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Doctrinal Statment


Introduction:  We affirm, as a general confessional standard for Baptists, the First London Confession (1644); the Second London Confession (1689); the Philadelphia Confession of Faith (1742); and the New Hampshire Confession (1833).  The following shall constitute the articles of faith of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church of Rio Rico, AZ, and these articles may only be amended by the unanimous accord of the elders and a majority vote of the congregation at a duly called business meeting (refer to ART. X).

Section 1: THE BIBLE—We believe in the verbal and plenary inspiration of Scripture.  By that we mean that God so superintended the human authors, that as they recorded His Word, it was kept free from error and omission in the original manuscripts.  We believe the Scriptures alone to be the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions, shall be tried.

We believe that the Word of God has been preserved in the extant manuscripts of the Old and New Testament scriptures.

We believe the church should be very careful about using any English translation of the Bible.  We believe that they should be translated by reputable evangelical scholars, who believe in the inerrancy and authority of God’s Word such as: the KJV, NKJV and NASV, et al.  2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21

Section 2: GOD—We believe there is one true and living God, one in essence, possessing three eternal and personal distinctions, which are revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—equal in every divine perfection.  In the trinity, there is complete harmony; but with each person of the trinity, there are distinct functions.  He is the Sovereign Ruler and Maker of the universe, inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all praise, confidence, and love.  Ex. 20:2,3; Dt. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:6; Rev. 4:11

Section 3: JESUS CHRIST—We believe Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, Who manifested Himself in the likeness of sinful flesh, being virgin born, and impeccable in His human nature.  He died on the cross being made a curse to redeem mankind, His death was a perfect substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of His elect people.  We believe that He bodily arose from the dead, ascended into heaven where He is seated on the right hand of God interceding for His people, and will return to the earth in keeping with His promise.  Luke 1:30-35; John 1:18, Phil. 2:7; Heb. 4:15; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 3:18; Mt. 28:1-6; John 20:20; Acts 1:9-11; Heb. 7:25; 8:1; John 14:1-3

Section 4: THE HOLY SPIRIT—We believe the Holy Spirit to be the third person of the triune Godhead, equal with God the Father and God the Son and possessing the same nature; that He was involved in creation, revelation, and inspiration; that He is in the world today convincing men of sin, righteousness, and judgment; that He works on behalf of the elect by regenerating them, renewing them, baptizing them into the body of Christ, and sealing them; that He imparts gifts to believers to enable them to serve in the body, these gifts are sovereignly bestowed and all believers have one or more gifts; that He also fills, lead, teaches, and prays on behalf of all believers. Mt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 2:11, 12; Ps. 139:7; Gen. 1:1-3; 2 Pet. 1:21; John 16:8-11; Titus 3:5; 1 Cor. 6:19; 12:13; Eph. 4:30; 1 Cor. 12:11; 1 Pet. 4:10; Eph. 5:18; Rom. 8:14; 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 8:26

Section 5: SALVATION—We believe that salvation is a gift of God, bestowed upon those who trust on Jesus Christ alone as Lord and Savior; that meritorious works are of no value in obtaining salvation, for all of man’s righteous deeds are as a filthy rag; that salvation is based on the vicarious atonement of Christ, who paid the full redemptive price for the sins of God’s people and satisfied the righteous demands of God the Father for them too.  Those who trust in Christ for salvation receive eternal life and are justified before God, and are now able and obligated to perform good works.  Believers will persevere because they are kept by the Father for Jesus Christ.

We also believe that salvation is a divine plan conceived of God in eternity past to secure infallibly the glorification of His elect people.  God the Father chose in Jesus Christ a definite group of people, for whom Jesus Christ laid down His life and the Holy Spirit most effectually calls to salvation.  Jesus Christ also is sanctifying them with the ultimate goal of bringing them to glory.  Not one will be lost in the process.  Eph. 2:8,9; Isa. 64:6; Gal. 3:13; Rom. 3:24-26; Eph. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:5 (cf., John 17:24); Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4; John 10:15; John 6:37,44-45,65; Eph. 5:26

Section 6: MAN—We believe in the Genesis account of man’s creation, and that it is to be accepted literally (not allegorically or figuratively); that man was originally created in God’s image, after His likeness; that his creation was a special creation by divine fiat, and not through evolutionary processes of development from lower to higher forms.  Further, we believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24-hour periods.  We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin.  (Gen. 1-2; Ex. 20:11)

