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