Westgate Baptist Church Teaching Positions
We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. This good news is christological, centering on the cross and resurrection. Consequently, the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if His death and resurrection are not central. This good news is biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (Christ died for our sins to reconcile us to God), historical (if the saving events did not happen our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles who were witnesses of these saving events), and personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved).
(Luke 24:44-48; Acts 2:22-39; Romans 10:5-13; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; 15:3-18; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
The Redemptive Plan of God
We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew and chose them. God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and He will one day glorify them—all to the praise of His glorious grace. In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set His saving love on those He has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer.
(Isaiah 53:4-6; Acts 17:29-31; Romans 5:1-11; 8:28-39; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Timothy 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:1-5)
The Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe that salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to His people by the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and is present with and in believers. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by His powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. By the Spirit’s agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive His sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is Himself the down payment of our promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
(John 3:1-8; 6:63; 14:15-17; 15:26-27; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:9-27; 1 Corinthians 2:3-5; 12:4-11; Ephesians 1:13-14; 5:18-21; Titus 3:4-7)
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that baptism is the initiation ordinance for Christians. Every genuine born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is commanded by Christ to be baptized by immersion in water upon their profession of faith and their clear articulation of their personal conversion (not as a means of being saved but as a way of publicly identifying with Christ in His death, burial and resurreciton and as means of publicly identifying with His Body, the Church). Believers are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to beautifully show their death to sin and resurrection to new life through their faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the regular gathering of believers in Jesus to commemorate and celebrate the dying love of Christ by eating the bread (symbolizing Christ’s Body) and drinking the cup (symbolizing Christ’s blood). Only those, who after personal self-examination have repented of all known sin and entrusted themselves entirely and exclusively to the person and finished work of Jesus Christ are eligible to partake in communion, lest they drink judgment upon themselves. We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances ordained by the Lord Jesus himself. The former is connected with the entrance of believers into the new covenant community, the latter with ongoing covenant renewal. Together they are simultaneously God’s pledge to us, a divinely ordained means of grace, our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and anticipations of His return and of the consummation of all things.
(Matthew 26:26-28; 28:19; Acts 2:38-39, 42; 8:34-38; 10:44-48; 16:14-15; 20:7; Romans 6:1-4; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34)
The Supernatural Sign Gifts
We believe that the supernatural sign gifts (like prophecy, tongues, miracles, healings, etc.) ceased at the end of the apostolic age. These gifts were only temporary in nature and served a specific purpose for a specific season of time, namely to authenticate the apostolic message and the messengers who brought it until the canon of scripture was completed. The supernatural sign gifts were related to the giving of revelation and therefore they are no longer in practice as there is no longer any new revelation being given today, Once the canon of Scripture was completed, the need for new revelation, along with the need for signs that verified the message and the messenger, ceased. Today all teaching is judged and verified by the accurate interpretation of the Word of God -- the Bible.
It was also necessary as Samaritans (Acts 8), Gentiles (Acts 10), and believers from the Old Covenant (Acts 19) were added to the church, that the unity of the church be established; and so no longer could one nation (Israel) be God’s witness people, but the church was now made up of Jews (Acts 2), Gentiles (Acts 10), half-breed Samaritans (Acts 8), and OT saints who became NT believers (Acts 19:1-7). And to demonstrate this unity, it was imperative that there be some replication in each instance of what had occurred at Pentecost with the believing Jews, such as the presence of the apostles and the coming of the Spirit manifestly indicated through speaking in the languages of Pentecost (Acts 2:4-12; cf. 15:8).
Paul also clearly teaches in 1 Cor. 14:21-22 that the gift of tongues (i.e. the gift of languages not some personal private prayer language) was intended by God to serve as a sign to unbelievers! In other words, the gift of tongues has no purpose in the church when everyone present is a believer. And once the sign served its purpose to pronounce judgment or cursing on Israel, and when the judgment fell (in A.D. 70) the purpose ceased along with the sign gift.
(John14-16; Acts 2:4; 8:17; 10:44-48, 15:1-8, 19:1-7; 1 Corinthians 14:21-22; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 2:20; 2 Pet. 1:16-21; Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:3-4).
We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in His own image. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God Himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s agents to care for, manage, and govern creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women enjoy equal access to God by faith in Jesus Christ and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a “one flesh” union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and His church. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not interchangeable, but rather complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men (elders) is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments.
(Genesis 1:26-31; 2:15-25; Acts 2:17-18; 21:9; Romans 16:1-16; 1 Timothy 2:12—3:13; Galatians 3:23-29; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Peter 4:10-11)
Divorce and Remarriage
We believe that marriage has been established by God as the first human institution. The Scriptures teach that a man should leave his father and mother, be united to his wife, and the two will become “one flesh.” When this “one flesh” design has been violated divorce is allowable (but not mandated). This violation would include (1) defilement (through marital infidelity) and (2) desertion (the abandonment of the Christian by the non-Christian spouse). Remarriage, consequently, is allowable (but not mandated) when it becomes evident that the “one flesh” relationship cannot be restored. We believe that even when divorce and remarriage occur outside biblical boundaries, they are not unpardonable offenses but, because of the gospel, can and must be forgiven. Consequently, divorce and remarriage do not disqualify an individual from church membership and its privileges (including ministry in the church).
(Genesis 2:24; Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mark 10:1-12; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 7:8-16)
The Kingdom of God and Our Responsibility
We believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to obey God, and the prospect of glory yet to be revealed. Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Living as salt in a world that is decaying, and light in a world that is dark, believers should never withdraw from the world; nor should they become indistinguishable from it. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world that will culminate in the eventual redemption of all creation. It is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates the lives of individuals rescued from that realm. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God.
(Matthew 5:13-16; Luke 10:25-37; John 17:15, 17-18; Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:16-18; Revelation 21:1-8)