There is one Body and one Spirit …one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all who is over all and through and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
It would be impossible to say everything in a short space that we believe! Here are just a few of our essential teachings, briefly described:
God is the spiritual, intelligent and personal Ruler of the universe. He has always been and always will be. God is infinite in holiness, love and other perfections. To Him we owe every expression of honor, obedience and service.
God is One, but has chosen to express Himself in three personalities so that Mankind can better understand and relate to Him.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Psalm 90:1-2)
God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, each co-equal with the other, but each with distinction and purpose. In a very simple way, it could be said that the Father chose, the Son redeemed and the Spirit sealed. Furthermore, Jesus Christ, according to God’s timetable, will return again to Earth visibly and personally.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Just as He chose us in Him …
In Him [Jesus] we have redemption through His blood …
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance …(Ephesians 1:3,4,13)
People are made in the spiritual image of God, intended to be like Him in character or nature. People are the pinnacle of God’s creation.
Although every person has tremendous potential, each is also marred by an inner attitude of rebellion and disobedience toward God called “sin”. This inner attitude separates Mankind from God and also causes many problems in life.
Furthermore, God has chosen to set the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is meant to be composed of those related to one another by blood, marriage or adoption. God uses marriage and the home as shadows of what salvation and heaven are like.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Salvation is God’s free gift to Mankind. But, as with any gift, it must be accepted.Salvation comes only by trusting in Jesus alone and is never bought by a person’s good deeds.
Here is a simple way to explain God’s salvation:
Since salvation is all about God’s unmerited love (grace) and transforming power, staying saved is also God’s loving provision and is not subject to being lost.
The magnitude, necessity and availability of the gift of salvation compels every Christian and each church to make evangelism and missions a priority.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It is what God wanted us to know. It was written by human authors under the supernatural influence of God. The Bible is objective Truth without any mixture of error. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand and apply biblical Truth.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; So that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16,17)
The New Testament church is both local and universal. Locally, it is an autonomous congregation of baptized believers who seek to glorify God by fulfilling His mission in their own cultural and geographical context.
In the church, every member is useful and valuable; the Bible speaks of church members as being like parts of a body. Therefore, the church has organization but is really more like a living organism.
The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ that includes all of the redeemed of every generation and place.
As Christ’s representatives on Earth, the church is responsible for being salt and light in the world as it upholds biblical Truth as a standard for living.
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. (1 Corinthians 1:2)
Baptism is the first step in discipleship. After a person is saved (makes a decision to trust Christ), they should be baptized. Baptism does not make a person a believer, but shows that they already are believers in Jesus. It is an outward sign of an inward reality.It is like a picture or dramatic presentation that says, “this was my old life (under the water) and this is my new life (out of the water).”
Therefore, baptism always follows conversion and is never to be considered a part of salvation. Baptism, then, should not be confused with some other practices, such as infant dedication or rituals that might take the place of true conversion that a person understands and freely chooses. We sometimes call baptism, “Believer’sBaptism.”
The word, baptism, comes directly from a word in the original language of the New Testament (Greek). It literally means to immerse or to dip under.
Conway's First practices baptism by immersion because that method is taught in the Bible and best symbolizes the meaning of salvation.
Baptisms are scheduled as needed and always as a part of a worship service, since it is a public testimony of a person’s faith in Christ. Baptisms are very meaningful. Conway's First makes every effort to ensure that the experience is easy and convenient.
Baptism also welcomes believers into the fellowship of the church since it expresses a commitment to the Truth that this church embraces concerning Jesus and salvation (more on this will be discussed in the chapter on church membership).
Those who believed and accepted his message were baptized. (Acts 2:41)
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is sometimes called communion.Jesus and his disciples first practiced it before the Lord was crucified. Jesus commanded that believers should remember Him and what He had done through observing the Lord’s Supper.
Like baptism, the Lord’s Supper is symbolic.However, God uses the Lord’s Supper to draw believers closer to Jesus and to one another.
Persons should only participate in the Lord’s Supper after close personal examination.Conway's First invites persons to observe the Lord’s Supper if they understand its significance (parents should guide children; persons who have not become Christians yet could not comprehend the sacrifice of Jesus nor His salvation) and have a sense of doctrinal and relational commitment with the congregation.
Conway's First recognizes formal membership as an expression of commitment to Christ, the work of a local church and of the members one for another.
Membership helps the church know whom it can count on. It also presents a valid testimony of values to the community at large. Finally, church membership helps to produce spiritual growth in people through helping to fulfill the biblical command for Christians to be accountable to one another.
Becoming A Member
Joining by profession of faith in Jesus and believer’s baptism.
If a person has accepted Jesus as their personal savior and therefore become born-again, they can announce to the church their faith in Christ and request Believer’s Baptism.
Joining by believer’s baptism.
A person who has accepted Christ but never been baptized can join by requesting baptism.
Sometimes a person decides to join Conway's First from a church of another Christian denomination that does not practice baptism by immersion. In these cases, baptism is required to welcome a person into the fellowship of the church and to signify commitment, even though the individual may have been a Christian for a long time.
Joining by Transfer of Membership
Persons who have become Christians and been baptized and are current members of another Baptist church can join Conway's First by asking our church office to transfer their membership.
Joining by Statement
A person who has been born again and baptized by immersion can join Conway's First by their statement of the above. Sometimes, a person can’t remember the name of the church where their membership is recorded. Or, the church may have disbanded.
Since a transfer of membership from a non-Baptist church is not available, individuals who state their conversion to Christ and their baptism by immersion in another kind of church that is similar in belief to Conway's First can be received for membership without being baptized again. Candidates for membership under these conditions will want to visit with a ministerial staff member to discuss their circumstances.