The Mission of Tzaneen Baptist Church is to transform lives by the preaching of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE STATEMENT
God commands us to glorify him in all we do. Furthermore, he requires us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Therefore we affirm that our lives in their entirety must be lived before God, under his authority, and for his glory alone. In the light of this we will endeavour to be focused on honouring and pleasing God in our personal lives, our worship and all our cooperative activities. We believe that there is no place for man-centeredness or for the promotion of one’s own popularity, carnal success or self-image.
2. Logic and Reason
God has created human beings as rational creatures in his own image. Therefore we affirm the necessity of logic and reason as tools for the correct understanding of truth which cannot be contradictory. We deny that faith is illogical or irrational. Logic and reason are insufficient in themselves, apart from the Holy Spirit’s illumination, for knowing truth.
God is the only being with intrinsic authority, consequently, all human authority is delegated by him. Therefore we affirm that God has established three spheres of human government, and that he alone defines their various responsibilities:
a. Family government is for the upbringing and education of children as well as for the nurturing of orderly human relationships in honour, discipline and love. The family is the basic unit of society.
b. Church government is for the spiritual well-being and ministry of God’s people.
c. Civil government is for the well-ordering and protection of society; this includes the appropriate punishment of criminals.
4. Sanctity of Life
Human life belongs to God alone and is defined by Him. He has the sole right to give and take human life.
We affirm that life begins at the moment of conception and that abortion is murder. We deny that abortion is merely an issue of a woman’s right of choice over her own body.
b. The death penalty:
We further affirm the responsibility of civil government to execute the death penalty for premeditated murder in order to demonstrate the sanctity of life and to deter such crime. We deny that the just execution of a murderer by the God-ordained authorities is itself murder and that such criminals have a right to life.
5. Marriage and Sexuality
God created mankind male and female and ordained marriage as a lifelong union between a natural man and a natural woman.
a. Marriage and divorce:
Therefore we affirm that husband and wife are no longer two but one and that God intends marriage to last as long as both partners are alive. We affirm that there are certain circumstances in which Scripture permits divorce; nevertheless, divorce always grieves the Lord and hurts those involved. We deny that marriage is merely a negotiated contract which may be terminated at will. Divorce is permissible only for a cause permitted in Scripture.
b. Marriage and sexual purity:
We further affirm that marriage is by nature heterosexual and that any expression of sexual intimacy is holy only in the covenant of marriage. We deny the legitimacy and permissibility of homosexuality, lesbianism, fornication, adultery, pornography, pedophilia, bestiality, prostitution, incest and other forms of sexual perversion.
God is a God of order and justice who disciplines those he loves for their good. Therefore we affirm the duty of churches to discipline their unrepentant members, excommunication being the final means of grace for their reconciliation. We further affirm the responsibility of parents to discipline their children in the spirit of loving correction. This discipline may include corporal punishment. We deny that all such discipline in the church and the home is un-loving or harmful to its recipients when done according to the principles of Scripture and in the spirit of Christ.
7. Gender Roles
God, our Creator, has established a difference in the creation and roles of men and women which we are not at liberty to change. Therefore we affirm the male headship and responsibility in the home and in the church to be exercised in the spirit of Christlike, sacrificial servant-hood. We deny that women are inferior to men in value but they may not serve in leadership roles as pastors or elders.
God calls each of his people to serve him in various ways in this world. Therefore we affirm the sanctity of labor and the validity of all vocations which are not contrary to the righteous requirements of Scripture. We deny that work and business are outside the realm of Christian living and we deny that they may be performed as something other than service to Christ?
9. Racial Harmony
God has created all mankind in his own image; all people are of one blood having descended from Adam. Furthermore, God in Christ has broken down every wall that sin has made to separate us creating one new humanity in Christ. Therefore we affirm the dignity and human brotherhood of all mankind in addition to the unity of all believers in Christ regardless of race, colour or ethnicity. We will therefore take steps personally and corporately to encourage racial and cultural harmony expressing this visibly in our communities and church. We deny that there is any basis in reason or in the Bible for racial discrimination by any person against other people.
