Articles of Organization

Including the Articles of Faith and the Church Covenant

Preamble

Entrusting our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation and accepting the Holy Scriptures as our sole and perfect rule of faith and practice, we assemble ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ and adopt these articles for our government and plan of worship.

ARTICLE I GENERAL PROVISIONS

Section 1 Name

The name of this church shall be Berean Baptist Church, Lafayette, Indiana.

Section 2 Declaration of Intent

The purpose of forming this independent church is to provide a place of worship where born again, Bible-believing people will be fed the Word of God in a congenial atmosphere; where sinners will be welcome but miserable until they make things right with the Lord; where the pastors, Sunday school teachers, deacons, and all other church leaders are united in thought and effort in growing in the Faith (2 Pet. 3:18; Phil. 3:10-17; 1 Cor. 15:1-4), winning lost souls to the Lord Jesus Christ, and standing for truth against the darkness of this world (Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Cor. 4:1-6).

The public worship services of the church shall be of reasonable length, and the object of the preliminaries will be to prepare hearts for the preaching of God's Word. The preaching shall be well prepared; and an invitation, when given, will be conducted without extended pleadings.

The church ministry shall be intended and conducted to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost, to equip believers to become effective servants for the Lord, and to support the work of the gospel in the local community and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. While striving to grow in purity and maturity, the church shall endeavor to strengthen families to be above reproach and to be a demonstration of God's grace, and to be an encouragement to the service of Jesus Christ while watching and waiting for His imminent return for His Church.

The church shall purpose to advance the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ; establish and maintain religious worship; ordain and license men to the Gospel ministry; commission church planters and other missionaries to other places; and evangelize the unsaved by the proclaiming of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It shall train believers in the doctrines and practices consistent with biblical faith; encourage a lifestyle of obedience to the Scriptures that promotes good Christian stewardship and good citizenship; and engage in any other ministry that the Church may decide, from time to time, to pursue in obedience to the will of God.

The church shall remain independent, Baptist, fundamental, pre-tribulational, pre-millennial, and separated unto the holiness of God and shall endeavor to establish and maintain its testimony as such.

Section 3 Character of Government

The government of this church shall be vested in the authority of its membership in the New Testament pattern. The church acknowledges Jesus Christ as its only head and the Bible as its only infallible guide in matters of faith and government. The Church may fellowship with organizations of like faith and practice, but no rules or commitments shall be made to such bodies that call for more than voluntary action on the part of the church.

The pastors, deacons, and any other elected or appointed officers are the servants of the church and are subject at all times to its corporate action. Due to his divine calling, the pastor, in the discharge of his pastoral duties, shall have freedom of action and ministry and be primarily accountable to God, yet under the guidance and authority of this Constitution.

ARTICLE II STATEMENT OF FAITH

Section 1 The Holy Scriptures

We believe the Bible to be inerrant in the original writings and that it was verbally inspired and produced by the Holy Spirit through holy men of old. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the only complete and divine revelation of God's will to the church and the only rule of faithful practice. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their literal, grammatical-historical, and dispensational contexts (2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21).

Section 2 The Godhead

We believe in the one Triune God, who is infinite Spirit, the Maker and supreme Ruler of heaven and earth, inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that He is eternally existing in three persons --the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each equal in every divine perfection, nature, power, and glory, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (Ex. 20:2, 3; Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:6; Rev. 4:11; 1 John 5:7).

Section 3 The Person and Work of Jesus Christ

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God, having been miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary in order that He might reveal God to man and redeem sinful man. We believe that He was tempted, yet without sin in His life, that He died a substitutionary death on the Cross for our sin, that He literally arose from the dead bodily. We further believe that He ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high, uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathy with Divine perfection, thus He is in every way qualified to be a suitable and compassionate High Priest, Intercessor, and Advocate (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14-18; 1 Cor. 15:3-8; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8; Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 1:1-3; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 2:24).

Section 4 The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God’s purpose is fulfilled; that He exalts Christ; that He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that He bears witness to the Truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the agent in the New Birth; that He seals, indues, guides, teaches, witnesses to, sanctifies and helps the believer (John 14:16, 17; Matt. 28:19; Heb. 9:14; John 14:26; Luke 1:35; Gen. 1:1-3; John 16:14; John 16:8-11; Acts 5:30-32; John 3:5, 6; Eph. 1:13, 14; Mark 1:8; John 1:33; Acts 11:16; Luke 24:29; Rom. 8:14, 16, 26, 27).

We believe that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and the gift of healing, were temporary. We believe that speaking in tongues (which tongues were, in Bible times, actual dialects native to people in the audience) never has been a common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit and that ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God may choose to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing (Acts 2:1-12; 1 Cor. 1:22; 13:8; 14:21-22; Eph. 2:20; Heb. 2:2-4).

Section 5 The Creation, The Creation and Fall of Man

We believe in the direct creation by God of the physical universe, of all spirit beings, of man, and of all other forms of life, without the process of evolution, accomplished in six literal, twenty-four hour days. We believe that the early chapters of Genesis are literal and accurate history, including the worldwide flood in the days of Noah. We believe that God sustains all of creation but exists in the perfection of His own being apart from creation (Gen. 1,2, 6; Exod. 20:11; John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17).

