at any regular business meeting of the Church, provided that all constitutional requirements are followed in the voting process for the office being filled.
Section 3: DUTIES OF THE OFFICERS.
A. PASTOR. The Pastor shall perform such duties as are incumbent upon him as the shepherd of the flock, and as the director of organized activity of the church. He shall have the general oversight of the welfare of the congregation and in the spirit of Christ shall administer his office with compassion for all, conviction in the matter of truth, and conscientiousness in all of his work. The Pastor shall be an ex‑officio member of all committees.
B. DEACONS. The Deacons shall organize their work at the first meeting of the year. At that time they shall elect a chairman, vice chairman and secretary. They are responsible to maintain a benevolence fund to be known as the Deacons Fund.
Together with the Pastor, the Deacons shall have responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the church, and shall seek at all times to keep the church in harmony and fellowship. They shall interview applicants for membership, report on all matters involving broken fellowship; visit the sick and needy, and assist the Pastor in all public services whenever necessary, especially services when the Lord's Supper and Baptism are administered. It shall be the duty of the Deacons to provide supply for the pulpit in the absence of the Pastor, unless otherwise provided by the Church.
The Deacons shall have power to transact all business pertaining to their office. Matters involving the expenditure of more than 1% of the current annual budget on any one project, other than regular bills, shall be brought before the congregation for approval.
C. TRUSTEES. The Trustees shall organize their work at the first meeting of the year. At that time they shall elect a chairman, vice chairman and secretary.
The Trustees shall serve under the direction of the Pastor and Deacons.
The Trustees shall have supervision and control over the business transactions and physical properties of the Church, its organizations and branch works, with the exception of any ministries the Deacons have supervision over.
They shall not encumber with loan, transfer, sell or purchase any real estate on behalf of the Church except by express authorization conveyed through a two‑thirds (2/3) majority vote of the church members present (twenty‑one years of age and over) at any scheduled or specially called business meeting. To announce the agenda for such a meeting, two weeks public notice shall be given at two (2) regular Sunday morning worship services in the Temple Baptist Church at Fircrest, Washington and in the church bulletin immediately preceding the contemplated action.
They shall acquaint themselves with the laws and ordinances of the State of Washington and the City of Fircrest that pertain to churches and see that such laws are faithfully obeyed in all matters affecting this church.
The Trustees shall have custody of the legal papers pertaining to the property and finances of the church, such deeds, title insurance, insurance policies, bonds, notes, etc.
The Trustees shall have power to transact all business pertaining to their office. Matters involving the expenditure of more than 1% of the current annual budget on any one project, other than regular bills, shall be brought before the congregation for approval.
D. CHURCH TREASURER. The Treasurer, under the direction of the Deacons and Trustees, shall have the oversight of receiving and disbursement of all church funds and otherwise administer funds as the Deacons and Trustees may direct, keep a faithful record of same, and ensure a monthly financial statement is prepared.
E. CHURCH CLERK. The Clerk shall keep a permanent record of all church business, including allcongregational business, and a master file of the membership roll.
F. DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION. The Director of Education shall have oversight of the Sunday morning teaching services of the church and other related educational programs and activities as directed by the Pastor and Deacons. The Director of Education will be directly responsible to the Pastor in the area of their responsibilities.
G. MISSIONARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN. The Missionary Committee Chairman shall have oversight of the church=s missionary programs. Any changes to the support of a missionary or missionary support levels are subject to approval of the Pastor and Deacons and then will need to be confirmed by a vote of the congregation. The Missionary Committee Chairman will be directly responsible to the Pastor in the area of their responsibilities.
Section 4: DISCIPLINE OF CHURCH OFFICERS:
Any officer of this corporation and congregation who violates the Church Covenant or who fails to faithfully perform the duties incumbent upon them as provided in the Bylaws may be removed from such Office by a majority vote of the church members present at any regular or specially called business meeting. This can take place only providing the guilt of such officer is established, after having been presented in written form by the person or persons making the complaint or charge and providing such officer has had the privilege of hearing the charges read and of answering same.
ARTICLE 9: COMMITTEES
Section 1: NOMINATING COMMITTEE
A. The Nominating Committee shall be composed of seven members, two of whom shall be Deacons, two of whom shall be Trustees and three members of the congregation at-large. The Committee will be appointed by the Deacons and Trustees. They shall select one of their number to act as Chairman of the Nominating Committee.
