Indian Trail Church Proposed Confession of Faith*
* Throughout 2021 we have been preaching through and adopting these confessional truths. You can find the Confession of Faith sermon series here.
The following confession of faith serves as the reference point of doctrinal unity for members of Indian Trail church. Although many doctrinal issues have united and divided Christians over the two-thousand-year history of the church, we have focused on these matters believing them to ensure both the existence and health of a local church. Many of the following articles reflect the primary doctrines of God’s nature and gospel truth and are, therefore, necessary for the existence of a true church in distinction from a false church. Others represent secondary doctrines that uphold and safeguard the true gospel and are, therefore, necessary for the ongoing health of a local church. While the primary doctrines put us in glad agreement with the historic creeds of Christianity, the secondary doctrines place us in the heritage of the reformation and baptistic Christianity.
We pray this confession of faith will enable Indian Trail Church to guard the purity of the gospel. But also, that it will serve the congregation in recognizing and welcoming new believers and new members of the church. We hope this confession will aid each member’s ministry to the body as they speak the truth in love and build one another up into the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:12-16). And because this document confesses the glorious biblical truths of the eternal God and His saving work in Christ, we pray it will also produce joy and deep delight for each member and for our church as a whole.
Of the True God
We believe that there is only one living and true God, an infinite intelligent Spirit, whose name is the LORD, the Maker and supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. He is inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are equal in every divine perfection and execute distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. (Deut. 6:4; Jer.10:10; Ps. 83:18; Rom. 1:20; Ps.147:5; Isa.6:3; I Pet.1:15-16; Mark12:30; Rev.4:11; Matt.10:37; Matt.28:19; John 15:26; I Cor.12:4-6; John10:30; Acts 5:3-4; I Cor.2:10-11; Phil. 2:5-6; Eph. 2:18; 2 Cor.13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; Rev. 1:4-5).
Of the Scriptures
We believe the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction. The Bible has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God will judge us and, therefore, is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Thess. 2:13; John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:15; Proverbs 30:5-6; Ps. 18:30; Romans 2:12; 1 John 4:1).
We believe the Son of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, is truly and eternally God. He is the brightness of the Father's glory, of one substance and equal with him who made the world and upholds and governs all things. When the fullness of time had come, he took upon him man's nature, with all its essential properties and common infirmities, yet without sin, being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. In Christ, two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. He is, therefore, truly God and truly man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man. (John 1:1, Heb. 1:3; John 1:14; Gal. 4:4; Rom. 8:3; Heb. 2:14-17, 4:15; Matt. 1:22-23; Luke 1:27, 31, 35; Rom. 9:5; 1 Tim. 2:5).
Of the Holy Spirit
We believe God the Holy Spirit shares in the eternal essence, majesty, and glory of the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit brings glory to the Father and the Son, applies the work of Christ to believers, and distributes spiritual gifts to every believer according to His sovereign good pleasure for the purpose of building up the body of Christ. He is the Comforter, the Spirit of Adoption, the Seal of our Salvation, and the Guarantor of our inheritance in Christ. (John 14:16-17; 16:14; Acts 5:3; Rom. 8:14-17; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 1:13-14).
Of God's Providence
We believe God, from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass. He perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events, yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures. God’s providence ensures that nothing happens by chance, but by the counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, grace, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy, and for the good of His people. (Isa. 46:9- 11; Prov. 16:33; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; Jas. 1:13-15; Isa. 46:10, 11; Ps. 135:6; Matt. 10:29-31; Eph. 1:11; Rom. 8:28; Acts 2:23; Gen. 50:20).
We believe humanity is the special creation of God, made in his image, and given the capacity and responsibility to know God and respond to him in worship, dependence, and obedience. God created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus divinely designed and ordained for human good and God’s glory. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His image, and in that Christ died for man. Every person, therefore, of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect, protection, and Christian love from conception to natural death (Gen 1:26-30; 2:5,7; Eccl. 7:29; Gen. 9:6; Psalms 8:3-6; Jam. 3:9).
