What we Believe
Because we're passionate about making disciples who follow Jesus, we prioritize the study and teaching of the Bible, God's inerrant Word. We trust in the power and relevance of the Scriptures for modern life. We seek to know God's will and let His Word guide our ministries. Our church doctrine and theology are drawn from a conservative and literal interpretation of the Bible as the revelation of God's eternal truth.
First Baptist Church Melissa is an autonomous, independent congregation of baptized believers choosing to cooperate with the Collin Baptist Association, the Southern Baptists of Texas, and the Southern Baptist Convention through cooperative missions giving, and ongoing mission, ministry, and institutional support. First Baptist Church Melissa is conservative in theology and generous in missions giving.
As an autonomous Baptist congregation serving within the larger body of the New Testament Church, First Melissa holds dear certain core values, beliefs, and strategies as we together serve Christ and maintain fellowship with one another.
Since we strongly believe in the soul competency of each individual, and that each Christian is called to act as a believer priest, we also hold that covenants are to be made only between a believer and God. However, we also hold that church members should agree and adhere to our basic beliefs, structure, and mission.
Therefore, this page is offered with two possible purposes in mind. First, to help you decide whether God is calling you to become a part of this congregation. Second, to help you as a member in evaluating and implementing your role, commitment, and calling to this local body of believers.·
The following statements are derived from and based on the 2000 version of the Baptist Faith and Message. For the complete document, you may visit the Southern Baptist Convention website at www.sbc.net.
The Holy Bible was written by divinely inspired men and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction, with God its author, salvation its end, and truth without error its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is both true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us and how He saves us, and is 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 2:16.; 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.
A. GOD THE FATHER
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow 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.
B. 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 our redemption 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 whom there is 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; ISAIAH 53:1-12; 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.
C. 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 Savior, and at the moment of their regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts they use to serve God through His church. He seals the believer until the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness 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 so that all of his descendants inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, people become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable him to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood secured 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.
A. 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 - the Holy Spirit convicts the sinner of his sin, 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 acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God.
C. 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.
D. 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.
God's Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with man's free agency, and is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but will persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, damage their graces and spiritual comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and earthly judgments on themselves; yet they are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation.
GENESIS 12:1-3; EXODUS 19:5-8; 1 SAMUEL 8:4-7,19-22; ISAIAH 5:1-7; JEREMIAH 31:31FF.; MATTHEW 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; LUKE 1:68-79;2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; JOHN 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; ACTS 20:32; ROMANS 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 CORINTHIANS 1:1-2; 15:24-28; EPHESIANS 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; COLOSSIANS 1:12-14; 2 THESSALONIANS 2:13-14; 2 TIMOTHY 1:12; 2:10,19;HEBREWS 11:39–12:2; JAMES 1:12; 1 PETER 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 JOHN 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation 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 congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of 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, and believers from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.
MATTHEW 16:15-19; 18:15-20; ACTS 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; ROMANS 1:7; 1 CORINTHIANS 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17;9:13-14; 12; EPHESIANS 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; PHILIPPIANS 1:1; COLOSSIANS 1:18; 1 TIMOTHY 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; HEBREWS 11:39-40; 1 PETER 5:1-4; REVELATION 2-3; 21:2-3.
Baptism and the Lord's Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to the believer's faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
The Lord's Day
The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, commemorating Christ's resurrection from the dead. It is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should include worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should align with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe, and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King; men enter that kingdom by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and work that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.
Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.
The Last Things
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28;John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
Evangelism and Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and each of His churches to work toward making disciples of all nations, as the Scriptures teach. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others, which is the foundation for all missionary effort. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the gospel be preached to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53;John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5;Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.
God is the source of all blessings, earthly and spiritual; all that we have and are, we owe to Him. Christians owe a spiritual debt to the whole world, are trustees of the gospel, and stewards of their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should share their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally to advance the Redeemer’s cause on earth.
Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
Christ’s people should, as needed, cooperate in organizations or associations for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to most effectively elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another to undertake missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries to extend Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common goals by various groups of Christ’s people. When an end goal is justified, cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.
Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.
The Christian and the Social Order
All Christians are obligated to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Methods used to improve society and establish righteousness among men, however, can only be truly and permanently helpful when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose all forms of racism, greed, selfishness, vice, and sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love - and to promote these ends, Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.
Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35;Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.
Peace and War
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.
The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is to accept His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and to apply His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.
God alone is Lord of the conscience, which is free from doctrines and commandments contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind, nor does it have any right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of individuals related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church, and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.