Convention Of Atlantic Baptist Churches: The Basis of Union

A Statement of Agreed Doctrine and Church Polity 

Principles Upon Which The United Baptist Convention 

(Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches) Was Formed

 

Formation
The United Baptist Convention was formed in
1905-06 with the union of the Regular Baptists
and the Free Baptists. Sharing many of the same
concerns, the two bodies were brought together
by their common interests.
The basis of union was a statement of agreed
doctrine and church polity. Each church within
the two bodies voted on the statement. All
supported it with the exception of six churches,
and none of the six voted negatively.
Thus the United Baptist Convention was brought
into being upon an agreed statement of faith,
which was approved by the churches
themselves. Today, it remains the basis upon
which we work together.

Doctrinal Statement

The Scriptures — The Holy Scriptures of the
Old and New Testaments have their authority
from God alone, and are given to us by divine
inspiration. They are the only perfect, supreme,
infallible and sufficient standard of faith and
practice.

God — There is one true and living God; He is
an infinite Spirit; self-existent, omnipresent,
omniscient, omnipotent, good, wise, just and
merciful. He is the creator, preserver, and
sovereign of the universe; He is inexpressively
glorious in holiness, and worthy of all honour,
confidence and love. In the Godhead there are
three persons in one: the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit, who are equal in every divine perfection,
and who execute distinct but harmonious offices in
the great work of redemption.

Jesus Christ — Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is
the person of the trinity who, by virtue of His
sacrificial work, is the world’s redeemer and the
savior of all who believe. He is at present the
intercessor of all His people at the right hand of
the Father, and is to be the judge of all men.

The Holy Spirit — The Holy Spirit is the third
person of the trinity, by whom all saving, comforting
and sanctifying power is exerted upon human hearts.

State and Fall of Man — Man was created sinless.
By his own disobedience he fell into sin.
Through his fall into sin, an evil nature was
transmitted to the whole race, revealing itself in
actual transgression, and bringing all under the
reign of condemnation and death.

Atonement — The perfect life, vicarious death
and resurrection of Jesus Christ, have removed
the obstacles in the way of the Holy Spirit’s
regenerating power and of the Father’s forgiving
grace being extended to the sinner, and
constitute for every believing soul an all
prevailing plea and sufficient ground for
righteousness before God.

Regeneration — In regeneration a new life
principle is begotten in the soul of man by the
Holy Spirit through the word of truth, producing
a disposition to joyful obedience to Christ and to
holy conduct in life.

Repentance — In repentance the sinner, having
seen his sin, being moved by the energy of the
Holy Spirit, is led to grieve for and hate it as an
offence against God, and apprehending the grace
of our Lord Jesus Christ, he lovingly returns to
God to walk in the way of His commandments.

Faith — Faith is a conviction of the intellect
that God will perform all that He has promised
and an implicit trust of the heart in Christ as a
personal savior. It includes a hearty concurrence
of the will and affections with the whole plan of
salvation as revealed in the gospel, and is a
condition of justification and of cleansing from
the pollution of sin and of all subsequent gospel
blessings.
Justification — Justification is an act of God
wherein He accepts as righteous the sinner, to
whom is imputed the perfect righteousness of
Christ, on the condition of faith alone.

Sanctification — The Scriptures teach that
sanctification is the process by which, according
to the will of God, Christians are made partakers
of His holiness; that it has its beginning in
regeneration, and that it is carried on in the
hearts of believers by the presence and power of
the Holy Spirit, in the continual use of the
appointed means: the Word of God, self-examination,
self-denial, watchfulness and prayer.

The Christian Sabbath — We believe that the
first day of the week is the Lord’s day or
Christian Sabbath and is to be kept sacred to
religious purposes by abstaining from all secular
labour and sinful recreations, by the devout
observance of all means of grace, both private
and public, and by preparation of that rest that
remaineth for the people of God.

A Gospel Church — We believe that a church
of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers,
associated by covenant in the faith and
fellowship of the gospel; observing the
ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws; and
exercising the gifts, rights and privileges
invested in them by His Word. In the more
general sense, the word church is used to
designate all whose names are written in the
Lamb’s Book of Life. The only scriptural
officers are bishops (pastors), and deacons,
whose qualifications, claims and duties are
defined in the epistles of Timothy and Titus.

Baptism — This is the immersion of believers
in water into the name of the Father, Son and
Holy Spirit, in which are represented their death
to the world, the washing of their souls from the
pollution of sin, their resurrection to newness of life, the burial and resurrection of Christ, their
resurrection at the last day, and their
engagement to serve God.

The Lord’s Supper — The Lord’s Supper is an
ordinance of Christ, to be observed by the
churches in the manner indicated by Him in
Matt. 26:26-30.

Death — At death our bodies return to dust, our
souls to God who gave them. The righteous
being then perfected in happiness are received to
dwell with God, awaiting the full redemption of
their bodies. The wicked are cast into Hades
reserved unto the judgment of the great day.

Resurrection — There will be a general resurrection
of the bodies of the just and of the unjust; the
righteous in the likeness of Christ, but the wicked to
shame and everlasting contempt.

General Judgment — There will be a judgment
of quick and dead, of the just and unjust, on the
principles of righteousness, by the Lord Jesus Christ,
at His second coming. The wicked will be condemned
to eternal punishment, and the righteous received
into fullness of eternal life and joy.

Church Polity

Article I — The voluntary principle underlies
the whole church polity of the New Testament.
Each church is independent, but the churches are
interdependent. All the power the more general
bodies have over the less general and the
individual churches, is to advise and to enforce
advice with the strongest moral motives. In case
a church, or the churches composing a less
general body, depart from the belief and practice
of the denomination, it shall be the right of the
more general body to withdraw fellowship.

Article II — Each church, as occasion may
require, shall have the right to appeal to the
more general body for the help of their advice
and moral influence, or to call a council from
other churches. If a church, torn by dissensions
and heresy, declines to seek assistance of this
kind, it is the right of the more general body to
send a delegation to assist the church as far as
this may be possible.

Article III — Any church should be careful in
granting a license to preach. Every license, to be
valid, must be signed by the pastor and clerk of
the church granting it, and countersigned by at
least two neighbouring pastors after an examination
of the candidate’s qualifications.

Note with regard to Article III — The local
church license to preach has been replaced with
the License to Minister. Also, neighbouring pastors
are no longer required to countersign and
examine candidates. This process has been
replaced by the association License to Minister.

Article IV — When a church desires the ordination
of a brother, a council from as many of the
nearest churches as will secure the attendance of
at least five ordained pastors, with a suitable
number of laymen may be called; or the more
general body may be requested to attend to the
matter.

Note with regard to Article IV — In 1922, this
policy was replaced by the current practice of
having a Convention examining council
consisting predominately of association
representatives. Nevertheless, ordination still
continues to be the responsibility of the local
church

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