We believe that man was created directly by God on the sixth day of creation and was made in God’s own image and after His own likeness. We believe that God created Adam in pristine holiness; however, by a voluntary transgression, Adam fell from his sinless and happy state, thus incurring not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God. Each individual is accountable for original sin (Adam’s) as well as his own personal sin and therefore is under just condemnation to eternal ruin without defense or excuse. Man in his natural state is in a condition of total depravity, that is, sin touches every aspect of his being and will, and he is utterly incapable of receiving the things of the Spirit of God apart from the quickening grace of the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:17; 3:1-6; Ps 58:3; John 1:13; Rom 1:18-20, 28; 3:10-19, 23; 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1-3).

Section 6 Salvation

We believe salvation to be by grace through faith, wholly apart from human works and merit, and that each individual must exercise personal faith in the redeeming work of Christ in order to be saved. He must be born again. We believe the new birth is instantaneously wrought by the Holy Spirit and is not a process and that by the new birth an individual becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus. We believe that all who are truly born again are eternally kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ. We believe in the priesthood of every believer, who upon salvation has direct access to God without any human intermediary (Eph. 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5; Acts 16:31; Rom. 6:23; 10:9; John 3:3, 5, 7; 2 Cor. 5:17; Phil. 1:6; John 10:28, 29; Rom. 8:35-39; 1 Pet. 1:5; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Heb. 4:14-16; Rev. 1:6).

We believe in God’s electing grace, which is not conditioned upon man’s works, man’s response, nor man’s free will (John 1:10-13; Rom. 9:11, 16; Eph. 1:4; 2:1-9; Phil. 2:12-13; Titus 3:5-6). The blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the immediate duty of all mankind to accept these blessings by a cordial, repentant, and obedient faith, which faith itself is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:29). Nothing prevents the salvation of even the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Savior as revealed in the gospel (Isa. 55:1, 6-7; Matt. 11:28; John 3:15-18, 36; 6:37; Acts 13:39; Eph. 1:4; 1 Thes. 1:4; 1 Tim. 1:15; Rev. 22:17).

We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We further hold that this is not intended to excuse liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Rom. 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).

Section 7 Satan

We believe in the reality and personality of Satan; that through pride he fell from his exalted place as “the anointed cherub that covereth”; that he is the unholy god of this age, the author of sin, and the prince of all the powers of darkness. We further believe that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man, and that he is destined to eternal punishment in the lake of fire (Ezek. 28:12-19; Isa. 14:12-15; Matt. 25:41; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:12; Rev. 12:7-12; 20:10).

Section 8 Resurrection, Heaven and Hell

We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29; 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 12-13).

We believe that the souls of believers in Christ do at death immediately pass into His presence, and there remain until the resurrection of the body at the rapture when the soul and body reunited shall stand before Christ to be judged of their Christian works for the giving of rewards, and that they shall then be associated with Him forever in glory (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1Thes. 4:13-18).

We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery until the final resurrection at the end of the millennium for judgment; the result of this judgment will be that all will be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting separation from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thes. 1:6-9; Rev. 20:11-15).

Section 9 The Church

We believe in the church universal, which is made up of those Jews and Gentiles who have received Jesus Christ as Savior. This is the body of Christ with Christ as its head, also called the bride of Christ. This church is formed by the work of the Holy Spirit, and is a Holy Temple, an invisible, spiritual organism, and consists of all who are saved, from Pentecost until the Rapture (Acts 2; 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Eph. 1:22-23; 2:14-16, 19-22; Col 1:18).

We believe that a local church is an organized congregation of believers, immersed upon an acceptable confession of faith, equal in rank and privilege, subject to the Word of God, and independent of any external, ecclesiastical control whatsoever. They are bonded together unto the glory of God through worship and work, for the fellowship in the Gospel, for the observance of the ordinances, and for the furtherance of the Gospel to all the world. We believe that its officers are pastor and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures, which positions are to be held by men only. We further believe that the work of God in the present age is intended to be accomplished primarily in and through the local church, which is a visible manifestation of the universal church. We believe that every born-again believer should be a member of a local New Testament church and should be actively serving the Lord in the church (Acts 2:41,42; 20:17-28; 1Cor. 11:2; Eph. 4:11; Acts 15:13-18; Heb. 10:23-25).

We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially. We believe that God established the tithe as a pattern for proportionate giving, and that every believer should give offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of his local church ministries for the spread of the gospel, the relief of those in need, and such related work as decided by the church body (Gen. 14:20; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9).

Church Ordinances:

We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water to show forth our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior. This solemn and beautiful emblem is a public identification following a profession of faith, is a picture of our death to sin and our resurrection to newness of life, should precede participation in the Lord’s table, and is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership (Acts 8:36-39; Rom. 6:3-5; Matt. 3:16; Col. 2:12; 1Pet. 3:20, 21).

We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a partaking of unleavened bread and grape juice as symbols of Christ’s body and blood. We believe that it is the commemoration of His death until He comes, should be observed only by those who have been saved through faith in His atoning blood and are walking in obedient fellowship with Him, should always be preceded by solemn self-examination, and that it has no sacramental value. Anyone known to be under biblical discipline of this or any other church should be excluded from participation (1 Cor. 11:23-33; 1 Cor. 5:9-13).

Section 10 Last Things

We believe that the personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ to catch up His people (the church) to meet Him in the air is imminent, i.e. that this rapture of the church could occur at any moment and will precede the 70th week of Daniel, commonly referred to as the Tribulation. We believe in the personal and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with His church to judge the living nations and to set up His Kingdom upon earth (the Millennium), and that this will take place following the seventieth week of Daniel. After the thousand years, Satan and His angels will be cast into the Lake of Fire, to be joined subsequently by the unsaved dead of all the ages after their appearing at the Great White Throne judgment. The saved will live forever in the new heaven and the new earth (Acts 1:11; 1Thes. 4:13-18; Dan. 9:20-27; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 19:11-21; 20:1-15; 21:1-8).

