Confession of Faith
Sycamore believes that church unity and fellowship are built upon, and encouraged by, shared theological convictions. We embrace the theology of the Protestant Reformation which is summarily contained in the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. This statement, penned in 1677, was adopted as the doctrinal standards of the London Association of Reformed Baptist churches in 1688. One hundred “baptized congregations” claimed it as a clear statement of their belief and practice. Although it was written in the mid-seventeenth century, it has stood the test of time as a summary expression of the teaching of the Bible. As stated in our Confession, we believe that “the Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.”
Our Confession of Faith could be summarized in the following manner:
We believe that God, since the creation of His world, has plainly revealed His eternal power and divine nature through the things He has made, and the requirements of His law, so that there is no excuse for unbelief or disobedience on the part of any man; yet however glorious this revelation, it is not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary for salvation.
We believe that our one aim in life and death should be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Moreover, God teaches us how to glorify and enjoy Him in His inerrant Word, which He has given by the infallible inspiration of His Holy Spirit in order that we may certainly know what we are to believe concerning Him and what duty He requires of us. Therefore, the revelatory gifts having ceased, and having been freed from the traditions of men, the Holy Scripture remains to be the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.
We believe that God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth; incomparable in all that He is and distinct from His creation. He is one God but three persons, the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, coeternal and coequal, our Creator, our Redeemer, and our Sanctifier; in whose power and wisdom, righteousness, goodness and truth we may safely put our trust.
We believe that God, from all eternity, has decreed whatsoever comes to past. We believe that the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, are the work of God’s hands. We believe that all that He has made He directs and governs in all their actions by His most wise Providence, so that they fulfill the end for which they were created. We who trust in Him shall not be put to shame but may rest securely in the protection of His almighty love.
We believe that God created man after His own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, and entered into a covenant of life with him, upon the sole condition of the obedience that was His due. Being in the image of God, they had the law of God written on their hearts, together with the power to fulfill it. Although God created man upright and perfect, they did not long abide in this honor, but willfully transgressed the law of their Creator and fell into the sin and misery in which we all have been born.
We believe that, being fallen in Adam, our first father, we are by nature children of wrath, under the condemnation of God and corrupted in body and soul, prone to evil and liable to eternal death; from which dreadful state, being dead in sin, we are totally unable in mind, heart, and will to deliver ourselves.
We believe that God the Father has not left the world to perish in its sin, but out of the great love wherewith He has loved it, has from all eternity graciously chosen unto Himself a multitude which no man can number, to deliver them out of their sin and misery, by His Word and Spirit, applying to them the redemption purchased by Christ, reconciling them with God through Christ, and uniting them to the church, that is, the body of Christ. This he has purposed to do, not because of any foreseen faith or merit within us, but solely on account of the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, in whom we are sure to have acceptance with God, and the blessing forfeited by Adam, if we hold fast to Christ the Lord.
We believe that God has redeemed His people unto Himself through Jesus Christ our Lord, who came to do for us what Adam failed to do. Though He was and ever continues to be the eternal Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, yet was born of a woman, born under the law, that He might redeem them that are under the law. We believe that He bore the penalty due to our sins in His own body, satisfied the justice of God, and fulfilled in His own person the obedience we owe to God, and now presents us to His Father as His purchased possession, to the praise of the glory of His grace forever. Wherefore renouncing all merit of our own, we confidently seek our justification trusting solely in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
We believe that Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who died for our offenses was raised again for our justification, and ascended into the heavens, where He sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty, continually making intercession for His people, and governing the whole world as head over all things for His church, so that we need fear no evil and may surely know that nothing can snatch us out of His hands and nothing can separate us from His love.
The Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. We believe that the redemption purchased by the Lord Jesus Christ is effectually applied to all His people, by virtue of the covenant of Grace, that is, the New Covenant. We are united to Jesus Christ, through His Word, by the Holy Spirit who brings about the appropriate response to the Gospel by effectually calling us from death to life, renewing our will, illuminating our mind, and working faith in us. He renews us in the whole man after the image of God, and enables us more and more to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness, until the day that this gracious work is completed in us when we are received into glory. Abiding in this hope, we must ever strive to perfect holiness in the fear of God.
We believe that God requires of us, under the gospel, out of a true sense of our sin and misery and apprehension of His mercy in Christ, to turn with grief and hatred away from sin and receive and rest upon Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Being so united to Him, we may receive pardon for our sins and be accepted as righteous in God’s sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith alone. Only by the righteousness and obedience of Jesus Christ, accredited to us through faith, do we believe we may be received into the number and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God.
We believe that, having been pardoned and accepted for Christ’s sake, it is further required of us that we walk in the Spirit whom He has purchased for us, and by whom love is shed abroad in our hearts. Motivated by faith in Christ and gratitude for the freedom which we have in Him, and relying upon His Spirit, we are to strive to fulfill the obedience we owe to Christ our King, and faithfully perform all the duties laid upon us by the moral law of God. He has given to us the Holy Spirit so that we may do the good works which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We believe that the church is the universal, or invisible, body of true believers, consisting of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head of the body. We believe that the local, or visible, church consists of those who profess the faith of the Gospel, live in a manner consistent with their profession, and do willingly consent to walk together, according to the Word of God, giving themselves to the Lord in faith, and to one another in love, in submission to the ordinances of the Gospel. We believe that God has established His church in the world and endowed it with all things necessary for carrying out the Great Commission: the ministry of the Word; the holy ordinances of Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Prayer; and the Discipline which he has instituted for the church to observe. The Lord Jesus, who is the only Head of the church, has given these in order that through these means, the riches of His grace in the gospel may be made known to the world, and, by the blessing of Christ and the working of His Spirit in us that by faith receive them, the benefits of redemption may be communicated to His people. Wherefore also it is required of us that we attend to these means of grace with diligence, preparation, and prayer, so that through them we may be instructed and strengthened in faith, and in holiness of life and in love.
We believe that as disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to be salt and light in the world, promoting the Gospel, by making evident His wise and righteous rule over every aspect of our daily lives, conversations, and relationships, if perhaps we may win others for Christ. Likewise, we believe that it is our privilege and duty to pursue a vocation in this world that employs our gifts to the glory of God, and for the good of our family, our congregation, our community, and, as God brings opportunity, to any who may be in need.
We believe that as Jesus Christ has once come in grace, so also is He to come a second time in glory, to judge the living and the dead. The wicked shall have the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them, wherein their consciences shall fully concur, and they shall be cast into hell, to be punished with unspeakable torments, both in body and soul, with the devil and his angels forever. The righteous in Christ shall be caught up with Christ and there openly acknowledged and vindicated. They shall be received into the new heavens and new earth, where they shall fully and forever be freed from all sin and misery, filled with inconceivable joys, made perfectly holy and happy in both body and soul, in the great company of all God’s saints and holy angels, but especially in the blessed presence of the glorious Trinity.
We believe that if we die in Christ, our souls shall be at death made perfect in holiness and go home to the Lord; and when He returns in His majesty we shall be raised in glory and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity. Encouraged by this blessed hope it is required of us willingly to take our part in suffering hardship here as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, being assured that if we die with Him we shall also live with Him, and if we endure, we shall also reign with Him. And to Him, our Redeemer, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, three Persons, one God, be glory forever, world without end. Amen, and amen.
* This summary is an adaptation of B. B. Warfield, “A Brief and Untechnical Statement of the Reformed Faith”. Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield v. 1. John E. Meeter, ed. Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1970, pp. 407-410.