Constitution And By-Laws
Grace Baptist Church
Reposing our faith wholly in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation, and trusting only the enabling power of the Holy Spirit for guidance, accepting the general summary of the doctrines and duties of the Church Covenant; we therefore, band ourselves together as a body of baptized (immersed) believers in Jesus Christ, and adopt for our government, plans of worship, and service the following articles:
This church shall be known as GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH.
This congregation shall be joined together as an Independent, Fundamental, Premillenial Baptist Church, and shall never belong to any conventions, boards, or councils, and shall endeavor to:
(1) Evangelize the unsaved.
(2) Strengthen and build up Christians on their most holy faith.
(3) Promote a sound, fundamental testimony, and true to the Bible witness for the glory of God.
Articles of Faith
(1)The Scriptures - We believe the Old and New Testaments to be verbally inspired by God, inerrant in the original writings, and perfectly preserved in the King James Bible, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life. (II Tim. 3:16-17) (II Pet. 1:19-21) We reject the R.S.V., the New English Bible, along with all modern versions, which have been translated from the Wescott & Hort manuscripts instead of from the Greek Textus Receptus Manuscript. We insist that the King James Version be used in both the Sunday School and from the pulpit, and in all other meetings associated with this church.
(2) The God-Head We believe that the God-Head eternally exists in three Persons, revealed in the Scriptures as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that these are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections. (Gen. 1:1; 1:26) (Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19-20; John 10:20; II Cor. 13:14; Romans 8:9)
(3) The Lord Jesus Christ - We believe in: 1. His eternal existence as God (Heb. 1:8) 2. His Incarnation by means of the VIRGIN BIRTH. (Luke 1:25; Isa. 7:14) 3. His death on the cross as the substitutionary atonement for sin. (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:14) 4. His ministry of intercession in Heaven. (I John 2:1; Heb. 8:1-2) 6. His personal return to earth. (Acts 1:11; I Thes. 4:16-18; Matt. 24:36-46)
(4) The Holy Spirit - We believe the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the God-Head, convicts men of sin (John 16:8), regenerates, seals, indwells, (I Cor. 3:16; Eph. 1:13-14), and sets believers apart unto a holy life; that He keeps and empowers believers day by day; that He is the teacher of the Word of God, and a guide for our daily life. Anyone who does not have the Holy Spirit living within him is not a child of God. (Rom. 8:9)
(5) Creation - We believe in the Genesis account of creation, and that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; that man was created directly in God’s own image and after His own likeness; that man’s creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from the lower forms to higher forms; that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God’s established law was that they should bring forth only “After their own kind.”(Gen. 1:1; Ex. 20:11; Acts 4:24; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 11:3; Rev. 10:6; Rom. 1:20; Acts 17:23-26; Jer. 10:12; Neh. 9:6; Gen. 2:21-23; Gen. 1:11;1:24)
(6) Man - We believe: 1. Man was created innocent and pure. (Gen. 1:26) 2. Adam fell through the sin of disobedience. (Rom. 5:19) 3. Thereby all men are corrupted in body, mind and soul. )Rom. 5:12) 4. Therefore all men are in need of redemption. (Rom. 3:23)
(7) Satan - We believe in the reality and personality of Satan. (Job 1:6-9; 2:3; Matt. 4:1-11; I Pet. 5:8; James 4:7) We further believe that Satan was defeated by Christ and that he will be finally cast into the lake of fire where he will suffer forever. (Heb. 2:14-15; I John 3:8; Rev. 20:10)
(8) Salvation - We believe that: 1. Salvation is solely by grace through repentance and faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ by His death and resurrection. 2. All who receive Him are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and become children of God. 3. All who are saved are kept forever. 4. However, God cannot overlook sin in His children, and will chasten and correct them in love. (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 10:9-10; John 5:24: John 10:27-30; Heb. 12:5-11)
(9) The Church - We believe: 1. That all who accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. (I Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:4) 2. That the local church is composed of regenerated, baptized (immersed) believers voluntarily united together for the purpose of worship, edification, fellowship of believers, spiritual growth, and service. (Matt. 28:19; Heb. 10:25) 3. It has been commissioned By Christ to propagate the Gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth. (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8) 4. That the local church has the absolute right of self government, free from interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations, and that the one and only superintendent is Christ, through the Holy Spirit. 5. That on all matters of membership, of policy of government, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final. (Acts 2:41-47; 4:33-37; 5:1-20) Those who will not submit themselves to the decisions of the local church shall have their names removed from the membership roll of this church after Matt. 18:15-17, has been exercised.