Section 11 The Family, The Church, and Civil Government

We believe that civil government is of Divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only Lord of the conscience and is the coming Prince of the kings of the earth. We believe in the separation of the authorities of the Family, the Church, and the State; that each is equal before God in its area of divinely appointed work, and that each is sovereign in its own realm of Biblical duties. No one of these three divine institutions has the right to infringe upon the others, but has the responsibility to support the Biblical role of the others. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and are to be governed by His Word (Ex. 18:18-22; Ex. 20:12; 1 Sam. 26:8-11; 2 Sam. 23:3; Dan. 3:17-18; Matt. 16:18-19; 22:21; Acts 4:15-21; 5:27-39; 23:5; Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-6:4; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13-15).

Section 12 Current Moral, Spiritual Issues

A. Separation: We believe that separation is a doctrine as well as a practice and that the separation principle runs through the entire Bible. We believe that true spiritual fellowship is the result of common faith and practice. We believe there are several aspects of Biblical separation.

Separation of areas of authority includes the separation of the authorities and responsibilities of the family, the church, and the state, as noted above (Art. II, Sect. 11).

Personal separation is the separation of the believer from the world and sin in order to serve God. We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. Personal separation involves a departure and distancing from acts of sin, from the world system, from heretics, and from false teachers (Josh. 24:14-15; Rom. 12:1-2; 16:17-19; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Eph. 5:15-18; Titus 2:11-15; 3:8-11; 1 John 2:15-17; 4:1; 2 John 10-11).

Ecclesiastical separation is the separation of the church from apostasy and from those who tolerate apostasy. While recognizing the unity of all true believers, it is also evident that unbelief and error in many organized fellowships has developed to the point where recognized apostasy exists. We believe we are to reprove apostates rather than recognize them, to rebuke rather than to reason with them, to reject rather than to receive or unite with them. We believe that loyalty to Christ also demands separation from those groups and individuals content to walk with, allow, or tolerate religious unbelief (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Eph. 5:1-15; 2 Tim. 4:2-4; 2 John 10-11).

Familial separation is the separation of the believer from an erring brother, when doctrinal or ethical compromise creeps into his life or ministry. We believe that we must separate from those brethren who continue in disobedience to the Word of God. This separation is not to be entered into lightly, nor with rejoicing over the occasion of the need for separation, but soberly and with due diligence to maintain the unity of the Spirit whenever and wherever possible (Matt. 18:15-22; Rom. 16:17-19; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Thes. 3:6-15).

B. Women in the Church: We believe that Scripture teaches that women are never to teach men regarding scriptural matters, nor are they to usurp authority over men in church services, Bible studies, church business matters and meetings, and so on. In 1 Tim. 2:11-15, the silence refers to learning, teaching, and authority.

We further believe that women are not included in the biblical qualifications for the office of pastors or deacons in the New Testament (1 Tim. 2:11-15; 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). Women have many opportunities to worship and serve in this church through prayer, sharing the Word through personal testimonies, in the ministries of music, in leading women’s and children’s Bible studies, and in other areas as determined by the church leadership (Rom. 16:1-3, 6; Phil. 4:3).

C. Human Sexuality: We believe that God has ordained and commanded that the intimate sexual relationship between one man and one woman be completely and only within the relationship of marriage, which is to be a life long commitment. We believe that any sexual activities outside of biblical marriage in any form, be it homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, incest, fornication, adultery, pornography, and such like, are perversions of God’s gift of sexuality to mankind (Gen. 2:24-25; 26:8-11; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; Eph. 5:1-8; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4).

D. Sanctity of Human Life: We believe that mankind was created in the image of God and is under obligation to God to protect and preserve human life. We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. We believe that the many-pronged attack upon these truths by modern society is a rejection of God’s revealed will. We believe that capital punishment is necessary in the protection of the sanctity of human life; that abortion is the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life; and that any medical or scientific process which destroys or endangers a living human embryo is wrong (Gen. 1:26-27; 9:4-6; Psalm 51:5; 139:13-16; Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:44; Rom. 13:1-4).

E. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage: We believe that marriage is a divine institution and that God intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. We believe that divorce is a distortion of God’s intention for marriage and a disruption of the picture that He intends for marriage to portray. The Scriptures record that God hates divorce and desires the marriage bond that He created be preserved.

The Scriptures further record that God did at times allow divorce. Those instances are severely limited and are never commended nor encouraged (Gen. 2:23-25; Mal. 2:14-17; Eph. 5:22-33; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3). In such cases the question of remarriage arises. Because remarriage in such circumstances would necessitate the public disclosure of sensitive, personal information from the past marriage relationship(s), no one from Berean Baptist Church will officiate in or conduct weddings where one or both participants have been divorced, unless the former spouse(s) has died. The church facilities will also not be used for such weddings.

Church members who have been divorced and/or remarried may hold positions of service in the local church and can be greatly used of God for Christian service. The only restriction of service will be that they may not be considered for the offices of pastor and deacon (1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).

F. Bible Translations: We affirm that the 66 canonical books of the Bible are verbally inspired as found in their original autographs (2 Tim. 3:16). Modern language Bibles that accurately reflect the originals derive their authority from those autographs, so that a good translation of the Bible can be confidently called the Word of God. We reject all translations that reflect theological liberalism, paraphrasing of the text, or political agendas (such as gender neutrality, etc.).

