Our beliefs are divided into two sections: (1) Core Doctrines and (2) Doctrinal Distinctives. Core doctrines are the essential truths of the Christian faith, which we require all members to affirm. Our doctrinal distinctives are beliefs that shape the preaching, teaching, and ministry of our church, but are beliefs upon which good Christians may disagree. Members are NOT required to affirm our doctrinal distinctives.
MacArthur Blvd Core Doctrines
The articulation of our core doctrines comes from the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, which is the confession of faith affirmed by MacArthur Blvd. See the full Baptist Faith and Message for Scriptural references on each section.
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. 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.
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.
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 the redemption of men 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 whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission.
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 Saviour, and effects regeneration. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
2. THE SCRIPTURES
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and 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.
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 whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in 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 Saviour, who by His own blood obtained 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.
5. THE CHURCH
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 (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper), 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. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
6. 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.
MacArthur Blvd Doctrinal Distinctives
1. GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY IN SALVATION
We believe that God is sovereign in the initiation, preservation, and completion of salvation. We believe a person only receives salvation if God first initiates a special work within his or her heart, and that He will preserve the salvation of all His children until the end. We also believe that man is responsible for believing the Gospel and trusting Christ in order to receive salvation. Christians must verbally proclaim the Gospel to all people in all nations; no one receives salvation apart from hearing the Gospel. We do not believe that God’s sovereignty and man’s personal responsibility in salvation are contradictory concepts; both truths are taught in Scripture and must be affirmed.
2. CONTINUATION OF THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Bible teaches that all the spiritual gifts taught in the New Testament, including those commonly known as the “miraculous gifts,” will continue until the return of Jesus Christ. These gifts, like all spiritual gifts, are given for the edification of the church and the exaltation of Jesus Christ. If the miraculous gifts are manifested in the corporate gathering, biblical order should be maintained at all times according to the precepts laid out especially in 1 Corinthians 12-14. We do not believe in the doctrine of a “second blessing” that occurs subsequent to a believer’s conversions.
3. HIGH VIEW OF MARRIAGE
We believe that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman for a lifetime. Marriage was created by God, who alone has authority over its definition and parameters, and it exists for the glory of God. Homosexuality, infidelity, sex outside of marriage, and divorce are all the result of sinful rebellion against the King of the universe and are contrary to God’s will for the marriage relationship. God’s high view of marriage leads us to take strong stands against all these distortions of God’s design. Our desire is to speak both in truth and love.
Only the Gospel provides the power to fulfill God’s purpose for marriage and sexual intimacy. We strongly desire to graciously come alongside anyone who is struggling with any kind of sexual temptation, including same-sex attraction, as well as couples who are experiencing marital strife, to encourage, exhort, and shepherd them to honor Christ by the power of the Gospel.
4. COMPLEMENTARY ROLES OF MEN AND WOMEN
We believe that men and women are both created in the image of God and therefore possess equal worth and personhood before God. We believe that God has created men and women to possess different roles and functions that complement each other. Within the family, husbands assume the role of servant leader responsible to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Wives assume the role of active helper responsible for helping and submitting willingly to her husband just as the church submits to Christ.
Within the church, positions of authority and official teaching positions over other men are to be held only by men in keeping with their role as servant leaders within the plan of God. We do not believe the role of submissiveness is in any way inferior to the role of headship. That submissiveness is not an inferior role is demonstrated in the fact that the Son of God assumes a submissive role in relation to the Father within the Trinity. God has a high view of womanhood and so do we. We want to equip and empower the women of our church to be all God has called them to be within the roles He has established.
For some of these doctrinal distinctives, we have written fuller Statements of Belief, which explain in more depth our position on these various issues. These are linked in the right hand column of this page.