We Exist to Reach, Teach, Nurture, and Equip to Exalt Jesus Christ as Lord
First Baptist Church has the honor of connecting people to God, Jesus Christ, and to one another in a loving and caring setting. It is our mission to empower our community to become disciples of God by learning the gospels and practicing his word.
The word “church” originates from the word “gathering” or “to gather”. This is why we so strongly cling to the notion that the church is not a building or a structure, but rather, the church is actually the believers themselves. We aim to maintain and foster a comfortable environment for our congregation to gather, build relationships, demonstrate love and share their knowledge.
What We Believe
We have a variety of statements which express what we believe and why. Below are statements of faith we uphold both as a congregation and also as a part of our denominational affiliation.
According to our Church Constitution, our Statement of Faith is:
1. CHRIST IS LORD. “Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11). With Baptists this is supreme and sufficient.
2. THE SUPREME AUTHORITY OF THE SCRIPTURES IN ALL MATTERS OF FAITH AND PRACTICE. Baptists hold that the Scriptures are the sufficient, certain, and authoritative revelations of God. “All scripture is inspired by training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (II Tim. 3:16-17).
3. THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS. This doctrine, Baptists believe, is inherent in New Testament teaching. “For you have one master, the Christ.” (Matt. 23:10). “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Tim. 2:5). Baptists believe that each individual is responsible, under the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, to develop his own personal and spiritual relationship with God through Christ.
4. A REGENERATE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP. The New Testament teaches that people must be regenerated, have a personal experience and knowledge of grace, and that only such persons shall be baptized and enrolled as full members of the Church. “You must be born anew.” (John 3:7). “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3). “So those who received His word were baptized.” (Acts 2:41).
5. A BAPTIST CHURCH IS A SPIRITUAL DEMOCRACY. Baptists believe in religious liberty, including the principle of congregational church government, with the members of the Church having equal rights, privileges, and duties under the Lordship of Christ.
6. THE ORDINANCES. The two ordinances which Baptists recognize are Believers’ Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Baptism – Baptists believe that it is by immersion that burial and resurrection are portrayed as evidenced by the practice of the New Testament. “We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4).
Baptism is a confession of faith. The Master said, “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19).
The Lord’s Supper – The Lord’s Supper is both a memorial and a symbol. It is observed in remembrance of Jesus: His life, His death, His resurrection, His words, His works. It is the presence of Christ, mediated through believing faith, which transforms this act of Remembrance into a service of Communion. “Do this in remembrance of me.” (I Cor. 11:24).
7. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE – In larger affairs of community and governmental administration, Baptists believe in the complete separation of Church and State.
As a part of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada we jointly hold to and affirm the following specific Baptist Beliefs:
Priesthood of All Believers – Loved by God, and made in His image, each of us has the opportunity to meet directly and personally with God. As we are all equal before Him, we have the right and responsibility to participate in Christ’s body, the Church, and to minister to each other as a ‘priesthood of all believers.’ We have ordained ministers who perform those functions, such as marriages, that are reserved for licensed clergy by law or tradition.
Sacraments – We believe there are two sacraments: baptism and communion.
Baptism – We each come to faith in God through a free, personal decision; therefore, we practice the baptism of believers. For this reason, we do not practice infant baptism; instead, we reserve baptism for adults and young people mature enough to make a fully conscious and committed decision. Following Biblical example and modeling the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, we baptize by full immersion.
Communion – On a regular basis (weekly to monthly), we remember the saving death and resurrection of Jesus by participating in the sacrament of communion: sharing in Christ’s body and blood through bread and wine.
Congregational Governance – We follow a congregational form of government in which believers come together as a priesthood of believers under the Lordship of Christ, the authority of the Bible, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to determine God’s will for us. We avoid the top-down hierarchy often associated with other denominations. Locally autonomous churches make their own decisions but participate in the larger body of Christ by associating with the denomination and its shared ministries and by entering into annual covenantal agreements with the denomination.
Separation of Church and State – The church and the civil government have distinct, separate roles that should not infringe on each other. Where they have shared interests and values, they recognize and reinforce each other.
Ordination of Women – We have been ordaining women for leadership in church ministry since 1959.
Marriage – We affirm that the biblical pattern of marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.
Sexual Behavior – Any sexual behaviour outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage is not affirmed biblically or historically.
Denominationally, we would also hold to the following statements of faith and culture:
Statement Of Faith
While not a denomination that emphasizes creeds or formulas, the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada affirms wholeheartedly the revelation of God given in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and confesses the faith therein set forth. We at First Baptist explicitly assert the doctrines which we regard as crucial to the understanding and proclamation of the Gospel and to practical Christian living:
The sovereignty, love, and grace of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in creation, providence, revelation, redemption, and final judgement.
The divine inspiration of Holy Scripture and its entire trustworthiness and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
The value of each human being as created by God.
The universal sinfulness of humankind since the fall, which alienates all from God and subjects all to condemnation.
The full deity and humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, whose substitutionary sacrifice is the sole ground of redemption from the guilt, penalty, and power of sin.
The justification of the sinner by the grace of God through faith alone in Christ crucified and risen from the dead.
The illuminating, regenerating, indwelling, and sanctifying work of God, the Holy Spirit, in the believer.
The church as set forth in the New Testament and understood historically by the Baptist community.
The expectation of the personal, visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ; our participation in the resurrection; and the hope of eternal life.