The King James translation, being a careful translation, will be the English text used by Berean Baptist Church throughout its ministry in the public proclamation and memorization of God’s Word. While we value the King James Version, we do not subscribe to nor permit the propagation of the King James Only view.

 

G. The Use of Music in Ministry: We believe that the ultimate goal of a believer in Jesus Christ is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31, 32), and that the believer’s music should be the result of a Holy Spirit controlled life and the result of a proper understanding of the Word of God (Eph. 5:18-21; Col. 3:15-17). We believe that the world is under satanic dominion and generates all manner of influences which are not in keeping with these principles (Gen. 4:16-24; Ezek. 28:11-13; Eph. 2:2; 6:10-12; 1 John 2:15-17). We believe that the music used in the believer’s life should have musical elements of melody, harmony, and rhythm that are in keeping with the principles of God’s Word. We reject the popular musical philosophy (CCM-contemporary Christian music philosophy) that the words or message are the only important element and that the music is neutral.

ARTICLE III CHURCH COVENANT

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith; having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter in covenant with one another as one body in Christ. (Rom. 8:14; Matt. 10:40; Gal. 4:14; 1 Thes. 2:13; Acts 2:41; 8:37; Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12-13).

We engage therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love (John 14:14-26; John 16:13; Eph. 5:2; 1 Thes. 4:9); to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort (Eph. 2:21; 2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Thes. 5:14); to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines, (Heb. 10:25; Jude 19; 2 Thes. 3:6; Rom. 16:17; Acts 2:42; 2 John 9, 10, 11); to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18); to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and spread of the gospel through all nations (1 Cor. 16:2; Matt. 10:10; Gal. 6:6; Acts 4:34, 35; Matt. 25:40; Acts 11:29).

We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions (Deut. 11:18, 20; Matt. 6:6); to religiously educate our children (Eph. 6:4); to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances (Mark 5:19); to walk circumspectly in the world (Matt. 5:16; Eph. 5:15); to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment (Rom. 12:17; Eph. 4:25; Eph. 5:8); to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger (1Tim. 5:13; Eph. 4:31; 2 Cor. 12:20; Eph. 4:26); to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drink as a beverage, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior (Eph. 5:18; 1 Cor. 6:10).

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love (1 Thes. 5:14; Rom. 12:10); to remember each other in prayer (Eph. 6:18; 1 Thes. 5:25); to aid each other in sickness and distress (Gal. 6:10); to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech (1 Cor. 12:25, 26; Titus 3:2); to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and, mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure it without delay (Rom. 12:19; Matt. 5:23; 18:15-18).

We moreover engage, that when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some other local church of like faith where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.

ARTICLE IV CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

Section 1 Eligibility and Restrictions

The membership of this church shall consist of persons who:

  • Have received the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior,
  • Have established a credible profession of faith,
  • Have been baptized by immersion after salvation,
  • Have properly concluded (or arranged to conclude) any previous church affiliation,
  • Subscribe to the doctrinal statement and covenant of this church, and who yield themselves to the authority of this church through the Word of God as described in this constitution.

No candidate may become a member who is a member of any secret society such as Masonry, etc., (John 18:20) or who teaches or practices civil disobedience (Rom. 13:1-7).

Section 2 Application and Admission

Persons wishing to join this church shall make written application to the pastor and deacons, whose duty it shall be to make diligent inquiry into the spiritual fitness of the applicant and, if found satisfactory, to make a recommendation to the church.

All candidates will be received on the profession of faith and the other eligibility factors listed above. The basis of a transfer of letter alone shall not be considered adequate for application. Following a public testimony of the applicant before the church, the biblical officers may present their favorable recommendation. The church shall vote upon the applications. Members shall be received by a simple majority vote of the members present at any service or church family meeting.

Section 3 Membership Status

A. Regular Members.

Regular Members shall be those who have been received into this church according to the conditions set forth in Sections 1 & 2, Article IV, Church Membership, and shall have all the rights and privileges as well as all the duties and obligations set forth in our church documents.

B. Associate Members.

1. We realize that an occasion may arise where an individual, having membership in a church of like faith and practice, finds it impractical to remove their membership and join our church due to temporary residency or employment, yet desires opportunity for service and obedience to the Scriptural principles of membership. Such cases will be reviewed by the pastor and deacons, and upon their recommendation and fulfillment of the conditions of membership in Sections 1 & 2, Article IV, Church Membership, may be presented to the church for Associate Membership. Associate Members will not have the privilege of voting or holding elected office.

2. Regular Members of our church whose occupation, education, military deployment, or personal circumstances take them out of our ministries for a period of six months or more in any calendar year will be given upon their request Associate Member status by the pastor and deacons. Those not requesting Associate Membership will be treated in accordance with Section 4. Membership Duties & Activity.

3. Associate Members whose occupation or personal circumstances change sufficiently to qualify them for Regular Membership may apply to the pastor and deacons after they have attended Sunday Services for four consecutive weeks.

4. Students who are Associate Members may be temporarily returned to Regular Member status during their extended breaks from school after indicating their desire to the pastor and deacons and after having attended Sunday Services for four consecutive weeks.

C. Inactive Members.

Inactive Members are those described in the section on Section 4. Membership Duties and Activity. Inactive Members will not have the privilege of voting, holding elected office, or speaking in any assembly of the church.

