We believe the Bible and teach it to be absolutely true and perfect. Every belief, teaching, and practice of West Florida Baptist Church comes from God’s Word.
The following states what we believe as a church family.
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be verbally and the plenary inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed, and therefore are the final authority for faith and life. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. Three of these dispensations – the law, the church, and the kingdom —are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture (Gen. 1:28; 1 Cor. 9:17; 2 Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10, 3:2-10; Col. 1:24-25, 27; Rev. 20:2-6).
We believe in the Triune God, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each co-eternal in being, coidentical in nature, coequal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections (Deut. 6:4; Mt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Jn 14:10, 26).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men (Isa. 7:14, 9:6; Lk. 1:35; Jn 1:1-2, 14; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24-25; I Pet. 2:24; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:3-5). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Heb. 9:24, 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1 Jn 2:1-2).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, and that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (Jn 16:8-11; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13-14). We believe that He is the Divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 1:17-18, 5:18; 1 Jn 2:20, 27). We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer. God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip believers in the assembly in order that they can do the work of the ministry (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11, 28; Eph. 4:7-12). We believe that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and the gift of healing, were temporary. We believe that speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit and that ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God frequently chooses to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing (I Cor. 1:22, 13:8; 14:21-22).
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; and, that man is totally depraved, and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 3:22-23; 5:12; 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19).
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Jn 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).
We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-agin persons (1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22-23, 5:25-27; Col. 1:18). We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament (Acts 14:27, 20:17, 28-32; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11). We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control (Acts 13:1-4, 15:19-31, 20:28; Rom. 16:1, 4; 1 Cor. 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; 1 Pet. 5:1-4). We recognize water baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42, 18:8; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).
We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Saviour and Lord; and, that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations is commanded of God (Rom. 12:1-2, 14:13; 2 Cor. 6:14, 7:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 Jn 2:15-17; 2 Jn 9-11).
We believe in the “blessed hope,” the personal, imminent return of Christ who will rapture His church prior to the seven-year tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation Christ will personally and visibly return, with His saints, to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom which was promised to the Nation of Israel (Ps. 89:3-4; Dan. 2:31-45; Zech. 14:4-11; 1 Thess. 1:10; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Rev. 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:1-6).
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Mt. 25:46; Jn. 5:28, 29, 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 12-13).
We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord (Lk. 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23, 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-6).
We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment (Mt. 25:41-46; Mk. 9:43-48; Lk. 16:19-26; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15).
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the Fall of Man, that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and, that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire (Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-17; Matt. 4:2-11; 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
We believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24-hour periods. We reject evolution, the gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Thiestic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin (Gen. 1-2; Ex. 20:11).
We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home; 2) the church; and 3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective, Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God (Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13-14).
We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any other type of
sexual activity, identity or expression that lies outside of this definition of marriage, including those that are becoming more accepted in the culture and the courts, are contradictory to God’s natural design and purpose for sexual activity. (Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5, 13; Gen. 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1:26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4).
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one legitimate meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God, which joins one man and one woman in a single, covenantal union, as delineated by Scripture. (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23).
We believe that man and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home and men are to be the leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 1).
We believe that God hates divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on the grounds of fornication. Although divorced and remarried persons of divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon (Mal. 2:14-17; Mt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well being of the mother are acceptable (Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5, 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24, 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5, 20:15-18; Lk. 1:44).
We believe that God has given the church a Great Commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to go to the foreign nations and not wait for them to come to us (Mt. 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Lk. 24:46-48; Jn 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20).
We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander (1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32).
We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially. We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made (Gen. 14:20; Prov. 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 Jn 3:17).