My first call this morning was from a gentleman who recently arrived in Harlan and is wondering what kind of church we are. He wanted to be sure to avoid one of those “liberal” Baptist churches.
Inquires like this is one of the reasons the at-large deacons are reviewing our Statement of Faith (entitled “What We Believe,” last reviewed in 1999).
A Statement of Faith is typically a 1-2 page document that spells out the core beliefs that unite the church. (For this reason, perhaps a better term is Statement of Core Beliefs.)
There are several reasons for having a Statement of Core Beliefs:
First and foremost, every local church is charged with “guarding the good deposit that was entrusted to us” (II Timothy 1:14). By “good deposit,” Paul means the essential or core doctrines of the Christian faith that must be protected and passed down to succeeding generations.
Second, a Statement of Core Beliefs is a means of distinguishing between core and non-core doctrines. Some doctrines, such as the divinity of Christ, are essential to Christianity and are worth dying for. There are other doctrines about which we can respectfully disagree. An example of a non-core doctrine is the belief that Christ will rapture the Church prior to a period of tribulation.
Third, affirmation of the Core Beliefs can be a qualification for spiritual leadership in the church, including that of pastor, teacher, small group leader or deacon.
Fourth, the Statement of Core Beliefs can be used as a teaching tool in the various ministries of the church, especially in our ministry to children & youth.
Fifth, the Statement of Core Beliefs can help guide members in choosing another church if/when they leave the area.
Sixth, in similar manner, the Statement of Core Beliefs is important information for those who might consider joining our fellowship.
Please pray for the at-large deacons as they work on this project.