D. Voting Members.

Only Regular Members in good standing who have attained the age of 18 shall be eligible to vote. Inactive and Associate Members do not retain the privilege of voting and will not be considered in the calculation of a quorum for any church meeting.

Section 4 Membership Duties and Activity

Duties

Members shall strive to keep and maintain their covenant obligations. These include, but are not limited to, the following responsibilities:

To themselves: to continue the process of personal spiritual growth through such biblical activities as will assist them toward that goal.

To their families: to be an example of personal holiness so that other family members will be encouraged to honor God’s ways.

To this church: to faithfully attend its services, to regularly contribute through the giving of tithes and offerings, to exercise spiritual giftedness through ministry service, to protect and promote its harmony and to guard its good name in the community.

To the community: to maintain a good testimony for Christ in the home, in the workplace, and in the daily walk in order to demonstrate the grace of God, thus being ready and equipped for opportunities to witness for Christ.

To civil authorities: to be subject to the authorities that God has ordained, apart from compromise of biblical conviction, thus establishing and maintaining a testimony of yielded obedience to Christ.

Membership Inactivity.

Any member who has not attended the services of the church and supported the work of the church with some degree of regularity for a three month period, provided they are not hindered by sickness or disability from doing so, shall be placed on an Inactive Members list and become the object of special prayer and Christian concern with the intent of restoring fellowship with the church body.

The Inactive Member shall be notified of their placement on the Inactive Members list, and

admonished and encouraged to restore fellowship. The church shall be notified of those that the pastor and deacons have placed on the Inactive Members list and shall be asked to pray for and play an active role in seeking to restore the Inactive Members.

 

Inactive Members shall lose the privileges of participating in the ministries of the church

and the privileges of speaking and voting in any assembly of the church.

An Inactive Member may be restored to Regular Membership by giving satisfactory evidence, over the course of three months, of a repentant attitude and a renewed interest in the life of the church. Full privileges of membership may be restored by action of the pastor and deacons with notification to the church.

If restoration efforts fail, the pastor and deacons may present to the church a recommendation to remove the individual’s membership following three months on the Inactive Members list. See Section 5, E., Cessation of Membership, Inactivity.

Section 5 Cessation of Membership

The membership rolls of this church shall be regularly reviewed by the pastor and deacons. Membership may be ended in the following ways:

Death of the Member: No church action is required.

B. Written Request: A member in good standing will be removed from the membership rolls upon written notification of their membership in a church of like faith and practice, or written notification of their intent to join another church of like faith and practice.

Withdrawal on Matters of Conscience: Any member who for matters of conscience can no longer whole heartedly support this church in its doctrine or covenant or biblical stand on issues of life and ministry may submit a notice in writing to the pastor and deacons explaining his or her change of position. It shall be the duty of the pastor and deacons to make diligent inquiry into the position of the member. This shall not be permitted as a means to avoid any necessary church discipline. The officers may make a recommendation to the church for the member to be removed from the roll in such cases.

Relocation: When a member moves out of our ministry area and can no longer fulfill membership responsibilities, the pastor and deacons may recommend that the church remove their membership and encourage them to unite with a church of like faith and practice as agreed to in our Church Covenant.

Inactivity: When a member has been on the inactive list for at least three months without adequate reason given for their inactivity and have not responded to restoration efforts, the pastor and deacons may present a recommendation to the church to remove their membership.

 

Membership in Another Church: When it becomes known that a member has placed their membership in another church they will be removed from membership of Berean Baptist Church, and notification will be given to the church.

Section 6 Discipline of Members

Formative Discipline: Let it be understood by all that one of the primary ministries of this church is the formative discipline of the public and private instruction of the Word of God with its application to daily life and public worship. This instruction is the responsibility of the church as a whole (Eph. 4:11-16). This application of spiritual discipline and teaching should be the most prevalent and common discipline in this church and in our homes.

Corrective Discipline: This refers to private and public confrontation of the offending
member that may result in dismissal from membership. This becomes necessary when a member of the body fails to positively respond to the formative discipline of the church. The purpose of corrective discipline shall include the restoration of the erring brother (1 Cor. 5:4, 5; Gal. 6:1-5), the preservation of the unity and purity of this local church (1 Cor. 5:6, 7), the maintenance of the testimony of this local church (1 Cor. 5, 6), and the instruction of the church (1Tim. 5:20).

 

Exclusion: Any member shall be subject to disciplinary exclusion when he has
 demonstrated a failure to adhere to the doctrinal statement and/or covenant of this church (Titus 3:10,11), has engaged in immoral behavior (1 Corinthians 5:11) or has disturbed the work of the church through slander, gossip, conspiracy, divisiveness, or other such practice (Rom. 16:17, 18). The responsibility for the administration of this provision shall reside with the pastor, assisted by pastoral staff and/or deacons who shall carefully follow the guidelines of Matthew 18:15-17.

The Process of Church Discipline: In the discipline process we will conform to the pattern of Matthew 18:15-20. This includes:

1. Private Reproof (Matt. 18:15) - Whenever a sinful offense has occurred or an unreconciled condition exists between two brethren, each brother is responsible to speak privately with his brother for the purpose of reconciliation and restoration.
2. Private Confrontation (Matt. 18:16) - If private reproof proves inadequate, the brother should take one or two other brothers (properly prepared, Gal. 6:1), to confront the erring brother in order to bring about reconciliation and restoration.

3. Pastor and Deacon Involvement (Matt. 18:17) - If the erring brother refuses to heed the exhortation given in private conversations above, then the matter will be taken to the Pastor and deacons for their consideration.