God is the sovereign Creator of the heavens and the earth. Therefore we affirm that the account of creation in Genesis is a record of historical events, that God created everything out of nothing, after its own kind and that man was specially created in the image of God. We deny the philosophy of evolutionism in all its various expressions.
11. Animals and the Environment
God has given mankind dominion over that part of his creation which is not made in his image and needs to be subdued, especially since the Fall and God’s subsequent curse. Therefore we affirm the stewardship of human beings to use animals and the environment for the glory of God and the benefit of humanity within the guidelines of biblical principles of ecology. We also affirm God’s ownership of all land and mankind’s responsibility to use it for his glory considering the needs of fellow human beings and of future generations. We deny that animals have rights or value equal to that of human beings; we also deny that the environment is without corruption, is self-determining, or shares in the nature of God in any way.
The only true and living God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who has revealed himself in Holy Scripture. Therefore we affirm that he alone is to be worshipped and obeyed in all of life and that Jesus Christ is the only Savior for Sinners. We deny that any other religion or creed is valid and should be considered a respectable equal to biblical Christianity.
13. Freedom of Religion
God has ordained civil government for the ordering of society in order to ensure the peaceful co-existence of all citizens irrespective of race or creed. Therefore we affirm the responsibility of government to ensure that citizens are free to practice and propagate religion according to their consciences. We deny that civil government has the right to prescribe or forbid any religion be that religion Christianity, pluralism, secularism, or any other.
God has ordained evangelism – the proclamation and teaching of the biblical message about Christ and him crucified – as the primary human activity through which he will call his elect people to salvation. Therefore we affirm that in this regard one of our core activities is to unite our efforts in God-centered evangelism and missions, through which Bible believing churches will be established throughout Southern Africa and beyond. We deny that evangelism is an activity aimed at entertaining the lost and meeting their felt social needs.
15. Sufficiency of Scripture
God has revealed all that is necessary for life and godliness in his Word. Therefore we affirm the complete sufficiency of the Scripture for faith and obedience in all areas of life. We also affirm the completion of God’s revelation in the sixty-six books of the Bible. We deny that any further revelation is being given today through so called prophets and apostles or through any revelatory gifts. We further deny that human traditions or conventions should be followed without continual evaluation in the light of Scripture since such things have no intrinsic authority.
16. Expository Preaching
God has ordained preaching as the primary means by which his people are brought to faith and sanctified. Therefore we affirm the centrality of expository preaching since this best reflects the mind of God and most edifies his people. We place a high premium on a Christ-centered exposition of the Scriptures promoting it in our churches and theological schools. We deny that things such as films, drama and musical programs, while having a place in life in general, should take the place of the preaching of the Word in corporate worship.
17. Genuine Christianity
A true Christian is a person whose nature has been transformed by the Holy Spirit from a God-resisting orientation to a God-seeking orientation. Therefore we affirm that all true Christians display certain marks of regeneration, namely: continued spiritual growth, ongoing and continual dependence on Christ alone; habitual obedience to His commands and habitual rejection of evil; sacrificial love for God and fellow believers; the ability to overcome the ungodly pressures of a society antagonistic to its Maker (i.e. the ‘World’), perseverance in faith and obedience to the end of life. We deny that a person who makes a mere outward profession of Christianity without displaying the above marks is a genuine Christian.
18. Personal Devotion to God
God is a living God who dwells among his people in covenant relationship. Therefore we affirm the individual believer’s personal walk with God in all of life enjoying communion with him in a vital relationship – including commitment to a local church. We deny that mere intellectual adherence to an orthodox creed or confession, apart from a regenerated heart issuing in good works, is truly Christian.
19. Good Works and Social Concern
God has created his people in Christ for good works, which are to be done in obedience to God’s commandments as the fruit and evidence of a true and lively faith, for the glory of God. Therefore we affirm the importance of engaging in good works such as helping orphans, looking after widows, caring for the poor and speaking for the dumb (unborn children). We deny that good works are the ground or basis (rather than the evidence) of our salvation.