We believe that man was created upright under the Law of his Maker; that he by a willful act of disobedience fell from his original condition, in consequence of which all mankind experiences its effects; that men as such, then, are sinners by nature and by choice; that they are totally depraved and in their natural state can do nothing to please God, nor can they save themselves from the just condemnation of their sins, apart from the justifying grace of God.  Gen. 1:26-2:5; Eccl. 7:29; Gen. 2:6-19; Rom. 5:12-19; Ps. 51:5; John 3:19; Rom. 8:8; Eph. 2:8,9; Eph. 2:5; Rom. 5:1

Section 7:  THE CHURCH

Universal: We believe in the true church which is called Christ’s body.  It is composed of all true believers from the day of Pentecost to the translation of the Church.  The characteristic which distinguishes the church from all other entities is the baptism of the Holy Spirit; and those who are part of the body are neither Jew nor Gentile, but are one in Christ.  Mt. 16:16-18; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Col. 3:11; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Gal. 3:28

Local: We believe that the local church is a body of professed believers, organized with offices of overseer and deacon, baptized and united in covenant to build up the saints in the most holy faith in the public worship of God and to evangelize the lost, and to carry out the ordinances.  Acts 2:41; 1 Cor. 11:2; Acts 20:17-28; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Mk. 16:15


1) Baptism—We believe that the Lord Jesus instituted the ordinance of baptism by immersion in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that all believers should observe this service as a testimony to the world that they have died with Christ to sin and are raised to a new life of righteousness.  We reject infant baptism.  But small children who show evidence of regeneration and conversion will be worthy candidates for baptism.

2) The Lord’s Supper—The Lord Jesus instituted the Lord’s table for the Christian to partake of in remembrance of His death on the cross, until He comes again for His church.  This is the Lord’s table and everyone who has been born again is invited to the table; but Paul exhorts those who come, to first examine themselves and judge the sin in their own hearts before partaking.  Mt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Acts 16:31

Officers:  We believe that the New Testament sanctions only two offices for the church:

1) Overseers (also known as elders and/or pastors)—We believe that for the orderly function of the local church, God has ordained that she be led by godly men known as overseers and/or elders.  They serve as undershepherds, accountable ultimately to Christ for the spiritual discipline and direction of the assembly over which they have been appointed.  By the congregation, they are to be esteemed, respected and obeyed.  To the congregation, they are to serve as shepherds to feed, lead, oversee, rule, teach, guide by example and defend the faith.  Their lives are to conform to the qualifications of scripture, as stated in 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4.  Acts 14:23; 20:17,28; 1 Tim. 5:17

2) Deacons—We believe that deacons by definition are servants, appointed by the elders to meet the menial and physical needs of the assembly.  They must be godly men, who meet the qualifications of 1 Tim. 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-6; Phil. 1:1

Section 8:  THINGS TO COME—We believe the Bible foretells certain events which are yet future:

The Second Coming of Christ—We believe in the literal visible return of Jesus Christ to this earth to institute His eternal reign.  This is the hope of God’s people during this age, and should instill godly living in the lives of the saints.  2 Thess. 1:3-10; Rev. 20:4;  Mt. 25:31-46; 1 Thess. 4:13; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 1:3; 2 Pet. 3:10-14; 1 John 3:2-3

Judgment of the Living and Dead—We believe that all judgment has been committed to the Son of God, who will judge the living and dead at His coming and kingdom.  Those who are righteous shall enter into eternal bliss in heaven with Christ; the wicked shall be cast into the lake of fire, forever banished from heaven.  Jn. 5:27; 2 Tim. 4:1; 2 Cor. 5:6-8; Rev. 20:15

The Eternal State—We believe that the souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation do, at death, immediately pass into His presence, and there remain in conscious bliss until His resurrection of the body at His coming when soul and body shall be united and shall be associated with Him forever in the glory; but the souls of the unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery until the final judgment of the Great White Throne at the close of the millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power.  Lk. 16:19-26; 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:2; Phil. 1:23; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6; Rev. 20:11-15

Section 9: CIVIL GOVERNMENT—We believe that civil government is ordained by God for the orderly management of society; that its rulers should punish evildoers and praise law-abiding citizens.  We believe in order to promote the welfare of the state that Christians should earnestly pray for their leaders, that they might live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and fear; and that they should submit to every ordinance of man for testimony and conscience sake.  We believe that no Christian should be involved in outright civil disobedience, unless they are required to violate God’s law, thereby suffering the consequence of such action joyfully; but at the same time have the right to defend themselves by due process of law.

