What do we believe?
Since its inception in 1881, FBC Abilene diligently strives to be a missional church, a church who recognizes we don’t exist for ourselves but to advance the kingdom of God in the world. We are a historic Baptist church in that we do not subscribe to any creeds or covenants. So, below is a summary of what we believe and what makes us historically and distinctly Baptist.
What We Believe
God is Triune. God is one being in three persons alternatively known as Father/Creator, Son/Redeemer, and Holy Spirit/Sustainer.
God is Father/Creator. God created the universe out of love and God continues to seek community with creation. Creation and all within it belong to God.
God is Son/Redeemer. We believe in incarnation, that Jesus was fully divine and fully human while on earth. He was born of a virgin and lived a perfect life showing us a new way to live and relate to God. He suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried. Three days later, Jesus was resurrected and, after completing His work on earth, He ascended to reign with God.
God is Holy Spirit/Sustainer. The Holy Spirit is the continuing presence of Christ on earth.
The Bible reveals God. The Bible contains the revelation of God, making clear God’s hope for reconciliation and restoration of all things.
Creation is broken but God seeks to redeem it. God created a perfect creation that humanity made imperfect. At creation, God instructed humanity to be stewards of the earth. As a result of the degradation of humanity through the fall, creation is also broken and not as God intended it to be.
Humanity sinned and is fallen. Humans are uniquely created in the image of God. However, humanity fell from fellowship with God through sin—the continuing choice to disregard God’s will in favor of our own desires.
Sin can be forgiven, and creation can return to fellowship with God. In Jesus the Christ, the story of God and human beings come together. Through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, God has provided the means for sin to be forgiven and for creation to be redeemed to eternal fellowship with God. Jesus invites human beings to put faith in Him and His way of life that transforms the world. God maintains a longing to restore creation and all humanity to a perfect relationship which will continue forever.
The church, as fellowship, is the community of the new creation. The church is the continuation of the body of Christ on earth and is ordained by God to further the kingdom of God on earth. Both women and men are equally called by God to participate in the work of Christ in the world. The promise of God is to finish creation by overcoming evil and bringing to pass a new creation in Christ.
What Makes Baptists Distinctive?
First Baptist Church, Abilene was founded as a Baptist church and has held true to those distinctives which make it a Baptist Church. Here are some of those distinctives we follow.
HISTORIC BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES:
Soul Freedom. Each person is responsible for her or his own relationship with God. Only in freedom can a person give one’s heart and life to Christ. Through soul freedom we recognize the importance God places on free will given to humanity. Through soul freedom we recognize that no one else can answer for us: not the church, not a creed, not the denomination, not the clergy.
Religious Liberty. Because each person is responsible for his or her own relationship with God, it is imperative that no person or human institution, particularly government, be a coercive influence either in support of or in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Priesthood of All Believers. Through the saving work of Jesus Christ, each person has been given direct access to God. No woman or man needs an intermediary to commune with God, interpret Scripture, or minister on their behalf.
Autonomy of the Local Church. Each Baptist church is a fellowship of like-minded believers, autonomous in its governance and affiliations. All affiliations with local associations, or state or national conventions are voluntary. First Baptist Church, Abilene is affiliated with the Abilene/Callahan Baptist Association, Baptist General Convention of Texas, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Working cooperatively together in missions is a long-standing ministry of First Baptist Church of Abilene.
Authority of Scripture. The Bible is the supreme theological determinant of our beliefs. All creeds or statements of belief are secondary to and must be examined in light of Scripture. The lens through which we understand Scripture is the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Scripture cannot be interpreted independently of Jesus Christ made known through the guidance of the Holy Spirit at work in the church.
Believer’s Baptism by Immersion and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism follows a voluntary profession of faith. Believer’s baptism is a symbol of the death and burial of the individual’s “old life” and the resurrection of the person to their “new life” bestowed through the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Consistent with the Greek word on which the word “baptize” is based, baptism is performed by full immersion of the individual.
Those who have declared Jesus as Lord and chosen to commit their lives to the way of Christ participate in the Lord’s Supper. Participation in the Lord’s Supper is not necessary for salvation. The bread and cup are symbolic elements which help us remember Christ’s body broken for us and Christ’s blood shed for the forgiveness of sins.