B. The Committee shall request suggestions from the congregation of individual names for the office of Deacon and Trustee. The Committee also has the right to suggest additional names for each office. From this list the committee, in conjunction with the pastor of the church, shall select those names to be nominated for each office. A list of names in connection with the offices for which they are respectively nominated, shall be reported to the Church on or before the second Sunday of June for prayerful consideration and then are to be voted upon on or before the second Sunday in July.
Section 2: PULPIT COMMITTEE
A. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Pastor, the Deacons shall act as the Pulpit Committee for recommendation to the church as early as practical, a suitable pastor and terms of his call.
B. The Pulpit Committee shall keep a record of the minutes of the committee and all official correspondence. All members of the Pulpit Committee shall be pledged not to reveal any details of the deliberations of the committee until ready to render a written recommendation to the church of their choice for Pastor. The Pulpit Committee shall thoroughly explore the field of General Association of Regular Baptist church pastors who are available to call and whose doctrinal position and ecclesiastical fellowship is in keeping with the faith and practice of this church and its Constitution and Bylaws. The Committee shall thoroughly investigate each prospective candidate as to his spiritual, educational and theological qualifications in serving the needs of this pastorate and as to his previous reception and faithfulness as the Lord's servant. The Committee shall present to the church only the name of one candidate at one time.
Section 3: OTHER COMMITTEES
The Pastor in conjunction with the Deacons or Trustees may establish such other committees and their members as may be considered necessary (ie. Christian Education Committee, Missionary Committee, etc.) It shall be up to the discretion of the Pastor to appoint the chairperson of said committees, unless elected constitutionally to that position. Those chairpersons elected constitutionally to their position shall work with the Pastor to select their committee members. Each chairperson shall carry on their work in cooperation with the Pastor and shall inform him of all meetings in advance.
ARTICLE 10: MEETINGS
Section 1: WORSHIP SERVICES
The public services of the Church normally shall be two meetings on Sunday for worship, one in the morning and one in the evening. In addition, there shall be a meeting on Sunday morning for teaching the Bible, and normally one eveninga week for
devotional and educational purposes. All other meetings are to be called by the Pastor and Deacons.
Section 2: BUSINESS MEETINGS
A. FISCAL YEAR; The fiscal year of the corporation and church shall extend from July 1st to June 31st.
B. ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING; The congregation andcorporation shall hold an annual business meeting on or before the second Sunday evening of July, and shall be announced no less than 2 successive Sundays prior to the meeting. At the time of this meeting, the annual reports of the closing fiscal year shall be presented for approval of the Church and a new budget formally recommended for approval.
C. QUARTERLY BUSINESS MEETINGS: Normally the regular quarterly business meetings of the congregation will be held on a designated Sunday in the months of October, January and April and will be announced no less than 2 successive Sundays prior to the meeting. Any necessary reports from the Deacons, Trustees, Church Treasurer, Sunday School Superintendent and Church Clerk shall be presented. Only such business as may be in the nature of routine affairs may be presented at such time. The Pastor shall preside at all business meetings of the Church. In the absence of the Pastor, the Chairman of the Deacons (or in his absence or incapacity, the chairman of the Trustees) shall preside.
D. SPECIALLY CALLED BUSINESS MEETINGS: Special business meetings may be called at any time by the Pastor or the Deacons as consistent with other constitutional requirements provided herein.
E. ROUTINE BUSINESS: Any Sunday evening meeting may be regarded as a business meeting for the transaction of routine business unless otherwise specified. (eg. voting on new members, approval of projects, etc.)
F. DECISIVE VOTES: A majority of the active members present and voting at any regular or special business meeting of the Church shall be sufficient to decide any question which may come before the body, except as cited in Article 4, Section 2, Subsection C under the heading of PASTOR.
G. VOTING QUALIFICATIONS: All matters pertaining to the purchase, sale or mortgaging of property shall be voted on only by active members who are of legal age (Article IV, Section 3, subsection 3, paragraph 3). On all other matters, active members sixteen (16) years of age or older are entitled to vote.