We believe as Christian citizens in a free society, such as the United States of America where we are accorded the privilege to vote, that we ought to be patriotic in our duty, exemplary in our actions and faithful in our fiduciary obligations to the state.  We believe that the good of the State is bound up in the morality of its leaders and citizens, so that righteousness exalts a nation and sin is its reproach.  As good citizens, we ought to oppose legislation and executive orders which promote wickedness through every legal means available.  Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:13-17; Titus 3:1; Mt. 22:21; Acts 5:29 (cf. Dan. 3:18); 16:37; 25:11; Prov. 11:10-11; 14:34; 28:12; 29:2


  1. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity should be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We also believe that homosexuality and lesbianism are aberrations from God’s original design for mankind in the Garden of Eden.  God created Adam and then Eve, which became the divine pattern for all marital and sexual relationships.  God calls homosexuality an “abomination.”  It is God’s judgment on a reprobate society, which has disavowed Him.  No practicing homosexual will inherit God’s kingdom. We reject the contemporary interpretation, which says that what is condemned in Scripture is homosexual prostitution in the context of idol worship in pagan temples; or homosexual rape as in Sodom with Lot’s guests.  Finally, we believe that all forms of fornication such as: bisexuality, bestiality, incest, pedophilia, pornography and prostitution are perversions of God’s gift of sex.  2:18-25; 19:5; Lev. 18:6-24; 20:13; Rom. 1:26,27; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; 1 Tim. 1:10; Jude 1:7
  2. We believe that the term “marriage” has only one legitimate meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God, which joins one man and one woman in a single, covenantal union, as delineated by Scripture. Marriage ceremonies performed in any facility owned, leased or rented by this church will be only those ceremonies sanctioned by God, joining one man with one woman as their genders were determined at birth. Whenever there is a conflict between the church’s position and any new legal standard for marriage, the church’s statement of faith, doctrines and biblical positions will govern. (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:22-23; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Cor. 7:1-9)**[1]
  3. We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two-distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God and the rejection of one’s biological gender is a rejection of the image of God within that person. (Genesis 1:26-27)**

Section 11: NEO-PENTECOSTALISM—We believe that the Charismatic movement is not of God.  While there are some true evangelical believers in its ranks, the movement as a whole does not have a Scriptural foundation.  We believe that miraculous gifts such as: healing, miracles, tongues, et al. basically ceased by the second century of the church.  Just as the Corinthian church was preoccupied with tongues and abused its practice, so also the modern-day Charismatic movement does the same.  We believe that the Biblical manifestation of a spiritual walk is the fruit of the Spirit and not some sort of ecstatic utterance.  We believe that Spirit baptism is a onetime event accomplished on the day of Pentecost wherein all true believers were placed into one body—the church.  1 Cor. 13:8-10; Heb. 2:1-4; 1 Cor. 12-14; Gal. 5:16; 1 Cor. 12:13

Section 12: THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT—We believe that the contemporary ecumenical movement is an attempt under the guise of Church cooperation to unite divergent Christian bodies (so-called) for the advancement of “the social gospel.”  This movement is devoid of doctrine.  Its agenda is the advancement of “liberation theology”, which is Marxism masked in biblical and theological jargon.  We cannot cooperate with those who deny the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Bible, the virgin birth and deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of the Savior, His visible resurrection and ascension, and salvation by grace alone through the meritorious work of Christ.  We believe that the invocation of our Lord in His high priestly prayer was for the unbroken unity of His elect people, which the Father had given Him out of the world.  We affirm that the believers of each local assembly are under divine obligation to strive for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  We further affirm that even though the local church is autonomous, it may cooperate with other like-minded churches for the cause of the advancement of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ both at home and abroad.  2 Cor. 6:14-18; John 17:11; Eph. 4:1-3; cf. 2 Cor. 8:4


  1. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church.  Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church.  (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
  1. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church.  The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ.  Children are an heritage from the Lord.  Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them, through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction.  (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mk. 10:6-12; I Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4, Col. 3:18-21; Heb. 13:4; I Pet. 3:1-7)

Section 14:  LAWSUITS BETWEEN BELIEVERS—We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes.  We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members.  We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander.  (1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph.  4:31-32)

Section 15: GIVING—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.  The extent to which each individual may be able to give to the church may vary based on ability, circumstances, employment, family needs, etc.  While a tithe may be recommended, it is not required.  All giving should be done out of love for the Lord, and to advance His work here on earth.  We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of any monies once the gift has been made. (Acts 4:34-37; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28; Phil. 4:10-19; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 John 3:17)

[1] **Entries were added and amended to the Constitution, May 15, 2016.