(10) The Future - We believe in the personal pre-tribulational return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His church, and that His coming is imminent. (I Thes. 4:13-18) At that time the bodies of the dead in Christ will be resurrected, and the living saints will be glorified and caught up to meet the Lord in the air. (I Cor. 15:51-58) The Tribulation will run its course on the earth while the saved experience the Judgment Seat of Christ, and partake of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 19:7-9; I Thes. 5:9) Christ will then return to the earth with the saints and rule for a thousand years, during which time Satan will be bound. After the thousand years are ended, Satan will be set free, and lead mankind in one last attempt to overthrow God. This will result in Satan being cast into the lake of fire, the world being destroyed by fire, and will climax in the Great White Throne Judgment. (Rev. 20:8-15; I Pet. 3:7-13) The Lord Jesus will then create a new heaven and a new earth while the New Jerusalem descends, and the saved will abide in His presence forever. (Isa. 65:17; Rev. 21:1-22:1-21)
(11) Heaven - We believe in a literal Heaven which is the dwelling place of God the Father and where His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, sits at His right hand. It is the realm of the holy angels, and the place where the departed spirits of the righteous await the first resurrection in conscious bliss. After the Great White Throne Judgment, the Lord will reveal the New Jerusalem to His saints, and they will live and reign with Him throughout eternity. (Deut. 26:15; Isa. 63:15; Heb. 1:3; John 14:1-3; Col. 1:5-6, 12; Col. 3:4; Heb. 12:22-24, 28; II Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-22:1-4)
(12) Hell - We believe that hell is a literal place of fire and suffering where the wicked, upon their death, will be tormented until the Great White Throne Judgment. After their judgment, they will be cast into the lake of fire, where they will suffer in everlasting punishment for all eternity without any hope of pardon or second chance. (Psa. 9:17; Matt. 5:29-30, 7:13-14, 10:28, 13:41-42, 49-50, 18:8-9, 22:13, 25:30, 41-16: Luke 16:19=31; II Thes. 1:9; II Pet. 2:4; Jude 23; Rev. 14:10-11, 19:20, 20:10-15, 21:8)
(13) The Ordinances - We believe that Christ gave only two ordinances to be observed by the church “Until He comes.”
A. The Lord’s Supper - It was left to us as an ordinance by the Lord Himself. (Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-29; I Cor. 11:23-25) This is a memorial of His death until He comes, and it should not be taken carelessly, but with examination of one’s own life.
B. Believer’s Baptism - We practice baptism because of the example of our Lord Jesus Christ while He was on earth. (Matt. 28:19) We accept immersion only as the Scriptural mode of baptism because only this can portray the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord as it reveals the believer’s spiritual identification with Him. (Rom. 6:2-5) It should be made clear that there is no saving power in baptism; it is meant for those who are already saved, giving a clear picture of the fact that the believer is dead, buried, and raised spiritually with Jesus Christ by faith in Him. We cannot accept as scriptural any baptism which has been administered by a church which teaches that baptism is a part of salvation, or does not hold baptism as a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(14) Separation - We believe it is our duty to call attention to the Scriptural teaching of separation, which commands that we should abstain from worldly practices. (Rom. 12:1-2; II Cor. 6:14-18; James 4:4; I John 2:15-17)
(15) Missions - Because all men everywhere without Christ are lost and bound for eternal punishment, (Rom. 1:18-29) and because men cannot believe in Him of whom they have not heard, (Rom. 10:14) we believe that we are debtors to all men, and that we have the responsibility of giving them the Gospel. Jesus gave us the command that we should all be witnesses for Him, (Acts 1:8) and should take the good news of the Gospel to every place where men are found. (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21) We believe that to carry out this command, we must ourselves be witnesses by life and word in order to tell all lost men about Christ, and we must support by prayer and financial aid, those who go out under sound missionary agencies to represent us in other parts of the world.
This constitution may be amended by two-thirds vote of the voting members present at a duly called meeting, provided that the proposed amendment has been submitted in writing and announced from the pulpit two weeks before the vote is taken.
