For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
1. The Church which began on the Day of Pentecost is the Body and espoused Bride of Christ, it’s Head. It is composed of believers from Pentecost to the Rapture. Believers at conversion are baptised by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ (Jhn. 1:12-13; Rom. 6:3,4; I Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 11:2; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 1:22-23, 5:23-30;Col. 1:18; Heb.12:22). The New Testament shows how this union with Christ is to be manifested by active participation, fellowship and service in a Local Church.
2. The New Testament places primary emphasis on the Local Church as the means for personal nurturing and evangelism. The believer’s service for God should wherever possible be Local Church centred. Faithfulness and diligence in the services of the Local Church is shown in the Book of Acts and the Epistles to be a matter of great importance (Mt. 18:17; Acts 9:31, 14:23,27, 15:41; Rom. 16:1; I Cor. 1:2; 16:1, 19; Rev. 1:4). In virtually every Scriptural reference, the word “church” refers to a local church, which “assembles”; therefore the idea of a “universal church” is not a Biblical concept. However, the concept of all true believers being joined to Christ’s Body is taught in Scripture. Again, those who are spiritually joined to Christ will manifest this in the establishing and support of a Local Church.
3. The Local Church fellowships with other churches of like faith. It is independent, autonomous and self-governing; and looks only to the Scriptures in the management of its affairs (Mt. 18:17,18; Acts 13:1-3; I Cor. 5:12,13; 2 Cor. 8:19). It recognises the demarcation between Church and State (Mt. 22:21). The Local Church identifies and separates from unscriptural teachings and practices (Rom. 16:17; 2 Cor. 6:17; 2 Thess. 3:6).
4. Christ has promised to preserve His Church (Mt. 16:15). Independent Baptists have identified their lineage with those groups of believers (as the Waldenses, Albigenses etc.) who in the early ages before the Reformation were never a part of the Roman Catholic Church. Independent Baptists are, therefore, not Protestants in the usual sense of the term. Bethel is a Baptist Church, and upholds those principles that have distinguished Baptists through the centuries.
5. Two ordinances are given to the Local Church: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism is by full immersion, and is an initial outward sign of the believer's identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Mt. 28:19,20; Mk. 1:9,10; Jhn. 3:23; Acts 8:36-39; Col. 2:12). It is not a part of salvation (Lk. 23:43; I Cor. 1:17).
The bread and fruit of the vine of the Lord's Table symbolise the Saviour's Body and Blood and is the sign of the believers continuing identification and participation in Christ's Person and Work. As such, baptism precedes the Lord's Supper. This ordinance is a memorial and is in no sense a continuation of Christ's sacrifice, nor do the elements undergo a change during their administration
(Mt. 26:26-28; I Cor. 10:16, 11:23-31).
6. There are two offices of leadership in the Local Church, Pastors and Deacons (Phil. 1:1). The titles pastor, elder and bishop refer to different aspects of the same office (Acts 20:17,28; Titus 1:5-7). The number of associate pastors is dependent upon the size of the congregation.
7. The great overriding task of the Local Church is evangelism and the building up of believers through the study of the
Scriptures. Nothing should be allowed to divert from or lessen this emphasis (Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15; Acts 1:8, 8:4, 13:39, 17:11, 20:27; Rom. 15:20; I Tim. 4:6,13; II Tim. 2:15; 4:17).
8. Few areas need greater discernment than that of Christian Music. The world’s popular music had a huge negative effect on the life before salvation. It is one of Satan’s major ploys to bring a “christianised” form of that music into their new life. Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) seeks to combine the world’s swing, sway, beat and sensuality with the Gospel. The effect has been to cheapen the Gospel. The words themselves in much of CCM are shown, when compared with the great hymns, to be shallow, repetitive and lessen the emphasis on the Cross and Blood of Christ. As countless churches have discovered, once CCM begins to come into a church with its “door opener” kind of songs, it soon takes over. The Graham Kendrick kind of music (to use a popular example) has changed many otherwise sound churches beyond recognition. Bethel seeks to build a love and appreciation for the great stirring hymns of the Faith. (Lev. 10:10; Eph. 3:19; Col. 3:16; Psa. 47:7; I Jhn. 2:15; Rev. 5:9).
Lord’s Day: 11.00 am and 6.00 pm Thursday Bible Study: Bible Study 7.45 pm