First Baptist Church of Whiteville continues to reflect a commitment to our Baptist heritage:
Centrality and Authority of Scripture – We affirm the authority of scripture. We believe the Bible, under the Lordship of Christ, is central in the life of the individual and the church.
Priesthood of All Believers – We affirm the freedom and right of every Christian to interpret and apply scripture under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We affirm the freedom and responsibility of every person to relate directly to God without the imposition of creed or the control of clergy or government.
Autonomy of the Local Church – We believe Baptist churches are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain whomever they perceive as gifted for ministry, and to participate as they deem appropriate in the larger Body of Christ.
Freedom of Religion – We believe in the freedom of religion, the freedom for religion, and the freedom from religion. We affirm religious freedom for all people and the separation of church and state.
In terms of common beliefs, First Baptist Church of Whiteville recognizes these guides in interpretation:
The Scriptures – We start with the Scriptures, which afford us God’s self-revelation, first in the unfolding of a concern for God’s people, but supremely in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures, as related by the Holy Spirit to our contemporary situation, are our authority in all matters of faith and practice.
God – We believe there is one living and true God. God is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being – the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–each of Whom possesses equally all attributes of deity and characteristics of personality, yet without division of essence or being. We believe God as Father reigns with providential care over the universe, all creatures, and the flow and stream of human history.
Jesus Christ – We seek to be centered on Christ and follow Him. We believe Christ is the eternal Son of God. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and carried out the will of God, taking upon himself the demands and necessities of human nature and identifying himself completely with humankind, yet without sin. He lived a life of perfect obedience to God and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all by dying on the cross. He was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and consummate His redemptive mission. Jesus Christ now dwells in all those who follow him as the living and ever present Lord.
Holy Spirit – The Spirit was sent into the world by God the Father and Jesus the Son to apply to people the saving work of Christ. The Spirit enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them a recognition of their need of a Savior, and regenerates them. The Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Scriptures. The Spirit enables the believer to lead a life of Christlike character and to bear fruit worthy of the glory of God.
Salvation – The central purpose of God’s revelation in Scripture is to call all people into fellowship with God. We believe the first word of the Christian gospel must always be grace–not what we aspire to do, but what God has done for us without any claim or work on our part. The grace of God, expressed in the cross of Jesus Christ, makes possible the restoration of the relationship with God that sin has spoiled.
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to study the Holy Bible, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and fellowship; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to educate our children in Christian principles; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, back-biting and excessive anger; to be temperate in conduct and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; and to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that, when we remove from this place, we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.