Article III of this Constitution can never be amended.
The by-laws of this Constitution may be amended at any regular business meeting of the Church by a two-thirds vote of the members present.
(1) The officers of this church shall consist of the following: a pastor, clerk, treasurer, Sunday School Superintendent, when needed, and deacons when warranted, and when men in the church meet Scriptural requirements set forth in I Tim. 3:8-13. It is noted that since the first church in Jerusalem had no deacons until it had reached a membership of several thousand, the idea that a church must have deacons in order to be a scriptural church is not Scriptural. Therefore, this church shall select deacons only when needed, and when qualified men are available as Acts 6:1-7 warrants.
(2) Only members in good standing are eligible to election or appointments as officers or leaders in any position in the church. They shall abstain from use of alcohol as a beverage, tobacco, immodest dress, worldly entertainment, and live in accordance with the provisions set forth in this Constitution.
(3) The pastor of the church shall be a believer in and a preacher of the Gospel and fundamental doctrines of the faith as held by this church. (Article III) If at any time the pastor’s personal belief, preaching or teaching shall not be in full accord with the doctrinal statement of this church, (Article III) his services shall be terminated at once.
(4) The length of term of office shall be as follows:
(a) The relationship between the pastor and the church shall be a permanent one until dissolved by the pastor as he feels led of he Holy Spirit, or by the church, but only if his conduct and ministry comes under the category described in Article V, section 3, regarding false doctrine, or that described in Article VII, dealing with loyalty to the church and moral discipline. The church may ask for his resignation under these categories, and for no other. Any member seeking to stir up the church membership against the pastor for any reason other than the ones stated herein shall themselves be considered for discipline. The severance of the relationship between the pastor and the church may be considered at any regular business of the church, provided notice to the effect shall have been given from the pulpit to the church two Sundays prior to said regular business meeting. A majority vote of the members present and voting by secret ballot shall be sufficient to decide the matter.
(b) To elect a new pastor shall require two-thirds vote of the voting members present.
Duties of Officers
(1) The Pastor -
(a) The pastor’s services and salary: The pastor shall preach the Gospel regularly, administer the ordinances, ACT AS MODERATOR OF ALL MEETINGS OF THE CHURCH for the transaction of business, supervise the teaching ministry of the church, tenderly watch over its membership and spiritual interest, and organize and develop its strength for the best possible service. He shall appoint all nomination committees, subject to ratification by vote of the church. The pastor shall appoint members of other standing committees of the church and its auxiliary organizations. He shall extend the right hand of fellowship to all new members on behalf of the church, and perform such duties as generally appertain to such a position.
(b) The pastor’s salary is to be determined by the church. His salary shall be reviewed at least once a year. He shall also be given a paid vacation each year with additional time to attend a Bible or Missionary Conference of his choice. The Pastor’s vacation time is set forth in the by-laws.
(c) The pastor shall have the privilege to determine who will fill the pulpit in his absence or in revival services, and his decision will be final.
(d) The church under no circumstances will call a business meeting in the absence of the pastor except for the receiving of new members. In this case, one of the male members in good standing as stated in Article VII-section III-b, 1, 2, & 3, who is chosen by the church will act as moderator to receive new members.
(e) In the event of death, prolonged sickness or resignation of the pastor, the church may appoint a moderator from among its membership, providing the one chosen is a male member in good standing, meeting requirements of this Constitution.
(2) The Deacons - If and when this church deems it necessary to elect deacons, those deacons shall assist the pastor in promoting the spiritual welfare of this church, in organizing and developing its strength for the best possible service, and in conducting the religious observances of the ordinances of the church, serving the elements of the Lord’s Supper. They shall assist the pastor in home visitation and other personal work and evangelistic efforts of the church. The deacons shall cooperate with the pastor in being the pulpit supply and leading the prayer meetings in his absence. At the pastor’s request, the main duties of the deacons will be stated in Acts 6:1-7, to put down murmuring and disputing among the members under the leadership of the pastor.
(3) The Clerk - The clerk shall keep a correct record of the proceedings of the church, of all baptisms, issue letters and certificates of Christian character issued by the church, conduct all official correspondence, preserve all documents, papers, and letters coming into his or her hands during the term of office and deliver the same with all records kept by him or her to the successor. He or she shall keep an account of any special events in the life of the church which are of historic interest and value.