Of the Fall and Sin
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. All mankind, therefore, are now sinners, not by constraint but choice. They are by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil and, therefore, under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse (Gen.1:27; Gen.1:31; Ecc.7:29; Acts 17:26-29; Gen.2:16-17; Gen.3:6-24; Rom. 5:12; Rom.5:15-19; Ps.51:5; Rom.8:7; Isa.53:6; Gen.6:12; Rom.3:9-18; Eph.2:1-3; Rom.1:18, 32; Rom. 2:1-16; Ezek. 18:19-20; Rom.1:20; Rom.3:19; Gal. 3:22).
We believe election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners. It is perfectly consistent with the free will of man and includes all the means necessary to achieve God’s purpose. It gloriously displays 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 may be seen by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel (2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-14; 1 Peter 1:1-2; Rom. 11:5-6; John 15;16; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; Acts 13:48; John 10:16; Matt. 20:16; Acts 15:14; Ex. 33:18-19; Matt. 20:15; Eph. 1:11; Rom. 9:23-24; Jer. 31:3; Rom.11:28-29; James 1:17-18; Rom. 11:32-36; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; Rom. 4:16; Col.3:12; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; 1 Peter 2:9; Luke 18:7; John 15:16; 1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Tim. 2:10; Rom. 8:28-30; John 6:37-40; 1 Thess. 1:4-10; Rom. 11:29; 2 Peter 1:10-11; Phil. 3:12; Heb. 6:9-11).
Of Christ’s Work
We believe the salvation of God’s people is completely by grace, through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God. He honored the divine law by his personal obedience and made a full atonement for our sins by his substitutionary death. He underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have borne and suffered, being made sin and a curse for us, enduring most grievous sorrows in his soul and most painful sufferings in his body. He was crucified, and died as a propitiation, satisfying God’s wrath. On the third day, he arose from the dead and ascended into heaven, where he sits at the right hand of his Father, making intercession for His people. He will return to judge men and angels at the end of the world. Jesus, the Son, unites in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections and is qualified in every way to be a suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Savior (Eph.2:4-10; 1 John 4:10; Acts 15:11; John 3:16; John1:1-14; Heb. 4:14; Heb. 12:24; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 2:8; Gal. 4:4-5; Isa. 53:4-5; Matt. 20:28; Rom.4:25; Rom. 3:21-26; 1 John 2:3; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Heb. 9:13-15; Heb. 1:3; Col. 3:1-4; Heb. 7:25-26; Col. 2:17-19; Heb. 10:5-10; John 10:18; Gal 4:4; Matt. 3:15; Gal. 3:13; Isa. 53:6; 1 Pet. 3:18; Matt. 26:37-38; Luke 22:44; Matt. 27:46; Acts 13:37; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; John 20:25-27; Acts 1:9-11; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; Acts 10:42; Rom. 14:9-10; Acts 1:11).
We believe the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a sincere, repentant, and obedient faith. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel, which rejection aggravates his condemnation (Isa. 55:1; Rev. 22:17; Rom. 16:25-26; Mark 1:15; Rom. 1:15-17; 2 Thess. 1:8; Heb. 5:9; John 3:30; 1 Peter 1:22; John 5:40; Matt.23:37; Rom.9:32; Acts 13:46; John 3:19; Matt. 11:20).
We believe justification is the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to those who believe in him. Justification includes the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life on principles of God’s righteousness. It is given not because of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood. Through this faith, God imputes Christ’s perfect righteousness to us. Justification brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God and secures every other blessing we need for time and eternity (Acts 13:39; Isa. 53:11-12; Rom. 5:1-2; Rom. 5:9; Zech. 13:1; Matt. 9:6; Acts 10:43; Rom. 5:17; Titus 3:5-7; 1 John 2:25; Rom. 5:21; Rom. 4:4-5; Rom. 6:23; Phil. 3:7-9; Rom. 5:19; Rom. 3:24-26; Rom.4:23-25; 1 John 2:12; Rom. 5:11; 1 Cor. 1:30-31).
