SGBC - 1689 Confession
The Sovereign Grace Bible Church of Cebu
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 1  Trinity Baptist Church, Montville, NJ
 2  The Reformed Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, MI
 3  The Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Mebane, NC
1689 Revised Confession of Faith

of the Church

1. Scripture declares the church of Christ to be the assembly of the disciples of our risen Lord Jesus Christ, which gathers by the Holy Spirit in God's special presence, fights His enemies, and conducts His worship.

2. Although the nature and characteristics of this assembly of Christ's disciples were progressively revealed in the Scriptures, wherein it was richly and abundantly foreshadowed as the body and bride of the Second Adam, the Son of God, as the remnant of humanity saved from the wrath of God, as the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, as a kingdom of priests, as the assembly of the Lord, as the temple of God, as the holy city, Jerusalem, Mount Zion, as the remnant of God's people liberated from captivity, and as the disciples of God's final prophet; yet it was formed in the fullness of time, by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in fulfillment of God's covenant promises, in organic continuity with the people of God under the Old Covenant, from a believing remnant of the Hebrew Nation according to the election of grace, into which Gentile disciples were grafted under the ministry of His disciples, disclosing Christ's church to be catholic, open to disciples from every race and nation without ethnic restriction.

3. The church of Christ, thus formed by the Lord and His apostles, is the Commonwealth of God's people, on earth, under the New Covenant. In this age, therefore, this commonwealth of Israel under the New Covenant, which is the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, the fellowship of the saints and faithful brethren, the family of God's elect, is separated by death into two parts. The church of Christ, which is militant, wrestling not against flesh, an this present evil world, is the earthly and visible part of this spiritual commonwealth, the disembodied spirits of all just men made perfect in heaven, those who died both before and after Christ's incarnation, commonly called the church triumphant, its heavenly and invisible part. Nevertheless, though New Covenant Israel is thus divided, there is even now, in virtue of the special presence of the Spirit of God with His people both in heaven and on earth, a spiritual unity and communion between the glorified spirits in heaven and the church on earth. But in the age to come, when Christ shall return and present the church to Himself a glorious church, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, triumphant over every foe, then the whole number of God's elect, from heaven and earth, will be gathered into one glorious assembly, fellowship, and kingdom before Christ the King, forever and ever.

4. The Scripture views and denotes the church militant both particularly or locally and collectively or inclusively: each local assembly of Christ's disciples, a particular church, constituting a distinct and independent part, the local churches viewed collectively constituting the unified and interdependent whole, the universal church and assembly of Christ's disciples, which in its broadest span is age long and worldwide, including every true church of Christ, everywhere on earth, in every generation until His return, which is the spouse and body of Christ, the fullness of Him that fills all in all, the house of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth, out of which there is ordinarily (not absolutely) no possibility of salvation.

5. Whereas this universal church and assembly of Christ's disciples is the visible society of those saved form sin, although with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace it may be called invisible, only such as are truly justified from their sins and united to Christ in saving faith ought to be received and retained in its membership, and only of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted. Nevertheless, through error in doctrine or judgment, some persons who do not know the Lord may be wrongly received into the church, and others may be wrongly refused or cast out. But this anomaly does not justify he apathy by which men condone and tolerate unconverted members in their churches, or the pride by which they devise and enforce membership standards stricter than God's; rather, Christ calls His church, throughout this age, to exercise discernment and discipline with diligence, prayer, love and a good conscience, in order to maintain peace and purity in the house of God, until He Himself forever removes from His church everything false, impure, and evil upon His return.

6. The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error; and some assemblies have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan, from which the Spirit of Christ has departed, in which the proclamation of the gospel and the practice of godly discipline have ceased. Nevertheless Christ always has had, and ever shall have a kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of His name, in fulfillment of His promise to preserve, guard and perpetuate His church until at His appearing he crushes all enemies under its feet, whether remaining sin, or persecution, or treachery, or heresy, or apostasy, or antichrist, or Satan, unto the last enemy, which is death.

7. The church universal is perpetually governed by the Lord Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit and apostles. The Lord Jesus Christ alone is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner. But because He is in heaven seated at God's right hand and His church is militant in church as His vicar, to indwell and animate, guide and teach, rule and govern, convict and sanctify, and protect and comfort His bride throughout this age until He is reunited with her at His return. Moreover, in love and grace, Christ commissioned His apostles to build, order, oversee, and shepherd His church universal, by their testimony during their lives, after their death succeeded only by their writings preserved in Scripture; nor has Christ given to any person other than those apostles any authority to govern His church universal. Wherefore, no Pope of Rome can never in any sense be head of the church, or vicar of Christ, or successor of Peter and the other apostles; to the contrary, such blasphemous claims, together with their doctrines of demons and bloody persecutions, abundantly demonstrate that the Popes of Rome are false apostles, sons of perdition, and ministers of the Devil, fashioning themselves as ministers of righteousness, and that the church of Rome over which they rule is apostate. Wherefore also, the unity of all true churches of Christ is spiritual and scriptural, since Christ by His word and Spirit rules over, dwells in, animates, and unites them all; nor is that unity sought in any supposed charismatic gifts of the Spirit, or in any ecumenical movement devised by men to create organizations of churches or of denominations and rule over them.

8. The mission of this living church universal, composed of the local churches, is defined by none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, through His apostles; who, to His church alone has given authority to perform, promised success in understanding, and furnished grace sufficient to fulfill His mandate; whereby he has directed the churches to gather in the Lord's day for the worship of God, to make disciples of all the nations, to promote and preserve the Word of God, to nurture His disciples, to exercise church discipline, to show benevolence to His needy saints, to observe His sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and to make intercession for all men; nor has the Lord authorized or empowered any other institution or society of men to fulfill the mission of the church, nor has He authorized or empowered the church to devise or pursue any mandate other than His.

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