In general, this church accepts the doctrinal statement of The Baptist Faith and Message as most recently adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention as an affirmation of our basic Christian beliefs and as a general statement of our faith.
Family of Faith
Cornelia Avenue Southern Baptist Church in Fresno County, California is a Family of Faith, whose mission is to know Christ and to challenge people to discover and live a Christ-centered life through worship, witness, discipleship, fellowship, and service. Its organization is for the purpose of conducting religious worship as a Baptist church, cooperating with the California Southern Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as with the associations and agencies of each.
The Authority of the Bible
The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the verbally inspired Word of God, they are without error in the original writings, and they are the complete and final revelation of God and are the basis of all our beliefs and practices. No other document shall take precedence over the Holy Bible in the life, decisions, and governance of this church. (Matthew 5: 18; John 17: 17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 22:18-19)
The Triunity of God
There is only one God, eternally existing in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Who are co-equal in their essential nature, attributes, and perfection; and each of Whom is to be honored and worshiped as God. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 18:30-31, 147:5; Matthew 28:19; Mark 12:29; Luke 3:22; John 4:24, 5:23, 10:30, 14:9; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 13: 14; Hebrews 1:1-3)
The Person of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is God the Son, the promised Messiah, conceived in the flesh by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, true God and true man, without sin, and the only mediator between God and Man. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7; Matthew 1:18-25; Mark 14:61-62; John 1:1-3, 14, 29, 5:18, 8:58, 10:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1:2-9, 2:14-15; 1 John 5:20)
The Work of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross, paid for all sin, completely satisfied the righteous wrath of God against sin, and provided redemption and forgiveness for all who believe. After His death, Jesus Christ arose bodily from the dead, was seen by many during a period of forty days, and then ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of God as our Advocate and High Priest, from which place He will someday return to establish His Kingdom on earth. (Isaiah 53:5-6; Luke 24:36-43; John 1:18, 3:16, 20:25-28; Acts 1:6-11; Romans 3:21-26; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8,20-23; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 1:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:18-19, 2:24; 1 John 2:1-2; Revelation 20:6)
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is that Person of the Triune Godhead who convicts men of sin, causes spiritual birth, indwells, seals, sanctifies, guides, equips, teaches, and fills the believer, thus enabling him to walk in obedience to God and His Word. (John 3:5, 14:16-17,26, 15:26-27, 16:7-15; Acts 1:8, 5:3-4; Romans 8:9, 14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, 6:11, 19, 12:4-13; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:16-18, 22-23; Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30, 5:18-21)
The Creation and Fall of Man
Man was created by God in His own image and is not the product of evolution; he fell into sin through personal disobedience to the revealed will of God; and as a result, all mankind is sinful in nature and practice, is unable to save himself, and faces eternal separation from God. (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:7, 18-24, 3:1-24, 9:6; Matthew 19:4; Mark 7:21-23; John 8:42-44; Romans 1:18, 3:10, 23, 5:1; Ephesians 2:1-3)
The Salvation of Man
Eternal salvation from sin, death and hell is the free gift of God’s grace, and is based solely upon man’s personal faith and belief in Jesus Christ. He voluntarily died as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins and arose bodily from the dead, thus guaranteeing our own resurrection to eternal life. This salvation is not received by, nor based on, any sacrament, merit, or good work on our part. The one who receives Christ’s salvation is eternally secure. (John 1:11-13,3:16, 5:24, 10:28-30, 14:6; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:23-26, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 7:24-25; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 5:11-13)
The Destiny of Man
At death, the redeemed pass immediately into the presence of Christ and there remain in joyful fellowship until their bodily resurrection unto life. The unsaved at death descend immediately into Hades where they are kept under punishment until their bodily resurrection resulting in damnation. (Daniel 12:2; Luke 16:22-23, 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 3:10, 11, 21; Revelation 20:11-15)
The Nature and Organization of the Church
All who have placed their faith in Christ are united together immediately by the Holy Spirit in one spiritual body, the church, of which Christ is the Head. In addition, the members of this one spiritual body are directed to associate themselves together in local churches. (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:46-47; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 10:25)