H. QUORUM: Twenty-five (25) active members in good standing shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Article 11: RELATIONSHIP OF THE CHURCH TO OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Section 1: INDEPENDENT BAPTIST CHURCH
This congregation declares its belief in the independence of the local church, and shall formulate its programs upon this declaration. The Church may always offer to other churches whatever fellowship may be mutually desirable, but with the understanding that it is to remain absolutely free and independent in all of its activities. There shall be a cordial Christian attitude toward all Christians who accept the fundamental doctrines of Christ but with the understanding that it is to remain absolutely free and independent in all of its activities.
Section 2: AUTHORITY FOR OPERATION
The organization inside the general church body shall receive all of their authority for existence and operation from the Church itself, and shall be under no obligations to carry out instructions or to put on programs brought from the outside regardless of source.
Section 3: RELATIONSHIP TO BAPTIST NETWORK NORTHWEST
Being aligned doctrinally and in harmony of purpose with the Baptist Network Northwest, we, as an independent Baptist congregation, will maintain such fraternal fellowship and cooperation where consistent with faith and policy.
ARTICLE 12: METHOD OF FINANCES
All the money raised by this church for its current expense operations, missions or material improvements shall be raised as donations or free gifts from the people. There shall not be put on at any time, so called benefits or money-raising programs, except as hereinafter provided. The church shall not enter commercial fields as a means of raising money for any purpose whatsoever, except as the church should own buildings which might be rented as commercial property.
ARTICLE 13: TEACHING MINISTRIES OF THE CHURCH
Section 1: BASIC REQUIREMENTS OF A TEACHER
All regular teachers who are appointed or elected to teach any group or class connected with this church shall be a member in good standing, shall be clear in their harmony with the doctrinal beliefs and practices outlined in the Articles of Faith, and shall be in completeaccord with the ideals and purposes of the Church. There must not be any reservations in this matter. No teacher shall be allowed to hold a position in the organized work of this church who is living in violation of covenant agreements or out of harmony and fellowship with the administration of the work.
Section 2: TEACHING MATERIALS
All the literature supplied to the teachers, officers and pupils in the Sunday School of this church and all literature supplied in all other organizations of this church must be in harmony with the doctrinal position set forth in the Articles of Faith.
ARTICLE 14: LICENSING AND ORDAINING
Section 1: LICENSE
Any brother who is a member of this church who gives evidence of genuine spirituality, fervent evangelistic spirit and aptness to teach, and who gives testimony to the conviction that God has called him to the work of the ministry, may at the discretion of this church be granted a license to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Section 2: ORDINATION
In the event that it should appear to the Church that any brother who is a member and fully qualified for ordination to the full work of the Gospel ministry, the Church, in a special meeting appointed for the consideration of this matter, may call for an ordaining council and proceed to ordain without the approval of any outside committee or organization, if so desired.
Section 3: REVOCATION OF LICENSE OR ORDINATION
It shall be the right of the Church as directed by the Pastor and Deacons, to revoke the license or ordination certificate of any such pastor or licensee if such is found guilty of serious spiritual, doctrinal or moral failure. The person shall have the right to appeal within sixty (60) days after the decision of the Church.
ARTICLE 15: RULES OF ORDER
In all parliamentary matters, Roberts' Rules of Order shall be the authority, unless the provisions of these Bylaws have specified that a different procedure shall be followed. If any part of Roberts' Rules of Order be found inconsistent with, or contradictory to any provisions in these Bylaws, the Bylaws shall rule in that matter.
ARTICLE 16: AMENDMENTS
This Constitution and Bylaws may be changed or amended at any regular or called business meeting provided that notice of such change has been publicly posted and announced at least one month prior to that business meeting. A three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of the membership present is required for passage of such amendment.
ARTICLE 17: DISSOLUTION
In the event of dissolution, a committee will be elected by vote of the congregation for the purpose of dispersing the assets of Temple Baptist Church to General Association of Regular Baptist Churches approved agencies and institutions. Final approval of the dissolution plan shall be subject to approval by a majority vote of the congregation.
ARTICLE 18: EFFECT AND CANCELLATION
This Constitution and Bylaws shall take effect from and after its adoption by this church on July 7, 1996, and thereupon all previously existing constitutions and bylaws shall stand repealed and void.