What We Believe
As a District of the Baptist General Conference of Canada (BGCC) we in the Baptist General Conference in Alberta (BGCA) affirm the BGCC Affirmation of Faith, Pastoral Code of Ethics and Statement on Marriage in Canada.
Affirmation of Faith
THE WORD OF GOD
We believe that the Bible is the revealed Word of God, fully and verbally inspired, written under the direction of the Holy Spirit. We believe it is without error in the original manuscripts and is true and trustworthy in all that it asserts. It has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
We believe that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons, that these are equal in every divine perfection, and that they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence and redemption.
GOD THE FATHER
We believe in God, the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. We believe that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of each person, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He Saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.
GOD THE SON
We believe in Jesus Christ, existing eternally as God’s Son. In His incarnation He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, led a sinless life, performed miracles and taught with authority. We believe in his substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people and personal visible return to earth.
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who was sent by the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ and that He is an abiding helper, teacher and guide.
We believe that angels are a distinct order of created spiritual beings; that they can appear in human form; that good angels minister to human beings and serve God as special messengers; that Satan, a fallen angel, and his evil angels whom he leads, exercise great but limited evil power in the world, and will suffer final defeat at the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe the Triune God created everything - both physical and spiritual - out of nothing. We believe God created human beings, male and female, in His own image and likeness and therefore with unique, intrinsic worth from conception to natural death.
We believe Adam and Eve experienced perfect relationship with their Creator and were appointed stewards of God's originally good creation. We believe they sinned by choosing to disobey God and thereby brought death to the human race.
We believe that all people are sinners by nature and by choice and are, therefore, under condemnation. We believe that those who repent of their sins and trust Jesus Christ as Saviour are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
We believe in the universal church, the living spiritual body of which Christ is the Head and all regenerated persons are members. We believe in the local church, consisting of a community of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on a credible profession of faith, and associated for worship, ministry and fellowship. We believe that the mission of the church is to bring the good news of Jesus Christ into our lost world.
We believe that Christians should live for the glory of God and the well-being of others; that their conduct should be blameless before the world; that they should be faithful stewards of their possessions; and that they should seek to realize for themselves and others the full stature of maturity in Christ.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe Christian Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Triune God. We believe that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ in order to remember His death. We believe that these two ordinances should be observed and celebrated until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe that every person is directly responsible to God. Believers should be free to covenant together in autonomous congregations without undue interference from any ecclesiastical or government authority. While respecting the authority of government we affirm the responsibility of the church to speak into the public forum. In matters of disagreement between Scripture and government, we believe we must obey God.
We believe that local churches can best promote the cause of Jesus Christ by cooperating with one another in an association of like-minded congregations. Such an organization, whether a district or national conference, exists and functions by the will of the churches. Cooperation in a conference is voluntary and may be terminated at any time. Churches may likewise cooperate with inter-denominational fellowships on a voluntary, independent basis.
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the endless suffering of the unbeliever in Hell and the eternal joy of the believer in the presence of God.
Pastoral Code of Ethics
I will endeavour to pray daily, to read, study and meditate upon God’s Word; and to maintain extended times of contemplation.
I will plan to be with my family, realizing my special relationship to them, and their position as important members of my congregation.
I will seek to keep my body physically fit through proper eating habits and planned exercise, renewing myself through a weekly holiday and an annual vacation.
I will try to keep myself emotionally fit, keeping in touch with my feelings and growing in healthy control of them.
I will strive to grow through comprehensive reading and through participation in professional educational opportunities.
I will be a servant of God seeking to maintain a life of purity, integrity and truthfulness.
I will seek to conduct myself consistently with my calling and commitment as a servant of God.
I will give full service to my congregation and will accept added responsibilities only if they do not interfere with the overall effectiveness of my ministry in the congregation.
I will consider a confidential statement made to me as a sacred trust not to be divulged without consent of the person making it.
I will responsibly exercise the freedom of the pulpit, speaking the truth of God’s Word with conviction in love; and will acknowledge any extensive use of material prepared by someone else.
I will advocate adequate compensation in my pastoral services and will assist the congregation to understand that a pastor should not expect or require fees for pastoral services to them.
I will be honest in my stewardship of money, paying bills promptly, asking no personal favors or discounts on the basis of my ministerial status.
I will give tithes and offerings as a good steward and example to the church.
I will seek to regard all persons in the congregation with equal love and concern and undertake to minister impartially to their needs and to refrain from behaviour that will be divisive.
I will seek to maintain positive relations with all members in my congregation.
I will exercise confidence in the lay leadership, assisting in their training and mobilizing their creativity.
I will seek to lead the church in a positive direction to achieve the goals we have mutually agreed upon. I will remain open to constructive criticism and to suggestions intended to strengthen our common ministry.
I will candidate at only one church at a time. I will respond promptly and definitely to a call and I will seek to deal fairly with the church I am presently serving.
I will not perform services in the area of responsibility of my colleague in the Christian ministry except upon his request and/or consent.
I will, upon my departure, sever my pastoral relations with the congregation, recognizing that all pastoral functions should henceforth rightfully be conducted by my successor.
I will seek and honor comity arrangements made with fellow pastors.
I will, upon retirement or withdrawal from the ministry, refrain from engaging in pastoral functions within our church fellowship unless requested by the pastor.
I will seek to maintain supportive and caring relationships with my colleagues in the ministry.
I will cooperate with the personnel of the Baptist General Conference of Canada and of the district in which I serve, and offer responsible criticism in order that our common service in the Kingdom of God might be more effective.
I will not use my influence to alienate this church from the Baptist General Conference of Canada. I will immediately resign should I deviate from Baptist practices and principles commonly held by our denomination.
Statement on Marriage in Canada
The Baptist General Conference of Canada (BGCC) understands marriage to be a divine gift to society whereby a man and a woman are joined together in a lifelong commitment to faithful companionship, extended family connectedness, and in the sovereignty of God – the blessing of children.
Our understanding stems from our reading of the Bible, our source of faith and behaviour. We believe that marriage of a man and a woman reflects the original intent of God in creation (Genesis 2:24,25).
To that end, our community of faith cannot endorse marriages of same sex individuals as consistent with what the Bible teaches. Therefore, our pastors may not perform same sex marriages. We consider this to be a pastoral statement giving spiritual guidance to our pastors and people.
We realize that not all of Canada understands life in the same way. We will respect the mosaic of pluralism called Canada. We will try to live lives filled with grace and forgiveness. However, faced with many choices in life, we call Canadians back to this Divine gift.