We’ve previously mentioned the importance of being firm and unique in your Statement of Faith on your church’s website, and now more than ever, it’s necessary to set forth your church’s beliefs unwaveringly. Of course, there are churches who choose to gloss over doctrine and focus on attracting visitors, so this won’t apply to them.
Simply put, with the diversity of doctrinal positions held by Independent Baptist churches these days, every church should revise their doctrinal statement (instead of just copying one from some other church) to make sure that it accurately reflects the Bible-based beliefs that the church espouses. It’s always curious to see a church simply adopt the same wording (sometimes internally contradictory) as another church, seemingly without reviewing it to verify that they actually agree with its contents. So, how do you make your Statement of Faith clear and concise? Let’s look at a few suggestions.
A Clear Statement about the King James Bible
It seems that the longer time goes on, the more wishy-washy many churches are becoming on taking a firm stance concerning the King James Bible. If a church doesn’t believe that God has perfectly preserved His words in the English language, then they should say that. However, a church that professes to be a strong King James Bible-only church, but doesn’t make that clear on their website, is creating confusion and may miss out on visits from people who are specifically searching for a KJV-only church.
For example, while traveling through the United States, my family and I always looked for a church with a strong, clear-cut stance on the KJV if we had a service open to visit somewhere. Even though the other churches may have been strong on the KJV, if I couldn’t determine that through their internet presence, we generally preferred a different church that did make that distinction clear.
If you believe that the King James Bible is the only correct English Bible to use or read, then say that. Do you believe that God’s written word is preserved in the KJV? Then say that. If you believe that the King James Bible is “scripture” and 2 Timothy 3:16 applies to it specifically, then say so. The more clear your Statement of Faith is, the more likely you are to have visitors that more closely align with your position.
A Clear Statement about Eschatology
Unfortunately, in the last few years a “new” movement teaching a recently-invented “post-trib, pre-wrath” rapture has emerged, which, due to its tenacity and cult of personality, has seduced a lot of sincere but doctrinally unfounded individuals to follow after it. Since this off-the-wall, new teaching is so divisive and characteristic of those who follow after a specific man, it’s a good idea to specify clearly where your church stands and what you believe, so that there is no confusion. The “last times” section of your Statement of Faith should indicate:
- Pre-millennial, pre-tribulation rapture (or specify what you believe, if different)
- A distinction between the church and Israel (“the time of Jacob’s trouble”)
- A literal fulfillment of the seven years of Daniel’s 70th week
Beyond the new confusion being spread through YouTube and social media, there have always been those influenced by an allegorical or historical interpretation of prophetic passages, and while until recently it was almost a given that an Independent Baptist Church was pretribulational and literalist in interpretation, in this day and age, it’s a good idea to make these statements clear and precise in your Statement of Faith.
A Clear Statement on Music
We’ve all been there: you walk into a church that looks good on the website, and you notice a drum set and humanistic “worship choruses” right away, but there’s no time to go anywhere else, so you suffer through it and vow to check more carefully next time. The only problem is that many churches are not being upfront about their music preferences, as they are trying to straddle the fence between traditional hymns and crowd-pleasing contemporary music. In the churchian “business world” (since the church has been turned into a multi-million dollar business), competition is tough, so instead of being sincere, honest, and open about positions and procedures, many churches are “hedging their bets” and having “trial runs” of modern techniques to see how it works. Our suggestion: put it out there, exactly where you stand, and let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest.
A Clear Statement on the Trinity
Another result of the aforementioned divergent movement is a confusion about the biblical doctrine of the godhead, known theologically as the “Trinity”. While this hasn’t been an issue in general for centuries, it’s likely to result in some questions in the near future. Your Statement of Faith should communicate exactly what you believe about the composition of the godhead, the divinity of Christ, and the relationship between the three members of the “Trinity”. This way both your members (if they take the time to read it) and potential visitors can see exactly where you stand based on your Statement of Faith.
While wordiness is undesirable, a clear statement is extremely necessary. Copying and pasting a Statement of Faith from another church’s website is dangerous, in addition to lazy. Make sure that your Statement of Faith accurately and completely reflects the doctrinal distinctions of your church, so you do not mislead people or perhaps appear weaker on a position than you really are, simply because your Statement of Faith doesn’t accurately portray your church’s position.