We believe saving repentance is when a person, having been made aware of the many evils of his sin by the Holy Spirit, humbles himself with godly sorrow. Detesting his sin, he prays for pardon and strength of grace through the Holy Spirit, to walk well-pleasing to God in all things. Repentance should continue through the whole course of our lives as we war against the passions of the flesh by the power of God (Zech. 12:10; Luke 3:8-14; Acts 11:18; Acts 26:20; Ezek. 36:31; 2 Cor. 7:11; Ps. 119:128; Luke 18:13, 19:8; 1 Tim. 1:13, 15).
Saving faith accepts, receives, and rests upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness (Rom. 3:27-28; 4:1-5; 4:17-25; 10:14, 17; Phil. 1:29; Eph. 2:8; Jas. 2:14-26).
Of Sanctification and Works
We believe sanctification is the process by which we are made partakers of God’s holiness, according to his purpose. Sanctification is a progressive work. It begins in regeneration and continues in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and by God’s appointed means. These means include the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, prayer, and the oversight and fellowship of the visible church (1 Thess. 4:3; 1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:12-16; 1 John 2:29; Rom. 8:5; Eph. 1:4, 5:25-27; Pro. 4:18; 2 Cor. 3:18; Heb. 6:1; 2 Peter 1:5-8; John 3:6; Phil. 1:9-11; Phil. 2:12-13; Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Cor. 13:5; Luke 9:23; Matt. 26:41; John 12:25-26; Eph.6:18; Eph.4:30; Heb. 3:12-14; 10:24-25).
Good works done in obedience to God's commandments are the fruit and evidence of a true and living faith. By these works, believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, build the body of Christ, adorn their profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, who created them in Christ Jesus for such works. While we should always devote ourselves to good works and holiness, our ability to do so does not come from ourselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ, who works in us to will and to do his good pleasure (James 2:18, 22; Ps. 116:12-14; 1 John 2:3, 5; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; Matt. 5:16; 1 Tim. 6:1; Tit. 2:10; 1 Pet. 2:15; Phil. 1:11; Eph. 2:10; Rom. 6:22; Tit. 2:14; John 15:4,5; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 2:13; Heb. 6:11-12, 13:21).
We believe all genuine believers 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 (John 8:31; 1 John 2:27-28, 3:9; 5:18; 2:19; Matt. 13:20- 23; Job 17:9; Rom. 8:28; Jer. 32:40; Ps.121:3; Ps. 91:11-12; Phil. 1:6; Phil. 2:13; Jude 24-25; Heb.1:14; 2 Kings 6:16; Heb. 13:5; 1 John 4:4; 1 Pet. 1:5).
Of a Gospel Church
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is Head of the church, which he purchased with his own blood. The universal church consists of all persons throughout the world who have professed faith in the gospel and who live in obedience to God according to their profession. A visible (local) church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers who willingly consent to walk together in the faith and fellowship of the gospel. They observe the ordinances of Christ, are governed by his laws, and exercise the gifts, rights, duties, and privileges invested in them by his word. The only scriptural officers in the church are elders (also called pastors and overseers) and deacons, who serve only by affirmation of the church itself. Every believer has the duty to join himself to a particular church that he might partake in its benefits and live under its accountability and administration according to the rule of Christ (1 Cor. 1:1-3; Matt. 18:17; Acts 5:11; Acts 8:1; Acts 11:21-26; 1 Cor. 4:17; 1 Cor. 14:23; 3 John 9; 1 Tim. 3:5; Acts 2:41-42; 2 Cor. 8:5; Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 5:12-13; 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 3:6; Rom. 16:17-20; 1 Cor.11:23-24; Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5:6; Matt. 28:20; John 14:15; John 15:12; John 14:21; 1 Thess. 4:2; 2 John 6; Gal. 6:2; Eph. 4:7; 1 Cor. 14:12; Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23; Acts 15:22; 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1).