4. Public Announcement (Matt. 18:17) - The refusal of the erring brother to acknowledge his sin and repent, after the above steps, requires that the matter be brought before the church to use its united endeavors to gain the brother (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Thes. 3:15).

5. Public Exclusion (Matt. 18:17) - After the church leaders and congregation have made efforts to bring the erring brother to repentance but are still unsuccessful, the erring brother must be excluded from church membership. A church hearing will take place at a special or regular meeting of the church. The member being considered for dismissal is permitted to attend and to speak in turn. The decision of the membership by majority vote will be considered final.

6. Restoration. A dismissed member giving satisfactory evidence of being penitent may be restored to membership. That evidence will include a public testimony of confession before the congregation at a regular meeting or service of the church.

7. Continuation. This process will continue to the church hearing even if a resignation of membership has been tendered, if there is no evidence of true repentance.

8. Use of This Process. This process will also be the pattern for dealing with personal disputes between members in harmony with 1 Cor. 6:1-7.

We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or against the local church to resolve personal disputes.

We believe the church possesses the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members.

ARTICLE V CHURCH SERVICES AND MEETINGS

Section 1 Services

Services shall be held on the Lord’s Day for the purpose of worship and biblical instruction. Those services shall generally include an organized time of biblical instruction for all ages, and a morning and evening worship service. A weeknight service shall be held each week for the purpose of supporting this ministry in prayer. It shall be incumbent upon each member to make sincere effort to attend all of these services as often as possible. Other services shall be held as deemed appropriate by the pastor for purposes consistent with the objectives of this church.

Exceptions to this plan shall be allowed (with careful consideration) for occasional events and holidays. All services shall be under the direction of the pastor with the assistance of the deacons and others as requested by the pastor.

Section 2 Meetings for Church Business

A. Annual Meeting: An Annual Meeting of the church shall be held in January, the date and time to be determined by the pastor and deacons. The Annual Meeting shall involve a review of the purposes of the church, a review of the ministry of the past year, and a preparation for the year of ministry ahead. The church shall adopt an annual church budget for the calendar year and fill the church offices and service positions that are presented by the nominating committee. The budget shall be proposed by the pastor and deacons and shall be posted or provided to the church for the two Sundays prior to the meeting. The nominating committee shall post a ballot of the positions which need to be filled along with qualified nominees for those positions at least two Sundays prior to the Annual Meeting.

B. Quarterly Meetings: Three quarterly church meetings shall be held in April, July, and October or at such other dates as determined by the biblical officers.

C. Special Meetings: Other meetings may be called at any time by the pastor, the deacons, or by a written request to the chairman of the deacons signed by not less than seven (7) voting members of the church. Notice of the time and purpose for such meetings shall be read at the services on the Lord’s Day for two consecutive weeks or written notice given to active members at least seven days prior to the meeting.

D. Quorum: A quorum shall be 25% of the voting membership of the church. In the event that less than a quorum is present, the biblical officers shall determine a later date for the meeting. No business may be acted upon without a quorum present.

E. Moderator: The moderator of church meetings shall be the pastor of the church. In his absence or on occasion when appropriate, he may request first the chairman of the deacons or another of the deacons to serve as the moderator. This moderating function of the pastor shall not prevent him from fulfilling his shepherding role in directing the decisions of the church or from expressing his views on the items being discussed.

F. Procedures for the Meetings: The intent of the business meetings will be that the majority rules and that the minority is given an opportunity to present their views. A spirit of grace and unity shall prevail at the church meetings. General parliamentary procedure shall be followed without overemphasis on minor technicalities. All matters of disagreement over motions, seconds, procedures, lengths of discussions, etc. shall be given direction by the moderator. Items to be voted upon at any meeting must first have a motion and then a second in order to be discussed. All matters are then passed by a majority vote, unless otherwise indicated in the Constitution. Results of all votes shall be announced at the meeting and recorded in the minutes by the church clerk. Items for business that are presented from the pastor and deacons by a majority vote of the deacons may be presented on the floor of the meetings by reading. Such a reading shall constitute a motion. Support from the floor will place the motion in discussion. The pastor and deacons reserve the right, at any meeting, to hold any motion from the floor for further consideration by the biblical officers. The pastor and/or deacons may present items upon which they would like to hear discussion by the church family without necessarily moving those items toward a vote. Such items are to be announced at the meeting as being primarily for discussion. Following the formation of the church, the church shall establish, by majority vote, a brief guide to parliamentary procedure for church meetings. A process for amending that procedure shall be included. That procedure shall be normative for all church business to be conducted.

ARTICLE VI CHURCH OFFICERS

Section 1 Elected Officers

A. Qualifications:

1. General: All elected or appointed officers of the church shall be active members of the church for a period of at least one year prior to being elected, except in the calling of a pastor or other staff, and except in the first election year in the church. A non-member may not serve in any elected or appointed office in the church. No member shall be eligible to hold an office unless he has reached the age of twenty-five (25) years, except assisting pastors. All elections for officers shall be held by written ballot and shall require a majority vote of the voting members present at the meeting (unless otherwise indicated in this Constitution). All elected officers, except for the pastor(s), shall begin their service upon the adjournment of the annual meeting.

2. For the Pastor: The pastor shall be an ordained or licensed Baptist minister, subscribing without reservation to this Constitution with its Statement of Faith and Church Covenant, and displaying the personal qualifications for the office of pastor as described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.

