Shady Grove Baptist Church
Wednesday, December 08, 2021
Proclaiming Jesus to the Heart of George County.

What We Believe

I. The Scriptures 
     The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself 
     to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation      for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture      is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and 
     therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, 
     and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions 
     should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine 

     Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 
     119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 
     22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 
     15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21. 

II. God 
     There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal 
     Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in 
     holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect 
     knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions 
     of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The 
     eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct 
     personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. 
     A. God the Father 
          God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the           flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all           powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who           become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude           toward all men. 

          Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 
          6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 
          17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-
          8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; 
          Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7. 

     B. God the Son 
          Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of 
          the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of 
          God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and           identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine           law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made           provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a           glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before           His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God           where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the           reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the           world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as           the living and ever present Lord. 

          Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 
          11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 
          24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 
          21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-
          21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 
          8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 
          1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 
          1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-
          9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16. 

     C. God the Holy Spirit 
          The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the 
          Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts           Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the           Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every           believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers,           and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals           the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the           guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He           enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and           service. 

          Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-
          32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 
          11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 
          5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 
          1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 
          1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 
          Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17. 

III. Man 
     Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and 
      female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the 
     goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed 
     by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and 
     brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the 
     command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a 
     nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of 
     moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of 
     God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative 
     purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man 
     in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race 
     possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. 

     Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; 
     Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 
     6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; 
     Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11. 

IV. Salvation 
     Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who 
     accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal 
     redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, 
     justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal 
     faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. 

     A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become 
          new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit           through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and           faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of           grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of           Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour. 

     B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness 
          of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a 
          relationship of peace and favor with God. 

     C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is           set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual           maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in           grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.

     D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state 
          of the redeemed. 

          Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 
          1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 
          2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 
          5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 
          15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-
          22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 
          Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-
          26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5. 

V. God's Purpose of Grace 
     Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, 
     sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and 
     comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's 
     sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting 
     and promotes humility. All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has      accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of      grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and      temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring      reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be      kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. 

     Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; 
     Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-
     48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; 
     Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; 
     Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 
     Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 
     John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2. 

VI. The Church 
     A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation 
     of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; 
     observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts,      rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to      the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through 
     democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and 
     accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both 
     men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men 
     as qualified by Scripture.
     The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of 
     the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and 

     Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-
     30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; 
     Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 
     Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3. 

VII. Baptism and the Lord's Supper 
     Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the 
     Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a 
     crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, 
     and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his 
     faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to 
     the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper. 
     The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, 
     through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the 
     Redeemer and anticipate His second coming. 

     Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; 
     John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 
     10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12. 

VIII. The Lord's Day 
     The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular 
     observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should      include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on      the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the      Lordship of Jesus Christ. 

     Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; 
     John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 
     2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10. 

IX. The Kingdom 
     The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His 
     particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the 
     Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike 
     commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may 
     come and God's will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the 
     return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age. 

     Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 
     25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; 
     John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; 
     Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 
     5:10; 11:15; 21-22. 

X. Last Things 
     God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. 
     According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the 
     earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The 
     unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The      righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell      forever in Heaven with the Lord. 

     Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 
     8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 
     17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 
     Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 
     Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; 
     James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13. 

XI. Evangelism and Missions 
     It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord 
     Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by 
     God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all 
     rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly 
     commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the 
     preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek 
     constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, 
     and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ. 
     Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-
     43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-
     8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians      3:1- 11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 
     Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17. 

XII. Education 
     Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the 
     treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our 
     Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for 
     knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate 
     with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with      these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is 
     necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ's people. 
     In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and 
     academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always 
     limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or 
     seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of      the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists. 

     Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 
     119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 
     7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 
     4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; 
     James 1:5; 3:17. 

XIII. Stewardship 
     God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe 
     to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in 
     the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under 
     obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should 
     recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping      others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means      cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of      the Redeemer's cause on earth. 

     Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-
     4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 
     17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 
     Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19. 

XIV. Cooperation 
     Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and      conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God.      Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are 
     voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our 
     people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should 
     cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and 
     benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New 
     Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by 
     various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian 
     denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such      cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and      His Word as revealed in the New Testament. 

     Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; 
     Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 
     2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 
     Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18. 

XV. The Christian and the Social Order 
     All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own 
     lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and 
     the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful      only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God      in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of           greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, 
     homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the 
     needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the 
     unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. 
     Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under 
     the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to      promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any      good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their      loyalty to Christ and His truth. 

     Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; 
     Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; 
     Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1 Corinthians 5:9-
     10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-
     17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.

XVI. Peace and War 
     It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In 
     accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put 
     an end to war. 
     The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the 
     world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the 
     practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should 
     pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace. 

     Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 
     14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2. 

XVII. Religious Liberty 
     God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and 
     commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church 
     and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom 
     in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group 
     or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government      being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all      things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil      power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for      the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of      any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A      free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and 
     unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate 
     opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power. 

     Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 
     6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 
     2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19. 

XVIII. The Family 
     God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is 
     composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. 
     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. 
     The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's 
     image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is 
     to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to 
     provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the 
     servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship      of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the 
     God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing 
     the household and nurturing the next generation. 
     Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. 
     Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to 
     teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent 
     lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children 
     are to honor and obey their parents. 

     Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 
     Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 
     6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; 
     Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 
     10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 
     3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7. 

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