These local independent churches have been given the needed authority and scriptural guidelines for administering that order, discipline, and worship which Christ, the sovereign head, has appointed. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the church are pastors and deacons. (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Corinthians 14:40; Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5)
The Ordinances of the Church
Two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s supper. Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the triune God. This ordinance being a command of Christ, is recognized as a prerequisite for membership in the local church. Likewise, the Lord’s supper was instituted by Christ for commemoration of His atoning death. These two ordinances which are symbolic acts portraying Scriptural truths, and neither of them conveying saving grace, are to be observed until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28: 16-20; Luke 22: 19-20; Acts 2:41, 10:47-48; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29)
One of the coming great events in the fulfillment of prophecy concerning the church is the personal, bodily return of the Lord to remove from the earth His waiting church and to reward them according to their works. (John 14:2-3; Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, 15:51-53; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; Titus 2:11-13; Revelation 3:10)
Another event yet to come is the seven year period of tribulation during which the judgments of God will be poured out upon the unbelieving world. These judgments will climax with the return of Christ in glory to the earth. He will destroy His enemies and restore Israel to her land. (Daniel 9:27, 12:1; Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:15-31,25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 16:1-19, 21, 19:1-21)
Christ will then establish His thousand year kingdom in which the saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth. (Deuteronomy 30: 110; Isaiah 11:1-16, 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Revelation 19:11, 20:1-6)
At the close of the thousand year reign the unsaved dead will be raised and committed to eternal punishment and the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God. (Mark 9:43-48; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 20:11-15, 21:1-4, 22:5,11)
In response to the serious challenge to the traditional biblical definition of marriage, we are compelled to make the following declarations:
- We affirm the biblical teaching that God designed marriage as a lifetime union of one man and one woman. We deny that the God-ordained institution of marriage is subject to redefinition as merely a civil institution or simply a private matter.
The Baptist Faith and Message declares: “Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race” (Article XVIII, “The Family”).
- We affirm that marriage has certain essentials defining personal and social characteristics. We deny that a same-sex relationship can ever be the same as or equivalent to marriage.
- We affirm without reservation the biblical teaching that homosexual behavior is sinful and contrary to God’s design. We deny the legitimacy of any attempt to characterize homosexuality as an acceptable or unchangeable alternative lifestyle.
Scripture teaches that homosexual behavior is:
- Ungodly (1 Timothy 1:9-10, HCSB)
- Immoral (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, HCSB)
- Dangerous (Romans 1:27, NASB)
- Unnatural (Romans 1:26-27, NASB)
- Degrading (Leviticus 18:22, HCSB)
Scripture also teaches that homosexuality does not have to be a permanent condition. Like any other sinful behavior, homosexual behavior can be forsaken, homosexual sin can be forgiven, and homosexual attractions can be changed. The Bible affirms that God can liberate anyone from homosexuality: “Some of you were like this; but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, HCSB).
- We affirm that all people are created in the image of God and are of equal worth before God. Acknowledging that all of us are sinful and in need of God’s forgiveness, we express our compassion for those trapped in homosexuality. We deny that God hates people who practice homosexual behavior.
Having made the above declarations, we also want to add the following to reinforce our position and avoid any ambiguity about the matter. The church affirms human sexuality and defines it with the following description:
Legitimate sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage. Hence, sexual activities, such as, but not limited to, adultery, fornication, incest, homosexuality, pedophilia, and bestiality are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and the church. Further, lascivious behavior, the creation and/or distribution and/or viewing of pornography, and efforts to alter one’s gender, are incompatible with the biblical witness.
Marriage has been ordained and established by God. This church recognizes marriage as exclusively the legal union of one man and one woman in which such union is a lifetime commitment.
Every church staff member, employees, officers, teachers, leaders of church-sponsored activities, volunteers, and committee members shall affirm their agreement with the Statement of Faith and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent thereto.
Every church member shall affirm their agreement with the Statement of Faith and behave in a manner that is consistent thereto.