About Us

CB Northwest is a covenant community of 250 Conservative Baptist Churches and Church Plants in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

CB Northwest Identity Document

Preface to the Covenant

At salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, every believer enters into a covenant relationship with God, and is placed into covenant community with all true believers, known as the body of Christ. Local churches represent specific covenant communities, of which each believer is to be an active part. In turn, CB Northwest is a voluntary association of autonomous local churches representing the body of Christ expressed more fully in covenant community with each other.

The Covenant of the Churches of CB Northwest

The association of churches known as CB Northwest, as a part of the body of Christ, acknowledges our God-ordained covenantal relationships as a fellowship of Conservative Baptist churches. Holding in common our doctrine, polity, and philosophy of ministry, we agree to a relationship expressed in dependence upon, responsibility for, and accountability to each other by God's grace. CB Northwest also seeks covenant community with other regional CB communities throughout North America and around the world.

Doctrine

Scriptures

We believe the Bible is God's absolute, objective truth for all people for all times. It is without error in concept or detail in the original writings. It is breathed out in its entirety by God, divinely preserved, and, therefore, trustworthy. We believe the Holy Spirit superintended human authors so that, through their individual personalities and literary styles, they composed and recorded God's Word. It is God's written revelation complete in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. It is the supreme authority in all matters to which it speaks and is sufficient for life, conduct, and practice - understandable by every believer. We believe Scripture must be understood through the literal, contextual, grammatical, and historical method of interpretation, and applied under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

God

We believe in the one personal, transcendent, immanent, living God - the creator, sustainer, and sovereign ruler of all things. He is self-existent, immutable, and works all things according to the counsel of His will in order to bring glory to Himself. God's foreknowledge is exhaustive and not dependent on human decisions and actions. He eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They execute distinct but harmonious roles in creation, providence, redemption, and consummation. They are equal in nature, attributes, and perfections. The holy triune God is worthy of our worship, confidence, and obedience.

The Father

We believe in God the Father: one in essence with the Son and the Spirit. He is an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in all His attributes. He is the creator, sustainer, and sovereign ruler of all things through His Son Jesus Christ. We believe that He concerns Himself perfectly in the affairs of humanity. His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with the redeemed. Everything He does is in accordance with His perfect will, though His sovereignty does not eliminate or minimize human responsibility. The Father adopts as His own, through Jesus Christ, all those He calls to Himself.

The Son

We believe in God the Son: one in essence with the Father and the Spirit. He is the one and only eternal Son of God, the preeminent revelation of God. At the right time He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-slave. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary as Jesus, the Christ - fully God and fully man. We believe in His sinless life, His voluntary submission to His Father's will that culminated in His substitutionary death on the cross, His burial, and His bodily resurrection. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. His death on the cross atoned for our sin and satisfied the righteous demands of the holy God. He is the Mediator between God and man. He is Prophet, Priest, and King; the Head and Savior of His Church; the Heir of all things; the Judge of all the world; and the exact representation of God the Father. We believe in the personal return of Christ for His Church and in the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.

The Holy Spirit

We believe in God the Holy Spirit: one in essence with the Father and Son. He was sent by God the Father and God the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ and implements Christ's work of redemption and baptism. He regenerates, baptizes, seals, gifts, and indwells all believers at conversion, progressively sanctifying, and securing them in Christ forever. The Spirit fills, leads, comforts, and intercedes for believers, empowering them for godly living and service. His presence is evident by the fruit of the Spirit and the building up of believers into the body of Christ, the Church.

Humanity

We believe that humanity, male and female, is sacred in God's eyes and was uniquely created by Him, in His image and for His glory, to exercise dominion over the earth and to enjoy a relationship with Him forever. Every human being is directly responsible to God in matters of faith and life. After sin entered the world, humans still possess the image of God, though tainted by sin. God's will for humanity is that they love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love their neighbors as themselves.

Family

In God's design for humanity, life begins at fertilization. He established the institution of family through the union of one man and one woman in a marriage covenant for life. His design for the continuance of humanity is through the procreation and discipleship of children within the marriage union. Marriage is to be an example of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church.

