Mission and Confession of Faith
A UNION serving CHURCHES in action.
The French Baptist Union is a community of Baptist Churches in French-speaking Canada, contributing to the body of Christ through growth, multiplication, church planting and evangelism.
CONFESSION OF FAITH
This statement of faith was adopted by the Union d’Églises Baptistes Francophones du Canada in 1969 (with some modifications adopted at the 1988 Annual Meeting). It expresses the great biblical truths that unite our local churches. It is therefore desired that each of our local churches adhere to it in order to promote, within our Union of churches, a spirit of unity to the glory of the Lord. Even if the statement of faith can never replace the authority of the Word of God, it nevertheless affirms the essential convictions allowing us to work together. By it we are united with the faithful church of all ages, proclaiming “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5).
B. STATEMENT OF FAITH
1. – BIBLE –
We believe that the 66 books of Holy Scripture are divinely inspired, the infallible Word of God. They are the final authority for faith and life in each day. The Bible, in the original texts, is entirely trustworthy and inerrant in all that it affirms (Isaiah 40:8; John 10:35; II Tim. 3:15-17; II Peter 1:21).
2 – GOD –
We believe that there is only one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is infinite in knowledge, power and presence. He is unchanging in his holiness, righteousness, love and grace (Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:13; Jude 20-21).
3 – CREATION –
We believe that God is the creator of everything except sin: that He created man in His own image, but that man’s disobedience resulted in condemnation, corruption and death. The creation of the human being in the image of God entails the need to be in communion with the Creator and to glorify him within the created universe. The disobedience of Adam and Eve resulted in the breakdown of this communion, the failure of human relationships and all kinds of havoc for them and their descendants (Gen. 1:26-27, 31; 2:7, 16-17; 3:6; Eccl. 7:29; John 1:2, 3; Rom. 1.20-21; 2.14-15; Col. 1.16).
4 – JESUS CHRIST –
We believe that Jesus, our Lord, is true God from all eternity. That He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, that He was born of the virgin Mary, and that He is true man without sin; that the Scriptures furthermore present as objects of faith His teaching, His miracles, His atoning death, His bodily resurrection, and His personal and visible return in power and glory. Regarding this return, there are various positions; whatever position one might take, we are all united in the hope of the personal advent of Jesus Christ and the triumph of his Kingdom (Matt. 1:20-21; John 1:1-2, 2:11; Acts 1:7, 11; Rom. 1:3-4; 4:25; I Thess. 1:9-10; Titus 2:13; Heb. 4:14-15; I John 2:2).
5 – SALVATION –
We believe that salvation is by grace: it is the complete process by which God justifies, regenerates, sanctifies and glorifies every sinner who trusts in him on the sole basis of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Through justification and adoption, we are made subjects of the master and children of the father.
A. Regeneration takes place through the Holy Spirit: He brings us to a keen awareness of our sinfulness, to true repentance and conversion to God in Christ as Savior; He transforms our hearts to submit to Jesus Christ as Lord (John 3:3-8; 16:8-11; I Cor. 6:11; II Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:5-7; 5:18; Col. 3:9-10; II Peter 3:18).
B. Justification, by which God declares the sinner righteous, is not by works but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord (John 3:16; Rom. 5:1, 8-9, 19; 8:14, 30; II Cor. 7:1; Eph. 1:3-14; 2:8-10; Heb. 12:14; I Peter 1:9).
C. Redeemed by his Savior, the Christian will depart from sin and conform to the will of God. The life of sanctification will culminate in glorification.
6 – HOLY SPIRIT –
We believe that the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, enables us by His power, to serve Jesus, to witness for Him and to live the Christian life.
A. The fruit of the Spirit is manifested in the consistent witnessing of a life in conformity with the will of God. One of the functions of the Holy Spirit, in order to glorify Jesus Christ, is to teach and lead God’s people and to give them his gifts for the edification of the Church (I Cor. 12:4-6; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 4:11-13).
B. The baptism of the Spirit was granted to the church once and for all on the day of Pentecost. From that time on, every believer, at the very moment he or she is regenerated, receives this baptism. The fullness of the Spirit in the Christian life must be constantly renewed and leads, in particular, to praise and service within the Christian community and in the world. To this end, God gives various gifts to his people. None of them should be considered the indispensable characteristic of a genuine Christian life, for God is free to distribute his gifts as he sees fit (John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 10:47; Rom. 12.3-8; I Cor. 12.4-7, 13, 31; 14.1,3; Eph. 5.18-21; I Peter 4.10).
7 – CHURCH –
We believe that the unity of all believers is in the Holy Spirit and that together they form the body of Christ, which is the church.
A. The universal church is the mystical body of the Lord, of which Jesus Christ is the head. The church results from the work done by Jesus Christ and the gift of His Spirit (John 11:52; I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:11-18; 3:1-6; Col. 1:18; Heb. 9:28).
B. Jesus Himself is the cornerstone upon which He continues to build His church. The living stones are the true believers, known perfectly to God alone (Matt. 16:1-8; 21:42, 44; Acts 4:11, 12; I Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:19-22; II Tim. 2:19; I Peter 2:4-8).
