Westgate Baptist Church Doctrinal Statement
What We Believe (WBC's Shorter Doctrinal Statement)
WE BELIEVE the Bible is God’s written revelation to man. It is verbally inspired in every word, absolutely inerrant in the original documents. We affirm the infallibility, sufficiency, and authority of Scripture.
WE BELIEVE that there is but one living and true God, an infinite, all-knowing Spirit, perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each equally deserving worship and obedience.
WE BELIEVE in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory.
WE BELIEVE that the salvation of man, who is sinful and lost, is instantaneous and accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit. He accomplishes this through the instrumentality of the Word of God when the repentant sinner – enabled by the Holy Spirit – responds in faith. This salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works. All the redeemed are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever.
What We Teach (WBC's Full Doctrinal Statement)
WE BELIEVE in the Spirit-filled life. As the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration, the Holy Spirit baptizes all believers into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation. The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption.
WE BELIEVE that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church, of which Christ is the head. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by building its members up in faith, by instruction of the word, by fellowship, by keeping the ordinances, and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world. The formation of the church, the body of Christ, began on the day of Pentecost and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture.
WE BELIEVE in the physical return of our Lord Jesus Christ to this earth, in the bodily resurrection of the dead and the ultimate accountability of everyone before God: the saved to everlasting life in Heaven, and the unsaved to everlasting punishment in Hell.
The Holy Scriptures (Bibliology)
We teach that the Bible is God's written revelation to man (2 Peter 1:20-21), given to us by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:7-14). We teach that the scriptures constitute the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Thessalonians 2:13; John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. We affirm the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17).
We teach that the Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and writing styles, they recorded God's Word to man (2 Peter 1:20-21) without error in whole or in part (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16).
We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatico-historical method of interpretation under the illumination of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it. (John 17: 14; 17)
God (Theology Proper)
We teach that there is but one true and living God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; 1 Corinthians 8:4), an infinite, eternal, all- knowing Spirit (John 4:24), who is transcendent, unchanging and perfect in all His attributes. We believe that He is one, eternally existing entity, manifested in three distinct Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians13:14), each equally deserving of reverence worship and obedience. He exhibits an array of attributes or peculiarities which define the mode of His existence and constitutes His character (Exodus 34:5-7; Deuteronomy 7:9-10, 32:3-4; Psalm 145:8ff). Certain attributes are unique to God alone (i.e. omniscience, omnipotence, eternality, self-existence, immutability, etc.), and are therefore described as incommunicable attributes. There are however communicable attributes which, to a limited degree, He bestows upon His creatures and which man can reflect (i.e.: justice, grace, mercy, love, faithfulness, etc.).
We teach that God is meticulously sovereign in all things, including creation, providence and redemption (Genesis 1; Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36; Ephesians 1:4-5), in accordance to His own purpose, pleasure, and grace (Daniel 4:17, 35; Isaiah 45:7, 46:11, 55:11; Ephesians 1:1,5). He incessantly upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events in perfection (1 Chronicles 29:11; Ephesians 1:11b). He is wholly sovereign, He is neither the author of evil nor can He approve of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; Psalm 5:4; James 1:13
God the Son (Christology)
We teach that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9).
We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind (Colossians 2:9). In His incarnation, the eternally existing second person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-man (Philippians 2:5-8; Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9-10). We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:26-35); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to fully reveal God’s nature and to redeem men (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:18; 29; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:3; 7:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary (Philippians 2:8), vicarious (Leviticus 17:11; Romans 5:8-9; II Corinthians 5:21), substitutionary (Isaiah 53:11; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18), propitiatory (Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; Hebrews 7:27), and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; Hebrews 9:12-14).
We teach that on the basis of the efficacy of the perfect life and substitutionary death of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15), the believing sinner is freed from the penalty and power of sin (Peter 2:24, Romans 6:18; 8:1), and at the final revelation of Jesus Christ will be delivered from the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God (Romans 3:25; 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
We teach that our justification is made certain and secure by Jesus Christ’s literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31), which confirmed God’s acceptance of Christ’s atoning work (Acts 17:31). We believe that Christ is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 10:12; 1 John 2:1).
We teach that Jesus Christ will return to receive the church (Acts 1:9-11) unto Himself, and returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20). As the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the head of His body the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and the coming universal King who will reign on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31-33), He is the final judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46; Acts 17:30-31; John 5:22-30).
God the Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)
We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13-14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13-15). In all the divine perfections He is coequal, consubstantial and coeternal with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25-26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; and Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 10:15-17).
We teach that the broad scope of His divine activity in this age, is everywhere present and operative and includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4); glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:19-22).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers believers for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Romans 8:9; 13-14; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13). We teach that it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (John 16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 1 John 2:20, 27).
We teach that man was created by God in His image and likeness (Genesis 2:7). Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 15-25; James 3:9).
We teach that God's intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God (Isaiah 43:7), enjoy God's fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God's purpose for man in the world (Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
We teach that in Adam's sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God (Genesis 2:16-17), man lost his innocence; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death (Genesis 3:1-19); became subject to the wrath of God (John 3:36); and became inherently corrupt and utterly unable and unwilling to choose or do that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14;. With no power to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and therefore declared guilty before God (Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18, 23; 5:12-14). Man's salvation is thereby wholly of God's grace through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, and the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8).
We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10; 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10).
We teach that a sinner who repents and believes in Jesus Christ, confessing Him as sovereign Lord, is instantaneously declared righteous by God.
We teach that justification is an instantaneous act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11).
This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the placing of our sins on Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us (Romans 4:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is enabled to "be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).
We teach that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23). Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
We teach that once saved all the redeemed are kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24). However, we believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through obedience, and that they should avoid the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14). Therefore, we believe that out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us, all believers should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation from any association with religious apostasy, and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11). We affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness demonstrated by a continual pursuit of holiness (Matthew 5:2-12) (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10).
The Church (Ecclesiology)
We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the head (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18). We teach the importance of discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:2) and mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14).
We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).
We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6: 1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42).
We teach that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We also teach that whereas the elements of communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord's Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present, fellowshipping with His people corporately (1 Corinthians 10:16).
Last Things (Eschatology)
We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15).
We reject any concept of the annihilation of the wicked or anything less than a literal and eternal punishment in hell (Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12; Rev. 20:10-15; 14:9-13).
We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15), when the soul and the resurrection body will be united (John 5:28-29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
We teach the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ to translate His church from this earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11) and return with His saints to reward believers according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). All good works will receive praise from God, all unholy works will be burned up and the believers will experience the loss which will suddenly and ultimately be swallowed up in the joy of grace.
We teach that Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:10-11; 2:29-30) and establish His Messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth (Revelation 20:1-7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; Revelation 19:11-16). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Daniel 7:17-27; Revelation 20:1-7). We teach that this time of our Lord's reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11; 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:33-38), and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Revelation 20:7).
We teach that following the release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10) whereupon Christ, who is the judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne judgment. We teach that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment, they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15).
We teach that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21-22). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21, 22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).