Sin

We believe that sin is any action, inaction, or attitude that is contrary to the nature or Word of God, which constitutes a rejection of His authority, resulting in alienation from God. Sin entered the world when Adam, representing humanity, disobeyed God. As a result of the one sin of Adam, his descendents - the whole human race - are separated from relationship with God, spiritually dead, and therefore in a fallen state. Being sinners by nature and choice and utterly unable to remedy their lost condition, humanity is in need of salvation.

Salvation

We believe that salvation is a gift of God, received by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Salvation is motivated by the love of God demonstrated through His sovereign election in Christ, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, and received by faith apart from any human merit, works, or ritual. Regeneration is effected through the work of the Holy Spirit in God's elect. All who repent and believe in Jesus Christ are forgiven of all their sins, justified in God's sight by the merit of Christ's righteousness, adopted into His family, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and have equal access to God. As a result, the progressive sanctifying work of salvation leads to a newness of life that is evidenced by righteous living, good works, and biblical social concern, or God's corrective discipline. The consummation of salvation is that those who have accepted God's gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ shall be resurrected and glorified. They shall receive their inheritance in the Kingdom of their Father, whom they shall see and enjoy throughout the ages.

Church

We believe that the New Testament Church is composed of all persons who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit since the day of Pentecost following Christ's resurrection. We believe that the Church is the spiritual body of Christ, of which He is the Head. We believe that this body expresses itself in local assemblies in which believers are in a covenant relationship. Biblically that relationship is expressed corporately through hearing the Word of God proclaimed, engaging in worship, practicing the two ordinances of believer's baptism by immersion and the Lord's Supper, building up each other's faith, holding each other accountable through biblical love and discipline, and engaging in local and world evangelization. Biblically designated officers must meet the biblical qualifications for their office and submit to the headship of Christ, emulating His servant leadership. We believe the function of eldering is reserved for biblically qualified males. Each local church is to choose, support, and submit to those who function as elders.

Angels

We believe God created angels as spirit-beings possessing power and intellect, to worship and serve Him and to minister to believers. Satan is a fallen angel who masquerades as an angel of light. The scope of Satan's power is subject to God's will. By subjecting Adam and Eve to temptation and sin, Satan has extended his rebellion against God, which he continues by deceit, seduction, and destruction. While Satan and his demons are powerful, they are subject to Christ's authority and judgment. Satan and his demons have been defeated for eternity by Jesus Christ through His death on the cross and victorious resurrection, sealing their everlasting damnation. At the time of final judgment, they will be consigned to eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire.

Last Things

We believe in the sudden, visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Millennial Kingdom. He will return with His saints from heaven with power and great glory, on a day known only to God. We believe that those who have accepted God's gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, at the point of physical death, enter into God's eternal glory. They shall be resurrected and transformed to His body of glory, and they shall receive their inheritance of glory in the Kingdom of their Father. They shall be made fully blessed in the presence and service of God, whom they shall see and enjoy throughout the ages. We believe that all unsaved persons, at the point of physical death, are destined for eternal damnation. They will be resurrected, separated from the righteous, judged, and cast into an existence of eternal punishment where they will be tormented day and night forever and ever when death and Hades is cast into the Lake of Fire. We believe it is imperative for the Church to work and wait in sober watchfulness, that it may be found ready at His coming.

Polity

There is a biblical prescription for local church polity. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. Under His headship each local church is elder-led. This elder leadership is congregationally affirmed. Those who have been affirmed as leaders have biblically-granted authority, responsibility, and accountability.

Elder-led

Those who function as elders are biblically-qualified males who are affirmed by the congregation. The vocational and lay elders function together as the elders of the church. The elders have the responsibility and the authority to lead the congregation in discerning the mind of Christ for all the decisions of the church and shepherding the church in those decisions.

Congregationally Affirmed

The congregation, as the temple of the Holy Spirit, affirms the leadership of the elders. There are decisions in which the congregants contribute in helping the elders find/discern the mind of Christ.

Association Polity

As an association of autonomous churches, our polity will seek to reflect the biblical model for the church. Trustees must be members in good standing of an association church and recommended by their church. Area Association Trustees must also be biblically-qualified for eldering and chosen by their area association.

Philosophy

Vision

We envision a covenant community of churches committed to the glory of God, centered on the gospel, changing our communities by being doctrinally sound, missionally driven, and culturally sensitive - which includes culturally appropriate evangelism, leaders mentoring the next generation of leaders, and churches planting churches through Great Commandment love, Great Commission purpose, and Great Confession dependency.

