The Charlestown-Boston Covenant of 1632
In the name of our Lord God, and in obedience to His holy will and divine ordinances; We, here being by his most wise and good providence brought together, and desirous to unite ourselves into one congregation or church under our Lord Jesus Christ, our head; in such sort as becometh all those whom He hath redeemed and sanctified unto Himself, do here solemnly and religiously, as in His most holy presence, promise and bind ourselves to walk in all our ways according to the rules of the Gospel, and in all sincere conformity to His holy ordinances, and in all mutual love and respect each to the other so near as God shall give us grace.
I. The Scriptures.
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God. Therefore, all scripture is authoritative, infallible and inerrant. The Scriptures are the only sufficient rule for faith and practice (Ps. 19:7; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience that springs from faith (Deut. 6:4; Ps. 145:3; John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 1 Tim. 1:17).
III. The Trinity.
The Scriptures reveal that the one God eternally exists in three persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each person has distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being (Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 1:3-14).
God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures (Isa. 46:9-11; Prov. 16:33; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; Jas. 1:13-15).
V. The Fall of Man.
God originally created Man in His own image and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, Adam transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness whereby his descendants inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law. As a result they are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors (Gen. 1:26-27; 3:1-7; Rom. 5:12-19; Eph. 2:1-3).
VI. God’s Purpose of Grace.
Election is the gracious purpose of God, whereby He chose some persons unto everlasting life—not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His sheer mercy in Christ—in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified. God’s grace therefore excludes boasting and promotes humility (Rom. 8:28-30; 1 Cor. 1:27-29; Eph. 1:4, 11).
VII. The Mediator.
Since Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is fully God and fully man, He is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law, suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever lives to make intercession for His people. He will return again visibly and bodily. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe (Isa. 53:10-12; John 1:1, 14; Acts 1:9-11; Rom. 3:21-26; 8:34; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Gal. 3:13; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 1:1-3).
VIII. The Holy Spirit.
We believe that God the Holy Spirit brings glory to the Father and the Son. He applies the work of Christ to believers and distributes spiritual gifts to every believer according to His sovereign good pleasure for the purpose of building up the body of Christ. He is the Comforter, the Spirit of Adoption, the Seal of our Salvation and the Guarantor of our inheritance in Christ (John 14:16-17; 16:14; Acts 5:3; Rom. 8:14-17; Eph. 1:13-14).
Regeneration is a change of heart, brought about by the Holy Spirit, who gives life to those dead in trespasses and sins, enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone (Eph. 2:1-6; Tit. 3:5; 1 John 5:1).
Repentance is a gift of God, wherein a person being by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbles himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things (Acts 2:37-38; 11:18; 2 Cor. 7:10-11).
Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatever is revealed in His word concerning Christ, accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness (Rom. 3:27-28; 4:1-5; 4:17-25; 10:14, 17; Phil. 1:29; Eph. 2:8; Jas. 2:14-26).
Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the propitiation that Christ has made, not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receive and rest on Him and His righteousness by faith (Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 3:21-26; 8:34; 10:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9).
Those who have been regenerated are also sanctified by God’s word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in joyful obedience to all Christ’s commands (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:26-27; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:13-24; 2 Pet. 1:3-11).
XIV. Perseverance of the Saints.
All those whom God has regenerated will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (John 6:37-40; 10:28-29; Rom. 8:28-39; 1 Cor. 1:8-9; Phil. 1:6).
XV. The Church.
The Lord Jesus is the head of the church, which is composed of all His true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. According to His commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into particular churches; and to each of these churches He has given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which He has appointed. The regular officers of a church are Elders (Pastors) and Deacons. The mission of the church is to engage in God’s mission of redeeming people from all the peoples of the world (Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:16; Acts 20:17, 28; Eph. 1:22; 5:23; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 5:17-18; Tit. 1:5-9; Heb. 10:25).
Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of giving himself up to God to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church membership (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13).
XVII. The Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and the fruit of the vine, and to be observed by His churches until the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him and of their church membership until He returns (Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:23-34).
XVIII. The Lord’s Day.
The Lord’s Day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Rev. 1:10).
XIX. Liberty of Conscience.
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil magistrates, being ordained of God, ought to be yielded by us in the Lord through subjection in all lawful things commanded by them, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake (Matt. 15:9; Rom. 13:1-7; 14:4; Acts 5:29; Col. 2:20-23).
XX. The Resurrection.
The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God—the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked, to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. The bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised (John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:12-28; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; Phil. 1:23).
XXI. The Judgment.
God has appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall receive according to his deeds; the wicked shall go into everlasting and conscious punishment and the righteous into everlasting life (Matt. 25:46; John 5:22, 27-29; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:6-11; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 7:13-17; 14:9-11).
The first marriage was created and performed by God. Marriage is defined as the permanent emotional, physical, spiritual and legal commitment of one man and one woman as defined by Scripture. It is a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church, as seen by mutual love, and service toward one another. We affirm that the biblical model marriage is between one man and one woman only. (Genesis 2:18-22, Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9, Ephesians 5:21-33)
* Our Statement of Faith is rooted in historic Baptist confessions of faith like the New Hampshire Baptist Confession (1833) and the Abstract of Principles (1858).
Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is an ordinance given to believers by Jesus Christ to remember his sacrifice for us and to symbolize the new covenant. The elements of bread and wine or juice are symbols of Christ’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is not a means of salvation but, it is a testament of a believer’s faith in the atoning work of the cross that should be observed by the church.
Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19,20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29