The Bible is the Word of God and we recognize it as holding absolute authority over us for all of life. We find it helpful to summarize what the Scriptures teach in certain matters. Calvary Baptist Madison cooperates with the Southern Baptist Convention and our formal statement of belief is the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. The pastors (also called elders) of Calvary Church in Madison Indiana would also like to offer the following summary of the foundational truths of God we hold to firmly. Also you can listen to sermons related to these Core Beliefs Here.
The sole basis of our beliefs is the Bible, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. It is the fully inspired and infallible Word of God. God’s Holy Spirit carried along the human authors as they wrote, in such a way that what they wrote were, in fact, His very own words. The Bible is a totally sufficient guide for all of life and is the supreme and final authority in every age. The Bible was written without error in the original manuscripts and the Lord in His providence has wondrously preserved the accuracy of His Word throughout history, resulting in modern English translations that can be relied upon with confidence.
There is but one God, all glorious, holy, infinite in power, wisdom, justice, goodness and love, the Creator of the universe, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each of whom possesses all the attributes of Deity and the characteristics of personality.
God the Father, by His own choice and out of love for sinful men and women, sent Jesus Christ into the world to reconcile sinners to Himself. Jesus is the eternal Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. He was God in the flesh, both true God and true man.
Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and voluntarily suffered and died as our substitute to pay the penalty for our sins, thus satisfying God’s justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man, makes intercession for His own. He will return to earth to judge all men and establish His kingdom. The only way of salvation is repentance of sin and total trust (faith) in His cross-work.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the God-head (Trinity). He has always existed as God and has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ, to convict men and women of their sins, and to impart new life to all who place their faith in Christ. He indwells believers from the moment of spiritual birth, seals them until the day of redemption, allots spiritual gifts to them for ministry, produces fruits of a changed life in Christ and empowers believers to live a life pleasing to God.
God created man in His own image—and man, as he was originally created, was innocent before God. But rather than loving and serving God, man chose to sin by disobeying God, and therefore was alienated from his Creator and came under divine condemnation. Thus all human beings are born with a corrupted nature and without spiritual life, and are totally incapable of pleasing God in and of themselves.
Sin is breaking the law of God and falling short of God’s standard. Sin is not just outward acts of rebellion, but a disposition of the heart. Indeed, we sin because we are sinners at our core. Sin cuts us off from God and incurs the righteous wrath, anger and judgment of Holy God. It enslaves us, robbing us of true freedom to do good in God’s eyes. Sin renders us helpless to please God and renders us spiritually dead, unable to lift a finger to save ourselves. Sin is evil and the source of all that is ugly and horrible in this world. Only in seeing our sin will we understand our dire need of a Savior.
Men and women are freed from the penalty for their sins not as a result, in whole, or in part of their own works, goodness, or religious ceremony, but by the undeserved favor of God alone. Jesus’ perfect, sinless life substitutes for our human defection and rebellion against God. His death on the cross was a substitutionary sacrifice whereby God punished our sins in the body of Christ. Jesus’ resurrection vindicates that His sacrifice was wholly acceptable to God and proves Jesus is not just another man, but is the righteous God-Man and promised Savior. All who turn from their sin and trust in Jesus will be saved. Christ is our only hope and the only way of salvation.
All who are born again of the Spirit can, through the sure promises of God, be fully assured of eternal life from the very moment they put their faith in Christ. This assurance is not based upon any kind of human merit, but upon the finished work of Christ, who completely paid for their sins and upon the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who is the deposit guaranteeing their inheritance.
All true believers in Christ make up the church worldwide and should assemble together in local churches for worship, prayer, fellowship and teaching to become conformed to the image of Christ and to become equipped to carry out the Great Commission that Christ gave His followers in Matthew 28:19-20.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Jesus Christ has instructed those who believe in Him to be baptized in water as a symbol of their new birth in Christ. Baptism is only for those who have personally believed in Christ. Our practice is to baptize by immersion. The Lord also instituted the Lord’s Supper or Communion as a remembrance of His suffering, substitutionary death, resurrection and the eager expectation of His future kingdom. Neither baptism nor the Lord’s Supper have any merit in helping a person obtain eternal life.