Mission

We actively pursue covenant community, holding each other accountable to live out our doctrine, polity, and philosophy.

Core Values

  • We value covenant community as defined by our Identity Document (doctrine, philosophy, polity).
  • We value truth, calling our community to a comprehensive Christian worldview that impacts every aspect of life, emphasizing a Trinitarian God and gospel power in and through our culture.
  • We value the local church as God's ordained instrument for advancing His Kingdom.
  • We value a missional church perspective, mobilizing our churches to invade a Christ-less culture and helping our churches to equip all as "sent ones."
  • We value relational healing and church renewal by providing a network of specialists to serve through consultation, mediation, solemn assemblies, and strategic prayer.
  • We value leaders as examples of, and catalysts for: health, change, growth, and multiplication; helping hem to: assess, train, coach, and mentor.
  • We value synergistic responsibility, networking resources for strategic success.
  • We value Kingdom advancement by calling churches and leaders to cooperate at sacrificial levels in the cause of making Christ's Church a presence in every community in the Northwest and beyond through strategic partnerships, joint efforts (e.g., area associations planting churches), and sending missionaries at home and abroad.
  • We value the fluid and dynamic nature of these core values and are committed to ongoing evaluation as the Spirit leads.

Conservative Baptist History

Those People Called Conservative Baptist

By Bruce L. Shelley (Adapted)

On a chilly day in 1943 in Chicago, the temperature hovered around zero most of the day. Newspapers on Michigan Avenue told about the Russian advance against the Germans at the Dnieper River. But across town at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, the men and women who climbed the steps to the auditorium of the church had neither the weather nor the war on their minds. They were gathering to do the work of God. These men and women, after prayer, ratified the recommendations of earlier meetings, elected eighteen directors, and appointed their first missionary couple, Mr. and Mrs. Eric Frykenberg, for service in India. This was the birth of CBFMS, the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society, known as CBI and now WorldVenture.

Most of us consider 1943 a long time ago, a time before the atomic bomb, before the Beatles and Viet Nam, before satellites, terrorism, crack and AIDS. But in these forty-four years, Conservative Baptists have sent nearly a thousand missionaries to Japan Brazil, Indonesia, Austria, Zaire and twenty-three other countries, and contributed significantly to the resurgence of American evangelicalism.

Conservative Baptists, counting about 230,000 members within their churches, are one of the mid-size Baptist groups in America. Their history and mission, however, make them a bit unusual in the list of Baptist bodies. In just over four decades Conservative Baptists have created what they like to call "the movement." Like many Americans, Conservative Baptists have their reasons for rejecting bureaucracies, especially religious bureaucracies. So, to avoid traditional denominational structures, Conservative Baptists choose to work within "the movement." They like the suggestions of action, growth and mission.

The movement rallies about twelve hundred churches, chiefly in the northern United States, in the Conservative Baptist Association of America. But the movement also serves hundreds of other churches through WorldVenture; Mission to the Americas, Southwestern Conservative Baptist Bible College in Phoenix, Arizona, and three theological seminaries, Denver Seminary, Western Seminary and the Conservative Baptist Seminary of the East. Since each of these agencies and schools has its own governing board and budget, the Conservative Baptist movement is not one, but seven organizations functioning like cooperating interdenominational or "para-church" ministries. The comparison to interdenominational schools and missions is appropriate because Conservative Baptists are a part of the larger picture of American evangelicalism during the last fifty years.

The 1940's mark not only the birth of Conservative Baptists, but also that of a host of well-known evangelical ministries including the National Association of Evangelicals, Youth for Christ, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and the National Sunday School Association. During World War II and the years immediately following, millions of evangelicals felt that the hour had come for them to recover their mission to America and the nations beyond. Billy Graham is the best-known spokesman of this recovery, but Conservative Baptists have played a significant part. Conservative Baptists saw the hand of God in the creation of CBFMS, because they were committed to an orthodox missionary society for their churches. The background of that concern lies in the fundamentalist modernist struggle within the Northern (now American) Baptist denomination.