(4) The Treasurer - The treasurer shall receive all funds of the church, make a proper recording of the same, including a record of individual giving, and deposit it into the bank designated by the church. Under no circumstances shall any less than two persons count the offerings of the church, and they shall record the same on the form provided. The treasurer shall dispense of the funds as ordered by the church. He shall present a written report of itemized disbursements at the regular business meeting monthly, showing the actual financial condition of the church. All expenditures of the church shall be paid for by check if possible, but if payment is made in cash, a receipt must be obtained showing the amount paid, to whom, and for what purpose. The treasurer is wholly subject to the will of the church regarding church money. The treasury records are to be available and open for review by any church member.
(5) The Sunday School Superintendent shall have supervision of the work of the Bible study in the Sunday School program under the direction of the pastor. He shall endeavor to enlist the hearty cooperation of the whole church in Bible study and instruction. The pastor may recommend the appointment of all teachers which shall be subject to the approval of the church.
(6) The Term Of Office for all officers, except for the Pastor and Deacons, shall be one year, at the expiration of which, they may be re-elected.
(a) The Deacons shall be elected for the term of three years; they may not be re-elected until after a period of one year from expiration of their last term. This is to prevent an undue power base from developing as a result of long tenure in office.
(b) UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL a woman teach men or an adult mixed class. This is a violation of the Scripture. (I Cor. 14:33-38; I Tim. 2:11-15) Neither will a woman direct a mixed adult choir, nor will a woman be allowed to lead the congregation in singing.
(c) The Pastor may disqualify any teacher or worker for spiritual reasons that would hinder the teaching ministry of the church, using Matt. 18:15-17 as a guide.
(a) Any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and upon believer’s baptism, (immersion) and upon majority vote of the members present may be received into membership.
(b) Members from other churches holding the same order and faith, upon reading and expressing accord with our Articles of faith, and By-Laws, may be received by letter of recommendation and dismission or the promise of such, form their respective church, and upon majority vote of the members present. Those from churches who do not hold the doctrine of eternal security of the believer may be received into membership only upon a public statement of their faith in Christ, and a public statement of assent to the doctrine of eternal security of the believer. If their baptism was other than immersion as a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, they must be re-baptized. No immersion as a part of Salvation can be accepted as Scriptural baptism.
(c) Those persons who have been members of a church of like faith and practice, and in consequence of circumstances cannot obtain a regular letter of recommendation, may be received into membership of the church upon reading and expressing accord with our Articles of Faith and By-Laws, giving a public statement of faith regarding having been born again, and upon majority vote of the members present.
(d) Members in good standing may, at their request and vote of majority of members present at any regular business session, receive letters of admission to any church of like faith and practice. Letters will not be given to the individual, but will be sent to the receiving church.
(e) Reception of new members will take place at any regular service.
(2) INACTIVE ROLL
(a) Any member of the church who has been absent from the regular worship services of the church for a period of two months without being considered by the church as being providentially hindered-as in the case of extended sickness, military leave, or being sent TDY by the military, shall be placed on an inactive, non-voting roll.
(b) When this action is warranted, the individual’s name shall be brought before the church in a regular business meeting, and placed on the inactive roll upon majority vote of the members present. A letter will be sent to them after the action is taken to so inform them.
(c) Restitution to the active membership roll may be made upon public request of the affected individual, and majority vote of the members present in any service.
(3) DELETION FROM THE INACTIVE ROLL
Any member who absents himself or herself from the services of Grace Baptist Church for a period of one year shall have their names taken from the inactive membership roll of the church except it be for extended illness, extended TDY, or being otherwise providently hindered. Men elected by the church and the pastor may remove their names, if and when it is established that they have been absent for a period of one year. When this action is taken, if possible, a letter will be sent to the affected individual to so inform them, and no letter of recommendation will be granted them to another church.
In the case of an offense requiring discipline, the offender shall be contacted by the pastor and two male witnesses, and shall be dealt with according to the Scripture.
I. Relating to personal offences - Matt. 18:15-17.
II. General Offenses Against The Church.
a. Rejection of fundamental doctrines as set forth in the Bible and the church constitution.
