What We Believe

Below is our Statement of Faith, as it was laid out in the trust deed to our church building, on 3rd October 1853.

Please note that the numeration and additional commas have been added for clarity. If you’d like to view the original document, a digitised copy is available here, and a transcript is available here. An audio version is also available on request.

1. Renouncing the claim of any human power of whatever name to interfere in their religious concerns or to ordain rules and ceremonies in the Church of Christ.

What does it mean?

No one else it allowed to decide what the church believes or does, but the Bible.

(Ephesians 1:22, Colossians 1:18, Colossians 2:10)

2. Acknowledging no authoritative rule of Doctrine of Duty of Discipline or church order, but the Sacred Scriptures only.

What does it mean?

Nothing else, including this document, has authority over the church but the Sacred Scriptures.

At the time of writing (as of now), this would be the 66 books of the Old and New Testament (the Bible) in their original languages, though in general teaching and discussion we will use a faithful translation into English.

This includes both the teaching about God and salvation and the way we should live, and the discipline and order of the church.

(Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16)

And maintaining the Great Doctines of:

Here follows the doctrines (teachings) that are considered to be of paramount importance, as understood from the Scriptures, sometimes referred to as “the Doctrines of Grace”. Most Christians, who consider themselves to be reformed evangelicals, would believe these things.

2.1 The One Living and true God - three Coequal and Coeternal persons in the Godhead.

What does it mean?

A summary of the doctrine of the Trinity: God is three and one. Three persons and one whole. Each person is equal to the other persons. Each person is eternal; meaning, has always existed and will always exist.

(First statement: Deuteronomy 6:4, Exodus 3:14, Mark 12:32, 1 Corinthians 8:5-6, Ephesians 4:6, Isaiah 45:5-6)

(Second statement: Genesis 1:26, Luke 3:21-22, Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14)

2.2 The Deity and real, but sinless, humanity of Jesus Christ.

What does it mean?

Jesus is fully God, Jesus is fully human. Jesus never sinned. Jesus is “the Christ”, meaning saviour.

(1 Timothy 2:5, John 1:1-18, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 2:9, Hebrews 2:17, Luke 1:35, Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 3:5, Colossians 1:19)

2.3 The Deity and personality of the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean?

That the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost) is God and is a person, as opposed to a force, or energy.

(John 14:16-17, John 15:26, Galatians 4:6, Luke 3:22, Isaiah 11:2, John 14:26)

2.4 The eternity and immutability of the Decrees of Jehovah.

What does it mean?

The word of God, including the laws of God, has always been and always will be, and does not change.

(Isaiah 46:10, Ephesians 1:11, Acts 4:27-28, Numbers 23:19)

2.5 The Eternal Covenant of Grace between the three persons in the Godhead, on behalf of the Church.

What does it mean?

All three persons of the Trinity always had a plan for, and a role in, the salvation of the church (the people of God). This was entirely God’s work and effort, i.e. by Grace, as opposed to being anything to do with our own efforts or plans.

(Ephesians 1:3-14, Matthew 25:34, 2 Timothy 1:9)

2.6 The Eternal Election, Justification and Sanctification of the Church, in, and through, Jesus Christ.

What does it mean?

God always knew who He would choose to make up His church. He would always make a way for those people to be justified (made right before God). He would always change the church to purify it and make it more like Jesus (sanctification). This would always happen through Jesus Christ.

(Romans 8:29-30, John 15:16, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1 Corinthians 1:30-31)

2.7 Original sin - that is to say:- The entrance of sin, condemnation and death through the fall of Adam, entailing enmity against God, Total Depravity of the heart and entire ruin of all his posterity.

What does it mean?

Humanity proved itself sinful (wrongdoing, imperfection, rebellion against God) right at the very beginning in the Garden of Eden. This ruined our existence as humans and the world we live in. This made us enemies of God.

Total depravity means: we are completely sinful, and without intervention from God, we would always choose sin.

(Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 3:9-18, Jeremiah 17:9, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

2.8 The particular, personal and complete redemption of the elect and of them alone, by the blood shedding of Jesus Christ.