3. For the Deacons: The deacons shall be men who demonstrate a willingness to serve the church in support of the work of the gospel ministry, and who display the personal qualifications as described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-6. Therefore, those men only may be elected to office who have remained faithfully married to their only wife, possibly including those who have been widowed or widowed and remarried

(Rom. 7:1-3).

B. Elections:

1. The Pastor: When a vacancy occurs in the senior pastorate, the deacons shall elect a pulpit committee consisting of three deacons with the addition of one member at large for each 50 voting members. The chairman of the Pulpit Committee shall be one of the deacons and shall be appointed by the deacons. The duty of this committee shall be to seek a suitable pastor and to labor with him to relocate him to the area for ministry. The church shall, whenever possible, seek to elect from among themselves a man who is qualified and prepared to assume the role of the pastor. The Pulpit Committee must approve a candidate by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the full committee before they may present him to the church as a candidate. The church must approve the pastoral candidate by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the members present and voting in order to extend a call to the candidate. A quorum for the election of a pastor shall be one half (1/2) of the voting membership of the church. The pastor will serve until he terminates his office by resignation. The pastor must give a minimum of thirty (30) days notice to the deacons before the termination of his services. The pastor shall receive his salary for at least thirty (30) days. Whenever dismissal proceedings may be in order against the pastor on grounds of proven immorality, heresy in doctrine, apostasy, or failing to properly attend his duties as pastor of the church, the church may terminate his office by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the member present and voting at a specially called business meeting. A quorum for such a meeting shall be one half (1/2) of the voting membership of the church. Such a meeting can be called by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the deacons of the church with all of the deacons being present for the vote. The pastor will receive a minimum of thirty (30) days notice if the church terminates his services. The pastor shall receive his salary for at least those (30) days. In the event of church discipline of the pastor, the members of the church will agree upon the length of remaining service by a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote, including any salary.

2. The Office of Deacon: The nominating committee shall present a ballot to the church each year at the Annual Meeting, which shall include qualified nominees for the office of deacon and their term of service. The church shall endeavor to keep four (4) deacons actively in office at all times with the addition of one deacon for every fifty (50) voting members over 100 members. The deacons shall be elected to a term of three years, which terms shall alternate. Upon the formation of the church, the first election shall include 4 deacons. By drawing lots the terms shall be determined as one (1) term of one (1) year, one (1) term of two (2) years, and two (2) terms of three (3) years. Any deacon failing to fulfill his responsibilities of office or falling into disqualification for office will come under the standard discipline process of the church. If appropriate he may be dismissed from office at any church business meeting by a majority vote of those present and voting.

3. Other Officers: Other officers, as indicated in this section, as later deemed appropriate by the church, or as required by law, will be elected by majority vote to terms of two years. Elections of candidates for office shall be held at the Annual Meeting of the church based upon a ballot presented by the nominating committee. Any officer failing to fulfill his responsibilities of office or falling into disqualification for office will come under the standard discipline process of the church. If appropriate, he may be dismissed from that office at any church business meeting by a majority vote of those present and voting.

4. Vacancies: If a vacancy occurs in an office of the church, the pastor and deacons may recommend a qualified person to complete the term of office. Such a recommendation may be presented to the church at any church meeting shall be approved by a majority vote.

Officers and Trustees of the Church:

The deacons, pastor, and treasurer of Berean Baptist Church shall be the officers and trustees of the church for matters of the state and legal purposes which require such titles or functions. In the event that such offices are needed, the pastor and deacons shall assign and designate the specific titles and functions of these officers.

C. Duties:

1. Pastoral: The pastor shall have oversight of the spiritual welfare of the church. He shall give himself to prayer and the ministry of the Word of God after the apostolic example of Acts 6. He shall seek to fulfill the spirit of those Scriptural passages that describe the life and work of those whom God appoints to care for His people in the New Testament era e.g. Acts 20:27, 28; Eph. 4:11, 12; 1 Pet. 5:1-3. The pastor shall have responsibility for the stated services of the church, shall be moderator of all meetings of the deacons and of the church family, except for meetings on his dismissal, salary, etc., and shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and ministries of the church. The senior pastor shall have supervision of all volunteer and paid personnel of the church and its ministries and shall be responsible, with the counsel of the deacons, for final determinations in the hiring, managing and dismissing of those personnel. As the shepherd, the pastor will exercise careful watch over the souls of the flock (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:2); as the bishop, he will oversee the administration and ministries of the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1); and as the elder, he will seek to lead the flock by an example of surrendered service to the Lord and Head of the Church (1 Pet. 5:1, 3).

2. Deacons: The deacons shall assist the pastor in the administration and spiritual welfare of the church, and shall participate with the pastor in the consideration of all applicants for church membership. They shall assist the pastor in matters of discipline in accordance with this Constitution and shall assist in the care of the sick, distressed, or widowed members of the church. They shall administer the Deacon’s Benevolent Fund and assist the pastor in the administration of the Lord’s Table. The pastor and deacons shall prepare a proposed annual budget to present to the church at the Annual Meeting. The pastor and deacons may request the participation of financial officers of the church to consult in the budget process. The deacons shall meet monthly if possible, shall elect their own officers at the first meeting of the year (Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary), and shall vote on matters of business to take to the floor of the church meetings. A quorum for deacons meetings will be a minimum of 50% of the total number of deacons presently serving the church. They shall be responsible for the supply of preachers for the pulpit when there is no senior pastor.

3. Church Clerk: The clerk shall keep an accurate and permanent record of all church family meetings, keep records of baptisms, maintain a membership register in which shall be noted such changes as occur, give notice of special church family meetings, and perform such other duties as prescribed.

