Tropical Leaves

Beliefs

Statement of Faith

We believe the London Baptist Confession of 1689 generally represents the doctrines to which we hold.

i.  Of the Scriptures.
We believe that the Holy Bible, consisting of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, was written by men divinely inspired (2 Peter 1:20, 2 Timothy 3:16), and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author (Hebrews 1:1, I John 5:9, Isaiah 55:11, Isaiah 59:21), salvation for its end (John 5:24, Romans 15:4, John 14:6, John 11:26), and truth, without any mixture of error (Psalm 119:172 ), for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us (John 12:48); that it is sufficiently of itself brings forth everything necessary for salvation, faith, holiness and Christian practice (2 Timothy 3:15-17, Psalm 119:81, Psalm 119:105); and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world (Matthew 5:18, Matthew 24:35), the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried (Isaiah 8:20, Revelation 22:18-19).


ii.  Of the True God.
We believe that there is one, and only one (Deuteronomy 6:4 Mark 12:29), living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is JEHOVAH (Exodus 6:3), the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth (Psalm 83:18, Ephesian 4:6); inexpressibly glorious in holiness (Isaiah 6:3), and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love (Revelation 5:12, Revelation 15:3-4); that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19); equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.


God the Father
Of none, neither begotten nor proceeding. (I Corinthians 8:6 I Corinthians 15:24, Philippians 2:11, Philippians 4:20)


God the Son
The Son is eternally begotten of the Father (John 1:14, John 3:16).  He is the mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2:5); the prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15, priest (Hebrews 4:14, Romans 8:34), and king (Revelation 19:6, I Timothy 6:15); head and savior of the church (Ephesians 5:23, Revelation 5:9), the heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2), and judge of the world (John 5:22, 27); unto whom the Father did from all eternity give a people to be His seed (Ephesians 1:4) and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified (Romans 8:30).


God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son. (Luke 11:13, I John 4:13, John 6:7, John 14:26)

iii.  Of the Fall of Man.
We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state (Genesis 2:17, Genesis 3:6); in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, dead in sin (Ephesians 2:5, Colossians 2:13, I Corinthians 15:22), wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body (Isaiah 64:6 Psalm 14:3, Mark 10:18), being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil, and willful in sin, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse. (Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19, Genesis 6:5, John 8:34, John 8:44, Isaiah 1:5-6, Psalm 58:3, Ephesians 2:12)


iv.  Of God’s Election.
We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves His Elect (2 Tim 1;9); that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy (Rom 3:27); that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it is ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel (2 Cor 5:17); that it is the foundation of Christian assurance (2 Tim 2:19); and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves our utmost diligence.


v.  Of the Way of Salvation.
We believe that salvation of sinners is wholly of grace (Eph 2:8), through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God; who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal and perfect obedience (Phil 2:8), and by his death made a full atonement (Heb 10:14) for our sins; being risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior (Heb 10:12).


vi.  Of Grace in Regeneration.
We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again (John 3:3). This regeneration consists in a new holy creation in the soul. The change produced is so great and impacts the mind, will, and emotions in such a way that the person may truly be called a new man (Eze 36:26). This new birth is "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13) It is brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with the Word of God, and secures our voluntary obedience to the Gospel. Its proper evidence is found in the holy fruits of repentance (Matt 3:8), and faith, and newness of life. (Rom 6:4)


vii.  Of Repentance and Faith.
We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred duties (Mat 4:17;1 Joh 3:23), and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God (2 Tim 2:25; Eph 2:8); whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness (Rom 3:12), and of the way of salvation in Christ (Joh 14:6), we turn to God with unfeigned [genuine] contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on Him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior (Rom 10:9).


viii.  Of Justification.
Those whom God effectually calls, he also freely justifies (Rom 3:24, 8:30), not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins (Rom 4:5-8; Eph 1:7), and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous (1 Cor 1:30-31; Rom 5:17-19) not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone.  They are not justified because God reckons as their righteousness either their faith, their believing, or any other act of evangelical obedience (Phi 3:8-9; Eph 2:8-10).  They are justified wholly and solely because God imputes to them Christ’s righteousness.  He imputes to them Christ’s active obedience to the whole law and His passive obedience in death them.  They receive Christ’s righteousness by faith, which is the sole instrument of justification (Rom 3:28), and rest [depend] on Him (John 1:12; Rom 5:17).  They do not possess or produce this faith themselves, it is a gift of God (Eph 2:9).

Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those that are justified; and by the sacrifice of Himself through the blood of his cross, underwent instead of them the penalty due to them, so making a proper [specific], real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in their behalf (Heb 10:14; 1Pe 1:18-19; Isa 53:5-6).  Yet because He was given by the Father for them, and because His obedience and satisfaction was accepted instead of theirs (and both freely, not because of anything in them) (Rom 8:32; 2 Cor 5:21), therefore they are justified entirely and solely by free grace, so that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners (Rom 3:26; Eph 1:6-7,2:7).

From all eternity God decreed to justify all the elect (Gal 3:8; 1 Pet 1:2; 1 Tim 2:6), and Christ, in the fullness of time, died for their sins, and rose again for their justification (Rom 4:25).  Nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit, in due time, actually applies Christ unto them (Col 1:21-22; Tit 3:4-7), and they can never fall totally from this state justification (Joh 10:28).

