What We Believe
Westside Community Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The Baptist Faith and Message is a detailed explanation of the biblical beliefs held by Southern Baptists. Our Senior Pastor and Elders are always available to answer any questions you might have about these statements.
Each statement below is followed by scripture references you can use to help you understand each of these foundational beliefs.
The following is based on the Baptist Faith and Message and has been approved and affirmed by the Elders of Westside Community Church.
What is the Gospel?
The just and gracious God of the universe looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His power over sin in the resurrection so that all who turn and trust in Him will be reconciled to God forever.
A biblical presentation and a biblical response to the Gospel includes five key elements. These five key biblical elements are:
1. The character of God
(Romans 1:18-20, 2:1-16, 3:22-24, Isaiah 43:6-7)
God is the just and gracious Creator of all things.
Realize that we belong to Him, are accountable to Him, and are created to glorify Him.8
2. The sinfulness of man
(Romans 1:21-25, 3:9-20, 3:23, 6:23):
We are each created by God, but we are all corrupted by sin.
Admit areas of rebellion, be honest with God about sin, and turn from it.
3. The sufficiency of Christ
(Romans 3:21-26, 4:25, 5:6-10, 5:18, 8:1-4):
Jesus Christ alone is able to remove our sin and reconcile us to God through His death. He alone satisfies the wrath of God for our sins.
Recognize that we are helpless to be reconciled with God apart from Jesus Christ.
4. The necessity of faith
(Romans 1:17, 3:20-31, 4:22-25, 6:11-14, 8:10-11, 10:9-13):
We are reconciled to God only through faith in Jesus. There is nothing we can do to become right with God.
Faith that leads to salvation involves turning from sin and self-sufficiency. We turn to Jesus and trust in Him as Lord, confess Him as Lord and Savior.
5. The urgency of eternity
(John 3:14-16, 36, John 10:27-30, 17:3, 1 Timothy 1:16-17, Hebrews 9:12, 1 John 5:11- 13):
Our eternal destiny is dependent on our response to Jesus.
Cry out to God to save you of your sins, put your faith in Jesus Christ and confess Him as Savior and Lord
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
- Exodus 24:4;
- Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19;
- Joshua 8:34;
- Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140;
- Isaiah 34:16; 40:8;
- Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32;
- Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29;
- Luke 21:33; 24:44-46;
- John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17;
- Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11;
- Romans 15:4; 16:25-26;
- 2 Timothy 3:15-17;
- Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12;
- 1 Peter 1:25;
- 2 Peter 1:19-21.
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
- Genesis 1:1; 2:7;
- Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.;
- Leviticus 22:2;
- Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6;
- 1 Chronicles 29:10;
- Psalm 19:1-3;
- Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8;
- Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13;
- Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19;
- Mark 1:9-11;
- John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8;
- Acts 1:7;
- Romans 8:14-15;
- 1 Corinthians 8:6;
- Galatians 4:6;
- Ephesians 4:6;
- Colossians 1:15;
- 1 Timothy 1:17;
- Hebrews 11:6; 12:9;
- 1 Peter 1:17;
- 1 John 5:7.
God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
- Genesis 18:1ff.;
- Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.;
- Isaiah 7:14; 53;
- Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19;
- Mark 1:1; 3:11;
- Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46;
- John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28;
- Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20;
- Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4;
- 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28;
- 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9;
- Galatians 4:4-5;
- Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10;
- Philippians 2:5-11;
- Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9;
- 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18;
- 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16;
- Titus 2:13-14;
- Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8;
- 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22;
- 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9;
- 2 John 7-9;
- Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
- Genesis 1:2;
- Judges 14:6;
- Job 26:13;
- Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.;
- Isaiah 61:1-3;
- Joel 2:28-32;
- Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19;
- Mark 1:10,12;
- Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49;
- John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14;
- Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6;
- Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27;
- 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13;
- Galatians 4:6;
- Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18;
- 1 Thessalonians 5:19;
- 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1;
- 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16;
- Hebrews 9:8,14;
- 2 Peter 1:21;
- 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7;
- Revelation 1:10; 22:17.
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
- Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6;
- Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5;
- Isaiah 6:5;
- Jeremiah 17:5;
- Matthew 16:26;
- Acts 17:26-31;
- Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29;
- 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22;
- Ephesians 2:1-22;
- Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
- Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
- Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the confession of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
- Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
- Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.
- Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
- Genesis 3:15;
- Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8;
- Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6;
- Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32;
- John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17;
- Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32;
- Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10;
- 2 Corinthians 5:17-20;
- Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15;
- Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16;
- Philippians 2:12-13;
- Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.;
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24;
- 2 Timothy 1:12;
- Titus 2:11-14;
- Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14;
- James 2:14-26;
- 1 Peter 1:2-23;
- 1 John 1:6-2:11;
- Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local body of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each church operates under the Lordship of Christ. In such a church each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are elders and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of elder or pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Baptism and The Lord's Supper
- Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20;
- Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26;
- Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20;
- John 3:23;
- Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7;
- Romans 6:3-5;
- 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29;
- Colossians 2:12.
Evangelism and Missions
The Christian and Social Order