4. Treasurer: The treasurer shall receive and disburse all monies as directed by the church, maintaining clear, accurate, and permanent record of all receipts and disbursements and present quarterly and annual financial reports to the church.

5. Financial Secretary: The financial secretary shall keep a confidential record of the tithes and offerings of all donors and issue an annual receipt (and such other periodic receipts as may be requested) to those donors.

Section 2 Appointed Officers

Other officers and specific service areas may be appointed from time to time by the pastor and deacons. Those duties and appointments will be presented at the next church meeting for the majority approval of the church.

ARTICLE VII CHURCH COMMITTEES

Section 1 Pulpit Committee

See Article VI, Section 1, B, 1

Section 2 Nominating Committee

The nominating committee shall be appointed by the deacons in December for the purpose of recommending to the church a ballot of qualified nominees. The nominations shall be posted in public view at the church’s place of worship for the two Sundays prior to the Annual Meeting.

The committee shall consist of the pastor, the chairman of the deacons, with one other deacon. There shall also be one other member of the church for every 50 voting members of the church, which nominating committee member shall not be in the immediate families of any existing officer of the church.

Section 3 Other Committees

Other committees may be established by the church at its meetings, or by the pastor and deacons at appropriate times in order to assist the church’s ministry. The duration and purpose of the committees shall be established in writing at the time of the committee’s appointment.

ARTICLE VIII CHURCH MININSTRIES

The church has the right under the authority and direction of the pastor to establish church ministries which are intended to further the purposes of this church. Such ministries will be accountable to the church through the pastor with respect to their programs, operations, materials, choice of speakers, etc.

All such ministries will be under the authority of the church, and will operate within the framework and spirit of the Church Constitution. All finances of such ministries will be accountable through the financial officers and general budget of the church. Individual areas of ministry will not separately support missionaries or any other ministries.

Ministries may be dissolved by the biblical officers when, in their opinion, the purpose of the ministry has been fulfilled, the changing character of the church or of the community has rendered the ministry unnecessary or the ministry is no longer consistent with the purpose of the church.

ARTICLE IX FINANCIAL POLICY

Section 1 Fiscal Year

The fiscal year will begin January 1 and end December 31

Section 2 Scriptural Giving

The church shall be funded by the voluntary gifts of the Lord’s people. The church will not use means such as raffles, suppers, rummage sales, games or entertainment to fund its ministries. Gifts from sources outside our local church will be evaluated by the deacons prior to acceptance. Government funding of our ministries and gifts known to be from questionable or immoral practices (such as gambling) will not be accepted.

Section 3 Budget

The church shall function with a single treasury with all funds being disbursed by check from that treasury. Designation of spending will be through an annual church budget adopted by corporate act of the church at the Annual Meeting and revised by any other subsequent corporate acts. The pastor and deacons have the authority to act outside the adopted budget in a manner they deem wise, not to exceed the amount designated by church action.

Section 4 Designated Gifts

Undesignated gifts to the church treasury of regular systematic giving is encouraged as the Scriptural plan. Designated giving to corporately agreed upon matters will be accepted. Designated giving to projects, missions, organizations, or individuals other than those corporately adopted will be handled at the discretion of the deacons. All such designations are non-binding suggestions only, and do not constitute a fiduciary trust obligation.

ARTICLE X PROVISIONS AND TRANSITIONS

Section 1 Adoption

These Articles of Organization were adopted by the body of like minded believers on October 31, 2004 at a special meeting of the Berean Baptist Church, calling themselves together in order to establish and form a separatist testimony for Christ in the greater Lafayette area.

Section 2 Amendments

These articles of organization may be amended at any special church family meeting by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of eligible members, providing that the proposed changes will be posted in public view at the church’s place of worship for two Sundays prior to the special meeting.

Section 3 Dissolution

In the event of dissolution of the church, all of its debts shall be fully satisfied. None of its assets or holdings shall be divided among the members or other individuals, but shall be irrevocably designated by corporate vote prior to dissolution to fundamental Baptist mission agencies or organizations which are in agreement with the Doctrinal Statement of this church and in conformity with the United States Internal Revenue Service Code of 1954(section 501 C-3).

Section 4 Political Activities

No substantial part of the activities of this church shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the church shall not participate in or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. This statement shall not be construed to prevent any member of this church from fulfilling his duties and rights as a citizen of his community, state, or nation. Further, this statement shall not be construed to prevent exposition and application of biblical truth associated with contemporary issues.

Section 5 Nondiscriminatory Policy

This church does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national and ethnic origin. Born again, baptized believers of any race, color, or national and ethnic origin who are in agreement with these Articles of Organization will receive all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally afforded or made available to any of its members.

Section 6 Interpretation

If questions arise in regard to the interpretation and application of these Articles of Organization, the decision of the pastor and deacons will be considered the final authority.

Section 7 Participants in Service Ministries

Participation in the service ministries of this church shall be limited to church members in good standing with the following exceptions:

By Invitation. Non members may participate is service ministries by special invitation by the pastor or deacons after careful consideration of the individual’s spiritual condition, the ministry’s impact on their spiritual life, and the participants impact on the testimony and life of the church.

For Outreach. Non members may participate in service ministries if approved by the pastor and deacons for outreach purposes in a legitimate attempt to influence the non member for Christ and a commitment to membership in the local church.

Other. All questions regarding a non member’s involvement in church ministries should be referred to the pastor and deacons for their careful consideration and decision.