20. Autonomy and Interdependency
God has instituted the local church as a self-governing body through which his people will be evangelized, edified and engaged in good works for his glory. He has also revealed in his Word that a local church may co-operate with other local churches. Therefore we affirm the principle of local church autonomy as well as that of the interdependency of local churches. We also affirm that local churches may co-operate with each other in order to unite their efforts and resources around common projects. We deny the need to form an institution with officers bearing instruments of power that would undermine or even replace the autonomy of any local church. We also deny that any local church should ignore its relationship with other local churches; in particular no church should receive members from another local church without regard for disciplinary measures taken by that church.
21. The Unity of the Church
God’s Word teaches the essential unity of God’s people based upon union with Christ, truth and righteousness. Therefore we affirm a biblically and doctrinally based co-operation among true churches of Jesus Christ for the purpose of reaching the whole world with the gospel of Christ. We deny that there is any biblical basis for an ecumenism that calls for an organizational unification of the Protestant churches of the world (and ultimately of all professing Christians) that disregards the essential and fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith such as the virgin birth, the atoning work of Christ, regeneration, conversion, justification by faith alone and Sanctification.
22. Liberty of Conscience
God in Christ has purchased the liberty of believers freeing them from the guilt of sin, God’s wrath, unbiblical traditions, the regulations of men, Satan, and the fear of death. Therefore we affirm that believers are bound in their consciences only to God and his Word, not to the impositions of men and of Satan. We further affirm that Christian liberty is nothing but freedom to serve God within the boundaries that God himself has set. We do not believe that Christian liberty gives license to sin of any kind. We further believe that no church, or its leaders, has a right to expect obedience from members when their teachings are contrary to, or additional to, God’s word.
Our Lord has warned his church against straining out gnats while swallowing camels. Therefore we affirm that in essentials there must be unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things charity. We also affirm that our understanding of infallible truth can in itself be fallible. All matters are not equally important. Any difference of opinion regarding non-essentials* should not necessarily lead to contention and division among members who disagree.
* Note: For the purpose of fellowship at Tzaneen Baptist Church, we consider non-essentials to be those matters which are outside of our Statement of Faith.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
From the time of the Apostles to today, Christians have laid out doctrine (beliefs) in brief, definitive statements. As those who know God, we believe it necessary to set forth in a concise fashion the cornerstone truths of our church as guided by Scripture. Our Statement of Faith summarizes essential Christian beliefs, shows unity in Christ, and guards the church from error.
All who join TBC are required to affirm the TBC Statement of Faith. This statement registers our belief in historic Christianity, evangelical Christianity, believer’s baptism, and Elder polity. Once we as members agree to the statement, we are responsible for believing and living in accordance with it.
I. The Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.
II. Of The True God
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
III. Of The Fall Of Man
We believe that Man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
IV. Of The Way Of Salvation
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God; who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins; that having risen from the dead he is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.
V. Of Justification
We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is Justification; that Justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
VI. Of The Freeness Of Salvation
We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
VII. Of Grace In Regeneration
We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.
VIII. Of Repentance And Faith
We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King, and relying on Him alone as the only and all sufficient Savior.
IX. Of God’s Purpose Of Grace
We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which He graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
X. Of Sanctification
We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means, – especially, the word of God, the two ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness and prayer.
XI. Of The Perseverance Of Saints
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
XII. Of The Harmony Of The Law And The Gospel
We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government; that it is holy, just, and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin: to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the Means of Grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.
XIII. Of A Gospel Church
We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His word; that its only scriptural officers are Bishops or Pastors, and Deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
XIV. Of Baptism And The Lord’s Supper
We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect, in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is pre-requisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord’s Supper, in which the members of the church by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination.
XV. Of The Christian Sabbath
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath; and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public; and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God.
XVI. Of Civil Government
We believe that Civil Government is of Divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
XVII. Of The Righteous And The Wicked
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.
XVIII. Of The World To Come
We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.