C. The local church is a congregation of baptized believers united in the fellowship of the same faith, with the purpose of persevering in it with one accord. The local church is autonomous, but must recognize its interdependence with other local churches (Matt. 18:19-20; Acts 2:38-41; 9:31; Acts 15; II Cor. 8 and 9).
D. Local churches are called to reflect the reality of the universal church through the way their members are. At the coming of the Lord, the church, finally made without blemish, will reign with Christ forever and ever. It must therefore remain faithful to him, being ready to live for him and to suffer in his service (Acts 9:31; 11:26; I Cor. 1:1-2; Rom. 8:16-17; Rev. 22:5).
E. The unity of believers, created by the Holy Spirit, is to be realized at the level of each local church and in the relationships between local communities professing the same faith in the Christ of Scripture (Acts 1:8; Rom. 8:9; 12:3-8; I Cor. 12:3; Gal. 5:16-17; Eph. 2:17-18; 4:4-6).
F. The only structural ministries of the local church specifically recognized by the Word of God are those of pastors – also called bishops or elders – and deacons (Acts 2:42; 6:2-5; 20:17, 20, 21, 28; Phil. 1:1; I Tim. 3:1-13; 4:6,7, 11-13; II Tim. 2:15, 19; 4:2; Titus 1:5-9).
G. All in the church are called to submit to one another in the fear of Christ. Church members are called to show affection, respect, and deference to spiritual leaders, to honor them, and to protect their reputation. Scripture calls us to provide for the material needs of pastors (I Cor. 9:7-14; Eph. 5:21; I Thess. 5:12-13, I Tim. 5:17-19).
H. The local church is to be fully subject to the authority of Jesus Christ, its Lord. It is a theocracy with decisions to be made at different levels. It is therefore the responsibility of the entire membership, subject to the Holy Spirit, to seek to discern the Lord’s will for its direction. Consensus will be sought as much as possible.
I. The local church worships its Lord, constantly listens to the Word of God, accepts the imperative responsibility of sharing the message of salvation with the whole world, and enhances the gifts of all its members for the benefit of all. To these ends, members attend worship and other congregational meetings, exhort and encourage one another, and give generously to support the mission of the church as a whole (Matt. 25:35,40; John 4:14; Acts 7:8; Rom. 12.6-8; I Cor. 16.2; II Cor. 8.5; Col. 3.17-18; I Thess. 5.11; Heb. 3.13; 10.25; James 1.27; I Peter 4.10; Jude 23).
8 – BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER –
We believe that baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper are the two ordinances (or symbols) to be observed by the local church in obedience to the command of our Lord.
A. Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper celebrated under the species of bread and “fruit of the vine,” are ordained by Christ for his church and proclaim his death and resurrection. These two ordinances (or symbols) are to be observed by the church. We believe the biblical order is significant: conversion, baptism, Lord’s Supper (Matt. 3:13-17; 26:28-29; 28:18-20; John 6:48-63; Acts 2:38-42; Rom. 6:1-11; I Cor. 11:12-19; 12:12-13; Gal. 3:27-28; Col. 2:12-13).
B. Faith in Jesus Christ leads to baptism, that is, the immersion of the believer in water. Following baptism, the church receives the believer into its bosom as a member. The believer thus obeys Christ’s command and publicly testifies to his identification with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. Thus he indicates his break with the past and his entry into a new order created by Christ (Mark 16:16; Acts 10:38-47; 22:16).
C. The Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Supper, or communion… are all expressions for the commemoration by which the believer participates in the bread and the “fruit of the vine,” which are the sign of the atoning death of Jesus Christ. At this meal, the believers announce the death of the Lord until He comes. “Each one must examine himself and thus partake of the Lord’s supper” (I Cor. 11:26).
9 – FREEDOM TO WORSHIP –
We believe in freedom to worship for all. The very nature of faith as a personal commitment dictates, in particular, our concern for religious freedom for all. While being subject to the authorities, we do not recognize any right of the state to interfere in the life and witness of the churches. On the other hand, Christians must be aware of their social responsibilities and the need for consistent witness in matters of public concern (Mark 12:17; Acts 4:18-20 and 5:29).
10 – ANGELS –
We believe that there is a spiritual world where angels, both good and bad, are active:
– God’s angels by worshipping the Lord and carrying out His judgments, or by ministering to believers (Heb. 1:14; Matt. 13:41).
– Satan and the fallen angels by attempting to oppose the work of God and believers (Eph. 6:12). Through Christ’s victory at the cross, believers have been given the mandate and power to fight and defeat them (Col. 2:15; Eph. 6:13-20).
11 – RESURRECTION –
We believe that there will be a bodily resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous: for some, a resurrection to eternal life, for others a resurrection to eternal condemnation. The New Testament strongly emphasizes the resurrection, and this is because Christ has risen. It is this, and not an inherent immortality of the soul, that is the crowning achievement of our final fate as Christians – although the intermediate state between death and resurrection already places us in the presence of Christ. Unbelievers will experience the final fate of the reprobate in the resurrection – although at death there is already condemnation (John 5:29; Acts 24:15; Rom. 8:11; I Cor. 15:53; II Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:21, 23; Heb. 9:27; Rev. 14:13; 20:12).