From the time of the Apostles to today, Christians have laid out doctrine (beliefs) in brief, definitive statements. As those who know God, we believe it necessary to set forth in a concise fashion the cornerstone truths of our church as guided by Scripture. Our Statement of Faith summarizes essential Christian beliefs, shows unity in Christ, and guards the church from error.
Our statement of faith is a revised version of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith from 1853. In summary, we hold to a reformed-evangelical Christianity, believer’s baptism, and a congregational governance of the church. All members of Cornerstone have to affirm this statement of faith, and by God’s grace seek to demonstrate their belief in these truths through their lives.
Though we currently require no formal affirmation of it for our members, we likewise understand the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) to reflect a fuller explanation of our Statement of Faith.
Cornerstone Baptist Church Statement of Faith
1 – The Bible We believe that the Holy Bible was inspired by God, written by men and is completely free from error. It is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction and reveals the principles by which God will judge us. It is to be believed, obeyed, and embraced in all that it teaches, commands, and promises. It includes within it the only way of salvation. It will remain to the end of the world the supreme standard and final authority by which all matters of life and doctrine should be tested.
2 – The True God We believe that there is only one living and true God. He is the eternal, infinite Creator and supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. He is merciful, just, and loving and governs all things according to His sovereign will for His glory. He is inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and is worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love.
3 – The Trinity We believe that the one living and true God exists eternally as three distinct persons– the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; each is fully God and equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
4 – Humanity and the Fall of Man We believe humanity is the special creation of God, made in his own image. God created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. The gift of marriage consists of the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime, and this gift models the way God relates to His people. God created the human race in holiness under his law. By voluntary transgression, however, humanity fell from that holy and happy state. As a result, all people are now sinners, not by external compulsion but by choice. They by nature entirely lack the holiness that is required by the law of God and are actively inclined to evil. Therefore, they are under just condemnation to a sentence of eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
5 – The Way of salvation We believe that the salvation of sinners is only by the grace of God through the work of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the all-sufficient Savior of the world. He is truly God and truly man, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught the way of God’s kingdom, worked miracles, suffered, died, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven where He now rules and reigns. In His death He became our sacrificial substitute, providing full atonement for our sins, satisfying the wrath of God.
6 – Justification We believe that justification is the blessing in which those who believe in Christ are declared righteous. It includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on the basis of Christ’s righteousness. It is given freely by God, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the person and work of Christ. This brings us into peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needed for time and eternity.
7 – The Freeness Of Salvation We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel, and that it is the immediate duty of all to accept the gospel by a penitent and obedient faith. There is nothing that prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel, which results in condemnation.
8 – Regeneration We believe that in order to be saved sinners must be regenerated, or born again. Regeneration consists in God giving a holy disposition to the mind, and it is effected by the power of the Holy Spirit in a manner beyond our comprehension. This is in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel. Its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.
9 – Repentance And Faith We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties as well as inseparable graces. They are brought about in our souls by the Holy Spirit in regeneration, whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with genuine sorrow, confession, and supplication for mercy. At the same time we heartily receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and rely on Him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
10 – Sovereign Grace We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which He graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners, only because of His sovereign good pleasure. This is perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, and is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable. It utterly excludes boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy. The election of individuals to life may be confirmed by its effects in everyone who truly believes the gospel. It is the foundation of Christian assurance.
11 – Sanctification We believe that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of His holiness. It is a progressive work that is begun in regeneration and is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, who is the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of spiritual disciplines, including reading and hearing the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, prayer, and the oversight and fellowship of the visible church.
12 – The Perseverance Of Saints We believe that genuine believers are only those who endure to the end. Their persevering obedience to Christ and attachment to His people are the primary mark distinguishing them from superficial professors. A special providence watches over their welfare and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
13 – The Church We believe that the invisible church is the communion of God’s people drawn from every tribe, language, people, and nation throughout all the ages. It is made visible in local churches: congregations of baptized believers, joined together by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel. A local church is marked by the right preaching of God’s word and right administration of the ordinances. It is governed by the word of God, which teaches that its offices are Elders and Deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined most clearly in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. The mission of the church is to be a corporate display of God’s glory to the world by preaching the gospel and making disciples.
14 – Baptism And The Lord’s Supper We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; to show forth our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior in a solemn and beautiful symbol. It symbolizes our death to sin and resurrection to a new life and it is a response to the command of Christ. Baptism is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper then takes place as baptized believers, by the sacred use of bread and juice, commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination. The ordinances belong to the gathered church, marking off believers from unbelievers and making the church visible on earth.
15 – The Lord’s Day We believe the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and points to the rest that awaits the people of God. It should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be consistent with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
16 – Civil Government We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society, and that officials are to be prayed for and conscientiously honored. They are to be obeyed except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
17 – The World To Come We believe that it is only those who through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and sanctified by the Spirit of our God who are truly righteous in His esteem. At the last day Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be judged and sentenced to endless conscious punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness. Those belonging to Jesus will have eternal life in the new heavens and the new earth and live in ever-increasing joy to the glory of God.