As early as 1920 conservative pastors tried to establish doctrinal standards for missionary agencies within the Northern Baptist Convention. But every attempt to get the denomination to accept such standards proved futile. Finally, in 1943, after renewed but frustrating efforts to create theological tests for the Northern Baptist Convention's missionary program, several hundred conservative churches joined in the call for the creation of the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society. The Conservative Baptist Association of America was organized when it became apparent, at the Northern Baptist Convention meeting at Grand Rapids, Michigan (1946), that the older convention would not tolerate a competing missionary agency within its structures.

From the start, then, Conservative Baptists had two concerns: missionary expansion and adherence to the gospel. Accepting, affirming and sharing the gospel are not the only ways to reflect the Christian faith. Some Christians come to the faith with moral concerns. They ask, "What is Christianity doing to help people in the world?" Others believe that to be a true Christian, you must belong to the right church. That is the institutional expression of religious faith.

Still others understand Christianity through some religious experience that they have had. That is the experiential approach to faith. Each of these has an element of truth. But Conservative Baptists have always insisted that the first word to say about Christianity is how much God has done for us. By participating in the widening witness of evangelicals in America, Conservative Baptist agencies grew rapidly during the first fifteen years of their independent ministry. In the late 1950's, however, the movement was drawn into a conflict within evangelical circles.

The vast majority of Conservative Baptist churches cooperated with evangelical para-church agencies like the National Association of Evangelicals and, specifically, with the Billy Graham Association. A militant minority within Conservative Baptist circles, however, taking their cues from Graham's critics, insisted that Graham's "cooperative evangelism " was dangerous and to be avoided. These were the "fundamentalists" within Conservative Baptist ranks.

After seven years of intense debate over second separation, the militant minority, consisting of about two hundred churches, left Conservative Baptist ranks and found a new home in fundamentalist circles. These fundamentalists demonstrated a danger that seems to accompany confessional Christianity. It is what we may call "scribalism." It is an arrogant confidence in the power of religious dogmas. It is the assumption that if we know the right truths in our heads, we will have the spiritual reality in our hearts. "Scribalism" often shows its true colors when it attempts to refine doctrine on top of doctrine. It loves systems. It is given to word games. It builds walls between us and them by insisting that every truth has to be defended with holy passion. And all seem to be equally important for a believer's salvation. Conservative Baptists rejected "scribalism" and have kept their focus on the essentials of the gospel.

Historical Perspective

By Dr. Stephen LeBar, National Executive Director of CBAmeria in 2006

Early History

The Conservative Baptist Association came into existence in 1947 with the purpose of providing a fellowship of churches that hold in common certain basic convictions concerning core issues of biblical faith and Baptist polity. The very word "conservative" gives identity to the movement, because the intent was to conserve (to keep, to retain) the basic biblical distinctives that have historically distinguished Baptists as a people of God. Furthermore, Conservative Baptists have, from their inception, been deeply involved in a worldwide missionary outreach.

The initial core of churches was comprised of those departing from the Northern Baptist Convention (now American Baptist Churches) over issues of theological liberalism, abandonment of Baptist polity and centralized denominational control. In 1943 the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society (now WorldVenture) had been formed because of similar issues and the appointment of missionaries under the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society regardless of their liberal positions.

In a series of conferences held in 1947, about 3,000 people endorsed the recommendations of an appointed committee. Included was a reaffirmation of faith in the New Testament as divinely inspired, trustworthy and authoritative. The outcome of those meetings was the formation of CBA of A. The Conservative Baptist Home Mission Society (now Mission to the Americas) was formally launched in 1950.

By 1953 there were 500 churches in national association, and an additional 240 churches fellowshipping in state associations. From the outset, fellowship was offered to "autonomous Baptist churches without regard to other affiliations." Myron Cedarholm, the second General Director, listed several fundamental principles of the movement. (1) It was a confessional body, declaring its fundamental doctrines. However, Cedarholm went on to say, "The CBA believes that details of interpretation and application are the prerogative of the local church, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit." (2) It was a fellowship of independent churches. He emphasized that the Association is not a denomination. It has no power to make decisions for the churches or to impose programs upon them. It has no desire to establish centralized authority, ecclesiastical connectionalism or dependent organizations that the churches must support. "However, there rightly exists among the churches an interdependency." (3) It had "no organic relationship to the organizations which its churches support." Each of the agencies was independent of the others. (4) It refused to make contributions a prerequisite for membership.

