WEST HILL BAPTIST CHURCH
We, the West Hill Baptist Church of Akron, Ohio, endeavor to set forth here our distinctive beliefs and doctrines. We are made humble believing the Bible to be the infallible Word of God, accepting it as our authority and guide. We teach everything that the Bible teaches. We continue to stand firm in the old-time, New Testament faith even in the midst of the treacherous modernism that is creeping into Christendom today.
DECLARATIONS OF FAITH
I. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
A. We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired by God, and that it is the only infallible rule of faith and practice (II Tim. 3:16, 17; II Pet. 1:20, 21; II Sam. 23:2; Acts 1:16; 3:20, 21; John 10:35; Luke 16:29-31; Ps. 119:111; Rom. 3:1, 2).
B. We believe the Bible is the truth of God in its entirety. (Prov. 30:5, 6; John 17:17; Rom. 3:4; Rev. 22:18, 19).
II. THE TRUE GOD
A. We believe that there is only one living and true God, infinite in all of His attributes (John 4:24; Psalms 147:5; Heb. 3:4; Rom. 1:20; Jer. 10:10).
B. We believe that in the mystery of the Trinity, there are three persons: God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; John 15:26; II Cor. 13:14; I John 5:7).
III. THE FALL OF MAN
A. We believe that man was created holy (Gen. 1:27; Gen. 1:31; Eccl. 7:29; Acts 17:26-29) but, willfully violating the law of his Maker, he fell from that state (Gen. 2:16, 17; Gen. 3:6-24; Rom. 5:12).
B. We believe all mankind became sinners (Ps. 51:6; Rom. 5:15-19; 8:7;
John 3:6) not by constraint, but by choice (Isa. 53:6; Gen. 6:12; Rom. 3:9-18).
C. We believe that man as such, is without exception, justly exposed to everlasting condemnation (Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 1:18, 32; 2:1-16; Gal. 3:10; Matt. 20:15).
IV. THE WAY OF SALVATION
A. We believe that the only way of escape from this condemnation is through the substitutionary atonement of the Son of God (John 3:16; John 1:1-14; Heb. 4:14, 12:24), who through the Virgin Birth took to himself a human nature (Matt. 1:20-23; Luke 1:26-35; 2:1-7; John 1:14), yet without sin (Heb. 4:15), and by His sufferings, death, and resurrection made full satisfaction to the justice of God for the sin of man (Isa. 53:4, 5; Matt. 20:28; Rom. 4:25; 3:21-26; I John 4:10; 2:2; I Cor. 15:1-4; Heb. 9:13-14).
B. We believe that salvation is by grace apart from works or merit (Eph. 2:8, 9; II Tim. 1:9; Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:6, 7; Rom. 5:20, 21; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:5-7).
C. We believe that salvation comes by faith (Eph. 2:8, 9; Gal. 2:16; Rom. 3:28; Rom. 4:3, 18; Gal. 2:20, 21; Rom. 5:19; Titus 3:5-7; Rom. 1:5), which includes repentance (Acts 17:30; Luke 13:3; Matt. 3:2; Acts 2:28; Matt. 4:17; Mark 6:12).
D. We believe that salvation can be received by WHOSOEVER will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 22:17; 3:20; Rom. 10:13; John 3:16; John 1:12).
V. THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
A. God promises and gives eternal life (John 3:16; 3:18; 3:36; 5:24; 6:47).
B. The believer has everlasting life (John 5:24; 3:18; 3:36; 6:47; 10:27, 30).
C. Christians do not keep themselves (I Pet. 1:3-6; Jude 24, 25; John 10:28).
D. The Christian is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).
E. The believer can never lose his salvation (John 10:27-36).
F. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39).
G. When a Christian sins, God chastises him and keeps him (Heb. 12:5-11; Ps. 89:30-36).
H. The sins of Christians are not charged to them (Rom. 4:7-8; Rom. 8:1).
VI. REGENERATION BY GRACE
In order to be saved, we must be regenerated or born again (I John 3:7; Titus 3:5).
VII. THE GOSPEL CHURCH
A. We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers (I Cor. 1:1-13; Matt. 18:17; Acts 5:11; I Cor. 4:17; 14:23);
B. Associated by covenant in the faith of fellowship of the Gospel
(Acts 2:41, 42, 47; II Cor. 8:5; I Cor. 5:12);
C. Observing the ordinances of Christ (II Cor. 11:2; II Thess. 3:6; Rom. 16:17-20; I Cor. 11:23-26);
D. And governed by His laws (Matt. 28:19, 20; John 14:15; 15:12; I John 4:21; John 14:21; I Thess. 4:2);
E. And that the only Scriptural offices are bishops or pastors, and deacons (Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23; I Tim. Third Chapter; Titus First Chapter).
VIII. ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH
1. Scriptural baptism is by immersion. The Greek word for baptize means immerse and never means sprinkle or pour. Scriptures about baptism also make immersion absolutely necessary in the ordinance. Baptism must be in water (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:5; Matt. 3:13); in much water (John 3:23; Mark 1:9); going down into the water (Acts 3:38); burial in water (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12); resurrection from the water (Rom. 6:5; Col. 2:12); and coming up out of the water (Acts 8:39; Mark 1:10).
2. There are at least four things necessary for the administration of the ordinance of baptism.
a. There must be the proper subject – a saved person;
b. The proper authority – a church of the Lord Jesus Christ;
c. The proper purpose – to show salvation, not to procure it;
d. And in the proper mode – immersion.
3. The purpose of baptism is:
a. To set forth the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:3, 4);
b. To show the individual's salvation by death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ (Rom. 6:4, 11);
c. An illustration by figure symbol of salvation (I Peter 3:21);
d. The first step of obedience to Christ's command (Matt. 28:19-20).
4. Baptism is not necessary for salvation.
5. Every Christian should be baptized, not in order to save him but because he is saved (Acts 10:48; Matt. 28:19; Mark 1:9; Matt. 3:15-17).
6. Infant baptism is not acceptable, because it does not fulfill the Biblical requirements for a Scriptural baptism.
B. THE LORD'S SUPPER
1. We believe that the Lord's Supper is an ordinance of Christ's Church wherein the elements are bread and unfermented wine. The bread symbolizes the body of Christ given for salvation of men, and the grape juice symbolizes His blood shed for the redemption of sins (I Cor. 1:24-26; Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20).
2. The participants of this ordinance are those who have been saved, and who are willing to examine themselves as to their worthiness to participate in the Lord's Supper (I Cor. 11:27-31).
IX. MARRIAGE AND SEXUAL MORALITY
We believe that marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman in a covenant relationship with God as instituted by God and as stated in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. In Genesis 2:18 and 21-24 we find the following…
18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Here we see the first wedding. From this we can conclude that marriage is God's idea, designed and instituted by the Creator. In these verses we also discover that at the heart of God's design for marriage is companionship and intimacy between one man and one woman.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 19, verses 4-6, Jesus Christ said…
4He [Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Further, God’s intent for the marriage of a man and a woman was procreation as stated in the first chapter of Genesis verse 28…
28And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We also believe that sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the bonds of a Biblically defined marriage (see above). And we believe that any other form of marriage or sexual intimacy is immoral and a perversion of God’s gracious will, as expressed in Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:10, Hebrews 13:4 and 1 Corinthians 6:9.
26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
1 Timothy 1:10
the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
1 Corinthians 6:9
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
All Scripture above quoted from the English Standard Version (ESV).