"So when Christian doctrine is neglected, forsaken, or corrupted, true holiness and worship will also be neglected, forsaken, and corrupted."

- John Owen

Why Doctrine Matters

As a Southern Baptist Church with a deep commitment to the historical, Reformed, Evangelical, and Baptist confessional statements, we have a passionate interest in preserving, protecting, and proclaiming the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).”  

We affirm the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura, which holds God's Word, the Holy Scriptures contained in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, as the only infallible rule of faith and practice for the church. While the Bible is our final authority for life and doctrine, we believe and teach that many statements, creeds, and confessions help us rightly articulate, summarize, and explain the biblical text and can serve as subordinate rules of faith insofar as they are consistent with and in submission to the Word of God. We would never place any human creed, confession, or statement over the words of Scripture. However, as we seek understanding of God's Word, we utilize various doctrinal formulations to assist our study and aid in our task of rightly dividing the Word of truth. 

We believe and teach that the 66 books of the Holy Bible from Genesis to Revelation are the holy, inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God. It is truth without any errors and can be understood and relied upon as our ultimate guide in salvation and sanctification. It is the sufficient revelation of God to the saving work of His Son Jesus. This is the accomplishment of His living, dying as our substitute, and being raised from the dead to ascend to the Father where He lives to intercede for us until the day of His return to bring all things to their appointed end. 

While the Bible isn’t a list of a doctrines or a systematic theology text, we believe that faithful doctrine and theology are formed through its study and understanding. By studying the Bible in both its parts and as a whole, we gain accurate insight into the doctrine of God, of man, of creation, of sin, of salvation and much more. Any statement that we would make on any subject whether addressing sacred or secular issues must stand the scrutiny of being examined in the light of God’s Word. We believe that truth may be known and passed on and that we can live and die with confidence through God’s testimony to us in His Bible. Sound doctrine and theology are the concise, understandable, and accurate formulations of each Biblical subject, in view of the totality of Biblical revelation. It is the necessary and useful window for insight into God and His Word.

Doctrinal Requirements for Membership

In addition to your confession of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we minimally require affirmation of The Baptist Faith & Message (2000) in order to become a member of North Clay Baptist Church. The Baptist Faith & Message (2000) is in its nature a very broad but well regarded summary of the most basic and historic of essential Baptist and Christian doctrine.

For more information on becoming a member of North Clay, you can download this Introduction to Membership at North Clay Baptist Church.

Doctrinal Commitments of the Elders

The Doctrinal Commitments of the Elders are made up of the historic creeds, confessions, and statements of the church, which serve to safeguard the teaching ministry of North Clay Baptist Church. We believe the doctrines articulated in these creeds, confessions, and statements rightly summarize the teachings of Scripture. However, the authority of any doctrine comes only from its alignment with and fidelity to the words of Holy Scripture. Our commitment as Christians, and as elders, is and should be only to God's Holy, inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word. All other doctrinal commitments, regardless of tradition or historic precedent, are to be in subjection to God's Word alone.

The Elders of North Clay Baptist Church affirm the following:

The Apostles Creed

The Nicene Creed

The Athanasian Creed

The Chalcedonian Creed

The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith

The New Hampshire Confession of Faith

The Baptist Faith & Message (2000)

The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy

The Nashville Statement

The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel

Membership vs. Eldership

Why is there a lesser requirement for Membership?

The biblical requirement for salvation, baptism, and to be recognized as part of the church is to repent and believe (Mark 1:15). The Scriptures do not require affirmation of particular doctrines or adoption of particular traditions to be saved. However, simply saying "repent and believe" requires a definition of what it means to repent and believe. Of what are we commanded to repent? In Whom are we called to believe? This requires a framework to make sense of what the command to repent and believe means. That is where theology and doctrine are required to define exactly what the Scriptures teach concerning these things. 

The Baptist Faith and Message (2000) serves as a basic foundation for understanding what the Scriptures teach concerning the Christian faith. It is specific enough to properly define Biblical teaching, yet broad enough to allow affirmation from those whose theology and doctrine is not yet fully developed or matured. Since the Scriptures place the bar at repentance and faith, we also want to be Biblical in where we place the bar for membership at North Clay Baptist Church.

Why is there a more rigorous standard Eldership?

That said, to be considered for eldership at North Clay Baptist Church requires a more thorough and robust examination of a candidate's theology and doctrine. The Scriptures make clear that not everyone should be teachers, for they will incur a stricter judgement (James 3:1). In light of this, we believe that the doctrinal beliefs of the elders must not be immature, but must be developed so much so that they can rightly disciple and teach those at every level in the church. The Doctrinal Commitments of the Elders serve to summarize what we believe are the Bible's doctrinal teachings, and they serve as guideposts for the teaching ministry of the elders to keep them from veering off into error.