Of the Ordinances
We believe baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two ordinances given by sovereign institution, and appointed by the Lord Jesus, to be continued in his church to the end of the world. These ordinances physically portray the gospel in the death and resurrection of Christ, and their use allows believers to remember and profess faith in Christ and celebrate their union with him and one another. Although the ordinances convey no grace in themselves, they represent the blessings of the new covenant and membership in the new covenant community and thus visibly mark off those who belong to the church from those who belong to the world (Matt. 26:26-28; 28:19; 1 Cor. 10:16-17, 11:26 12:13; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21; Eph. 4:5).
We believe baptism is a New Covenant ordinance, appointed by Jesus Christ, obligatory upon every believer as a sign of fellowship with Christ in his death and resurrection. Baptism represents the believer’s grafting into Christ, remission of sins, reception of the Holy Spirit, and giving himself up to God to live and walk in newness of life. Those who profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance. As the ordinance of initiation, baptism is properly administered once, following a person’s conversion to Christ, by immersion in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2;12; Gal. 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:4; 1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36, 37, 2:41, 8:12, 8:38, 18:8; Matt. 28:19-20).
Of the Lord’s Supper
We believe the Lord's Supper is a New Covenant ordinance, appointed by Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and the fruit of the vine. The supper is in no sense a sacrifice but is designed to commemorate Christ’s death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge, and renewal of their communion with Christ and his body. The Supper is, therefore, only rightly given to believers who ought to examine themselves in relation to the gospel and the body of Christ before partaking (Matt. 26:26-29; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:23-34).
We believe marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18-24; Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Cor. 7:1-5).
We believe that God appointed civil government for the interests and good order of human society. God calls us to pray for, honor, and obey governing officials, except 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. (Rom. 13:1-7; Deu. 16:18; II Sam. 23:3; Ex. 18:23; Jer. 30:21; Matt. 22:21; Titus 3:1; I Peter 2:13; I Tim. 2:1-4; Acts 5:29; Matt.28; Dan. 3:15-18; Dan. 6:7-10; Acts 4:18-20; Matt. 23:10; Rom. 14:4; Rev. 19:16; Ps.72:11; Ps.2; Rom. 14:9-13).
Of God’s Judgment
We believe God has appointed a day when he will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ at His coming. On that day all people will appear before Christ to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil. The day of judgment will manifest the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation of believers, and the glory of his justice in the eternal damnation of the wicked and disobedient. The righteous will go into everlasting life and receive the fulness of joy and glory with everlasting rewards in the presence of the Lord. But the wicked, who do not know God, nor obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, will be cast aside into everlasting torments, and punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power. The day of judgment should both deter all men from sin and provide great consolation to the godly in their adversity. Christ desires to have the day unknown to men, that they may shake off all earthly security, be always watchful, and be ever prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus; come quickly. Amen. (Acts 17:31; John 5:22, 27; Jude 6; 2 Cor. 5:10-11; Eccles. 12:14; Matt. 12:36; Rom. 14:10-12; Matt. 25:32-46; Rom. 9:22, 23; Matt. 25:21, 34; 2 Tim. 4:8; Mark 9:48; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-40; Rev. 22:20).
Of Resurrection and Renewal
We believe the faithful shall be raised from the dead imperishable and crowned with glory and honor at the coming of the Son of God, who will confess their names before His Father and His elect angels. All tears shall be wiped from their eyes, and they will dwell with their God in the new heavens and new earth, the home of righteousness, forever. And for a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory as never entered into the heart of man to conceive. Therefore, we look forward to that great day with a most ardent desire, to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus (Matt. 25:34; Phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:42-49; 13:43; Matt. 10:32; Isa. 25:8; Rev. 21:4; 2 Pet. 3:13; Isa. 66:5; Isa. 64:4; 1 Cor. 2:9; Heb. 10:36–38; Rom. 8:23; Heb. 9:28; 2 Pet. 3:12; Rev. 22:20).