The justification of believers during the Old Testament period was, in all these respects, exactly the same as the justification of New Testament believers (Gal 3:9; Rom 4:22-24).


ix.  Of Sanctification.
We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness (Rom 6:5-6); that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration (Eze 11:19, 36:26); and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means—especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness and prayer (Gal 5:17; 2 Cor 3:18; 2 Cor 7:1; Phi 2:12; 1 Pet 2:11).


x.  Of the Perseverance of the Saints.
Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved [Christ], and has effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, abut shall certainly persevere in that state to the end and be eternally saved.  This I because the gifts and callings of God are without repentance [He will not change His mind], and therefore He continues to beget [create] and nourish in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit which lead to immortality (Joh 10:28-29; Phi 1:6; 2 Tim 2:19; 1 Joh 2:19).


And though many storms and floods arise and beat against the saints, yet these things shall never be able to sweep them off the foundation and rock which they are fastened upon by faith.  Even though, through unbelief [including lack of faith] and the temptations of Satan, the sight and feeling of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them (Psa 89:31-32; 1 Cor 11:32), yet God is still the same, and they are sure to be kept by His power until their salvation is complete, where they shall enjoy the purchased possession which is theirs, for they are engraved upon the palm of His hands, and their names have been written in His Book of Life from all eternity (Mal 3:6).


xi.  Of the Harmony of the Law and the Gospel.
We believe that the Law of God is holy, just, and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible Church. (Rom 7:7-25; Gal 3:19-25; Rom 3:19-22; Rom 10:4; Heb 9:8-16; Heb 10:1-14)


xii.  Of the Gospel Proclamation.
We believe that the offer of salvation is made freely to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept it by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary refusal to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ, which refusal will subject him to an aggravated condemnation.  Or in other words, God is not actively working to prevent the unregenerate from coming to Him—He only leaves them to themselves, doing no work of grace, whereby they bring condemnation on themselves.  However, we do solemnly affirm that an act of God is required to change the person to where they willingly submit to Christ. (Matt 28:16-20; 2 Thess 1:7-8; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 17:30-31; John 3:16-20; Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7; 2 Pet 3:9-10)


xiii. The institution of Marriage
God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. (Genesis 2:24; Genesis 19:5, 13; Genesis 26:8-9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1, 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:1-8;Hebrews 13:4)


The only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. (Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2; I Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23)


xiv.  The Lord’s Day.
Sabbath-keeping is an important duty (Ex. 20:8, Deut. 5:15, Neh.  13:22), which the Lord's people consider both solemn and delightful (Is. 58:13).

God "hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord's Day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished." (Exo. 20:8, 1 Cor. 16:1-2, Acts 20:7, Revs 1:10; London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689, 22.7)

The resurrection of Christ ushered in the change of day for the observance of the sabbath.  One might wonder why the first Christians, who were Jews themselves, suddenly began to meet for worship on the first day of the week.  The explanation can only be attributed to our Lord's rising from the dead on that first day to signify the finished work of redemption.  Thus the principle of the fourth commandment — one day in seven being the Lord's — remained unviolated, while the keeping of that day took on a much fuller meaning that it had in Old Testament times.  The Christian Sabbath or the Lord's Day, continues to be not only a memorial of God's finished work at creation, but it is also a memorial of Christ's finished work of redemption.

"The sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all day, from their own works, words and thoughts, about their worldly employment and recreations, but are also taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy." (Isa. 58:13, Neh. 13:15-22, Matt. 12:1-13; London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689, 22.8)

"There remaineth therefore a keeping of sabbath [the literal rendering of the original text] to the people of God..." (Heb. 4:9).  We believe therefore that the observing of one day in seven is still binding on mankind.  The Lord has graciously given us six days for work and recreation — we are not to rob Him of the other, the sabbath day.

Bible Versions


We use and prefer the KJV, but are not KJV only.

For preaching, teaching, and evangelism material, this church uses the Authorized (often called the "King James") Version of the Scriptures. There are two fundamental principles behind this:

1. This church believes the doctrine of verbal inspiration. This means God immediately inspired every word of the Bible. This truth calls for a word-for-word translation philosophy also known as formal equivalence (as opposed to dynamic equivalence). (Jer 1:9, Rev 22:18-19, 2Ti 3:16, 2Pe 1:20-21, 1Co 14:37, 1Th 2:13, Deu 12:28, 32)

2. We also believe that God preserves His Word through all time. This is also known as the doctrine of providential preservation. This doctrine leads us to accept the traditional received texts of Scripture, the Masoretic text in the Old Testament, and the Textus Receptus in the New Testament (as opposed to the modern critical texts). (Psa 12:6-7, Psa 119:89, Isa 40:8, Mat 5:18, 1Pe 1:23-25)

(See also London Baptist Confession 1689, 1.8)

Because other translations today reject at least one of these principles (if not both) we believe the Authorized Version is the most accurate and faithful version of God's Word available in the English language today. We encourage everyone to consider these important doctrines when considering what Bible translation they will use for personal use.

Constitution

Reformed Baptist Constitution