There has always been some confusion as to how the church association relates to the two mission societies. As early as 1949, the leaders of the three groups recognized the "growing confusion that exists in the minds of many people, who regard these various conservative organizations as one and the same." The consensus was that each should function as an autonomous group and should seek to serve its own constituency. Nonetheless, in the years that followed, numerous unsuccessful attempts were made to bring all under one organizational umbrella. The latest attempt came to a halt in 2004.

Recent History

In January of 2002, the National Coordinating Council, made up of key leaders from the various CB entities, issued a "Call for Change Among the Conservative Baptist Family." Citing our strong heritage of biblical integrity, missionary zeal and passion for the local church, the council observed signs of plateau, and even decline. Two task forces were created to address the concerns and to propose "radical solutions to assure a healthy and bright future together."

The Organizational Task Force was to address the lack of networking and organizational cooperation among the CB family, which the NCC defined as "all CB-affiliated ministry agencies, local churches, schools and various governing bodies." This group was mandated to recommend a national CB organizational strategy that would result in greater Kingdom impact. The Doctrinal Task Force was to address cultural, societal and theological challenges that the organizations face. This group was mandated to identify key doctrinal issues and how the CB family believes God would have us respond to those issues in a sound, unified and biblical framework.

After diligent and sacrificial labor by the two Task Forces, a Vision Summit was called in Littleton, CO on September 10, 2003. Forty-two CB leaders representing the numerous CB entities gathered to hear the reports and recommendations. It seemed that the endeavors would continue and result in the desired outcomes.

On October 27, 2003, the NCC met in Portland, OR, and received the final report from the Doctrinal Task Force. The report was received, and the NCC voted to conclude the work of the task force, "sensing that the Task Force had substantially fulfilled its purpose." As stated in the Final Report from the Council dated November 28, the churches and agencies in the CB family will continue to be guided by the doctrinal statements currently in use. In the same report, the Council announced that the Organizational Task Force recommended dissolution due to "inability to make progress on a plan to consolidate CB ministries."

The report went on to say, "The spiritual and relational challenges we face as a CB movement will not be solved by structural changes. Nor will greater ministry be advanced by a centralized leadership structure. The challenge is to strengthen the ties between our churches in regional associations and resource those regions to effectively serve our churches. The pledge of the schools is to come alongside the local church to help equip the next generation of leaders. The mission agencies renewed their dedication to sacrificially serve CB churches in the realization of their global witness."

On January 28, 2004, the CBA (association of churches) Board met and made significant decisions. It ratified the Mission, Vision and Values Document that was developed in concert with the Organizational Task Force and the Regional Directors. Next, it empowered the Regional Directors to develop a "new day for CBA." Further, it resolved that in the change process, the existing uniqueness of each region, including millennial positions, would be honored. Finally, a resolution prevailed that linked CBAmerica with the CB churches in the Philippines on specific issues of Biblical inerrancy.

On March 17, 2005, the Regional Directors met in Chicago, functioning as the CBAmerica Transitional Leadership Team. At this meeting a new paradigm for CBAmerica was envisioned. The new model is a Fellowship of Regions, bound together by mutual and accountable privileges and responsibilities. The Regions share core values, mission and vision. Relationships among the Directors and among the Regions are covenantal, with mutual submission to the greater good of the whole. The Regional Directors are the national coordinators of service to and among the local churches. The National CBAmerica office serves as the hub of operations and networks among the Regions.

On June 24, 2004, the CBAmerica Board of Directors voted to accept the recommendations of the Transitional Leadership Team, including the new paradigm of relationships, the new organizational structure, the new model of ministry, and a new National Director, Dr. Stephen LeBar.

A New Purpose Statement

CBAmerica exists to serve, resource and represent regional fellowships of Conservative Baptist churches.

A NEW MODEL...church driven, through Regional Ministry Hubs

  • Individual believers enter into a covenantal fellowship (membership) of a local CB church.
  • Individual churches enter into a covenantal fellowship (membership) of a CB regional association.
  • Individual regional associations enter into a covenantal fellowship (membership) of CBAmerica.
  • Individual national fellowships enter into a covenantal fellowship (membership) of CBGlobal.

Other entities with Conservative Baptist roots are affiliates, with whom we partner in serving the churches.