1. Gal. 1:8-9
2. II John 9-11
3. Titus 3:10-11
b. Seriously Hinders The Union Of The Church.
1. The New Testament teaches that we are to be “In one accord.”
2. Rom. 16:17 ...”Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them.”
c. False view to church policy - Violation or disregard to Church Constitution and By-Laws.
d. Disorderly or immoral conduct
1. II Thes. 3:6-11; 14-15
2. I Cor. 5:11-13
III. The church may withdraw fellowship (membership) for violation of the above Scripture, the Church Constitution, and By-Laws.
IV. The manner in which excluded members should be treated.
a. I Cor. 5:11
b. II Thes. 3:14-15
V. They are to be restored if they repent publicly. (Gal. 6:1)
VI. If, after full inquiry, prayer, and counsel, the offender does not repent and manifest it in daily living, the church shall suspend him or her from the privileges of membership. Restoration to full fellowship and church membership privileges shall be made upon public confession of the offense and request for church forgiveness and upon majority vote of the membership present in any service.
1. AN AUDITOR OR AUDITING COMMITTEE (Appointed by the church) shall audit the books of the treasurer connected with the work of the church at the close of the fiscal year. The fiscal year shall begin with the first of January, and end with the thirty-first day of December.
2. NOMINATION COMMITTEE may be appointed by the pastor when the need arises. This committee shall prepare a list of candidates for the various offices to e filled and report at the meeting for election of officers one month preceding the annual business meeting. This committee shall consist of male members only.
3. ALL COMMITTEES shall be appointed by the pastor unless otherwise provided for in the Constitution. The Pastor by virtue of his office, shall be a member of all committees.
1. MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP: Unless otherwise provided, the church shall meet each Sunday for public worship, both morning and evening, and at least once during the week for Bible study and prayer. Except when circumstances forbid, the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed once each quarter.
2. MEETINGS FOR BUSINESS: A monthly business meeting of the church shall be held on the second Sunday of each month, at which time, the regular business of the church shall be transacted.
Amended: A monthly business meeting will be held on the third Sunday of each month. - July 13, 1997.
3. SPECIAL MEETINGS: The pastor or designated male member in the event the church is without a pastor may call a special meeting by giving notice of such meeting and the purpose of which it is called to the church from the pulpit at least two regular services prior to said meeting. A meeting for the election of the pastor may be called by the Pulpit Committee at any regular meeting after announcement has been given audibly in a regular Sunday preaching service.
1. The officers of all adult and young people’s auxiliary organizations shall be members of this church who are in good standing, elected by their respective organizations, subject to ratification by the church.
2. Any constitutions of auxiliary organizations shall be drawn as not to conflict with the Constitution of this church, and shall in no wise govern that group over the church Constitution.
2. Auxiliary organizations may hold meetings at such times as will not conflict with meetings of the church, and shall be under the authority of the pastor.
Grace Baptist Church shall not be officially represented at any religious gathering or Church function, such as church singspiratic associations, conventions, revival services, or youth meetings without the approval of the pastor, or in the event the church is without a pastor, the congregation. This is to prevent our church from being represented at a modernistic or liberalistic gathering, where our church would not be in agreement in doctrine or principle in which we might bring a reproach on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dissolution Of The Church
No part of the net earnings of this church shall ever endue to the benefit of any donor, member, director, or officer of the church or any private individual, and no donor, member, director, or officer of the church shall be entitled to benefit from any assets of the church in the event that this church is dissolved. Upon dissolution, any assets of the church must be distributed to a fundamental, independent Baptist Church or mission work.
Amendments June 28, 2015
1. Marriage is defined from the Word of God as being the union between one man and one woman. Matt. 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
2. Same sex marriage is contrary to the Word of God, and is an abomination in His sight. Lev. 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Rom. 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; therefore, it is resolved by the membership of Grace Baptist Church that no same sex marriage ceremony shall ever be performed under the authority of this church.
3. A marriage ceremony is considered by this church to be an act of worship. Therefore, no marriage ceremony shall be performed on the property of Grace Baptist Church by any minister other than the duly called and elected pastor of Grace Baptist Church. Also, no couples, man and woman, who are not saved, and baptized members of Grace Baptist Church shall be permitted to have their marriage ceremony performed on church property. Furthermore, all church property and facilities are limited to the use of Church ministries for religious worship purposes only.