What does it mean?

Jesus’ death on the cross saved us from our sin and from eternal punishment. This was done for the individuals (the elect) God chose.

(John 6:37-39, John 17:9-12, Romans 8:5-11, Revelation 5:9, Ephesians 2:4-10)

2.9 The effectual calling of all the Elect vessels of mercy, at the time appointed by Jehovah's decree.

What does it mean?

Everyone who God chose (vessels of mercy, as opposed to vessels of wrath; see Romans 9) would respond when called by God, having been changed by Him, at a time of His choosing.

(Romans 8:30, 2 Thessalonians 2:14, Romans 9:22-24, 1 Corinthians 1:9)

3. Efficacious grace in regeneration.

What does it mean?

By grace, (God’s work, not ours) we would be changed (regenerated, born-again), so that we could receive and live out this calling of God.

(Deuteronomy 30:6, Ezekiel 36:25-27, Titus 3:4-6, John 1:12-13)

4. The application of the Law to the conscience, by the Holy Ghost, convincing the sinner of his guilt and helplessness.

What does it mean?

The law of God as revealed in the Scriptures makes us aware of our guilt for what we’ve done wrong and our helplessness to change. This is part of the work of the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost).

(Romans 3:19-20, John 16:8-9, Romans 7:7-14)

5. The manifestation of pardon through the Blood of Sprinkling and of Justification through the righteousness of Christ, whereby the believer is delivered from the curse and rule of the Law and is brought under the rule and government of the Gospel; - the precepts of which are alone binding as his rule of conduct.

What does it mean?

Our guilt under the law is removed by Jesus’ saving death on the cross. As a result, we do not live under the condemnation of the Old Testament law, but under the grace of the New Testament. We are guided in our conduct by this ‘new convenant’, which is a fulfilment of the ‘old covenant’.

(Hebrews 12:24, Galatians 3:10-14, Romans 7:4-6, 1 Peter 1:2)

6. Final perseverance - that is to say: - The certain perseverance of the souls in grace and faith unto Eternal Life.

What does it mean?

Everyone who is chosen will carry on in the faith until they die, and will then be resurrected and live eternally with Jesus.

(Philippians 1:6, John 10:28-29, Jude 24, 1 Peter 1:3-5, 2 Timothy 1:12)

7. The Baptism of believers and none others, by immersion only, upon a profession of their faith in Christ.

This teaching on the ordinance of baptism would not be held by all evangelical (Bible-believing) Christians, but would be held by all that would call themselves Baptists, or other Baptistic denominations.

What does it mean?

People should be baptised once they themselves come to a belief in Jesus, not before. They are immersed in water (completely covered), having told others of their faith in Jesus. This precludes the baptism of anyone, of any age, who does not, or cannot, profess faith in Jesus.

(Romans 6:1-4, Matthew 28:19, Matthew 3:13-17, Colossians 2:12, Acts 2:37-41)

8. And the exclusive right of such, as have been baptised, to a participation of the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper.

This teaching on the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper (communion) is a view less widely held but is characteristic of “Strict and Particular Baptists”, now known as “Grace Baptists”. It is one of the beliefs of Peel Street Baptist Church that is particularly distinctive.

What does it mean?

Only people baptised the way described in point 7 are allowed to take part in communion (the Lord’s supper: the breaking of bread and the pouring of wine shared amongst believers).

All believers should be baptised, and therefore any believer who has not been baptised should get baptised before entering into communion. This is primarily a spiritual safeguarding measure, for the good of the individual concerned.

(1 Corinthians 11:23-31, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, Luke 22:14-20, Matthew 26:26-29)

A longer, and more comprehensive, expression of the doctrinal position of Peel Street Baptist Church, on these and other doctrinal matters, can be found in such statements as the 1689 Baptist Confession or the 1966 Baptist Affirmation of Faith.

We have these Confessions in common with many other churches and organisations, such as the Lancashire Reformed Baptist Fellowship, of which we are a part.

If you have any questions about these confessions, contact us.